Steve G.

Archive for March 15th, 2008|Daily archive page

Should third parties nominate their presidential candidate much earlier than the major parties?

In Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics on March 15, 2008 at 4:14 am

Kn@ppsterI found this entry on Thomas Knapp’s blog, Kn@ppster, and found it quite interesting. Here is an excerpt; you can read it in its entry in its entirety at the link:

I’m not one for silver bullets—no one thing will put third party candidates into contention for the presidency—but some changes just make sense. One of those changes is nominating earlier. My recollection is that the Libertarian Party used to nominate its presidential candidates the year before the election. Andre Marrou was nominated for president in 1991. Ron Paul was nominated in 1987. And so on, and so forth. It was only in 1996 that the LP moved its nominating convention into the year of the election itself.

Late nominating conventions handicap third parties. We can’t expect the kind of pre-nomination media coverage that “major party” candidates get. The sooner a party positions itself behind a nominee, the sooner that nominee has access to the party’s full pool of presidential contributors and can get to work reaching beyond the party to the American public. It’s all well and good to hope that a pre-nomination third party candidate will “break out” and catch the mainstream media eye … but it seldom works out that way.

I think Tom Knapp makes a very good point. As far as I can see, the only downside to nominating earlier is that third parties won’t get any media attention at all during the primaries. Right now they don’t get much, but it does get them at least mentioned in many newspapers.

Then again, can the third parties overcome that negative, and list their presidential nominee on the primary ballot, as just one candidate for that office? I’m honestly not sure. If so, it would look in the press as if that one candidate has a great deal of support within the party, rather than as it is now when it appears to the public that each candidate receives a little support here, and a little support there. Making third party candidates appear to have overwhelming support during the primaries can only be a good thing.

On the other hand, many third party voters wouldn’t even bother to vote during the primaries, if they knew their candidate had already been chosen, so there may be no reason to mention them at all in the mainstream media.

It’s a complicated issue, and one which should be thoroughly explored.
_____________________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Cops Gone Wild: Vehicular Manslaughter Edition

In Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Crime, Health, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Local Politics, Media, Obituaries, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police Brutality, Politics, Science on March 15, 2008 at 4:08 am

tarnished badgeIn Ironton, Ohio last night, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a police cruiser, driven by a cop on his way to work. Unbelievably, the cruiser dragged the man for blocks, and the cop allegedly didn’t even realize he was dragging a human underneath his cruiser. In fact, he dragged the man all the way to the police station, over a half a mile away!

I don’t buy that “I didn’t know I’d hit someone” story at all. If a driver hit a dog, they’d know it, and they’d know if they were dragging the dog because there would be noise and bumps involved. Given that a human is much bigger than a dog, how much more would someone realize they were dragging a human?

I suspect the cop was hoping the guy’s body would disengage from the cruiser, and then he could be the first on the scene, blaming someone else for the death.

The victim, Guy Thomas, age 46, was a block away from home when the accident occurred. His family found his shoe and his wallet two blocks away from the point of impact. The family has still not been contacted by the police, which makes me think the cops are circling the wagons already. At the very least, the Police Chief should have gone to the family’s house, apologized and offered his condolences, and assured them that all steps will be taken to get to the bottom of it. The police have asked the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to become involved, which is a positive, but at the same time, how can they not contact the family? How can they even make a positive identification without contacting the family, when the man’s wallet was found elsewhere?

Even if it was an accident, which is altogether possible, it does not excuse the actions of the police following the incident. If your car hits and kills someone, chances are you’re going to be arrested. The cop in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

However, if a citizen hit and killed someone and dragged their body for blocks, do you think the cops would believe them if they said they didn’t know they’d hit someone? No way would that story be believed, and the driver would be booked and charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter, as well as hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident.

This cop should be treated like anyone else would be treated under the same circumstances. He should be arrested, not just placed on administrative leave. That he hasn’t been arrested is outrageous.

You can read more about this – some of the comments are quite interesting – on WSAZ.

UPDATE 3/10 @ 3 pm: Police have confirmed that the victim is Guy Thomas, and that he was found dead beneath the cruiser’s rear bumper; and that the officer who hit him is 27-year-old Patrolman Richard Fouts. Fouts has been with the police department for only two months. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Why isn’t the cop being charged criminally for leaving the scene of an accident, and hit and run, along with vehicular manslaughter? Do you really think that if you or I ran over someone, then dragged them for over a half mile under our car, that we wouldn’t be arrested when we tried to claim that we didn’t know we did that?

The police say they are waiting to find out if Mr. Thomas was dead before he was hit by the police car. Does that really matter at this point, other than giving the cops an excuse to cover for the cop who committed a horrible, incomprehensible crime?

To believe that, one would have to believe that Mr. Thomas was seen alive just moments before he was hit, yet he suddenly died, fell in the middle of the road, and was hit by a cop who then cluelessly dragged his dead body for over a half mile.

Whoever came up with that one should be writing fiction for a living. Even if Mr. Thomas was dead when he was hit, it does not excuse the officer lying about whether he knew that he hit a human and was dragging a human body underneath his car; he had to have known that. That cop still committed a crime, either way. He committed hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident, both of which are criminal charges.

Put that cop in jail, or at the very least suspend him without pay while the investigation is ongoing. The level of disparate prosecution in this case is shocking.

_______________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Legislators Gone Wild: Heywood Jablome Edition

In Children, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Crazy Claims, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Local Politics, Nanny State, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Republican, Shine on you crazy diamond on March 15, 2008 at 4:02 am

Tim CouchI’m not exactly sure why someone who sits on a state legislature (where he represents about two and a half obscure rural counties out of 120 counties in the state) thinks that he can legislate what everyone in the world does, but

Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site.

Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted. If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

Representative Couch says he filed the bill in hopes of cutting down on online bullying. He says that has especially been a problem in his Eastern Kentucky district.

Ah, eastern Kentucky, home of one of this blog’s all-time favorite criminals, the Duct Tape Bandit. LOL. That probably answers my original question in this thread.

Aside from the logistics, in that it is absolutely impossible for a state legislature to legislate the behavior of everyone on the internet – no matter how hard they may try – is this a good idea?

Even though I covered the Megan Meier controversy to a great degree, I think it is a horrible idea, and I’ll tell you why.

What happened to Megan Meier was an anomaly. That poor young girl was mentally ill, as evidenced by the fact that she was prescribed not just anti-depressants, but also Geodon, an anti-psychotic. Her adult neighbor Lori Drew was well aware of this, so what she did to that child is absolutely unconscionable, whether one believes she is responsible for Megan’s death or not.

While I realize there are people who have mental illnesses on the internet – and sometimes I wonder if the majority of people posting on the internet have a mental illness – the internet is not a nanny, nor should anyone expect it to be. It is also not a place for children, or the otherwise weak at heart. It is definitely rated “R”, so no one who couldn’t get into an R-rated movie shouldn’t be here in the first place, unless they have parental guidance.

Some other parts of the internet are rated NC-17, some are rated X. With some websites, you don’t even realize you are going to an X-rated site until you are already there (another problem, but responsible internet users simply don’t click on unknown links in the first place).

I can write an article as ElfNinosGreatAuntTilley, and as long as I don’t harm anyone in the process, it is not a crime for me to do that. The right to anonymity is a basic right. It is a right which I exercise everytime I log onto this blog. It is a right which I exercise in my personal life on a fairly regular basis. The fact of the matter is that no one is entitled to know my name, in real life or on the internet. I’m not doing anything wrong, and in fact I do a lot to help others in life, but I like my privacy.

Why do I think it is important for me to post under a pseudonym? There are several reasons, all of which I feel are perfectly valid.

I used to regularly bust scammers on Quatloos, cooperating with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to get these slimeballs behind bars where they belong, and in that capacity I angered some extremely dangerous people. Once I even angered a man who was a dirty ex-NYPD cop, and a former enforcer with the Colombo crime family (yes, the mafia). He had stolen millions from people in a scam wherein he pretended to be a loan company for people who can’t get conventional loans, and he would charge them a large up-front fee. He did his best to ascertain my real identity, and made multiple threats of physical violence against me, including both murder and rape.

In a situation like that, I have two choices. I can either bust the guy under a pseudonym, and be able to sleep at night, or I can do so under my real name, and end up moving every few months. I choose to stay put.

As most of you are aware, I am a professional writer, and I write about true crime as well as criminology issues. However, I didn’t sign up for the publicity which comes with that. I have a unique name, and I don’t want people coming onto this blog to ask me the same questions I’ve been asked (and answered) a million times, and harassing my friends who visit this blog; yet I have every reason to believe they will do that, because that’s what they did when I had a professional website. I just want to be me when I’m here, and I want others to feel comfortable posting here as well.

Tim Couch may not think those are valid reasons for me to not use my real name on the internet, and he’s entitled to his opinion. At the same time, I didn’t elect him, and I don’t live in Kentucky, so his opinion could not possibly be more irrelevant to me.

The fact of the matter is that there are more than enough laws already on the books to handle any situation which might arise on the internet, regardless of whether the person is using their real name or a pseudonym. There are laws against stalking, harassment, obscenity, and other problems. Sure, it might not be easy to find the perpetrator, but it’s not always easy to find perpetrators in real life either.

There are laws to cover what Lori Drew did to Megan Meier, too, if the authorities would use their heads. She could be charged under child abuse laws, stalking laws, harassment laws … the list goes on and on. I don’t know why they decided to not charge her, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t be charged if the prosecutor wanted to do so. Of course, now a federal grand jury is considering charges against her for wire fraud, since she used a false name on MySpace for the specific intention of stalking and harassing another person (though that’s a Catch-22, since Megan Meier also falsified her age with her mother’s permission, as she was otherwise too young to have a MySpace account). It’s not a problem to use a false name in and of itself. It only becomes a problem when someone uses a false name in order to commit a crime, which is something the vast majority of people on the internet will never do.

So, in a nutshell, I think Kentucky State Representative Tim Couch needs to worry about things which are actually under his control. He is not in a position to legislate the internet, since he is just a state legislator. He has, like a typical politician, grabbed onto a controversial issue to get publicity. Even if his law passes, he is only giving his constituents a false sense of security on the internet since the law would not apply to anyone outside that state; he’d do a far greater service to his constituents if he introduced a bill to fund a public information program about the internet, or requiring that children in his state be educated about the dangers of the internet. He knows or should know that he has no jurisdiction to legislate the internet. If he doesn’t know that, he isn’t smart enough to be making laws in the first place.

______________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Is the VA prescribing a fatal cocktail to returning soldiers?

In Children, Department of Veterans Affairs, Health, Iraq War, Media, Military, Obituaries, War on March 15, 2008 at 3:45 am

I found this very disturbing local story while looking for updates on the cop who hit and killed a pedestrian, dragged his body under the police cruiser for over half a mile, then claimed he didn’t know he had hit anyone.Soldiers dying in their sleepApparently a lot of young soldiers are making it through the war, and coming home only to die in their sleep unexpectedly. Even more strangely, this has happened three times within a three-week period, to three families in West Virginia who live within an hour of one another.

Is the Veterans Administration giving returning soldiers a fatal cocktail of medication for post-traumatic stress disorder? It certainly seems that way, since all three of these young men were taking the same drug cocktail. Healthy young men don’t just die in their sleep. Something stopped their respiration while they were sleeping, and I’d guess it was the drugs they were prescribed combined with their disturbed sleep patterns.

I haven’t heard anything about this in the national media. Is this a national epidemic? It’s possible that it is, and journalists just haven’t put the pieces together to realize that.

Clearly, anyone reading this who is taking that combination of drugs (or knows someone else who is taking it) needs to contact their doctor immediately.

“He would normally stay up watching TV at night because it was hard for him to sleep and I went ahead and went to bed. The next morning when I got up, I found him on the couch, he was in the same position he was in when he went to sleep and he was already gone,” Layne said.

A soldier from Kanawha City, Eric Layne left behind an 18-month old son and a baby girl on the way.

Meanwhile, Logan County resident Cheryl Endicott’s son Nicholas died January 29th while being treated at a military hospital in Bethesda.

He too reportedly went to bed and never woke up.

“They told me that at 10:55, they entered his room, he was non-responsive, had no pulse so they deceased him right then and there,” said Endicott.

Finally, on February 12th Stan and Shirley White lost their son Andrew, another Kanawha County service member who stopped breathing in his sleep. For the Whites, it was the second son they said goodbye too. Robert White died while serving in Afghanistan.

“You’re always expecting and fearing when your children are at war that they’re not going to make it back. They don’t come back and lie in their bed, go to sleep and die. That doesn’t happen. That’s not supposed to happen,” Stan White said.

Each family heard about the others’ tragedies and eventually compared stories.

All three men were in their 20s, served in Iraq and died in their sleep within a three-week period, but that’s only the beginning of the similarities.

Each military man was being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and had started exhibiting the same strange behavior and symptoms.

“Excessive weight gain, anger management disturbed sleep patterns, tremors,” White said.

The young men were each taking a number of prescription drugs before they died, but the combination they all had in common includes Paxil, Klonopin and Seroquel.

You can read the rest of this extremely disturbing article here.

___________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Is it just me, or does this not make sense?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Science on March 15, 2008 at 3:38 am

Alden Link is a Libertarian candidate for the Libertarian presidential nomination. He’s an older gentleman, and his main emphasis seems to be on nuclear power. He claims that nuclear power plants can produce enough gasoline to end our dependence upon foreign oil.I’m no scientist, but I don’t understand how nuclear power plants can produce gasoline. Perhaps someone reading this can explain if the following is possible:

A nuclear power plant has the energy to produce about 15 thousand barrels of gasoline a day.

Given the following equivalents:
• 1 watt equals 3.4 british thermal units (BTU)
• 1 nuclear power plant produces 1,000,000,000 watts
• 1 barrel of gasoline contains 42 gallons
• 1 gallon of gasoline is equal to 125,000 btu
• 1 day has 24 hours

1) 1,000,000,000 watts / hour x 3.4 btu = 3,400,000,000 btu/hour
2) 3,400,000,000 btu/hour divided by 125,000 btu/gallon =27,200 gallons per hour
3) 27,200 gals./hour divided by 42 gallons per barrel = 647 barrels/hour
4) 647 barrels per hour x 24 hours = 15,542 barrels of gasoline per day

The raw materials needed for this process are carbon from recycled atmospheric carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water. This process is therefore non polluting and actually cleans the air

The United States imports about 13,000,000 barrels of oil per day. Some of it is used to run electric generating facilities. Most is used as motor fuels.

If the US builds 900 nuclear power plants for converting energy to fuel we would be energy independent. and not need ANY imported oil. More power plants than that and we could export petroleum products.

_______________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Christine Smith openly insults male LP opponents during radio interview

In Barry Hess, Christine Smith, Crazy Claims, Fraud, George Phillies, Humor, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond, Steve Kubby on March 15, 2008 at 3:02 am

Christine Smith looking presidential, LOLI will readily admit that I am not a fan of Christine Smith; in fact, I have been quite harsh in my criticisms of her and her campaign. Honestly, I felt a little bad about it …. until now. I realize now that I probably wasn’t harsh enough.

She was recently interviewed by WTAN-AM1340. Here is a short excerpt from Third Party Watch:

I’ll highlight the portions which might be controversial, debatable or otherwise of interest.

“I’m the leading candidate by all the ways we can measure it.”

I’ll note that winning one non-binding primary (but losing others) doesn’t mean all that much—especially when losing to someone who isn’t even on the ballot. Here is one measurable standard which indicates that Smith is currently in 4th place among convention delegates—if one doesn’t count NOTA, which is currently outpolling Smith, too.

“These are people who are seeking the LP nomination, but the majority are far from being libertarian.” […]“Almost everyone running, with just probably a couple of exceptions, are not libertarian. They are men doing it, I guess, for their egos.”

I’m not sure what definition of libertarian she’s using, but most of the candidates certainly have libertarian and/or Libertarian credentials. Among the list of 14 LP presidential candidates, there are certainly some whose libertarian / Libertarian credentials could be questioned. However, if there are only “a couple” of libertarians running, I wondering which of these people she’s accusing of being non-libertarian: Steve Kubby, George Phillies, Bob Jackson, Jim Burns, Barry Hess, Daniel Williams.

Stephen Gordon at Third Party Watch summed up the interview this way:

Smith was quick thinking, quick talking and well spoken throughout the interview. She displayed a fair amount of confidence—but I’m sure some listeners will suggest that her level of confidence borders on hype.

You can read the entire article on Third Party Watch here.

You can listen to the interview for yourself here.

When I read that she thinks libertarian men are running to feed their egos, I thought, wow. Just, wow. That is incredibly insulting, especially when she is running against men whose libertarian credentials cannot be seriously questioned, and those men include more than “a couple” of candidates who are well-educated and have a great deal of libertarian activism experience. As far as I can tell, Christine doesn’t even have any formal education beyond high school, she has never run for any public office or even an internal LP office, and she is brand-new to the libertarian movement.  Her views have changed even since she announced her candidacy, and are likely to change even more since she is new to the movement.

Given her complete lack of qualifications to represent the Libertarian Party (much less to run the entire country), what makes her think she should be president, if not her own overinflated ego?

My impression is that Christine thinks she is far more popular and important than she really is, which is not at all surprising since she seems to live in a world that the rest of us can’t see. Between her “Peace Prize”, which is in reality nothing but a weirdly-worded certificate given to women from other women, and her “Outstanding American Award” which came from a known con man who was convicted of committing a massive $39 million fraud (and who seems to still be defrauding people, since a gentleman repeatedly discussed on my blog that the same man had stolen 125K from him, and that there is a criminal investigation into the matter), I have to laugh.

It’s a nervous laugh though, because if she gets the LP nomination (which is a serious long shot given that “None Of The Above” regularly polls better than she does), she will prove to be a complete embarrassment to libertarians everywhere, once the mainstream media starts checking into her various lofty claims and comparing them to the reality.

Yes, it may seem that I’m being very hard on her, and I am. The woman is running for President of the United States, not local dog catcher. Since she is female, she has largely escaped the level of criticism the male candidates have faced. However, if we aren’t diligent in investigating and exposing our own presidential candidates prior to the convention, we will almost certainly end up utterly humiliated when the mainstream media does that for us after the convention.