Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.


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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Is that cabbage? There's no cabbage in baseball!

Major League Baseball has been criticized for reacting too slowly to allegations of steroid use by its players. Maybe it can learn something from the Korea Baseball Organization, which wasted no time responding to a controversy of its own. Twice during a game last weekend, the ballcap of Doosan Bears pitcher Park Myung Hwan fell off, sending the frozen cabbage leaves he was wearing on his head tumbling to the field. Mr. Park was using the leaves to keep cool, but the league has since decided to prohibit the wearing of cabbage leaves, calling them an "alien material" that could bollix a game. "What will we do if another team argues that because the cabbage leaf fell just as the pitcher was pitching, the batter got confused?" the league rules committee chair rhetorically asked, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. Mr. Park reportedly stayed cool. "I wasn't planning to use cabbage any longer regardless of the decision of the rules committee, so I don't care," he said, according to Yonhap.
(Mark Gongloff, Wall Street Journal)

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Unbalanced

The constitutional republic that is the United States of America was, according to the old cliché, designed by geniuses to be run by idiots.

But even geniuses can make mistakes.

Our founders gave the President the veto and Congress the override, to prevent either the executive and legislative branches of government from wielding unreasonable, unilateral power.

The Supreme Court of the United States was not included in this ingenious set of checks and balances, probably because the Founders couldn't possibly foresee that the judicial branch would eventually usurp the constitutional authority of the President and Congress and the will of the people who elect them. (Think about it: who would have guessed back in 1971 that adorable Michael Jackson would be on trial for molesting children?)

The Supremes have made a number of historically outrageous decisions: Dredd Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu v. U.S., Bush v. Gore. The icing on the cake was yesterday's Kelo et al v. City of New London, which totally distorts the Fifth Amendment concept of government using eminent domain to seize private property for "public use."

It's one thing when government takes over private property in order to build an essential road or bridge. When the government seized most of lower Homestead and Munhall, PA in the 1940s in order to build the sprawling mills essential to produce steel for the war effort, few could disagree on the necessity.

But the court ruled yesterday that if a developer can convince a local government it can bring more jobs and revenue to the community, the municipality can seize the affected property and sell it to the developer. True, the Fifth Amendment guarantees "just compensation"- but it also requires the property be for "public use." Destroying a neighborhood to put up a WalMart or a condominium really isn't what I think the founders had in mind.

But I digress.

Instead of a Constitutional amendment preventing the desecration of the American flag, a mere symbol, Congress should be more concerned about the Supreme Court's arbitrary interpretations which desecrate the Constitution itself. Twice in the last five years the Court acted egregiously, inserting itself into the 2000 Presidential election where it had no jurisdiction, and essentially rewriting the intent of the Fifth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizure of property.

The Supreme Court, like Congress and the President, must be included in our federal system of checks and balances. The Constitution should be amended to permit the veto of Supreme Court rulings by a "super-majority"- a 2/3 vote- of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The fabric of our government and society is sewn with the thread of the consent of the governed. That thread is starting to unravel. The United States works because its citizens agree to be bound by its laws. But the laws are supposed to be written by those we elect to Congress, not by an elite group of lifetime appointees whose recurring lapses of judgment and insight- and bizarre interpretations of the Constitution- threaten to undermine the trust of the citizenry. And once that trust is lost, then all is lost.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Self-preservation

I think the reason Republicans are so concerned about burning American flags is because they spend so much time wrapped in them.

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Virus warning

There's a new computer virus going around called C-Nile. Even the most advanced anti-viral software seems unable to cope with this particularly pernicious strain, which appears to affect mostly those born before 1960. (Thanks to Graham Weeks on alt.quotations.)

Symptoms of C-Nile Virus:

1. Causes you to send the same e-mail twice
2. Causes you to send a blank e-mail
3. Causes you to send it to the wrong person
4. Causes you to send it back to the person who sent it to you
5. Causes you to forget to attach the attachment
6. Causes you to hit "SEND" before you've finished the

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

It's crystal clear

For those who have problems understanding Bush's plan for Social Security or are vexed by Congress' intention to vote on a Social Security bill that does nothing but give Republicans the ability to say they "did something" in the next mid-term elections- don't forget the President's original analysis of the handling of the current system:

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."
-George W. Bush ? St. Charles, Missouri, Nov. 2, 2000

Any other questions?

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Inanity of the day

"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person. I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."
-George W. Bush

"I am a conservative Republican," Barry Goldwater wrote in a 1994 Washington Post essay, "but I believe in democracy and the separation of church and state. The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process."

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Quote of the day

"Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps."
-Emo Philips

Someone's going to be the beneficiary of a random act of churlish indifference today, pally.

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Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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As a matter of fact, I *am* the boss of you.
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Truly great madness cannot be achieved without signficant intelligence


I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


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Flies spread disease. Keep yours zipped.


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If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.


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