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Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sun, 06 Mar 2005 13:00:00 GMT
# I made some "End the War on Freedom" banners. They're at the bottom of my banners page, and one of them is a the bottom of this page's left-hand column. They ain't fancy, but they get the job done. Link away.

End the War on Freedom

# I've been loading .44 Magnum in my Lee Turret Press since I got it, but I hadn't tried 444 Marlin until yesterday afternoon. Works great, but the auto-index starts too soon for a long case, so I disabled it (a design feature) and rotated the turret manually. I use a separate crimp die for 444 Marlin, so it was nice to have the four-hole turret. My daughter moved the lever, and I lubed the cases and placed the primers and bullets. Hefting a box of 50 home-made rounds really satisfies.

# The Onion - 'Tony's Law' Would Require Marijuana Users to Inform Interested Neighbors - classic Onion satire. Hehe. [lew]

"Right now, countless Americans are living on the very same blocks as convicted illegal-drug users," said Sharon Logan of the Weed For Tony Coalition. "Without a federal mandate requiring full disclosure, how are unsuspecting residents supposed to find any decent weed?"

Designed to protect Americans from dry spells, Tony's Law was named after 19-year-old New Jersey resident Tony DiCenzo, who went nine months without getting high before discovering that he lived in the same apartment building as a reliable marijuana source.

# GeekWithA.45 has moved the McCain-Feingold Insurrection to it's own Blogspot domain. I updated the link behind my top-of-the-left-column banner. Lots more links, and he's looking for volunteers to help maintain it. [geekwitha.45]

# Karen Eschbacher at The Patriot Ledger - Chief, sergeant indicted: Stoughton officers accused of witness intimidation; more cops may be charged - one tiny chink in the veil of the rotten-to-the-core Massachusetts injustice system. Still good news. [russ]

# Robert C. Byrd at - Stopping a Strike at the Heart of the Senate - the senior senator from West Virginia on why the fillibuster must be preserved, especially in the approval of judicial nominations. [lew]

On January 4, 1957, Senator William Ezra Jenner of Indiana spoke in opposition to invoking cloture by majority vote. He stated with conviction:

We may have a duty to legislate, but we also have a duty to inform and deliberate. In the past quarter century we have seen a phenomenal growth in the power of the executive branch. If this continues at such a fast pace, our system of checks and balances will be destroyed. One of the main bulwarks against this growing power is free debate in the Senate . . . So long as there is free debate, men of courage and understanding will rise to defend against potential dictators. . . The Senate today is one place where, no matter what else may exist, there is still a chance to be heard, an opportunity to speak, the duty to examine, and the obligation to protect. It is one of the few refuges of democracy. Minorities have an illustrious past, full of suffering, torture, smear, and even death. Jesus Christ was killed by a majority; Columbus was smeared; and Christians have been tortured. Had the United States Senate existed during those trying times, I am sure these people would have found an advocate. Nowhere else can any political, social, or religious group, finding itself under sustained attack, receive a better refuge.

Senator Jenner was right. The Senate was deliberately conceived to be what he called a "better refuge," meaning one styled as guardian of the rights of the minority.

The Senate is the "watchdog" because majorities can be wrong, and filibusters can highlight injustices. History is full of examples.


Hitler's originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.

And that is what the nuclear option seeks to do to Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

It seeks to alter the rules by sidestepping the rules, thus making the impermissible the rule. Employing the "nuclear option," engaging a pernicious, procedural maneuver to serve immediate partisan goals, risks violating our nation's core democratic values and poisoning the Senate's deliberative process.

For the temporary gain of a hand-full of "out of the mainstream" judges, some in the Senate are ready to callously incinerate each Senator's right of extended debate. Note that I said each Senator. For the damage will devastate not just the minority party. It will cripple the ability of each member to do what each was sent here to do -- represent the people of his or her state. Without the filibuster or the threat of extended debate, there exists no leverage with which to bargain for the offering of an amendment. All force to effect compromise between the two political parties is lost. Demands for hearings can languish. The President can simply rule, almost by Executive Order if his party controls both houses of Congress, and Majority Rule reins supreme. In such a world, the Minority is crushed; the power of dissenting views diminished; and freedom of speech attenuated. The uniquely American concept of the independent individual, asserting his or her own views, proclaiming personal dignity through the courage of free speech will, forever, have been blighted. And the American spirit, that stubborn, feisty, contrarian, and glorious urge to loudly disagree, and proclaim, despite all opposition, what is honest and true, will be sorely manacled.

# Michael Crichton - Aliens Cause Global Warming - SETI, nuclear winter, second-hand smoke, global warming. How politically-motivated pseudo-science has taken over the world. [claire]

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.


In 1993, the EPA announced that second-hand smoke was "responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmoking adults," and that it " impairs the respiratory health of hundreds of thousands of people." In a 1994 pamphlet the EPA said that the eleven studies it based its decision on were not by themselves conclusive, and that they collectively assigned second-hand smoke a risk factor of 1.19. (For reference, a risk factor below 3.0 is too small for action by the EPA. or for publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example.) Furthermore, since there was no statistical association at the 95% coinfidence limits, the EPA lowered the limit to 90%. They then classified second hand smoke as a Group A Carcinogen.

This was openly fraudulent science, but it formed the basis for bans on smoking in restaurants, offices, and airports. California banned public smoking in 1995. Soon, no claim was too extreme. By 1998, the Christian Science Monitor was saying that "Second-hand smoke is the nation's third-leading preventable cause of death." The American Cancer Society announced that 53,000 people died each year of second-hand smoke. The evidence for this claim is nonexistent.

In 1998, a Federal judge held that the EPA had acted improperly, had "committed to a conclusion before research had begun", and had "disregarded information and made findings on selective information." The reaction of Carol Browner, head of the EPA was: "We stand by our science....there's wide agreement. The American people certainly recognize that exposure to second hand smoke brings...a whole host of health problems." Again, note how the claim of consensus trumps science. In this case, it isn't even a consensus of scientists that Browner evokes! It's the consensus of the American people.

Meanwhile, ever-larger studies failed to confirm any association. A large, seven-country WHO study in 1998 found no association. Nor have well-controlled subsequent studies, to my knowledge. Yet we now read, for example, that second hand smoke is a cause of breast cancer. At this point you can say pretty much anything you want about second-hand smoke.


This fascination with computer models is something I understand very well. Richard Feynmann called it a disease. I fear he is right. Because only if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen can you arrive at the complex point where the global warming debate now stands.

Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we're asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?

# Libertarian Party of New York - The War Comes to Essex County, NY - I-87, the road between Albany, New York and Montreal, now has a fixed checkpoint within the 100-mile limit of the Canadian border. It is supposedly set up to catch "terrorists", but they have a drug-sniffing dog on hand. While you're fighting the war on "terror", you might as well fight the war on "drugs", eh? [scopeny]

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