June 14, 2007

Even Windbags Have First Amendment Rights

While working out in the wee hours of the morning today, I heard this interesting story on MSNBC. Some South Florida Democrat with a lack of Constitutional knowledge wants to revoke a radio station's access to vital hurricane information because it airs Rush Limbaugh. The story can be found on The Miami Herald's website, but I could not find it on any of the big 3 cable networks' websites.

Apparently, Broward County (remember that from 2000?) Commissioner Stacy Ritter refused to designate Miami radio station WIOD 610 AM as the region's emergency hurricane information broadcaster solely because Rush Limbaugh is on it. She said,

We want to cancel this contract here because we don't want to have our hurricane information on the station that Rush Limbaugh is broadcast on, and Sean Hannity. (source)

Rush, ever the inappropriate comedian, called Ritter "a babe" after he saw her photo in the Herald. He also commented on their shenanigans, saying:

...[L]iberals in the face of utter disaster will not tune to the station to get information because my show is on it. So who is stupid here? This is politicizing a nonpartisan issue. Hurricane emergency information is nonpartisan. (same source as above)

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with El Rushbo. Any type of emergency information supersedes political ideology, and any attempt to revoke that based on ideology by the government is suppression of free speech. WIOD has a large reach, and therefore can reach a lot of people, so it's the logical choice for emergency information.

I look at it this way: let's say the tables were turned, and a Republican county commissioner decided to decline giving emergency information to a progressive station, even though it had the furthest reach. I would be up in arms at this obvious subversion of the First Amendment. Therefore, I have to support Rush in this battle, similar to how the ACLU supported him during his OxyContin troubles.

I have a couple of gripes, though. First of all, why can't the Broward County commissioners give every station emergency hurricane information? It's called a broadcast for a reason, and limiting the information to one station, regardless of reach, means that it will not reach as many people as it could if it were given to multiple stations. I'm sure that every county, city, or state has similar deals in place, but that's not the way it should be.

Second, in spite of his obvious disagreement with Ritter's statement, he still doesn't like that his show can be pre-empted by these emergency warnings, or even preparedness warnings (which are as important, in my opinion). Reading another Herald story on-air, he said:

"On the air Wednesday, Limbaugh joked that under the deal, the county would have the power to preempt his midday broadcast." They quoted me accurately here. I said, "All these idiots on the Broward County Commission have to do is schedule their press conferences from noon to 3," and by the terms of the deal, if they want to do a three-hour press conference, they can preempt my show that day. In fact, they could do it today. They could schedule a press conference, not emergency information, but preparedness and things you could do. These people are just blooming idiots. (same source as above)

So, Rush despises using politics with emergency information, and then plays politics with emergency information. Do you honestly think that the rest of those commissioners have it out for you bad enough to want to pre-empt only your show to broadcast "preparedness and things you could do" without just cause, just because they're all Democrats?

Dream on. The other commissioners said that they don't listen to you and don't really care about you. They want to ensure that the right information reaches the right people, their constituency, expediently. If it happens to be from 12 to 3, so what? It could be all day for all I care. Alleging that Broward County officials (save Ritter) want to prevent people from listening to you by using this designation to their advantage is baseless.

Rush finished off with this gem:

I'll tell you what's going to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, there will be a press conference or a little statement that will go out, a sunshine emergency declared in Broward County, press conference at noon, drought emergency press conference at one. (Laughing.) How to protect your skin. (same source as above)

There you go again, Rush. Thinking your views are relevant. But then again, you have the right to say them, and I have to defend it. That's what true patriots do — protect speech they don't like too.

By the way, WIOD will likely get to keep their emergency broadcasts.

~Deep Blue

May 28, 2007

Support The Troops

Others may say "Have a Happy Memorial Day." I take issue with that. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for soldiers that have died fighting for our freedoms. Whether we agree with this current occupation or not, we all must stand together and remember those that fought for us.

So everyone, have a solemn and mournful Memorial Day.

~ Deep Blue

P.S. No, I haven't gone all conservative on you. I for one will spend this day thinking of all the soldiers that needlessly died during this occupation. Soldiers that had families back home, worrying from one day to the next. I mourn for the troops today, wishing with all my might that they will be home soon. I support the troops -- by not wanting them in Iraq.

April 25, 2007

Spell Out IMPEACH in Reno and Tahoe - April 28th

As heard on the Thom Hartmann show today:

Spell out the word "Impeach!" on the steps of the Bruce Thompson Federal Building in Reno (the corner of Liberty and Virginia). Saturday, April 28th, 1-3 PM. For more info, contact jpom22@myway.com. I'll try to get down there with a camera and take some photos.

South Lake Tahoe/Carson City:
Spell out "IMPEACH!" on El Dorado Beach, east of Sprouts Café and the hemp store, on Saturday April 28th (time not given). For more info, contact miss.heather@hotmail.com.

I got this information from A28 (link) and its ImpeachSpace (link).

~ Deep Blue

April 24, 2007

The Truth About the SURGE!

I've avoided this topic long enough, mostly because it's been beaten to death on the Bill Manders show (hell, they're re-running his Friday show on this topic today), but I couldn't resist once I saw his headline.

RGJ: Cheney Lashes Out at Harry Reid

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada on Tuesday of pursuing a defeatest strategy in Iraq to win votes in the next election -- a charge Reid said did not warrant a response.

The two sparred hours after President Bush said he will veto the latest war spending bill taking shape in Congress, which includes a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq.

Cheney, after attending the weekly Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill, lashed out at Reid.

"Some Democratic leaders seem to believe that blind opposition to the new strategy in Iraq is good politics," Cheney said. "Sen. Reid himself has said that the war in Iraq will bring his party more seats in the next election.

"It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage," Cheney said.

Reid, D-Nev., dismissed Cheney's remarks later to reporters, but not before getting in his own dig at the vice president.

"I'm not going to get into a name calling match with the administration's chief attack dog," Reid said.

That last line killed me. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican, but you have to admit that calling someone a name whilst saying that you don't want to enter a name-calling match is funny, even if Cheney is the administration's attack dog. If I were Harry Reid, I would've put a sarcastic spin on a term of esteem, such as "I'm not going to get into a name calling match with the always dignified, never unintelligent Vice President."

Cheney's assessment of the War on Iraq giving the Democrats seats in the next election is actually quite accurate, but also quite obvious. The Democrats don't really have to do anything to gain seats in the next election. But is political gain the main reason why Sen. Reid even uttered the words "the war is lost" in succession?

No. He said them because it's the truth, and as I always say, the truth has a liberal bias.

The truth is that Iraq has gotten really deadly, not just for Iraqis, but our soldiers as well. Larry Johnson, who "worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism" (so he knows a thing or two about terrorism and war), wrote on his blog last Wednesday that 364 Iraqis were killed between April 15th and April 18th (source). Yesterday he wrote that 9 American soldiers were killed and 20 more were injured "in a suicide car bombing against a patrol base northeast of the capital in Diyala province" (source, quoting an AP article). Read those articles and tell me that the SURGE! is going well.

Some people (including Manders) say that we liberals want the SURGE! to fail. We already know that it will fail, because this isn't the first SURGE!. Oh no, there've been other SURGE!s over the past 3 years. Does "Operation Together Forward" ring a bell? It should, because that was when we SURGE!d into Iraq between July and October 2006 (source). You know how Bush says that he listens to "the generals on the ground?" Well, he didn't listen to Major General William Caldwell, who said that Operation Together Forward "[did not meet] our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence" (source). So even the generals on the ground didn't think that that SURGE! worked.

Further SURGE!s can be documented in the Brookings Institute's Iraq Index (PDF link). The table in question is on page 23, titled "Coalition Troop Strength in Iraq since May 2003," and that table was taken from tens of articles and statistical compilations. This table shows numerous other SURGE!s, such as the SURGE! that happened between September and November 2005 (22,000 additional troops with no long-term benefits), or the between November 2004 and February 2005 (12,000 additional troops with no long-term benefits), or even the SURGE! between January and May 2004 that happened during troop rotations (7,000 troops reduction followed by a 20,000 troop addition with no long-term benefits).

So the right-wingers won't tell you that there have actually been nearly as many troop SURGE!s as there have been Rocky movies. The only reason why this is news is because the Democrats are now in power, and President Bush isn't used to not getting his way. This story has spread throughout the Right Wing Talking Points Network, hitting just about every major conservative talk show in the country. I'm surprised that a petition hasn't been created to try and recall Reid. There sure has been enough talk of it on right-wing websites. That's just like the typical conservative: all talk and no walk.

It is in this vein that I urge you to call Senator Reid and tell him that you support his views. It's great Americans like him that will help get our troops out of a civil war in Iraq and actually working to capture the real bad guy from 9/11. Does anyone remember a guy named Osama bin Laden?

Reno Office: (775) 686-5750
Carson City Office: (775) 882-7343
Las Vegas Office: (702) 388-5020
Congressional Office: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343) (Nevadans only); (202) 224-3542

~ Deep Blue

Update (11:22 PM PDT): JWH over at The Blog Formerly Known as "No Gibbons" has the Reid quote listed above as "I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating" in his latest post. This quoting comes from the New York Times. I am going to keep my quote as-is because the RGJ article still states it as above, although this alternate quote (additional quote?) is just as funny.

America All Bushed Out

Former President George H.W. Bush says that the American people may be experiencing "Bush fatigue," or at least that's what he said on Larry King Live.

Larry King Interview on CNN

CNN Political Ticker:
Bush Sr.: 'Bush fatigue' may be setting in

These comments were a response to Mitt Romney stating his admiration of Jeb Bush, saying that if his last name weren't Bush, Jeb would be the front-runner in the GOP primary. Bush 41 agrees and reveals that this is why Jeb is staying out of the '08 Republican presidential nomination race, but that "he's got a future" in politics. Hopefully that future is relegated to a position as a talking head on Fox News.

Finally, Bush 41 realizes that the country has the same thing that the left has had since Bush v. Gore was decided in 2000. We are sick and tired of Bush's failed policies, we are weary of W's ill-informed and out-of-touch rhetoric, and we are working to set things right.

It is in the same Bush fatigue vein that I have trouble supporting Hillary Clinton. I don't want to look back in 2024 and realize that the past 5 presidents were Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, and Bush, with Chelsea as the '24 Democratic front-runner. That's why I am, at this point in time, a Barack Obama supporter. Quite frankly, it's too early to tell on either side of the aisle on who the nominee would be. Even Bush 41 doesn't have a favorite on either side.

I have no dog in that hunt, but three good men are leading and there are some others too. Anyway I can't talk bad about the Democrats. It's very, very early, but it's comfortable to be on the sidelines.

In this recent rash of political parties pushing up their primaries almost into this year, I too feel good on the sidelines, just watching events unfold. It opens up the possibility for a Bill Clinton-esque dark horse candidate that will lead the Dems to victory in '08. Yeah yeah, it's a long shot, but I still have my fingers crossed.

~ Deep Blue

April 23, 2007

Gay Rights Stack

There have been a couple of stories over the weekend that fall into my Gay Rights file, and I feel that as a believer in equal rights for everybody, I have to comment.

First up: Dad Wants $20K, Says Lesbian Book Disturbed Teens

A Bentonville, Ark., man is seeking $20,000 from the city after his two teenage sons found a book on lesbian sex on a public library bookshelf.

He also wants the library director fired.

Earl Adams said his 14- and 16-year-old sons were "greatly disturbed" after finding the book, titled "The Whole Lesbian Sex Book." Adams said the book caused "many sleepless nights in our house."

Adams said the book is "patently offensive and lacks any artistic, literary or scientific value," according to a letter he faxed to Mayor Bob McCaslin. He said the teenagers found it while browsing for material on military academies.

Adams wants the city to pay $10,000 to each of his sons. That's the maximum allowed under the Arkansas obscenity law. However, the city's attorney dismissed Adams' claim as baseless. She said the book is not pornographic.

"There is not a valid legal concern here," Camille Thompson said. "In fact, (the request for money) made me question his motivation."

Yeah, I'm sure that two teenage boys were "disturbed" by finding the book. As a former teenage boy and current heterosexual, I believe, nay, I know that there is not a hot-blooded heterosexual male out there that would find two women together "disturbing," unless the "disturbance" was in their pants. Yeah yeah, all you Alec Baldwins out there can call me a pig; I just remember how I was when I was 16. I agree with Camille Thompson in that I think that this is a money-making ploy, and I think that the "many sleepless nights" at that house were for completely different reasons.

Adams further said "[a]ny effort to reinstate the book will be met with legal action and protests from the Christian community." So Bentonville is now under threat of theocracy. Seriously, when is America going to wake up to the real threat to our country: Christian extremist ideologues? If you are a Christian extremist, and you feel like the public library is offensive, then don't go there. Not everyone in this wonderful country of ours believes in the same things you do, and not everyone agrees with your version of morality. I hope that if legal action does come of it, they lose and have to reimburse the taxpayers for wasting the city's time.

Onto the other story: 'Transgender' Candidate on Prom King Ballot

FRESNO, California (AP) -- When school officials announce the name of the Fresno High School prom king on Saturday, Cinthia Covarrubias will be wearing a tuxedo just like the six boys vying for the honor.

Administrators agreed to reverse a district protocol this week that limited males to compete for the title after Covarrubias was nominated by her classmates.

"I would never have run for anything if I had to wear a dress," said Covarrubias, who considers herself transgender, an umbrella term that covers people whose outward appearance and internal identity don't match their gender at birth.

Gay youth advocates called it a landmark victory for campus gender expression and said they believe it's the first time in the United States that an openly transgender student has run for prom royalty.

"We are growing as a society to accept much more diversity in gender expression, and that's a positive thing," said Carolyn Laub, director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

Covarrubias, who wears black-and-white Vans, baggy shorts and close-cropped brown hair, sometimes identifies herself as Tony. Her date, a close female friend, plans to wear a black dress and red corsage to the prom at an outdoor reception hall surrounded by artificial waterfalls.

On Wednesday, officials at the school of 2,700 students shifted course, saying the district's lawyers had recommended adding Covarrubias' name to the ballot to comply with a 2000 state law protecting students' ability to express their gender identity on campus.

"We always want to do the right thing by our students," Vice Principal Sheila Uriarte said. "This is why we came to this decision."

I'm glad that California is leading the way for gay and transgender rights in this country. It also seems as though most people in her age group also approve of Cinthia running for prom king. CNN, being a true fair and balanced news channel, also had opposing views, or rather, an opposing view:

"I like lesbians, but they shouldn't be allowed to run for king," said senior Erich Logan, 18, as he stood outside the stately high school building.

Once again, public schools have to cater to all points of view (or they should), not just those that are confined to traditional heterosexual Christian values. Studies have shown that each generation that passes has a more favorable view of homosexuality, making this current young generation the most liberal with respect to those values. As I am a part of that generation, I couldn't be prouder.

The Declaration of Independence uses the phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" this includes homosexuals living just like the rest of us, including getting married (yes, married), having children, and receiving medical benefits and inheritance rights. Why is equal rights (not so-called "special" rights) for gays so hard for right-wingers to understand? I guess they believe in the credo from Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Quite frankly, that viewpoint is out-of-touch with reality and pathetic.

~ Deep Blue

Update (9:44 AM PDT): As it turns out, story #2 in the Gay Rights stack is scheduled to be covered by Bill Manders today, according to the KKOH website (see the right panel). I can't wait to hear his take, although I can take a stab at what it is. I just hope that he doesn't regurgitate that whole "the Bible says..." argument, or worse, links it to Seung-Hui Cho somehow.

Update (3:20 PM PDT): False alarm on the Manders Watch. Today is a "best-of" episode of Bill Manders from April 4th, 2007 because he is sick. Maybe tomorrow.

April 20, 2007

Ruminations on a Villain

I wish that I didn't have to do this, but thanks to the incessant media coverage Seung-Hui Cho is getting, I feel like it is my duty to say something to the media:


I know it may sound crazy, but we as Americans should not give this guy anymore posthumous airtime. Focus on the victims and their heroic acts and innocence. Don't focus on the guy who would've been in a mental hospital if it weren't for Ronald Reagan's mental health budget cuts.

I have to say this, though...stay with me. I have to admit that he was brilliant, in a very sickening sort of way. This mentally sick individual knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it. He planned this "media manifesto" 6 days in advance, typing an 1800 word nonsensical rant, taking endless photos with himself posing with his weaponry, recording rambling video (some of which occurred between shootings). He then sent it to the people who he knew would give him exposure: a national news network.

He wanted to be a star. He wanted to be glorified like the Columbine shooters after he killed himself. And NBC fell for it hook, line, and sinker. It was a brilliant point to make about the celebrity-obsessed, "if it bleeds it leads" media, but it was the complete wrong way to make it. Thirty-three people needn't have died to make your point. No one needn't have died at all. There are better ways to get your message across. Then again, I'm trying to rationalize an irrational person's thoughts.

Some people say NBC "did the right thing" by turning it over to the FBI after they received it. Bollocks. They made copies of the material so that they would have the exclusive, thinking of their profit margins only, then they sent it to the Feds. Someone on Wednesday night on MSNBC (I forget who it is) even said that they had the right to copy all the material because it was their property. I don't deny that they had the "right" to do so, but they shouldn't have done so. It makes me sick. The manifesto should have become an urban legend, vanishing into some FBI bunker in Quantico. Shame on the media for reveling in this killer's exploitation of that very media. He played all of you for fools.

The problem lies in the media's desire to make money off of everything, especially tragedies such as this. There were even Google ads that were sponsored for people searching "Virginia Tech shootings." A screenshot of when I searched is posted below:

I compare the handling of the manifesto to the Rutgers women's basketball/Imus controversy. These victims died heroically, some defending their classmates, and this villain ruins their moment. Just like Imus ruined the moment of the Rutgers women's basketball season. This time, however, we will never hear an apology from the Imus figure. Not that he would've apologized; in his own head, he was justified.

Because of the excessive airtime that this guy has been receiving, numerous copycats are already showing themselves all across this country. There was even one here in Reno, where an Iraqi war veteran and former University of Nevada student said in an e-mail to a relative that "the Korean was a hero" and that he would be "on a mission" in a few days (source). He was fortunately arrested last night, but not before the UNR campus was closed down. I won't even mention his name because that would give saliency to the argument that Cho made when he sent that damn media manifesto to NBC.

I for one am glad that there will be no victims at UNR. Not from that guy, anyway. But I can't help but wonder if the horrors of the Iraq war made the Reno guy think that way, that maybe his mental condition is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If that's the case, it would pretty much destroy the idea that this war is a good thing.

Anyway, just some thoughts. No one in their right mind would've done such a thing. I don't think it's a gun thing more than it's a mental health thing, although if Virginia had more stringent gun laws, such as provisions preventing mentally unhealthy people from obtaining guns, this guy would've at least been thwarted on that avenue.

~ Deep Blue

Update (1:12 PM PDT): Speaking of nuts with guns, some breaking news out of the Gun State (or Texas, as you may call it): Gunman Opened Fire at NASA Building, Police Say (CNN), NASA Evacuates Houston Building Amid Alert (MSNBC), Reports: Possible Shooting at Johnson Space Center in Houston (Fox News).

I think it's telling that all these gun crimes happen in places where gun laws are already lax. It really debunks that whole "more guns = less crime" argument. So when a gun crime happens in a place where guns are easy to get, the solution is to make guns easier to get?

Everything you know is wrong, I guess.

Update (4-23 9:46 AM PDT): Minor fix: I transposed "Seung-Hui" and "Cho" so that they are now westernized. I didn't know that Cho was his family (last) name until I read a story about his parents.

April 17, 2007

John Edwards' Expensive Haircut


AP via The Boston Globe: Edwards' Haircuts Cost a Pretty Penny

Looking pretty is costing John Edwards' presidential campaign a lot of pennies. The Democrat's campaign committee picked up the tab for two haircuts at $400 each by celebrity stylist Joseph Torrenueva of Beverly Hills, Calif., according to a financial report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

FEC records show Edwards also availed himself of $250 in services from a trendy salon and spa in Dubuque, Iowa, and $225 in services from the Pink Sapphire in Manchester, N.H., which is described on its Web site as "a unique boutique for the mind, body and face" that caters mostly to women.

A spokeswoman for Edwards' campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

What pisses me off the most about this is that it goes against Edwards' small-town common man image. A small-town common man would get his hair cut at SuperCuts or a local haircut place, not a "hair salon." Way to connect to Middle America, John.

This story is tailor-made for the right-wing. They'll say, "He pays $1275 for 4 haircuts, just like he has that expensive house in North Carolina." Also notice what the first two words of the article are: Looking pretty. Is this author channeling Ann Coulter or something? She sure sounds like she's playing into the "John Edwards is a girlie-man" conservative stereotype.

The right-wing blogs should be picking up on this now, because the story only broke on the AP an hour or so ago. It'll be interesting to hear what they have to say. I better head over to Free Republic.

I (and other progressives like myself) want a Democratic common man (or woman) to lead the way, but many of these Democrats are not it. Hillary Clinton is always schmoozing with Hollywood, and now John Edwards has joined the fray with his celebrity stylist haircuts. I like Edwards' policies, but this incident shows that he's not focusing on that image enough. I also like Barack Obama because it sounds like he is connecting with us common folk. While he raised $24 million, just under Hillary's $25 mil, the FEC records showed that he received money from twice as many donors as Hillary, and more than Hillary and Edwards combined.

And Edwards wonders why he's trailing in the polls and donations. Oh well, at least he reported them, right?

I really want a Democrat to win (surprise surprise), and so I want to help them win. Four haircuts totaling $1275 is not the way to go.

~ Deep Blue

April 16, 2007

Carnage in Blacksburg

CNN: Officials: Gunman Dead After Bloody Campus Rampage
MSNBC: At Least 33 Dead in Rampage on Virginia Campus
Fox News: Virginia Tech Campus Reels from Shooting that Leaves at Least 33 Dead

It was a horrible tragedy. A lone gunman walked into a dormitory and shot some people, then he shot up a bunch more people in a classroom. Thirty-three people were confirmed dead with dozens more injured.

Fox News calls it the "worst mass shooting in U.S. history," then it asks, in big bold letters:


The answer came when I turned on right-wing radio. I knew that as soon as the tragedy started unfolding that I'd have the pleasure of hearing all the gun nuts call up their sanctuaries, the right-wing pundits, and say "I gots ta keep mah gun!"

Some of them were just, I dunno, sickening. One person on the Bill Manders show called up and had the audacity to say that this tragedy didn't happen, that it was all a conspiracy by the left-wing anti-gun people to show the danger of guns. I'm sure that the families of the students who perished would love to know that people actually think that it was a conspiracy.

A majority of callers expressed the desire for people to carry their guns on campus. One caller even related this to the story of a country that allowed people to conceal their guns. His paraphrased call:

Let me tell you the story of a country that had so much gun violence that it allowed people to carry concealed weapons. That country was Israel. Before all the bombings started happening, the Palestinians were shooting Israelis with their guns. When the Israelis could carry guns with them at all times, everything got a lot better there.

Now, let me get that straight, people were allowed to carry guns everywhere...before there were bombings by the Palestinians. I'll say it again, people were allowed to carry guns before there were bombings. So, in other words, we should all carry guns around this country so that the wacky gunmen can resort to bombings? It's just like the arms race of the 1950's that brought about nuclear warheads and the constant threat of nuclear anihilation.

Another person pulled the Blame Society card, saying that kids today have those crazy video games where people can just "get up" after getting shot. Apparently kids are stupid, so they would think that they can shoot their friends with real guns just because they could in Halo 2.

Wow. How dumb can you get?

I grew up with FPS games. 007 Goldeneye is still one of my favorite games, but I never for a moment thought that I could take a Walther PPK and shoot someone, who would then respawn (or "get up"), completely okay, in another part of the city. I doubt that kids are that dumb.

Now, it may sound like I have a beef against all guns. Not true. I support hunters rights to carry weapons, but that's because they have tons of permits and protection behind them. What sort of purpose does a handgun serve? Killing a person. You don't take your handgun to shoot deer.

The solution to this problem is not easy. Pandora's Box has already been opened, and it's damn near impossible to cram it back in. As opposed to gun control, I actually subscribe to the Chris Rock "bullet control" theory.

You don't need no gun control. You know what you need? We need some bullet control. Man, we need to control the bullets, that's right. I think all bullets should cost $5,000. $5,000 for a bullet. You know why? 'Cause if a bullet costs $5000 there'd be no more innocent bystanders. That'd be it. Every time someone gets shot, people will be like... "Sh*t, they put $50,000 worth of bullets in his ass." People would think before they killed somebody, if a bullet cost $5,000. "Man, I would blow your f*cking head off, if l could afford it." ... "You better hope I can't get no bullets on layaway."

Makes sense to me.

~ Deep Blue

April 15, 2007

CNN: Anti-Kremlin Protesters Clash in St. Petersburg

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Hundreds of anti-Kremlin protesters crowded the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city, Sunday and clashed with riot police a day after similar demonstrations in Moscow.

The protesters chanted slogans against President Vladimir Putin, whom they blame for rolling back democratic reforms in Russia and persecuting his political opponents.

Dozens were arrested at the unauthorized St. Petersburg rally, including Eduard Limonov, an opposition leader and member of "The Other Russia" -- a coalition of opposition groups that organized the rally. (full article)

It appears to me that Russia is slowly starting to creep back into Soviet Union territory as of late. The rollback of personal freedoms in that country is troubling but not surprising. Russia has been a corrupt country throughout the Cold War and afterwards, with many oligarchs controlling the industry. In fact, in the 2007 Freedom in the World survey (link), Russia has a rating of 6 for political rights and a 5 for civil liberties (on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is the most free), giving it a ranking of "not free."

If our goal is to spread freedom around the world, why is Russia not free? Why aren't we invading the former Communist country in a pre-emptive strike to help this repressed people? I mean, they have valuable natural gas, oil, and timber, and they have tired huddled masses yearning to be free.

Oh, I guess it's because they're white. That's why we don't do it. That and the fact that they have 2500 nukes that could be directed at our coastline.

We need to use what little credibility we have in the world to promote freedom through diplomatic means everywhere, not just in Arab countries that just happen to have oil.

~ Дип Блу