Wal-Mart The New Morality Police

Wal-Mart apparently wants to be America’s new morality police using their massive weight in the retail business to make their vendors conform to their views.

The latest example revolves around the movie “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” which is scheduled for DVD release on Tuesday. The world’s largest retailer and seller of DVD’s has informed the makers of the movie that they must change the title on the DVD cover removing the word “porno” before Wal-Mart will place the title on their shelves.

Last fall, some ads for the film were rejected south of the border because of the word “porno.” Now, Smith says Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. have asked that the cover of the DVD, set to hit shelves Tuesday, omit the word too.

Who knew that it was Wal-Mart’s job to shelter us from so-called “objectionable material”? Just what we need, the world’s largest retailer with somewhat questionable business “morals” also acting as another in the ever growing list of groups that think they know what is best for America. I wonder what they will say when the inevitable complaints come in from the folks that bought “Zack and Miri” and end up getting “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” all because the word “porno” doesn’t appear on their approved word list.

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Gun Nuts Get An All Around Nut For NRA President?

The Constant Conservative informs us of the possiblity that well known rock singer and all around nutcase Ted Nugent is seeking the Presidency of the “Pry out of my cold dead hands association” aka the NRA. What a perfect fit that would be huh? How cool would it be for the guy who penned these classic lyrics to head the somewhat Conservative gun rights group?

Wang dang, what a sweet poontang
A shakin’ my thang as a rang-a-dang-dang in the bell
Down on the street you know she can’t be beat
She’s so sweet when she yanks on my meat
What the hell

He should fit right in.

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The Politics Of Gitmo

The announcement by President Obama that he plans to close the terrorist vacation home in Guantanamo Bay Cuba has human rights groups rejoicing and Conservatives cringing. Liberals and human rights groups cite the damage that torture inflicted at Gitmo has caused to our reputation as a nation which has led to the recruitment of thousands of new terrorists as a few of the reasons that it must be closed.

Conservatives meanwhile claim that the closure will put hundreds of terrorists back into the “war on terror”. They cite one Said Ali al-Shihri, a former Gitmo resident released in 2007 and now working with Al-Qaeda in the Middle East along with others whose current employment is questioned as reasons that it needs to remain open. So who is right?

I am sitting in the human rights group’s camp but if anyone can give me valid answers to the following questions I might change my mind. (no one has for years so I doubt they will now)

1. If these 200 or so remaining “detainees” are in fact terrorists, why haven’t they been charged with any terror crimes, some have been detained for 5 years or more?
2. If Gitmo isn’t a prison but instead a prisoner of war camp for enemy combatants in the “war on terror” as some claim, why are they not following the Geneva Convention? I doubt waterboarding is an allowed activity.
3. Few people deny that Ali al-Shihri is now working with Al Qaeda, but can anyone tell me without any doubt that the poster child for the Conservatives to keep Gitmo open isn’t now fighting against us because of his stay in Cuba and not in spite of it? Years of unlawful detention might cause one to be a tad bit angry…

Oh, and if citing evidence to answer any of the above questions, please refrain from using links to Joseph Farah or Worldnet Daily, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity etc. and instead try ones ending in .org or .gov.

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Obama Gets It So Why Not Mikey?

At least on the surface it appears that President Obama gets the open records thing with his announcement yesterday of a new web site recovery.gov with the purpose of tracking “how and where we spend taxpayer dollars”. So if we can do it on the federal level, why is it so hard for Governor Rounds to comprehend the need to do it on the state level?

“Government requires individuals and businesses to provide a significant amount of information,” Rounds said in an interview. “I don’t think we should, as a matter of fact or as a matter of policy, release that information that is proprietary or confidential unless there’s a good reason to.”

Governor Rounds cites a need for a good reason for opening records, so how does because we are paying for it sound?

(h/t – South DaCola)

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Beam Me Up Scotty

Some of the science fiction from shows like “Star Trek” is becoming less fiction and more science as apparent by the latest breakthrough in teleportation from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland.

Now the JQI team, along with colleagues at the University of Michigan, has succeeded in teleporting a quantum state directly from one atom to another over a meter. That capability is necessary for workable quantum information systems because they will require memory storage at both the sending and receiving ends of the transmission.

In the Jan. 23 issue of the journal Science, the scientists report that, by using their protocol, atom-to-atom teleported information can be recovered with perfect accuracy about 90 percent of the time — and that figure can be improved.

“Our system has the potential to form the basis for a large-scale ‘quantum repeater’ that can network quantum memories over vast distances,” Monroe said. “Moreover, our methods can be used in conjunction with quantum bit operations to create a key component needed for quantum computation.”

Now my science knowledge, not great to begin with, make most of the meat of the article a bit difficult to comprehend but 2 things I did get from the story. One is with 90% accuracy I wouldn’t want to be transported as it stands now and secondly, science is well on it’s way to Star Trek type technology breakthroughs. How cool is that?

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Times Are Tough Even For The ACLU

I know my Republican brethren won’t be shedding many tears because they have the NRA to fight for the only Constitutional issue that really matters to them but it looks like the ACLU is having money problems which will likely affect their fight for all our other civil liberties. And apparently the just announced layoff of 10% of their workforce can be traced at least partially to Bernard Madoff’s ponzie scheme.

“Like many organizations today, the ACLU is feeling the impact of the tough economic climate which has resulted in a decline of our assets and reduced the donations and grants that we rely upon to fund our activities, including those from two foundations that were wiped out by the Bernard Madoff scandal. We take very seriously our commitment to our donors and members who count on us to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans, even in difficult financial times. To safeguard the fiscal health of the ACLU and ensure that the vital work of defending civil liberties continues, we have taken a number of steps to cut expenses and streamline our organization, including instituting a hiring freeze, limiting travel, cancelling  conferences, and reducing non-personnel costs, resulting in savings of more than $9 million. Unfortunately, additional measures were needed and as a result, the ACLU National Office has been forced to eliminate 36 staff positions, which represents 10% of the current staff. Although we did everything in our power to avoid taking this painful step, it was necessary in order to protect our long term viability and ensure that the ACLU has the flexibility and strength to meet the challenges ahead. In addition, we are freezing salaries for the next fiscal year, which will save an additional 11 positions, and our executive director has voluntarily reduced his pay by 15%. We are confident that making tough financial decisions in the short term will serve to strengthen the organization for generations to come,” said Romero.

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Goodbye Old Grey Lady

The End Of An Era
The End Of An Era

I received an email this morning inviting me to attend the decommissioning of my first ship, the USS Kitty Hawk. I was aware that she was due to be mothballed at some point soon but finding out about the January 31st ceremony at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington still caught me off guard.

I haven’t posted much here about my time on board “The Hawk” but those that have followed my other blogs might remember some of my Navy travels posts. They documented my travels while serving in the Navy and most were from the 2 deployments I completed while stationed onboard from 1985-1988. While I wouldn’t say that the time stationed on her was fun, it was something that I will remember fondly for the rest of my life.

So with next Saturday’s ceremony, the last of the Navy’s conventional carriers joins another ship that I served on, the USS Midway, in the Navy’s mothball fleet. That leaves only the USS Nimitz as ships that I served on that are still active.

Man do I feel old.

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Thune To Head Lobbying Outreach

South Dakota’s own John Thune has been tasked by the GOP to suck up to lobbying groups while Barack Obama works to strengthen lobbying regulations for the Executive Branch.

Senate Republicans have tasked Conference Vice Chairman John Thune (S.D.) with beefing up the party’s outreach to K Street, business groups and grass-roots organizations, hoping to maintain critical alliances built up over eight years of White House control.

Primarily, Thune said he hopes to create new alliances and fortify old relationships in order to sell the party’s priorities to the masses as it tries to reinvent itself after suffering bruising Congressional losses in the past two election cycles.

Johnny boy is definately moving up isn’t he? It’s not every Republican Senator that gets tasked with the important job of keeping one of the few remaining GOP bribery revenue streams in tact.

Updated to clarify who Obama’s new lobbying regulations apply to.

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It's Only The 4th Amendment

There’s no spying on Americans” – former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell during an interview that discussed changing FISA last year.

NSA whistleblower Russell Tice earlier this week.

Tice said on Wednesday that the NSA had vacuumed in all domestic communications of Americans, including, faxes, phone calls and network traffic.

Today Tice said that the spy agency also combined information from phone wiretaps with data that was mined from credit card and other financial records. He said information of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens is now in digital databases warehoused at the NSA.

What the heck, it’s not like it’s the most important Constitutional amendment anyway, right?

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Wish I Would Have Said That

Sometimes you run across a post or comment in the blogosphere that makes you step back and wish that you would have written it. I found one of those comments when reading Cory from the Madville Times’ post on SB70 that seeks to repeal the 48 hour waiting period to buy handguns and it actually came from Cory’s wife Erin.

If Rhoden,Olson, et al. manage to get rid of the 48-hour waiting period, will they at least sponsor legislation requiring gun purchasers to certify in writing they understand that if they shoot a person with the newly purchased gun, that might result in terminating the life of a whole separate, unique living human being? The purchasers should also be told they’re putting themselves at greater risk of suicide and homicide (the stats bear out the greater risk of both when a gun is in the home).

South Dakotan’s and those familiar with our state government’s penchant for certain types of legislation should have no problem catching the double entendre.

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