Gunday! Gunday! Gunday!
That's right, it's time once again for the Carnival of Cordite!! Back for it's 35th appearance!
Update on I-912 and KVI
Articles on the issue in both the Times and the P-I. Naturally, the accounts of what happened differ depending on who you talk to. Representatives from the Yes on I-912 campaign and KVI tell a different story than the rep from the PDC.
A press release issued yesterday by the legal firm representing I-912 states that on Tuesday the PDC "warned organizers of the No New Gas Tax Initiative (I-912) that two local radio talk show hosts who have spoken out in favor of the initiative are subject to a government-imposed limit of $5,000 in contributions in the three weeks prior to the general election, and that this restriction specifically includes counting the hosts' political discussions as 'in-kind contributions' ... "
The statement said the PDC warned that, because of the court order "if the hosts continue talking about I-912, the initiative organizer and Fisher Communications Inc. ... could face steep fines."
Ellis said the PDC informed I-912 backers about the campaign-contribution limits but didn't warn them about anything.
Here's my guess at what's going on:
-state law restricts contributions from any single contributor to any single campaign to $5,000 during the last 3 weeks before the election
-on Tuesday, the PDC informed all campaigns that they were entering the three week period, and contributions were now subject to the $5,000 limit. This reminder probably included mention of 'in kind' contributions.
-KVI, in accordance with the earlier court decision, has valued each host's air time at $10,000 a month. That means their air time over the next 3 weeks would be valued at $7,500, and in violation of the $5,000 limit. Given this, the reminder from the PDC could reasonably interpreted as a threat of prosecution.
Regardless of whether the PDC intended the message as an explicit threat, the fact is that, given the judge's ruling and the contribution limits, Messrs Carlson and Wilbur, along with their employer face the very real possibility of prosecution for exercising their right of free speech, a right guaranteed by both the federal and state constitutions. This is wrong, and cannot be allowed to stand.
Senator Patty Murray, (Jackass-Seattle)
Patty "Osama Mama" Murray, the senior Senator from the state of Washington, my home state, is one of the reasons I might not mind so much if an Islamofascist nuke blew up in Seattle.
Yesterday, during floor debate on amendments offered by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, amendments which would cancel funding for several pork-barrel projects, including the infamous Alaskan bridge-to-nowhere, and transfer that funding to rebuilding projects in the Gulf states. Senator Murray, vying with Rep. McDermott to be the shame of Washington state, resorted to making veiled threats like an extortionist mob boss, telling Senators who voted in favor of the amendments:
"we on the Appropriations Committee will take a long, hard look at any projects in your state." HT: Powerline
[Cornholio]Are you threatening me?[/Cornholio]
My senator, resorting to threats, in order to protect pork barrel projects. What a disgrace. Since brining home pork is about the only way in which Sen. Murray has distinguished herself during her tenure, I guess she knows how she gets votes-she buys them.
For a more sarcastic take on Sen. Murray's extortionism, we go to fellow Washingtonian Mr. Completely:
That's great news! The appropriations committee members taking a long hard look at questionable projects is exactly what they are SUPPOSED to do!
Maybe this means that they will actually start looking for and cutting out some of the pork barrel projects and start spending responsibly!! WOO HOO!
Probably just an idle threat............
Via Tapscott's Copy Desk, I'll give you the list of how the Senate voted (a yes vote is a vote to kill the amendments. The score was 86-13 against)
Grouped By Vote Position
Akaka (D-HI)Alexander (R-TN)Allard (R-CO)Baucus (D-MT)Bayh (D-IN)Bennett (R-UT)Biden (D-DE)Bingaman (D-NM)Bond (R-MO)Boxer (D-CA)Brownback (R-KS)Bunning (R-KY)Burns (R-MT)Byrd (D-WV)Cantwell (D-WA)Carper (D-DE)Chafee (R-RI)Chambliss (R-GA)Clinton (D-NY)Cochran (R-MS)Coleman (R-MN)Collins (R-ME)Conrad (D-ND)Cornyn (R-TX)Craig (R-ID)Crapo (R-ID)Dayton (D-MN)DeWine (R-OH)Dodd (D-CT)
Dole (R-NC)Domenici (R-NM)Dorgan (D-ND)Durbin (D-IL)Enzi (R-WY)Feinstein (D-CA)Frist (R-TN)Grassley (R-IA)Gregg (R-NH)Harkin (D-IA)Hatch (R-UT)Hutchison (R-TX)Inhofe (R-OK)Inouye (D-HI)Isakson (R-GA)Jeffords (I-VT)Johnson (D-SD)Kennedy (D-MA)Kerry (D-MA)Kohl (D-WI)Landrieu (D-LA)Lautenberg (D-NJ)Leahy (D-VT)Levin (D-MI)Lieberman (D-CT)Lincoln (D-AR)Lott (R-MS)Lugar (R-IN)Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)Mikulski (D-MD)Murkowski (R-AK)Murray (D-WA)Nelson (D-FL)Nelson (D-NE)Obama (D-IL)Pryor (D-AR)Reed (D-RI)Reid (D-NV)Roberts (R-KS)Rockefeller (D-WV)Salazar (D-CO)Santorum (R-PA)Sarbanes (D-MD)Schumer (D-NY)Shelby (R-AL)Smith (R-OR)Snowe (R-ME)Specter (R-PA)Stabenow (D-MI)Stevens (R-AK)Thomas (R-WY)Thune (R-SD)Vitter (R-LA)Voinovich (R-OH)Warner (R-VA)Wyden (D-OR)
Allen (R-VA)Burr (R-NC)Coburn (R-OK)DeMint (R-SC)Ensign (R-NV)
Feingold (D-WI)Graham (R-SC)Hagel (R-NE)Kyl (R-AZ)McCain (R-AZ)
Sessions (R-AL)Sununu (R-NH)Talent (R-MO)
Not Voting - 1
I've got some phone calls to make.
I Don't Like the Sound of This
Back in July, I posted that a judge here in Washington had decided that the radio broadcast opinions of two hosts on KVI 570 AM represented "in kind contributions" to I-912.
Well, there may be some stirrings on that front, and they're not good. I caught some snippets of one of the hosts, John Carlson's, show this afternoon (not easy-the station doesn't come in that well over here in Yakima), and it sounds like the not yet official word from the Public Disclosure Commission is that those "in kind contributions" will be subject to campaign finance limits, and that KVI and Mr. Carlson and Mr. Wilbur may be subject to fines for exceeding them.
I haven't been able to find any confirmation of this yet from any news outlets, but I'll be looking hard.
Until then, I give you this:
And Article I, Section 5 of the Washington State Constitution:
"Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects."
Oh, and since this blog is officially worthless, the PDC can come on down here and smooch my big ol' white butt.
Counterpunching the Leftists
Hear the other day on the Tony Snow radio show:
Anti-war leftists continue to carp about a 'timetable for withdrawal' and an 'exit strategy' for US forces in Iraq.
Next time you hear one of these strategy and tactics challenged twits, ask them this:
Where is our 'exit strategy' and 'withdrawal timetable' in the War on Poverty?
Think about it: LBJ declared the start to this 'war' over 4 decades ago. Since then, despite the expenditure of trillions of dollars, little progress has been made, and much of that as a result of the mid-90s pullback (ie welfare reform). Instead, 'war on poverty' programs have wrought massive destruction on the family structure of America's poor, created a culture of dependancy, and breeding conditions that serve to help ensure perpetual poverty among the very people those programs were intended to help.
If that doesn't qualify as a quagmire, I don't know what does.
Meet the AK-56
The Avtomat Korobov TKB-517, the assault rifle that never was.
I'll admit that it's not the prettiest thing I've ever seen, but I found this part of the description interesting:
this weapon was extensively tested against modified Kalashnikov AK rifle, as well a number of other designs, and found to be superior to all. Korobov was found to be most accurate and controllable in full automatic mode (primary mode of fire, according to Soviet tactical doctrine), especially when fired from the shoulder or from the hip. It was also significantly lighter and less expensive to make than modified AK. Nevertheless, Soviet Army preferred less effective, but familiar and already well established Kalashnikov AKM over the more effective and lighter, but entirely new design.
Did you get that? More accurate and controlable; lighter; and less expensive to build that the most widely produced assault rifle in history. And these tests were done in the mid-50s-which means, if the Soviets had selected Korobov's superior design, our troops could have been on the receiving end as early as Vietnam, not to mention right now.
Now, the TKB-517 would seem, from the description and from looking at the picture, to suffer from some of the same drawbacks as the famous Kalishnikov design-namely poor sights and less than ideal ergonomics. But the operating system would seem to be a solid one-the French FAMAS rifle apparently uses a very similar system.
Just for a fun thought exercise, I'd like you to imagine a new assault rifle-with a semi-only Homeland Defense Rifle counterpart-based on the Korobov operating sytem, but built on a AR type split upper/lower, with improved AR-style ergonomics (ambidextrous selector, magazine catch, & bolt release and straight in magazine insertion), aperture sights (fold down, at least at the rear), and the requisite rails for CCOs, lights, lasers, etc. Finally, chamber it in your favorite assault rifle caliber (I'd go for something with a bit better accuracy beyond 200 meters than 7.62x39-6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, 7x43mm Brit, or even 5.56).
I'd love to see that rifle tested against the current contenders to replace the M16/M4 series, since all the main competitors right now-the XM8, the SCAR, whatever Colt's got, and the XCR-are all gas piston designs of some sort. I do wonder how changing barrel lengths-for carbine and SDM versions-would affect this type of action.
Fisking the NYT
Denise at The Ten Ring takes apart a NYT opinion piece on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms bill.
I will note that, according to email I've received from the GOA and FCI, the House is scheduled to vote on the bill, S. 397, today. So call your Representative and urge them to vote to pass it.
Big Game Viewing
RINO Sightings have been spotted at Politechnical.
I Should Have Known
HT: American Drumslinger
Thoughts on Tort Reform
Here in Washington, there are two initiatives on next month's ballot attempting to address medical malpractice lawsuits. I-330 is sponsored by doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies; I-336 is sponsored by lawyers. (Note-Since the initiatives are basically in competition with each other, I've only linked to the pages in favor of each.) In all honesty, I don't particularly like either measure, since each group has written their own measure tailored to their own interests. The fact that they are running around trying to demonize each other just makes it worse.
I also think that the entire area of tort law needs some fixing, due in large part to abuse of the way things are structured right now. This includes not only medical malpractice, but the rest of tort law as well. And in all honesty, I think it could be fixed with only a couple of simple fixes. So here they are:
-Loser pays. This is the big one, in my opinion. In most liability cases, the damages are paid, not by the liable party, but by the party's insurance company. However, in all too many cases, the case is settled out of court, even in cases where the defendant would likely win, simply because winning a full trial would cost more than settling the case out of court. The strategy for plaintiff's attorneys becomes simple: if you can make a case expensive enough to defend, you win, even if your client isn't in the right. To me this basically amounts to legalized extortion. A good example of this is the settlement by Bushmaster in the D.C. sniper case. If they had taken to case to trial, I'm pretty sure Bushmaster would have won. But doing so would have exeeded the limits of their liability insurance policy, so they settled out of court.
As I see it, making the losing side pay the winner's legal bills would reduce lawsuit abuse in two ways: first, it would increase defendants' willingness to take their cases to trial when they believe they're in the right, know that they won't be responsible for their legal bills. If more of these cases go to trial and are decided in favor of the defendants, the number of suits that are filed simply in the hope of getting a paid out of court settlement will drop. Second, it would reduce the willingness of plaintiff's attorney's to accept legally dubious cases where they are currently able to push defendants into settlements simply by making the case more expensive to fight than to settle. Lawyers would definitely be less willing to take cases on a "I only get paid if you do" basis. Granted, this might impair the ability of people of limited means to sue, while folks with large bank accounts will have no problem finding lawyers willing to tilt at windmills as long as the checks keep coming. But since the trial attorneys are always proclaiming their faith in juries, I'll let them put their money where their well-paid mouths are. If the case is a good one, a wronged party should be able to find a lawyer willing to take it.
-Punitive damage award limits. Trial lawyers want no limits in this area. People who get sued-doctors, big corporations want strict limits. I'll propose a compromise. Compensatory damages-medical treatment costs, lost wages, etc-as determined by an impartial third party, should, rightly have no limits. Both sides actually agree on this. So here's my proposal: punitive damage awards may be equal to, but not exceed, any compensatory damage award.
Those are my thoughts. Comments and suggestions appreciated. Right now I'm just a soldier, but if this problem still exists if/when my Army career ends, it will be part of my platform should I decide to run for state government.