Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jemma does ballet

video This was shot with a Sony Cybershot, a hand held camera made mostly for digital pictures. They had a "rule" against filming the show, so I couldn't risk a more elaborate piece of equipment.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I never understood the logic of this

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It has always seemed to me that liberals take the first part of the amendment and somehow infer that it causes the second part to be null and void. The problem with their reasoning is that there is no conditional given in the first clause:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,

They take it to mean something along the lines of: As long as it is generally viewed as being the case that a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,

But that is not what it actually says. I think this is the key to the liberal mind-set. They (for whatever reason) don't think private ownership of weapons is good and therefore the constitution must properly be interpreted to agree with their view.

It would be more straightforward for them to argue that the 2nd amendment is outdated and should be removed from the constitution, than to make the ridiculous claim that it doesn't mean what it clearly says.

Today's Ruling...(highlights)

Held: 1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous armsbearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment.

3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.

I am not sure how many states or cities require trigger locks, but IIRC there is a Massachusetts law requiring this. Such a law would now be considered unconstitutional.

Here is the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

James Hansen: Fascist

Ed Pilkington in New York The Guardian, Monday June 23, 2008

James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming...

Dr. Hansen must be thinking: It is too difficult to argue with doubters, even though our side has irrefutable evidence. Much easier to just have pesky dissenters thrown into prison, than to bother with logic and reason--though it would be a trivial effort to demolish their clumsy and irrational "theories".

He will tell the House select committee on energy independence and global warming this afternoon that he is now 99% certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has already risen beyond the safe level.

Some statements are so foolish that they sort of self-refute, but let's poke a few holes in this, shall we? How exactly has he defined this "safe level"? One more percentage point and the planet will explode? Or is it one more percentage point and bed wetters like Hansen will get extra nervous? Given the vagueness of the prediction, the precision of the the certainty level provokes more of a giggle or guffaw than any other emotion.

It is fairly certain that elevated CO2 will result in a couple of degrees' warmer average temperatures in the next 100 years or so--maybe even 99% certainty, given the vagueness of my description. But it isn't known and probably cannot be known whether added warmth will provide a net benefit or loss to humanity.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What Happened to that really funny old movie?

I saw a bit of The Return of the Pink Panther not long ago on cable and eh, it was okay. I remember seeing it when I was 13 in the theater and I remember almost falling out of my seat from laughter, so what happened? Objectively, the movie hasn't changed: I am looking at it on a television instead of a movie screen and the print has probably faded, but for the most part the film is what it always has been.

So, why isn't it funny anymore?

Here are some possibilities:

--I am not 13 and don't have the sense of humor of a kid anymore. Objection: Most of the people at the show were adults and everybody was laughing.

--It has been 30 years since then and so the jokes are not fresh, topical or understood anymore.

--Maybe laughter is contagious. A few people enjoy the show and pretty soon everybody is laughing right along. Also, being home and relaxing on the sofa is a lot different from going-out. When you go out, you are full of energy and want to have a good time. At home, just searching through the channels for something interesting to watch, there isn't the same level of excitement.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Events (in list form)

Lots of little things this weekend, but none of them rise to the level of discussion--how about a list?

--Our 16th wedding anniversary.

--First Swim/Diving meet of the season. Dahlia raced in two events: 25M freestyle and 25M backstroke.

--Surenna didn't get to dive because she doesn't know all the compulserary dives yet. She was relieved/disappointed.

--Meenah ran 4 miles today. She showed no signs of fatigue. I showed signs of fatigue

--The children had their last day of school on Friday.

--Breakfast at the in-laws this morning: Puri bhaji. I fried all the the puris. (I like to be a helpful son-in-law)