Impressive bow wave

I don’t link to youtube videos. Most of the time when I see one embedded or linked on a site, I don’t even bother to watch it, but for some reason this one caught my attention.

I won’t embed the video or link to youtube, but here’s a link to the site I saw it embedded on:

It’s only a minute or so long. Here’s my takeaway from it: After that guy really gets under steam, look at the bow wave that hippo is making. That thing can move!

The Lion is the king of the beasts? A Hippo may vigorously contest that assertion.

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Judges who don’t understand how the law works

I truly don’t understand how we end up with judges like this…don’t they have to be vetted or something? It doesn’t matter which political party their rulings favor, or what level of court they’re at, it seems like a basic job requirement of someone who wants to be a judge should be “have a basic understanding of how the law works”.

Here’s what I mean by that: Legislators write the laws. The state or federal executive signs the laws and is responsible for overseeing enforcement of them. Judges interpret the laws to ensure that they are consistent, understandable, constitutional, and applied as written.

So, I’m often flabbergasted when a judge, whether in the majority opinion or the dissent, makes it plainly obvious that they don’t understand what their role is.

I could cite examples all day long including the original Rowe Vs. Wade decision, All the rulings upholding the rampant abuse of the interstate commerce clause over the years, the dissent in the recent abortion and second amendment rulings etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

But the one that brought this to the forefront of my mind today is the dissent to a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling determining that absentee ballot drop boxes are, indeed, illegal under Wisconsin law.

“We hold the documents are invalid because ballot drop boxes are illegal under Wisconsin statutes,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in the majority opinion.  “An absentee ballot must be returned by mail or the voter must personally deliver it to the municipal clerk at the clerk’s office or a designated alternate site.”

Here’s how Wisconsin law section 6.87(4)(b)1. actually states it:

The envelope shall be mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.

The way the law is written, the only possible conclusion a competent jurist could possibly reach is that anonymous dropoffs of absentee ballots in an unmonitored drop box is illegal.

But it wasn’t a unanimous opinion. In fact, it was a 4-3 decision. Considering how clearly this is spelled out in the law, how could it have possibly not been unanimous? I can only conclude that the three dissenters don’t understand how the law works and what their role is in that system.

As with so many other decisions like this, the dissenting opinion bears that out.

The dissent goes to great pains to illustrate that the term “municipal clerk” is a title, not a location. That if the legislature intended for the ballot to be delivered to the municipal clerk’s office, it would have said as much, but that by saying the ballot is to be delivered to the “municipal clerk”, the proper interpretation is that the ballot can be delivered to the municipal clerk or a representatives of said clerk, at any location…including drop boxes.

The problem is, the dissent completely ignores a key word in the law: “personally”. The elector must personally deliver the ballot. I don’t care what planet you live on, dropping something in an unattended box to be picked up later is pretty much the opposite of “personally delivering” it. When I put a piece of mail in the mailbox and raise the flag, am I personally delivering that letter to its recipient? For that matter, could I even be considered to have personally delivered the letter to the Mailman? I think not.

What the entire dissent boils down to is summarized in the second paragraph of it:

Although it pays lip service to the import of the right to vote, the majority/lead opinion has the practical effect of making it more difficult to exercise it. Such a result, although lamentable, is not a surprise from this court. It has seemingly taken the opportunity to make it harder to vote or to inject confusion into the process whenever it has been presented with the opportunity.

In other words…it doesn’t matter what the law actually says, what matters is how the law is inconveniencing people.

The dissent basically says the law is wrong because they don’t like it.

That’s not a judge’s job. If the law makes it inconvenient for the voters, the voters should lobby the legislators to change the law, or elect new legislators who will. A judge just arbitrarily ruling that the law doesn’t mean what it plainly says is the very definition of judicial activism.

So how do these judges who clearly don’t understand their role continue to be elevated to higher and higher courts? Heck, I don’t understand how they can still be lawyers. When you clearly don’t understand the most basic premise of your chosen vocation, I’d think you wouldn’t last long.

Does a plumber who connects the faucets to the sewer line keep getting promoted? Does a Veterinary doctor who writes prescriptions for people go unchallenged? Does a psychiatrist who tells people it’s not crazy of them to think they’re a woman trapped in a man’s body continue to get new patients?…oh…wait a minute. Bad example.

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More great news for the Navy

The Navy has recently announced it is going to enjoy a dramatic increase in operational and combat readiness as a result of it’s new policy requiring the use of politically correct pronouns.

The U.S. Navy this week gave America another unfortunate peek at its priorities when a video surfaced that showed two engineers at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Rhode Island talking about, you guessed it — “the importance of using correct pronouns.” 

I have to wonder, does this apply to ships as well? Traditionally, western navies have referred to their ships using feminine pronouns (for some strange reason, the Russians refer to their ships as male…Does it say something about the Russian navy that their sailors prefer to be inside males? We report, you decide) so the question is, are ships now to be referred to as “ze” and “zer”?

At any rate, I’m sure they’ll get that all worked out, I’m just happy to see that the Navy is finally getting their priorities straight and addressing this issue that’s so vital to combat readiness and our ability to take the fight to the enemy.

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Are Democrats seeing the light?

I keep seeing stories like these pop up:

A new study shows that over one million voters across the country, particularly in suburban areas, are switching parties ahead of November’s midterm elections, in a massive warning for the incumbent Democratic Party.

The question I have is whether this really indicates people are switching parties, or is this a concerted effort in certain states to undermine the Republican primaries before the next election?

Actually, there’s really no question that it’s a bit of both, the question is how much of each?

You don’t have to be registered as a republican to vote for the republican candidate in the general election, only to vote in the primaries (in states that require registration). In my experience, it’s typically the seriously politically involved that bother to vote in the primaries. So I’m to believe that democrat true believers, the motivated democrat voters who register as democrats so they can vote for the “right” candidate in the primaries, are suddenly switching parties and instantly becoming true believers in the republican platform?

Let’s just say: color me skeptical. I suspect that a large bit of this is driven by democrats registering as republican to try to sabotage the republican candidates that have the best chance of winning the general election. That’s been a democrat strategy for a long time. It’s much easier for them to execute in “open primary” states (like Virginia) but if they have to switch their registrations to do it in closed primary states, they won’t hesitate.

I think the republican pundits are reading way too much into the numbers.

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What a shock

Military recruitment is down significantly.

Amid the first conventional war in Europe since 1945 and China’s massive military buildup — including nuclear weapons — the U.S. military is experiencing a dangerous drop in its warfighting capability. The U.S. Army, the largest service, has only reached 40 percent of its recuiting goal with just more than three months remaining in the fiscal year.

Leftists aren’t exactly the predominant demographic to choose the military life. When you turn the military into something that actively repels the demographic that would traditionally be drawn in that direction, it shouldn’t be a surprise when recruitment dries up.

“We need people to volunteer to serve in the military but we really don’t want the people who would voluntarily serve in the military.”

Great philosophy for success. Kind of reminds me of Groucho Marx’ quip that he wouldn’t want to be a member of any club with low enough standards to accept him as a member.

My son was considering entering the military (Marines) after he graduated from college ten years ago or so. Interestingly, the fact that he didn’t use ROTC to pay for his college ended up being a detriment. After the process dragged on for over a year, he finally decided to write it off and go in a different direction. I’m certainly glad he dodged that bullet.

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Murder-proof schools

OK, things have started calming down a bit and some actual information is beginning to show up, rather than the overhyped opinions of people who weren’t there and have an overinflated sense of self-importance.

An Interview of the Uvalde Schools Police Chief sheds a little light:

The chief of police for the Uvalde school district spent more than an hour in the hallway of Robb Elementary School. He called for tactical gear, a sniper and keys to get inside, holding back from the doors for 40 minutes to avoid provoking sprays of gunfire. When keys arrived, he tried dozens of them, but one by one they failed to work.

“Each time I tried a key I was just praying,” Arredondo said. Finally, 77 minutes after the massacre began, officers were able to unlock the door and fatally shoot the gunman.

So the big problem was that the school and room were locked so tight and the doors so impregnable that they flat couldn’t get in to stop the shooter.

That’s the problem that I see with the solution of “hardening” the schools against intrusion. That method has to succeed 100% of the time to be effective. That’s an impossible standard. A potential school shooter has effectively unlimited time to find a way in. Once they do that, after they are in, all those hardened entry points act to protect them, rather than deter them. They are now the one inside the impregnable fortress and the good guys are the ones trying to breach…but the good guys don’t have unlimited time to do so.

We come back to the fact that the true “first responder” is the victim and self defense is the most important form of defense. An entire classroom (or two? that’s unclear to me) of students was barricaded in with a murderous lunatic and the only one armed was the lunatic. Am I the only one who sees the issue here? It’s certainly not the hundreds of millions of guns owned by Americans that weren’t inside the school at the time. If just one of them had been there, in the hands of one of the teachers, things might have turned out dramatically differently.

That’s the problem with gun control measures. None of them make it harder for the bad guys who have the benefit of unlimited time to plan and scheme and acquire equipment through both legal and illegal means. Those laws only make it harder for the good guys, who have to be ready to defend themselves or others at a moment’s notice and only with the tools they have immediately on hand.

Personally, I think that turning every school into a ready made reinforced bunker full of unarmed victims for any nutball with a burning desire to go out in a blaze of infamy is not a great idea.

But that’s just me.

Hat tip on the Police Chief interview to The New Neo

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Eloquence

Something I lack.

Someone put into words a concept that I’ve been trying but failing to properly convey for years:

Children become adults—autonomous individuals—by separating from their parents: by rebelling, by rejecting, by, at the very least, asserting.

The attributes of adulthood—responsibility, maturity, self-sacrifice, self-control—are no longer valued, and frequently no longer modeled. So children are stuck: they want to be adults, but they don’t know how. They want to be adults, but it’s easier to remain children. Like children, they can only play at being adults.

There is a concept in the Navy that’s a bit foreign to civilians but it’s apt here. It’s called “working yourself out of a job”. The military is a young man’s game. It’s a physically challenging life and the toll can be high even when not in combat. So, in the military, a solid 50% of the job is to teach the people coming up behind you how to do your job. If a military member can’t perform their duties for any reason, and there aren’t at least two or three other people who can step in seamlessly, that military member failed.

I took the same approach with my kids. My job as a parent was to prepare my kids to take care of themselves; not to coddle them through every situation but to teach them to figure things out on their own. Teach them to improvise, adapt and overcome.

Many parents these days seem to have lost sight of that job. They want to be their kid’s best friends rather than their parents. Pro-tip: You can be your kid’s best friend when they’re out on their own, self-sufficient and have kids of their own to raise. If you try to do it before then, that time will likely never come.

Anyway, the entire column linked above is well worth the read. It’s not long and he says it way better than I ever could.

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More victims of the Opioid Crisis

Just not the kind you normally think of:

Lewis had undergone back surgery on May 19. He complained of extreme pain after the surgery, but the surgeon, Dr. Preston Phillips, refused to prescribe more medication.

I’ve known several people in the past 10 years or so who’ve struggled with things like this. The scrutiny that doctors have been under make them very wary of prescribing opioids for pain.

I get that it’s a problem…that there are unscrupulous doctors who will write prescriptions for people who don’t need it, but like any government response, it’s gone way overboard in many cases and people who are legitimately suffering can’t get relief because their doctors are afraid to prescribe them anything strong enough to actually get the pain under control.

Especially things like back and neck pain can be very difficult to diagnose and it’s difficult sometimes to tell whether the person is legitimately in pain or is exhibiting drug seeking behaviors.

The problem is that the government has made it so dangerous for doctors to prescribe narcotics for pain, that they routinely err on the side of denial. Legitimately suffering patients just, well, suffer. And after the primary physician denies their request, if the patient tries to go to another doctor for help…well…”doctor shopping” is one of the major red flags they look for to identify “drug seeking” behavior. Doing the only thing that might get you the help you need is used as evidence in denying you that help.

So, when someone is legitimately in severe pain, can’t get any relief and has little hope of it ever getting better, I can see them snapping like this. “I can’t live with this pain, but if I’m going to die, I’m taking the a$$hole who did this to me with me.”

People in that kind of pain can’t function. There is often no position they find comfortable for more than a few minutes. They can’t sleep, they often can’t eat, they can’t work, they can’t concentrate on anything. Their life literally becomes a living hell.

It’s probably not even the doctor’s fault…he’s just living with the rules that have been thrust upon him…but I’ve seen it in others before. The doctor’s professional demeanor comes across as uncaring and the person who’s in excruciating pain needs someone to blame.

I know that opioid addition is a terrible problem right now, but honestly, why is it any of the government’s business what substances anyone chooses to ingest? The government’s job is to protect us from each other, not from ourselves. Medical decisions should be made strictly between a patient and their physician and government meddling should have no part in it.

But, unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. Human nature dictates that there is a percentage of the population who believes they should have the power to tell other people how to live their lives and a large percentage of the population willing to let them do so.

And those of us who don’t need a baby sitter suffer for it.

Hat tip to I Hate the Media

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Another one bites the dust

I used to read “The Hill” quite a bit. It’s fairly leftist most of the time, but occasionally would publish a right leaning article, plus they used disqus for comments and didn’t censor comments.

One of my primary considerations for whether a site is a “daily read” versus only going there when someone links something of particular interest to me, is the ability to engage in unfettered discussion, so, The Hill was one of the few news sites that I frequented.

I actually had been cutting back on my time there because I’d noticed that more and more they were closing comments early or not allowing them at all on some stories. If they didn’t want dissenting opinions to see the light of day, they’d just close comments…ostensibly to foster “civility”.

Well, apparently they decided to go whole hog and completely eliminate their comments section:

My guess is that they got tired of being called out for censorship so they decided to let the pros handle that. Send the conversation over to “big tech” so that when conservative comments get censored, The Hill has plausible deniability.

Well, since I don’t use Facebook or Twitter, that means I have no voice on The Hill and that means I won’t be frequenting their site any more. Oh well, no big loss for either them or I.

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