Monday, July 31, 2006

Bush signs bill to monitor child molesters

As reported here, President Bush signed a new law this past Thursday "that requires convicted child molesters to be listed on a national Internet database and face a felony charge for failing to update their whereabouts."

""Our nation grieves with every family that's suffered the unbearable pain of a child whose been abducted or abused," Bush said in a bill-signing ceremony in the Rose Garden. "This law takes an important step forward in this country's efforts to protect those who cannot protect themselves.""

"It aims to help police find more than 100,000 sex offenders by creating the first national online listing available to the public and searchable by ZIP code. It also called for harsh federal punishment for sexually assaulting children, including the possibility of the death penalty when a victim is murdered."

This law has been needed since, well since "forever", and I applaud the efforts of those who backed this legislation.

Hat tip: kcwriter

Leftist Mexican candidate loses faith in vote counters

As reported here, the leftist candidate for the Presidency of Mexico says that he has lost faith in their Federal Electoral Institute, and has sent surrogates to various countries to lobby foreign governments for support for his 'cause' - which is to see him get elected. How can you lose something you never had in the first place?

"Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he had lost faith in the respected Federal Electoral Institute, also known as the IFE, and doesn't want it overseeing the national recount he demands. He said the IFE has become a tool of the ruling party.

""You can't take IFE people seriously," he said. "They don't act according to the law."

"An IFE spokesman declined to respond to Lopez Obrador's accusations, but electoral officials and most international observers have said the election was largely fair."

This guys has obviously been taking lessons from Al Gore. If the election doesn't go your way, run around and scream and shout about "Fraud!". Obrador needs to let the process work itself out, without any outside pressure or interference, let the chips fall where they may, and if he is not the winner, he should accept the outcome like a man.

All this whining and moaning like a little kid throwing a tantrum is an embarrassment to the people of Mexico.

U.N. panel takes U.S. to task over Katrina

As reported here, a human rights group of the UN has issued a report chastising the US government in it's response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, saying that "[t]he United States must better protect poor people and African-Americans in natural disasters to avoid problems like those after Hurricane Katrina."

You know, that takes an awful lot of gall to do something like that. I seem to remember that while the UN dilly-dallied during the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Indonesia and Thailand, the US and other nations responded immediately with aid to those who were affected. It took the UN, what, weeks, to even begin to do "something" in that region, and yet they feel fully justified in pointing fingers at the US.

Note to the UN - when you can mobilize a response within hours of a disaster, rather than weeks, then, and only then will you have any justification for criticizing anyone, ok? Until then, kindly shut up!

Voters get their say on electing auditor

As reported here, voters in King County will have the opportunity to change the County charter to allow them to vote for an elections auditor. Of course, this has King County Executive Ron Sims' knickers in a knot, since he has had the power to appoint whomever he wished to run the elections department (and we all know how that turned out).

"County Executive Ron Sims, a Democrat whose appointees now manage elections, angrily slammed the plan, saying it is "full of irony, hypocrisy and inconsistency when you look at past statements, actions and inactions of council members.

""I believe this is politically motivated to create doubt about an elections system that has made a remarkable turnaround since the 2004 elections," Sims said. Those elections exposed numerous operational problems and led to months of litigation."

Democrats consistently try to derail anything that gives the voters say over how things are run, believing that voters are too stupid to know what's the right thing to do, so it is up to the Democrats to lead voters by the hand, because they "know better", and Ron Sims is no stranger to this false set of Democrat assumptions. Bob Ferguson (D - Seattle) is usually an exception to this (as he is here), and is the co-sponsor with Reagan Dunn (R - Bellevue).

"Councilmen Reagan Dunn, R-Bellevue, and Bob Ferguson, D-Seattle, announced the plan at a news conference. They said creating the elective office of auditor would stabilize a department that now has vacancies in its top two jobs: records, elections and licensing director and elections superintendent, as well as some lesser positions.

""An elected auditor will provide direct leadership to the elections department and ... increase accountability to voters," Dunn said."

Stability and accountability to the voters are both needed for this department, after the fiasco of 2004, but Sims and the Democrat Council members are opposed to this, as it would take control of the department out of Sims' hands, and give voters a chance at putting someone of their choice in charge of the department, and that takes some of the advantage the Democrats hold in each election away, and they are all in a tizzy about that.

Well, isn't that just too bad?

Say hello to a longer commute

As reported here, in another seemingly unending list of "studies", whenever they get around to closing the Alaskan Way Viaduct to replace it (the state DOT says the "repair" option is a no-go, and rightfully so), traffic in Seattle is going to be brutal.

Well, duh! Hello! Another study did not need to be done, for that conclusion to be arrived at, because that is something that should have been obvious, even to the most obtuse individual. But apparently it wasn't. The study does not address any type of solution to what will be done with dispersing the approximately 110,000 vehicles that currently use the viaduct at all - it merely states that 'creative solutions' need to be found to do this.

Look kids, here's the situation. Both the viaduct and the seawall that is part of the foundation for the viaduct were badly damaged by the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. Support piers for the viaduct were shifted during the earthquake, and they are still moving, albeit very slowly; meanwhile, the seawall was damaged by the earthquake, as well as by little wood boring creatures called gribbles allowing seawater to get at the concrete in the seawall, which is slowly but surely eating the concrete away.

Both of these structures need to be replaced (not just 'repaired'), and it is going to take upwards of ten years to do the work, and the powers-that-be are conducting 'study' after 'study', looking at the obvious, and have managed to waste five years in the process. Many geological scientists, in collaboration with structural engineers, have stated that the next earthquake - of even minor significance - will bring down one, or both, of the structures. Let's get past the "paralysis-by-analysis" stage, and get on with replacing both of these structures! Please?

I, for one, do not want to be driving on the existing viaduct when (not if) the next earthquake hits.

Do you?!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Six shot, one killed at Seattle Jewish Federation

Yesterday afternoon at 4:03 PM, the Seattle 911 center received a call reporting a shooting and possible hostage situation at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle administrative offices in downtown Seattle. A lone gunman, identified as Naveed Afzal Haq, an American citizen reportedly of Pakistani descent, forced his way into the offices, went up to the second floor and after stating that he was a Muslim-American and that he was upset by what was going on in Israel, opened fire with a large caliber handgun, killing one woman, and wounding five others, three of which were in critical condition Friday night. All the victims were taken to Harborview Medical Center, the regions Trauma One facility. The gunman surrendered to Seattle Police at approximately 4:15. Both the Seattle Police and the local FBI office has labeled this a hate crime, stating that they do not believe that the actions of the gunman are related to any terrorist activities.

After the initial 911 call came in, SPD officers rushed to the scene, and cordoned off several blocks of downtown Seattle as they attempted to assess the situation. Seattle Fire Department Medic One units also rushed to the scene, evacuating the victims quickly. As a result of this, a major portion of downtown Seattle came to a complete halt, stranding many commuters who were on their way home, including this writer (a minor inconvenience considering the situation - my bus route goes through downtown Seattle on the same street where the Jewish Federation building is located).

After I arrived home, I turned on the news to try to find out what had happened, and was shocked at the news that, as I was on my way home, making plans for the weekend, some deranged individual upset by what Israel was doing in Lebanon (but apparently not by what Hezbollah and Hamas were doing in Israel), decided that he would take it upon himself to "avenge the evil acts" of Israel by shooting six women (one of whom died on the scene) who work for a Jewish organization that works to improve the lives of many here in the greater Metropolitan area of Seattle. How "brave" and "righteous" of you to do that. As if your actions here in Seattle are going to affect by one iota, what is happening in the Middle East!

The immediate reaction by the various organizations representing the Muslim community here in Seattle was heartening. ""We categorically condemn this and any similar acts of violence," the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a joint statement with the Ithna-Ashari Muslim Association of the Northwest, the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, the Islamic Educational Center of Seattle, American Muslims of Puget Sound and the Arab American Community Coalition.

""We pray for the safety and health of those injured and offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of the victims of this attack. ... We refuse to see the violence in the Middle East spill over to our cities and neighborhoods. We reject and categorically condemn any attacks against the Jewish community and stand in solidarity with the Jewish Federation in this tragedy.""

I want to add my prayers and condolences for the victims and their families in this tragedy as well, and I hope that no one takes it upon themselves to "avenge" this tragedy by attacking any individual or organization - and that includes the family of the man responsible for this heinous act.

As to the motive for this heinous act? Contrary to what the clueless "talking heads" at the local TV news stations were saying, that the motive was "not known", my brother Dither has addressed that bit of obviousness.

Edit: I am remiss in, and apologize for, not adding that all law enforcement and fire department personnel acted very professionally throughout this incident, and they deserve our praise for a job well done. Kudos to the Seattle Police Department, FBI, Seattle Fire Department, and the doctors and nurses at Harborview Medical Center.

Thank you all for the job that you did.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Shooting in Seattle, any idea of Motive?

I usually don't pay too much attention to the comments made by the local "news" announcers since they don't usually write the things that they say on the air anyway, but something caught my ear tonight that really made me wonder what sorts of blather makes it to the teleprompter anyway... Even after the ethnic origens of the shooter were made known the announcer said something about the police still didn't have a motive for the shootings... Let's see here, the Jewish groups were attacked by a "Muslim American" from Pakistan because he was angry at Israel... Nope, not a motive in sight...

Grey Wolf

What can I say? My brother has carried the lion's (and then some) of the burden of this blog. I applaud you, Grey Wolf. My fingers cannot type enough to praise you for the continuation of the communication. (By the way, there is not one whit of sarcasm in the above words.) The mere time it requires to write something every week and sometimes more often is a powerful thing and something that freedom loving folks all over should be grateful to the Constitution of this great country. Even when comments about the thoughts expressed are not written, we still have a great privilege and responsibility to speak and live the truth.

Thanks for your continued efforts, my brother.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

State Supreme Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban

As reported here, on Wednesday the Washington State Supreme Court, in a 5 - 4 ruling, upheld the ban on same-sex marriage, dealing a blow to 19 "couples", the Lambda Legal gay rights advocacy group, and the ACLU.

This decision is, quite frankly, a surprise - and a pleasant one at that - considering the usual liberal leaning of our supreme court, but it is a rational decision, regardless of what some people want to believe.

This decision also reverses lower court rulings that said our Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and throws the ball back into the legislatures court, which I'm sure will come up fairly quickly, as the Dems in our legislature will work to try to placate a vocal minority of their constituency. This may also (probably) get appealed to the US Supreme Court.

For now, DOMA has been upheld, and marriage is restricted to people of the opposite sex, which is as it should be.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Gaza Groups Agree to Stop Firing at Israel

As reported here, terrorist groups in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have agreed to a unilateral ceasefire at midnight tonight; the agreement was brokered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who are looking for a way out of the crisis.

This crisis was precipitated by repeated rocket attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, 19- year-old Cpl. Gilad Shalit. As a result of the repeated attacks and the kidnapping, Israel's military has been waging war against the terrorists, to both stop the repeated attacks and to retrieve their comrade.

Apparently, the Israeli's are being quite effective in their war against the terrorists, as evidenced by the unilateral ceasefire. But the thing is, also apparently, both Abbas and Haniyeh are clueless as to how to resolve the crisis - a crisis brought about by their own groups.

Well, here's the simple answer. Stop the repeated rocket attacks - permanently - by Hamas and Islamic Jihad against Israel, preferably through disarming - again, permanently - both Hamas and Islamic Jihad (and any other terrorist groups), and return Cpl. Shalit to his comrades.

Now, should Israel agree to abide by the ceasefire as well? I think they should, as long as certain conditions are agreed to, and met, by Abbas and Haniyeh, which I outlined above. Until those conditions are met, however, I think the Israeli's are perfectly justified if they decide to continue killing the terrorists.

If - and this is a big if - those conditions are met, it would mean an end to the wanton killing of Israeli civilians (as well as members of the IDF); would remove a terrorist threat to the existence of Israel from at least one quarter; and would allow Israel then to re-deploy a certain amount of their forces from Gaza to Lebanon.

Hopefully, Israel will not make the mistake of granting concessions to the terrorists, and will make hard demands of Abbas and Haniyeh that can be verified. Israel is in a position of strength, while the terrorists are in a position of weakness, and Israel must not give up their position of strength.

Iran cleric accuses UN of tyranny on atomic work

As reported here, Iranian cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani says that "the UN Security Council risks committing “a historic act of tyranny” against Iran if it passes a resolution demanding Tehran stop making nuclear fuel.".

"UN Security Council permanent members are wrangling over the text of a draft resolution that includes the threat of sanctions if Iran fails to halt making enriched uranium, which the West argues will be used in atomic warheads."

"“On our nuclear issue, we are now witnessing a cruel act,” Rafsanjani told Friday prayers worshippers in Tehran." adding, "“They are going to commit another historic act of tyranny against Iran, despite Iran announcing several times that it is ready to negotiate,”", but not until next month. Meanwhile, their enrichment program continues unabated, which will soon allow Iran to commit an historic act of tyranny when they use a nuclear weapon on, say, Israel or the United States.

"“If Iran accepts, that would mean putting our hands up and surrendering,” he continued.".

That's the whole idea.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Three plead guilty in Oregon to 6-year 'eco-terror' spree

As reported here, three members of the ELF/ALF domestic terror groups have pled guilty to charges of arson and criminal conspiracy for their parts in a six year eco-terror spree that caused about $20 million in damages.

This is very good news, in that it is very difficult for law enforcement to get a handle on these two related domestic terror groups, but what is even better is that all three have agreed to "... cooperate in the continuing investigation of 10 others who are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 31 in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., for a series of firebombings around the Northwest from 1996 to 2001, according to the Justice Department."

This is a major break for law enforcement officials on the trail of these two domestic terror groups, and it's hoped here that in the next trial some, or all, of the 10 defendants will also agree to cooperate with authorities, so that they can possibly break the back of ELF/ALF once and for all.

UPDATE: More good news! As reported here, three more people have pled guilty in this on-going investigation, and have agreed to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.

What's in a name? Part 2

In a previous post, I commented that the Association of Trial Lawyers of America was 'concerned' about the perception people had of them, and that they were considering changing their name.

Well, as reported
here, they voted to change their name to - get ready - the American Association for Justice.

Folks, you're still trial lawyers, with all the 'baggage' that that implies. You still haven't addressed the rogues in your midst who are only out for as many bucks as they can stuff in their pockets, and simply changing the name of your association is not going to change the perception the vast majority of Americans have for you.

If you want peoples perception of you to really change, then get rid of the rogues. As the saying goes, "A rose is a rose.", no matter what you call it, and greedy trial lawyers are still greedy even if they can now claim to be a part of the American Association for Justice.

Monday, July 17, 2006

50 Questions

Seems that a guy by the name of Robert J. Elisberg wants to confuse and dumbfound Republicans, and has come up with 50 questions that "progressives" can ask. Well, Phillip Winn has come up with 50 answers, and asks questions of his own.

I found this over at
Rightwingsparkle, and I agree with her response, when she says, "The questions just REEK of the smug self righteousness of the Democrats. I was going to answer the questions myself, but this guy did a pretty good job. Plus, the questions are just stupid."

I really like what I've seen over at Rightwingsparkle. So much so, that I've added her blog to our links. Check her site out You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Democrats and Republicans: An Unbridgeable Divide

Have you ever wondered, as Rodney King once did, why we "can't all just get along"? Phillip V. Brennan explains it, and quite well, too.

Edit: Apparently I had the above link wrong, but it's fixed now. Sorry for any confusion, and thanks to agtiger for pointing it out to me.

Hearing by secret court opposed

As reported here, "[c]ritics of the Bush administration's program for wiretapping without warrants said Friday that they would fight a new White House agreement to let a secret court decide the constitutionality of the operation."

My, my. First the "critics" say that warrants must be issued by FISA, or it's "unconstitutional" to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists in other countries making contact with people in this country, and now that President Bush has agreed to go along with proposed legislation put forth by Senator Arlen Spector, the "critics" are screeching that this isn't constitutional.

So, on the one hand, you "critics" don't like the fact that President Bush has authorized the NSA to protect the United States from international terrorists trying to recruit people and funds here in America, and have made the demand that the President must go through FISA to do this, while on the other hand, now that he has agreed to do just that, you're saying that's wrong?

What's with you people anyway? You cannot have it both ways! It just isn't logical, but then again, blind hatred does that to people - makes them do and say illogical things.

Your blind hatred of everything "Bush" is endangering this country - including you, you idiots! - but you don't care one whit. All you care about is "getting" President Bush, no matter what the cost is, or may be.

Not only is your argument against this proposed legislation illogical in the extreme, it amounts to a pathological psychosis!

What's in a name?

As reported here, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America are " [f]ed up with being vilified as greedy attorneys only out for a buck ", and will be asking their members to approve changing their association name. (What to, however, isn't mentioned.)

"ATLA's president, Ken Suggs, recently wrote members of the group that a name change would help trial lawyers win in "the court of public opinion.""

"The new name would "help us better communicate our mission -- and help us win back the public," Suggs wrote."

"ATLA's political opponents are getting a kick out of the strategy." For good reason!

""If I renamed a shark a 'kitten fish,' would I let my goddaughter play with it?" quipped Victor Schwartz, general counsel of the American Tort Reform Association, a group that wants to crack down on frivolous suits and put limits on jury awards."

"Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, said the name change amounts to "cosmetic surgery.""

Attorneys, especially in our litigious society, are necessary, and the vast majority of them are sincere in their desire to help people. (Boy, you just don't know how hard it was for me to write that!)

But, it is the few truly greedy attorneys out there that are only after a quick buck (or millions of them) for themselves, with no regard whatsoever to the consequences to the American people, who are the real problem.

Since, as the saying goes, perception is ninety percent of reality, changing the name of your association without changing the practices of the relative few will do nothing in the long run, to engender the trust of the American people in trial lawyers, a trust that was squandered by those seeking to strike it rich at the expense of corporations, and the American people.

Go ahead, change the name of your association, but while you're at it, at least try to rein in the rogues in your midst. Doing that will do far more at changing the perceived image the American people have of your members, than merely changing the name will ever do.

Oh, and this bit of advice was provided to you
pro bono.

How much does silence cost?

As reported here, about $8,000.00 a month, as Senator Cantwell's campaign manager Matt Butler finally issued a statement regarding what her former challenger, Mark Wilson, is getting paid "... to drop his Democratic primary challenge to the senator and his harsh criticism of her opposition to immediate U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq." to be the campaign outreach director.

"State Republican Party Chairwoman Diane Tebelius, in a statement Friday, called it "highly unusual to pay an outreach director almost the same amount as the top position in a Senate race. It also reveals a 'money-buys-everything' mentality for the Cantwell campaign."" Sure seems to be that way, anyway.

Wow! $96,000.00 a year to be a campaign outreach director! I wonder how they pay their office manager? I used to be an office manager, and I've been critical of the Senator, too ... nah, bad idea. I'd either wind up constantly laughing with derision at the moonbat "policies" put forward by the Senator, or keel over dead with a stroke or a heart attack over the same things. Either way, that wouldn't look good on my resume, you know?

Council offers lower-cost option

As reported here, the City Council has made a counter proposal to the Mayors $1.8 billion, 20 year tax package, that would supposedly shave 23% off of what the Mayor has proposed "... in hopes that the slimmed-down proposal will be more acceptable to voters. ".

"The council on Monday will discuss the counterproposal, which would trim the mayor's 20-year spending plan for major road projects and street and sidewalk repairs by more than $15 million annually." Oh, goody! They "only" want to spend roughly $75 million dollars a year, rather than the $90 million the Mayor wants to spend. How responsible of them.

"The changes reflect discomfort among council members with the original size of the mayor's proposal and a strong lobbying effort by the parking industry against the parking tax Nickels proposed."

""Our concern was voter fatigue," said Councilman Richard McIver, who said he supports almost all of the revised package. "I think (the change) gets it down to a cost I think is reasonable to the taxpayer.""

I'm glad that the City Council felt 'discomfort' over the size of the Mayor's proposal, and that they are 'concerned' about 'voter fatigue'. Let's see now. Ron Sims wants to increase the sales tax in King County; the State Legislature voted to increase the state gas tax 9.5 cents per gallon (on top of the 38 cents they already had assessed in previous years) - to fix roads by the way, plus other and sundry taxes they passed both last year and this year; the Mayor then dumps a whopping $1.8 billion tax package on the citizens of Seattle, with the City Council making a counter proposal that still comes in at a whopping $1.5 billion dollars, and Councilman McIver thinks this is 'reasonable'?

Guess again. The only real changes in the Councils counterproposal are to cut the parking lot space tax from 10% to 8%, and to cut the property tax by 26% (which still needs voter approval to implement anyway), while retaining the $25.00 per employee tax. Not a whole lot of changes or reductions, really, when you look at the overall numbers.

I'm hoping that the City Council does put the property tax request on the November ballot, so that the voters in the city of Seattle can demonstrate just how 'fatigued' we really are. I for one, am really 'tired' of having politicians dipping into my wallet at the drop of a hat.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Plame sues White House figures over CIA leak

Breaking news - as reported here, Valerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson have filed suit against Vice President Dick Cheney, former aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Karl Rove, alleging that they "conspired" to ruin her career by revealing her identity to columnist Robert Novak.

You know something, folks? This whole "Plamegate" thing just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

Update: John Podhoretz has this take over at The Corner, and HotAir has the Novak interview mentioned, plus more links.

Tolls on I-90 could make U.S. 2 busier

As reported here, the State Legislature is proposing to put a $4.00 per trip toll on I-90 to get through Snoqualmie Pass, which would have severe impacts on US Highway 2, which runs through Stevens Pass. Not only that, but it would have a severe impact on the state economy as well, which I'll get into in a moment. First, though, some of the things in this article deserve some attention.

Placing a toll on I-90 not only could make US 2 busier, but will make it busier, as people will endure the longer drive to get to US 2 to avoid the toll. The major problem with that is that US 2 is a two-lane, unlimited access highway, as opposed to the multi-laned, limited access freeway I-90 is. US 2 is notorious in these parts for being a dangerous stretch of road, with many head-on collisions happening quite often. Also, it's in pretty rough shape, making any drive rather arduous, at best.

"Some see this as an opportunity to fix U.S. 2."

"That could happen if U.S. 2 also becomes a toll road, Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser said."

""It makes perfect sense," Walser said."

At first glance, I thought the "opportunity to fix US 2" was from using funds generated from the proposed toll on I-90. Silly me. No, Sultan Police Chief Walser wants to place a use toll on US 2, as well. How absurd! But wait! There's more!

"He envisions doubling the size of the highway to four lanes, keeping one lane in each direction as toll-free local access lanes." That's nice, Chief, but how would you go about differentiating between the locals using US 2, and those who aren't local? And how would you enforce the "local only lanes" provision? Do you really think that the non-local users of US 2 aren't going to try to use the "local only" lanes"? If so, I have some ocean front property in Arizona you might be interested in.

"Toll revenue could be spent on reducing U.S. 2's fatal accident rate - 40 fatalities since 1999 - while easing congestion." Except of course, during construction of the new lanes, a fact that they conveniently fail to mention. Oh, and let's not forget construction of the toll booths, too. US 2 is notoriously congested now. What's it going to be like during construction? While reducing the fatality rate is a noble objective, easing congestion - for a long time, if ever - won't happen. Somebody refresh my memory, please - how many years does it take to build one mile of highway?

"Slapping a toll only on I-90 would only "create more delays and more congestion" on U.S. 2, Walser said." Gee, Chief. Thanks ever so much for a blinding glimpse of the obvious!

"The state is in the early stages of deciding whether tolls have a future here, said Reema Griffith, state Transportation Commission administrator. Proposing a toll on I-90 is a way to get the public conversation started, she said." Now there's an understatement! And just who is going to be conducting this "conversation", anyway? Is it only going to be the State DOT? The Legislature and the State DOT? Or are any of you people going to let the citizens of the state have a say in this matter? Knowing the arrogance of the State DOT (only DSHS is more arrogant), they'll want to keep all the "conversations" in-house, and not allow anyone else to have a say.

"A $4-per-trip toll would raise more than $39 million per year, based on the average of 27,000 vehicles that go through Snoqualmie Pass every day." Those 27,000 vehicles that are traveling I-90 are doing it on a roadway that has no tolls at the present moment, yet the State DOT thinks that when the toll booths go up, the same number of vehicles will still be traveling I-90? Not only is that presumptuous arrogance on their part, but it is pure folly to base a revenue projection on that assumption, because many people will quit using I-90 to go to US 2 to avoid the tolls!

"Drivers on fast-moving I-90 are unlikely to switch to U.S. 2, with its traffic signals, small towns and lack of passing lanes, said Dongho Chang, the state Department of Transportation's traffic engineer for Snohomish County."

"There is a detour. Drivers could choose to avoid the proposed toll by traveling U.S. 97 from Ellensburg and connecting to U.S. 2."

"But that adds 50 miles to the drive - about two gallons of gas and an hour or so of time, Chang said." Perhaps, but I think Mr. Chang is indulging in wishful thinking here. There are so many people that are getting entirely too fed up with how money hungry this state has become, that they will go out of their way to avoid the toll, as a simple form of protest. It hasn't been all that long, really, since I-90 was itself a two-lane highway, and there are plenty of people around who remember that, and wouldn't mind one whit using US 2 and other routes, if it meant not having to give the state even more money than they get already.

"A Snoqualmie Pass toll would have to cost a lot more than $4 to get long-haul truckers to take that kind of detour, said Ed Vander Pol, co-owner of Auburn-based Oak Harbor Freight Lines."

"He predicted that all trucking companies would oppose the fee, but would pay it if the state decides to start charging."

""If they're using Highway 2 now, they'll keep using it," Vander Pol said. "If they're using I-90, they'll use I-90. They won't change for four bucks." Well, that depends on who is paying the toll, don't you think? If the trucking companies foot the bill, then no the truckers won't change what route they're using. But, if it's the truckers who have to pay, it might be a very different story.

If the truckers start using different routes to get across the mountains, such as say, through Portland, OR., this state's economy will suffer drastically. The east side of the state is where the majority of our state's agro-business is, and to get crops to market - especially overseas markets - those crops have to get trucked west over the mountains, to the ports at Seattle and Tacoma, and to a lesser (but no less significant) degree, Everett. If truckers begin using Portland instead, what happens to the shipping industry here? It could very well collapse, which would be a major economic disaster for the entire state.

The State DOT, in greedily going after pennies (400 of 'em), could potentially be throwing away billions of dollars in an ill-conceived "plan", that could be disastrous for the state.

This is a looming economic fiasco that needs to be shelved.

Hat Tip: Denali-Kat

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

DC Police Chief declares crime emergency

As reported here, the crime situation in our nations capitol has gotten so out of hand recently, that a state of emergency has been called by the Chief of Police there. Every major crime is up, with the 13th homicide happening in July alone, apparently being the "tipping point".

All I can say to the people of DC is, you reap what you sow. From laws that help criminals by taking away the Constitutional right to bear arms from law abiding citizens, to electing Marion Berry to be the mayor after the umpteenth time of being arrested for possessing crack cocaine, saying that he was "the right man, at the right time, for the job". Imagine that - a crack addict as a role model!

The solutions to the problems of crime in DC aren't simple by any means, and they won't be easy, but those problems can be overcome. Just ask the people of New York City. Find out what Mayor Giuliani did.

You folks need to change your laws so that law abiding people can live a decent life, and criminals spend a significant amount of time behind bars.

Hat tip:

Iran Asks IAEA to Remove Chief Inspector

As reported here, "Iran has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove the head of the inspection team probing Tehran's nuclear program, U.N. officials said Sunday."

"The inspector, Chris Charlier, has not been back to Iran since April because of Iranian displeasure with his work, the officials said." [Emphasis mine]

So, let me get this straight. Iran, which is determined to develop nuclear weapons - but says it isn't - has asked the IAEA to remove the chief inspector tasked with finding out just what the Iranians really are up to, who has found evidence of clandestine nuclear research, and documents related to a warhead, and the IAEA grants the Iranians their wish? What are they thinking?

I come up with two conclusions here. One is that, Iran is definitely striving to obtain nuclear weapons capability (as I have asserted many times previously), and Mr. Charlier and his team were getting too close for Iranian comfort to discovering the proof of their desires, and the other is that the IAEA is useless in preventing Iran, or any other nation for that matter, from obtaining nuclear weapons technology, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty notwithstanding.

Hat tip:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

FBI raid on congressman's office was legal, judge rules

As reported here, "[a]n FBI raid on a Louisiana congressman's Capitol Hill office was legal, a federal judge ruled Monday."

"Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said members of Congress are not above the law. He rejected requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office."

"Hogan dismissed arguments that the first-ever raid on a congressman's office violated the Constitution's protections against intimidation of elected officials." And rightly so.

""Congress' capacity to function effectively is not threatened by permitting congressional offices to be searched pursuant to validly issued search warrants," said Hogan, who had approved the FBI's request to conduct the overnight search of Jefferson's office." [Emphasis mine]

"Jefferson had sought the return of several computer hard drives, floppy disks and two boxes of paper documents that FBI agents seized during an 18-hour search of his Rayburn Building office." Probably based on the likelihood that there is incriminating evidence that would be useful in the on-going investigation of Rep. Jefferson's activities related to the money found in his freezer, I would have to think.

"At issue was a constitutional provision that protects elected officials from being questioned by the president, a prosecutor or a plaintiff in a lawsuit about their legislative work." That statement is absurd. How can accepting a bribe (most of which Jefferson hid in his freezer) be even remotely construed as "legislative work"? It can't. What is really at issue here, is whether Congress is "above the law" or not - which it isn't - and Judge Hogan quickly put that concept to rest.

""No one argues that the warrant executed upon Congressman Jefferson's office was not properly administered," Hogan wrote. "Therefore, there was no impermissible intrusion on the Legislature. The fact that some privileged material was incidentally captured by the search does not constitute an unlawful intrusion."" Well, no one except the Left, and some misguided Republican Congressmen, who felt "violated" by the fact that the FBI and the Justice Department would dare to conduct a search of a Congressman's office, feeling that their offices are sacrosanct and untouchable. Guess what? Wrong!

Then, because they were angry about the search, some members of Congress threatened retaliation by "tinkering" with the budgets for the FBI and Justice Department, acting like a bunch of petulant three year old kids, until President Bush stepped in - acting like an adult separating the quarreling children - to order a 45 day "cooling off period", which ended Sunday.

"Because Hogan signed the search warrant, Jefferson's lawyers weren't surprised by his ruling." Well, they shouldn't be, since it was the logical thing to do, eh?

""While a congressman is not above the law, the executive branch must also follow the law," said one of the lawyers, Robert Trout, adding that the lawyers intend to appeal." This statement makes no sense, whatsoever. What part of issuing a valid search warrant in an on-going investigation of a public official accepting a bribe, and then basically re-iterating that is was a valid search warrant, is not following the law? Can any lawyers, versed in both Constitutional and criminal law, explain to me - in plain English - how the executive branch was not, or has not been, following the law? Anyone? I doubt it, to be honest. If you can, I'll post your response as an update to this post.

The fact that they intend to appeal the ruling comes as no surprise, either, but I don't believe they will get a favorable ruling, depending on which Court of Appeals hears the case, which will hopefully put this issue to bed, and put Congress on notice that they are not above the law.

Watada lawyer sees slim hopes for acquittal

As reported here, the civilian attorney for Lt. Ehren Watada "... says his client's chances of leaving the Army scot-free are slim.", and, ""Our chances of winning and getting an acquittal are probably not very good," Eric Seitz said at Seattle's University Lutheran Church on Monday." His chances for getting an acquittal on the missing movement charge alone is non-existent, since he refused to get on the bus when his unit shipped out last week. There are five other charges against Lt. Watada which are two counts of speaking contemptuously of President Bush, and three counts of conduct unbecoming an officer.

Of course, Eric Seitz will attempt to get the other charges dropped, citing Lt. Watada's "free speech" rights, regarding his statements about President Bush. I don't see much chance of that happening, either, since the statements are a matter of public record, and officers are proscribed by the UCMJ from making "political statements" - either for or against - while in uniform. So, the best that Mr. Seitz can probably hope for is a reduction in whatever sentence is handed down, if his client is found guilty of any or all charges.

But, if I were Mr. Seitz, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Japan considers strike against N. Korea

As reported here, Japan is discussing whether or not their constitution allows pre-emptive strikes as a form of self defense, after N. Korea launched their missiles on July 4th.

The Japanese apparently are gravely concerned over what N. Korea has done, to even begin to discuss such a measure, let alone make the discussion public, as their constitution is rather strict on what they can, and cannot do, militarily.

Although S. Korea "... rebuked Japan for its outspoken criticism of the tests", I have to believe that they are just as concerned over the missile launches as Japan is, and is trying to "pour oil on troubled waters" to smooth things out, so as to hopefully not provoke the N. Koreans from doing anything militarily against the South. The military forces of the North far outnumber those of the South, even with American troops stationed in S. Korea, and hostilities between the two countries is probably looked upon by the South as a major catastrophe that would wreck their economy, and kill potentially hundreds of thousands of S. Koreans, which they obviously want to avoid if at all possible.

Just as "something" has to be done in regards to the lunatic in Iran and his "saber rattling", so too, "something" has to be done about the lunatic in N. Korea's "saber rattling". What that "something" is at the moment, I don't really know (although regime change is a distinct possibility - in both cases).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Border Security First Act of 2006 introduced in Senate

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), has introduced a bill calling for a "first things first" approach, in regards to our national border security and immigration reform, and states that the current House and Senate bills are unworkable.

Although I haven't read the bill in its' entirety, I think Sen. Santorum is on the right track, and we need to encourage our legislators to support, and vote for, passage of this bill. It's a matter of priorities.

The text of the bill, S. 3564, can be found

FBI Disrupts NYC Tunnel Terror Plot

As reported here, the FBI announced Friday that, "Authorities have disrupted foreign terrorists plotting to attack the transportation tunnels running beneath the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey[.] " FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon said that, ""For most of the year, we have been focusing on a group of al-Qaida followers who have targeted the Hudson River tubes[.]", adding, ""We believe we intercepted this group early in their plotting and, in fact, the plan has largely been disrupted.""

How did the FBI manage to do this? By monitoring internet chat rooms frequented by extremists, and keying on code words the extremists use, that's how.

It's comforting to know that, in spite of the best efforts of the NY Times and other publications at undermining efforts to combat terrorism by the authorities, those authorities are still managing to be able to do their jobs of protecting America from terror attacks.

Kudos to the FBI.

NY DMV has right to demand proof of legal status before issuing license

As reported here, the NY Department of Motor Vehicles has the right to demand immigrants prove they are here legally, before they will be issued a drivers license, in a 5-0 ruling by the Appellate Division in Manhattan, which reversed an earlier decision by "Justice Karen S. Smith, who ordered the DMV last year to stop denying driver's licenses to immigrants who didn't have Social Security numbers or proof they were legal."

"In dismissing the illegal immigrants' complaint, the appeals court said Smith had erred in barring the identity procedures DMV Commissioner Raymond Martinez put in place and said they were "within his authority and enforceable." "

"The court noted cases in which one Social Security number was used to get licenses for 57 people and another in which one taxi driver used two numbers to get two licenses - one for insurance and the other for traffic tickets."

So, let me see if I have this right. One Social Security number was used to get licenses for 57 illegal immigrants, which to Justice Smith is ok, but for the DMV to require proof of legal status in order to legitimately get a license is wrong? What was she smoking thinking?

"The plaintiffs in the case had argued that their constitutional rights were being violated. State officials defended the identity procedures as an effort to combat fraud and terrorism." Their Constitutional rights were being violated? Since when does the Constitution grant rights to illegal aliens? What Amendment states that illegal aliens have the same rights granted to them as those who have legal status, whether they be immigrants or citizens? Can anyone out there tell me which Amendment that is? I didn't think so.

Of course, an appeal of this proper, rational, and sane decision is planned by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, which represented the plaintiffs, presumably before the NY State Supreme Court. If this does go before that court, it is hoped here that they will affirm the Appellate Division in Manhattan's decision, and toss out the case as having no merit.

Ahmadinejad Warns Israel of Islamic 'Explosion'

As reported here, the lunatic in charge in Iran has once again made threats against Israel, saying that if they don't stop their military actions in Gaza (in search of their kidnapped soldier), that there could be an "Islamic explosion", targeting both Israel and the West, and again calling for the eradication of Israel. ""They should not let things reach a point where an explosion occurs in the Islamic world," he said. "If an explosion occurs, then it won't be limited to geographical boundaries. It will also burn all those who created (Israel) over the past 60 years," he said."

He conveniently forgets that, at the time that Israel was created in 1948, the opportunity existed for the state of Palestine to also be created, which was blocked by the Arab states in the region, as that wasn't in their best interests, as it would have deprived them of their hopes of killing off the Jews.

Ahmadinejad wants regime change, and I think we should oblige him in that desire - just not the regime he wants changed.

Officer refusing Iraq duty faces charges

As reported here, 1st Lt. Ehren Watada has had at least three charges filed against him for his refusal to deploy with his unit to Iraq: Conduct Unbecoming an Officer; Missing Movement; and Contempt Toward Officials. All three charges are serious charges, and could result in up to eight years of prison time, and a dishonorable discharge, if he is convicted. This would also severely impact his life as a civilian if he is convicted, limiting his opportunities for 'meaningful' employment.

"Watada's commanders barred him from attending a news conference by his supporters last month, but they played a video in which he said the "war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law." , adding, ""Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I will be forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal," Watada said. "As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order.""

As I noted in a
previous post, the former regime of Iraq under Saddam was guilty of violating no less than four UN Security Council resolutions, the penalty for doing so was the possibility of renewed hostilities, which has occurred and is completely legal, so therefore, his conclusions about the legality of the war in Iraq are completely false, and without merit.

Sims unveils 10-year plan to repair county levees

As reported here, KC Executive Ron "King" Sims has proposed yet another plan to separate KC home owning tax payers from their money, and is basing it on junk science - "global warming" - and scare tactics - "Your insurance rates will go up!" - saying that local levees are aging and are in need of repair, along several of our regions major rivers.

I'll grant that this is probably something that is needed, in that one particular levee that is in need of repair, if it fails, would impact a source of approximately 30% of the drinking water in the city of Seattle (which admittedly could have an impact on yours truly - I like clean drinking water), but I question the methods of bringing this to our attention.

First of all, they are using scare tactics to get attention, using the "threat" of increased rainfall resulting from so-called "global warming" (and you know how I feel about that subject), coupled with the "threat" of rising home owner insurance rates resulting from the supposed increased rainfall. Well, the increase in the rainfall that they are so worried about "will occur" in the year 2100. Sims plan is a 10 year plan to fix the levees, so let's see ... it is currently July, 2006, so if this proposed plan gets on the November ballot and passes, then all the levees will be "fixed" by 2016. Do I have the math right? Yep. So, does that mean that the proposed fixes will last another 84 years, or will we have to fix the levees again during that time? Will we really need to fix the levees again during that time, because of "global warming", or will the climate shift to "global cooling" (as was described as recently as the 1970's?). No one knows for sure about that, ok? How often does the weatherman "get it right" in their weather forecasts?

Secondly, why all of the 'concern' for property owners now? It sure wasn't there when he was pushing the KC Critical Areas Ordinance, which has severely curtailed the rights of property owners to use their land they way they see fit, in that up to 65% of their property can be set aside by the county for 'wetlands' and/or other 'environmental' protection.

In my mind, the scare tactics, and insincere 'concern' for property owners, to 'make people aware of this dire threat' in order to get it on the November ballot, enabling the county to get more tax payer money, smacks of political grandstanding in order to push another tax down our throats.

Making us aware of a problem is one thing, but trying to scare us into doing something about the problem is another, Ron. Just give us the facts, omit the conclusions based on junk science, and let us decide what we want to do about it, ok?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day, 2006

Today marks the 230th anniversary of the birth of our nation. As I am enjoying a day off from my daily job, I have had some time to reflect on just what this day really means, not only to me, but to the entire world.

Without brave men and women willing to stand up to the tyranny they perceived in their day, sacrificing, in many cases, all that they had, such evils as slavery, facism, world wide communism, and totalitarianism would, in all likelihood, be flourishing upon the face of the earth, enslaving billions to the whims of the few. But because of those self sacrifices made 230 years ago, more people today enjoy freedom from tyranny that at any time in the history of the world.

Those willing to sacrifice all for the cause of freedom still exist today, and as Booker T. Stallworth so eloquently puts it in his essay, as you go about your day today celebrating the anniversary of the birth of the greatest nation this world has ever seen, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by those willing to stand up to and defy tyranny, and give thanks.

Give thanks that there were people willing to sacrifice all, those 230 years ago, and that there has been an unbroken line of people willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom through to today.

Be safe, and celebrate this great nation's birth.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

If Dirt Were $$$$ - an outstanding post

As the controversy over the outrageous 'outing' of legal, covert efforts to track terrorist finances by the NYT and others rages in the blogoshpere, and the lame justification by Bill Keller of the NYT is dissected by various of the big name blogs (Michelle Malkin, PowerLine, Hugh Hewitt, et. al.), I came across one post, courtesy of Another Voice, that is definitely well worth reading.

The poster is the mother of a serviceman serving in Iraq, and she takes Bill Keller to task not only for publishing the story, but for his lame justification for doing so.

Of all of the posts that I have read on this, none have come close to the evisceration that this lady has done.

To Some Soldiers Mom: Bravo, and well said!

UPDATE: Not all journalists are idiots, after all, as former NBC News correspondent Richard Valeriani
says what the NY Times, LA Times, and the Wall Street Journal did was irresponsible, "show off" journalism, and akin to giving Anne Franks address to the Nazis.

Tehran 'to continue uranium enrichment'

As reported here, the lunatic running Iran "said yesterday Tehran will continue its uranium enrichment programme despite international calls to halt the sensitive project.", adding, ""The Iranian government and the people have decided, and without any doubt with dignity and glory we will pass this phase."" The "people"? Surely he's not referring to the everyday people of Iran, since they have virtually no say-so whatsoever in their governments activities. No, he must mean the rubber stampers in the Iranian Parliament, who are, after all, people.

Passing "this phase" with "dignity and glory"? To me, that can only mean one thing - that the Iranian government has absolutely no intention of stopping their enrichment program, and are determined to develop nuclear weapons, and that the "negotiations" regarding this are nothing but a smoke screen, intended to humiliate the West in the eyes of the Arab world.

Iran also rejected outright an extension of the deadline for a moratorium on continuing their enrichment program, with the lunatic stating that Iran will not respond until August 22nd at the earliest. Why the significance of that particular date? Why can't, or more accurately won't, they respond before then?

In my mind, the only possible answer to those two questions is that Iran is far more advanced in their enrichment program than anyone either realizes, or is willing to admit, and that Iran plans on making some sort of fait accompli announcement either on, or shortly after, that date.

Transportation package faces cut, councilwoman says

As reported here, "Mayor Greg Nickels' $1.8 billion transportation improvement package probably will be reduced before it can be approved for submission to voters, the chairwoman of the Seattle City Council's Transportation Committee said Wednesday.

"Councilwoman Jan Drago wouldn't guess how much the mayor's package might get trimmed but said "there's a general feeling" it is too big " and we need to make it more reasonable."" $1.8 billion too big? You think? Granted, the period the Mayor envisions that this amount will be collected is twenty years, but that still equates to $90 million annually, and it is based on false assumptions, as well.

The Mayor assumes that his parking spot tax of $10.00 per space, and his $25.00 per full time employee tax will remain constant, if not grow in number, and by extension, dollars collected over that twenty year span will either remain constant, or increase. I think the opposite will be more likely, as parking lot owners may sell their properties to developers, reducing the amount of available parking spaces, and/or businesses that don't want to, or can't afford to, pay the per employee tax, will relocate out of the city to somewhere else where the "climate" is more "business-friendly", thereby reducing the amount collected by the city.

If the council passes the parking space, and per employee taxes, I believe the net effect will be to drive both businesses and their customers away from downtown Seattle, as the parking lot owners will surely pass along the tax to those who use their lots, and businesses will also be forced to raise their prices to pay for the per employee tax, making them less competitive with businesses that do not have to pay a per employee tax.

This entire tax package is a bad idea, and I think that the Mayor and the City Council need to re-think this, come to the right conclusion, and scrap the whole thing.

The state's highest court hears felony voting case

As reported here, the lawsuit filed by the state chapter of the ACLU on behalf of three convicted felons to get their voting rights restored - even though they have not repaid all of their court mandated fines and/or fees, as required by the State Constitution - is now before the State Supreme Court.

"The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington sued the state on behalf of three people who can't vote because they have not -- and may never be able to -- pay fines and restitutions levied as part of their sentences." I wonder why these people aren't smart enough to be able to get a job, and then budget their expenses, to be able to pay off their remaining debt? Oh, wait - they're convicted felons! They were stupid enough to commit a crime, and get caught, so apparently they are too stupid to get a job now, so the ACLU has to step up for them, and hold their hand, while they sing the blues about not being able to vote.

"In March, King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman struck down the state law that denies the vote to thousands of ex-felons solely because they owe court-imposed fines." Another example of a judge legislating from the bench. If Judge Spearman thinks the law is unconstitutional, amounting to a poll-tax, why wasn't this addressed before now, so that the state legislature could have "corrected the problem" (an obviously manufactured "problem")?

"McKenna argued that state law requires felons to complete all the terms of their sentences, including fines and victims restitution, before their right to vote can be reinstated. " He is correct, and it is up to the state legislature to determine the laws regarding who can, and who cannot, vote, and what the requirements for voting are, not a county judge.

"ACLU lawyer Peter Danelo argued that the right to vote can never be tied to the ability to pay, echoing what Spearman wrote in his decision.

"It is well recognized that there is simply no rational relationship between the ability to pay and the exercise of constitutional rights," Spearman wrote. "There is no logic in the assumption that a person in possession of sufficient resources to pay the (legal financial) obligation immediately is the more law-abiding citizen."" It is also widely recognized that those who are convicted of a crime, or crimes, give up certain rights as a result of said conviction, while law abiding citizens remain free to exercise all of their rights as they see fit. If you can't afford to do the time - or pay the fine - don't do the crime!

"McKenna argued that there is a compelling state interest in requiring a felon to complete payments of fines and restitution before voting rights are restored. He said it provided an incentive for felons to repay some of the damages their illegal actions have caused.

And he said the U.S. Constitution allows states to disenfranchise felons and establish their own criteria for disenfranchisement and re-enfranchisement -- including requiring felons to complete the terms of their sentences.
" What is so hard about this to understand? Is this beyond Judge Spearman's ability to comprehend, or is it a case of Judge Spearman wanting to re-write part of the US Constitution? It may be both.

Iran rejects July deadline for deal on incentives

As reported here, Iran again is using delaying tactics in its quest to develop nuclear weapon capabilities, by rejecting a July 5th deadline to respond to an incentive package, saying that they "can't" respond sooner than mid-August.

It isn't that they "can't", it's that they don't want to, so they won't respond, and the reason that they won't respond, is that they know the "stick" that comes with the "carrot" isn't big enough, and that those who are wielding the "stick" aren't really willing to use the "stick". They are also relying on China and Russia to prevent the "stick" from being used, so Iran knows that they basically have no worries.

I think it's beyond time to raise the prospects of economic sanctions against both China and Russia to get them to get in line on this issue with Iran, if the rest of the countries are truly serious about solving this problem.

McDermott given new hearing in taped-call case

As reported here, " A federal appeals court has agreed to hear new arguments in a case involving an illegally taped telephone call leaked to reporters by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. " [Emphasis mine] That Appeals Court happens to be the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which seems to be in competition with the 9th Circuit Court to see who can hand down the looniest decisions.

In handing down this decision to re-hear this case, they also vacated the monetary judgment against "Baghdad Jim", which amounts to about $700,000.00 ($60,000.00 in damages, with the rest being legal fees).

This case has dragged on long enough. McDermott broke the law, and should suffer the consequences for his actions, but the DC Court has decided to waste more tax-payer money (which makes McDermott "elated", by the way), to hear "new arguments". What new arguments? "Baghdad Jim" broke the law! I mean, come on!

To say that I'm incredulous, not to mention outraged, at this latest twist in this case, would be an understatement.