Friday, April 30, 2004

OP Book Search Engines

These are the two OP (Out-Of-Print) book metasearch engines that I use. FYI.

They include searches of most of the other online book services.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

John Forbes Kerry -- Draft Dodger

Citing His Vietnam Service, Kerry Assails Cheney, Rove
Neither Cheney nor Rove served in the military. Cheney received student deferments and later a deferment as a new father during the Vietnam War.

According to the Bush campaign, Rove drew the number 84 in the draft lottery when he graduated from high school in 1969 and received a student deferment upon enrolling at the University of Utah that fall. In the fall of 1971, after transferring to the University of Maryland, he was notified by his draft board in Salt Lake City that his student deferment had been revoked. Rove then was put into the extended priority status, which Schmidt said made him among the first eligible to be called in early 1972, but he was not called.

John Forbes Kerry and other Lefties have been attempting to make the student deferment the equivalent of "dodging the draft" and perhaps it was (though only for a limited period of time) but if so then John Forbes Kerry was also a draft dodger.

JFK (the current JFK) was an undergraduate at Yale from 1962 to 1966. In January 1966, he signed a "delayed entry" contract to join the Navy after graduation and the Summer. He entered the Navy late in August 1966.

But what was he doing from 1962 to the beginning of 1966. He hasn't said but it's obvious that he was a II-S during that entire period.

He was thus -- by the modern standard -- a (temporary) draft dodger.

Of course those who weren't there forget that the student deferment was just that -- a deferment. Draft eligibility ended at 26 in that era but if you took a II-S, your eligibility was extended to 28 or 35.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Ski resorts must return 5 howitzers to the Army

You know we're a bit short of military equipment when Ski resorts must return 5 howitzers to the Army.

Avalanche duty ends with a return to war

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Associated Press

RENO, Nev. -- The U.S. military is demanding the return of five howitzers that two Sierra Nevada ski resorts use to prevent avalanches, saying it needs the guns for the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain received the artillery pieces on loan from the Army and began using them last year to fire rounds into mountainsides and knock snow loose.

Many additional questions are raised by this story. Why is the Army out of howitzers? Why are the Feds subsidizing ski resorts? Shouldn't they be buying their own artillery? I had always heard gun control advocates say (of semiauto rifles) that, "Civilians have no legitimate need for these weapons of war". I guess they were wrong. Do most Americans realize that private possession of firearms regulated by the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 (barrel<16' or 18', bore >0.5", full-auto, etc.) is legal in most states if you file the paperwork and pay the tax?

Do the resorts have to pay the Federal Transfer Tax (circa $200/round) on the ammunition like the rest of us would or are they exempt? Where do they get the howitzer rounds from? If attacked by ecoterrorists, can resorts defend themselves with artillery?

Howitzers are short-barreled cannons that typically are pulled by a vehicle. They fire three to 10 rounds a minute at a range of about five to 10 miles. Replacing a 119-A -- the type used at the resorts -- would cost around $1 million, Bowen said yesterday.

Howitzers were originally developed to lob rounds over the walls of fortified cities so they would seem to be ideal for operations in mountainous terrain.

The Forest Service said it is working to secure older howitzers for the ski resorts, and the Army's Bowen said he is optimistic that will happen.

Nice to hear that they won't be disarmed for the duration.

Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain are the only ski resorts in the nation using the 119-A howitzer, the most modern model available, said Bob Moore, a U.S. Forest Service specialist in Truckee, Calif. Other resorts have older 105 mm howitzers.

Pam Murphy, senior vice president at Mammoth Mountain just east of Yosemite National Park, said the military has provided the ski resort with recoilless rifles and other guns for avalanche control for 30 years. The howitzers are the most effective, Murphy said.

No kidding! But who knew that this "weapons welfare" program has been going on for so long.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Preempting Iraq

Randy Barnett writes:
"I generally concur with this writer--especially in his assertion that there is a divide between those who think we have been in a state of war since 9/11 and those who do not think we have been at war since then--but I still think that, in this media age, when asserting a controversial doctrine of preemption--which is necessarily based on intelligence of present capability and future intentions--when the capability turns out not to be as predicted, the President or someone in his administration should make some effort to explain why everyone was fooled by the intelligence. "

The Admin has stated that Iraq is not an application of the new Doctrine of Preemption and that would seem to be logically correct.

The US had been in a state of war with Iraq since at least January 1991. They attacked Iraq forces to free Kuwait with the authorization of the UN Security Council, the Politburo of the then Soviet Union, and even the United States Senate. A few months later, the US signed a ceasefire with Iraqi forces, and a few months after that, Iraq violated the ceasefire. Violations continued for 12 years and at any time the US was free to resume hostilities. No preemption.

World War IV Victory Conditions

My cubicle mate (a person of the female persuasion) recently asked me the quite reasonable question, "How will we know we've won the war?" (by which she meant our current religious conflict).

I said, "Wait 40 years, look in the mirror, see if you're wearing a Burka."

Young People Who Don't Drink "Because It's Illegal"

Jonah Goldberg encounters 'youths' who don't drink alcohol because they think it's illegal.
Anyway, while I was imbibing my beverage(s) along with the few young scholars of legal drinking age, a couple of the guys brought an interesting cultural development to my attention. Several of the young squires under the age of 21 informed me that they don't drink because it is against the law. One very bright fellow in particular assured me that when he's 21 he will avail himself of legal inebriants, but until that time he did his very best to eschew the demon rum (and scotch and beer etc). He also assured me that he was not alone in this attitudinal forbearance of illegal imbibition.

I'm shocked by the lack of education shown by today's youngsters. Most of them think that it's illegal for them to drink but the truth is that it's not.

If you carefully read the liquor laws of even so totalitarian state as Massachusetts, you'll find plenty of loopholes.

It is generally illegal for those under 21 to purchase or publicly possess booze in Massachusetts. It is also illegal to "furnish" booze to those under the age of 21 (unless you are the parent, grandparent, or spouse) of the under-age person.

But then the exceptions:

For example it is (or probably is) legal for a person under the age of 21 to drink:

* Booze supplied by his parents, grandparents, guardian, or spouse at home (and in some cases in public).
* Booze manufactured at home by the minor.
* Booze consumed publicly as part of religious ceremonies (ie Communion under both species).
* Booze inherited by a minor that is located in his home.
* Booze sent to a minor by a third party in another state without the minor having requested it. (Perhaps as a political protest against liquor laws).
* Booze purchased (and consumed) by a minor in other countries with lower drinking ages.

The above list is not definitive. Generally, then, as long as the minor finds some way of being at home with booze (without ordering it himself) he can legally drink it. It is not the drinking that is restricted, it is the acquisition and public possession.

Now the State has thrown various barriers in the way of a minor drinking booze but that is just challenge for the dedicated.