Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Various Observations...............

The Supremes (God love 'em) came back with their decision on Snyder vs. Phelps. They ruled 8-1 that Phelps and his church was acting within their rights to protest at the funerals of dead servicemen. The libertarian in me agrees, but the patriotic American disagrees.

Justice Alito was the lone dissenting opinion. In his first two paragraphs of his opinion he covers the case much better than I could.

Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.

Petitioner Albert Snyder is not a public figure. He is simply a parent whose son, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Snyder wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such an incalculable loss: to bury his son in peace. But respondents, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, deprived him of that elementary right. They first issued a press release and thus turned Matthew’s funeral into a tumultuous media event. They then appeared at the church, approached as closely as they could without trespassing, and launched a malevolent verbal attack on Matthew and his family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability. As a result, Albert Snyder suffered severe and lasting emotional injury. The Court now holds that the First Amendment protected respondents’ right to brutalize Mr. Snyder. I cannot agree.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am planing on sending some cash to Mr. Snyder to help him pay his lawyer bills and fines.

There is much discussion and debate over the antics of actor Charlie Sheen. I don't understand it, nor do I have the slightest interest in it other than you see it every time you turn on the TV. It's nothing more than Bread and Circuses for the masses. I guess the fascination boils down to what a buddy told me about NASCAR racing "You know that there is a percentage of people sitting in the stands just hoping and waiting for a wreck that might just get someone killed." A person self-destructing does have a certain fascination to some people.

It seems the Somali pirates are still acting the fool. Since no one but Stingray and Labrat have taken the idea of the letter of Marque and Reprisal seriously, perhaps we should again look back in history and adopt the Q-ship idea. Q-ships were developed by the British navy in WWI to combat the U-boat menace. The British took older tramp steamers and cargo ships modified them and armed them and put them in the convoy lanes. These ship would try to lure in U-boat who wouldn't want to waste a torpedo on such a small target and would surface to sink the Q-ship with gunfire or scuttling charges. When the sub got close enough, the Q-ship would drop it's disguise and open fire on the sub. Q-ships had a bit of success, until the U-boats started sinking ships without warning. Our naval forces should adopt both the Q-ship idea as well as a German concept when confronting the Somalis. After the Somalis are confronted at sea, the after action report report should be simple and to the point.

"Gesunken ohne eine Spur!"

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