Friday, July 07, 2006

Topozone Maps

Topozone is a great place to get free maps, even if they aren't completely up to date (my road is not shown on this map). Question though. Isn't it dangerous to homeland security to have this service freely available on the Internets?

The British Hate Us

According to a recent poll the British now hate Americans.
People in Britain view the United States as a vulgar, crime-ridden society obsessed with money and led by an incompetent president whose Iraq policy is failing, according to a newspaper poll.

But let's point out a couple of things:

1) Almost half of voting Americans (me included) voted against (twice) our idiot president
2) Your PM, Tony Blair, was a huge enabling force for GW
3) More than half of Americans now believe GW is an idiot
4) Your PM, Tony Blair, still is enabling Bush

SL National Guard Patrols Arizona Border

Soldiers from the Saranac Lake based National Guard are being sent to Arizona to help protect our country from illegal Mexican immigrants. It will be good desert training for them in case they are sent to some other part of the world in the near future.

Is there something else our country can do to stop illegal Mexican immigrants? Well, making sure there aren't any jobs for them would be one solution. Punish the companies that are hiring illegal immigrants or pass a law making temporary workers legal. Better yet, pay a living wage for the jobs illegal immigrants are currently taking, them maybe Americans will take them. How about pressuring or helping Mexico to improve their economy. In Mexico the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, kind of like in the USA. NAFTA was supposed to help, however:
Mexico has shed nearly 30% of its farm jobs since the trade pact went into effect, according to government statistics. That translates into 2.8 million farmers and millions more of their dependents fleeing their fields. Some have taken subsistence jobs in Mexico's cities, but many have relocated to the U.S. July 1, 2006 LA Times

Illegal Mexican workers send between 6-8 billion dollars back to Mexico's economy every year. It's the third biggest legitimate economic force in the country after oil and tourism. Mexico's disputed Presidential winner of the recent election will be decided in an election court by Sept. 6th. The new President will decide how the economic future of Mexico will proceed.
The contest pits leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who wants to boost social spending and rethink the NAFTA relationship, against conservative Felipe Calderon, who wants to maintain Mexico's policy on free trade and open the country's state-controlled energy sector to private investment.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

American Civil Liberties Union

I've never understood the basis for the hatred of the ACLU by conservatives. I'm not a card carrying member because I'm too cheap to pay $20 to join. But why would you be opposed to an organization whose purpose is to defend the 'Bill of Rights'?

The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:
Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.
Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

Alot of opposition to the ACLU comes from so called 'Christians'. The ACLU opposes Christian values. They say Christians are losing their Constitutionally protected rights to practice their religion. I don't see it. I was brought up a Catholic and as far as I can see I can still practice Catholicism if I wish. How does the ACLU stop me? Another argument made by conservatives is that the ACLU is funded by taxpayers. This is partially true but it's because of the Civil Rights Attorneys Fees Awards Act of 1976.
b) Attorney's fees

In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of sections 1981, 1981a, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986 of this title, title IX of Public Law 92-318 [20 U.S.C.A. § 1681 et seq.], the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 [42 U.S.C.A. § 2000bb et seq.], title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C.A. § 2000d et seq.], or section 13981 of this title,, [FN1] the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity such officer shall not be held liable for any costs, including attorney's fees, unless such action was clearly in excess of such officer's jurisdiction.
Of course 'activist judges' are on the side of the ACLU unless they aren't and then they aren't 'activist judges'. Here is a seemingly non-partisan website that discusses the pros and cons of the ACLU. Here is a list of 75 years of ACLU highlights.

And then there is the speech in 'An American President', one of my favorites.
For the record, yes, I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is "Why aren't you, Bob?" Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution?

Top Science Blogs - Nature

Nature has published the top 50 science blogs. My personal favorite pharyngula (Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal)
is number 1.

There are two reasons I like pharyngula so much. First, the author is an unapologetic atheist and is very good at explaining why. Second, he really knows how to take on the anti-evolutionists (creationists) in words even they could understand if they read his blog.

Monday, July 03, 2006