Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:25:32 GMT

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Gun ads in Boy’s Life encouraged youngsters to shoot hawks. Mark Frauenfelder:

shooting a hawk
Here’s an interesting collection of gun and ammo advertisements from 1950s issues of Boy’s Life. My father had a gun as a kid, and so did all the kids in the neighborhood where he grew up. Times have changed. Link

[Boing Boing]

I particularly like the one where they graduate from shooting cans on the top of fence posts to taking down crows. ‘Let’s shoot a road sign! Let’s shoot a mail box!’ What else is a Boy Scout to do with a gun? At least they are always in uniform when they go shooting cans and birds. comment [commentCounter (3173)]6:10:45 AM

MIT revamps energy system for more fuel-efficient cars. MIT researchers are trying to unleash the promise of an old idea by converting light into electricity more efficiently than ever before. [digg]

It is an interesting idea. Burn the gas to create electricity to drive the car. There are still way too many obstacles that still need to be hurdled but an interesting idea. More efficient use of gasoline would be a nice thing. comment [commentCounter (3172)]5:51:47 AM

Matthews: War Crime?.

Matthews: War Crime?

On Hardball today:

Matthews: So what diverted us to Iraq?

Batiste: Good question. I don’t know, and that’s…

Video-WMP Video-QT

Matthews: How come nobody seems to know who this crime…this, this mistake was committed. How come everybody — and maybe it’ll look like a crime at some point because we were chasing bin Laden, we still haven’t caught him, the President said at 9/11 “We’re going to catch the guys that knocked down these buildings,” but we have lost that pursuit. The top people in al-Qaeda are out there somewhere in Pakistan and yet we’re stuck in Iraq with a course that had nothing to do with the people who attacked us on 9/11, right?

Batiste: Chris, that’s the $24,000 question and I turn to the Congressional oversight committees, the other branch of government who is charged with getting to these answers.

(h/t Lynne)

He’ll return to his previous Al Gore bashing momentarily.
[Crooks and Liars]

Why are we in Iraq? Why did we just stop hunting bin Laden? Why is Afghanistan beginning to dissolve into civil war? It is like the US is led by a bunch of leaders suffering from ADHD. Or maybe there are just so many ripe, low hanging fruits to pluck and devour?So, why work so hard. comment [commentCounter (3171)]5:44:56 AM

Bush and the First Amendment [Dispatches from the Culture Wars].

If there was any doubt that Bush envisions himself to have unlimited authority that cannot be challenged, this article should put that to rest. The ACLU, representing several citizens, has filed suit against the NSA’s call tracking system and the government is arguing not only that they cannot challenge that program, but that no citizen has any right to challenge any allegedly anti-terrorist policy in court at all:

The Bush administration has urged a judge to dismiss a similar case, saying it threatens to divulge state secrets and jeopardize national security. The government argued in briefs that the courts cannot decide the constitutionality of the president’s asserted wartime powers to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants.

If the courts cannot decide the constitutionality of such programs, then we might as well not have a constitution or courts at all. That is the function of the courts, to determine the constitutionality of executive and legislative actions. Absent that, there is no means of petitioning the government for a redress of grievances, as guaranteed in the first amendment. Let us once again revisit what the Federalist Papers say about the importance of judicial review:

The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex-post-facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

Without the courts to protect us from the unconstitutional acts of the executive and legislative branch, all of our rights are in grave jeopardy.

Read the comments on this post… By Ed Brayton [ScienceBlogs : Combined Feed]

This is the fundamental crisis this Administration causing. They believe that there can be NO review of what they are doing, either by the courts or by Congress. No one has the right or ability to examine what they are doing. Can no one see that this philosophy leads to a destruction of any sort of democracy? Without oversight, any executive can do anything, with no check or balance. We are back to a supreme ruler who could potentially refuse to leave office. If it is alright to ignore the 1st, 4th, etc amendments, why not just the whole thing? Would Americans then do something? Hard to say, since they are sitting by and letting so much of the Constitution be shredded. comment [commentCounter (3170)]5:42:23 AM

Harry Shearer: Dr. Seed Plants One on the Corps.

The UC Berkeley-National Science Foundation report on the causes of the catastrophic flooding in New Orleans was released today, and most media lead with the report’s criticism of funding shortfalls for the construction of the flood-control system. “Follow the money.” The NYT runs with a story that features the blame the report heaps, mainly on the Corps, with some set aside for the local Sewerage and Water Board, but explain to me, please, how a story whose second-paragraph quote from study member Dr. Ray Seed is this….

“People didn’t die because the storm was bigger than the system could handle, and people didn’t die because the levees were overtopped….People died because mistakes were made, and because safety was exchanged for efficiency and reduced cost.”

…belongs on Page 19. If the same paragraph had said…

“People didn’t die because terrorists flew planes into the buildings, people died because mistakes were made, and because safety was exchanged for efficiency and reduced cost..”

… does anyone doubt that would have made the NYT front page? Is the cause of the drowning of a major American city really just a local story?

For a story that emphasizes that the study “proved the inadequacy of the corps”, you have to turn to the Times of London coverage.

[Editor’s Pick on The Huffington Post]

The stupid editorial choices of the major media is one of the continuing reasons for their decline. People can, and do, find the news that interests them much faster on the internet. The people make their own editorial choices. So why be limited by ones from a small group of cloistered managers? The illegal wiretapping story was sat on for a year (and probably only published because one of the reporters was going to scoop the paper with a book; his own end run around the process. They knew all about a possible attack before 9/11 but chose not to discuss it. The major media have failed and will be replaced by new forms because people really do need to know the facts in an information economy. At least those who want to survive and thrive. comment [commentCounter (3169)]5:31:00 AM