Friday, July 31, 2015

Miscellaneous Outrages

1. The Export-Import Bank

     Ted Cruz is up in arms about it because according to him, Mitch McConnell said that there would be no “deal” to revive it. I can understand anger about being deceived that way, but deceit is as common in Washington as dandelions in my lawn. Besides, as a reason for high and public dudgeon, political mendacity pales in comparison to the larger issue. Why not be angry for a principled rather than a procedural reason: specifically, that the Ex-Im Bank constitutes a subsidy to certain kinds of businesses, paid for by private taxpaying citizens?

     The Democrats have made hay out of “corporate welfare” for decades. I was pleased when the GOP began to own the issue and move against it. I suppose I should have known that it wouldn’t last.

2. The Planned Parenthood Videos.

     The judge who enjoined the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any more of its clandestine videos of Planned Parenthood personnel contriving the sale of fetal organs has blatantly violated First Amendment protections of freedom of expression. It doesn’t matter whether the videos are eventually found to be slanderous; prior restraint has been held to be unConstitutional for decades.

     The real issue here – the one that judge is so desperate to avert our eyes from – is that millions of Americans who approached the subject of abortion entirely in the abstract are being compelled to confront its logical implications. If an unborn baby is merely “tissue” whose fate is at the mother’s whim, then the sale of that “tissue” cannot be morally worse than its disposal. That the sale is being viewed as outrageous is “backfilling” the sense of horror about abortion itself, and therefore fueling anti-abortion sentiment in a fashion that’s proof against disguise by euphemism. The Left simply can’t have its sacrament defiled in this manner.

     Has anyone bothered to note that it’s illegal to sell adult human organs, whether for transplantation or any other purpose?

3. “Cecil”

     I have a soft spot for animals. I make no bones about it. And while I’m anything but a PETAphile – animals cannot and do not possess a human being’s right to life, for reasons beyond the scope of this mini-rant – I dislike and deplore the killing of animals simply for sport. So I deplore the killing of Cecil, which has apparently been a subject of some controversy these past few days.

     But note! Various Left-aligned groups are trumpeting to the skies about the “murder” of Cecil, to the extreme of threatening death to the dentist who shot him. The prevailing thesis on the Right is that these groups are desperate to distract the electorate from the several real outrages we would otherwise be up in arms about. It could well be true...but it could equally well be the case that the Left is more concerned about the death of Cecil than, say, the ongoing Planned Parenthood obscenity simply because Leftists’ only interest in babies is whether they can be indoctrinated to be obedient little Democrats.

     Besides, Cecil was a Zimbabwean, and therefore ineligible to vote in U.S. elections.

4. Peeping Toms And Property Rights

     Time was, it was an absolute principle of the law that the wedge of airspace over one’s legally owned land was a form of property. The owner could extend his structures into it without let or hindrance, and anyone who wanted to pass through that airspace simply had to cope. Alongside that, the use of a camera to invade the privacy of a neighbor – i.e., to photograph persons or items on his property against his will – was a criminal offense. Those were simpler days.

     Apparently, the “drone” phenomenon has changed all that:

     LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Hillview man has been arrested after he shot down a drone flying over his property -- but he's not making any apologies for it.

     It happened Sunday night at a home on Earlywood Way, just south of the intersection between Smith Lane and Mud Lane in Bullitt County, according to an arrest report.

     Hillview Police say they were called to the home of 47-year-old William H. Merideth after someone complained about a firearm.

     When they arrived, police say Merideth told them he had shot down a drone that was flying over his house. The drone was hit in mid-air and crashed in a field near Merideth's home.

     Police say the owner of the drone claimed he was flying it to get pictures of a friend's house -- and that the cost of the drone was over $1,800.

     Merideth was arrested and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment. He was booked into the Bullitt County Detention Center, and released on Monday.

     What about the invasion of Merideth’s privacy by a camera-equipped spy device? Have the Kentucky gendarmes arrested the operators of that drone for their infraction, which is illegal as sin in every state of the Union?

     This is injustice plain and simple.

5. No Exemption For Kinda-Sorta “Famous” Musicians

     And “Morrissey,” whoever the BLEEP! he is, should have known better:

     Morrissey claims a security agent at San Francisco International Airport “sexually groped” him before a flight this week.

     In a blog post at the all-things-Morrissey website True to You, the musician says he was flying from San Francisco to London on July 27 and made it through regular security protocols, including a metal detector, with “no bleeps and nothing unusual.”

     But then:

     Before I could gather my belongings from the usual array of trays I was approached by an “airport security officer” who stopped me, crouched before me and groped my penis and testicles. He quickly moved away as an older “airport security officer” approached.

     The officer who sexually assaulted me was identified as the General Manager On Duty. Luckily I was accompanied by two members of British Airways Special Services, who were horrified at the sexual attack and suggested that I lodge a complaint. I asked if there would be any point in lodging a complaint since, as with any complaint against a figure in “authority”, the complaints are simply collected in order to protect the guilty officer should the matter go further. The British Airways Special Services employees assured me that a complaint was worthwhile, and so I filed the appropriate information.

     Morrissey claims that when he tried to confront the offending security officer, he was repeatedly told, “That’s just your opinion.”

     “Apart from ‘that’s just your opinion,’ he would not comment, even though, since the penis and testicles were mine and no one else’s, then my opinion must surely have some meaning,” Morrissey protested.

     Oh, my! The gentleman is claiming ownership of his body parts! The right to exclude others from accessing them without his consent! What an innovation! What a daring excursion into property rights theory! What will he come up with next?

     Say, do you think Famous Person Morrissey has ever thought about such an invasion of privacy and outrage to decency when it happens to someone else? I know which side of that bet I’d take.

6. A Question For My Readers

     I did something on impulse quite recently, and the reaction was unexpected, to say the least. Allow me to tell you about it.

     Last week I took a day trip out to continental New York – you know, the wilderness west of the Hudson River – to look at real estate that might be suitable for a retirement destination. I’d engaged the services of a realtor – let’s call her Jane – who graciously spent her entire day with and on me. We saw a number of properties, two of which struck me as eminently suitable. I took quite a lot of photos of them, thanked her, and returned to Long Island hoping that the C.S.O. might agree with me on one of the two.

     Sadly, ‘twas not to be. The C.S.O. has declared, sine die, that she will not relocate. She’s grown too attached to our current house and its environs, and refuses to consider any of the advantages attendant upon departing this Godforsaken lump of terminal moraine.

     That left me in a moral quandary. I’d inveighed Jane into devoting an entire day to me, on the representation that we were serious about buying a house. To discover that it had been a vain quest from the start, undertaken under a false pretense – by both of us, mind you, for I was as badly misled as she – left me feeling that I owed her something. So I sent her an Amazon gift card and a favorite CD of mine.

     Well! You can hardly imagine the emissions about that, from Jane or the C.S.O. The former was unbelievably effusive in gratitude; as the saying goes, she stopped just short of asking to have my baby. The latter wanted to know if I’d gone bonkers at long last: “They work on commission, Fran! It’s just the way things are!”

     If you were in my position – and God grant that you never are; I was middlin’ angry at the C.S.O. for days, a most unpleasant feeling – would you have felt as I did? Would you have done as I did? If not, what do you think would have been appropriate?

     Have a nice day.


Bruce said...

It is quite right that you offer a small gift for her efforts.

doubletrouble said...

A kind gesture, made earnestly & without dishonorable motive, is always a good thing.
You know that, or you wouldn't have done it.

daniel_day said...

You done good. Your wife should have made her feelings clear before your trip with the agent. Perhaps she saw it as merely harmless "window shopping", without regard for the agent's time and effort.

Adrienne said...

Not wanting to get in the middle of a domestic dispute (very dangerous), I will say that you both are right. Yes - the realtor does work on commission and it's is just part of the job, and I highly doubt she gave it much thought. I'm also sure it's happened to her a gazillion times. On the other hand, it's never wrong to be kind and acknowledge another person's hard work. More people need to do exactly what you did.

Weetabix said...

You did right. It was unnecessary, as the CSO noted, but it was good and right.

The right thing isn't always the required thing.

Ron Olson said...

If you realized late that you "should" have known then I would agree that you did as I would have. On the other hand if you were honestly misled then I would not do penance for the ex post facto sin.

Anneland said...

I have a bigger question, Fran. WHY are you still looking at purchasing property in NY state anyway? If you venture just a little bit farther west, you get SO much more for your money in Pennsylvania, especially as a "retired" person. Why would you continue to give away your hard-earned wealth to a state that thrives on ever-growing tyranny?? I live in Virginia, but for your purposes, I will use the NY SAFE Gun restriction act as just one example.

And while, as the other gentle reader pointed out, it is unwise to get involved in someone else's domestic disputes, I do have a bigger curiosity: does your wife ALWAYS base her decisions on completely illogical emotion? (Eye roll)

If so, Gosh, that's pretty annoying, and she needs to be put in her place, especially with regard to such a big decision as this.

See also Jack Spirko's website called "walking to freedom" that rates EVERY state in the union on all types of issues, including General levels of freedom, firearm freedom, stringency of "codes" in different areas, and so much more.

Might be worth a look, and see what you find there. Google it.

Good luck!!

A fellow Catholic

Francis W. Porretto said...

Anne: You’ve posed several questions, each deserving of an answer, so bear with me.

1. The C.S.O. intimated that she might be willing to consider moving to continental New York, whereas every other destination I mentioned elicited a powerfully negative response. It developed that she had misled me, or perhaps I had managed to mislead myself, but either way, that’s the reason.

2. The C.S.O. is an accountant, a financial planner, an anarchist, and a secular Jew. Of course she makes all her decisions from completely illogical emotion! She doesn’t even believe that arithmetic has unchanging rules! Besides, she married me; how much crazier can a woman get?

3. I know how tyrannical New York State’s government has become. However, I’ve taken steps to keep its hand out of my pocket, and in all other matters of importance I “keep my head down.” I do pretty well at that; as of this writing I haven’t had to shoot a state flunky in weeks.

4. If things get to be too terrible, I can always buy a Winnebago and hit the road, right?

Don’t be too afraid for me, dear.

Eowyn said...

I think that as long as she showed your properties that actually met your stated parameters, what you did was a kindness.

I dealt, some years ago, with a real estate agent who insisted on showing me houses that were listed well above my maximum price. She continued showing me only houses out of my price range, and we eventually found someone else to sell us a house.

Master Guns said...

I have a very different perspective about Cecil. What I see here is a man displaying a very rare trait in an area of the beta and metro sexual male – courage. It is no trivial matter to face an apex predator with a bow. It takes courage that only alpha males possess and that is sorely lacking in many males today. I have read and believe that a male’s job distills to three things: 1) protect, 2) provide and 3) procreate. Let’s look at the Cecil drama in the prospective of the first two.

If we as males are going to protect then we must have courage. We test for the presence of courage often in the things we do. Wars, boxing, martial arts, football, mountain climbing, exploration are a few of the things that test courage. Americans used to love the courageous and honor such men. I guess that’s why football and not soccer is not the national sport. Many cultures honor men of courage because I believe that not all of us have it. Is that not why we honor courage with medals in our military? Do men earn these things for women or do they do so for the respect of other men. It’s in our genes! (We have been at war since 9/11 and how many airports or any structures have we named after the heroes. Hell, not even a statue!)

If we are expected to provide then should we not be familiar with the hunting traditions? Are we not one EMP away from that needed skill? I grew up in the hunting tradition so I understand why men hunt. Those that don’t hunt hire someone else to kill for them. Are not those steers cute? How about those little chicks? We can afford to condemn others from killing their meat when we buy ours nicely cut and wrapped.

Back to my point – it takes a lot of courage to face down a lion with a bow. We should honor men of courage and not condemn them. We have lost touch with our manly values. We will want such men when the next crisis occurs.

Francis W. Porretto said...

There are many ways to demonstrate one's courage, Butch. One need not kill animals for sport. I stand by my statements.

square.wave said...

If one wants to demonstrate his mastery of the wilderness, and his ability to successfully track and stalk game, why not just pull the trigger on a camera instead? Personally I would take that as a trophy of my accomplishment. Why kill a creature solely for "sport"? I am not against hunting, it's a way for modern man to keep some connection with the natural order of things, but I find the killing of apex creatures (solely so they can be fashioned into an ornament) a gross perversion of hunting.

JoeFromSidney said...

Meredith should not have fired at the drone. Instead he should have used a laser pointer on it. At the very least, that would jam the camera and mess up the image.