Monday, April 17, 2006

Patriot Act Follies

You may recall from my last post that I explained that anyone now seeking a government job in Ohio or seeking to do business with the state must, by law, complete a Declaration of Material Assistance/Non-Assistance to a Terrorist Organization (DMA).

Well, it seems the A.C.L.U. has decided to fight this. Not on the grounds that it's an incredibly STUPID law (which it is) but on the grounds that the the General Assembly unfairly applied the requirement to the practice of law. Or, as quoting from the original article in Saturday's Blade:

"The suit was filed before the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of lawyer Marc Triplett. He objected to the Bellefontaine Municipal Court’s requirement that he sign a form declaring that he has not assisted or supported a terrorism-related organization as a condition of receiving court appointments to represent indigent defendants.

"The court challenge does not go as far as challenging the law itself, but rather what it characterizes as the Ohio General Assembly’s unconstitutional application of it to the practice of law, which is regulated by the Supreme Court."

In other words, it's good that somebody's challenging the, but bad that nobody seems to care that it's an incredibly stupid fucking law!

Y'see, if you lie on the form, and you are caught, it's a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to one year in prison. I guess the geniuses in the G.A. think the threat of prison for a year will keep potential terrorists from seeking government jobs, contracts, or certain licenses. Or from lying about their status as terrorists, when telling the truth means that they will not get the job and be reported to homeland security.

I can't believe anyone is taking this seriously. And that the people who proposed this in the first place weren't laughed out of the office of whoever has the job of making sure this sort of silly shit never gets out of committee. Has the long-time Republican-controlled Ohio Government finally gone completely off the deep end? With shit like this, it's hard to imagine otherwise.

But the best part is how the law is being defended. To quote from the same article:

"Lying on the form would constitute a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to a year in jail. 'This is preventative,' said Greg Saul, aid to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R., Vandalia). 'If it’s uncovered that they’re involved in a plot but the attack hasn’t been carried out yet, you could charge them with lying on the questionnaire,' he said. 'The whole goal is to prevent them from carrying out an attack.'"

Seriously. So, apparently, if you're a member of, say, Al Qaeda, and you apply for a state job and say that you aren't, then after you've gone into a crowded shopping mall and hosed down the place with an AK-47, they can prosecute you for lying on a government form.

I'm thinking there's probably a few other things that they may want to zing you on first...

Plus, how could they prove your membership in such an organization? After all, I seriously doubt such organizations keep membership least I've never seen any evidence that they do.

Y'know, if I hadn't seen the law with my own eyes, I'd think this was all a really bad April Fool's joke gotten way out of hand. Of course maybe it is...

Seriously. This is like something from The Daily Show. Say, that gives me an idea! I think I'll write to them about this. They would eat this shit up!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

If You're a Terrorist, Please Tell Us!

All potential employees of the government of the state of Ohio must now submit a "Declaration Regarding Material Assistance to a Terrorist Organization" or D.M.A.

This also applies to any person or business wishing to contract with the state.

So what does this mean, exactly?

Well, it means that anyone applying for a job with state, county, or city government in Ohio must submit this D.M.A.

And what is the D.M.A. exactly?

Well, it consists of six questions:

1) Are you a member of an organization on the U.S. Department of State Terrorist Exclusion List (USDSTEL)?

2) Have you used any position of prominence you have with any country to persuade others to support an organization on the USDSTEL?

3) Have you knowlingly solicited funds or other things of value for an organization on the USDSTEL? (I guess if you did it unknowingly, it's OK!)

4) Have you solicited any individual for membership in an organization on the USDSTEL?

5) Have you committed an act that you know, or reasonably should have known, affords "material support or resources" to an organization on the USDSTEL?

6) Have you hired or compensated a person you knew to be a member of an organization on the USDSTEL, or a person you knew to be engaged in planning, assisting, or carrying out an act of terrorism?

I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But that's not the best part. No, the best part is what happens if any of the above questions is answered "yes":

"The issuing agency must deny the application and notify the Department of Public Safety's Homeland Security Division of the positive indication"

Translation: Not only will you NOT get the job/contract, but we'll report you to Homeland Security!

I swear to Christ I'm not making this up!

Seriously. Go here and see for yourself.

Let's break this down, shall we? Let me translate those questions into plain English:

1) Are you a terrorist?

2) Have you used the influence of your position to inspire others to become terrorists?

3) Did you raise money for terrorists?

4) Have you tried to turn anyone else into a terrorist?

5) Have you given money or other aid to terrorists?

6) Have you hired any terrorists?

Answering "yes" to any of those questions will, of course, not only result in you not being hired, or not getting the contract, but in YOUR being put on the Terrorist watch list yourself! In other words, answer yes and go directly to Gitmo. Do not pass go, do not collect $200!

How can anyone seriously expect anyone to take this seriously?!

One question: I'm a contributing member of Have they been placed on the Terrorist Exclusion List? 'Cause if they have, then I'd better quit my county job immediately and report to Gitmo.

This is what happens when incompetents are in charge.

Seriously. Imagine this conversation:

Government Bureaucrat #1: What if someone wants a government job or a state contract, but they're terrorists? How do we stop them?

Government Bureaucrat #2: I know! We'll ASK them if they're terrorists!

GB#1: Brilliant!

The mind...boggles.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Police State, Much?

There was a rally today of local union workers in downtown Toledo to show support for the embattled union of The Blade workers, the local newspaper. According to the news there were about 400 people there. They were surrounded by over 100 cops. Check out this picture of one of the nearby streets:

Now imagine that picture multiplied by a factor of ten, and you get some idea of how strong the police presence was.

Now I realize that just a few months ago, there was a large riot in the north end, sparked by a group of Neo-Nazis. And the police response to that was muffed at best, and downright incompetent at worst. But geez! That doesn't justify using the excuse of a presumably peaceful union rally into an excuse to turn downtown Toledo into a police state!

UPDATE (4/11/06, 2:00 p.m.) The Blade buried the story on page 7 of the Second News Section.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


So. I will not be burning all of my combined disks and VHS tapes of The West Wing.

Why? Because Matt Santos won a very close Presidential election on the show.

And, even with the death of John Spencer (Leo McGarry), the show has gone on. And in this the fictional world, the right person still wins.

You may recall that I swore to never watch the WW again if they allowed a Republican to be elected, no matter how likeable he was. Well, now, that's not a problem anymore.

Praise to you, NBC. You have re-gained my repect.

Try hard not to lose it again!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hens Opener

Tonight was the home opener for the Toledo Mud Hens. It was a good night for baseball. The rain, which had been threatening all day, held off. It was about as warm as it gets in Toledo in early April, by which I mean you only needed to wear two layers of clothing instead of three. It was only marred by the fact that they lost a 1-0 pitcher's duel. Actually kinda boring.

Anyhoo, here's a few pics, taken with my spiffy new camera phone:

This is a shot of the Governor's cup, which they won last year for being IL champions.

This is a shot of the outfield. That guy in the blue jacket is Larry Parrish, the Hens' manager and last year's IL manager of the year.

And here's a shot of the stands. Officially, it was a sellout, but there were a lot of empty seats. I guess the weather probably affected that.

Well, here's hopin' they can repeat again this year. A lot of last year's players are back, but there are some new faces. You may recall I got a little excited last September when they were in game three of the GC finals. I hope I will be doing the same thing this year!

Play Ball!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

They Said it Better Than I could, Cont.

From the L.A. Times (A letter to the editor):

McCarthys still exist on the airwaves
April, 1 2006

TIM RUTTEN'S review of Tom Wicker's new biography of Sen. Joe McCarthy ["McCarthy's Very American Career," March 29] was excellent until the overly optimistic last sentence: "We're less likely to share [the paranoid political style] today, as we've all learned a great deal more about the paranoids' continuing capacity to make all of us suffer for their delusions."

McCarthy's paranoid style lives on today in Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and the other heroes of talk radio, especially in their ceaseless invention of horrible threats to their listeners' values (like O'Reilly's trumped-up "war on Christmas") and their insistence that anyone who disagrees with them is not merely wrong but must be pushing some sinister hidden agenda. And the fact that they are able to use the word "liberal" as a damning epithet for anyone they don't like, the way McCarthy used the word "Communist," just shows how successful they and the people who bankroll their shows and the conservative movement as a whole have been in moving America's discourse seemingly permanently to the right.

Somewhere there's a circle of the inferno in which Joe McCarthy is laughing his head off and savoring his sweet revenge against the liberals and true conservatives who disgraced him.


San Diego

Mark, I couldn't agree more. And I just wish I could be down there in that inferno and see O'Reilly's face when he gets there (the sooner, the better). Or Hannity's. Or Rush's. Maybe they'll videotape it for future generations of angels to enjoy.

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