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Feline Friday

Sleeping Kittens by Josh Poulson

Now-named Church and Snowball catching a nap in the chair next to my computer. Church was suspicious of the camera.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, Sep 30 2005 06:28 AM  |  Permalink  |  3 comments  |  1 trackback

Dear Mr. Poulson

I got a prompt reply!

Dear Mr. Poulson,
Thank you for writing to express your views on the nomination of John G. Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. I appreciate your thoughts on this critical issue.

We'll see how much she appreciates them below.

In a 78–22 decision, John Roberts has been confirmed by the Senate to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. As you may know, I opposed the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts. I made this decision after much deliberation and a thorough consideration of his testimony.
Most troubling to me is Chief Justice Roberts' ambiguous position on the right to privacy. We are at a time when individuals are concerned about protecting their most personal information from being compromised for commercial gain or by an overreaching federal government. Washingtonians have a deep tradition of respect for individual privacy. A right of privacy is guaranteed in article I, section VII of the Washington State Constitution. Personal freedoms and privacy are integral to the U.S. Constitution and I cannot support a nominee who does not make clear his intent to protect fundamental American privacy rights.

Unless there's some odd interpretations or code words at play here, I can't agree that Judge, now Justice, Roberts doesn't believe in a right to privacy. Also, he seemed pretty explicit about it when he testified.

Let's look at the record:

Senator Arlen Spector: “Do you believe today that the right to privacy does exist in the Constitution?”
Judge John Roberts: “Senator, I do. The right to privacy is protected under the Constitution in various ways.
“It's protected by the Fourth Amendment which provides that the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, effects and papers is protected.
“It's protected under the First Amendment dealing with prohibition on establishment of a religion and guarantee of free exercise.
“It protects privacy in matters of conscience.
“It was protected by the framers in areas that were of particular concern to them. It may not seem so significant today: the Third Amendment, protecting their homes against the quartering of troops.
“And in addition, the court has—it was a series of decisions going back 80 years—has recognized that personal privacy is a component of the liberty protected by the due process clause.
“The court has explained that the liberty protected is not limited to freedom from physical restraint and that it's protected not simply procedurally, but as a substantive matter as well.
“And those decisions have sketched out, over a period of 80 years, certain aspects of privacy that are protected as part of the liberty in the due process clause under the Constitution.”

Okay, maybe that part isn't ambiguous. Maybe if a Democrat was questioning? Let's look at a later exchange:

Senator Joe Biden: “Now, you have already said to the chairman that you agree that there's a right to privacy. And you said the Supreme Court found such a right in part in the Fourteenth amendment. My question is: Do you agree that—not what said law is—what do you think?
“Do you agree that there is a right of privacy to be found in the liberty clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?”
Judge John Roberts: “I do, Senator. I think that the court's expressions, and I think if my reading of the precedent is correct, I think every justice on the court believes that, to some extent or another.
“Liberty is not limited to freedom from physical restraint. It does cover areas, as you said, such as privacy. And it's not protected only in procedural terms but it is protected substantively as well. Again, I think every member of the court subscribes to that proposition.
“If they agree with Bowling against Sharpe, as I'm sure all of them do, they are subscribing to that proposition to some extent or another.”
Biden: “Do you think there's a liberty right of privacy that extends to women in the Constitution?”
Roberts: “Certainly.”
Biden: “In the Fourteenth amendment?”
Roberts: “Certainly.”

I'm left to conclude that Maria did not watch the same confirmation hearings that I did.

Let's go back to Maria's email:

During his nomination hearing, Chief Justice Roberts refused to comment on what specific rights of privacy are included in the U.S. Constitution. Nor did he ever express his views on a person's private decision to end medical treatment. Chief Justice Roberts has also raised questions about Congress' power to enact environmental protections and civil rights laws, and these unqualified statements concern me.

The first claim is hogwash. Judge Roberts went into great depth as to where the right to privacy could be found. Maria has transformed these into a set of nonspecific rights, here, however. If she specified what they were we could understand her statement. Most likely she is claiming that the right to abortion is one of the rights of privacy.

The second two are clearly cases that could come before the Judge at the Supreme Court. Judge Roberts was careful not to comment on a question that was likely to be decided by that court. If you express an opinion in advance, you make it hard to have a fair hearing on an issue. If you make no statements, people are more likely to accept that you are being fair.

Another specific concern involves Chief Justice Roberts' commitment to upholding a woman's right to choose. The people of Washington State have made clear their support of this right. In 1970, Washington voters enacted protections for a woman's right to choose, a full 3 years before the Roe v. Wade decision. 21 years later, in 1991, Washington voters went further to protect the right to choose by voting to codify the Roe v. Wade decision. As a Senator of Washington State and a firm supporter of a woman's right to choose, I felt it was necessary on my part to take this issue into consideration when deciding on the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts.

Finally abortion is brought up, which is apparently the core reason to oppose Roberts. Frankly, I consider abortion to be a side issue.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, the issue would go back to the individual states. Since Washington is in such good shape—as she points out—I'm not sure what her complaint really is. My position on Roe v. Wade is that it was an egregious usurpation of states' rights.

As Chief Justice, John Roberts will have the immense responsibility of guiding the nation's highest court through the most pressing and important issues for many years to come. I could not support someone who failed to assure me he would protect our personal rights, as well as the rights of future generations who will no doubt be affected by decisions made by the Supreme Court.

Of course, Maria doesn't support my second amendment rights, which makes me vote against her at every opportunity, using the same reasoning she uses above.

In her use of the words, however, Maria is looking for a judicial activist who would legislate from the bench. Not only that, she's hoping for someone that would legislate her particular world view and values, which are hardly universal, even in Washington.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Finally, you may be interested in signing up for my weekly update for Washington state residents. Every Monday, I provide a brief outline about my work in the Senate and issues of importance to Washington State . If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://gp1d.senate.gov/mailman/listinfo/cantwell-weekly-update. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Please sign up for my propaganda list, so you may too be assimilated.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 29 2005 03:37 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Dear Senator Cantwell

I just sent this from here:

Dear Senator Cantwell:

I am disappointed in your partisan vote against Judge John Roberts today. From what I saw of the confirmation hearings he is an honest and honorable man, a highly capable jurist, and a thorough and knowledgable scholar of law. He is eminently qualified to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but you voted against him apparently on ideological grounds. This seems without precedent in the Senate and smells of sour grapes.

Please don't let it happen again.

Thank you,

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 29 2005 01:34 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Justice Brown?

Gullyborg at Resistance is futile! predicts the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the Supreme Court based on an analysis of code words used by George W. Bush. I like his reasoning. Basically, Judge Brown has served on a State Supreme Court, was recently appointed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and is a black woman. Make sure you read the whole thing.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 26 2005 12:54 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Federal Judge Halts New Orleans Gun Seizures

A new SAF alert:

Federal Judge Halts New Orleans Gun Seizures
BELLEVUE, WA—The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana this afternoon issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA), bringing an end to firearm seizures from citizens living in and around New Orleans.

Hooray! That was quick work to get a restraining order, especially with Hurrican Rita threatening to cause more problems in New Orleans.

District Judge Jay Zaney issued the restraining order against all parties named in a lawsuit filed Thursday by SAF and NRA. Defendants in the lawsuit include New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Chief Edwin Compass III.

It's important to repeat and remember these quotes:

New Orleans Police Chief Edwin Compass III: “Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons.”

New Orleans Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley: “No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons.”

“This is a great victory, not just for the NRA and SAF, but primarily for law-abiding gun owners everywhere,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “We are proud to have joined forces with the NRA to put an end to what has amounted to a warrantless gun grab by authorities in New Orleans and surrounding jurisdictions.
“Over the past three weeks,” he continued, “residents who had lost virtually everything in the devastation following Hurricane Katrina had also essentially been stripped of something even more precious, their civil rights, and their right of self-defense, because of these gun seizures.

I think Nagin really wanted to just be able to forcibly evacuate people and this snowballed into a campaign. How could he possibly gain public support for this? Perhaps he thought that memory of residents shooting at rescuers would gain him some sentiment, but surely he realized that the tide had turned against him.

Perhaps he has trouble understanding tides.

“SAF and NRA had no alternative but to take action,” Gottlieb added. “If these gun confiscations had been allowed to continue without challenge, it would have set a dangerous precedent that would have encouraged authorities in other jurisdictions to believe they also could suspend the civil rights of citizens in the event of some other emergency.

A lot of people in power believe this. A lot of people who are representatives hate the idea. It's a difference in attitude.

“What must happen now, and quickly,” said Gottlieb, “is for authorities in the New Orleans area to explain how they will return all of those firearms to their rightful owners, and do it promptly. What this ruling affirms is that even in the face of great natural disasters, governments cannot arbitrarily deprive citizens of their rights. Thanks to some great teamwork between SAF and the NRA, this sort of thing will hopefully never happen again.”

Since the marauding troops following orders didn't seem to be issuing receipts, this is an empty commandment. There's no trivial way to return those firearms, especially if confiscations have been going on for almost two weeks. But Alan has to ask, because failing to comply with this request leads us down the path of seeking damages.

What chaps my hide is that damages are going to have to be paid out of Katrina relief! New Orleans is bankrupt, and the United States Government is going to bail them out. It sickens me to think my taxes are going to be used to pay back gun owners who had their rights violated because of some tinpot dictator I never had a chance to vote against.

PS Click here to make a contribution to help fund this lawsuit.

I've never encountered a reason to not support SAF.

Update: I'm adding this to the Beltway Traffic Jam at Outside the Beltway.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Saturday, Sep 24 2005 07:14 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of Cordite #31

Carnival of Cordite #31 is up at Resistance is Futile!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Saturday, Sep 24 2005 06:44 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Feline Friday Bonus!

Kitten by Josh Poulson

Kitten by Josh Poulson

Misty dropped the kids off at school this morning and discovered that they had received some abandoned kittens on their doorstep. It was either our house or animal control, so we have new residents!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, Sep 23 2005 01:24 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Feline Friday

Dust Bunny by Josh Poulson

Another shot of Dust Bunny, whose camoflauge doesn't work so well on cedar decking.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, Sep 23 2005 08:35 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  1 trackback

Shotgunning Wife

Misty Poulson and Beretta 391 by John McEnroe

I just realized that I posted a picture of some woman who was not my wife. I'm making amends before I get in trouble. This is my wife Misty, hunting the cagey, wily, and slippery clay pigeon. Photo by John McEnroe.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Thursday, Sep 22 2005 02:28 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks



I have joined the TTLB GunBloggers community. No blogroll just yet, but I'm working on it. Notice that I now extract the Neolibertarian Network blogroll instead of using their roll. Anything I can do to reduce the amount of Javascript on this page is a bonus.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Thursday, Sep 22 2005 06:56 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Confiscations May Be Continuing

Geek With A .45 has received a report from New Orleans. Gun confiscations appear to be continuing:

My buddy Captain G, Oklahoma Guard, was activated and sent to N.O. His unit was tasked to “keep the peace” in a not-so-nice ward. I talk to him every other day or so, and let me tell you, he is mightily p*ssed off about this. He has been for 12 days now confiscating firearms from all but CCP folks. Did y'all get that? The F'n federal government is taking guns from law abiding citizens in the very moment of their greatest need! I looked for hours today online and found nothing about this, nor have I seen anything from the MSM since the Wednesday after the storm hit (big surprise). Why is everyone not totally frigging apesh*t about this?

(emphasis in original, and I had to censor some words to keep my ICRA rating.)

Like Geek With A .45 I had seen no further reports of gun confiscation, so I'm definitely curious to hear if it is continuing. Like him and TriggerFinger, I'll take emails and protect anonymity if needed.

Update: I'm adding this to the Beltway Traffic Jam at Outside the Beltway.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Thursday, Sep 22 2005 05:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

SAF, NRA Ask Federal Court to Halt New Orleans Gun Seizures

Another press release from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) worth noting:

SAF, NRA Ask Federal Court to Halt New Orleans Gun Seizures

BATON ROUGE, LA (Sept. 22)—The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA) joined with individual gun owners in Louisiana Thursday morning, filing a motion in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana seeking a temporary restraining order to stop authorities in and around the City of New Orleans from seizing firearms from private citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

So they went straight to the state, which has working courthouses, and filed a restraining order as I predicted. This is good news.

Click here to make a contribution to help fund this lawsuit.

I've given to SAF a few times and I have several nice plaques from them. I believe this is an important organization on the legal front of the War To Save Self-Defense. This is the organization you want in your corner when you need to sue for your gun rights, or defend yourself for exercising them. With their latest Gun Rights Policy Conference coming up this weekend they are going to be fired up.

Arbitrary gun seizures, without warrant or probable cause, have been reported during the past three weeks since the Crescent City was devastated by the hurricane. In cases reported to SAF, police refused to give citizens receipts for their seized firearms. Earlier, SAF insisted that police account for all seized firearms, disclose their whereabouts, and explain how they will be returned to their rightful owners. Authorities have not responded.

Governments are not likely to respond on these issues on that one unless compelled to by a judge. They'll use those guns then accidentally lose them all, blaming it on the emergency situation. This is not cynical, as police organizations across the United States are very unlikely to give a gun back to its rightful owner. Once they have it, they think they can make things better by never returning it.

Gun confiscations have been highly publicized since the New York Times quoted New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III, who said, “Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons,” and ABC News quoted Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley stating, “No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons.”

I'm sure those quotes played well to the typical NYT reader, but not so well in the heartland.

Compass and Riley may have been following the misbegotten orders of Mayor Nagin, but they made a very poor choice here. If I find out that the local emergency organizations had a hand in crafting the order, I'm going to be mad. Still, I think they did it in order to make it easier to do a forced evacuation next. I don't think that line of action is going anywhere anymore. In fact, I think NOLA has stopped confiscating guns door to door at this point, as we've seen no new references to it.

For example, a San Francisco, CA camera crew from KTVU filmed one incident in which visiting California Highway Patrol officers tackled an elderly woman identified as Patricia Konie, to seize her pistol and forcibly remove her from her home. An ABC news crew accompanying an Oklahoma National Guard unit filmed another incident in which homeowners were handcuffed and disarmed, then released but without their firearms.

I carry the Patricia Konie video here in case you want to check it out yourself.

“We are delighted to work jointly with the NRA in an effort to bring these outrageous gun seizures to a halt,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “Our inquiries about these confiscations were cavalierly ignored, as were our demands for a public explanation from the police and city officials about why citizens were being unlawfully disarmed, leaving them defenseless against lingering bands of looters and thugs.
“New Orleans officials left us with no recourse,” Gottlieb observed. “It was bad enough that Big Easy residents were victims of the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. That they would be subsequently victimized by their own local government, taking their personal property without warrant, is unconscionable. These illegal gun seizures must be stopped, now.”

It's so much easier to kick someone when they are down, especially when you are feeling sorry for yourself.

PS Click here to make a contribution to help fund this lawsuit.

Again, SAF is a great organization…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Wednesday, Sep 21 2005 08:17 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Able Danger Live-Blogged

Dr. Sanity live-blogged the Able Danger hearings, and the full transcript is available too.

Dr. Sanity's later speculation after watching the hearings shows that it's easy to go the full-on “evil senior official” route:

First, one cannot help but think that the existence of the “Wall” preventing intelligences sharing was a key ingredient in preventing connecting the dots of 9/11. That the main architect of the Wall in both the DoD when she was there; and in the Department of Justice later, on was 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick is pertinent. Was there an attempt on the part of 9/11 Commission members and/or staff to protect one of its members? Were there attempts on the part of members of the Clinton Administration to cover-up this important information (Berger's activities in the National Archives to name one).

This thing reads like a slow-moving X-Files plot, only in the middle of it all the suspects commit suicide by plowing a four jetliners into 3,000 innocent civilians and then the Department of Defense gets all worried that someone might figure out that they were spying on people that might have been American citizens. Frankly, if the Pentagon was doing a relatively cheap project with public information in order to experiment with applying data mining to terrorism it doesn't really bother me. It' not like they actually appear to have done anything with the information. They never officially shared it with anyone. Some people tried. And, behind the scenes, always in the nexus of information-sharing, looms Jamie Gorelick, being (in a junior lawyerly fashion) far-too-conservative in what is allowed, no matter the value.

However, if Atta's name came up before 9/11, even if there were a ton of other false positives, I want to know that. I want to understand what restrictions made it impossible for people to openly talk about it in the intelligence community. I want to know that efforts at sharing useful information are easier now. I want to believe we've learned something. I don't want to believe that we are instead covering up efforts that may have been partially useful and would have eventually borne fruit in advance of events.

Curt Weldon is making a big deal out of this because people don't seem to care. Well, what if only 10 names came up, and Atta and three of his colleagues were in that group? Would that be enough to seriously investigate? Most people would say certainly. What about 100? 1000? At some point it's too expensive to follow-up, and I suspect that was the problem.

But I still want to know how effective it was.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Wednesday, Sep 21 2005 03:23 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Google Print

I've shown up in Google Print, here and here.

Of course, I recommend Jackie Hamilton's books, CGI Programming 101 and CGI Programming 201 as well as the other book floating around the net with me in it, Zen and the Art of the Internet by Brendan Kehoe.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Sep 21 2005 09:00 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Able Danger: No crucial testimony?

This morning we find that Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and defense contractor John Smith have been forbidden to testify in today's hearing about Able Danger, the Pentagon data mining operation targeted at discovering terrorists before they strike.

In his prepared remarks, [attorney Mark] Zaid was ready to say on behalf of Shaffer and contractor John Smith that Able Danger, using data mining techniques, identified four of the terrorists who struck on Sept. 11, 2001—including mastermind Mohamed Atta.

That is the key testimony, of course. The other important piece is how this information did not get incorporated into the findings of the 9/11 commission. Captain's Quarters indicates that Major (ret.) Eric Klein Smith will be able to testify on that:

However, Shaffer says that former Major Eric Kleinsmith, now a civilian contractor, will still testify at the panel. Kleinsmith received the orders to destroy the Able Danger database. [Senator Arlen] Specter's insistence that the hearings go forward probably hinges on Kleinsmith's ability to testify to the information that got destroyed, who ordered its destruction, and why. From that point, the committee could unravel an entire command sequence that will uncover how Able Danger got missed by the 9/11 Commission.

Another potentially illuminating source is Dr. Eileen Pricer, who testified to the Congressional subcommittee on national security. While her testimony has not been released, the Captain did find mention of it in statements by Congressman Christopher Shays:

Mr. Shays. In a briefing we had yesterday, we had Eileen Pricer, who argues that we don't have the data we need because we don't take all the public data that is available and mix it with the security data. And just taking public data, using, you know, computer systems that are high-speed and able to digest, you know, literally floors' worth of material, she can take relationships that are seven times removed, seven units removed, and when she does that, she ends up with relationships to the bin Laden group where she sees the purchase of chemicals, the sending of students to universities. You wouldn't see it if you isolated it there, but if that unit is connected to that unit, which is connected to that unit, which is connected to that unit, you then see the relationship. So we don't know ultimately the authenticity of how she does it, but when she does it, she comes up with the kind of answer that you have just asked, which is a little unsettling.

So, apparently she discussed the methods of Able Danger with a congressional subcommittee a month after 9/11. Now we have a trail what “What did they know and when did they know it?” questions to last us a few election cycles.

Let's go back to more statements from Zaid:

On three occasions, Able Danger personnel attempted to provide the FBI with information, but Department of Defense attorneys stopped them because of legal concerns about military-run investigations on U.S. soil, Zaid said in his prepared remarks, encouraging the panel to locate a legal memorandum that he said Defense Department attorneys used to justify stopping the meetings.

It's hard to absolve the 9/11 Commission of incompetence when they missed the chance to examine pre-9/11 intelligence identifying Atta as a terrorist, especially over procedural matters. Atta may have been here in the states, but he was a foreign national with multiple violations of his visa. It's compelling to think we could have stopped 9/11, but I doubt it. There probably were not enough resources to track every person that Able Danger flagged, and certainly the priorities were different then. Even so, the Commission should have taken them seriously, and investigated the impact of not following up on Able Danger.

I'm looking forward to what testimony we will hear, today. So far we have a data warehousing expert, the person that destroyed the Able Danger information, and the Congressman that outed the entire affair to the press. There's also a Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott that will testify. Sounds like a good start.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Wednesday, Sep 21 2005 07:01 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Washingtonians Set Out to Repeal Gas Tax Hike

Washinton Gas Prices

From Americans for Tax Reform:

Washingtonians who do not want to see their gas tax to go up, will have to vote yes on a related ballot measure that is up for a vote on November 8, 2005.
I-721 would repeal the 9.5 cents gas tax hike passed by the legislature earlier this year. Once fully implemented, this would amount to a tax increase of 33%. The first stage, an increase of 3 cents per gallon, was implemented this summer.

Actually, this should be Initiative 912.

The big spenders in Olympia have been hard at work trying to silence Washingtonians’ voices. The tax hike legislation included an “emergency clause” to prevent the voters from being heard through the less onerous referendum process. As a result, the citizens of Washington were left with 30 days to complete the initiative process, which requires more signatures than a referendum.

I've mentioned the emergency clause before. For example, the repeal of I-601 was a fiscal emergency and the attempt to make a Washington Assault Weapons Ban was an emergency. The effect of the emergency clause is to allow a bill to take effect immediately and make it not subject to referendum.

Despite obstacles, volunteers gathered over 420,000 signatures in barely 30 days—almost double the number required. On November 1st, Washington voters will have the chance to send a message to Olympia’s big spenders: Hands off our gas tanks!

As long as we remember that this is Initiative 912 and not 721, that is. I look forward to my ballot.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Sep 20 2005 10:25 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

(Non-)Response From Washington Senator Maria Cantwell Re: Porkbusters

I think I just got a form letter from Sen. Cantwell's office in response to my query as to what specific pork she would trim from the budget (I'm the one adding the links, not the Senator's office):

Dear Mr. Poulson,
Thank you for contacting me regarding government spending and the federal budget. I appreciate your comments on this important issue. The budget is a national blueprint, and it is paramount that the policies we support promote long-term national growth.

Thank you for selecting “budget” from the pulldown on my email-the-Senator web page.

It is one of my top priorities to maintain a balanced budget and to use discipline in federal spending. As such, I am deeply concerned about our escalating national debt. The President's $2.4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2005 is expected to bring with it a deficit of $521 billion, the highest deficit in the history of our country. When measured as a percentage of GDP, the deficit is expected to reach 5.5 percent—the highest since 1992, and close to the record high of six percent in 1983. When combined with the President's intent to extend his tax cuts and the rise in spending for Homeland Security and Defense programs, the budget deficit will only continue to grow. When President Bush took office, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported a $236 billion surplus in the U.S. Treasury and projected a $5.6 trillion surplus from 2002 to 2011. The projections from January 2004 indicate a $2.18 trillion deficit through 2011.

Tax cuts are bad! Bad! The only way to save the country is to spend more and tax more!

What is, of course, missing from this response is anything about what programs have to be reduced in order to handle the obvious important priority of preventing further terrorism on U.S. soil, or that the appropriate response to deficits is to reduce spending. If you spend too much, then you drop lower priority items until you can cover the cost. Surely that's taught in school somewhere.

When the Senate passed the FY 2005 Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 95) on March 12, I voted against its final passage. This budget will be used over the course of this year as a framework for all areas of government spending from defense to education to workforce training. I voted against this budget resolution because, like the President's Budget Proposal, I believe it does not succeed in addressing our nation's highest priorities and it fails to exercise much-needed fiscal discipline.

I do not share the President's vision, as we need to spend more and tax more.

Specifics are not forthcoming.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Finally, you may be interested in signing up for my weekly update for Washington State residents. Every Monday, I provide a brief outline about my work in the Senate and issues of importance to Washington State. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Let's just be friends.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

So, Maria's office staff was not able to send me specifics on what pork needed to be cut at this time. Maybe they'll send me something later, but I doubt it.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Sep 20 2005 08:25 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  2 trackbacks

Life, Liberty, Property

full size LLP button

I've joined the Life, Liberty, Property community.

Give those other blogs a look.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 19 2005 09:33 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

I Took A Political Test…

…but I don't think I failed:

Political Test Results

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 19 2005 09:09 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Porkbusters Submission

Instead of sending money to the pork barrel, let's send it to help Katrina victims!


Submitted to :

$8,345,000 for projects in the state of Senate appropriator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and the districts of House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee member George Nethercutt, Jr. (R-Wash.) and House appropriator Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), including: $3,000,000 for the Agricultural Research Laboratory in Pullman; $325,000 for the Wine Grape Foundation Block; and $250,000 for asparagus technology and production. Washington State University and Michigan State University are jointly researching methods to reduce labor costs in the asparagus industry. The industry’s labor costs, combined with federal anti-drug and trade policies that have led to a disproportionate increase in imported asparagus, have left Washington’s asparagus industry at a competitive disadvantage. Sen. Murray included language asking USDA to purchase asparagus in 2005 for domestic feeding programs.

(from Citizens against Government Waste)

Update: I'm adding this to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Sunday, Sep 18 2005 09:25 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

NRA On The Ground in Louisiana

Unlike the SAF release, I'd like to go through this one and comment.

NRA On the Ground in Louisiana

Friday, September 16, 2005
As was reported last week, in the wake of unspeakable crimes perpetrated by roving, armed gangs and individuals, authorities in New Orleans seized legal firearms from lawful residents, effectively disarming the very citizenry they are sworn to protect.

Indeed, I made the same observation at the time. I said then that I was hoping for a strong condemnation, and it looks like I'm getting one now.

On Monday, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox slammed New Orleans authorities for this incredible action.
“What we’ve seen in Louisiana—the breakdown of law and order in the aftermath of disaster—is exactly the kind of situation where the Second Amendment was intended to allow citizens to protect themselves,” LaPierre said. “For state, local, or federal government to disarm these good people in their own homes using the threat of imminent deadly force, is unthinkable.”

Especially when the appearance of law and order in New Orleans is given by the President giving a speech from there. Is it secure or not? If it is, there's no reason to confiscate firearms (nor does it appear there ever was a good reason). If it isn't secure, then the President's address was a sham.

“The NRA will not stand by while guns are confiscated from law-abiding people who’re trying to defend themselves,” Cox said. “We’re exploring every legal option available to protect the rights of lawful people in New Orleans.”

Well, it's a week after the gun confiscations started. I haven't heard of anyone getting sued or of anyone getting their guns back. I suspect this is going to be a long haul at this point. After all, I'm not sure any of the courthouses down there are open during this State of Emergency. However, the state courthouse in Baton Rouge is probably open for business.

“Every legal option” is actually pretty limited until the situation is stabilized, and since no one appears to be giving receipts, and it is notoriously hard to get a firearm back after it has been taken, these people are going to be out in the cold for a long, long time.

To that end, NRA has put professional investigators to work on the ground in New Orleans and surrounding areas. News stories and members’ detailed accounts have been followed up on, but we need more information. Some of our best leads have come from rank and file law enforcement, but we need to hear from all directly affected citizens.

Now the LE angle is on where I can follow up. I already know of one law enforcement trainer in the New Orleans area that will not train New Orleans cops that followed that illegal order. I suspect many others feel the same way.

If you have personally had a gun confiscated in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina hit, please call (888) 414-6333. Be prepared to leave only your name and immediate contact information so we can get back to you. Once again, we are seeking contact information from actual victims of gun confiscation in Louisiana only.
For additional information, please visit www.NRAILA.org, or e-mail us at [email protected].

Like the SAF contact information, I'll happily echo it here.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Sunday, Sep 18 2005 08:31 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Patricia Konie Gun Confiscation Video

Courtesy of Geek With A .45 I have my own copy of the Patricia Konie gun confiscation video shown on Fox News. Certainly this is evidence that the New Orleans gun confiscation went too far. There are other videos floating around out there, but with obscure codecs or other technical annoyances, so I won't bother posting them.

As you can imagine SAF and NRA are looking for evidence for lawsuits, individual and possibly class action. I'm willing to offer my own services as a expert witness (NRA Training Counselor, Judicious Use of Lethal Force Instructor, and more…) to this effort. It'll be a hoot.

It's rumored that the confiscations have been quietly discontinued, but in my opinion it's too late to save face.

Hopefully Kira at cgi101.com won't kill me for posting this video. I'm already the #2 source of traffic for her service.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Sunday, Sep 18 2005 08:14 AM  |  Permalink  |  6 comments  |  1 trackback

SAF Alert on New Orleans Gun Confiscation

The Second Amendment Foundation sent out this alert:

SAF Investigating New Orleans Gun Seizures; Needs To Hear From You

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is calling on members and supporters living in the New Orleans metropolitan area who have had firearms confiscated by police, federal officers or National Guard units to contact SAF headquarters at once.

Over the past three weeks, since the New Orleans and surrounding area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, there have been disturbing reports about warrantless searches and seizures of privately-owned firearms.

“SAF, in cooperation with the National Rifle Association, has investigators on the ground and has retained legal counsel in preparation for possible action,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb.

SAF wants to speak directly with individuals who have actually had their firearms confiscated. If you, or someone you know, has had a firearm seized by authorities in the New Orleans area in the days following the hurricane, SAF needs to hear from you.

Contact SAF via e-mail at [email protected]. Please provide us with your full name, address, current working telephone number and the date and time of the firearm(s) seizure. Please also let us know the best time of day for us to reach you at that number.

Sincerely yours,
Alan M. Gottlieb
Founder, Second Amendment Foundation

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Saturday, Sep 17 2005 07:50 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of Cordite #30

Carnival of Cordite #30 is up at Resistance is futile! There's a reason they show up in my blogroll, and it's not just because they gave me top billing and two links. I have more New Orleans gun confiscation news to post, but I've got date night to deal with at the moment…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Friday, Sep 16 2005 07:07 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Feline Friday

Atticus Awakens by Josh Poulson

Atticus gives me the evil eye for waking him up with the flash.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, Sep 16 2005 09:59 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  2 trackbacks

Dean Scam

This pretty much says it all…

Screenshot of Dean letter

Update: Looks like Ann Althouse got the same email.

We keep trying to talk about feelings and all he wants to talk about is—gasp!—law! How can we trust someone like that to be a judge?

I didn't delve deeply into Dean's op-ed. I don't have the stomach for it as I'm coming down with a cold.

Update #2: I used a smaller image for the letter, because the other one wasted whitespace.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 15 2005 11:30 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Seismic Slips, Volcanic Bulges, and Hot Lava

Via Doc Searls Weblog article “Creepy” we hear that the is a “slow seismic slip event” occuring in the Pacific Northwest. More from LiveScience:

The slip began Sept. 3 on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State and has migrated north to the Vancouver Island area, Cassidy wrote. Victoria moved 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) to the West over the course of two days. The events are thought to last six to 15 days.

Not a lot, to be sure, but it means that the potential for a mega-quake is elevated:

“The probability of occurrence of a megathrust earthquake is about 30 times higher during this approximately two-week window, than during the rest of the 14.5 month cycle,” [geologist John] Cassidy told LiveScience. “Having said that, 30 times a small number is still a small number.”

If that's not enough slow-moving geologic events for you, we also have a volcanic bulge near Bend, Oregon, as reported by the US Geologic Survey (email, 9/13/05):

A large, slow-growing volcanic bulge in western Oregon is attracting the attention of seismologists who say that the rising ground could be the beginnings of a volcano or simply magma shifting underground.
Scientists said that the 100 square-mile bulge, first discovered by satellite, poses no immediate threat to nearby residents.

That bulge is growing 1.4 inches per year.

Since I live 40 miles from Mt. St. Helens, all these tectonic happenings, however slow, are of considerable interest. Alana's favorite books are about volcanoes. Ryan often talks about “hot lava” insisting the adjective is important, since cold, tepid, or even warm lavas are boring.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Sep 15 2005 09:50 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Sic transit gloria mundi

No, it's not a new pope, but the passing of the “glory” of the world.

Roger L. Simon has posted the epitaph for the United Nations:

Even after the revelation that the United Nations had presided over the greatest financial scam in world history, the Iraq Oil-for-Food programme, the organization was not able to make the most paltry effort at reforming itself.

I won't miss the UN, but I sure wish it would go away quickly. Perhaps I should make a powder blue and black strip armband.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 14 2005 11:04 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

National Archives Releases New Version of 9/11 Report

Yesterday more 9/11 information was declassified. Misty pointed out an obscure article that mentioned it, otherwise it would have escaped my notice.

A new version of the “Staff Monograph on the `Four Flights and Civil Avation Security'” is available here.

This newer version contains less redacted information than the first version released on January 28, 2005.

There is still redacted material, such as columns in some tables, a quote on page 56, another on 57, a paragraph on 63, etc. There doesn't appear to be a summary of what was released. I'll have to poke through both reports and see what we are now allowed to know. Amusing redacted material includes this paragraph:

To be listed in a security directive, an individual has to pose a “direct” threat to aviation. In other words…

The rest of the paragraph was redacted, indicating we shouldn't have a clearer definition of what a “direct” threat to aviation is. Much of the information obscured from us concerns CAPPS policy which, I guess, we don't need to know.

This worries me because security through obscurity only delays but does not prevent a breach. It also delays (and possibly prevents) experts from helping pro bono. What happened to open security? Perhaps that remains too hard or expensive.

I wonder if systems could be set up a similar way to CERT, which lets software vendors know about security problems a few months before publicizing those problems to the world. They are a trusted clearinghouse for information on breaches, and they force vendors to react by publicizing every breach they receive, after a suitable waiting period to correct the problem. There does not seem to be a similar system for policymakers.

Update: Looks like there's coverage in the NYT.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Wednesday, Sep 14 2005 10:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


Memeorandum has had a interface upgrade, and they added a tech version as well. This particular tool makes it pretty easy to see what people are blogging about. I'm sure I'll look more closely at the tech stuff now.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Tuesday, Sep 13 2005 02:35 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Confronting Terrorism IV

Cox & Forkum have updated their classic political cartoon:


Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Sunday, Sep 11 2005 09:22 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

September 11, 2005

A year ago I wrote a retrospective on 9/11. It still applies today.

9/11 has been referred to as a day of reverence, or reflection, or anger, or other emotions. For me it is a reminder of the need for proactive, not reactive, measures to handle our own safety.

On Wizbang today they are posting entries that correspond to the times of certain events, such as the crashes and the towers collapsing. The one event that did not happen on 9/11, but long before, also needs to be remembered:

This enemy declared war against us a long long time ago. It took nearly three thousand deaths for us to react.

I worry today that the constant political bickering has slowed our reaction to the discovery of terrorist plots and our effectiveness at containing them. I guess I have had my role in that bickering, and I admit that emotionally it is more satisfying to do something than do nothing. I just hope it doesn't take another monumental event to ensure efforts to secure freedom for ourselves (and I believe it means securing freedom for others as well).

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Sunday, Sep 11 2005 08:44 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

NRA-ILA Comments On Situation In New Orleans

NRA-ILA Comments On Situation In New Orleans:

Numerous media sources are reporting on a campaign by New Orleans city authorities to confiscate lawfully-owned firearms from people in the city. Louisiana statute does grant the government, during a state of emergency, broad powers in regulating and controlling firearms.
However, we have seen not just with Hurricane Katrina, but other similar situations, that when police are unable to control the criminal element, people turn to the one freedom that protects all others—the Second Amendment.

Many of us would say that the Second Amendment is there so we can protect the rest. Of course, voting is part of it, too, but voting tends to limit the rights of the people, doesn't it?

While one can certainly understand the dire predicaments of all those affected by Hurricane Katrina, as we have learned throughout history, campaigns to disarm the lawful do nothing to disarm the criminal. And in truth, these restrictions make citizens less safe. Despite the valiant efforts of many law enforcement officers and rescue workers, too many of those left in the wake of Katrina are ultimately responsible for their own security and safety and that of their families and loved ones. This is especially true when communication is virtually non-existent and police can't be quickly summoned to respond to calls for help. At these times, lawful gun ownership is paramount to personal safety.

If we cannot be left to defend ourselves, we are wholly dependent on the government to protect us. Some people like that idea. I do not.

Of course, the entire situation in New Orleans is constantly in flux. But rest assured NRA is monitoring this situation very closely and will address any activity by the government that unduly infringes upon the rights of lawful gun owners at the appropriate time. As we learn more, we will report to our members accordingly. In the interim, however, we join with all Americans in offering our thoughts, prayers, and assistance to the victims and survivors of this terrible natural disaster.

I was hoping for a stronger condemnation, but I guess that since we cannot rely on the media to accurately report what is going on in there, we'll have to wait and see…

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Sunday, Sep 11 2005 08:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Firearms Confiscation in New Orleans

Disarming law-abiding and self-reliant citizens in the disaster zone? Dave Kopel writes in Reason:

At the orders of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans Police, the National Guard, the Oklahoma National Guard, and U.S. Marshals have begun breaking into homes at gunpoint, confiscating their lawfully-owned firearms, and evicting the residents. “No one is allowed to be armed. We're going to take all the guns,” says P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police.

So, yes, they apparently are, and they are doing it so they can forcibly evacuate them later. Dave Kopel does not have kind words for this idea:

The good gun-owning citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas ought to be thanked for helping to save some of their city after Mayor Nagin, incoherent and weeping, had fled to Baton Rouge. Yet instead these citizens are being victimized by a new round of home invasions and looting, these ones government-organized, for the purpose of firearms confiscation.

Glenn Reynolds adds:

It's especially striking to see this at a time when New Orleans-area police have been abandoning their posts, engaging in looting, and trapping refugees in a flooding city at gunpoint. “Rely on the police to protect you” has never seemed like worse advice.

I certainly wonder if it's legal to forcibly disarm people who are clearly endangered by looters, rapists, and thugs. It certainly isn't ethical. I've heard people complain that a disaster was no reason to curtail civil rights, bo so far I don't hear a lot about this particular infringement.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Saturday, Sep 10 2005 03:47 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  1 trackback

Feline Friday

Atticus by Josh Poulson

One of the first pictures I have of Atticus, from 2001.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, Sep 9 2005 02:00 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  1 trackback

The iPod Mini is gone


(Taken from my desk…)

With Apple's introduction of the iPod nano it appears that they have silently discontinued the iPod Mini.The old dedicated web page now redirects to the Apple store. With two of these in my house, both of which being somewhat quirky (Misty's still has a “just turns itself on” issue, mine sometimes gets errors starting up making it lose my bookmark on the current song), I think I'll still miss them.

The iPod nano sure is tiny though:


(Taken from the apple.com website…)

However, now that I've filled with Mini with books from audible.com, I was hoping to see a 8GB Mini.

Update: I forgot to mention that the iPod nano uses flash memory instead of a tiny little hard drive. I suspect my freezing issue won't be there (it sure seems like it takes time to spin up the disk and cache the song I'm trying to play.)

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Thursday, Sep 8 2005 09:35 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Summer Quarter 2005 Complete

My summer quarter of classes are all-the-way over now. While I turned in my last assignment a week ago, I have grades now. So, I have officially finished MST 530 (Strategic Management & Planning) and MST 549 (Applied Business Forecasting) at the OGI School of Science & Engineering at OHSU. I'm happy to report that I managed to eke an A out of Strategy but only an A- out of forecasting. Darned multiple choice tests!

Fall Quarter is the beginning of the end. The first half of Capstone starts and I will knock off my last elective. No thesis in this MS program, but Capstone certainly counts as equivalent effort.

As far as books go for this part quarter, the most engaging was Competing on the Edge. This book described a strategy for organizations involved in fast-moving markets (I am focused on high-tech entrepreneurship here) and the trade-offs and priorities inherent with such scenarios. No staid long-term planning and bureaucratic structures are in the prescription for fast-moving companies! Instead one has to handle the right amount of chaos, collaboration, the past, the future, and keeping in synch with the market…

Onward to the final death march. March 17th is in sight! (That's when my team has its final presentation.)

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “School” Wednesday, Sep 7 2005 08:59 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Katrina Timeline

Thanks to Rightwing Nuthouse, here's an excellent timeline of the response to Katrina. He's still updating it as people post information and contradictory articles.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Sep 6 2005 10:34 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Blame Game

Politicians are hard at work at what they do best, shifting blame. The criticism and vitriol has been flying fast and thick in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. There has been far less attention fixed on looking at what was working and what came apart and more attention on the statements of semi-elected officials. (When incumbency rules the roost, it's hard to think of these self-absorbed jerks as elected.)

Example comes from information posted by Paul at Wizbang, who quoted the Washington Post. It appears that the Federal government asked to take control of the New Orleans evacuation before Katrina struck. The Bush Administration had declared a state of emergency three days before the Governor Lousiana did.

We have heard plenty in the press from the Governor, but I haven't heard much about her failures.

The Mayor of New Orleans has been quick to criticize, too, but:

Nagin is not without his warts… While he did save hundreds of thousands of lives, his abject stupidity should not and will not be ignored. He not only did not understand the strength of this hurricane but he failed to execute a long standing plan properly.

But, Governor Blanco drew most of the ire:

…Kathleen Blanco killed thousands of people. When she met with Bush and Bush tried getting control of the situation she told him she needed “24 hours to think things through.”
Blanco's lack of ability to think on her feet was evident in the debates she had during the election… now it cost lives…

I have watched the stupid antics of placing blame and taking potshots at the rescue efforts. This is hardly the time to armchair quarterback. It is time to do what is necessary and discard what is not. I sure wish the politicians would remember that.

Update: So, it appears that both the state of Lousiana and the Federal Government declared a state of emergency at the same time, a couple days before the evacuation order. This doesn't deflect much of my criticism of her blame game aimed at Bush and FEMA.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Sunday, Sep 4 2005 09:10 PM  |  Permalink  |  10 comments  |  1 trackback

Feline Friday

Yankee by Leigh Maynard

Leigh Maynard's cat Yankee, in a self-reflective moment.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, Sep 2 2005 11:59 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  2 trackbacks

The Interdictor

The Interdictor is blogging from his data center in New Orleans. It's a war zone and it's a good read. It certainly puts the minor troubles of your own life into perspective.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Thursday, Sep 1 2005 04:11 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Bush Urges Americans to Conserve Gas

Bush is asking Americans to conserve gas:

Bush said they all agreed the storm's damage to the gas supply was a “temporary disruption” and urged Americans to use prudence in filling up over the next few weeks.
“Don't buy gas if you don't need it,” he said in Oval Office remarks with his father and Clinton at his side.
Gasoline sellers have been fast to raise prices, to more than $3 a gallon and in some places far higher, because of a sudden drop in supplies, prompting accusations they are artificially setting high prices to profit from the disaster.

Looks like I need to accelerate my work-from-home campaign. I'm waiting for Qwest to finish my T1. ELI is ticked, they want to start billing me.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 1 2005 02:50 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


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