Thursday, September 2, 2010


Victory.  Congratulations Mr. Horne.  Mr. Thomas, you may now go crawl back in your slime-crusted hole.

Friday, August 27, 2010

More on Prop 8's Fallout

Link here.  Note, though, that this is merely a statute.  It has to pass constitutional muster just like every other law.  If Prop 8, which was an amendment to California's constitution, is in question, this wouldn't stand a chance.

It's a noble gesture, but make sure to note that fully 1/3 of California's legislature wasn't even willing to make what they knew to be an empty gesture to protect the right of free religious exercise.  1/3 of them want every religion that refuses to marry gays to be declared not a religion anymore.

The Inconvenient Facts About Your Inconvenient Facts

Steve Chapman writes an article titled Inconvenient stem cell facts, in the which he notes the cognitive dissonance of destroying a living embryo to potentially save life.  All well and good; indeed, a valid point that needs to be considered.  Unfortunately, Mr. Chapman glosses right over the dirty fact that every opponent of embryonic stem cell research wishes didn't exist:  Those embryos they'd like you to think are getting murdered in the name of science are slated for death anyway.

Mr. Chapman makes a passing acknowledgment of this - in scare quotes, themselves in parenthesis, so as to minimize the readers' valuation of those words - by stating they are left over embryos from fertility clinics.  "Left over," far from the euphemism you may think it to be after reading Mr. Chapman's article, is the simple truth.  Common in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures in the U.S. involve extracting, on average, between 8 and 15 eggs.  Depending on a host of factors, fertilization success rates vary from 5% to 50%.  The goal is at least 4 embryos. Those 4 are implanted in the hopes that at least one will stick, about a 50/50 chance.  (The chances of a single implanted embryo surviving is rougly 1 in 3.  IVF has high rates of multiple pregnancy.)  Embryos over 4 are usually frozen.  There are over half a million embryos frozen in the United States.  There's a (roughly) 60% success rate in thawing frozen embryos for later use.  There's no good numbers on how long an embryo remains viable in cryogenisis, but the industry guess is about 5 years is the average life span.

Now that you have the numbers, let's do the math.  Assume, for Mr. Chapman's sake, that a dead embryo is equivalent to a murder.

Any IVF attempt has a 99.2% chance of causing between 1 and 4 murders.  The probability of a murder-free IVF procudure is 0.8%.

IVF has pre-murdered half the population of Tucson, Arizona, by freezing them while knowing 4 in 10 will die in the thaw.  Of the remaining 300,000, only 100,000 will survive the IVF procedure, so I guess we can just round up and say IVF has pre-murdered about the population of Mesa.

For the remaining 100,000 to survive, we need to find 75,000 would-be moms with about $15,000 each for the cost of the procedure.   In the next 5 years, naturally.

So don't preach to me about how embryonic stem-cell research is murder, unless you want to join the Catholic Church as the only people in the world to have the cajones to *really* stand on principle and oppose the IVF procedure in its entirety.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The High-Tech Police State and the Constitution

Time has an article about a recent decision by the 9th Circuit ruling that the government's covert installation of a GPS tracking device on a suspect's vehicle, parked in his driveway.  There's a lot of high-heat-to-light exchange in it about the coming police state, right before he acknowledges a circuit split on this issue virtually guarantees the Supreme Court will be taking up the question soon enough.

The basic premise of the "it's unconstitutional" argument is that it is (obviously) a violation of one's right to privacy to track your every move by GPS.  If you take that argument, though, I can't see how you can argue that a traditional "stakeout" scenario is somehow less a violation.  The police get the same results (an accounting of one's movements,) merely with far fewer resources expended.  It seems to me that GPS is only a problem because people were willing to trust the police wouldn't abuse the power of the stakeout because of the cost involved.

Please note - I'm not arguing in favor of a police state.  Unchecked GPS tracking of presumed-innocent citizens is deeply disturbing, and a reminder that most Americans only like our freedoms when they're convenient.  But trying to shoehorn a ban on their use into a constitutional right to privacy (itself already a shoehorn into another right,) feels like the wrong answer.

I'm curious to know if anyone thinks they know how to fix this problem effectively.  Ideas?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Primer on Government

From, a really good introduction to the Commerce Clause, and the controversy around the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

Note the tautology the pro-congressional powers professor uses at the end: The Constitution only protects us from acts that are unconstitutional.  He's being disingenuous: he's trying to say (without saying it outright,) that Congress should not have any limits on its legislative jurisdiction.  Except we have a federal system, not a centralized system, for a very good reason.  It's one of the things the founding fathers did to protect us from tyranny, and is so well documented that absolutely anyone who paid attention during their high school history class knows it to be settled fact.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Your Move, DoJ

Via Hot Air, Blagojevich convicted of ONE count - lying to the FBI, about keeping a "firewall" between his personal finances and his job.

Make it happen.  The DoJ cannot allow this to end in this way, not and still claim to uphold the law.

EDIT: U.S. Attorneys say they're retrying the case.  That doesn't mean I'm satisfied; indeed, anything less and I think I'd have an aneurysm.  No, the DoJ investigation is on top of retrying him.  Else, why bother?  If he can fix one jury, he can fix a hundred.

As an addendum, I'm calling it:  the juror they got to was specifically instructed to go with guilty on a minor charge, on the off chance the feds would bite and let him slide on the rest.  Give it a couple weeks and we'll know absolutely everything that happened in that jury room.  Stay tuned.

That "Ground Zero Mosque" Thing

A mosque built some blocks from ground zero is not a provocation.

A mosque named after Cordoba, the captial of Moorish Spain, is not a provocation.

A mosque slated to be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is not a provocation.

A mosque built by someone who's reaction to 9/11 was, "You can't say you didn't have it coming." is not a provocation.

A mosque built near ground zero by a man who thinks 9/11 was a natural reaction, dedicated 10 years to the day after 9/11 named after the symbol of Muslim victory of the West, on the other hand?

Come on guys, this isn't brain surgery.

They have every right to build it, of course.  And if hundreds of private citizens happen to aim high-resolution security cameras at the entrance and just roll tape, I'm pretty sure they have that right, too.  I'm sure the next time an Al-Qaeda flunkie comes to visit the Big Apple, the FBI will luckily happen upon a huge amount of photographic evidence of his interactions with the Cordoba Institute, from ordinary folks who just happened to leave cameras on their windowsill.  And that wouldn't break me up too much, either.