damnum absque injuria

March 24, 2007

JetBlues

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:22 pm

Q: If God is all-powerful, can he make a flight so early that even he can’t catch it?

A: Yes, but he can’t make a flight so late that JetBlue will reschedule it.

That basically sums up our recent experiences with my former favorite airline. A couple weeks ago, I flew to NYC for a conference, and Mrs. X and the boys flew to Cali by way of NYC to tend to Sr. X and the family for a week. Both flights were delayed, mine for an hour and hers for almost three. A few days later I returned to Richmond, only to have that flight delayed by 2 1/2 hours. A few days after that, Mrs. X’s return flight was cancelled, along with almost everything else flying in or out of the Northeast that day, but you could only tell that by reading the news, putting two and two together, and getting five. Neither the web site nor the customer service line could handle the traffic they were getting, but I somehow managed to book them a return flight for the next day to DC, which was not experiencing the blizzards that froze up the Northeast. That flight was – you guessed it – delayed. Once again, 2 1/2 hours, not counting the hour it took them to get the luggage to the baggage claim, or the additional half hour it took to report a lost car seat while waiting behind another family off the same flight who had also had a car seat lost, and a stroller, to boot. And speaking of boots, that couple was doubly screwed since they were planning to catch a flight to Italy the next morning. So as annoyed as we were, we were the lucky ones. Then they called the next day to tell us they’d found the missing car seat, but weren’t going to deliver it to us because the distance we’d driven to IAD was too long for their driver’s delicate sensibilities. Apparently they only thought of this after sending the seat to IAD instead of RIC.

Between this, their well-publicized meltdown a month earlier, and an abysmal frequent flyer progam, I’m ready for a new preferred airline. As soon as any other carrier adds TV sets to their flights and goes where I want to go, I’m there. Any takers?

March 19, 2007

Cathy Seipp

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:19 pm

Is dying. Keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Update: R.I.P., Cathy.

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:01 am

The wrong Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane crash.

March 17, 2007

Ambiguity

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:04 am

Is it still considered “animal abuse” when the animal is the one doing the abusing?

March 15, 2007

Blinded by the (Sun-)Light

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 1:42 am

I’ve had to to there with “sunshine” laws in general, and their pollyannish names in particular. Society has long outgrown its fetish with real sunshine, too little of which can be problematic but too much of which causes everything from sunburn to melanoma. We (meaning all rational individuals, myself included) know damned well what too much literal sunshine can do; it’s part of the reason our homes and offices have roofs over them, for chrissake. Yet somehow we (and by that I mean the smarmy, non-royal “we,” which means either “you idiots” or “those idiots,” not any group of individuals that includes myself) seem to forget that the same problems exist with the figurative version of sunshine, i.e., the naive notion that disclosing stuff is always good.

News media are, unsurprisingly, among the worst offenders. In the big leagues, papers like the New York Times (and, to a lesser degree, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times) got the brilliant idea to publish every detail they could about the NSA wiretaps and the SWIFT program, both of which had until then been effective tools in the global war on something even more dangerous than Lite-Brites. Here in bush league territory, Christian Tejbal of the Roanoke Times thinks small and goes after ordinary citizens instead. Specifically, his idea of how to celebrate “Sunshine Week” was to liken Virginians with concealed handgun permits to registered sex offenders and publish their names and home addresses as punishment for exercising their Second Amendment rights.

The list stayed up for about a day, inviting comments. Here’s mine (the one they published):

Christian, your snotty article and your gross invasion of law abiding citizens’ privacy requires one of two actions:

  1. Explain what the hell kind of good it was supposed to do for anyone other than the violent ex-lovers some CHP holders were trying to get away from (and whose violent exes now know where they live) or
  2. Admit that you are an irresponsible jerk who has no business being a journalist.

Here’s the unpublished one that followed:

Christian Tejbal should be fired, as should anyone else who approved his boneheaded decision to invade the privacy of 135,000 law abiding Virginians. Now. That idiot’s idea of “sunshine” is precisely what got actress Rebecca Schaeffer (and Lord only knows how many others) killed. At least Schaeffer’s killer had to pay a sleazy detective agency $250 to obtain the information your pathetic excuse for a newspaper provides for free.

Lastly, here’s a little “sunshine” on the creep who started it all. I’m sure he won’t mind, as Sunshine Week isn’t over yet.

Christian Trejbal
675 School Lane
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Punk probably thinks “Christiansburg” is named after him.

UPDATE: The database was removed and replaced with a they-a culpa. My favorite part:

“When we posted the information, we had every reason to believe that the data the State Police had supplied would comply with the statutes. But people have notified us that the list includes names that should not have been released,” said Debbie Meade, president and publisher of The Roanoke Times.

No kidding.

UPDATE x2: Michelle Malkin has more. Don’t know how I missed this at the time.

March 13, 2007

Interesting Headline

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:22 pm

From FoxNews:


Bush to Meet With New Mexican President on Last Stop of Latin American Tour

I never knew that New Mexico had a President. Learn something new every day.

March 12, 2007

Start Spreading the News, I’m Leaving Today

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:34 pm

I’ve got to get the hell out of – New York, New York
This damned JetBlue flight, is longing to stay
Two hours in Jamaica near – New York, New York

Buh-bye, NYC, I barely knew ya. Thanks for the history lesson, though. All my life I’ve wondered why that dreadful POW torture facility in ‘Nam was named after the Hilton. Now I know.

Updated to reflect how the return trip panned out. On the bright side, JetBlue did send me a $25 voucher to apologize for the delay. Not enough to get me to fly through JFK again, but just enough to reconsider flying with them elsewhere.

March 11, 2007

NYC Teechers Learn Ya Ta Talk Good

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:08 pm

Seen on the NYC subway:

Become a NYC Teaching Fellow.

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Ownership: We Don’t Want to Ban Handguns, Only to Ban Handguns

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:57 am

Boy, for a group that only supports “reasonable” gun control restrictions and doesn’t want government to ban handguns, the Brady Bunch sure seem awfully pissed off over a court ruling that has no apparent impact on reasonable gun control restrictions, but does prohibit government from banning handguns (OK, maybe machine guns too, but they’re not responding to that angle, nor are they likely even aware of it).

March 10, 2007

Will the Hughes Survive?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:53 pm

If you own a fully automatic weapon, you should seriously consider selling it now, before the market catches up with yesterday’s ruling. If you keep it, that’s your prerogative, but know this: if yesterday’s ruling stands, you’re screwed. Take a gander at this portion of the ruling:

D.C. Code § 7-2502.02 prohibits the registration of a pistol not registered in the District by the applicant prior to 1976. The District contends that since it only bans one type of firearm, “residents still have access to hundreds more,” and thus its prohibition does not implicate the Second Amendment because it does not threaten total disarmament. It could be similarly contended that all firearms may be banned so long as sabers were permitted. Once it is determined – as we have done – that handguns are “Arms” referred to in the Second Amendment, it is not open to the District to ban them.

Sure, this ruling will be appealed, and maybe it will be reversed or changed significantly on appeal, but then again, maybe it won’t. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that it does. If it does, I defy you to show how a different result would obtain if you substituted “fully-automatic weapon” for “pistol,” “1986″ for “1976,” and “Congress” for “the District.” Make these mechanical changes and voila, the Hughes Amendment is history, any post-1986 assault weapons (real ones, not just the phony ones Clinton banned in 1994) are legal in every state that allows them, and your M-16 is worth only a trifle more than my AR-15.

Note that I drew no distinction between the possibility that the ruling sticks because the Supreme Court upholds it vs. it sticking because the USSC declines to rule on the issue at all. In most cases, that distinction is huge. In this case, it’s a minor detail, at least for those fortunate enough to live in states permitting their subjects to own fully automatic weapons. Unless the D.C. Circuit reverses itself, the value of your fully automatic weapon will plummet whether the Supremes uphold them or bow out. If they uphold, any post-1986 weapons can be legally sold in every state that does not prohibit them – unless, of course, they extend the ruling to the states, in whcih case they could be sold nationwide. If the ruling only stands in the D.C. Circuit, then post-1986 weapons can only be legally sold in D.C., but so what? Anyone living in a state that allows them could just travel there, and D.C. would be instantly transformed from the cesspool of Second Amendment jurisprudence that it is now to a gun owner’s Mecca. I’d rather pay my sales taxes to Virginia than D.C., but if I have to drive two whole hours to get what I want, oh well.

And yes, the dissent in Parker really is as retarded as the Ass. Press has made it out to be. For once they reported a legal issue correctly.

UPDATE: Lots of good comments. Tam says I’m wrong about interstate transfers; apparently, you can’t just buy an NFA weapon in an area that allows it and then transfer it to an area that does not. Query whether there is some way around that. After all, we’re not talking different local laws, just different circuits interpreting the same law that supposedly applies nationwide. There has got to be some way to get the local authorities into a suit in the DC circuit, at least if your local authorities are friendly enough to the concept to submit to jurisdiction voluntarily.

Another commenter suggests that the Supremes might find a convoluted way to argue that handguns are “arms” under the Second Amendment but submachine guns commonly carried by soldiers on the battlefield are not. I doubt they’ll go that route myself, though I don’t doubt that that may be the end result if they take the case. More likely, they’ll uphold Parker on some other, narrower theory which does not lend itself to such a broad interpretation. For example, they could rule that all weapons are “arms” within the meaning of the Second Amendment, but note in dicta that modest restrictions on some arms (e.g., instant background checks or bans on handgun ownership by violent felons on parole) and general prohibitions on others (e.g., suitcase nukes or handguns capable of evading detection at airports) impose only minor burdens on the individual right to bear arms, and are narrowly tailored to a compelling interest of the state. To the average nonlawyer, that sounds like splitting the baby, and strictly speaking, it is. However, it’s also the strict scrutiny standard, which is the highest level of protection the Supreme Court has afforded to any constitutional right, including the ones they care about a lot more than the Second Amendment. Thus, it’s probably the best we can hope for, realistically speaking. With that, I take back my prior statement that it doesn’t matter whether the Supreme Court upholds Parker or simply allows it to stand. If they uphold it, they will almost certainly narrow its scope. It will, however, guarantee that the Second Amendment means something, so like me dying in a plane crash with 49 of my colleagues, it would be a good start.

 

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