Natura non facit saltus
Debunking the Paradigm Shifters
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Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006
The meddling court
Leftist Seth Rosenthal writes for Slate:
As the Supreme Court's term nears its conclusion, columnist George Will has asserted that the John Roberts and Samuel Alito confirmation debates were all about preventing "the nation's courts [from being pulled] even more deeply than they already are into supervising American life." ...These are very weak examples. Congress did not pass any laws to protect women against violence. It passed VAWA to appease feminists and subsidize feminist programs. Most of VAWA is intact, and only a minor part was struck down.
Rosenthal seems to think that whenever the Supreme Court is called upon to resolve a jurisdictional dispute between the states and the feds, it should side with the feds.
The ADA and VAWA were indeed leftist attempts by the feds to supervise American life, and they exceeded federal constitutional authority. The courts were right to point out that there are some limits to federal power.
Georgia judicial supremacists
(Atlanta, Georgia) The Georgia Supreme Court today hears an appeal by the state to a lower court ruling that overturned a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.The mulitiple issue argument is ridiculous, as explained here:
“We trust the Georgia Supreme Court will understand, just as Louisiana’s high court did, that the sole objective of these amendments is to protect marriage and that the language of the amendment is crucial in achieving that single goal,” said Johnson. “This judge may try to assert that civil unions are a different subject than same-sex ‘marriage,’ but the people of Georgia know better. They understand that protecting marriage means protecting it from all imitations.”76% of the voters should be able to affirm the definition of marriage. They don't want same-sex marriage, and they don't want something that is the same as same-sex marriage but is called something else. What could be simpler?
Monday, Jun 26, 2006
Genes, Peoples, and Languages
Someone sent this 2000 book review:
The New York Times has hailed "Genes, Peoples, and Languages", the new book by Professor Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, the dean of population geneticists, for "dismantling the idea of race." In the New York Review of Books, Jared Diamond salutes Cavalli-Sforza for "demolishing scientists' attempts to classify human populations into races in the same way that they classify birds and other species into races".It is by Steve Sailer, who also reviews Nicholas Wade's book that proves that scientific racial classification is alive and well. See also this John Derbyshire review.
Discovery News (TV) reports:
June 23, 2006 —The adage "like a kid at heart" may be truer than we think, since new research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever.And what about the wisdom to recognize crackpot ideas?
Saturday, Jun 24, 2006
Chris Matthews and the other lying Bush-haters
I watched Chris Matthews in his TV show last Sunday, and he spent 10 minutes complaining about how Pres. G.W. Bush reneged on his promise to fire Karl Rove for leaking Valerie Plame's name to the press. His four guests were also lying Bush-haters, and they agreed with him.
No, we don't know that Rove did anything improper. And Bush certainly didn't promise to fire any leaker. Matthews showed an out-of-context news clip to imply that Bush did, but he certainly did not. I previously explained it here.
They also complained about Scott McClellan lying in this 2003 press briefing:
Q Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?So where exactly is the lie? He said that Rove, Abrams, and Libby were not involved in the leaking of classified info. After a 3-year investigation, no one has been able to show that they were involved in leaking classified info. Valerie Plame's identity was first leaked by someone outside the White House, according to most press accounts, and it is not known that her name or relationship to Wilson was even classified.
It is possible the Bush authorized his staff to rebut false claims by Joe Wilson, including his claim that Cheney sent him to Africa to investigate a uranium story. Wilson's CIA wife had recommended him for the trip. The public had a right to know whether or not Wilson was telling the truth. It is absurd to suggest it was illegal or improper for the White House to confirm privately to the press that Wilson was lying, or to publicly defend its actions.
I cannot be sure whether Bush and his staff have always told the truth, but it is clear that his enemies in the press are just lying Bush-haters.
Using 911 tapes
As I have seen before, Justice Scalia can surprisingly disappoint just when you need him most. In the admissibility of 911 calls, Justice Scalia held today that they are admissible despite an inability to cross-examine. This decision was just handed down in Davis v. Washington. Justice Thomas went even further, and said that even out-of-court statements to the police are admissible despite an inability to cross-examine, but he was outvoted 8-1.It is a myth that witness intimidation is a significant factor in domestic violence cases. Scalia was apparently fooled by unanswered arguments in amicus briefs, as it is unlikely that there was any such evidence on the record.
Witness intimidation is a far greater factor in cases involving drug dealers, gangsters, and many other crimes. We don't suspend the 6A for those cases, and there is far less reason to suspend the 6A for a minor domestic quarrel.
If a woman makes a police complaint, then she understands that she may be called to testify. A 911 call is just a type of police complaint. If she were really intimidated, then she would not make the police complaint.
Most domestic violence complaints are just tools for manipulating the family court. Women often don't want to make followup testimony because they know that they were lying, or they had a reconciliation, or they don't want the full story told, or she has a more sober reassessment of the situation, or some other reason. Witness intimidation is rarely a factor.
Scalia's rule is:
Statements are nontestimonial when made in the course of police interrogation under circumstances objectively indicating that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency.There is more explanation here. But in the Davis case, there wasn't even any objective evidence that there was an ongoing emergency. There was just McCottry's telephone allegations that she didn't back up in court.
The 911 operator was asking questions to collect police evidence. Why else would anyone want the full name of someone who is fleeing the scene?
People do make 911 calls for punitive and malicious purposes. Even the Duke rape case had a deceptive 911 call. Even when the caller is trying to be honest, the tape can give a very false impression that only a cross-examination will clarify.
A 911 call is nothing like an excited utterance. The call in the Davis case is more like a formal police complaint.
What was the 911 operator's primary purpose in asking for Davis's middle initial, if not to collect police evidence? If you say that it was to help in an ongoing emergency, how did it help? 911 operators get police training to collect evidence to use in court.
I say that Scalia's rule and reasoning does not even make sense in the case where he tries to apply it, and there is no telling how judges will apply it to other phone tip and hotline cases.
Wednesday, Jun 21, 2006
Judge Jones rant
Judge John E. Jones III, the Penn. evolution judge, gave this speech:
I was asked by "Court TV" to allow the trial to be nationally televised and I declined that request. And I did sort of labor over that. But in my mind's eye, I kept seeing Judge Ito and I thought this is something that I didn't want to do.Ok, I guess he didn't want to look like an idiot on TV. He goes on:
I found it notable that among those who disagreed with my decision was one Phyllis Schlafly.No, she wrote a whole book attacking some of those precedents.
To be blunt, I think that many people need a civics lesson about the judicial system, because we are beginning to cross the line between fair comment and criticism of judges' work into something which is much darker and debilitating.Yes, they need a civics lesson. For starters, it is not the job of judges to decide the merits of evolution and intelligent design.
Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006
Coulter on evolution
John reports that Ann Coulter's new book is really about evolution!
What Ann Coulter intended to say in her new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, has so far been drowned out by hysterical denunciations because of a lone passage where she wrote savagely about four 9/11 widows. Many people by now think the book is all about 9/11 widows. ...No, there are a lot of good arguments for evolutions, and they cannot be rebutted in 60 hours. But it is funny how the evolutionists cannot tolerate even 60 seconds of dissent in the schools.
Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006
Warren Christopher talking tough
If you catch Warren Christopher's advice for tough dealing with Iranians, then don't forget this story:
Col. Charles Beckwith, founder of the Delta Force, tells a story about White House planning in April 1980 for the mission to rescue our 53 hostages in Tehran. Beckwith had visited the White House Situation Room to brief President Carter.Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State ended up resigning to protest the idea that an American rescue mission might use violent means.
Libby will be acquitted
NY Times reports:
The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case on Monday advised Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, that he would not be charged with any wrongdoing, effectively ending the nearly three-year criminal investigation that had at times focused intensely on Mr. Rove. ...I predict that Libby will be acquitted, as Fitzgerald's indictment is very weak. (I posted similar criticisms here last year.) Yes, Libby learned about Mrs. Wilson from the White House, but he did not tell the grand jury that he first learned about her from reporters.
Here is what Libby actually told the grand jury, according to the US DoJ indictment:
. . . . And then he [Tim Russert] said, you know, did you know that this – excuse me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife works at the CIA? And I was a little taken aback by that. I remember being taken aback by it. And I said – he may have said a little more but that was – he said that. And I said, no, I don't know that. And I said, no, I don't know that intentionally because I didn't want him to take anything I was saying as in any way confirming what he said, because at that point in time I did not recall that I had ever known, and I thought this is something that he was telling me that I was first learning. And so I said, no, I don't know that because I want to be very careful not to confirm it for him, so that he didn't take my statement as confirmation for him.I think that it is clear that Libby was telling the grand jury that he deliberately lied to Russert wife because he did not want to confirm the status of Wilson's wife to Russert.
The purpose of Fitzgerald's investigation, as far as Libby knew, was to determine who told the reporters about Wilson's wife. So Libby focused on what he told the reporters, not what he knew at the time.
The indictment suggests that Fitzgerald was secretly investigating what Libby knew when he talked to the reporters, and was trying to entrap Libby in a misstatement. Libby's grand jury testimony appears to be a rehash of a previous interrogation, so that there would be a record of any Libby lies. But if Fitzgerald really wanted to know what Libby knew during the conversations with reporters, then all he had to do was to ask.
If anyone was obstructing justice in this case, it was Patrick Fitzgerald. He has abused his position.
You are overlooking Libby's lies. Libby is a lawyer, and he chooses his words carefully. He is also a snake. Libby testified, "I did not recall that I had ever known ... I was first learning". Libby is concealing his knowledge of Wilson's wife.Here is an analogy. Suppose that a police report had a victim saying, "I told the mugger that I had no money because I didn't want to get robbed of the $300 in my wallet and because I spent all my cash on a fancy dinner."
What would you infer from that? If the two "because" clauses are explanations to the policeman for lying to the mugger, then they are contradictory. It is possible that the contradiction indicates that the victim is lying to the cop, but it is more likely that the victim was admitting to lying to the mugger, and confusing two explanations -- his explanation to the mugger and his explanation to the cop.
It doesn't make much sense for Libby to be worried about confirming something that he didn't know anyway. It does make sense for Libby to lie to Russert, to tacitly admit to the grand jury that he lied to Russert, and to continue with an explanation that he might have given to Russert.
Fitzgerald spent two years and millions of dollars setting up this trap, and all he's got is a run-on sentence that appears contradictory when it is parsed in a particular way.
Cutting aid to illegal aliens
The Colorado court just removed this initiative from the ballot:
Except as mandated by federal law, the provision of non-emergency services by the state of Colorado, or any county, city, or other political subdivision thereof, is restricted to citizens of and aliens lawfully present in the United States of America.The court reasoned:
We conclude that these two purposes –decreasing taxpayer expenditures and denying access to certain administrative services –are incongruous. The theme of restricting non-emergency government services is too broad and general to make these purposes part of the same subject.This is nothing but leftist-supremacist judges wanting to overrule the will of the people.
Monday, Jun 12, 2006
In late 2004, Nature magazine said:
It sounds too incredible to be true, but this is not a hoax. A species of tiny human has been discovered, which lived on the remote Indonesian island of Flores just 18,000 years ago.It sounds too incredible because it is too incredible. It is a hoax. But that doesn't stop the leftist-atheist-evolutionists from claiming that this disproves religion. You can find even find pictures of Flores Man. BBC News reported:
Anthropologist Desmond Morris suggested the discovery of a human Hobbit on Flores would force many religions to examine their basic beliefs. The suggestion provoked quite a reaction.Yes, we've been here before with Piltdown Man, Lucy, and the other missing link hoaxes. ABC News reported last month:
Scientists who argue the "hobbit" is really just a modern human with a small brain have published evidence for the first time in a major scientific journal.The conclusions about a new hominid species were based on one lousy skull, and a few bones. It is amazing how gullible the evolutionists are, and how gullible they think that we are. This is Piltdown Man all over again.
Sunday, Jun 11, 2006
More Duke lacrosse evidence
DURHAM -- The exotic dancer [Crystal Gail Mangum] who has accused three Duke lacrosse players of gang-raping her was drinking while taking medication that night, and had sex with at least four men and a sexual device in the days immediately leading up to the off-campus party, according to court papers filed Thursday.Another newspaper story:
The second dancer in the Duke lacrosse case told police early on that allegations of rape were a "crock" and that she was with the accuser [Crystal Gail Mangum] the entire evening except for a period of less than five minutes.The Durham DA has done everything he could to slander the lacrosse team in the press, and continues to prosecute three boys who are almost certainly innocent.
Here is an evolutionist's Top Ten Myths About Evolution. The first is that humans evolved from monkeys. He says:
Nowhere, except in the most illiterate anti-evolution literature, will you find a claim that humans evolved from monkeys.His quibble is that it is more precise to say that humans and monkeys had common ancestors. But later, he says that birds evolved from reptiles. Surely, it is similarly more precise to say that birds and reptiles have common ancestors.
He says that there is nothing "theoretical" about quantum theory, because it helps us build computers and lasers. This opinion is bizarre. Of course quantum theory is theoretical.
It gets weirder when he says that it is a myth that "Evolution Means Humans are Just Animals". The explanation:
Are you a vegetable or mineral? Humans have hair and nurse their young just like all other mammals. Traits like nurturing, cooperation and monogamy are often favored by evolution because they enhance survival of the species.This sounds like an argument that humans are just animals.
Critics of evolution are fond of citing Piltdown Man or Nebraska Man (actually the tooth of a fossil pig erroneously claimed to be human). These both happened about 100 years ago. They can't cite any cases of false claims of ancient human fossils since then.Now he is failing to distinguish between humans and other human ancestors. Yes, there are still a lot of false claims about human ancestors, such as with with the Lucy fossil. Evolutionists claim that Lucy was a human ancestor, but the evidence is against it.
Friday, Jun 09, 2006
Larry Lessig has a new cause:
Congress is about to cast a historic vote on the future of the Internet. It will decide whether the Internet remains a free and open technology fostering innovation, economic growth and democratic communication, or instead becomes the property of cable and phone companies that can put toll booths at every on-ramp and exit on the information superhighway.Net neutrality sounds good, but I am not sure why we would need govt regulation of the internet that we have never needed before. I am more worried that spammers will clog up my network connection, and some silly net neutrality law makes it illegal for Cisco and the telcos to do anything about it.
Thursday, Jun 08, 2006
Judge's Loss Stuns Experts
LA election news:
The rare defeat of a highly regarded sitting judge ousted from the bench Tuesday by a bagel store owner who'd barely practiced law in the last decade sent a jolt through Los Angeles County legal circles, leading some to question whether the system to select judges needs overhauling.Voting judges out of office ought to be more common. We have a lot of bad judges, and even the good ones could use a little more public accountability.
New FDA rule for involuntary tests
John asks, What is FDA's authority for this rule?
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a public health emergency, suspected victims would no longer have to give permission before experimental tests could be run to determine why they're sick, under a federal rule published Wednesday. Privacy experts called the exception unnecessary, ripe for abuse and an override of state informed-consent laws.It seems silly to me to try to force people to run medical tests in an emergency. The vast majority of the victims will agree to whatever tests are requested.
Sunday, Jun 04, 2006
Definition of insanity
I just heard Newt Gingrich say on C-SPAN, while interviewing futurist Alvin Toffler:
I've been using a quote from Einstein that I'm sure you're familiar with, that: "Insanity is when you think that by doing more of what you are already doing, you will get a different result."A simple net search shows the more common version: "The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results."
It is a good quote, but Einstein did not say it.
Apes closest to humans
NY Science Times reports:
Q. If gorillas more closely resemble humans than chimpanzees do, at least in some features like teeth, why do scientists think humans are closer to chimps?It is funny how the evolutionists have declared all those missing link fossils to be hominids, but they cannot find any that they are willing to call apes.
My hunch is that the supposed hominid fossil Lucy was really an ape, and that theories of human-ape divorgence are wildly inaccurate. Maybe we are more closely related to gorillas than chimps.