Just a quick note here that the Senate has voted for cloture on the nomination of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court by a vote of 72-25. This means the vote will take place tomorrow at 11:30 am as scheduled on the matter to actually confirm him. He’s expected to garner the necessary 51 votes easily. Looks like the Gang of 14 all decided not to support the filibuster. Nice try, Kerry. Go hit the slopes again.
So, I’m catching up on my blog reading this morning and I caught up on the Virginia issues with Commonwealth Conservative. One of his posts linked to Commonwealth Watch. When I finished reading that particular story I decided to check out the rest of the Watch’s site to see what I’d been missing. That’s when I saw this post.
|::::::::||The shot by Del. Jack Reid reported everywhere in major media and covered thoroughly in the blogosphere has potentially created one casaulty. Reid is rumored to be the #1 targeted recruit for some conservatives to make a run at unseating Sen. Walter Stosch in 2007. Unfortunately, I have not heard what Reid’s interest level is (was), but one can only imagine this latest episode did not do much to increase his chance of running.||::::::::|
Clearly I’ve not been keeping up with the goings-on in Richmond because I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. A quick search fixed that issue and brought me to this article in yesterday’s Washington Post.
|::::::::||Virginia’s General Assembly is a well-guarded place. Toss a snowball at a Confederate hero’s statue on the capitol grounds and a vigilant Capitol Police officer is likely to reproach you, hand on holster. But the policing is apparently inadequate for John S. “Jack” Reid, a Republican member of the state House of Delegates who is in the habit of carrying a handgun as he carries out the people’s work. On Thursday Mr. Reid accidentally fired his pistol in his office, miraculously hitting only a bulletproof vest hanging on the wall.||::::::::|
This paragraph is a wealth of information, and not just about Delegate Reid and his “shot heard ’round Richmond.” But about the “shot” specifically, let’s get up-to-date. Seems Delegate Reid carries a firearm. According to this editorial in the Post, it’s a “.380-caliber automatic”. Sounds like a new way to say “38 caliber” to me, but that’s how the editorial is written. Delegate Reid managed to discharge the weapon in his office and, miracle of miracles, managed to hit a bulletproof vest that was hanging on his wall.
Personally, I think there’s more to it than is being reported and I strongly suspect that a little inattention to trigger discipline is involved. That’s a matter for the investigation into the incident to uncover and if Delegate Reid was simply being careless with his weapon he should be called to account for that. But this isn’t the “classic case” the gun-ban advocates are claiming it is. These folks – and this editor is clearly one of them – would have you believe that the merest act of carrying a weapon is a significant danger to everyone in the area. Don’t take my word for it:
|::::::::||Mr. Reid says his .380-caliber automatic affords him the protection he needs to carry out his legislative responsibilities; occasionally, he notes, he receives irate phone calls. By that standard, customer service reps, lost-baggage agents and, yes, not a few journalists would come to work packing heat. But they don’t — at least we hope they don’t — because it’s unnecessary and dangerous. Accidents happen.||::::::::|
Emphasis mine. “Unnecessary and dangerous?” Unnecessary by whose definition. I personally think its unnecessary to have editors at major newspapers write opinions chock full of unsupported assertions like this one and be able to do so without signing their names. But that’s my opinion, not a fact. That this editor, whoever he is, thinks it’s unnecessary to carry a gun is his opinion and it’s blissfully unencumbered with any facts to support it. He tries to give this impression weight by referring to the prodigious amount of armed protection available at the General Assembly – along with the added cheap shot about how racist we Virginians must be that we send armed guards to pull weapons on people who toss snowballs at our hallowed Confederate Heroes. The obvious question that this editor’s mind is apparently incapable of forming is: what about when the Delegate isn’t on the grounds of the General Assembly? When he’s – for example – on his way there? Or home? Or headed to the grocery? Is the editor alleging that these Capitol Police officers are patrolling those areas, too?
Must be a whole lot of Confederate Hero statues around.
As for “dangerous,” the simple act of carrying a firearm is no more dangerous than sitting in a car. You’re in contact with a machine and, if you operate the machine properly, it’s safe. He says that accidents happen. I say it’s far from a proven that this was an accident. If the Delegate pulled his weapon out of his pocket and failed to maintain sufficient trigger discipline while doing it while also failing to keep the barrel of the weapon pointed somewhere safe, then that’s not an accident. (Although I had the thought cross my mind as I was writing that that pointing the weapon at the bulletproof vest might, in fact, be the safest place to point it when you’re on the 7th floor of a crowded office building.)
All of which misses the mark about carrying a firearm in the United States. As much as the gun-banning crowd might dislike it, the Founding Fathers knew full well that enshrining the right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution was important precisely because they had direct experience with people who banned the ownership of firearms “for the good of the people.” The right to keep and bear arms is a right of every law-abiding citizen in the country. It’s not a right if someone else thinks it’s “necessary,” it’s not a right if someone else agrees it’s not “dangerous,” it’s a right, period. Plain, simple, and finally. That Delegate Reid carries a firearm because he feels he needs the protection is a nice datapoint, but the fact is that he is allowed to carry a firearm because the Constitution specifically says he’s got the right. People who don’t like that can try to amend the Constitution, if they like, but the law today is that the Delegate can carry the gun.
Poor little guy probably didn’t even get the notice to re-file. Seems the State Fish of Hawaii (you knew they had a state fish, right?) ran out of time for holding his office recently. The rectangular triggerfish was given the job back in 1984 but the title grant had an expiration date. That date apparently passed without anyone doing anything about it.
|::::::::||In 1984 the state Legislature asked the University of Hawaii and the Waikiki Aquarium to survey the public and come up with a candidate for the state fish. The humuhumu was swept into the spot in part through the support of school children who learned of the campaign through classroom projects.
Although the issue of the state fish would seem to come with little controversy, the method used to poll the public was questioned and lawmakers limited the designation to five years.
No one told the public that the humuhumu’s reign was over, so few knew anything had changed.
The Mrs. and I have been to Hawaii a few times and the humuhumu was still touted as the State Fish. My ability to actually correctly pronounce the Hawaiian name for the fish got our table a round of drinks and free dessert at a restaurant in LaHaina. Yeah, I know it’s silly but I really hope they do something about restoring the old boy to his status.
When a Southwest Airlines flight overran the runway at Chicago Midway I cautioned that everyone should wait for the NTSB to finish its investigation before concluding what happened. In the meantime, the investigation began to focus on the thrust reversers of the aircraft and whether they had deployed as expected. Today, we have a report that offers more detail and a suggestion from the NTSB.
|::::::::||The National Transportation Safety Board said the pilots should not have factored in the plane’s thrust reversers _ which help slow the plane _ when they estimated how long it would take to stop during a December snowstorm at Chicago’s Midway Airport.
The agency said the Southwest Airlines jet touched down with about 4,500 feet of runway remaining, but snowy conditions and other factors meant the plane needed about 5,300 feet of runway to stop.
According to flight recorder data, the thrust reversers did not deploy until 18 seconds after landing, the report also said. That’s more than 10 seconds beyond normal deployment, according to aviation experts.
Calculating in the effect of the thrust reversers is actually not a common procedure. Many aircraft manufacturers simply don’t allow it when they publish the performance tables for their planes. There are some models, however, that do still permit it and this specific model of the Boeing 737 was one of those. The critical factor here is in the time it took the reversers to deploy. If you’ve read my other posts, you know that the speed the plane was moving at touchdown would have allowed roughly 30 seconds to get the plane to a halt. If the reversers didn’t deploy until 18 seconds into the landing, then you’ve got 12 seconds of reverse thrust available to bring the plane to a stop. That clearly wasn’t enough. So what kept them from deploying?
|::::::::||Thrust reversers typically deploy automatically _ six seconds or less after a plane’s wheels touch the runway, said Paul Czysz, professor emeritus of aerospace engineering at Saint Louis University.
In this case, a computer used to calculate landing specifications “assumed they would go on immediately,” he said.
Investigators haven’t determined whether the pilots tried to deploy the thrust reversers manually, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said.
The flight’s captain told investigators he did try immediately upon landing but could not. The first officer said he deployed the reverse thrusters after he noticed they weren’t working, the report said.
So the system designed to drop the reversers on landing failed to fire automatically. The question of “why?” is the one that needs to be answered and there’s still nothing to say what the reason was one way or another. OK, next comes the question of what the crew did in response to that failure and was it appropriate? The captain says he tried to deploy them manually immediately upon landing. I assume he actually meant “immediately upon seeing they didn’t pop automatically.” So, that’s about 6 seconds into landing. Figure it takes a second or two to 1) realize they aren’t coming down on their own and 2) actuate the reverser control. We’re up to 8 seconds or so, which leaves about 10 seconds between that attempt and the first officer’s successful deployment. So, the question there is, first, did the captain actually attempt to deploy them? Did he hit the control and it didn’t work? Did he mistakenly actuate a different control? Was there something going on in the system that failed to respond to the captain’s attempt but corrected in time for the first officers? Are there 2 separate controls for the reversers (1 for the captain, 1 for the F/O) and the captain’s fail? If so, why?
You see that an investigation is a complicated thing and you need to answer all these questions before you can conclude what caused the accident. Recall that your conclusions are going to guide the actions of pilots everywhere from this point forward, so you need to be right the first time. To say nothing of what a finding of pilot error will do to the careers of the pilots of that plane. And for what it will do for the souls of the family of that child who died.
Tread carefully, boys. As always I’ll pass along more when I know more.
Even as much of a sports-clueless guy as I am knows who Lynn Swann is. Some sports heroes simply transcend the fan base and make it into the lexicon of the public as a whole whether the particular person is a sports nut or not. Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan. Wayne Gretzky. And, yes, Lynn Swann.
The other thing I’ve become well acquainted with over the past couple of years is that the left side of our political spectrum has no issue making racially biting comments and busting on a person’s race so long as that person is a conservative or a Republican. The Michael Steele situation in Maryland is a prime example and it’s not the only one.
When a Republican makes a similar attack on a fellow Republican, that’s a whole other matter. And it’s worse. From Michelle Malkin:
|::::::::||On a local TV call-in show, Seif and Swann campaign aide Ray Zaborney were debating when Seif casually unloaded a disgraceful race-based slur against Swann:
SEIF: The–uh, uh–Bill Scranton has–and I’ve known him for 30 years now–as much integrity as any person I’ve ever known. And that means intellectual integrity as well. His decision on the primary was made after a great deal of thought, a great deal of anger that one of the candidates had been captured by Senate leadership, by the party, by others, and directed into pretending he had the victory sewn up and pretending that he was the outsider. In fact, the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann. He’s the one that hangs around the, uh.
ZABORNEY: That’s one of the most ridiculous and insulting things that I think I’ve heard in politics. You’re two-for-two tonight — two of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in politics.
That’s putting it mildly. When one of the callers into the show took issue with Seif about it, this miserable excuse for a campaign manager took the Durbin&trade approach and apologized that someone might be offended rather than simply apologize for making a stupid remark. The good news is that Bill Scranton took the high road:
|::::::::||Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton fired his campaign manager and apologized for a racially charged remark the manager made about former Steelers star Lynn Swann, Scranton’s rival for the GOP nomination.
On a televised call-in show Wednesday night, James Seif said “the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann.”
Scranton, in a statement released from his campaign, said he was trying to reach Swann last night to apologize.
“I want to apologize to Lynn Swann, his family, supporters and campaign,” Scranton said. He expressed “deep personal regret and anger” and said Seif’s comment “in no way whatsoever reflect my views or those of my campaign.”
This kind of race attack isn’t acceptable on the Republican side of the debate and shouldn’t be tolerated from anyone. I’m glad Scranton did what he did – it was the right thing to do – but I’m unsure it’ll help him get out of the hole Seif put him in. I would recommend any Republican considering running in an election look elsewhere for campaign managment, however, and leave Seif in retirement.
The reported presence of Mexican military units in illegal border crossing (the highest-profile one being a matter of 3 SUV’s carrying drugs) has raised the tension already mounting between Mexico and the US. Mexican officials deny their troops are involved. Law enforcement and Border Patrol agents here are equally adamant that the gear being used is clearly military. In the tapes and photographs I’ve seen I find it hard to disagree. These alleged Mexican troops aren’t riding in the bed of a Toyota pickup truck or in a surlus Soviet-era Zil. They’re in a military-variant Humvee and it’s got a .50 cal mounted up top.
The upcoming hearings on the matter will bring more to light, I hope, but one thing’s for certain. If Mexico reported seeing illegal crossings where men in American military uniforms were seen riding American military vehicles, you can bet our military would be wanting to flood the zone to catch them. I wonder why Mexico’s isn’t?
As most of my readers are aware, I don’t hold the so-called “mainstream media”, or MSM, in high regard. I feel they have abandoned their role of keeping the public actually informed and are, instead, interested only in pressing their agenda. That agenda happens to be squarely on the liberal side of the spectrum. They bias their reporting in the language they use, the questions they ask (or don’t ask), the stories they run with great frequency and those they ignore, and in the act of reporting opinions and theories as facts. This last is probably the worst of the bunch because it’s the most subtle. They toss in a reference to something by way of discussing a completely separate topic and do so in such a way as to avoid allowing any dialog on their referent facts. I ran into another one of those today.
Seems the PM-elect up in Canada, Stephen Harper, decided to make it clear nice and early that he’s no puppet of the US and is making noises about Canada’s territorial claims to regions in the Arctic Circle. Specifically, he’s claiming a section of seawater that we routinely use to transit our subs up in to the polar areas. We say it’s international waters and Harpers says it’s Canadian. That’s news and it’s important that we know the issue has risen.
Get this comment, however, buried in the story:
|::::::::||Canadian media reported last month that a U.S. nuclear submarine traveled secretly through Canadian Arctic waters in November on its way to the North Pole.
The Northwest Passage runs from the Atlantic through the Arctic to the Pacific.
Global warming is melting the passage — which is only navigable during a slim window in the summer — and exposing unexplored fishing stocks and an attractive shipping route. Commercial ships can shave off some 2,480 miles off the trip from Europe to Asia compared with the current routes through the Panama Canal.
Emphasis mine. Global warming is a theory. While there is data to fuel the discussion, there’s plenty of data that suggests that no such phenomenon is actually happening. Bottom line is this: no one’s proven that global warming exists, let alone that it’s responsible for melting the passage. Assuming that the passage is even melting, in fact as opposed to in theory.
But there it is, tossed out there in an unrelated story as if it were as solid a fact as the existence of the moon, plainly visible to all. It is this kind of casual bias that causes the serious damage to people’s ability to discuss the issue clearly. That’s what I find so galling about the MSM these days.
Well, it’s true to its word to the Chinese government, in any case, when it said it would filter out material deemed “unapproved” by that government. The word to the rest of us where Google said it would “do no evil” appears to have less weight to it. Exhibit A: from LGF.
Here’s an interesting blurb over on Fox. (It’s at the bottom of the page.)
|::::::::||A charter-school principal in Cleveland has resigned, after failing to recognize a secret handshake.
That’s what tipped off the head of the school’s advisory board that the principal might have lied about his background.
The advisory board leader, Tim Goler, had been a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The principal, Lewis Thomas, claimed to have been a member as well.
But when Goler offered Thomas the fraternity’s secret handshake, Thomas didn’t recognize it.
This apparently made Goler suspicious enough to check out the rest of Thomas’ resume and it appears much of it was false. Thomas says he resigned for “personal reasons” rather than over the fact that he got caught.
Brush up on those handshakes, you fraternity alumni. You never know when it’s gonna come in handy. So to speak.
The Bush Administration finally came out and said the obvious in the situation where the Mexican government is printing and distributing maps detailing the best areas to illegally cross the US border.
|::::::::||The Bush administration yesterday accused the Mexican government of facilitating illegal entry into the United States after Mexican officials said they would distribute maps of dangerous border areas and posters with safety instructions and other tips.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said the maps, which would provide details of the terrain, cell-phone coverage and water stations set up by the U.S. charity Humane Borders, would help to save lives.
“We oppose in the strongest terms the publication of maps to aid those who wish to enter the United States illegally,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “It is a bad idea to encourage migrants to undertake this highly dangerous and ultimately futile effort.
“This effort will entice more people to cross, leading to more migrant deaths and the further enrichment of the criminal human trafficking rings that prey on the suffering of others,” he said.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States would “take whatever steps it deems necessary to protect its own borders.”
“No government, including the government of Mexico, should facilitate or encourage its citizens to try to enter the United States outside established legal procedures,” he said.
It’s about damn time. Can you imagine the crap we’d take if America started printing up detailed instructions on how to avoid Russian border guards or the best areas to penetrate Chinese territory? It’d be a lot, trust me.
I had high hopes for Vincente Fox, I really did. But his government is actively working to see Mexican nationals – and anyone else who mosey’s into his country – can get across our borders in violation of our laws. He could stop that activity immediately if he chose, but he doesn’t. It’s pretty clear why not. This is just another reason why we need to make real enforcement of our immigrations laws a priority and why we need to plug the holes in the border right now.
When you toss in the incursion by armed men dressed in Mexican military uniforms to the mix, this is a situation where the government of Mexico is dangerously provoking a neighboring sovereign power. He needs to explain himself fully and swiftly. He also needs to move, immediately, to bring these actions to a halt. That or he needs to be ready to receive some of his former citizens in body bags.