Monday, June 27, 2011

Government Can't Stand in for Parents

I like this court more and more. Supreme Court nixes violent video game law

The "government should take care of everything" crowd decided that it - and not parents - should determine what video games could be sold to minors. Because violence is bad.

Of course they didn't seem to care about the violence in other aspects of life kids are exposed to.
Scalia noted that books often viewed as suitable for high school students are full of violent material. “Certainly the books we give children to read--or read to them when they are younger--contain no shortage of gore: Grimm's Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers 'till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy.'”
Heavens. Maybe we should outlaw red-shoes, or childrens' stories as well.

The news story I saw on this earlier included references to "Call of Duty," the video game developed, in part, by the US Army.

In the end, it doesn't matter why they wanted to control video games; SCOTUS said no. It will be up to parents to control what their kids play, watch, read, etc. Just like it should be.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Free Speech Isn't (Quite) Dead in Europe

Geert Wilders is a "controversial" Dutch politician who stuck his thumb in the eye of radical Islam. He was charged with "inciting hatred" for pointing out that some Muslims want to destroy democracy in Europe. Wilders Acquittal a 'Slap in the Face for Muslims'
His supporters have hailed Geert Wilders' acquittal as a victory for free speech, while his many detractors have slammed the decision not to punish a man who described Islam as "fascist." The Dutch right-wing populist politician was cleared of inciting hatred against Muslims by a court in Amsterdam Thursday after the judge ruled that his comments -- which also included comparing the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" -- were "acceptable within the context of public debate."
Now the powers of political correctness will actually have to debate him on the issues instead of silencing him through the courts. (What a novel idea! Public debate of controversial ideas. What will they think of next?)

Gay Marriage in New York

Must be some really, really unhappy straight folks in the country today. The Road to Gay Marriage in New York

Big name Republican donors twisting some Republican arms. A Catholic governor.
But the donors in the room — the billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Dan Loeb — had the influence and the money to insulate nervous senators from conservative backlash if they supported the marriage measure. And they were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.
The pundits will be screaming on Monday (if they aren't already screaming, that is).

So, exactly how does this impact you, unless you are gay and living in New York?

Monday, June 20, 2011

NATO's Readiness as Seen From Inside NATO

Future RAF missions under threat if Libyan intervention continues - Telegraph

Basically Britain's Chief Air Marshall doesn't think the RAF can continue the Libyan operation much past September.

Guess leading the operations are harder than they look. Of course the opposition is cutting the military budget. (While Britain is forced to spend billions on the Greek bailout.) So whoever it was (Gates?) who said NATO is close to being irrelevant probably had it right.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bombing the Crap Out of Libya Doesn't Constitute "Hostilities"

George Orwell would be proud Gates: Obama is within law in Libyan operation - Yahoo! News
President Barack Obama rejects the word "hostilities" to describe U.S. involvement in Libya's civil war. Along the same lines, Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls American actions there "a limited kinetic operation."
With no sense of irony the Secretary of Defense practically quotes the Lewis Carroll.
Asked on "Fox News Sunday" if the U.S. was engaged in hostilities in Libya, Gates said: "The way I like to put it is, from our standpoint at the Pentagon, we're involved in a limited kinetic operation. If I'm in Gadhafi's palace, I suspect I think I'm at war."
Which for some reason made me feel like I was Through the Looking Glass.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
Or maybe it is a more Orwellian point of view.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength
No blood for oil.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Insanity Known as “Operation Gunrunner” Gets Media Attention

Somehow I thought this was being studiously ignored my the MSM. Have to give CNN some credit. AC360 Preview: ATF gun operation under scrutiny – Anderson Cooper 360 - Blogs
In an effort to help track the flow of guns across the border, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (or “ATF” as it is commonly known) conceived of Operation Fast and Furious. The idea was to allow some guns to cross the southern border in the hope of seeing where those weapons ended up But once those guns arrived in Mexico there was no way of tracing them until they turned up at a crime scene. Sadly, one of those guns turned up near Rio Rico, AZ next to the body of Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
"Felony Stupid" about sums it up.

The video on the site is just a taste of what was on the show. It was good. Made the ATF and the Justice Dept. look like a bunch of Keystone Cops. Maybe we are winning the debate. Finally.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Part of “NO!” Don't the Greeks Understand?

Europeans wince at austerity, and markets fear their wrath - San Jose Mercury News

OK, Greece needs another bailout. They are waiting for the IMF to release the next piece of €155 billion (total) bailout package. But the IMF won't do that until Greece agrees to an austerity package. But the Greeks don't want another austerity package. Hence the rioting in Greece. (It is on the news isn't it? I mean "riots in the streets." I honestly don't know since I have so little contact with regular news.)

So if the Greeks don't agree to an austerity package so that the IMF will release all that lovely money, the Greek government will probably not be able to do squat, since they won't be able to borrow money to pay for salaries and pensions. Both Forbes and the London Telegraph are calling this Europe's Lehman Brothers. (You do remember Lehman Brothers, don't you. They failed, right before everyone else became "too big to fail" and put a monkey wrench in the global economy.)

So the question is, are you ready for round 2?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Big Fat Greek Bailout

Another €8 billion will be needed by Greece. Bond holders dumped the paper until the interest rate hit 18 percent - that's junk status if anyone is keeping track. More violence in Athens because the Greeks don't want to face reality. (Austerity is unpopular.) UK may be forced into second Greek bail-out - Telegraph Europe is not one big happy family. (More like a big dysfunctional family.)
A meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday failed to resolve the row between France and Germany over the Greek crisis.
Violence in eastern Europe. France and German at loggerheads. France fighting in north Africa. Somehow this reminds me of something from my history classes.

And for all the violence in Greece, not too many people are saying what should be done to solve their problems. They liked how things were for the past 20 years, and don't see why it can't continue. (They lived on credit for all this time, why should they suddenly have to pay it back now?)

An Electric Supercar

e-Wolf Alfa 2If anyone can make one, the Germans can. e-WOLF Alpha-2 electric supercar on its way
Using two electric motors to power the rear wheels, the Alpha-2 produces a combined output of 280kW [375 hp] and 800Nm [600 lb-ft.] of torque. The company says the two motors provide enough grunt to propel the sleek EV from 0-100km/h [62mph] in just 3.9 seconds, and to a top speed of 240km/h. [149mph]
Range is about 150 miles and the price is just shy of 400,000 dollars.

(OK, I updated to convert from the much superior metric measurements to the less-useful, but more familiar English measurements.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Surprising - The UN Does Nothing

NATO - not under the leadership of the US (Do we have any leadership today?) - is failing to oust Gaddafi (sp?) in Libya. Nobody is doing anything in Syria. Syrians accuse United Nations of abandoning them - Telegraph
“What is the United Nations doing? Nothing,” Abu Ahmed said, as three small children and two women sheltered behind him from the heat of the sun in a tent fashioned from tree trunks and plastic sheeting.

“They are just talking and doing nothing to help. Why were they so quick to help Libya but do nothing for us?”
Quick to help Libya, but not too effective. (And it isn't the Useless Nitwits in Libya, but NATO.)

Syria. Sudan. So many places that aren't being helped. And the trouble spots, like Somalia, in which damn little is being done.

So how exactly do we (or does the UN) choose who to help? Least effort?

Why does anyone expect the UN to do anything?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Real Life Sucks

And it doesn't leave much time for blogging.