I am, basically, pro-sodomy. (Yeah, somebody will probably bring that sentence up if I’m ever before the Senate Judiciary Committtee. Well, let ‘em! Judging by the articles in my wife’s Redbook I’m not alone. . . .)
It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man.
But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused? They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart — the love of peace, the toil for peace, the strife for peace, the pursuit of peace, even at great peril, and certainly to the utter disdain of popularity or clamour.
Whatever else history may or may not say about these terrible, tremendous years, we can be sure that Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity according to his lights and strove to the utmost of his capacity and authority, which were powerful, to save the world from the awful, devastating struggle in which we are now engaged. This alone will stand him in good stead as far as what is called the verdict of history is concerned.
Sacramento -- The U.S. Department of Justice has threatened to criminally prosecute California's top firearms official over the state's continued use of a federal databank to hunt down illegal gun users, The Chronicle has learned.
The threat marks a significant escalation in the war between California law enforcement and U.S. officials over gun control and background checks. State officials said that until John Ashcroft became U.S. attorney general in 2001, California's use of the databank was not questioned.
Federal authorities believe the list of convicted felons, drug dealers, suspected terrorists, spouse beaters, illegal immigrants and others should only be used to help gun dealers determine if someone is allowed to buy a gun, not police investigating other gun-control violations. . . .
Georgia officials say they also have been threatened by federal authorities over interpretation of U.S. law concerning criminal background checks. Georgia was denying gun purchases to people arrested for crimes but not charged or convicted.
In a letter last year to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the FBI warned that the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act and Georgia law do not allow "naked arrests" without an indictment or conviction to be used to deny a gun purchase. The FBI said it was "very interested in the status of any corrective action."
Georgia complied with the FBI, and the number of firearms denied to suspected felons dropped significantly. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution estimated that every day an average of 17 or 18 people facing felony charges now are given permission to buy a gun in Georgia.
"We viewed it as a threat," John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said about the FBI's letter. "We had done this for six years without an issue until the new administration came in, and they pulled this on us."
The demonstrations are thereby making war more -- not less -- likely.
All this should be no great surprise, considering the ignominious history of peace protests over the last century. The record is fairly clear: When the demands of protesters have been met, more bloodshed has resulted; when strong leaders have resisted the lure of appeasement, peace has usually broken out.
If you want peace too much, or too visibly, prepare for war.
Hold on — "The record is fairly clear: When the demands of protesters have been met, more bloodshed has resulted"?! Right — the columnist he quoted must be thinking about Vietnam. Oh, wait — he is:
The Vietnam rallies are usually judged to have been successful because they stopped the killing of Americans in Southeast Asia. The killing of local people is another matter. The U.S. pullout led directly to the communist conquest of Saigon and Phnom Penh in 1975. The results were a human rights disaster. Tens of thousands of South Vietnamese were executed, hundreds of thousands wound up in brutal "reeducation camps" and more than a million sought to escape in leaky boats. It was even worse in Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouge slaughtered more than a million "class enemies."
Antiwar protesters were not entirely, or even mainly, responsible for this outcome; faulty U.S. military strategy also was to blame. Still, anyone who once chanted "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is gonna win" should not feel particularly smug about the consequences of that victory. Their protests led to peace, all right, but for many Asians it was the peace of the grave.
So hoping for peace is morally repugnant, he tells us? Putting a stop to Vietnam was objectively pro-evil? What a load of execrable, twaddlesome nonsense. I wish I had more time to spend on this . . .
The Mini-Missile Defense System The Homeland Defense Act — you know, the one that instantaneously made America safe from harm by those pesky evildoing types — could well kill off model rocketry. Great job of legislative drafting, guys.
Losing the Lost Cause Plaudits to freshman Democratic state Rep. John Noel — who my friends, colleagues and I can vouch for as a good guy — for stepping up to the plate and quitting his membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Venerable as the organization might be, it long ago abandoned all semblance of respectability. I'm glad he had the courage to acknowledge that.
Editor's Note— Sorry for the paucity of posting, by the way. I had a 14-hour workday yesterday, and since the bill my colleagues and I tried to flush last week finally squeaks onto the House floor this afternoon, I expect to spend all day in the trenches yet again. But hey — there's always the blogroll to keep you company, right?
Nothing Like Free Money Help the music industry flow you some bucks — if you bought music between 1995 and 2000, visit musiccdsettlement.com before the March 1 deadline to claim your share (about $17) of the compact disc price-fixing settlement.
"I think the United States must be humble, and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course." —Gov. George W. Bush (R-Texas), Oct. 11, 2000, during that year's second presidential debate.
"A senior diplomat from another [U.N. security] council member said his government . . . was told not to anguish over whether to vote for war. 'You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not,' the diplomat said U.S. officials told him. 'That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not.'" — "U.S. Officials Say U.N. Future At Stake in Vote," The Washington Post, Feb. 25, 2003, at A1.
Mr. Segway Goes to Washington A friend tried to convince me at a birthday party the other night that Segway orders are blowing the doors off the factory. Which explains, of course, why Dean Kamen has taken to the halls of Congress to beg the feds to buy a unit or two. Or 2,000.
One proposed use: whisking through war zones, helping "U.S. Special Forces . . . scoot into battle." I can hear the cry now — "the Segways are coming! The Segways are coming!"
The Magical Mystery Missile Defense System The White House feels so confident about its plans to protect the country from nuclear potshots that it wants an exemption from testing:
Buried in President Bush's 2004 budget, in dry, bureaucratic language, is a request to rewrite a law designed to prevent the production and fielding of weapons systems that don't work. If the provision is enacted, it would be the first time a major weapons system was formally exempted from the testing requirement.
The proposal follows administration moves to bypass congressional reporting and oversight requirements in order to accelerate development of a national missile defense system. . . .
Administration officials say the unusual measures are necessary because of the missile threat from such countries as North Korea, Iran, and Iraq.
But critics say the new independence and secrecy of what has become a vastly expanded missile defense program increases the chance that the Pentagon will spend tens of billions of dollars on an antimissile system that doesn't work.
This missile defense system sounds more and more like a faith-based initiative by the day. And I get the nasty feeling that another faith-based idea — prayer — will turn out to be much cheaper, and about as effective.
CARACAS, Venezuela, Feb. 23 — Defying international criticism, President Hugo Chávez said today that the leaders of a crippling two-month nationwide strike deserved to be arrested and tried as terrorists and saboteurs who wreaked economic and human damage in their failed attempt to provoke his resignation.
Although Mr. Chávez's government and the opposition had agreed last week to tone down their accusations and avoid violence, he soon alarmed diplomats and analysts when a judge issued arrest warrants for two opposition leaders on charges that included treason, incitement and rebellion. Carlos Fernández, the head of a business association, was arrested outside a restaurant on Thursday amid warning shots fired by police officers. Carlos Ortega, the leader of a labor federation, subsequently went into hiding.
Early today, a judge dropped the treason charge against Mr. Fernández and placed him under house arrest. . . .
There have been troubling instances of violence. Last week, three soldiers who had declared themselves in opposition to the government were found dead, with signs of torture. Although the police are saying the killings could have been personally motivated, few accept that possibility in the absence of any arrests. On Saturday night, one police officer was killed and several were wounded when gunmen fired on them near offices of the state oil company, which has been at the center of the most contentious power plays.