Rule 5 Friday Saturday: Boomer

A late Rule 5 post this week. But it’s worth it.

20121222-233116.jpgbecause it’s Grace Park. More after the break.
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On the words of dead white men

As a policy wonk and part-time economist, I’m constantly having to remind customers of the existence of the “do-nothing” option. Status quo ante.

In the wake of the shootings in Newtown, there’s a call for a national conversation – as if we haven’t had that conversation for over 200 years – about what a bunch of old (now dead) white guys meant when they wrote this:
I mean, they’re old words, fading on the paper they’re written on. They’re obviously in need of…interpretation. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Leave it to the American Civil Liberties Union, bulwark of democrats democracy to come through with a Primer on the Bill of Rights. It’s important to know what others think of your rights, so lets look at what the nation’s preeminent body on civil liberties thinks of its source material.

References to “arms”, “firearms”, “second amendment”, “keep and bear”: zero.

References to “right to privacy”: check.

In reality, the ACLU’s “brief history” of the Bill of Rights really only gets deeply into three of the ten amendments: I, III, and V. More time is spent on non-bill-specific items, like judicial review, the lack of protection to the historically aggrieved, and the history of the ACLU. In fact, one has to look elsewhere on their site to find a discussion of the ACLU’s take on the Second Amendment:

The ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court’s conclusion about the nature of the right protected by the Second Amendment. We do not, however, take a position on gun control itself. In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.

I share, because I care. It’s good to know what your betters think of your rights.

On the tenth amendment, the ACLU is all for it, as long as it’s a Bush War on Drugs law being subverted at the strength of a state law. No doubt they’d feel the same on a state firearms law that countermanded an Obama-Reid “for the children” gun ban.

Because they’re consistent.

I place these facts out there because they need to be known, to be seen, not in the panicked darkness of a catastrophe for which we lack answers and the power to change the past, but in the stable light of day of an enduring Republic, one that has had good and bad moments, but whose intentions have always had better angels in mind. Our friends on the left side of the aisle despised the Patriot Act, said it was enacted in the heat of the moment following 9/11, and that it gave the sitting President too much power…until they got to use it themselves. So lets do a simple logical discussion, for sake of clarity:

First, plenty of gun laws exist today. In fact, the assailant in this case was stopped in an attempt to buy a gun by those very laws;

Second, where gun laws are most stringent in the United States, in places like Chicago and Washington, DC, gun crime continues at high levels;

Third, we can pass a utopian set of laws regarding gun ownership, storage, usage, training, mental health assessments – the veritable wet dream for the anti-gun community – and we will still have gun crime, because criminals, or those partial to or lacking the stability to discern criminal behavior from non-criminal behavior are the least likely to follow the law. There is a human element in the system, and it has more performance flaws than the typical handgun or shotgun.

So what are we to do?

We must do something.

If you’ve read this far, you know one potential answer. It is in paragraph one.


Apologies in advance: this is a bit of a stream of consciousness.

Tonight was our school’s annual Christmas show. Usually a festive time. Tonight, pensive, though. Beforehand, waiting with oldest in the lobby to be gathered in with his classmates, I noticed lots of parents. Lots of protective parents, watching over their kids, much more so than usual.

Lots and lots of protective parents.

Then, inside, talking with other parents before the show started (and with a noticeable absence of kids) we discussed today’s senseless set of events in Newtown, CT, that led to twenty children, mostly kindergarteners, being shot dead in their classroom.

Before the kids came in, the principal and the pastor both had words on the day’s events, prayers of comfort for those who lost so much.

The kids sang Silent Night. Doubt there was a dry eye in the house at that point.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and, of late, the Star Trek reboot are my favorite Trek stories, because they discuss Kirk’s defeat of the infamous Kobayashi Maru test. It is a test you’re supposed to fail, that’s really designed more to see how you cope with defeat, with failure, with death.

I despise death.

I’ve experienced it too much in my life. Grandparents. Parents. Two daughters. Each time, you go searching for information that might change the outcome. You put in amazing hours of thought trying to solve an unsolvable problem.

In the end, we are left without answers. And we always want them. We want to know where we went wrong. Then, with those who passed from old age, or a mysterious infection, or an allergic reaction, or from heartbreak; today, we want to know what could’ve been done to change this outcome.

But we don’t get that. Just God does. And that makes a lot of us hate Him.

We want to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. What we heard about two weeks ago, at the start of Advent. So we can know, so we can be more like God.

But we don’t get to anymore. Because what we found when we did eat of that tree was that we noticed our imperfection. And for that we received our mortality.

So I have no answers. I have no reasons. I just have what I can see, and feel, and believe in. And if that’s enough for me, then that should be a good day.

But it isn’t. My heart aches for those parents. My prayers are with them. After seeing the news today, I went to lunch. It took a lot for me to not order a stiff drink. Or six.

The show was great. I’ll watch what I taped again tomorrow. Tonight though I must rest. And pray. Constant prayer.

Rule 5 Friday: Back Across the Pond

Hat tip, as always, to Wombat-Socho for rounding up the Rule 5 content hope you’re feeling better – and do stop by some of the other fine Rule 5 blogs.

Time once again for a Rule 5 Friday post after a week off. Time to think about who should grace this spot. Naturally, a trip to the UK was in order, to visit a member of the third of the fifth topless brigade.20121207-214354.jpgThis is Rosie Jones. More of this fair lass after the break. Caution: As Miss Jones has spent time as a Page 3 model, some images after the break may be considered NSFW. You’ve been warned encouraged.

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That’s What I’m Talking About

Now, that was a superior win. Better than the December 2008 win in Baltimore – the goal line catch – that all but clinched the AFC North and paved the way to Super Bowl XLIII.

Just finished watching most of the fourth quarter again – it was so pleasant – and it brings home the important point that turnovers should be avoided. Driving, Charlie Batch tried to hit Heath Miller in the back of the end zone. Ed Reed cut across and made the pick. On third and four, the Ravens looked for a pass – one that was apparently far afield, because James Harrison had plenty of time to get around the left side to liberate the ball from Joe Flacco. Ziggy Hood made the recovery. A few plays later, Batch found Miller, who channeled Lynn Swann’s ballet practices to tie the game.

The defense continued to surprise, as much as anything else for making sure tackles, not making the dumb play on the Flacco deep ball – and there were plenty of those. The Steelers got the ball back with plenty of time for a clock-killing GWFG drive. That’s just what Charlie Batch and the offense had in hand. An earlier screen fake with a Miller seam route opened up the WR screen just enough late – there were three of them on the final drive – to keep yardages reasonable.

Also, no dumb penalties. Yes, the false start on the last set of downs served as a setback, but the random holding calls were held to a minimum.

So, 7-5 going in to a closing quarter with three of four at home. Ben might be back. Ike might be out. But we’ll take a win like this every Sunday.