novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

Browsing Posts published in June, 2008

Another Freep gem, posted on Craigslist:

Great with children (assuming you don’t like the children). Probably best used for professional catfighting. He is housebroken, but only because he wants to be. This attack cat has trained himself to seek out his food anywhere you hide it and rip the bag open to feed himself, great for those who travel extensively. Also trained to drink water out of toilet bowls and dishwater from items in the sink. Knows how to open some doors. He will find you wherever you hide…

For the love of God, someone please take this thing out of my house.

I am not a cat guy, but that sounds like my kind of cat.

As I said I would, I’m chipping in my two cents on some old news here.

I was a little bit annoyed by this. I understand the President is on his way out and wants to protect his legacy, soften his historical image, blah blah blah. I don’t understand why.

You know what? I don’t regret it. Bush’s tone was perfect at the time he used it. We were (and are) a nation facing a tough enemy on multiple fronts, and the Commander in Cheif of the toughest Army in the world needs to be a tough man when dealing with tough situations.

Imagine this:

I regret the tone I took when I stated: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric. I didn’t want to give the world the impression I was a guy really anxious for war.

-Something never said by Winston Churchill

Granted, the President isn’t as skilled with his words as the Prime Minister, but he DID have the right tone. In retrospect, al Qaeda is close to finished, Libya abandoned its pursuit of nukes, Saddam is hanged, Mullah Omar hasn’t been heard from in over a year, North Korea is at least pretending to get rid of its nukes (hey, it’s a step), and that kook in Iran is digging himself into a hole from which he won’t ever get out. Hey, even France is on board with us for that one. Why the regret?

Nothing lasts forever.

Olsson’s Books appears to be in a bad way, suffering the double, or rather triple, whammy of of big-box competitors, online books sales and online music exchanges. They are getting killed by both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and no one buys CDs at stores anymore.

I moved out of Olsson’s territory in late 1994 when I moved to Reston, never to return further east. But through the early 1980s and until I left, I spent a decent amount of money at the Olsson’s in Old Town Alexandria and a couple locations in DC. Back then, if you wanted a book that was more academic than commercial, Olsson’s was the first place to check.

Living in Reston, I did a huge academic project from 1999-2001, and almost every single one of the dozens of books I procured for research were from either Amazon or Alibris. I don’t think I ever even considered a trip to Olsson’s – even though during college in the early 1980s that was where I bought the lion’s share of books I needed when doing research here at home. Forgot about the bookstore completely: sign of the times.

Next up, the Washington Times: This one truly pains me folks and I hate to be the person saying it. I have copies of this paper in my files from the first year of publication back in the mid 1980s, and I am proud to say I have been a full time subscriber basically since I could afford the simplest amenities of your typical blue-collar existence, which means from about 1995 on. Don’t ask.

I have probably read most copies of the Times, cover to cover, since 1993, and many, many issues in years prior to that (living in Florida most of the 1980s gives me some exemption from missing a few of those issues).

And I still read it cover to cover most days, which is good, because the recent redesign is so completely nonsensical that if I wanted to try to read it topically I’d be lost. The new organizational schema seems to have been designed by social psychologists or accountants, and I am betting on the latter.

Where you used to have the front section for “News” and editorials, like every other paper, then a local “Metropolitan” section which usually had “Business” tacked on, then “Sports” and then “Lifestyles/Arts/Food” (with the occasional weekend additions of “Show” and “Auto” and “Real Estate”), you now have an incomprehensible mish-mash. The front section is some national news, some international news, some local news, and some political news. The “World” section is more international news and also editorials. Then there is “Plugged In” which might be more political news, or business, or something else.

So if you want to find a particular story which not obviously front page material, you need to read the entire thing because it could be anywhere. I read the entire thing so that is ok with me, but it is a bad sign.

The other bad sign is a whole slew of the content is from AP and Reuters. This means you get the same liberal-ideology crap you get from every mainstream news outlet. You still get the excellent top level reporting from the Times’ key reporters, but much of the second-tier news is right off the wires.

The WashTimes has never had the resources of the Post, so none of the Times’ reader community would reasonably hold it to the same level of comprehensiveness. It is short on NASCAR, short on track and field, short on culture. But the Times has long been the key local paper for objective coverage of real news. Now that they are having to scale back on that, I think the end may be near. Jerry Seper is still worth the price of the subscription for me, but I think many readers upon reading AP’s take on the issues of the day will wonder why they need the Times when they can get that everywhere else.

I also think many readers upon reviewing the new Web site will wonder why the three layers of navigation bars across the top, which in my view is about two too many.

It’s tough times for newspapers, sad to see this once-excellent one on a downward spiral.

This is truly a first. Our congress is less popular than used car salesmen, dog catchers and arch villains that tie beautiful damsels to the train tracks. People prefer bad breath to congress. OK, maybe not bad breath, but the following does tell an incredible story …


HMO’s are more popular than congress. You know those guys who in the movies leave grandma on a gurney outside the hospital to die? Yeah, those guys are more popular than our elected officials. According to Henniger at the Wall Street Journal

At the bottom of the heap, displacing HMOs as our worst institution, one finds the second branch of government, our Congress, at 12%. The Gallup folks noted it is “the worst rating Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35-year history of this question.” Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, come on down! You’ve made history.

Congress has become a bad joke. With 74% of the American people wanting us to drill for oil domestically, what does Nancy Pelosi say in response to $4 a gallon gas?

It’s an energy policy “literally written by the oil industry – give away more public resources,” declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

OK Nancy darling, who is going to drill for the stuff OTHER than oil companies? Do you want to start a government program to do this, nationalizing the oil industry perhaps? Some Democrats have called for this from the floor of the house. Is that where you are going?

There is nothing a Democrat hates worse than an American company being able to make money while helping the American public with a crisis. When there is a crisis, money must be lost and the government has to do the helping, unless it is a Republican president in office, then of course nothing can go right. Speaking of presidents, Bush, our buffoon in chief, is more than TWICE as popular than congress. This is remarkable as the president has managed to alienate just about everyone in the country except … well … hmmm. It is remarkable! At 12% the odds are that many of the mothers of those in congress think they are doing a lousy job.

Some of the other groups that score worse than the president are Unions and the Mainstream Media. Considering that congress, Unions, and MSM are the big three of the modern left, is it possible that mood of the country reflects a desire for a truly conservative alternative? I wonder how well the likes of would score?

The people at the top of the heap are the military, despite it’s involvement in Iraq and the MSM policy of only bad news from Iraq is fit to print, or, report. Then comes small business, the police and organized religion. All the above are conservative entities. Considering the publics current distaste for Republicans it is becoming clear that the party is no longer associated by the public at large with conservative principles. It appears that the country is seeking a conservative response to the socialistic instincts of the modern Democrat party.

It is obvious they are not seeing this response in the modern Republican party.


You know if this were a Republican, this would be receiving round-the-clock coverage. From Citizens Against Government Waste:

Washington, D.C. – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) its June Porker of the Month for accepting a preferential mortgage deal from a company which stands to benefit from a mortgage bailout bill he is pushing through Congress.

Read it all.

I must disagree with Justice Scalia’s reading of the Miller decision:

We may as well consider at this point (for we will have to consider eventually) what types of weapons Miller permits. Read in isolation, Miller’s phrase “part of ordinary military equipment” could mean that only those weapons useful in warfare are protected. That would be a startling reading of the opinion, since it would mean that the National Firearms Act’s restrictions on machineguns (not challenged in Miller) might be unconstitutional, machineguns being useful in warfare in 1939. We think that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. The traditional militia was formed from a pool of men bringing arms “in common use at the time” for lawful purposes like self-defense. “In the colonial and revolutionary war era, [small-arms] weapons used by militiamen and weapons used in defense of person and home were one and the same.” State v. Kessler, 289 Ore. 359, 368, 614 P. 2d 94, 98 (1980) (citing G. Neumann, Swords and Blades of the American Revolution 6–15, 252–254 (1973)).  Indeed, that is precisely the way in which the Second Amendment’s operative clause furthers the purpose announced in its preface. We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.

Essentially, fully automatic weapons such as M-14s, M-16s, and M-60s, are not common, and thus can be banned from use by the citizens, even though they are used by the military.  By that logic, semiautomatic weapons could have been banned during WWII, when the only extant example was the M-1.  Being banned, they would not now be common, and therefore could be banned.  Similarly, in the late 1800′s, there were very few bolt-action rifles.  So they could have been banned as well.  The ban would be constitutional, because today they would be uncommon.  You could go back to the invention of the rifled musket and the revolver.  They were quite uncommon when they were invented.  Had they been banned, they would still be uncommon, and, according to Scalia’s logic, could be banned.


I can certainly do no better than Scalia himself.  Read the opinion.  It’s beautiful.  Scalia is hilarious.

Here’s just a couple of examples:

In any event, the meaning of “bear arms” that petitioners and JUSTICE STEVENS propose is not even the (sometimes) idiomatic meaning. Rather, they manufacture a hybrid definition, whereby “bear arms” connotes the actual carrying of arms (and therefore is not really an idiom) but only in the service of an organized militia. No dictionary has ever adopted that definition, and we have been apprised of no source that indicates that it carried that meaning at the time of the founding. But it is easy to see why petitioners and the dissent are driven to the hybrid definition. Giving “bear Arms” its idiomatic meaning would cause the protected right to consist of the right to be a soldier or to wage war—an absurdity that no commentator has ever endorsed. See L. Levy, Origins of the Bill of Rights 135 (1999). Worse still, the phrase “keep and bear Arms” would be incoherent. The word “Arms” would have two different meanings at once: “weapons” (as the object of “keep”) and (as the object of “bear”) one-half of an idiom. It would be rather like saying “He filled and kicked the bucket” to mean “He filled the bucket and died.” Grotesque.

And later…

The amici also dismiss examples such as “bear arms… for the purpose of killing game” because those uses are “expressly qualified.” Linguists’ Brief 24. (JUSTICE STEVENS uses the same excuse for dismissing the state constitutional provisions analogous to the Second Amendment that identify private-use purposes for which the individual right can be asserted. See post, at 12.) That analysis is faulty. A purposive qualifying phrase that contradicts the word or phrase it modifies is unknown this side of the looking glass (except, apparently, in some courses on Linguistics). If “bear arms” means, as we think, simply the carrying of arms, a modifier can limit the purpose of the carriage (“for the purpose of selfdefense” or “to make war against the King”). But if “bear arms” means, as the petitioners and the dissent think, the carrying of arms only for military purposes, one simply cannot add “for the purpose of killing game.” The right “to carry arms in the militia for the purpose of killing game” is worthy of the mad hatter.