Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 30, 2006

Muslim Attacks Jews in Seattle; 1 Killed, 5 Wounded

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:54 am

I don’t know why this isn’t getting more attention. A Muslim attacked a Jewsh Federation building in Seattle, killing a one women and wounding five others. The Seattle Times is reporting it, but for them it’s a local story.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

“Once inside he immediately started firing”

The gunman who forced his way into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle on Friday afternoon put a gun at the back of a 13-year-old girl to gain entry to the building, police said this afternoon.

The man who described himself as a Muslim American angry with Israel then opened fire with two handguns, killing one woman and wounding five others before surrendering to police.

The dead woman was identified this morning as Pamela Waechter, 58.

“Once inside he immediately started firing at people.”

He rattled off anti-Israel slurs and commanded people not to dial 911. But shooting victim Dayna Klein, who is 17 weeks pregnant, ignored him. Her actions convinced Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske to call her a hero.

Seconds after being shot in the arm, she crawled across the floor toward a phone and called for help.

Within minutes police were at the building and the Everett man put down his two semi-automatic handguns and surrendered.

In a bail hearing this afternoon, King County District Court Judge Barbara Linde set bail at $50 million and found probable cause that Haq could face one charge of first-degree murder and five charges of attempted-murder.

Prosecutors will meet next week to decide whether they’ll pursue the death penalty, said spokesman Dan Donohoe. [Will they have candlelight vigils if he's executed? --DR]

Three of the victims underwent surgery Friday night. They are Layla Bush, 23, of Seattle; Christina Rexroad, 29, of Everett; and Cheryl Stumbo, 43, of Seattle. They are in the Intensive Care Unit, said Pamela Steele, hospital spokeswoman.

The two other victims, Dayna Klein, 37, of Seattle, and Carol Goldman, 35, of Seattle, remain in satisfactory condition.

Waechter grew up in Minneapolis, Minn., as a Lutheran, the daughter of a businessman. She converted to Judaism after marrying Bill Waechter, an airline pilot, and the couple moved to Seattle in 1979. After raising their two children, Waechter became a student at the University of Washington, graduating with a degree in nutrition.

She became much more active in the Jewish community than her husband, Bill Waechter, from whom she is now divorced. She worked at Jewish Family Service and later at the Jewish Federation, where she did outreach and fundraising. She rose from secretary to two-term president at Temple B’nai Torah.

The shooting came a day after the FBI had warned Jewish organizations nationwide to be on alert after Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon and al-Qaida’s second in command urged that the war raging in the Middle East be carried to the U.S. However, the law-enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there is no evidence that Haq was involved with any group. [Yet. --DR]

“He said he hates Israel,” said the source, who is part of the Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was called in to help investigate the shootings.

David Gomez, the assistant special agent-in-charge of the Seattle FBI office, said there is “nothing to indicate he is part of a larger organization.” [Yet. --DR]

“We believe he is a lone individual with antagonism toward this organization,” said Gomez.

Amy Wasser-Simpson, the vice president for planning and community services for the Jewish Federation, said the man announced “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel,” then began shooting. Wasser-Simpson said she heard the account from staff members who witnessed the shootings.

His 1994 yearbook photograph from Richland High School showed a smiling Haq with the words “Peace Be Unto You.”

An obituary of Pamela Waechter is here.

Dave at American Thinker has some snarky thoughts about the role of the Seattle Times.

July 28, 2006

More Evidence There Really Were WMDs in Iraq

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:08 pm

I noted previous poorly-publicized evidence of WMDs here and here.

Here is some more evidence:

Senator Rick Santorum … as announced a document ( ISGQ-2005-00022470 Title: “Information from a source about the transfer of weapons of mass destruction to Syria prior to the attack of the Coalition Forces on Iraq”) has been released by the “US Army Foreign Military Studies Office” that convoys consisting of 50 trucks carried an unknown cargo to Syria from Baghdad before the American invasion. The trucks were accompanied by Iraqi Intelligence. Upon arrivial at the Syria border, Syrian Inteligence took the trucks and emptied the cargo.


In the day of 10 Mouharam before the coalition forces started the war on Iraq, 50 trucks for land transportation entered Syria on an intermittent convoy. I met some of the drivers and they did not know what they carried in these trucks. These trucks were loaded from an unknown location in Baghdad and was brought to the drivers and the Iraqi Intelligence was with them. Each time they crossed a certain distance, the Iraqi Intelligence stopped them and asked them what are they carrying and their answer was we do not know. And when these trucks arrived to Syria in the area of Deir Al Zour the drivers were taken out of their trucks and the Syrian Intelligence ride instead. These trucks were entered into large warehouses and when these trucks were emptied it was given back to the Iraqi drivers. And they were given a reward worth of 200 dollars for the safety of arrival. One of the drivers mentioned to me that this was second time they carry these secrets loads and the first time was 1 Mouharam.

I have a friend in Syria who works in a Syrian company as partner with a Syrian merchant. This person is an Iraqi ex-Consul in the Iraqi embassies and he resigned from the diplomatic circle and he has strong connection with the Iraqi Embassy in Syria and he knows all the Iraqi Intelligence and those knows that I work for the Iraqi opposition in Syria. I was visiting him daily during this period to find out the important news. When the trucks entered Syria I went to him and told him that Iraqi Weapons entered Syria so he said to me who told you that and I said to him I knew from my sources, and he told me to keep this confidential and not tell anyone because it indeed entered.

Singature

7/13

Under translation and print

Moustafa Al Khaliye.

I’m sure now the Democrats will claim the Iraqis were lying about having WMDs.

(Hat tip: Clayton Cramer.)

July 25, 2006

Democrat Exploting Drug Addicts

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:11 pm

This is so mind-boggling I don’t know what to say. The Washington Times reports:

Josh Rales, a Democratic candidate for Maryland’s U.S. Senate seat, paid a drug-treatment center in Baltimore to drive its recovering addicts to last week’s debate in College Park, where they held signs supporting his campaign.

About 20 patients from the I Can’t, We Can (ICWC) drug-treatment and counseling center in northwest Baltimore attended the debate, said Adrian Harpool, president of the 21st Century Group, a Baltimore public-relations firm hired by the Rales campaign to recruit volunteers.

July 24, 2006

A Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:36 pm

I’m checking around to see if anyone I know can verify if this is for real. (Translation: I sent an e-mail to one guy I know who used to do research in this field.) If you have any insights or information, please chime in by posting a comment.

This is from the Herald-Sun of Melbourne, Australia:

New hope for Alzheimer’s cure

By Robyn Riley, July 23, 2006

In a world first, Melbourne scientists have developed a once-a-day pill that they claim may cure Alzheimer’s disease. Human trials of the drug start next month.

The drug — called PBT2 — was developed by a team from the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria in collaboration with Melbourne-based Prana Biotechnology.

“It is a major breakthrough and very much a Melbourne discovery,” said Prof George Fink, the director of the Mental Health Research Institute.

“Though much depends on the next phase of human clinical trials . . . early results indicate this drug offers hope to people with Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.

The revolutionary drug stops the buildup of a protein called amyloid.

Many scientists accept amyloid is a major cause of Alzheimer’s as the protein is thought to cause the brain to “rust”.

Prof Fink said the drug could significantly prevent Alzheimer’s developing or delay the on-set of the brain disease for many years.

Early clinical testing has confirmed the drug is fast-acting. Levels of amyloid dropped by 60 per cent within 24 hours of a single dose.

It found also that PBT2 suppresses the impairment of memory function.

More human studies begin in Sweden next month and Australians will join a major international trial of the drug next year.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal brain disease. It is the major form of dementia, a disease that affects one in four Australians over the age of 60.

Prof Fink said the institute was optimistic about the results of clinical trials and said the drug could be on the market within four years.

(Hat tip: Slashdot)

The “John Stossel question” is, how many people will suffer, die, or go beyond the point of help in those four years it takes to get the drug through regulatory hurdles? I’m not saying I’d take the drug on the say-so of a newspaper article, but that seems and awfully long time to test a drug for a disease that can be fatal or completely debilitating within four years, or even less. Especially when you consider that the drug has already passed Phase I clinical trials — that is, it has already been found to be safe.

So if it’s not likely to hurt people, and no other effective treatments are available, what is the problem with making the drug available now, to patients willing to take it without the Phase II trials showing whether it works or not?

July 21, 2006

Mass murder stopped by armed civilian

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:55 pm

If any of you out there still think there’s no benefit to having ordinary people carry guns, look at this:

8 Grocery Employees Stabbed in Tennessee

By Woody Baird

MEMPHIS (AP) — A knife-wielding grocery store employee attacked eight co-workers Friday, seriously injuring five before a witness pulled a gun and stopped him, police said.

The 21-year-old suspect, whose name was withheld pending charges, was arrested and then taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pains, Memphis Police Sgt. Vince Higgins said. The attack apparently stemmed from a work dispute, police said.

Five victims, one in critical condition, were admitted to the Regional Medical Center, the main trauma hospital for the Memphis area. Three others were less badly hurt and treated at another hospital.

The attacker, chasing one victim into the store’s parking lot, was subdued by Chris Cope, manager of a financial services office in the same small shopping center, Higgins said.

Cope said he grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pickup truck when he saw the attacker chasing the victim “like something in a serial killer movie.”

“When he turned around and saw my pistol, he threw the knife away, put his hands up and got on the ground,” Cope told The Associated Press. “He saw my gun and that was pretty much it.”

Police arrived within minutes and took the attacker into custody.

Note that police didn’t arrive until “minutes” after the guy with the gun subdued the guy on a potentially murderous rampage.

Sorry for the light blogging

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:32 pm

I’ve been sort of out of commission here for the past couple of weeks — shocked that I’m down to posting only one day a week. I’ve just started a new job, and I’m in the midst of a two weeks of all-day orientation. Plus, it starts much earlier than my body likes to wake up, so I’m zonked by the end of the day, even though it’s commensurately early. At the end of all this, I should be a be a very well-oriented employee — and if a miracle happens, I’ll be over the permanent jetless jetlag and into a new circadian rhythm.

Mouth-to-mouth Resucitation Works

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:18 pm

Dad Breathes Air Into Son Trapped Underwater For 7 Minutes

ORLANDO, Fla. — A 14-year-old who was sucked to the bottom of a hotel hot tub and kept under water for at least seven minutes was likely saved by air his father breathed into his mouth during the ordeal.

July 14, 2006

Mid-East Double Standards

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:33 pm

The Iranian-sponsored group Hezbollah has, as of the time of this report, fired 150 missiles into northern Israel from Lebanon. An estimated 220,000 Israelis are living in bomb shelters. Two Israeli civilians have been killed, and 50 wounded, plus eight Israeli soldiers have been killed and two kidnapped in a cross-border raid (i.e., Hezbollah attacked within Israel’s borders). This is on top of the cross-border raid by Hamas from Gaza earlier, in which six Israeli soldiers were killed and one kidnapped, and the rockets fired earlier from Gaza, from which Israel voluntarily withdrew (and whose Jewish population it expelled) back in August.

So, Israel is responding, by attacking Hamas in Gaza and attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Naturally, the world diplomatic community is outraged — at Israel, for daring to respond to deadly attacks on itself:

Major US allies condemned the ferocity of Israel’s military attack on Lebanon, revealing a clear split with Washington’s moderate call for restraint.

Cries of alarm mounted worldwide after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered armed forces to intensify the offensive in response to rockets hitting towns in northern Israel, killing two and wounding 50.

“I find honestly — as all Europeans do — that the current reactions are totally disproportionate,” [French President Jacques Chirac] said in a live television interview on France’s national Bastille Day.

“In my view, Israel is making a mistake,” said Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. “It will only lead to an escalation of the violence.”

In Italy, Prime Minister Romano Prodi said he recognized Israel’s legitimate concerns and condemning the kidnapping of the soldiers.

But “we deplore the escalation in the use of force, the serious damage to Lebanese infrastructure and the civilian casualties of the raids,” the Italian leader added.

The Vatican secretary of state, Angelo Sodano, said: “The Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign country,” adding that he felt for the people “who had already suffered in defence of their independence.”

“On the one hand, Israel has the internationally recognised right to self defence. But at the same time we ask our Israeli friends and partners not to lose sight of the long-term consequences when they exercise this right,” German deputy government spokesman Jens Ploetner said.

Iran, which with Syria is a sponsor of Hezbollah, called on the United Nations to step in. “The international community and the UN must intervene to stop this crime,” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said during a visit to Greece.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim state, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was quoted by the state news agency Antara as saying: “Indonesia repeats its call for Israel to stop its military action.”

“I consider that all sides implicated in this conflict should immediately stop military action,” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin said.

It seems the world is divided between those countries that claim Israel has no right to self-defense, and those that concede they have it but don’t want them to actually exercise it. So far, only the U.S. and Britain have acknowledged that Israel actually has any business defending itself — and only they and Russia have bothered to note that Hamas and Hezbollah are wrong to be attacking Israel in the first place.

Of those who claim the Israeli response is “disproportionate” — what response would be “proprotionate” to hundreds of missiles launched at civilian targets? How would Germany or Italy respond to a similar attack?

Do they want Israel to appeal to the UN? That wouldn’t work, since the UN Security Council voted 10-1 (with 4 abstentions!) to condem Israel for defending itself!

That’s right: of the 15 countries on the UN security council, only one — the United States — was willing to say that Israel does not have to sit back and allow Hamas and Hezbollah to shoot missiles at their towns and kidnap their soldiers to their hearts’ content.

This is not surprising — this is the same UN that displayed a map showing Israel removed. Naturally, they cannot condemn violent attacks on a country that is not supposed to exist in the first place.

And of course, the press and the diplomats and “world leaders” are referring to the deaths of Hezbollah and Hamas fighters as “civilian deaths.” I suppose technically this is correct since they are not members of any legal military force. But they are shooting missiles, attacking soldiers, and killing random, peaceful citizens of another country — so in what sense, exactly, is it informative to call them “civilians”?

Intolerance in Provincetown

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:09 pm

Adrienne P. Samuels of the Boston Globe reports:

Police say they logged numerous complaints of straight people being called “breeders” by gays over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Jamaican workers reported being the target of racial slurs. And a woman was verbally accosted after signing a petition that opposed same-sex marriage, they said.

The town, which prizes its reputation for openness and tolerance, is taking the concerns seriously, though police say they do not consider the incidents hate crimes.

(… as they no doubt would if the roles were reversed.)

Winsome Karr, 45, originally from Jamaica, has worked in town since 2002. Lately, she said, the off-color comments stem from gay visitors who mistakenly believe that all Jamaicans share the views of an island religious sect that disagrees with homosexuality.

A group that supports gay marriage, knowthyneighbor, has created a website displaying the names of more than 100,000 signers of a petition that calls for the state Constitution to be amended to prohibit same-sex marriage.

Knowthyneighbor’s tactics are controversial, with critics alleging that knowthyneighbor is making the names of same-sex marriage opponents public in an effort to expose or intimidate them. The group’s founders say they are simply promoting civic discourse.

The names of 43 Provincetown residents are listed on the website. Most of the petition signers attend St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, which serves the Portuguese community and others in town.

Does this remind anyone of that list of abortionists somebody once posted? That led to a federal investigation. Anyone see that happening here?

The Constitution is Constitional (#3)

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:55 pm

Clayton Cramer has an extensive analysis of the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which “ruled that Nebraska’s constitutional amendment, approved by 70% of the voters in November 2000, is not a violation of equal protection.” This overrules a federal district court decision, which I reviewed here.

This is not quite is ridiculous as the Colorado decision or the Georgia decision (overruled), since those decisions held that a state constitutional amendment violated the state constitution, which is clearly preposterous. In the Nebraska case, the ruling was that the state constitutional amendment violated the federal constitution, which is at least possible in theory, though it was a real stretch in this particular case — if the logic of the district court was accepted, it was unconstitutional to prohibit slavery (as I wrote) or to prohibit establishment of religion (as Clayton wrote).

There seems to be a spate of new respect for the right of voters to vote on things. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled unanimously to allow a vote, and even the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that they don’t have the right to declare constitutional amendments unconstitutional.

However, this ruling was not unanimous, and Eugene Volokh did a pretty good job of skewering the dissenters. The dissenters wrote:

If the initiative is approved by the Legislature and ultimately adopted, there will be time enough, if an appropriate lawsuit is brought, for this court to resolve the question whether our Constitution can be home to provisions that are apparently mutually inconsistent and irreconcilable. We may then give careful consideration, in view of what has been said above, to the legal tenability and implications of embodying a provision into our Constitution that would look so starkly out of place in the Adams Constitution, when compared with the document’s elegantly stated, and constitutionally defined, protections of liberty, equality, tolerance, and the access of all citizens to equal rights and benefits.

Professor Volokh — who would probably oppose the amendment, given his past statements, said:

This strikes me as deeply wrong: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is saying that its judgments about equality and fairness under the Massachusetts Constitution trump not only the judgment of the legislature, but the judgment of the people amending the constitution itself.

And this, it seems to me, goes to the heart of sovereignty. Judicial review has pluses and minuses, but its premise (which I believe generally justifies it) is that the people have ordained a Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Judges must therefore enforce this supreme law as against any legislative enactments, or even the enactments of the people voting as ordinary legislators. The judges are thus acting as servants of the sovereign people, carrying out the people’s instructions. …

But here the two judges are suggesting that the ultimate decisions are to be made by judges, and the people have no right to the final say on the subject. Under this theory, the judges end up being the ones who are sovereign, with the legal principles that they set forth being immune from control by the people. That, I think, would be a very bad result. Even if one thinks that sometimes judges may use this sovereign power in fairer ways than the people do, the same can be said about dictatorship or monarchy (or even dictatorship or monarchy limited to particular topics). The premise of democracy, including of constitutional liberal democracy, is that the best — not the perfect, and often not even very good (consider Churchill’s famous line about democracy), but the best — place to repose sovereign power is in the people, not in Philosopher-Kings.

Blog Carnivals

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:26 pm

Recent blog carnivals:

Hometown is burning

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:14 pm

Well, it’s not literally my hometown, but an area that holds a lot of special memories for me is literally under fire. The Los Angeles Times has a map and an excellent photo series.

They also have a lousy article, which blames the lightning-sparked fire on global warming. The theory, according to the article, is that global warming causes an increase in precipitation, which causes lots of grass to grow — and global warming also causes a decrease in precipitation, so the plants dry out. It doesn’t seem to occur to the intrepid reporter that these two can’t possibly be true. But then again, everything that happens is because of global warming, as LuboÅ¡ and I have pointed out before.

July 7, 2006

GA Supreme Court Rules Constitution Constitutional

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:13 pm

Back in May, I noted that a Georgia court ruled a constitutional amendment unconstitutional, purportedly on the grounds that it failed a requirement that amendments deal with a single subject, even though that amendment dealt with only one subject.

Now the Georgia Supreme Court has overruled the lower court, stating that the amendment did, in fact, cover only one subject:

‘‘It is apparent that the prohibition against recognizing same-sex unions as entitled to the benefits of marriage is not ’dissimilar and discordant’ to the objective of reserving the status of marriage and its attendant benefits exclusively to unions of man and woman,’’ the court said in its ruling.

This is a victory for the English language, even more than for advocates of opposite-sex marriage.

July 5, 2006

Peace Activist Hypocrisy

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:42 pm

Christiaan Briggs is an antiwar activist and pacifist who opposes all forms of violence.

Except, apparently, beating a younger man into a coma in an attempt to take his girlfriend away:

A New Zealand peace activist is facing serious assault charges after he allegedly punched a rock singer in London, leaving the man in a coma.

Christiaan Briggs, 30, who spent three weeks in Iraq with the Truth Justice Peace Human Shield Action Group in 2003, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to face a charge of grievous bodily harm.

Police say the incident occurred on June 22 when Briggs allegedly punched 19-year-old Billy Leeson, causing the rising rock star to hit his head on the ground.

Leeson, the lead singer with rock band Les Incompetents – who have supported Pete Doherty’s group Babyshambles – was “still very ill”, said Scotland Yard spokesman James Nadin.

His condition was described as “critical but stable”.

Mr Nadin said an argument broke out between the pair after Briggs allegedly “made advances” towards Leeson’s girlfriend.

This is the sort of person who claims that to believe in peace and nonviolence — and that George W. Bush is more of a threat to peace than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

July 4, 2006

Independence Day

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:45 am

Happy Independence Day!

I know, it’s actually “July 4th” or the “Fourth of July,” but it’s official name is “Independence Day,” and I think it’s a good idea to call it that every once in a while, so we don’t forget why we have this holiday.

In particular, remember that the Declaration of Independence does not begin by saying:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to establish a holiday in early summer, late enough that it’s not all that likely to rain, so we can cook outside and enjoy the manifest bounty of various forms of beef on the grill, or chicken for those watching their cholesterol, and to end the day with a colorful display of fireworks whose symbolism has long been forgotten, but which are really beautiful anyway …

Nor does it say:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to establish a federal government to provide jobs, health care, education, drug approvals, seat-belt and helmet laws, farm subsidies to keep food prices high, food stamps for those who can’t afford the high prices, and to tax the rich to maintain “fairness” and “equality” …

No, the actual Declaration of Independence begins like this:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

That last part is really the part that was “revolutionary.” Prior to that point in time, it was generally agreed that whoever had the most soldiers, knights, weapons, and so on had the right to rule however he (or sometimes, she) wanted, to collect taxes for his own personal benefit, and to have the power of life and death over his subjects and anyone he could bring under his authority by force of arms. In some times and places, this was called the “Divine Right of Kings” — and of course, the king obtained this “divine right” by having the most soldiers, weapons, etc.

The king derived his powers from force of arms, not from principles of justice or the consent of the governed. It was the people’s job to serve the king and his government.

The Declaration of Independence turned this on its head, claiming — ludicrously, it must have seemed to most Europeans at the time — that it was the government’s job to serve the people, and the government’s right to exercise power came not from force of arms, but from “the consent of the governed.”

That was truly Revolutionary — and the only reason it didn’t sound ludicrous in the colonies is that they had been more or less governing themselves in many matters for 150 years. This was of course due more to geographic isolation from the king and slow communications than to any matters of principle, but the funny this about freedom is that once you get it, you get used to it, and you don’t want to give it up. Mikhail Gorbachev discovered this the hard way when he tried to save the collapsing Soviet economy by giving people a small degree of freedom. The taste of it was enough to them to bring on the collapse of the entire Soviet enterprise, from Kamchatka to East Berlin. (Remember when there was an “East” Berlin?)

It’s worth noting the causes of two of the seminal events in the American Revolution — the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against high taxes on tea (from which a government-favored company was exempt, the way some localities “grant” tax breaks to companies to “attract jobs”). The Battle of Lexington and Concord occurred when General Thomas Gage ordered British troops in Boston to confiscate guns and ammunition from the people of Concord.

In other words, we declared independence and started a war to get rid of high taxes and gun control. Don’t tell John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, who live where it all started. ;-)

Jim Hoeft at Bearing Drift has some more cynical — but sadly, true — thoughts.

Kat of CatHouseChat is slightly more positive.

And Here’s the Virginia Blog Carnival — Independence Day edition

Virginia Blog Carnival — Independence Day edition

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:00 am

Here’s the Virginia Blog Carnival — Independence Day edition

July 3, 2006

Hamas Devalues Palestinians

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:59 pm

The terrorist organization Hamas, kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on June 25.

Now, they are demanding that Israel release all women, minors, and 1,000 Palestinian men serving time in Israeli jails for terrorism.

This implies that to Hamas, one Israeli soldier is worth more than 1,000 Palestinians. Doesn’t say much for how much they value their own, does it?

July 2, 2006

Happy Independence Day, July 2

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:40 pm

No, that’s not a typo — technically, the U.S. declared independence on July 2, 1776, not July 4. As John Adams wrote to his wife the next day, July 3:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.- I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by Solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfire and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

So why do we celebrate on July 4?

Because that’s the day the text of the formal declaration was approved. And when the Declaration of Independence was printed and distributed with the date the text was approved printed at the top, that’s the date that became remembered and celebrated.

The detailed timeline is here. Another thing people often forget is who got the whole thing started:

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress, moved “certain resolutions respecting independency” which he submitted in accordance with his instructions from the Virginia Convention. John Adams is generally understood to have seconded the motion, precise records of which do not appear in the Journal.

In this sense, Richard Henry Lee ought to be known as the “father of his country.”

July 1, 2006

A Day That Should Live In Infamy

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:00 pm

If anyone were paying attention, that is.

On this date in 1921, West Virginia imposed the first state sales tax.

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