Looking good Federalism

Federalism Looks Better & Better:

Whatever you may think about the national election returns, the statewide elections here in Georgia are affirming my support for increased federalism. Several Constitutional amendments here in Georgia are showing very strong, and deserved support:

1) An anti-Kelo amendment restricting eminent domain;

2) An amendment affirming the right to hunt and fish, and requiring the state to manage public lands so that all Georgians have access to those activities;

3) Amendments to restrict ad valorem taxes for farms and ranches;

4) Amendments to establish new homestead exemptions to ad valorem taxes for the widows of slain policemen and firefighters.

I assume most of you are reasonably pleased with local outcomes, however pleased or distressed you may be by the direction of Congress. Mark that. By pushing power down to the states and localities, we can each of us better have the life we want. Americans may not all agree about how best to govern, but that doesn't mean America can't be for all of us.


CENTCOM Sends (A Blogger!):

Confederate Yankee interviews the Bloodhounds, the 615th Military Police Company, 89th MP Brigade. The MPs express support for the mission in Iraq, though there are notes of caution as well.

Interestingly, the blog interview was brought to my attention by CENTCOM -- they sent me an email, so I'd tell you about it. Good to see them engaging bloggers.

The Times on Snipers:

You have probably seen the New York Times / International Herald Tribune story on the problem of snipers. I've been trying to figure out what to say about it.

The worst thing I can say about it is to point out an omission in it. C. J. Chivers, the author, writes:

Most of the time, the marines said, the snipers aim for the troops' heads, necks and armpits, displaying knowledge of gaps in their protective gear.
"Displaying knowledge of gaps in their protective gear." And where did that knowledge come from?

Perhaps from the fact that the New York Times published a diagram of our body armor, helpfully showing where it was vulnerable?

That's information that really should have been included in this story, if the point is to give people an honest reading of the problem of snipers. Or, for that matter, the problem of the insurgency: the fact that media coverage of insurgent attacks has been demonstrated to increase their frequency. It's a force multiplier. Anyone writing on the topic -- and I'm not suggesting they shouldn't ever write on it -- should not only keep that in mind, but make the point. The reader should always be reminded that the insurgent was thinking of them, as much as the Marine, when he pulled the trigger.

The omission -- especially of the mention of body-armor diagrams -- isn't the only complaint to make. Most of the complaints with the series focus on the pictures, because they drive raw emotions. What Cassandra said here about the earlier part of the series goes as well for this part. An editorial decision to publish pictures of bloodied US Marines is just that: a decision.

How to judge that decision? Allah points out that the Times front-paged the worst picture, not the best one. Both images are just as valid -- which one do you lead with? They led with the one that shows blood and pain, not the one that shows a fellow Marine putting his own body between the wounded man and the sniper, ready to reply to further shots with his grenade launcher.

The same decision was made in the text. The reporter made a decision to treat the problem in graphic, emotional terms. That is a valid way to treat it -- bullet wounds are nasty, and the emotions people feel are real. Having wounds described in these direct terms gives you a sense of the real sacrifice our Marines make, and the risks to which they volunteer time and again to expose themselves.

Like the Times, though, while his story has all the data, it leads with the wound. It could have led with other things. It ought to have admitted its own complicity in the problem of snipers.

A reflection of that sort -- on the degree to which their past coverage has literally helped the enemy hurt Marines -- would be wise. Perhaps it would cause them to consider more carefully what they print in the future.


Boom Times:

For this NYT story to have the meaning they ascribe to it, the following things would have to be true:

1) Saddam had plans for nuclear weapons that were highly advanced;
2) So highly that -- as I read the timeline -- they were better than fifteen years' further along than Iran's plans;
3) ...even with the help Iran received from AQ Khan (which may explain why Saddam's government turned down Khan's offer to sell them technology).

Now that kind of puts the war in a different light, doesn't it?


"Like, it's an Inkblot? And it tells about your mind?"

Tickle, a webservice that hosts what they are proud to call "Ph.D. certified tests," has their "inkblot" test free right now. If you like online tests (or if, like me, you enjoy mocking psychology), you might want to stop by and spend a quick few minutes at it.

I have a theory about the subconscious too -- to whit, that it's pretty obvious to everyone around you where your subconscious mind is these days. Everybody can tell, for example, when the two kids in accounting have the hots for each other but don't know it yet. It's something humanity is well hardwired to do.

That being the case, longtime readers doubtless have a pretty good idea what drives me. You won't be surprised, therefore, by my results:

Your unconscious mind is driven mostly by Peace!
I'm sure that's just what we'd all have guessed.

There's a long writeup, of which I'll give you the intro. I expect that pretty much all the results prove that you're a natural leader, etc., since Tickle is selling the product and no one wants to hear that they're a psychopath. Still, it's amusing.
By having your unconscious mind driven most by Peace, it appears that you feel a level of comfort with yourself and with your surroundings that many people lack. By having respect for others and caring about the world around you, you may have gained a reputation for kindness and personal integrity. This can make you a role model for others who'd like to be as driven by the same high ideals as you seem to be. While you may want to be comfortable and have nice things, ambition and financial gain probably aren't the things that drive you most. You're more likely lead by a desire to live by your own high personal standards and moral code.

People who have peace as their unconscious drive tend to be independent thinkers who appreciate taking the time to get to know themselves well. If this is true for you, you're probably not one to shy away from life's big questions. You may even seek out chances to learn new things about yourself. By being willing to examine who you are and staying open to your environment, you foster a kind of fearlessness that can continually enrich your life.
See how you fare. I'll buy lunch for the first person who gets a result that doesn't prove that they're secretly admired by all humanity for their high ideals and excellent character.

UPDATE: The wife looked it over, and said, "That's really accurate. You create peace and order around you. Whether people like it or not."

Yeah, OK. I'm a peacemaker. Just like Colonel Colt.


Cartoonists on Electric Voting:

Armed Liberal at Winds of Change recently linked to this Foxtrot cartoon on electronic voting machines. Now, I see that DilbertBlog has a few things to say too:

there’s a 100% chance that the voting machines will get hacked and all future elections will be rigged. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get a worse government. It probably means that the choice of the next American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket, autofellating, corporate shitbags and put it into the hands of some teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement?

Statistically speaking, any hacker who is skilled enough to rig the elections will also be smart enough to select politicians that believe in . . . oh, let’s say for example, science.... The important thing with democracy – and this has always been the case – is that the citizens a) Believe the election result is based on the common sense and voting rights of the citizens, and b) Have enough handguns to wax any politicians who gets too seriously out of line (also known as a “check and balance”).

And here the definition of “seriously out of line” would not include humping interns and stealing from taxpayers. Those things should be allowed, even encouraged, so we can attract the most capable candidates from private industry.

Call me an optimist, but electronic voting machines make me feel good about my country.

Is it too late to start selling bumper stickers that say “I think I voted”?
Well, that makes me feel a lot better. I think InstaPundit is right -- paper ballots are the wave of the future! Except, of course, that the hackers will oppose it.