Mailvox: abuse it, you lose it

Anonymous asks a few reasonable questions:

One thing I’d like to know from all opposed to abortion. If it become illegal — what should the penalty for women who have abortions be?

And what should the penalty for doctors who perform them be?

If you think abortion if murder — shouldn’t the penalty for having or performing an abortion be the death penalty?

Penalty for women who have abortions: imprisonment until menopause.
Penalty for doctors: medical license revoked, imprisonment for life.

That will end abortion very quickly. The very remote possibility of being shot by an activist appears to have caused the number of abortionists to drop significantly. Although the notion of giving the abortionist a fair trial and executing him via rope-and-equine quartering offers just appeal, I do not believe in the death penalty because given the history of the 20th century, it is demonstrably foolish to the point of insanity to grant the state the legal power to kill its citizens.

A simple procedure

The Original Cyberpunk performs a post-natal verbal abortion on a male abortionette. WARNING: graphic intellectual bitchslapping may be offensive to readers of a sensitive nature:

I had just put my lunch in the microwave and closed the door when the Insufferable Liberal confronted me. “I had no idea you were such a right-wing religious whack-job.”

Hmm. Strange way to begin a supposedly friendly conversation. I set the microwave timer for three minutes, pressed the start button, and turned to face him.

“Your web site. I read what you wrote about Planned Parenthood. How can you possibly be opposed to a woman’s right to choose?”

Yeah, you can’t front on that.

That would be yes

Utah lawmakers want to leave home schooling as unregulated as possible. Legislators have approved a bill that blocks school boards from requiring that home-schooling parents meet minimum credential requirements and keep records of what they teach and of student attendance.Also under the legislation, school boards could not require standardized testing of home-schooled students….

Rep. Mike Morley, R-Spanish Fork, noted that three of the top students at Yale this year were home-schooled. “It would be difficult to hold public education to the same standard that home school is achieving,” he said. “In most standards, we judge our parents as competent and fit unless otherwise proved.” But House Democrats questioned the hands-off legislation home-schooling parents requested. “It sounds a little like: ‘We don’t want you involved or interfering in any way,’ ” said Rep. Carol Moss, D-Holladay, a retired high school teacher.

I’m not surprised Madam Moss finds it so difficult to ascertain the message the home-schooling parents were sending the Utah legislature. She is, after all, a former teacher.


You’ve got to love the technofreaks. Even if I didn’t loathe Microsoft – and I do, by the mad pipings of Azathoth, I sure do – I think I’d have to switch to Linux based on the inspiration of this heart-warming story alone. Thanks to oneJohn for bringing this to our attention.

The project began when Nils Schneider, a 17-year-old computer science student from Germany, received an iPod for Christmas. Unlike most new iPod owners, he decided to install Linux – a freely available computer operating system not used as standard in iPods – on his device.

The existing version of Linux for the iPod would not install easily, however, as the latest generation of player features new hardware. Undeterred, Schneider decided to figure out how these components worked by himself. He found he could control some parts of the device but not
those containing details about the way the unit starts up, which is vital to getting Linux installed.

Instead of going through the usual process of trial and error to work out the code, Schneider realised that listening to it could provide a shortcut. Bernard Leach, a UK software engineer who helped set up the so-called iPod Linux project, had already worked out how to control the piezoelectric component within the iPod that produces the click.

To decipher the bootloader code – the program which allows the iPod to start up – Schneider decided to use Leach’s system to play the bootloader code as sound. “I just tried to encode a single byte as a click sound with different spaces between the clicks,” Schneider told New Scientist. “It seemed to work but it was slow so I played around with the code and found out how
to make the clicks faster.”

After encoding the bootloader data he recorded the resulting sounds onto another PC programmed to convert it back into computer code. The whole process took more than 20 hours and Schneider had to construct a sound proof box for the recording. But, in the end, he had extracted the information intact. This made it possible to get Linux running on the device, along with a variety of compatible software programs such as simple games and audio recorders.

“After extracting the bootloader it was only a couple of days’ worth of work to get iPod Linux booting,” Leach told New Scientist. “Otherwise it would have taken months.”

Does anyone doubt that the kid would have forged on anyhow even if it did take months? This bizarre impulse to mess around with things is why we’re not all still living in caves, mud huts and thatched dwellings. I love the phrase “unlike most new iPod owners”, as if ten or fifteen percent of them are modifying the operating systems.

Mailvox: Another Republican bites the dust

Jeanne can’t take it any longer:

Screw the Republicans. What a flippin’ joke! 55 seats in the Senate and they slink around worried about what the Democrats think and propose tax increases! Are you ****ing kidding me!!

I was stupid enough to stick by Bush through this last election, to defend him, to vote for him and he gets re-lected with a good majority in the Senate and this is what we get? A proposed tax increase?

Baseless cowards! Screw them all. This literally raises my blood pressure spike!!!

Where is that voter registration change form…..

Unfortunately, former Democrats appear to be flooding into the Grand Old Party even faster than those who genuinely love freedom are fleeing it. Thus, one can expect the Republican Party to continue to move left, perhaps even nominating a pro-choice presidential candidate such as Condoleeza Rice. That could get interesting.

Perhaps in the next election, people will be more inclined to base their vote on less nonsensical and mathematically challenged grounds than the inevitable “a vote for [2008 Libertarian candidate] is a vote for [2008 Democratic candidate]” mantra.

Oh Captain, my Captain

Captain Ed visualizes world peace… in a graveyard:

“United Nations peacekeepers have gone on the offensive against a militia group in Congo, deploying helicopters and killing nearly 60 people in the biggest battle fought by the world body in more than a decade.”

The wave of democratization that has accompanied the steel will of George Bush to enforce the terms of the cease-fire and UNSC resolutions involving Saddam has changed the demeanor of the tinpot dictators of Southwest Asia; it may have inflamed the ire of the Europeans in the short term, but it put a lot of credibility into American warnings. The UN has lost that credibility after a decade of fleeing at the first shot, and if they want to regain any ability to actually keep peace, they need more examples of this kind of reaction to provocation. This is a good start.”

Blessed be the peacekeepers, for they shall rack up a body count. So, it’s important for the most dangerous organization on the planet, one utterly dedicated to nothing less than destroying national sovereignty, to demonstrate its willingness to slaughter? I wish I could say that it is stunning to me, as an ex-Republican, to see the voices of the party, large and small, embracing the would-be Last Reich.

I should add that George Bush may not be Hitler, but he and his “steel will” are looking more and more like Bismarck. Unlike the president’s leftist critics, I wouldn’t dream of denying that the recent developments in the Middle East are the direct result of his decision to uphold the ideals and defend the credibility of the United Nations by invading, liberating and then occupying Iraq. I also suspect that this military muscle flexing on the part of the blue helmets is inspired by it as well.

A few years ago, I wrote a novel that began with a blue-helmeted force of UN Peacekeepers going into combat against a rebel militia force. But I never imagined that less than a decade later, we’d be reading about UN troops going on the offensive in the bloody news.

Devils in the details

Robert Novak writes:

For many Republicans, the Bush Social Security bill is beginning to look like a bridge too far. They would like to abandon what they see as an impossible quest. However, the president is committed — a commitment that now is not limited to personal accounts but necessarily includes basic revision of how Social Security is financed and distributed.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a first-term Republican senator from South Carolina, has taken the lead in searching for a bill that would attract a few Democrats who are essential for passage. Three months ago, he proposed raising above $90,000 the amount of individual income subject to the Social Security payroll tax in order to pay “transition costs” for personal accounts. That brought down the conservative house on Graham for “negotiating with himself.”

Many things have happened since then. Bush said that raising the tax cap is on the table

Surprise, surprise. Instead of replacing the Ponzi scheme, it appears likely that the total tax base will be raised, thus allowing personal accounts to replace personal income. Which, as I wrote on Monday, would be a net LOSS of freedom, instead of the expansion of freedom it is being portrayed as.

The only good Social Security reform is elimination. Given the enthusiasm of America’s most vocal and politically active group for the program, that would appear to be extremely unlikely.