Articles from April 2009



More on that now-awful show known as 24.

NOTE: This post contains spoilers from the most recent episode of 24, if you have not seen it, then you may not want to read this post. Or bother watching the episode for that matter…

Mike over at The Write Side of My Brian wonders if 24 is jumping the shark, but thinks this season is still better than last year’s.

The following is a slightly edited version of a comment I posted on The Write Side of My Brian:

I know a lot of people didn’t like season 6, but I personally enjoyed it until the Chinese threat emerged. And from I remember reading, the only reason that the Chinese popped up was because the writers and producers couldn’t figure anything else to do with Abu Fayed; sound familiar with what they just did with Tony?

I personally thought season four had the most absurd plot. Bad guy blows up train to get device to control nuclear reactors across the country, kidnaps SecDef to execute live on the internet as to generate internet traffic so he can breach the nuclear plants’ firewalls, but the whole point of causing nuclear meltdowns was to get Air Force One in the air so he could shot it down with a stolen F-117A stealth fighter and steal the nuclear suitcase, and a nuclear bomb separately, strap the bomb to a missile, and launch it at Los Angeles. Uh…dude, seriously, read what Rommel had to say about complicated and stupid plans.

Again, sound familiar with what they’re doing with Tony? Tony joins a mercenary group, agrees to help Bill Buchanan bring the group down, but he’s actually playing both sides and wants to steal biological weapon from bad guy #2 for whatever purposes he has. And he managed to plan all this out ahead of time?

The one thing that has annoyed me more and more is the gimmicky and cheap way they keep killing off characters. When Teri Bauer died in season one, it actually meant something. I stood staring at the television for like five minutes with my mouth slack-jawed. When George Mason died in season two, you actually felt something for the death of the character.

But now? “Oh, let’s kill someone off to shock the audience and since we have no other way to advance the plot.” Look what happened to David Palmer and Michelle Dessler during season five. The same can be said about Curtis Manning and Milo Pressman during season six, and now with Bill Buchanan and Larry Moss this season. It’s disgusting the way the writers and producers treat the characters, and by extension, the fans that have invested years of their time watching how the characters develop on the show.

I’ve been watching this show since Day One, Hour One and I have no desire to continue watching it at this point.

Does Catherine Crabill (Republican candidate in the 99th district) still think the federal government was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing?

A serious and relevant question that I’m forced to ask, unfortunately, after reading the following from an April 1995 article in The Washington Times:

Citizen militia groups in Montana, Florida and New Mexico say they condemn the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City and charge that the federal government, not anyone in their movement, was likely responsible.

“If any militia group is truly responsible for the murderous bombing in Oklahoma City, then I say, ‘Hangin’s too good for ’em,’ ” said Catherine Crabill of Aragon, N.M., who belongs to a group called New Mexico Citizens Action Association.

But Mrs. Crabill said it’s her belief “this heinous act of violence was the work of our government,” which will “use it as an excuse to aggressively attack the growing militia movement across the country.”[1]

How do I know that Catherine Crabill of Aragon, New Mexico is the same Catherine Crabill currently residing in Irvington, Virginia (Lancaster County) and pursuing the Republican nomination for the 99th district? Three reasons:

1.) On the 99th district committee’s website,[2] as well on her own campaign site,[3] her biography notes that she currently has a realtor’s license. On her employer’s website, The Virginia Land & Real Estate Company, it notes in her biography that she is former resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, amongst other places.[4] Another article from 1995 — that I will be posting over the coming days — chronicles Ms. Crabill’s delusional conspiracy theories. In the article, it notes that Catherine and Chris Crabill, formerly of Santa Fe, moved to Aragon, New Mexico in 1992.[5]

2.) In the same article, it notes that Catherine Crabill’s (the one from Aragon) husband’s name is Chris Crabill, and he is a “cabinetmaker”.[5] According to Catherine Crabill’s own candidate website, she states the occupation of her husband — also named Chris — as a “custom cabinet maker and fine woodworker”.[3]

3.) According to a handy search engine called “People Search Now”, a Catherine Crabill, currently 51 years of age and residing in Irvington, VA, used to live in Aragon, NM.[6]

There is little to no possibility that there could be more than one couple by the names of Catherine and Chris Crabill who happened to live in the exact same town in New Mexico, especially when the county they resided in (Catron County) only had a population of 3,543 people in 2000 according to the United States Census Bureau.[7]

Okay, now that I’ve proven that Catherine Crabill was quoted as saying that the United States government was responsible for bombing the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, do I really have to explain how insane that makes her?

And this woman is running for political office?

  1. Joyce Price. “Militia groups denounce bombing: Say government is behind blast.” The Washington Times, 23 Apr 1995: A15. []
  2. Catherine Crabill. “Virginia State Elections 2009.” 99th Legislative District Republican Committee. <http://www.northernneckrepublicans.org/election2009.asp>. []
  3. Catherine Crabill. “About me…” Catherine Crabill for Delegate. <http://www.catherinecrabill.com/catherine_crabill_for_del/about-me/>. [] []
  4. “Our Agents.” The Virginia Land & Real Estate Company. <http://www.valandco.com/agents.asp>. []
  5. Mark Dowie. “The Wayward West: With Liberty and Firepower for All.” Outside Magazine. Nov 1995. <http://outside.away.com/outside/magazine/1195/11f_lib.html>. [] []
  6. “Results of Catherine Crabill.” People Search Now. <http://www.peoplesearchnow.com/summary.asp?fn=Catherine&mn=&ln=Crabill&state=&x=0&y=0&vw=people&Input=name>. []
  7. “Catron County, New Mexico – Fact Sheet.” United States Census Bureau. <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=Catron+County&_cityTown=Catron+County&_state=04000US35&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&show_2003_tab=&redirect=Y>. []

I cannot think of words to describe how much I hate 24 now…

I’m serious. That episode was so cheap. That’s the only way I can think of describing it.

I wonder if the rest of people that have been watching the show from Day One, Hour One are as p-oed right now as I am. I wanted to punch the television after seeing the last minute of that episode. I’ve already deleted the episode from my DVR and removed the season subscription that was programmed into the DVR.

Now, if only there was some way to remove the memory of this season from my mind so it stops contaminating the memory of the previous seasons…

Various nuts at “tea party” call digital converter boxes for televisions “brain-washing devices” and for book burnings…

How sad. Check it out at Below the Beltway…

UPDATE: How could I forget this great quote? “Goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them.”

Compare and contrast Bob McDonnell and John Brownlee on Brownlee’s “moral test” of legislation.

Sorry to rehash, but so the quote is fresh in the minds of everyone, from Virginia Lawyers Weekly:

Brownlee also set himself apart from the other candidates with a comment about how he would judge the constitutionality of a law passed by the General Assembly. While Cuccinelli and Foster pledged to apply a strict constitutional test, without regard to personal feeling, Brownlee said he would add a “moral test” to the equation.

“As attorney general, I would represent the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. So I would add that second layer, that second tier,” he said.

Brownlee’s moral filter is “an entirely new conception of the AG’s role in Virginia” commented Virginia Commonwealth University political science professor Robert Holsworth on his blog, Virginia Tomorrow. Holsworth, who attended the debate, suggested that Brownlee’s comment leaves him open to criticism often aimed at liberals – that he would impose personal views in place of a strict interpretation of constitutional language.[1]

Here’s what Bob McDonnell had to say in a live-blog Q&A with Ben Tribbett of Not Larry Sabato. First the question:

Question: Mr. Attorney General, to the extent that you continue to participate (and have made it this far down the thread), thank you for again entering the blogosphere. My question:

Is it your policy to defend against ALL challenges to the acts of the General Assembly, and, if so, how do you ensure zealous advocacy of those positions with which you personally disagree and may consider not only bad but also potentially dangerous?

Thank you for participating.

– J.Sarge

And McDonnell’s response:

Answer: That is an excellent question, and I thank you for asking it. My job as Attorney General is to defend the statutes of Virginia from attack against claims of unconstitutionality or other legal actions. As such, I make no judgement on the law based on how I may have voted in the General Assembly. We are currently defending statutes in court based solely on the law, and applicable legal principles not personal philosophies.

Pretty amazing that Brownlee is proposing something that is in such contrast with the philosophies of the person at the head of the Republican ticket this year, no?

  1. Peter Vieth. “Three GOP candidates for Virginia AG spar in Roanoke.” Virginia Lawyers Weekly. 23 Feb. 2009. LexisNexis. []

Yet another reason not to use mercury bulbs (CFLs)…

I’ve never had an incandescent bulb melt before:

Model specs:
n:vision
SKU # 423-599
Model EDXO-14
120V 60Hz
14W .200A
V # 42836

Is anyone else sick of this “tea party” junk?

Seriously guys, get a life. You’re not Samuel Adams or the Sons of Liberty.

As Shaun Kenney pointed out, when you have a “tea party” organizer apologizing to the EPA after the EPA told them not to dump tea into a river because it would affect the river water’s color, you’re a joke. If someone had told Samuel Adams that, he — after someone explained to him who and what the EPA is — would have tarred and feathered the EPA bureaucrat.

You people are not living under a constant threat of a dictatorial government’s control. You don’t have soldiers boarded in your house, you don’t have soldiers shooting people in the street for throwing snowballs (the Boston “Massacre”), and you’re not freezing to death at Valley Forge in the winter. And by acting like you do, you’re mocking and trivializing everything that the founding fathers suffered, fought, and died for.

And the same goes to the folks on the other side of aisle with their antiwar protests. You’re not getting shot at and killed by National Guardsmen at a college campus like happened in the ’70s (Kent State shootings), so stop acting like you are. And the same can be said about certain civil rights protests nowadays. This isn’t the ’60s and the country isn’t Selma, Alabama anymore.

And for those attending these “tea party” protests claiming that they’re fighting against government expansion and the national debt…where have you guys been for the past 10 years? Not to bring up Bush, but where the hell were you guys when that first economic stimulus bill in 2008 that cost $158,000,000,000, and was not a tax cut, but government handouts to everyone? And where were you guys when Republicans supported a $290,000,000,000 “farm bill”, which was nothing more than a corporate welfare bill?

And where were you guys last year in recruiting candidates that would oppose increases in government spending and actually try to cut spending? Where were you guys before the November election helping to get someone besides Barack Obama elected? And better yet, where the hell were you guys when John McCain was in process of being nominated as the Republican candidate for President? A bunch of the people going to and promoting these tea parties are the same people that supported John McCain last year. You know, John McCain, that same guy that voted for that first economic stimulus bill and the first bailout bill.

So, maybe instead of you guys sitting in a park for a couple hours on the 15th, you should go find a political candidate that you like somewhere (I suggest Bill Bolling or Ken Cuccinelli), and go door-to-door trying to get people to support the candidate.

Nice to see there’s one politician out there that doesn’t take himself too seriously.

After both his opponents, John Brownlee and David Foster, sent out e-mails claiming victory in the latest Republican Attorney General candidate’s debate, Ken Cuccinelli sent out this press release:

Centreville, Va. — Senator Cuccinelli today complimented Dave Foster for coming in first place in the debate press release contest. Said Senator Cuccinelli, “I have to admit, when it comes to getting out a claim of victory fast, I just can’t keep up with these guys.” Shortly after Dave Foster got out his claim of debate victory, John Brownlee followed suit. “I just couldn’t believe it,” said Cuccinelli, “John got his claim of victory out in about 15 minutes, but Dave still beat him! Amazing.” Cuccinelli speculated that this may be an indicator of which candidate will come in second and which one will come in third in the balloting on May 30th.

Cuccinelli said that this lightening performance demonstrates what a competitive field of candidates he is in. “How am I supposed to compete with two guys that can participate in a debate while typing press releases on their blackberrys at the same time? This really is a tough race.”

Cuccinelli said that he thinks that surviving such tough competition will better prepare him to take on Delegate Steve Shannon, the Democrats’ nominee for Attorney General. “After I come through the hellfire of the lightening-fast debate victory claims that I’ve been contending with in this nomination contest, there’s no way Steve is going to beat our campaign to the punch in claiming victory in our general election debates.”

“These guys even had quotes from other people the moment the debate ended,” commented a clearly astonished Senator Cuccinelli as he shook his head in amazement. “They must have been text messaging while drafting their press releases on their blackberrys while debating! Incredible! This is almost unfair.”

John Brownlee seems to think it’s the Attorney General’s job to veto legislation too, will impose “moral test”.

From Virginia Lawyers Weekly:

Brownlee also set himself apart from the other candidates with a comment about how he would judge the constitutionality of a law passed by the General Assembly. While Cuccinelli and Foster pledged to apply a strict constitutional test, without regard to personal feeling, Brownlee said he would add a “moral test” to the equation.

“As attorney general, I would represent the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. So I would add that second layer, that second tier,” he said.

Brownlee’s moral filter is “an entirely new conception of the AG’s role in Virginia” commented Virginia Commonwealth University political science professor Robert Holsworth on his blog, Virginia Tomorrow. Holsworth, who attended the debate, suggested that Brownlee’s comment leaves him open to criticism often aimed at liberals – that he would impose personal views in place of a strict interpretation of constitutional language.[1]

If Brownlee attends to represent the people of Virginia then he will do his job as Attorney General if elected, not the job of the General Assembly or the Governor. He is not running for a position in the General Assembly, he’s running for the job of running — in former Attorney General, and Republican candidate for Governor Bob McDonnell’s words — the state’s “law firm”.[2] The point of a law firm is to zealously represent your client, in this case, the state of Virginia.

And speaking of Bob McDonnell: I’ve never been a big fan of McDonnell, especially with his involvement with HB3202 and its unconstitutional, unelected, regional taxing districts and “abusive driver fees”. But the one thing that really annoyed me was when one blog (might have been Not Larry Sabato) was asking why Attorney General Bob McDonnell continued to support both the regional taxing districts and “abusive driver fees” to court challenges. Uh…maybe because it’s his job?

And how do you know, in advance, on what side of an issue Brownlee’s “moral test” will fall on? Imagine this scenario: The General Assembly passes a law prohibiting abortion in all cases, with an exception for the mother’s health; no exceptions for rape or incest. Brownlee supports rape and incest exceptions to a ban on abortion, would he override the will of the legislature and not support and advocate the constitutionally of the bill because it doesn’t pass his “moral test”?

Another question, what politicians are the closest to the people that they are supposed to be representing? A member of the executive branch? Not really. How often does the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General send out constituent surveys to all 7,700,000 of their constituents? Not bloody often. Delegates and Senators on the other hand, with Delegates representing around 71,000 people, and Senators representing around 177,000 people, are a lot closer to the people than the AG. Not to mention that Delegates are up for election every two years. The Attorney General? Every four.

For years, conservatives thought that if you control the legislature, you could pass bills that as long as they were not unconstitutional, the courts wouldn’t have a problem with it. So, for years, conservatives ran campaigns about what type of legislation they would support if elected. Then the courts came along and decided to take over control of legislation and ignore previous court precedents, use international law, or just make stuff up if the judge disagreed personally with the legislation that had been voted on and approved by the public’s elected representatives.

And I’m not just talking about abortion in Roe v. Wade, you have the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturning decades of precedent and ruling that there’s a constitutional right to same-sex sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas and ruling that juveniles couldn’t be executed in Roper v. Simmons. In both Lawrence and Roper, you also had the SCOTUS citing international law.

Then conservatives realized, “Oh look, let’s focus on getting judges appointed to the bench!” So, after years of trying to get that accomplished, now we have someone that claims to be a conservative running for an office in the executive branch, whose job it will be to defend the constitutionality of bills passed by the legislature, talking about imposing a “moral test” on legislation. So, not only do conservatives have to get conservatives elected to the legislature, judges that won’t act in an “activist” nature, we have to worry whether a Republican Attorney General will support the legislation in court!

  1. Peter Vieth. “Three GOP candidates for Virginia AG spar in Roanoke.” Virginia Lawyers Weekly. 23 Feb. 2009. LexisNexis. []
  2. “Role of the Office of the Attorney General.” Attorney General of Virginia. 6 Apr. 2009 <http://www.oag.state.va.us/OUR_OFFICE/Role.html>. []

Can we get a single Republican candidate in the 99th district that knows anything about the law?

Evidently not. Last year, we had Lee Anne Washington talking about how she was going to end in-state college tuition for illegal aliens, when illegals don’t receive in-state tuition to begin with.

This year, we have Catherine Crabill, who’s running for the Republican nomination for the 99th district versus Lee Anne Washington, talking about nonexistent “hate crime” laws. A couple quotes from her website [emphasis mine]:

Homosexual Hate Crimes Legislation:

First of all, some of the dearest people I know are homosexual. I treasure these friendships and I am grieved that my position on this matters may fracture these relationships. My grievance is not against those whose personal life is kept private, as is mine. My grievance is against the insidious legal maneuvers that have had the desired chilling effect on those who would dare to oppose their public, societal-redefinement agenda. To elevate a class of citizens defined by their particular sexual “expression” is clearly unconstitutional through the provisions of equal protection under the law. Peaceful protestors at such events as “Gay Pride” parades are threatened with fines and imprisonment. Those of us who take a stand against this aggressive agenda risk the loss of our freedom of thought, speech, and religion. The danger of these laws cannot be exaggerated. Further, the indoctrination of our children and many corporate employees through mandatory “sensitivity training” is clearly an assualt [sic] on personal moral convictions.[1]

And [again, emphasis mine]:

I will stand against the Homosexual Agenda that threatens our very freedoms of thought, speech, and religion as embodied in the “Hate Crimes” Legislation.[2]

First, there are no “hate crime” laws in the Code of Virginia which afford additional protections to people that victimized due to their sexual orientation:

Va. Code § 18.2-57(A) states:

Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if the person intentionally selects the person against whom a simple assault is committed because of his [the victim’s] race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

Va. Code § 18.2-57(B) provides that:

[I]f a person intentionally selects the person against whom an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury is committed because of his [the victim’s] race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

Va. Code § 18.2-121 makes it a crime to enter someone else’s property for the purpose of damaging it and:

[I]f a person intentionally selects the property entered because of the race, religious conviction, color or national origin of the owner, user or occupant of the property, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

Va. Code § 18.2-423 makes it a Class 6 felony to place a swastika on a religious structure “with the intent of intimidating another person or group of persons”. Va. Code § 18.2-423.1 makes it a Class 6 felony “for any person or persons, with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, to burn, or cause to be burned, a cross on the property of another, a highway or other public place.”

Note that in both § 18.2-423 and 18.2-423.1, the victims do not have to be a particular race, ethnic group, or religion; the state simply has to prove that the intent of the perpetrator was to intimidate the victim.

Va. Code § 18.2-423 also makes it Class 4 felony to conspire with someone else to incite one race in violence or war against another race.

As a side note, there’s Va. Code § 8.01-42.1 which allows a person who’s “subjected to acts of (i) intimidation or harassment or (ii) violence directed against his person; or (iii) vandalism directed against his real or personal property, where such acts are motivated by racial, religious, or ethnic animosity” to seek injunctive relief and/or civil damages.

As you can note in all those code sections, there is no mention of additional penalties due to the victim’s sexual orientation or “gender identity”. In addition, I can’t find a bill in the General Assembly that made it pass a committee that would have expanded the definition of a “hate crime” under those statutes.

Second, Ms. Crabill claims that such legislation is “clearly” unconstitutional.[1] As the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) noted unanimously in 1993 (as a reminder, the court included, at the time, Chief Justice Rehnquist and Associate Justices Scalia and Thomas) in Wisconsin v. Mitchell:

[T]he Wisconsin statute singles out for enhancement bias-inspired conduct because this conduct is thought to inflict greater individual and societal harm. For example, according to the State and its amici, bias-motivated crimes are more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes, inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and incite community unrest. [citations omitted] The State’s desire to redress these perceived harms provides an adequate explanation for its penalty-enhancement provision over and above mere disagreement with offenders’ beliefs or biases. As Blackstone said long ago, “it is but reasonable that among crimes of different natures those should be most severely punished, which are the most destructive of the public safety and happiness.”

Third, Ms. Crabill claims that such legislation would infringe on her freedoms of speech and religion.[1][2] Such hate crime legislation as enacted by the General Assembly does not criminalize speech, it just proscribes additional penalties when the intent of the perpetrator is to cause harm to someone or his property due to the victim’s race, nationality, ethnic group, or religion. Does Ms. Crabill believe that assault and battery and vandalism are protected forms of speech? Further, how would such legislation infringe on her freedom of religion? Does her religion mandate that she assault and batter homosexuals and vandalize their property?

Fourth, if Ms. Crabill thought it was wrong for such legislation to be enacted because it was criminalizing a “thought crime”, then she would condemn all hate crime legislation, not just (nonexistent) legislation designed to protect people due to their sexual orientation.

Fifth and finally, Ms. Crabill complains about “sensitivity training” classes required by certain businesses and corporations.[1] Is Ms. Crabill saying that she would support legislation that would outlaw such classes? Should it be her job as an elected representative of the people to determine what’s proper training for employees of businesses and corporations, as opposed to the actual business or corporation determining for itself what is appropriate? If an employee doesn’t want to take such “sensitivity training” classes, then the employee can simply choose to not continue working at the business.

Now, I’m not agreeing with this type of legislation on moral grounds, I’m simply pointing out that the SCOTUS has ruled that such legislation is constitutional. There’s a difference between what has been determined to be a constitutional and what you could argue is moral or not. If a candidate wants to make an argument that it isn’t morally right to provide a certain group of people with more protections than someone else, then they can knock themselves out.

I’m also pointing out that, once again, we have a Republican candidate in the 99th district that doesn’t know jack about laws that she will be responsible for drafting, passing, and amending.

  1. Catherine Crabill. “Current Concerns.” Catherine Crabill for Delegate. Catherine Crabill for Delegate. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://www.catherinecrabill.com/catherine_crabill_for_del/2009/02/homosexual-issues.html>. [] [] [] []
  2. Catherine Crabill. “Welcome.” Catherine Crabill for Delegate. Catherine Crabill for Delegate. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://www.catherinecrabill.com/catherine_crabill_for_del/2009/02/welcome.html >. [] []

Warning: Unknown: open(/home/content/36/5675336/tmp/sess_4qqil5tke9970vnefpm3hji431, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct () in Unknown on line 0