Here’s some lovely news I just spotted:

The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday.

Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but “would explain what happened and why they did it.”

I really don’t care why they took part in the 9/11 attacks that lead to the deaths of 3,000 people. They have no justification for what they have admittedly done, so there is no reason to grant them a courtroom soapbox to air their grievances against the U.S. And the administration isn’t doing anything to help the trials of these terrorists.

Defence lawyers were sure to apply to have the charges dismissed after Mr Obama made an overarching effort to reassure Americans that the decision to put [Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed on trial at a federal court in New York was sound.

“I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him,” the president said in an NBC interview on his tour of Asia, which ended late on Thursday.

Seeming to realise the potential for trouble in his answer, the president – a lawyer and former law professor – added: “What I said was, people will not be offended if that’s the outcome. I’m not pre-judging, I’m not going to be in that courtroom, that’s the job of prosecutors, the judge and the jury.”

Nice back peddling, but President Obama really put his foot in his legal mouth when he said, “when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.” Obama pre-judged KSM guilty by saying “when” rather than “if,” and he succeeded in polluting the jury pool with this comment. I thought the man in the Oval Office was the smartest man in the world and a lawyer to boot. How did such a brainless gaff tumble from his lips? Was he talking off the cuff again and not via the teleprompter?

“Good morning, class. I have a light reading assignment for you. First read War and Peace, all 1,296 pages of it, and then tackle the 832 pages of Anna Karenina, both by Leo Tolstoy. Pay particular attention to the supporting characters, and the differences between the Tsarist society of the Napoleonic wars of War and Peace and the later time period of Anna Karenina. Tests and essays determining how well you have learned the books will comprise a large part of your grade.

“Oh, and the test may happen any day now, so I suggest you best get cracking.”

Do you think you could successfully navigate through the required 2,000+ pages of Russian prose with complete understanding? Do you think you would have the time to finish the reading and fully grasp the subtleties of Tsarist society of 19th century Russia in the short time allotted? Do you think the professor is a complete idiot to pile this load of work on you in such a small time? Doesn’t he know that you have other classes and activities you are responsible for?

But this is exactly what the Senate is doing. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the Senate clocks in at 2,074 pages, making it slightly shorter than the 2,128 pages in the Tolstoy reading assignment. To make it even, feel free to skip the last part of Anna Karenina after the title character dies, and Tolstoy rambles on about his Mary Sue.

Do you think any Senator has actually read this monstrosity of a bill? And do you think any Senator fully understands what is in the bill? And worse still, do you think any Senator has an understanding of the unintended consequences that will arise by the passing of this bill? Or do you think this is just a naked power-grab by Washington D.C.?

A power-grab? Surely not! It’s not like government has already grabbed the reigns of power over the economy already. Oh, wait, it has already begun.

William Boyes, an economics professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, estimates that the government now owns or controls businesses that generate about one-third of U.S. economic activity.

And adding the medical industry’s 17-18% of the U.S. economy under the thumb of the government will raise the level of the government’s control close to, if not past, the 50% mark. But don’t you dare call President Obama a socialist!

Obama took months to pick out a dog for the family, and he has yet to pick a church to attend, but the mind-boggling complexity of the health industry, the planned reforms, and their unintended consequences don’t need careful scrutiny. Nope, it’s already passed the House, and the Senate is rushing toward a vote with the grace and understanding of the long-range ramifications as a college kid homing in on the frat house beer keg. And when I say rushing, I mean it. The Senate may have a procedural vote on the bill today, when normally Saturdays are reserved for pressing the flesh of their home-state constituents. But not when it’s time to ram home a double novel sized health care bill.

I have to wonder if the people of 19th century Russia who were complaining so loudly about the corruption and abuses of power under the Tsars would have been so anxious to support their overthrow if they had foreseen the corruption and abuses of power under the later communists? It’s the unforeseen consequences that will always get you when you rush into a massive change. Do you think the people cheering the fall of the Tsars and the rise of the communists in 1917 were also cheering for political repression, economic depression, and the murder of 20 million people under Stalin? I don’t believe so. I think they were just caught up in the moment as they called for change. People forget that change can also be for the worse.

Anna Karenina starts with the best line of the whole novel: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Once government has successfully taken over our health care industry, every unhappy family will be unhappy in the same way — the unhappiness that comes from reduced freedoms and government oppression. And reduced freedoms and government oppression is exactly what you get when the Senate rushes to pass a 2,074 page long bill that they haven’t even read.

“What’s in the bill? Who cares?!? Change!”

Phil over at The Clue Batting Cage *plug plug* linked to an online news quiz. It’s short with just a dozen questions by the Pew Research Center, so it shouldn’t take you long.

 

I got a score of 12 out of 12. Does that make me super smart? Heck, no. But I will say that I don’t get my news from either the TV or print. I get my news from the radio and online. Make of that what you will.

12 out of 12

They published a breakdown of the twelve questions that’s worth reading. I found the breakdown of correct answers between Republicans and Democrats to be interesting. (I have blanked out the answers. No peeking.)

Republican/Democrat differences

10 out of 12 questions were answered better by Republicans, and one question was a tie. In only one question did Democrats answer better than Republicans. So if we take this small sampling and project it to the leadership in Washington, which party has a better grasp on reality?

November 11th is Veterans Day, saluting all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Mere words are not sufficient on this day. Shake the hands of everyone you meet who has served and thank them for their service. And if you see someone in uniform, pick up their tab, whether it’s a cab, a drink, a meal, or groceries. It’s a small act of kindness for those who fill the role of defender as outlined in our anthem.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ’In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

“The Star Spangled Banner”, fourth stanza

Veterans Day

Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who had been killed in the Korean War. (from Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is election day around the U.S. Since it is an odd year, the races are local in nature for the most part because local races are pretty odd. Federal elections for Representatives, Senators, and Presidents happen on the even years because they are even odder than local races.

To explain every political commercial you will ever see, here is Uncle Jay: