Friday, August 31, 2007

Imagine if the University of Michigan Were Building Christian Chapels...

Here we have an example of a public school spending money on a facility that is only for members of one religion. While it is conceivable that a non-Muslim might use these footwashing areas, it is unlikely. From the August 29, 2007 Washington Times:
DEARBORN, Mich. — Plans to construct two foot-washing stations continue at the University of Michigan at Dearborn amid concerns that such action would constitute an establishment of religion by the public university.

The 8,700-student school near Detroit, which begins fall classes Tuesday, came under criticism in June when it announced that it would spend about $25,000 on the two foot-washing areas that were requested as an accommodation by a Muslim Student Association's task force. The foot baths come while the state is in a budget crisis and tuition and fees have risen at all of the state's public universities, up 7.9 percent at the Dearborn campus alone.

Data from a study of entering freshmen suggest that about 10 percent of students at the university are Muslim, and many have in the past used bathroom sinks for the foot washing, called an ablution, which Islam requires as a purity ritual before its five-times-daily prayers.

The cleansing practice prompted concerns from other students and administrators that it was not only unsanitary but also created a safety hazard by making the lavatory floors wet. The new foot-washing stations, built at ground level, are part of a renovation project at two locations on campus and will be paid for with money from the school's general fund.

The foot baths, while benefiting Muslim students, are open for use by all students and will be located in two new unisex bathrooms that will be renovated on campus.
I'm sure the ACLU has already filed suit for something that would be clearly an establishment of religion, if it was done on behalf of Christians:
So far, the school has not lost money from donors and, as far as he knows, no one has challenged the foot baths legally.
Oh. Where's the ACLU? Or does their commitment to "separation of church and state" not extend to "separation of mosque and state"?
That's the language that gets used in the same-sex marriage lawsuits. That's the image of homosexuality that you see in television shows like Will and Grace--or at least the pursuit of such relationships. A gay law professor recently took exception to my remarks about Senator Craig's behavior as indicative of a significant subculture (known as the "Tearoom Trade" after one of the early sociological works about this subject) within homosexual men--but if I'm wrong about that, what explains this booklet offered by Lambda Legal, a gay rights law firm?
If you cruise in parks, bathrooms or other spaces open to public view, trust your instincts, be aware of your surroundings -- and know your rights. While Lambda Legal and other groups are fighting against the ways police target men who have sex with men, having sex where others might see you and take offense can subject you to arrest, publicity and other serious consequences. If you feel unsafe, you should leave.
Always carry identification in case you get hurt or arrested.
Providing your ID (driver’s license, green card, passport) may decrease your chances of spending time in jail, especially if you don’t have a criminal record. If the police stop you, they may instead give you a summons (which tells you the charge and when to appear in court) and let you go.
Remember cops may be "cruising" too.
Be aware that undercover cops may be "cruising" to arrest you. A cop doesn't have to tell you he's a cop, even if you ask. If you’re cruising for sex and an undercover cop hits on you, what you do can still be a crime. Don’t count on proving the cop "entrapped" you (which is difficult). Talk to your lawyer if you think you were set up.
Make sure that anyone you have sex with is over the age of consent.
Having sex with a minor is a serious crime with heavy punishment.
Understand that many laws could be used against you.
Thanks to a Lambda Legal U.S. Supreme Court win, all laws that banned consensual sex by adults in private, including oral and anal sex, have been struck down. But other laws, like those against sex where you might be seen by others, adultery and prostitution laws, or laws against criminal transmission of HIV — might still be used against you.
I would really like to think that this depraved behavior--having sex in public restrooms, or at least soliciting complete strangers for a one-time sexual act somewhere else--is a really, really tiny minority of homosexuals. But I am skeptical of that for two reasons:

1. If it is a tiny minority, why do supposedly respectable gay rights groups like Lambda Legal and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force feel the need to defend it or provide legal advice about how to deal with the legal consequences? This would be equivalent to Focus on the Family providing instructions for Christians about how to get away with assaulting homosexuals--confirming a false and nasty stereotype.

2. There are about 150,000,000 males in the United States, of which perhaps 120,000,000 are adults. If we use the figure that 4.5% of the adult male population is homosexual and bisexual, that would mean that there are about 5,400,000 gay men in America. If 1% of that population are part of the "Tearoom Trade," that would be about 54,000 men scattered across a huge country.

Yet over the years, I have been impressed how much evidence I see of this activity. When I went to USC and UCLA, there were certain restrooms you learned pretty quickly not to go into or you would see or hear things that you didn't want to see or hear. In most public restrooms in rest areas in California that I have used over the last 30 years, in spite of efforts by the state to paint over graffiti and repair "glory holes" (which are holes drilled through stall walls and used for what you think), I have seen advertisements indicating at what time and how to signal one's interest. Arrests such as Senator Craig's are actually pretty common in most big cities--and vice squads devote resources to this because there is a big problem with this. Tucker Carlson of CNN apparently admitted being so angry at some guy soliciting him for sex in a public restroom that he grabbed the guy and banged his head against the wall. There are website devoted to nothing but telling homosexuals where to go for this, like this one. There are homosexual celebrities like George Michael who keep doing this again and again. The Advocate (not a worksafe website because of the ads) did a poll of their readers:

Caught having sex in a London park, George Michael told a reporter, "This is my culture! I'm not doing anything illegal. The police don't even come up here any more. I'm a free man, I can do whatever I want. I'm not harming anyone." Do you agree with George?
And 53.5% of the 2792 votes agreed with George Michael. For all the attempts to pretend that this is a minor subculture of male homosexuality--the evidence suggests that it is not minor at all.

UPDATE: Here's an article from the August 31, 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Laud Humphreys' pioneering sociological research, done in restrooms in the St. Louis area:

Laud Humphreys' research was pioneering. It shattered stereotypes. It also cost him his job.

Humphreys discovered the majority of men visiting "tearooms" were married and generally upstanding citizens. Many did not think of themselves as gay or bisexual. In his groundbreaking 1970 Ph.D dissertation, "Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Personal Places," Humphreys detailed the trade's constant rituals: shoe-tapping and reaching under the stalls as a covert way to seek out willing partners.

"This is exactly what you find in the case of (U.S. Sen.) Larry Craig," said John Galliher, sociology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and co-author of a Humphreys biography.

The parallels between Humphreys' research and the accusations against Craig, the Republican senator from Idaho, are striking. The undercover cop described how the senator tapped his foot in a stall at the Minneapolis airport in June and reached under the divider as an invitation for "lewd conduct." Even the senator's very public "I am not gay" protest earlier this week matches the theme of men whose actions do not match their public identities.

It was as if the Craig case had been plucked from Humphreys' pages, said Wayne Brekhus, another Missouri sociology professor and biography co-author. "Even this dance of nonverbal anonymity, it seems to have been preserved for 35-plus years."
The article goes on to characterize the sort of men who were doing this:
Humphreys conducted in-depth interviews with 100 men. Half of those he interviewed in the bathrooms. The other half he interviewed using clever and controversial methods. He would write down the men's license plate numbers and track them down a year later. He donned a disguise and talked to the men under the pretense of a social health survey. The men presumably never learned they were part of Humphreys' study.

Humphreys found that 54 percent of the men were married and living with their wives. He found 38 percent considered themselves neither bisexual nor homosexual. The men wanted a sexual release that was quick and would not endanger their standing with their family or society. Just 14 percent of the men identified themselves as living-in-the-open homosexuals.
Well, what a surprise, it was the 1960s when Humphreys did this study. I am not surprised that only 14% were out of the closet. It makes you wonder about the rationality of of the 38% who considered themselves "neither bisexual nor homosexual" but were doing this.

"Most of the people who do these things are actually heterosexual," said Joel Jackson, youth advocacy coordinator for Project Ark, a St. Louis-based AIDS outreach group.
Oh yeah. Men who look for sex with other men are "actually heterosexual." I hear this a lot from homosexual activists--the insistence that these embarrassing sorts aren't really homosexuals, but are straight men. I'm reminded of Lincoln's famous observation that you can call a tail a leg, but a dog still has four legs, no matter what you call it.

To their credit, the article goes on to emphasize how widespread this practice is:
The senator's case also brought attention to the little-known tearoom trade. Today, websites share ratings and comments on different public places for homosexual sex. There are hundreds listed in the St. Louis area, from restrooms along the highway to big-box stores in Kirkwood to shopping malls in Chesterfield and Frontenac.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Varnum v. Brien is a recent Iowa District Court decision that rules that Iowa's law that limits marriage to a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. The argument is one that you have heard before--that because the law prohibits two men from marrying, or two women from marrying, it discriminates based on sex.

Much of the beginning of the decision is an attempt by plaintiffs and defendants to exclude expert testimony about the consequences (positive or negative) of same-sex marriage. What should concern Americans, even if they aren't hostile to same-sex marriage, is that the judge was deciding which experts weren't expert enough to testify because he was going to use their opinions and statements as part of the process of deciding whether same-sex marriage was constitutionally allowed or not. Ordinarily, weighing the merits of a particular law is a job for the legislature--not a judge. A judge is supposed to be deciding points of law, not, "Is this a good idea or not?"

Something of the judge's pretense at objectivity can be deduced from how one of the expert witnesses for the defendants (those arguing that the Iowa law should be allowed to stand):
The Defendant also submits the statements of purported economist Dr. Steven Rhoads. Dr. Rhoads possesses a Ph.D. in government and an M.P.A. in Economic Analysis and Public Policy.
Hmmm. A Masters' Public Administration with that specialty certainly doesn't sound like a purported economist.

One of the claims for why Iowa should allow same-sex marriage is:
36. Because their parents cannot marry, Minor Plaintiffs are subjected to the historical stigma of "illegitimacy" or "bastardy" which, though of diminished social and legal force, is still a status widely considered undesirable.
Unlike, of course, the stigma of having two lesbians raising them. That wouldn't be stigmatizing at all!

Some of the other claims are real head-scratchers in terms of, "What constitutional right is that?"
37. Without access to the institution, familar language and legal label of marriage, Plaintiffs are unable instantly or adequately to communicate the depth and permanence of their commitment to others, or to obtain respect for that commitment, as others do simply by invoking their married status.
What part of the U.S. or Iowa Constitution guarantees this right to "adequately" "communicate the depth and permanence of their commitment"? And I also scratch my head when I wonder what they are talking about. My wife and I have been married 27 years, but when we lived in California--and even here in Idaho--that makes us pretty darn weird. Marriage, unfortunately, is only slightly more permanent than a car loan to many Americans now. A state recognized marriage is actually less of a commitment than a car loan; just try to get your bank to walk away from your car loan without payment in full.
38. Plaintiffs' inability to marry their chosen partners is a painful frustration of their life goals and dreams, their personal happiness and their self-determination.
Having to work five days a week at a job that I don't enjoy "is a painful frustration of [my] life goals and dreams, [my] personal happiness and [my] self-determination." But I know better than to claim that I have some right to force the government to solve that problem for me.

Some of this language reminds me of something that an idealistic, not very bright teenager might write, with no awareness that the courts are supposed to be tied at least lightly to reality:
41. Plaintiffs are harmed in an infinite number of daily transactions as a result of being denied the right to marry, including transactions with employers, hospital, courts, preschools, insurance companies, businesses such as health clubs, and public agencies including taxing bodies.
An infinite number of daily transactions? Well, maybe countless (in the sense of, "too many for us to immediately figure out"). But infinite--someone needs to go look up the meaning of that word.

Some of these claims are completely laughable, not because they are wrong on all counts, but because they are wrong on the single count that matters in this case: same-sex:
96. Marriage has evolved over time, in legislatures and courts, to meet the changing needs of American society and to embody fuller notions of consent and personal choice.
It certainly has evolved and changed. But there is one aspect of marriage that has been constant for at least three thousand years, and across (as near as I can tell) every culture, everywhere: it involves opposite sex. There have been polygamous marriage forms (one man, multiple women). Far less frequently, polyandrous marriages (one woman, multiple men). But two or more people of the same sex? Never before in history that I know of--and that is one of the most constant aspects of marriage in all human societies.

The history of this decision is hopelessly wrong. Claim 99 starts out okay:
When Iowa's first marriage law was passed, the centuries-old doctrine of coverture, in which the woman's separate legal identity disappeared into the man's upon marriage, reigned in Iowa as elsewhere.
This is true, as far as it goes. In fact, a number of states had (and may still have) statements that a married couple are legally one person. I believe that this is why a married person may not be legally compelled to testify against his or her spouse. The next sentence however, is what happens when "women's studies" replaces real academic disciplines:
Married women were essentially chattel; they were not considered "persons" who could exercise rights, hold property, earn money, or deny their husbands access to their bodies.
Chattel means personal property, other than real estate. You know--something that you can buy and sell, like a slave. This is flat out false. And while the rest of the sentence is essentially correct about the limited economic independence of a married woman, the idea that a married woman could not "exercise rights" (such as the right to free speech) is quite bizarre, and as far as I can determine, completely false. Many chose not to do so because they "knew their place" in society, or because they preferred not to have conflicts with social norms, but this is a bit different from having no rights.

This historical claim also appears to be incorrect:
The vast majority of States had laws prohibiting certain marriages based on racial and ethnic classifications; most of these laws survived long after Emancipation.
As I pointed out last year in my statement to the Idaho legislative committee considering a marriage amendment:
Such laws were never universal in the United States. In 1910, at the heights of Social Darwinism (which put enormous emphasis on racial difference), only 28 out of the 46 states had such laws.[Gabriel J. Chin and Hrishi Karthikeyan, "Preserving Racial Identity: Population Patterns and the Application of Anti-Miscegenation Statutes to Asian Americans, 1910-1950," Berkeley Asian Law Journal, 9:1 [2002], 14.]
There were certainly laws based on race--in some states, prohibiting whites from marrying non-whites; in others, prohibiting whites from marrying Asians. But ethnic classifications? I would like to see some examples.

I really don't know enough about the Iowa Constitution's equal protection clause to know if this decision is wrong about this--but I do know that the appropriate way to understand its intent is to look at when it was added, and how it was understood at the time. Art. I, sec. 6:

All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.
Here is the 1857 Constitution, where this clause first appears. If Iowa's voters intended this as a ban on discrimination against homosexuals in 1857, my, what a progressive state they were!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This isn't exactly news; I was surprised when I was took History of Los Angeles class in grad school that millionaires (equivalent to a lot more money today) were among the big funders of some of Southern California's socialist communes in the 1900-20 period.

There are a couple of disturbing examples that have popped up in the news in the last few days. The first is that one of the leftist groups funded by billionaires like George Soros and Peter Lewis was fined very heavily for unlawful contributions:
The Federal Election Commission has fined one of the last cycle’s biggest liberal political action committees $775,000 for using unregulated soft money to boost John Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections.

America Coming Together (ACT) raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 2004, but the FEC found most of that cash came through contributions that violated federal limits.

The group’s big donors included George Soros, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and the Service Employees International Union.

The settlement, which the FEC approved unanimously, is the third largest enforcement penalty in the commission’s 33-year history.

ACT, which ceased operations in 2005, was formed in late 2003 and rapidly deployed an enormous organization to do the retail-level grunt work of politics.

It opened more than 90 offices in 17 states from which it mobilized an army of more than 25,000 paid canvassers and volunteers to knock on doors, stuff envelopes and make phone calls urging voters to defeat President Bush and support Democratic or “progressive” candidates including Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate.
It makes you wonder how much larger Bush's victory margin would have been if the billionaires hadn't been breaking the law. This other news item is about some rather curiously large campaign contributions to Hilary Clinton's campaign. From the August 28, 2007 Wall Street Journal:
DALY CITY, Calif. -- One of the biggest sources of political donations to Hillary Rodham Clinton is a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.
Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show.

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple's grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to "attendance liaison" at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.
The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.
People who answered the phone and the door at the Paws' residence declined requests for comment last week. In an email last night, one of the Paws' sons, Winkle, said he had sometimes been asked by Mr. Hsu to make contributions, and sometimes he himself had asked family members to donate. But he added: "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."
Does this remind anyone of what happened when a bunch of Buddhist nuns gave big contributions to the Clinton/Gore campaign--and then admitted that it wasn't their money? From September 4, 1997 CNN:
Man-Ho Shih, one of three nuns testifying today at the Senate campaign finance hearings, said she threw away a copy of her list of donors who gave a total of $45,000.
Asked why, Man-Ho said, "I'm afraid the document might cause embarrassment to the temple." The temple's administrative officer said she destroyed other documents too, in Fall 1996 after news stories about the now-infamous Hsi Lai Temple luncheon appeared.
Yi-Chu, the temple's bookkeeper, said she also destroyed documents and made new entries in the temple's books. "Developments were unfolding so fast that I was -- I really got nervous," she said. "See, I'm the bookkeeper of the temple, but I'm not a professional accountant. And for a lot of entries, I don't know how to deal with them. So I decided to destroy some of the documentation and make some new entries in the books."
Both Man-Ho and Yi-Chu said they acted on their own, and not at the direction of anyone else.
The nuns, dressed in brown robes, appeared on the first day of renewed campaign finance hearings by Sen. Fred Thompson's committee. In a written statement read by their attorney, Brian Sun, the nuns acknowledged the temple reimbursed members of the order who made $5,000 contributions to the Democrats, but said if the temple broke the law, it did not do so intentionally and none of the money came from overseas. (288K wav sound)
Tax-exempt religious organizations, like the temple, are not allowed to make political contributions. It is illegal for anyone to make political donations in someone else's name.
Gore's appearance at the fund-raiser has proven a major embarrassment for the vice president, but he also faces new Justice Department scrutiny on another front: his 46 fund-raising calls from the White House.
Oh yes, I'm sure none of that money came from overseas! Without question!

My friend Stacy McCain's book Donkey Cons has a very detailed account of the corruption involved with overseas money coming into the Clinton/Gore campaign in 1996--and how Republicans made no serious effort to look into this.
I Have Something Nice To Say About Larry Miller Pontiac in Boise

My son's 2005 Pontiac Sunfire, while still under factory warranty, developed a problem with the driver's side power window motor--it just stopped working. Larry Miller Pontiac fixed it under warranty.

Well, a year and a half later, it developed the same symptoms. GM charges $180 for the motor, and the labor was quoted at about $140. Hmmm. Can we replace this ourselves?

Trying to find a repair manual that covers this recent of a Pontiac was impossible. I mentioned the problem a while back, and one of my readers scanned and emailed me the 2005 Pontiac Sunfire door wiring diagram, and the 2000 Pontiac Sunfire remove and replace instructions. She wasn't having any luck, either, on finding the 2005 instructions.

So I opened up the door. Just in case you get really bored:

1. Unscrew the sheet metal screw that holds the driver's side mirror control in place.

2. Unscrew about five sheet metal screws that hold the driver's door panel at bottom and rear to the door.

3. Unscrew two 6mm bolts that hold the door handle part of the door panel to the door.

Once inside, my wife immediately noticed that the plastic sheeting that is supposed to provide water protection for the motor and other mechanisms had a big orange rust stain where the motor is. It also appears that GM's notion of proper sealing would only work in the Atacama Desert. The clear plastic sheet is attached to the door by some black goo--and not enough of that.

A little experimentation with a multimeter, fiddling with the power window switch, and listening to everything, confirmed that the motor was intermittently bad. The window regulator itself (the gear and scissor-lever arrangement that moves the window up and down) seemed to work just fine.

But the more I looked at what was involved in removing that motor--since I couldn't see the far side of the mechanism without fiber optics or shrinking myself down to one inch tall--I decided to go to Larry Miller Pontiac.

They couldn't do anything about the bad motor--out of parts warranty--but they were willing to install the $55 motor that I bought online. It was clearly an exact replacement, and they did the labor for $122. I suspect because I made an issue of it, they probably did a better job of sealing up the plastic sheet.

I Just Noticed That Larry Craig's Three Kids Are All Adopted

At least, according to Wikipedia (which isn't one of the most reliable sources):
Craig is married and has adopted the three children that his wife, Suzanne, had from her previous marriage.[5] Through his adopted children, Craig has nine grandchildren.[6]
I see quite a bit of stuff indicating that Craig has a strong interest in adoption issues. I mentioned a few days back the Idaho Statesman's coverage of the nasty rumors about Craig, and that report included this:
Craig and the then-Suzanne Scott had their first date on Valentine's Day 1980, when Craig was making his first run for Congress. Craig proposed six months after the scandal, on Suzanne's birthday, Dec. 28, 1982. They married in July 1983.
What's interesting is that Craig specifically responded to a question of whether theirs was a "marriage of convenience." (I recently read an interview with former New Jersey Governor McGreevey's ex-wife. It was a marriage of convenience for McGreevey, to make himself electable as governor--she just wasn't brought in on this detail.)

I think very highly of people that adopt. There are a lot of children out there that need a home. But the more I connect the dots on this, the more it really does look like a marriage of convenience. Maybe Craig has some sterility problem. Maybe his wife decided that she had three kids and didn't want anymore. But in the same way that all the individual actions in that men's room don't mean much by themselves, when you put them all together--it does make you wonder, doesn't it?

A politician has to wear a mask that hides who he is really is--to be different people to different interest groups--in order to get elected. For a lot of homosexuals, unless they choose to be open about it, they also have to wear a mask that hides who they really are. Perhaps all these gay politicians are the consequence of people who get used to wearing a mask about their sexuality--and find it very easy to then leapfrog into politics, a career that does not require, but certainly encourages equivocation, shading the truth, and flat-out lies.

None of this would matter if Craig had either been discreet, or intelligent. But he managed to fail on both counts with this stunt in Minneapolis, and made all of this relevant.
Sacrificing the SUVs

I mentioned earlier that the Goracle's fans showed up at one of his events driving expensive, gas-guzzling SUVs. The Hedgehog Report invites you to count the number of SUVs parked about John Edwards house--who has just called on Americans to give up driving SUVs, as part of sacrifice:

How about a little game - let’s count how many SUVs are parked around Edwards’ 28,000-square foot mansion (click here for hi-res photo).

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves….

It wouldn’t be so ridiculous except later in the article, Edwards is questioned on the hypocrisy of him telling everyone else to sacrifice while he lives in a 28,000-square house.
There are days I wonder who is more stupid: the journalists who fall all over themselves praising "courageous" people like John Edwards, or John Edwards, for assuming that no one else will see what a transparently dishonest person he is.

Senator Craig's not the only politician with some hypocrisy problems.
This August 28, 2007 CNN report warns that oral cancers are associated with HPV-16, and that as the number of oral sex partners a man has increases, the risk increases:
There are several strains of HPV, which cause ordinary warts but also genital warts. These in turn can cause cancer in some cases. The researchers looked at various studies and concluded that HPV 16 was especially likely to be linked with certain cancers of the tonsil and base of tongue.

Smoking is a well known risk factor but rates of these cancers are staying fairly steady, despite declines in tobacco use.

In one study cited by Sturgis and Cinciripini, Dr. Maura Gillison of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues studied 100 patients with oral or throat cancer and compared them with 200 healthy people. They found those who had six or more oral sex partners had a high risk of the cancer.

They found evidence of HPV-16 in 72 percent of the tumors.

U.S. health officials estimate that more than a quarter of U.S. girls and women aged 14 to 59 are infected with HPV.
This report from Journal Watch gives details on a similar study:
The investigators collected demographic information and determined HPV infection status in 100 patients with OPC and 200 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Most patients (86%) were male. Family history of cancer (especially squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck), a personal history of oral papillomas, poor long-term oral hygiene, consumption of 15 or more alcoholic drinks per week for more than 14 years, and a smoking history of more than 20 pack-years were all associated with OPC. In a multivariate analysis, the following factors were also significantly associated with OPC: having had more than 26 lifetime vaginal-sex partners or more than 6 lifetime oral-sex partners and presence of serum antibodies to HPV-16b L1 capsid protein. Of 60 patients with available frozen tissue samples, 72% had HPV-16 DNA in tumor cell nuclei. Neither high tobacco use nor high alcohol use was an additive factor in HPV-induced OPC. The authors speculate that alcohol- and tobacco-induced OPC may follow a different pathway than HPV-16–induced disease.

Comment: The incidence of tonsillar and base-of-the-tongue cancers has been increasing since 1973. Understanding the contributing factors beyond the well-established ones of heavy alcohol and tobacco use is important. Warts have been implicated in oral cancer, and this epidemiologic and virologic investigation confirms an association between such cancers and HPV. The number of sexual partners appears to increase the odds of having an oral HPV-16 infection. Because most patients with this disease are males, protection during oral-genital sex is not straightforward. With a vaccine now available and effective in preventing HPV-16–associated cervical carcinoma, seeing whether the vaccine also decreases the incidence of oral and pharyngeal carcinoma will be interesting.
My guess is that this increase in cancers since 1973 is because of:

1. Increased number of sexual partners increasing the chance of running into someone infected with HPV-16. Yes, I know that before 1973, every adult didn't stay celibate until marriage, and remain faithful for life. But I don't think anyone seriously believes that fear of pregnancy (which had risks for both woman and man back then) and the prevailing notions of sexual morality didn't act as something of a constraint. Remember that the percentage of a population that will be infected with an STD increases exponentially with the number of different sexual partners. Double the number of different sexual partners over a particular period, and you octuple the number of STD cases.

2. My impression from reading literature of the period is also that oral sex became a more mainstream activity in the 1970s, perhaps because of the increased exposure to it in pornography and sex manuals.

Rep. Filner's Aggressive History

I mentioned here about the other Congressional misbehavior which should be at least as much of a concern as Senator Craig's actions. As much as I don't approve of soliciting for sex in public restrooms, assault and battery is clearly the more serious problem--and yet Rep. Filner (D-CA) is getting a pass on this from the national media--probably because he's a Democrat, and violence by a Democrat doesn't make him a hypocrite.

It turns out that Filner's problem with pushing people isn't new. From the August 22, 2007 San Diego Union-Tribune:
WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Filner's alleged altercation with an airline employee in Virginia on Sunday, which led to an assault-and-battery charge against the San Diego Democrat, wasn't his first such run-in, according to a 2003 Justice Department incident report.

The report alleges that Filner went to an immigration detention facility in El Centro at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2003, and demanded to see a detainee. After officers told him he could not enter the facility, he slipped past them into a secure area and refused to leave when ordered to do so. He then tried unsuccessfully to push his way past detention officers to get farther inside the facility, according to the report.

Filner became argumentative and the detention officers called El Centro police. The police came to the facility, but no charges were filed, according to the report. Filner eventually was allowed to visit with the Pakistani detainee. The congressman apologized to the immigration officers on his way out of the facility, the report said.

It's Beginning To Feel Like A Twilight Zone Episode, Or A Kafka Novel

Senator Craig gets caught in a sting operation at an airport public restroom--started because of widespread lewdness there. As I mentioned yesterday, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force issues a press release that says that the police shouldn't be trying to stop this kind of thing. An attempt to stop gay men from having anonymous sex on a public beach is termed "homophobia" and compared to the Holocaust. The ACLU challenges a Virginia law that prohibits anonymous sex in an adult bookstore (which is as much a public place as any other business subject to government regulation and laws) because it interferes with gays having sex. Ditto, for the ACLU's challenge to a conviction for sex in a public restroom because it interfered with homosexuals finding anonymous sex partners.

All of these actions show that this is a pretty widespread behavior--and that clearly, homosexuals and their advocates believe that it is sufficiently fundamental to homosexuality that they need to challenge laws against sex in public places because it interferes with homosexuals getting sex. (There's a constitutional right to have sex in public places. It's right after to the constitutional right to feel good about yourself. Look it up.)

But the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is now in deep trouble for having expressed his concerns about public restroom sex. From the August 28, 2007 South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Fort Lauderdale - Mayor Jim Naugle's series of controversial comments about homosexuality cost him his seat Tuesday on the board that promotes Broward County to tourists.

County commissioners accused him of jeopardizing the area's multibillion-dollar tourism industry. They said Naugle forced them to take the unprecedented step of stripping him of the job when he ignored warnings to stop his attacks.

Since Naugle made his initial allegations about rampant gay sex in public restrooms nearly two months ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has been deluged with hundreds of angry e-mails from tourists. Some said they had canceled vacations, while others threatened to go elsewhere.
Which is it? Is Mayor Naugle being a bigot for saying that there is "rampant gay sex in public restrooms"? If so, why does the NGLTF and the ACLU seem to be in agreement?

Or is the problem that Mayor Naugle is saying something that most men over 25 already know? That there is a problem with this, and homosexual activists want to pretend otherwise? Or is this just a blatant attempt to use power to remind people that truth is not to be spoken? To paraphrase an old Quaker expression, Mayor Naugle needs to "speak truth to depravity."

I'm an adult. I would be disgusted if I walked into a public restroom and saw people having sex (even if it was a heterosexual couple). It isn't the right place for it. I certainly don't think that a kid should be seeing this--for whom this might be traumatic or at least emotionally troubling. But I guess that's just a sign of my homophobia.
Fans of the Goracle And What They Drive

Instapundit likes to say that he'll start to take global warming seriously when the advocates start to act like they take global warming seriously. Zombietime has a great collection of photos that she took in the parking lot at the Marin Civic Center when the Goracle came to speak about global warming. Go here, and scroll down to "Gallery of Gore Fan SUVs."

And let me emphasize: Marin County is among the most wretched excess of wealth counties in America. These are people who can easily afford to show their environmental responsibility by having their Mercedes SUVs dismantled, and then buying a hybrid or whatever hair shirt best shows off their concern for Mother Earth.

It reminds of something that happened to a friend of mine back in 1992. He was driving north from San Francisco to Sonoma County. This friend was one of the tiny number of Republicans in Sonoma County, and he had a Bush bumper sticker on his car. Somewhere in Marin County, a Volvo pulled up alongside him on the 101, and started swearing and screaming at him. Not being a lip reader, about all he could make out was something about Bush--and then the deranged liberal pulled out a handgun and started waving it around. (Doubtless a member of at least two gun control groups, I'm sure.) Fortunately, one of those rare, historic events, there really was a cop around when you need one--a California Highway Patrol car was two cars back, saw this confrontation, and pulled the brandishing liberal over.

My Corvette gets about 20-21 mpg around town; often in the high 20s on the highway. I telecommute four days a week. For this house, I spent a bit of extra money to make sure that I had R-50 insulation in my attic. I used 2x6 construction in the walls instead of 2x4 to add air space insulation, and every window in the house opens, so that most of the year I can use natural breezes for cooling instead of air conditioning. I am almost certainly doing less damage to Mother Earth than these environmentally self-righteous sorts.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It seemed to occupy most of the 5:30 to 6:00 half hour of Wolf Blitzer. I'm sorry, but it isn't important. Not like the Iraq War, or the prospect of nuclear war with Iran, the global warming scam, or any of a number of real issues.

As Classical Values points out, there's a member of the House who has been charged with assault and battery against an airline employee--and that's not getting anywhere near the press. Is it because he's a Democrat? The usual suspects are saying that it is because the Craig scandal exposes the hypocrisy of conservatives for being against gay marriage while in the closet. There are some problems with that explanation:

1. I suspect there aren't that many closeted gay Republicans who are social conservatives. The two gay Republican House members--Kolbe and Mark Foley--weren't social conservatives at all.

2. If Craig's scandal is newsworthy because he did one thing in private and voted the opposite direction, then why is Filner's assault and battery charge not news? Is it because he's acting privately in accordance with Democratic Party soft on crime policies? Similarly, is the near absence of national coverage of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) scandal involving $90,000 in cash in the freezer because corruption is in accordance with Democratic Party policies?

"The Devil Made Me Do It"

I watched Senator Craig's speech in Boise today. What little possibility that I entertained that he might, indeed, have been "misunderstood" is gone. The tone that I heard--a bit of self-righteous indignation that sounded terribly insincere--as he insisted that he isn't a homosexual reminded me way too much of, "I never had relations with that woman!"

Craig used an awful lot of passive voice constructions about the shame that he has brought onto his family, his office, and Idaho. That's not a sign that he has come to grips with who was at fault--either in his actions in the restroom, his attempt to use his office to avoid charges, or his decision to plead guilty.

Worse was his attempt to redirect blame for his decision to plead guilty to the lesser charge. Those of you above a certain age may recall the comedian Flip Wilson's famous excuse, "The devil made me do it!" Senator Craig is blaming his incredibly bad decision to plead guilty, in the hopes of making the more serious charge go away, on what he characterizes as eight months of the Idaho Statesman harassing him about the rumors that have been floating around.

Now, the parallel of the Idaho Statesman to the Prince of Darkness has some merit to it; so does the attempt to blame sinful decisions on others, rather than accepting personal responsibility for a decision so astonishingly bad that it makes me think of the Charge of the Light Brigade. The Idaho Statesman, to their credit, was the only major paper in Idaho that did not discuss the rumors last year about Craig's homosexuality.

The Statesman asked questions of Senator Craig over the last few months that included the very serious but not particularly credible claim that someone had sex with Senator Craig in a public restroom in Union Station in Washington, DC. So his response when he gets arrested under very similar circumstances is to try to bluff his way out with his business card, then hopes that pleading guilty to a lesser charge will make it "go away"?

Many very sensible, intelligent, disciplined people out there manage to confine all the madness, obsession, and self-control problems to one little corner of their lives. (In my case, it's my home office.) For Senator Craig--like a fair number of others--it appears to be their sexuality, and things that relate to it.

I wrote a letter to his office earlier today strongly encouraging Senator Craig to resign his position. At a minimum, his guilty plea shows an enormous inability to make good decisions--probably because it is tied to his sexuality, and fear of its exposure. I also pointed out that he is going to need the time to work through some of his issues. And there is hope for him.

Robert L. Spitzer is the professor of psychiatry who played a vital role in getting homosexuality removed from DSM-III, the American Psychiatric Association's standard for defining mental illness. A few years back, Professor Spitzer became curious to know if reparative therapy (which purports to help homosexuals turn straight) worked. His paper, "Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation," Archives of Sexual Behavior 32.5 (Oct 2003): p403-18, asked that question.

Spitzer surveyed 143 males and 57 females who had been primarily homosexual in orientation, had gone through various forms of reparative therapy, and were at least five years post-therapy. These were mostly not people that had fought with homosexual urges, but were actively engaged:

Although all of the participants had been sexually attracted to members of the same sex, a small proportion had never engaged in consensual homosexual sex (males, 13%; females, 4%; [chi square](1) = 3.2, p < .10). Significantly more males than females had engaged in consensual homosexual sex with more than 50 different sexual partners during their lifetime (males, 34%; females, 2%; [chi square](1) = 20.6, p < .001). Significantly more males than females had not experienced consensual heterosexual sex before the therapy effort (males, 53%; females, 33%; [chi square](1) = 5.6, p < .025).
The survey group were homosexuals who were highly motivated, and were uncomfortable with their homosexuality--and they were far more successful than Professor Spitzer had expected in changing not just their behavior but their preference:
The mean of the Sexual Attraction Scale for both males and females at PRE was in the very high homosexual range: males, 91 (SD = 19.8); females, 88 (SD = 13.8), t(198) : 1.3, ns. The mean of the Sexual Orientation Self-Identity Scale for both males and females at PRE was also in the very high homosexual range: males, 77 (SD = 24.5); females, 76.5 (SD = 26.7), t(183) < sd =" 21.4);" sd =" 14.5);" n =" 57)" n =" 139)" sd =" 14.5);" sd =" 8.1);">To compare the amount of change from PRE to POST, the PRE values were subtracted from the POST values. On the Sexual Attraction Scale, the mean change in females was 80 (n = 57; SD = 20), significantly more than that in males, 67.8 (n = 143; SD = 20; t(198) = -3.6, p < .001). On the Sexual Orientation Self-Identity Scale, the mean change in males was 68.1 (n = 131 ; SD = 28.3), not significantly different from the change in females, 73.4, (n = 52; SD = 29.3; t(181) = -1.1.
This wasn't a sudden change, either, nor was it done after a few dalliances with homosexuality:
The mean age at onset of sexual arousal to the same sex was 12 years (SD = 2.9). About 18 years (SD = 7.8) later, at age 30, was the beginning of the therapy that they found helpful. The mean duration from the onset of the therapy to the participant beginning to feel a change in their sexual orientation was 1.9 (SD = 1.9) years. At the time of the interview, 21% (n = 42) reported that they were still involved in some form of reparative therapy, usually referring to continuing to attend an ex-gay support group or, on their own, having a life-long struggle with the underlying issues that they believed were related to their becoming homosexual. For these participants, the mean duration of therapy up until the interview was 15.0 (SD = 7.7) years. For the 79% (n = 158) of the participants who were no longer involved in any type of reparative therapy, the mean duration of the therapy was 4.7 (SD = 3.5) years.
Now, Spitzer is careful not to overplay this. He reports that some of them still would have occasional lusts for the opposite sex. But it does appear that homosexuality doesn't have to be a life sentence--at least for those who are sincerely interested in change.

The Throat Slasher Yesterday

I guessed yesterday from initial reports that he was mentally ill. And yes, this isn't the first time that he has done this, and deinstitutionalization played a role. From the August 28, 2007 Chicago Tribune:
The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Kenton Drew Astin, worked at CU last year as a cashier at the Alferd Packer Grill at the student center, school officials said. He was arrested and hospitalized Monday with serious stab wounds, the school said.

Astin was sent to a state mental hospital in 2001 after being accused of stabbing a 21-year-old Longmont man. Court records show Astin pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on charges including attempted first-degree murder in that case.
And so he was released?

Hypocrites Who Say One Thing In Public, Do Another in Private

No, I'm not talking about Senator Craig. I'm talking about Sylvester Stallone, who argues in interviews that handguns should be confiscated from all Americans:

"until America, door to door, takes every handgun, this is what you're gonna have... It really is pathetic... We're livin' in the Dark Ages over there."
Sylvester Stallone, March 28, 1998

--but applied for, and apparently received, a concealed carry license from the Los Angeles County Sheriff. Let me emphasize that getting a concealed carry license in Los Angeles County is extremely difficult. If you aren't a judge or a celebrity, your chances of getting a permit are very, very low.

The Idaho Statesman Story About Senator Craig

It's here, and it's pretty damaging to his claim that the incident he pled guilty to was a "misunderstanding":
Over five months, the Statesman examined rumors about Craig dating to his college days and his 1982 pre-emptive denial that he had sex with underage congressional pages.
The most serious finding by the Statesman was the report by a professional man with close ties to Republican officials. The 40-year-old man reported having oral sex with Craig at Washington's Union Station, probably in 2004. The Statesman also spoke with a man who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him at the University of Idaho in 1967 and a man who said Craig "cruised" him for sex in 1994 at the REI store in Boise. The Statesman also explored dozens of allegations that proved untrue, unclear or unverifiable.

During its investigation, the Statesman interviewed 300 people, visited the ranch where Craig grew up, and made two trips to Washington, D.C.
On May 12, two days before its interview with Craig, the Statesman finally interviewed Rogers' "best source," the man who says he is certain he had a brief sexual encounter with Craig at Union Station, which is two blocks from Craig's office. The man said the sex occurred in two restrooms on a weekday afternoon. He estimated the encounter lasted three or four minutes.
The man's motive was twofold. A lifelong Republican, he recently had re-registered as a Democrat because he's angry with what he sees as the GOP's gay-bashing. Second, he was tired of Rogers picking on congressional staffers and offered him the chance to "out" a senator.
The Washington-area man's story has remained consistent, beginning with his Aug. 9, 2004, e-mail to Mike Rogers: "I've hooked up with Craig ... why not out some actual members and not their staffers?"
Former New Jersey Governor McGreevey also married after enough rumors floated around to become an obstacle to running for higher office. What a tragedy.

Sex in Public Restrooms

Just so that you don't think this is a weird behavior frowned on by homosexual advocacy groups--from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:
“There is sad irony that a United States senator from Idaho has been caught up in the same kind of thing that destroyed the lives of dozens of men in Boise in the 1950s, so tragically chronicled in "Boys of Boise."
“And by the way, why are Minneapolis tax dollars being used to have plainclothes police officers lurking idly in airport restroom stalls?”

That Incident in Sheboygan

I mentioned some days ago a woman who had been arrested when she came home and found a relative molesting her children, and proceeded to stab him. This news report from WTMJ 620 says:
Prosecutors in Sheboygan County have filed a misdemeanor charge against a mother who stabbed a teenager after he was caught sexually assaulting the woman's 8-year-old daughter.
According to a criminal complaint, the mother readily admitted to authorities that she stabbed the 17-year-old. According to the complaint, the mother, her boyfriend, another friend and her nephew were staying at her apartment along with two of her children. At some point, the mother, her boyfriend and other friend left to go to a food mart, leaving the nephew with the children.
When they returned, they found the nephew in the room with the children. He was engaged in a lewd act in front of the girl, who was partially naked. The friend says he became enraged and grabbed the nephew, throwing him to the floor. He began to punch and kick the nephew. At some point, someone got a knife, but it was not used at that point.
The mother apparently later used the knife to stab the 17-year-old nephew. But she didn't stab him until after her daughter was safe.
This makes it sound like the stabbing took place some time after they caught the nephew--purely an act of revenge. If so, I can see why she is being charged. But the somewhat graphic criminal complaint (which has been edited to remove the mother's name), is actually quite a bit more ambiguous:
Simon stated he began to punch and kick Martin, forcing Martin out of the bedroom into the apartment living room where he continued to punch and kick Martin. Simon stated that _______ and Jason then returned to the apartment and attempted to stop Simon. While it is not completely clear from the various statements as to from where and who obtained a knife, at one point Simon stated he was struggling with Martin for a knife, using a toy snow shovel and a portable fan to beat Martin to gain control of the knife, which he did. Simon stated _______ and Jason convinced him to wait outside the apartment for police to arrive, which he did. At some point during Simon’s beating of Martin, ______ was told of what had happened in the bedroom and she apparently called police.

When officers entered the apartment, they observed Martin sitting on the couch bleeding from his left arm and leg, with Martin’s shirt and pants covered in blood. Paramedics were immediately called and when Officer Kehoe asked ______ and Jason why Martin was bleeding, stated, “I stabbed him.” ______ was subsequently fully identified as _____, DOB 7/14/80, the defendant, with Jason identified as Jason ______, DOB 3/26/78. Officers subsequently recovered a steak knife with blood and what appeared to be human flesh on it.
At least from what appears in the criminal complaint, it would take a very liberal jury to convict the mother. I'm not sure that a jury that liberal exists, except if the jury pool consists of ACLU members.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Michael Vick, the football player, is in trouble for illegal dog fighting involvement. So what better than this new dog chew toy?

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Others have pointed it out, but it says something about either the honesty or intelligence of the at AFP reporter, photographer, and editor involved that they don't realize that this news story:
An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City.
doesn't go with the picture:

For those of you who don't shoot rifles--she isn't holding bullets, but entire unfired cartridges. It also appears that these aren't even U.S. military issue ammo.

UPDATE: The QandO Blog has pictures of current U.S. military ammo. It is possible that other NATO forces in the theater are using these older 5.56mm rounds--but unless they are throwing unfired ammunition at her house, this story and picture are, at best, wrong.

The Continuing Struggle Over Who Controls The University of Utah

As I've mentioned in this Shotgun News article, the Utah legislature has been fighting with the University of Utah over who gets to make Utah's laws. The University of Utah wants to prohibit concealed carry on campus by its students, faculty, and staff. The Utah legislature says that it can't. The University of Utah, of course, has filed a series of suits to try and get a court order declaring that the Utah legislature doesn't have authority to pass laws that apply on campus.

One side effect of this dispute is an examination of weapons arrests on campus, from the August 27, 2007 Salt Lake Tribune:

As the debate over guns on Utah college campuses raged during the 2007 Legislature, lobbyists on both sides quoted statistics and provided scenarios to prove that allowing guns would have either worsened or improved a hypothetical campus crime.

But crime data obtained under the Clery Act, which requires all campuses to report crime statistics to the federal government, shows few incidents between 2001 and 2005 when weapons were found or used on campuses, and in those few incidents, rarely were students involved.

No incident reported during the five-year period involved a student brandishing a gun in a threatening manner, and of the 23 incidents on Utah college campuses involving guns, seven involved loaded handguns while the rest involved BB guns or paint-ball guns. The other incidents involved weapons that ranged from butterfly knives to brass knuckles to nunchakus.

No incidents involved a legally concealed weapon.

Such data only reinforce why gun advocates have successfully defeated efforts to ban concealed weapons on campuses, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Self-Defense Instructor's Network.

"Concealed weapon carriers are not people to be afraid of," Aposhian said. "They are simply folks who are concerned with one thing and one thing only: lawful self-defense."

Yet University of Utah lobbyist Kim Wirthlin still worries about allowing weapons of any kind on campus.

"Even though those statistics don't indicate that concealed weapons are what's causing the problems, if you have weapons, you may have accidental discharges," she said.

Data gathered under the Clery Act shows the number of weapons incidents on campus, but does not spell out the types of weapons used. Individual campuses, though, were able to break down the incidents by weapon used and an analysis shows there were nine incidents involving students with guns from 2001 to 2005, though no one was harmed in any incident.

Any Guesses What the Story On The Suspect Is?

There's no apparent motive or connection to the victim, and note the description of the suspect's behavior from the August 27, 2007 Colorado University Daily Camera:
A University of Colorado freshman, identified by family members as Michael George Knorps, is hospitalized with a knife wound after being cut outside of the student center this morning, the first day of classes on the Boulder campus.


The suspect, whom 7NEWS has named as Kenton Astin, 39, of Boulder, stabbed himself several times in the chest after the incident, which happened around 9:40 a.m. on the west terrace of the University Memorial Center, Hilliard said.
Police subdued Astin with a Taser gun, and he was also rushed to Boulder Community Hospital with serious wounds, CU police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said. Officers are at the hospital, waiting to arrest him.
Wiesley said the suspect was holding a knife and yelling incoherently when Knorps walked by. The student was ignoring the man, who then grabbed him from behind and slashed at his neck.
Police don’t think the suspect, who drove onto campus this morning, is a student. He is not listed in CU's directory.
“It appears to be a random thing at this point,” Wiesley said.

The suspect was yelling that he had a bomb in his backpack and was going to blow it up, police said. The Boulder County bomb squad responded to the scene, but there were no explosives in the pack.
Officials also tested “something suspicious” found in Astin’s gray Jeep Cherokee, which was parked on the south side of the UMC, but it was not an explosive, Hilliard said.
How many more of these incidents do we need before we start to address the failure of deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill? Incidents like this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or these accounts of people who starved themselves to death, and family, friends, and police, looked on helpless to do anything about it. And these are just a few that I could pull out on short notice.

UPDATE: Yup. I was right. From the August 28, 2007 Chicago Tribune:
The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Kenton Drew Astin, worked at CU last year as a cashier at the Alferd Packer Grill at the student center, school officials said. He was arrested and hospitalized Monday with serious stab wounds, the school said.

Astin was sent to a state mental hospital in 2001 after being accused of stabbing a 21-year-old Longmont man. Court records show Astin pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on charges including attempted first-degree murder in that case.

I Guess There's Room for a Replacement for Senator Craig (R-ID)

There were allegations last year that I scoffed at because they were completely without credible sources. It appears that Senator Craig pleaded no contest to these charges from an arrest in June. I've been upset with his liberalism for some time, but I am still a little surprised by this. From Roll Call (which is so busy that I can't get through it at the moment), quoted in August 27, 2007 Real Clear Politics:
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men's public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
Craig's arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.
Closeted homosexuality is a bad thing, no question about it. And this does make my point about the inability of homosexuals to behave like adults. In a public men's room?

Craig claims it was a misunderstanding. If so, he should have vigorously challenged the charge--not pleaded guilty.

How is it that homosexuals, who are about 3-4% of the population, are so overrepresented among elected officials? A professor I had dinner with a few months back in New Jersey, in discussing the McGreevey scandal, pointed out that anyone with a normal family situation would probably not be willing to spend that much time away from home.

UPDATE: Roll Call is still overwhelmed with hits, but USA Today has reprinted much of the article here. It is just barely possible that Senator Craig's claim that it was a "misunderstanding" is correct--but why plead guilty? This isn't like a speeding ticket. This was a very serious accusation--that Senator Craig was trolling for sex with another man in a public restroom--and pleading guilty generally indicates, well, guilt.

The only good news that can come out of this is that a lot of people will have to confront that this kind of behavior, while not necessarily the norm among homosexuals, isn't particularly rare, either. Unfortunately, homosexual legislators, whether open or closeted, do a lot of stuff that reminds you that homosexuals really aren't like the rest of us. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) lover was the result of Frank answering a personal ad so vulgar that I won't quote it--and then his lover ran a prostitution service out of Frank's apartment. More recently, Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) sending lascivious emails to pages less than half his age, and Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA) having an affair with a page less than half his age. All of these actions make an adulterous affair seem downright classy by comparison.

Senator Craig should go ahead and resign, and let Governor Otter name a replacement who can serve out Craig's term with dignity and respect for the people of Idaho. (I'm available!)

UPDATE 2: The more I think about this, the more disturbing it becomes. This isn't something that happened behind closed doors. This wasn't the result of meeting another man that he was attracted to, and with whom they carried on some sort of long-term relationship. This was someone looking for quick, completely anonymous sexual act in a public restroom. I know that there are gay men who find this degrading, vulgar, and disgusting, but if you went to college in California, or have had the misfortune of using the restrooms in rest areas in California, you know that this a very fundamental part of how a lot of gay men operate. I suspect that the danger of being caught while doing this must be part of the thrill--which in itself tells you a lot about the sickness involved.

UPDATE 3: Seen somewhere or another: "I keep voting a straight Republican ticket, but there's not enough straight Republicans!"

UPDATE 4: This report from the Minnesota Monitor indicates that the restroom in question is widely known in the gay community as the place to go:
Karsnia was in the restroom as part of a sting operation to clamp down on lewd behavior. The restroom where Craig was arrested is well known among men who seek sex in public places. is a site that runs a bulletin board for such men. "If you enter from the terminal, turn left and go past wash basins, urinals to the back where the stalls are. This place is THE most cruisy public place I have been," wrote one poster. "Just passed thru here the other day. This place is so hot. This place has a constant flow and variety of hot guys," wrote another. Even another poster wrote, "This is the best spot for anonymous action I've ever seen." Of all the postings in Minnesota, the airport restroom was ranked the top by that website.

The site,, lists how to get there: "Across from Food Court. Go through security to main Mezzanine where main shopping is located. Look for Starbucks Coffee stand and Men's Room is across from there," what to expect: "Very cruisy, no security cameras or guards. Most of the time, men will show themselves to you at the urinals and invite into stalls or nearby hotels. Plenty of dark stall action, too!Update: No one is permitted beyond the security checkpoints without an airline ticket now," and some of the biggest pet peeves: "Stall hoggers! Get off and get out! Cleaning crews may be overly curious, but won't interfere."
The details of Craig's arrest are not unique. According to a post in June at, another public sex site, "Twenty people were arrested within the past week. Plainclothes officers wait in the stalls and tap their feet and even put their foot on yours and then arrest you when you look under the stall wall."
Oh yes, and just so you don't think that there is something bizarre about what Senator Craig did:
LGBT equality advocates have also pointed out the perceived hypocrisy of Craig's arrest. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said in a statement Monday, "There is sad irony that a United States senator from Idaho has been caught up in the same kind of thing that destroyed the lives of dozens of men in Boise in the 1950s, so tragically chronicled in `Boys of Boise.'"
NGLTF added, "And by the way, why are Minneapolis tax dollars being used to have plainclothes police officers lurking idly in airport restroom stalls?"
So even the NGLTF thinks that there's nothing wrong with this sort of behavior.

Redefining Conservative

Kevin Richert, who is an editor over at the Idaho Statesman, blogs about Bryan Fischer's suggestion that we let minors know that there are laws prohibiting under-age sex:

A job for the sex cops
I can think of a lot of good points to raise when discussing the consequences of adolescent sex. The risk of pregnancy? Check. The danger of STDs? Yes. A little moral suasion on the pitfalls of casual sex? Sure.
But a stern warning that the cops may be peering into the back seat? Sounds like a nonstarter.
Yet Bryan Fischer, executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, wants to see the book thrown at hormonally challenged teens. Fischer opines that if the state's schools did a better job of teaching kids about the state's seldom-enforced laws against extramarital sex, they'd be less likely to have sex. Of course, the teachers need some backup from the cops.
"Perhaps classroom education and consistent and visible enforcement of existing Idaho law would have a wonderfully salutary effect on sexual mores and sexual conduct in the Gem State," Fischer wrote.
"Consistent and visible enforcement" targeting adolescent sex? Better phone dispatch for additional units.
Meanwhile, hang onto your wallets.
This sure sounds like a big-bucks, big-government solution to a private matter. Does anyone really want to pay additional property taxes to hire cops and deputies to work the sex beat and pay the county prosecutors to take these cases through the courts? Does anyone really want to pay to build the jail and prison cells needed to carry out the maximum sentences Fischer extols on his blog — a six-month term for "fornication," or a three-year hitch for adultery.
And lastly, does anyone really think Bryan Fischer is a conservative?
It may not be worth spending any money on this. I don't have much confidence that reminding teenagers that they are breaking the law is going to do any good. (I can remember being a teenager--the combination of hormone-deranged and the belief that one is immortal is very dangerous!) I am also skeptical that vigorous enforcement of the adultery laws is going to do much good, either--although I would like to see consequences of some sort for adultery, even if just means providing some benefit to the cheated-upon spouse when the marriage falls apart. But if Richert doesn't like these laws, perhaps he should be asking the Idaho Legislature why they haven't repealed them?

I know that in liberal circles, the idea that adultery is wrong is considered a sign of being a primitive. A few years back, there was a woman in California whose husband was seduced by another woman, and it eventually broke up their marriage. She was circulating an initiative petition to get adultery made into a misdemeanor again. And how the liberals laughed and laughed at her! Regarding adultery as a faux pas--not a real bad thing, but a sign that you aren't terribly clever because you got caught at it--is something of a sign of how sophisticated one is, if you are a liberal.

The idea that Fischer isn't a conservative because he thinks that the existing laws about sexual morality should be enforced is not just laughable, but an indication that Richert isn't terribly knowledgeable about political systems of thought. One of the core principles that distinguishes conservatives from libertarians in the American context is the belief that Christian values about morality (not just sex, but also lying and cheating) should be enforced by the government. This was the case from the earliest Colonial laws, which you can see when you read the 1650 Connecticut capital crimes. Into the 1960s, the idea that adultery was a crime that should be illegal (even if it wasn't often enforced) remained completely mainstream--not even particularly conservative.

Argue if you want that this is a bad idea. I will agree that in a pluralistic society where Christian values are no longer the consensus, laws that were enforceable in 1950 may not fit today. But to argue that Fischer isn't a conservative because he supports a core conservative value--governmental enforcement of laws about morality--just shows that Richert doesn't know what he is talking about.

Dhimmitude Is Under Way

Dhimmitude is the condition in which Jews and Christians accept a lesser legal and social status in an Islamic society in exchange for not being slaughtered or forced to accept Islam. What is astonishing is how rapidly the liberal and leftist parts of our society have accepted that anything that could be offensive to Muslims must be suppressed, while granting Muslims rights in public schools that would lead to lawsuits if granted to Christians. The latest example of this craziness is that a number of newspapers around the country chose not to run this comic strip for fear of offending Muslims.

It is amazing how little courage the left shows for fear of offending the Religion of Peace. I guess Christians need to start engaging in suicide bombings, beheadings, and car bombings to get themselves on an equal status with the left.

This Is An Interesting Claim...

Red's Trading Post, which has been having some problems with ATF about what sounds like trivial errors with a few of the Form 4473s, mentions something a bit worrisome:
As I have stated before ATF DIO Richard Van Loan has stated that he would have never revoked our license if we had purchased a computerized system. He neglected to contact us to find out that we had purchased 2 software systems that could not handle the amount of volume that we do. A third system we looked into was $9,000 just for the software. We then tried out other firearms software that we offered from one of our distributors, which we had issues with as well. We finally settled on a system from ARS Solutions. It is a $12,000 system that has just been make available for lease. Yet the ATF has now deemed this system before our judge, that is so widely used and touted...inadequate. Our Box Store Competitor has just developed a Million Dollar system.
If Red's is permanently closed by ATF, they will have to turn over the last 20 years of Form 4473s--or about 40,000 gun purchase records. Red's is concerned about the possibility that ATF is using the combination of requiring a computerized system and putting stores like Red's out of business to create a de facto gun registration system.

I understand their concern (although realistically, even all the 4473 forms in the U.S. wouldn't give even a 30% complete gun registration list), but I think there's another issue that should be looked into: is it possible that some sort of corrupt deal has been made by some ATF bureaucrat to require a particular software vendor's system? If you don't buy a system from a particular vendor, you get extra special scrutiny, and then get closed down for trivial errors on paper forms?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Another Leftist Loses It

Over at the Huffington Post, Martin Lewis writes a letter asking General Pace to arrest President Bush! Even more bizarre is that he defends this crackpot idea vigorously against other leftists who point out that, as much sympathy as they have for the idea, the Constitution does specify that the military is subordinate to civilian authority. See Article II of the U.S. Constitution:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States....
So what has Martin Lewis done? See 18 USC 2385:

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or
Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates,sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity,desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof -

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
Because Lewis' letter is addressed to General Pace, 18 USC 2388 could apply as well, depending on whether the courts can agree on whether the AUMF qualifies as a declaration of war:

(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies; or

Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so -

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
I think asking General Pace to arrest the President of the United States qualifies as an attempt to "cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny".

One of the things that has always impressed me is how willing the Bush Administration is to tolerate statements that, during World War II, would have led to arrest, trial, and imprisonment. So much for "Bush=Hitler."

UPDATE: Amusingly enough, liberals have been swarming in the comments section over at Volokh Conspiracy to explain why a military coup overthrowing the elected civilian leadership is constitutional, lawful, and appropriate.

The Most Encouraging Words That I've Read in a Long Time

From PJ Harrison and DR Weinberger, "Schizophrenia genes, gene expression, and neuropathology: on the matter of their convergence," Molecular Psychiatry 10:[2005]40. They compare the state of research into Alzheimer's and schizophrenia:
In the absence of definitive genes or pathogenic molecular mechanisms, it is not surprising that there is no equivalent of the secretase inhibitors and vaccines being developed in Alzheimer’s disease. However, the situation seems about to change; indeed, it may be changing already.
About 1% of the adult population of the U.S. suffers from schizophrenia; as of the early 1990s, the costs of both treatment and lost productivity was $61 billion a year. This is the single most destructive of the psychoses--especially because it seems to disproportionately hit the upper end of the bell curve of intelligence.

Friday, August 24, 2007

And For Really Big News...

One of the things that I like about living in Boise County is that what constitutes "big news" is a bit different here than in other places.

Heck, even what constitutes "big news" in Boise (which is in Ada County, just to confuse you) is a bit different from other parts of America. A reporter from an Ohio newspaper called me up a while back to interview me about the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog. While discussing Boise, I mentioned that (at least at that point), murders were rare enough that they were a front page, above the fold news story. Some murders would remain front page stories for days on end, just because there is so little murder here. This Ohio reporter sounded a little disappointed when he told me that at his newspaper, murders were so common that sometimes they weren't even considered worth putting inside the newspaper. They weren't news.

Well, here's the headline from the latest issue of the Idaho World, Boise County's newspaper--and as the masthead observes, Idaho's oldest continuously published newspaper:

Click to enlarge

Hey, that's big news here! But what would they do if they had a really big news story to report? What font size would they use? I fear that the headline "Global Thermonuclear War" would be so big that the "G" would take up the whole front page.

Imagine If All Bars Or Abortion Clinics Were Shut Down For Four Days

Snowflakes in Hell points me to this astonishingly stupid editorial in the August 24, 2007 Philadelphia Daily-News:



Shaking. Sweating. Pacing.
Unable to concentrate. Unable to focus on anything other than . . . their next gun buy.
Pennsylvania's gun addicts are already going through withdrawal, as the planned four-day halt on gun sales to allow the state to update its computerized background checks grows closer.
The Pennsylvania Instant Check System is used by gun store owners to do state and federally required criminal background checks on potential customers. It will be closed for upgrading from 6 p.m. Sept. 2 to noon Sept. 6. That means that no guns can be sold.
Gun store owners are hot. The shutdown coincides with the beginning of the early dove and goose hunting season, a popular time - at least in some parts of the state -for gun sales.
One Harrisburg lawmaker, Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, is also in a snit. He's claming that this is an attempt by Philadelphia liberals to limit the rights of gun owners.
The outcry has us a little worried about just how stable some of these gun addicts are. We've seen actual junkies more behaved than this when they hear they can't get their hands on their stuff.
But four lousy days with no guns? And with plenty of warning so those who want to buy new hunting rifles can plan ahead?
Pretty obviously, any hunter who is aware of this will take care of purchases ahead of time. The problem is that there are a fair number of hunters who are going to be surprised--and every gun store in the state is going to twiddling their thumbs for four days. But the logic just gets worse:
Instead of sitting around moping, why not take a field trip? Ride through some of the state's larger cities and their suburban towns, where gun violence has grown. Let's call it a reality check. Some of these guns used to kill are on the street, thanks to straw purchasers who patronize the state's gun stores, and then sell the guns illegally.
The hunting weapons, with a few exceptions, aren't the cause of the violence in Philly. It's largely handguns. Maybe they should ask why it is that the hunting parts of Pennsylvania--which are awash in guns and Republicans--don't have anywhere near the problem with murder that Philly and cities with the misfortune to be too close to Philly have? Hint: it's the culture, and the unwillingness to send murderers away, not the guns.

The Al-Haramain Suit

CNN's God's Warriors mentioned this foundation which is alleged to be a terrorist support group, based in Oregon, and interviewed Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, who grew up in a "mystic" Jewish family in Ashland (a very New Age sort of place), became first a Muslim (which his parents thought was really cool), then joined what Gartenstein-Ross now alleges was a terrorist support group. No word if Mom and Dad still thought that this was cool. I hope that they would have gotten a little peeved if Daveed had showed up at the door wearing a swastika armband, but you can never tell what aging hippies are going to think is a sign of a child's intellectual independence.

Anyway, Zombietime (which is fast becoming one of my favorite deranged leftist tracking sites), has a very, very detailed web page about the background to the suit, and the results of watching the hearing before the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals here.

She has also has some reporting about the behavior of reporters after the hearing--swarming around the attorney representing Al-Haramain, while ignoring lawyers representing the U.S. government and AT&T (who has gotten dragged into this because they are alleged to have exposed their fascist sympathies by trying to help the government catch terrorists).

One of these days, if the left isn't careful, they are going to find out that this isn't a game--that al-Qaeda and friends aren't like-minded progressives because they have the same enemies. When Robert Ferrigno's novel Prayers for the Assassin describes the Golden Gate Bridge lined with the heads of homosexuals, that's not a wild leap of imagination, but the likely consequence of the left's obsession with making sure that America loses the war on terrorism.

And yes, as much as the left wants to believe that it is possible to make sure we lose the war on terrorism without al-Qaeda winning, this fight is a zero-sum game.