Saturday, May 31, 2008

Best Ever

(Another) Great Mark Steyn Column
Killing Her Softly
Hillary Clinton and the contradictions of the West.

By Mark Steyn

Someone wins, someone doesn’t win, that’s life,” Nancy Kopp, Maryland’s treasurer, told the Washington Post. “But women don’t want to be totally dissed.” She was talking about her political candidate, Hillary Clinton. Democratic women are feeling metaphorically battered by the Obama campaign. “Healing The Wounds Of Democrats’ Sexism,” as the Boston Globe

headline put it, will not be easy. Geraldine Ferraro is among many prominent Democrat ladies putting up their own money for a study from the Shorenstein Center at Harvard to determine whether Senator Clinton’s presidential hopes fell victim to party and media sexism. How else to explain why their gal got clobbered by a pretty boy with a resume you could print on the back of his driver’s license, a Rolodex apparently limited to neo-segregationist racebaiters, campus Marxist terrorists and indicted fraudsters, and a rhetorical surefootedness that makes Dan Quayle look like Socrates. “On this Memorial Day,” said Barack Obama last Monday, “as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today…”

Hey, why not? In Obama’s Cook County, Illinois, many fallen heroes from the Spanish-American War still show up in the voting booths come November. It’s not unreasonable for some of them to turn up at an Obama campaign rally, too.

But what of the fallen heroine? If it’s any consolation to Senator Clinton, she’s not the only female to find that social progress is strangely accommodating of old-time sexism. There was a front-page story in London last week about a British Indian couple in Birmingham — she’s 59, he’s 72 — who’d had twins through in vitro fertilization and then abandoned the babies at the hospital when they turned out to be daughters, announcing their plans to fly back to India for another round of IVF in hopes of getting a boy. In the wake of the media uproar, the parents now claim something got “lost in translation” and have been back to the hospital to visit the wee bairns. But think of mom and dad as the Democratic party and the abandoned daughters as Hillary, and it all makes sense.

There’s a lot of that about. Sex-selective abortion is a fact of life in India, where the gender ratio has declined to 1,000 boys to 900 girls nationally, and as low as 1,000 boys to 300 girls in some Punjabi cities. In China, the state-enforced “one child” policy has brought about the most gender-distorted demographic cohort in global history, the so-called guang gun — “bare branches.” If you can only have one kid, parents choose to abort girls and wait for a boy, to the point where in the first generation to grow to adulthood under this policy there are 119 boys for every 100 girls. In practice, a “woman’s right to choose” turns out to mean the right to choose not to have any women.

And what of the Western world? Between 2000 and 2005, Indian women in England and Wales gave birth to 114 boys for every 100 girls. A similar pattern seems to be emerging among Chinese, Korean, and Indian communities in America. “The sex of a firstborn child in these families conformed to the natural pattern of 1.05 boys to every girl, a pattern that continued for other children when the firstborn was a boy,” wrote Colleen Carroll Campbell in the St Louis Post-Dispatch the other day. “But if the firstborn child was a girl, the likelihood of a boy coming next was considerably higher than normal at 1.17-to-1. After two girls, the probability of a boy's birth rose to a decidedly unnatural 1.51-to-1.”

By midcentury, when today’s millions of surplus boys will be entering middle age, India and China are expected to account for a combined 50 percent of global GDP. On present trends, they will be the most male-heavy societies that have ever existed. As I wrote in my book America Alone, unless China’s planning on becoming the first gay superpower since Sparta, what’s going to happen to all those excess men? As a general rule, large numbers of excitable lads who can’t get any action are not a recipe for societal stability. Unless the Japanese have invented amazingly lifelike sex robots by then (think Austin Powers’s “fembots”), we’re likely to be in a planet-wide rape epidemic and a world of globalized industrial-scale sex slavery. And what of the Western world? Canada and Europe are in steep demographic decline and dependent on immigration to sustain their populations. And — as those Anglo-Welsh statistics suggest — many of the available immigrants are already from male-dominated cultures and will eventually be male-dominated numbers-wise, too: circa 2020, the personal ads in the Shanghai classifieds seeking SWF with good sense of humor will be defining “must live locally” as any zipcode this side of Mars.

Smaller families may mean just a boy or a girl for liberal Democrats, but in other societies it means just a boy. The Indian writer Gita Aravamudan calls this the “female feticide.” Colleen Carroll Campbell writes that abortion, “touted as the key to liberating future generations of women,” has become instead “the preferred means of eradicating them”. And, while it won’t eradicate all of them, Philip Longman, a demographer of impeccably liberal credentials, put the future in a nutshell in the title of his essay: “The Return Of Patriarchy.”

Enlightened progressives take it for granted that social progress is like technological progress — that women’s rights are like the internal combustion engine or the jet aeroplane: once invented they can’t be uninvented. But that’s a careless assumption. There was a small, nothing story out of Toronto this week — the York University Federation of Students wants a campus-wide ban on any pro-life student clubs. Henceforth, students would be permitted to debate abortion only “within a pro-choice realm”, as the vice-president Gilary Massa put it. Nothing unusual there. A distressing number of student groups are inimical to free speech these days. But then I saw a picture of the gung-ho abortion absolutist: Gilary Massa is a young Muslim woman covered in a hijab.

On such internal contradictions is the future being built. By “The Return Of Patriarchy,” Philip Longman doesn’t mean 1950s sitcom dads. No doubt Western feminists will be relieved to hear that.

© 2008 Mark Steyn

I just love the piece at the end -- the part about the proposal to suppress anyone from promoting pro-life views. You may recall that Weather Channel meteorologist Heidi Cullen made a similar proposal: that any meteorologist who denied the "fact" of global warming be decertified and not allowed to work as a meteorologist.

What is it about liberals that they find it so abhorrent that they should have to defend their views in the marketplace of ideas?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Recently acquired this:

to go with this ...

... and this.

Now, I have to decide whether to get rid of one, or keep all three. :-)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thank God for Those Who Serve

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You're Probably Going to ...

... regret this decision in the morning.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Appease, Appease Me

Boy, did you hear how Pres. Bush totally dissed Barak Obama? Wow, did he trash Barry big time. In case you missed it, here's what W had to say:
Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
What? You missed it? What do you mean he didn't even mention the hyper-sensitive liberal. Kind of makes you wonder why Obama made such a stink about it. I mean, if he saw himself in Bush's words, I guess there must be something there to see. In other words, Bush struck a nerve.

Here's the inimitable Mark Steyn's take on it:

Mark Steyn: Obama an appeaser? How dare you

"That's enough. That – that's a show of disrespect to me."

That was Barack Obama, a couple of weeks back, explaining why he was casting the Rev. Jeremiah Wright into outer darkness. It's one thing to wallow in "adolescent grandiosity" (as Scott Johnson of the Powerline Web site called it) when it's a family dispute between you and your pastor of 20 years. It's quite another to do so when it's the 60th anniversary celebrations of one of America's closest allies.

President Bush was in Israel the other day and gave a speech to the Knesset. Its perspective was summed up by his closing anecdote – a departing British officer in May 1948 handing the iron bar to the Zion Gate to a trembling rabbi and telling him it was the first time in 18 centuries that a key to the gates of the Jerusalem was in the hands of a Jew. In other words, it was a big-picture speech, referencing the Holocaust, the pogroms, Masada – and the challenges that lie ahead. Sen. Obama was not mentioned in the text. No Democrat was mentioned, save for President Truman, in the context of his recognition of the new state of Israel when it was a mere 11 minutes old.

Nonetheless, Barack Obama decided that the president's speech was really about him, and he didn't care for it. He didn't put it quite as bluntly as he did with the Rev. Wright, but the message was the same: "That's enough. That's a show of disrespect to me." And, taking their cue from the soon-to-be nominee's weirdly petty narcissism, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Co. piled on to deplore Bush's outrageous, unacceptable, unpresidential, outrageously unacceptable and unacceptably unpresidential behavior.

Honestly. What a bunch of self-absorbed ninnies. Here's what the president said:

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

It says something for Democrat touchiness that the minute a guy makes a generalized observation about folks who appease terrorists and dictators the Dems assume: Hey, they're talking about me. Actually, he wasn't – or, to be more precise, he wasn't talking onlyabout you.

Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too – President Bush's pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else. But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair's former Cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans. It's not a Democrat election policy, it's an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can't be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here]concept is an original idea.

Increasingly, the Western world has attitudes rather than policies. It's one thing to talk as a means to an end. But these days, for most midlevel powers, talks arethe end, talks without end. Because that's what civilized nations like doing – chit-chatting, shooting the breeze, having tea and crumpets, talking talking talking. Uncivilized nations like torturing dissidents, killing civilians, bombing villages, doing doing doing. It's easier to get the doers to pass themselves off as talkers then to get the talkers to rouse themselves to do anything.

And, as the Iranians understand, talks provide a splendid cover for getting on with anything you want to do. If, say, you want to get on with your nuclear program relatively undisturbed, the easiest way to do it is to enter years of endless talks with the Europeans over said nuclear program. That's why that Hamas honcho endorsed Obama: They know he's their best shot at getting a European foreign minister installed as president of the United States.

Mo Mowlam was Britain's Northern Ireland secretary and oversaw the process by which the IRA's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness became ministers of a Crown they decline to recognize. By 2004, she was calling for Osama bin Laden to be invited to "the negotiating table," having concluded he was no different from Adams: Stern fellow, lots of blood on his hands, but no sense getting on your high horse about all that; let's find out what he wants and give him part of it.

In his 2002 letter to the United States, bin Laden has a lot of grievances, from America's refusal to implement Sharia law to Jew-controlled usury to the lack of punishment for "President Clinton's immoral acts." Like Barack Obama's pastor, bin Laden shares the view that AIDS is a "Satanic American invention." Obviously, there are items on the agenda that the free world can never concede on – "President Clinton's immoral acts" – but who's to say most of the rest isn't worth chewing over?

This will be the fault line in the post-Bush war debate over the next few years. Are the political ambitions of the broader jihad totalitarian, genocidal, millenarian – in a word, nuts? Or are they negotiable? President Bush knows where he stands. Just before the words that Barack Obama took umbrage at, he said:

"There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously."

Here are some words of Hussein Massawi, the former leader of Hezbollah:

"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."

Are his actions consistent with those words? Amazingly so. So, too, are those of Hezbollah's patrons in Tehran.

President Reagan talked with the Soviets while pushing ahead with the deployment of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe. He spoke softly – after getting himself a bigger stick. Sen. Obama is proposing to reward a man who pledges to wipe Israel off the map with a presidential photo-op to which he will bring not even a twig. No wonder he's so twitchy about it.

Remember Iraq?

Sure, you do. It's a "quagmire", remember? But, the news from Iraq has been muted lately. Here's a great piece from Ralph Peters of the New York Post explaining why.



May 20, 2008 -- DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real “inconvenient truth?” Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn’t helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

You won’t see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they’ve adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003.

To be fair to the quit-Iraq-and-save-the-terrorists media, they have covered a few recent stories from Iraq:

* When a rogue US soldier used a Koran for target practice, journalists pulled out all the stops to turn it into “Abu Ghraib, The Sequel.”

Unforgivably, the Army handled the situation well. The “atrocity” didn’t get the traction the whorespondents hoped for.

* When a battered, bleeding al Qaeda managed to set off a few bombs targeting Sunni Arabs who’d turned against terror, that, too, received delighted media play.

* As long as Baghdad-based journalists could hope that the joint US-Iraqi move into Sadr City would end disastrously, we were treated to a brief flurry of headlines.

* A few weeks back, we heard about another Iraqi company - 100 or so men - who declined to fight. The story was just delicious, as far as the media were concerned.

Then tragedy struck: As in Basra the month before, absent-without-leave (and hiding in Iran) Muqtada al Sadr quit under pressure from Iraqi and US troops. The missile and mortar attacks on the Green Zone stopped. There’s peace in the streets.

Today, Iraqi soldiers, not militia thugs, patrol the lanes of Sadr City, where waste has replaced roadside bombs as the greatest danger to careless footsteps. US advisers and troops support the effort, but Iraq’s government has taken another giant step forward in establishing law and order.

My fellow Americans, have you read or seen a single interview with any of the millions of Iraqis in Sadr City or Basra who are thrilled that the gangster militias are gone from their neighborhoods?

Didn’t think so. The basic mission of the American media between now and November is to convince you, the voter, that Iraq’s still a hopeless mess.

Meanwhile, they’ve performed yet another amazing magic trick - making Kurdistan disappear.

Remember the Kurds? Our allies in northern Iraq? When last sighted, they were living in peace and building a robust economy with regular elections, burgeoning universities and municipal services that worked.

After Israel, the most livable, decent place in the greater Middle East is Iraqi Kurdistan. Wouldn’t want that news getting out.

If the Kurds would only start slaughtering their neighbors and bombing Coalition troops, they might get some attention. Unfortunately, there are no US or allied combat units in Kurdistan for Kurds to bomb. They weren’t needed. And (benighted people that they are) the Kurds are pro-American - despite the virulent anti-Kurdish prejudices prevalent in our Saudi-smooching State Department.

Developments just keep getting grimmer for the fan base in the media. Iraq’s Sunni Arabs, who had supported al Qaeda and homegrown insurgents, now support their government and welcome US troops. And, in southern Iraq, the Iranians lost their bid for control to Iraq’s government.

Bury those stories on Page 36.

Our troops deserve better. The Iraqis deserve better. You deserve better. The forces of freedom are winning.

Here in the Land of the Free, of course, freedom of the press means the freedom to boycott good news from Iraq. But the truth does have a way of coming out.

The surge worked. Incontestably. Iraqis grew disenchanted with extremism. Our military performed magnificently. More and more Iraqis have stepped up to fight for their own country. The Iraqi economy’s taking off. And, for all its faults, the Iraqi legislature has accomplished far more than our own lobbyist-run Congress over the last 18 months.

When Iraq seemed destined to become a huge American embarrassment, our media couldn’t get enough of it. Now that Iraq looks like a success in the making, there’s a virtual news blackout.

Of course, the front pages need copy. So you can read all you want about the heroic efforts of the Chinese People’s Army in the wake of the earthquake.

Tells you all you really need to know about our media: American soldiers bad, Red Chinese troops good.

Is Jane Fonda on her way to the earthquake zone yet?
Taking it to the Moonbats

My new favorite blog is Moonbattery. It's not only very well informed, it's also very witty and dead-on accurate in skewering liberals. This site calls for regular visits. Here are a couple of recent posts for your enjoyment:

Heidi Cullen Openly Advocates Using Weather Channel for Propaganda

At least the Weather Channel's leftist "climate expert" Heidi Cullen is forthcoming about her belief that even weather reports and Google Earth should bend to her political agenda.

At a circle jerk entitled "Covering a Changing Climate: The Media Challenge," Cullen announced that TWC's is "the most powerful tool that exists" for duping the gullible into believing in the global warming hoax. She wants to use Google Earth to simulate the catastrophic changes that would allegedly occur if the hoax were real.

The Weather Channel's founder John Coleman has loudly denounced the increasingly preposterous hoax, even pointing out that Al Gore ought to be sued for fraud. But the outfit has been taken over by moonbats like Cullen, who is "horrified" that her objectivity has been questioned, despite being such a bare-knuckle ideologue that she called for meteorologists who won't play along with the hoax to be silenced with decertification.

Meanwhile, desperate hoaxers have been forced to admit there won't be any global warming for the next seven years — but after that we're really in trouble unless we cough up more money now.

Cullen proves that with moonbats, even the weather is a lie.

DNC Inflicts Totalitarian Moonbattery on Its Own Convention

The Democratic National Convention will offer a glimpse of future life in America if Dems are able to impose their absurd yet increasingly repressive liberal fascism:

Fried foods are forbidden at the [Denver 2008 Host Committee's] 22 or so events, as is liquid served in individual plastic containers. Plates must be reusable, like china, recyclable or compostable. The food should be local, organic or both.

Denver is semi-arid and up in the mountains. Local produce consists of Coors and pine cones.

It gets even crazier:

And caterers must provide foods in "at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white," garnishes not included, according to a Request for Proposals, or RFP, distributed last week.

Why not? If Dems weren't pathologically obsessed with color, Obama wouldn't be on the ballot.

Obama Repackages Himself as Christian for Kentucky

Despite downplaying expectations regarding the May 20 primary, Obama is making a big push for Kentucky. Here's how he's marketing himself to the locals, who are evidently suspected of clinging to their Bibles like they do in rural Pennsylvania:


Apparently they couldn't think of a way to work a gun into the picture — or to get the arrogant sneer off Obama's face.

Passing off the abortion-friendly Obama as a Christian candidate is particularly risible in light of his religious background. Raised a Muslim, he was converted to Black Liberation Theology by Jeremiah "God damn America" Wright.

Although Black Liberation Theology adherents may call themselves Christians, their pernicious cult is distinguishable from Nation of Islam mainly by its emphasis on leftist economics. They worship not Christ, but Marxism and their hatred of white people. To quote Wright's hero James Cone:

What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world.

They work in Jesus by blaming Caucasian Romans for the Crucifixion. I doubt many churchgoers in Kentucky would recognize Obama's black supremacist Christ.

God help white people if Obama's version of Jesus were real.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

'Nuff Said!

Protecting Idiots from Themselves

Here's a good op-ed.
Leonard Pitts: Freedom's Less-considered Costs
09:53 AM CDT on Monday, May 12, 2008

I'd like to think it was the sangria talking.

But the plain truth is, when Anna said she doesn't find this country to be especially free, it was Anna talking. Granted, her complaint is hardly new. People often grouse about the lack of freedom in the land of the free.

But you see, Anna is from Estonia, a former republic of the old Soviet Union. As in, the Evil Empire, world's leading exporter of communism. So when Anna says she feels less free in the United States, where she now lives, than in the once-totalitarian regime where she was born, well ... it gets your attention. And when she says Americans sometimes remind her of the gray, fatalistic men and women who shuffled along under communism, unwilling to think too deeply, say too much or laugh too loudly for fear of offending the State, it is striking, to say the least.

You won't know Anna from Estonia. She is a friend's fiance and these insights were not part of some think tank paper but, rather, came in the ebb and flow of table talk one recent night at a Mexican restaurant. Still, I think Anna is onto something.

Americans, she said, love to trumpet their freedom. But it's hard to square that with political correctness that straitjackets communication for fear of giving unintended offense, hair-trigger litigiousness that requires major corporations to treat customers ("Caution: Coffee is hot") like idiots for fear of being sued, zero-tolerance policies and mandatory sentencing guidelines that remove human judgment from human encounters for fear of rendering unequal justice.

You do not have to agree that Americans compare unfavorably with the dull and dispirited Party men and women of a generation ago – I don't – to believe Anna has a point. A nation of iconoclasts and originals seems hellbent on becoming a nation of hall monitors. A nation born in revolution has lived to see revolution neutered and co-opted. So much so that even that which poses as a threat to the status quo (hip-hop, for example) nowadays has commercial sponsorship and corporate tie-ins.

It's hard to imagine an Elvis Presley happening in such an era. Or a Malcolm X, a Miles Davis, a Marlon Brando, a Bob Dylan, a Walt Disney, a Betty Friedan or any of the other American originals who pole-axed the 20th century. After all, originality is anathema to uniformity and, make no mistake, uniformity is what we're talking about here, the campaign to regulate language, law, culture and every other aspect of human intercourse in the hope of thereby removing from that intercourse every hint of risk or danger of unequal treatment.

And if this impulse toward uniformity sounds noble in theory, what it leads to in practice is kids kicked out of school because Midol violates the zero-tolerance drug policy or a guy getting 25 to life because the pizza he stole violates the three-strike law.

And, too, it leads to Anna from Estonia making it a point to show visiting friends a sight they could never see in the old country. They laugh, they point, they whip out cameras and take pictures. Of the Everglades? No. Of Mount Rushmore or Lady Liberty? No.

Anna said they take pictures of the idiot signs. These she said, crack her friends up. "Caution: Coffee is hot." Apparently, elsewhere in the world, you don't need a sign to know this.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. His e-mail address is

"Idiot signs" is a great term for these warnings.

My personal favorite is the warning on my frozen pizza which soberly warns me to remove the plastic wrapper and cardboard tray before putting the pizza in the oven. Whew. Thanks for the heads-up!
20 Years in a Federal Prison for what??

I don't know if you're familiar with the Megan Meier story. (If not, you can get the background here and in the article below.) Now, I think what this lady did was despicable, but punishments need to fit the crime. Harrasing a teenager over the Internet, even if that teen later commits suicide, does not merit a 20-year jail sentence.

Woman Indicted in MySpace Suicide Case

LOS ANGELES — In a highly unusual use of a federal law generally employed in computer fraud cases, a federal grand jury here on Thursday indicted a Missouri woman accused of using a phony online identity to trick and taunt a 13-year-old girl, who committed suicide in response to the cyberbaiting.

The woman, Lori Drew, was charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing a computer without authorization and via interstate commerce to obtain information to inflict emotional distress. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Ms. Drew lives in O’Fallon, Mo., where, according to the indictment, she created a MySpace account under the name Josh Evans in 2006. Prosecutors said she used the social networking account to contact a young girl named in the indictment as M.T.M. with sexually charged messages from “Josh.” The girl, who has been identified by her mother as Megan Meier, was a former friend of Ms. Drew’s daughter.

After a few weeks of chatting, “Josh Evans” began to send Megan nasty messages, via the MySpace account, ending with one that suggested “the world would be a better place” without her. Megan, believing she had been rejected by “Josh,” committed suicide in her home.

Missouri law enforcement officials said they had not found enough evidence to bring charges in the case, and Ms. Drew, who was 48 when Megan died, has repeatedly denied creating the account.

But because MySpace, a unit of Fox Interactive Media, is based in Beverly Hills, Calif., and its server is here, federal prosecutors decided to wield a federal statute that is generally used to prosecute fraud that occurs across state lines.

The statute applies in the case, the indictment says, because by violating the user agreement of MySpace, which prohibits phony accounts, Ms. Drew was seeking information “to further a tortuous act, namely, intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

“To my knowledge it is the first case of its kind in the nation,” said Thomas P. O’Brien a United States attorney in California. “But when an adult violates terms on a MySpace account to gain information that creates this type of reaction, it caused this office to take a really hard look.”

Calls to Megan’s parents, Tina and Ron Meier, were not returned Thursday. Mr. Meier told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “It’s a good day. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Ms. Drew’s lawyer, H. Dean Steward, said: “I am deeply disappointed. We thought when the St. Louis prosecutors took a look at the case and decided not to bring charges that was the end of it. I don’t think the statute they used fits the facts in the indictments.”

Ms. Drew is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles in June.

Experts were skeptical that the charges would withstand close legal scrutiny.

“It is an extremely aggressive indictment,” said Rebecca Lonergan, a law professor at the University of Southern California and a former federal prosecutor. “I have never in 18 years as a prosecutor seen the statute used that way. Cybercrimes is a relatively new area, but I am not sure this statute technically covers the essence of the harm.”

Officials at MySpace said in a written statement, “MySpace does not tolerate cyberbullying and is cooperating fully with the U.S. attorney in this matter.”

Various state and local governments have passed or introduced laws that prohibit cyberbullying, often through requirements that school districts have cyberbullying policies.

“I have concerns about the term ‘cyberbullying’ being applied to this situation,” said Nancy Willard, executive director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use. “Cyberbullying usually occurs between peers. It is not this kind of action.”

Ms. Willard, who is also a former lawyer, said she also had doubts about the prosecutor’s tactics. “I, like everyone else, would like to see Lori Drew see her comeuppance,” she said, “but I have some concerns. I don’t think the statute was written to apply to this case.”

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Blast Off

A reason why it might make sense to vote for McCain ...
... kind of.

The next President will almost certainly be putting one or more people on the Supreme Court. The prime opportunity will come from Justice John Paul Stevens. Right now he is 88 years old. I suspect that, even if he doesn't have health issues, the thought of retirement must be on his mind. Also, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsgburg is 75. I also heard somewhere that she does, in fact, have health issues.

So, it seems probable that the next president will be putting one, maybe two, people on the Supreme Court.

The "kind of" comes in because who the president picks and what kind of Justice they turn out to be is not exactly a scientific process.

Ronald Reagan put Sandra Day O'Connor on the Court and she was considered moderate; he also put Scalia on the Court who is obviously a conservative. Same president, same criteria, different results. Then you have David Souter -- one of the most liberal Justices -- who was put on the Court by a Republican, the first President Bush. (I'll bet he's still not talking to the numb-skull (Warren Rudman) who vouched for him.)

Of course, the most famous Supreme Court nomination "gaffe" would be the infamous Earl Warren -- who never knew a criminal he didn't want to coddle. He was put on the Court by Republican President Eisenhower -- who is later alleged to say that nominating Warren was "the biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made" (I wonder if Warren Rudman was in the Eisenhower administration).

The bottom line is that a President Obama would nominate reliable liberals to the Court. A President McCain may or may not nominate a "conservative"; and, any Justice he nominates may or may not turn out to be conservative. However, there's zero chance of getting a solid Justice from Obama. At least there's a slight chance McCain could pick a good Justice (even a blind hog finds the occasional acorn).

The question then -- does this "slight chance" of a good Justice justify a vote for McCain?


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