Sunday, October 31, 2004


One has to wonder at the potential effect of Bin Ladin's message on the election.

First, it could be beneficial for Bush. The country knows this guy is still out there, and still somewhat of a menace. They might be able to pick up the somewhat defeatist tone in Bin Ladin's message. They guy is no longer talking about destroying us. He's talking about leaving us alone if he leave him alone. That sounds like a guy who's basically had about all he can take.

Second, it could be beneficial for Kerry. He'll say Bush wasn't able to nail this guy. He'll use all the Democratic talking points that Bin Ladin brings up in the clip, including how Bush's inaction after the first plane hit the towers allowed the other aircraft to reach their destinations. Anyone else get the impression Terry Mcauliffe drafted this thing for Bin Ladin?

Of course, Walter Cronkite says that Karl Rove put Bin Ladin up to this message. No really, he did.

The old guy has lost whatever shred of credibility and sanity he had left.

At any rate, there is no way to predict what the UBL video will do to the election. We shall have to wait until Tuesday to see.

Ode to the .45

Lacking anything else substantive running through my brain, I'll comment on the .45 ACP, perhaps the ultimate combat handgun cartridge.

What's not to like? The round has mild recoil, superb accuracy, and tremendous kinetic energy at impact. The round has seen action in United States military engagements since 1911, and is still in use today. Though supplanted by the 9mm since the late 80's as the primary handgun round, several special forces units still favor the .45 ACP. I will not even comment on the decades of service provided by the .45 Long Colt prior to the ACP round.

The .45 in terms of recoil is pleasant to shoot. It does not seem to kick hard at all. I have shot many .40 caliber pistols which are unpleasant. The .40 caliber seems to have a weird upward kick in most handguns. The same goes for the .357 Sig, another caliber in vogue at the moment. That round really has a nasty crack to it.

I do seem to like the 9mm. The recoil is mild there as well. However, the round loses much in terms of stopping power. This is only what the ballistics data suggests. I pray I never have to observe or test out the relative stopping power of either round. The 9mm used to have the edge in terms of magazine capacity, but double-stacked magazines seem to have lessened the edge somewhat in the last few years. I digress. This was supposed to be about the .45 only.

Almost every major weapons manufacturer makes at least one .45 caliber pistol. Many of them even make a carbine in that caliber. If one favors a Glock, there are at least three models to choose from in .45. If one prefers a double action with a decoker, Sig Sauer makes at least 3 that I am aware of. Should one prefer the double action/single action type of pistol with a safety, H&K, Beretta, Smith and Wesson, Israeli Arms, and CZ make several versions of the .45.

Let us not forget the old warhorse, the Colt 1911. John Browning's design is still as functional as ever. Many police departments issue the 1911 for duty and tactical officers. Manufacturers such as Kimber, Springfield Armory, Colt, and even Smith and Wesson now make 1911's, which are not much different than a WWI-issue Colt. However, the new ones are tricked out. They come from the manufacturer with everything on them that used to be a custom option. This is a good thing. Nobody wants to spend extra money to make sure the gun feeds right, and they should not have to.

This brings me to an interesting point of contention. Most folks who carry the 1911 carry it in "condition one", which means the hammer is drawn back and the safety engaged. This means all one has to do to fire the gun is grip it and disengage the safety.

Some prefer "condition two", meaning a round is in the chamber, but the hammer has been lowered. Most instructors cringe when they hear a 1911 is carried in this style. They argue the potential for accidental discharges are higher lowering the hammer on a loaded chamber. They also argue that the 1911 is a very safe gun to carry "cocked and locked." They say the grip and thumb safeties should be sufficient, as long as one does not grab the gun and put their finger on the trigger, and the gun is kept in a well-designed holster.

I think it boils down to a matter of comfort. Perhaps it is all psychological, but seeing a 1911 with the hammer back strikes me as somewhat dangerous. Most 1911's I have shot have superb, light triggers. If the safety were to become disengaged, and one were to accidentally touch the trigger while holding the gun, it will definitely go boom.

I seem to favor a double-action/single action with a decocker and safety. I like the idea of having a safety that disengages easily. I also like the idea of having a double-action pull. It seems much safer.

I keep coming back to a Smith and Wesson 4513 Tactical. It has roughly the same dimensions as a 1911 in terms of width. It carries 7 rounds fully loaded with one in the chamber. It has the safety and decocker features that I like. Plus, it has a magazine disconnect, which renders the pistol unable to fire if the magazine is not in place.

Some argue that the magazine safety is just one more thing which could mechanically go wrong. There is an element of truth there. So far, the pistol has been 100% reliable on the range. It has never failed to feed, or fire. It is very accurate, seeming to shoot up with a friend's Kimber with no problems. It is easy to carry and conceal. It recoils very nicely, with no nasty kicking noticed. Cleaning and takedown are somewhat of a pain, since the gun has very tight tolerances. It is still easier than a 1911, however.

So I ask you, gentle reader: what is the ultimate .45 caliber handgun, and why?

This is really a test to see if I can get some comments. With three people reading this thing, at least one of you should have a comment about gun stuff.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Kerry Discharge Less Than Honorable--Breaking News

OK folks. The Swift Boat vets have come through again. God bless these men, they have taken a difficult path. Check out their site, be prepared for more news on this.


The Vets report a former Secretary of the Navy stated Kerry's Discharge Less than Honorable.

I found the news via Powerline's blog. God bless the bloggers, because I would bet money you will not hear this via the mainstream media.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Gliders' Electoral College Experiment

In a very scientific study taken moments ago, the sugar gliders definitively picked the next President of the United States. The results have been verified by the blind dog, so I feel very confident about this whole thing.

For those of you unaware, sugar gliders are small marsupials, about the size of hamsters. They are nocturnal, and they can glide several hundred feet if given enough altitude. We have two in the house, one of each gender. The female is named Phoebe. Wicket is the male, and he is scared of Phoebe. Most of the household is.

For those of you unaware, a blind dog is a dog that is blind.

The test was undertaken as follows:

1. Pictures of both major party candidates were placed on a table. We left out the Libertarian candidate to avoid confusion. Plus, we couldn't actually FIND a picture of the Libertarian candidate. Maybe I should have tried HIGH TIMES.

2. A control picture was obtained, to further enhance accuracy. A 1992 Ross Perot campaign button was found, and placed on the table. The gliders took one look at it and fled. I wish they would have been around in 1992. They might have saved us all a lot of trouble.

3. The gliders were corralled, and placed on the table within inches of the candidate's photos.

4. The blind dog came in to provide unbiased analysis.

5. The gliders immediately went to the Kerry photograph and urinated on it.

6. The gliders next sniffed the Bush photograph. They both rubbed on it, much the same way a cat will do when it seeks attention.

7. The blind dog was asked for confirmation. He yawned, and then bumped into a wall. I likened him to a UN election observer in this respect.

So there you have it. The gliders like George W. Bush. They wet on Kerry. They fled from Perot. We would all do well to follow their example.

As will the majority of America, the gliders have selected Bush as President. You can't argue with science like this, folks.

Leave My Heroes Alone, Pinkos!

As my devoted readers (all 3 of them) saw from my post last night, I watched THE ALAMO. Again, this was the new version with Billy Bob Thornton as Davey Crockett, Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston, and Jason Patric as Jim Bowie.

To call the movie horrible is probably too much. To call it full of liberal propaganda is probably accurate. I did not enjoy it, for a number of reasons.

I noted last night Davey Crockett was made out to be a forebearer of John Kerry in this movie. If John Wayne comes back to life, somebody is going to get a butt-whipping of heroic proportions.

I will grant you the John Wayne version of THE ALAMO was full of historic inaccuracies. I will grant you the heroes of the Alamo were probably not saints.

I don’t care. We should not focus on the bad things in their lives. We should instead focus on the amazing stand they took, against overwhelming odds.

I think we need heroes in our lives. We need to be able to look back into history, and draw inspiration from what amazingly courageous men did in the past. Some of the lessons we should learn from the Alamo are that courage and conviction can win out over overwhelming odds. Sacrifice is necessary for the greater good. There ARE things worth fighting and dying for. Most importantly, 183 Texans can kick the crap out of almost anybody.

You didn’t get much of that message out of this movie. In fact, when the Alamo is about to fall, Jim Bowie asks Travis, “was it worth it?” There were a couple of other things that hacked me off, but I doubt I have the space to list them all.

What a load of garbage.

Why do we think it necessary to engage in destroying heroes from the past? Why do we think we have to show, or make up, bad things our historical idols may have done? Why can’t Hollywood focus on the incredibly great things these people accomplished?

Jim Bowie may have been a bit rough around the edges. Crockett may have been a failed politician, and a bit of a bumpkin. Travis may have gone to Texas looking for fame and fortune, and may have left a wife behind.

So what? Does Hollywood think the virtues these men ended up exhibiting are worthless? So Jim Bowie was a warrior. Well, we would not be here today if it were not for warriors. Warriors keep us safe even as we speak.

Crockett was a simple man, with simple values. I happen to share those simple values. He may not have been the best-educated man in the world, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes education gets in the way of the way life really works. This is especially true if the education is full of liberal propaganda.

Hollywood turns its nose up at what the average American believes in, anyway. Travis went to seek his fame and fortune. Is it better that he stayed home and did nothing? Is it wrong to oppose a dictator and fight for freedom? Is it wrong to want to carve out a better life from the frontier?

Are these the things that Hollywood wants us to believe? Are the characteristics these men exhibited those that Hollywood wants us to think are evil?

If you watch this movie, you would almost think so.

It may not be historically accurate, but I prefer John Wayne’s version of the Alamo. I like my heroes to be a bit larger than life. I like the fact that those movies glorified these men.

I want to look up to the heroes of the past. I want to draw inspiration from these men. I want their deeds to serve as examples for future generations. I want my country to be led by men who have the same values as the defenders of the Alamo. Those values are the same as most Americans still have, and we still hold them dear.

So give me the romanticized versions of Crockett, Bowie, and Travis. Let me hold onto the legend. The legends do nothing to ruin the amazing feats they accomplished. Likewise, the deconstruction of my heroes does not make me think them any less heroic. To that end, Hollywood failed miserably in its propaganda mission.

Legends inspire us. If we try to live up to the legend, we can accomplish much more than if we trash the legend.

So my message to Hollywood is simple: QUIT TRASHING MY HEROES, YOU PINKO-COMMIES.

We need our heroes. Now more than ever.

The Alamo and John Kerry

It never ceases to amaze me how Hollywood and the liberals can paint American virtue in the worst light possible. I hate to admit it, but I actually have to take my hat off to the Hollywood writers. They can take a subject that just exudes patriotism from every pore, and manage to throw anti-Americanism into it somewhere. It takes a lot of talent to figure out how to make patriotism look bad. Hollywood consistently pulls it off, though.

I watched THE ALAMO tonight, and I find myself amazed once again. This is the Disney version that came out last year, and was in the theaters for about 24 hours or so. It had Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, and Jason Patric. It lacked John Wayne, and he was really needed. No doubt he is rolling in his grave, trying to get up and kick the snot out of the turkeys who wrote this movie.

In the annals of US history, there are not many more inspiring stories than that of the Alamo. 183 men held an army at bay for thirteen days. Their sacrifice enabled Sam Houston to assemble an army of Texans, which eventually won Texas its independence from Mexico.

The defenders of the Alamo are legendary. Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William Barrett Travis are names which most Texans consider saints. They are a breed of man we rarely see anymore. Their courage and conviction seem nowadays to be portrayed as foolish and bigoted. In fact, it was men like them who made this country what it is today.

One scene particularly drew my ire. The defenders of the Alamo are sitting around a campfire, listening to Davey spin a yarn or two. One of the boys asks Crockett about all the great battles he fought. Crockett confesses he took part only in one. Crockett gets all misty eyed, and tells a story from his Indian fighting days. He mentions a bunch of Indians slaughtered a bunch of white settlers. The settlers band together, and go out to deal with the hostiles.

The settlers find the tribe of Indians, and a fierce fight ensues. The militia tracks the Indians to their village, and every member of the village fights them. Crockett admits they trapped the remaining Indians in a cabin and burned them. The settlers’ militia finds a store of potatoes under the burned cabin, which have been cooked in the rendered lard of the burned Indians. In the movie, Crockett said that he could never eat potatoes again.

Let us take this one apart, shall we?

First, the scene seems to suggest Crockett now has a dim view of killing Indians. He seems apologetic for taking part in a military action to deal with an attack on his people. How horrible is it to exercise self-defense? Hollywood seems to be saying that a people are not justified in taking action against attackers.

That one sounds a bit familiar, does it not?

Second, Crockett now admits to committing atrocities by slaughtering those Indians. He and his men slaughtered the poor Indians, “in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan.” Well, I threw that one in myself. Anyway, Crockett tells this happy little story to a band of men who are facing incredible odds, fighting for the birth and survival of their nation. He tells this story in the face of impending battle with an army led by a brutal dictator.

That DEFINITELY sounds familiar.

I cannot imagine anything more demoralizing to a group of idealistic fighters than to hear a man they look up to confess to murdering people, and no longer having the stomach for battle. They hear a man from whom they draw inspiration paint soldiers as murderers.

That says a lot about what sort of man Hollywood really looks up to.

Davey Crockett was a hero before he walked through the gates of the Alamo. His presence alone no doubt inspired men to fight harder in the face of impossible odds. In other words, he was a leader. I doubt Crockett would have told his men a demoralizing story on the eve of battle. For a leader to do such a thing is criminal, and utterly stupid. It undercuts both the men’s faith in their leader, as well as the cause for which they fight. One cannot expect to win a battle under those circumstances.

Such things only happen in the movies, though.

John Kerry commanded a swift boat, albeit for four months. Kerry came back to America, and testifies before Congress that he and his fellow soldiers committed atrocities, and were fighting a senseless, unjustified war. Worse yet, while still serving in the US military, he went to Paris to meet with the Viet Cong.

Kerry’s testimony was broadcast to the US prisoners of war in Vietnam. Their captors used Kerry to shake the prisoner’s faith in their cause and in their country. Kerry also became a poster child for a Fifth Column here in America, which did everything possible to undercut the war effort.

Kerry disparaged the fight against Communism 30+ years ago.

Let us not even mention the man’s record on the war on terror today. He has consistently called it, “the wrong war at the wrong time.” I won’t go into the rest of it.

Basically, Kerry sounds like a man who deserves to be the leader of the free world, doesn’t he?

Hollywood did its best to ruin my image of a great American hero. It did its best to cast heroism itself into a bad light.

I will have no part of it. John Wayne will always be Davey Crockett. Those 183 men will always be heroes. The Alamo will always be a source of inspiration to me.

Hollywood cannot change what the men at the Alamo did, and what their sacrifice accomplished. It cannot change the facts about what John Kerry did, either. Hollywood cannot change virtue into vice, no matter how much the liberals want it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Good And Evil, Part II

I firmly believe there is good and evil in the world. Since I accept that, I also have to believe there are two diametrically opposed forces in the world. Good=god and evil=Satan. I re-read MERE CHRISTIANITY, by C.S. Lewis, recently. This entry is purely inspired by him. I'll note page numbers from the 1996 Touchstone edition of MERE CHRISTIANITY. I would recommend it to anyone. It's a great book, which has definitely provoked all sorts of thought.

Lewis says that any morality (a convention of what is good and evil) held by anyone is held up to judgment (p.25). So if you say one moral standard is better than another, you are holding both standards up to something else to judge them by (P.25). That something else is a honest to goodness universal standard of good (p.25). Lewis uses the example of Nazism versus anything else (p.25). If Nazism is wrong compared to some other way of life, both of them are evaluated by a third, objective standard which is better than both the compared items (P. 25). It is the ideal standard that all others are judged by.

For instance, let's look at stealing.

Lewis mentions the argument that social convention dictates what is right and wrong (P. 24). Stealing is considered evil only because of social convention. One cannot steal because it creates disharmony within a social group.

Not necessarily. A social group comes together because they have common interests, and probably common values. In other words, a society comes together with like-minded individuals. They share the same values. One of those values that everyone recognizes in that society is that stealing is wrong. Take away the society, and stealing would still be wrong.

Granted, stealing is wrong only in the proper context. Lewis also points out that for every human urge, there is a time and place for it (P. 24). There are times when stealing is probably justified. Stealing food from an enemy in war is justified, for instance.

The point is, each act is judged as right or wrong by some outside, objective standard that the act is held up to.

It stands to reason, then, there is something out there which creates a universal perception of right and wrong. If right and wrong is not a social convention, then something in the universe decrees it.

That something would be God, would it not?

More Reasons to Elect W

As devoted news junkies out there probably already know, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist is being treated for cancer. (If I could hyperlink, I would. Will somebody PLEASE tell me how to do this within this system? It would be a big help.)

Judge Rehnquist is 80.

The next President will probably get at least three, possibly four Supreme Court nominations.

Why is this important, you ask?

Consider this: abortion in this country was turned into what it is today not by legislation, but by a Supreme Court decision. The Court will probably have more abortion issues to deal with this term, as well as other interpretations of the Bill of Rights. Free speech and the right to keep and bear arms are two that I worry about.

Kerry, if elected will nominate a certain type of justice. He wants people who view the Constitution as a living, breathing document, that changes as time goes on. He wants judges who believe they should be able to create law through their interpretations, as opposed to allowing the legislature to create laws which they determine whether or not are constitutional. Kerry's justices would be in line with what Clinton appointed. These are the justices who subvert the will of the people, and are unaccountable to the regular folks out there. As an example, many states have voted to ban gay marriage. A couple of their federal courts decided such a right existed, though the people said otherwise. We cannot vote federal judges and justices out of office.

Kerry's justices believe in big government, and the supremacy of the federal government over the rights of the individual states. They will vote accordingly.

Bush will appoint a justice who thinks the Constitution is the final word on what law is in this country. His justices will strictly construe a law with what the Constitution allows. In other words, he will not appoint a justice who will bend the Constitution around to embrace a law. His justices will believe in a limited government, with rights strictly enumerated under the Constitution. They will vote to keep the government out of our lives as much as possible. They believe the Constitution and the rights therein do not change. They believe the Constitution sets out unalienable rights, which have existed since man was created. They will preserve these rights.

Keep that in mind. Bush=less government interference. Kerry=more government interference.

This is all simplified, mind you. There are much better Constitutional scholars out there than I.

I think I've got the basics, though.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Tyne Daley--The Antichrist??

Sorry, I just didn't have it in me to do anything political right now.

I watched the greatness of Clint Eastwood last night, in MAGNUM FORCE. Dirty Harry is the cop that all other movie cops aspire to be. That character really did create the archetype for rebellious cops in movies.

There is lots of great gun discussion, as well as lots of good shooting with large-caliber weapons. We know it is fiction because it takes place in San Francisco. In real life, large caliber weapons do not exist in San Francisco. The magic peace fairies have spirited them off (take that any way you want) and replaced them with enchanted lollipops. Well, not really.

This was a much better movie than the follow-up, THE ENFORCER. While that movie features a great scene where Clint blows the crap out of a guard tower with a LAWS rocket launcher, it also introduced us to Tyne Daly. The SOB talent scout that brought her into the mainstream should be flogged. Not only did we have to suffer through her terrible performance in this movie, we also had to watch her less than attractive mug for years on CAGNEY AND LACEY. It's less about her ugliness than it is about her lack of acting ability.

Notice the only part she seems to get is that of a grumpy old woman? One-trick pony, for sure.

I hated that show. I always thought Tyne Daley looked like Aughra from THE DARK CRYSTAL. The three of you who actually remember that movie will laugh your butts off on that one.

To make matters worse, CBS (The Communist Broadcasting Service) brought her Muppet-mug back on JUDGING AMY. She's older now, and much less attractive. She still cannot act her way out of a paper bag.

To further add insult to injury, JUDGING AMY espouses so much liberal crap it makes me want to hurl. The last episode that I had inflicted on me just about caused a coronary. Basically, benevolent Judge Amy is trying to get to the real reason a cheerleader snuck out of her house after curfew, and stole her mother's car.

It turns out little Buffy had to see her boyfriend. The boyfriend was a little upset with Buffy because she had an abortion. Apparently, killing a fetus with saline solution did not sit well with him. He did not support little Buffy in this regard. The whole scene made the boyfriend into some sort of ogre for wanting his baby to live, and little Buffy as a put-upon heroine that was blameless, and perfectly justified in her decision. Judge Amy actually tells Buffy that none of this is her fault, and the boyfriend is an evil Republican (Well, she didn't really say that, but the undertone was definitely there. Allow me some creative license. Her name wasn't Buffy, either). Personal responsibility is not a liberal strong-suit.

Granted, Buffy can legally have the abortion. Do we have to glorify it, though? Why couldn't we have a touching scene wherein Buffy decides to have the baby, and maybe give it to some wonderful couple who could not have children of their own? Why couldn't we have a scene where Buffy and her boyfriend agree they raise the child with their families, try to get through school, and get married? They liked each other enough to have sex, why not enough to get married? Why do we have to have the liberal, pro-abortion point of view? Can CBS at least acknowledge there are other alternatives, and not portray those alternatives as being less than desirable?

At any rate, this post degenerated from a discussion about MAGNUM FORCE to a diatribe against the liberal media. The common link here is Tyne Daley. The only logical conclusion is that Tyne Daley is both a pinko-commie and a handmaiden of Satan.

Hey, if they can demonize us, I can demonize THEM, by golly.

More about the 9-11 Report--Fiction Ahead of Truth

Further reading of the 9-11 Report shows that there was indeed a "no-fly" list the Feds had out there. It was posted by the FAA, and at the time of the bombing, there was a grand total of 12 people on the list (p. 84). None of which were the 9-11 hijackers.

The list was published by the FAA, but the FAA apparently had limited access to the thousands of other terrorist names floating out there in the government ether (P. 84). So my DON'T EVEN LET THEM ABOARD post is somewhat erroneous. I stand by my earlier post at least in part. There still needed to be an expanded list preventing some of these yahoos from getting on. I say again, if you are suspicious, you're getting an intense search, and you might end up flying locked in a cargo box.

The govenment seemed to be concerned only with a bombing. As a result, security measures for even those who got flagged by the aforementioned CAPPS system consisted only of checking their bags, and making sure their bags did not get on the plane until their owners actually got on board (P. 83-84).

Nobody seemed overly worried about the fact a plane makes an awesome guided missle, with destructive potential out the wazoo.

I hate to mention it, but Tom Clancy saw all this coming. Check out DEBT OF HONOR, in which a 747 crashes into the capital. Granted, he had the Japanese doing it in the book, but he DID see that one coming.

So I'm somewhat heartened by the fact we DID have a "no-fly" list. I AM NOT heartened by the fact there were only 12 people on it.

Scary, is it not?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Notice to the mass of subscribers out there...... the CANADIAN RECORD (Advertising slogan: We're Still Bigger than White Deer, Pop. 300). The editor informed me via email today that she would be publishing my letter I posted last week. For those of you interested, it's here on this blog somewhere, regarding John Kerry and gun control.

Hey, I'm just thrilled to be published somewhere other than a bathroom wall.

So I expect all you RECORD subscribers to read my missive against John Kerry on the editorial page of next week's paper.

All 3 of you.

Don't Even Let Them Aboard

For some light reading, I picked up the 9-11 COMISSION REPORT yesterday. At 567 pages, the report can be used as a boat anchor, if nothing else. Part of the report reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Part of it reads like stereo instructions. There are discussions of air traffic response times, lack of coordination between NORAD and the FAA, and other general Monday-morning quarterbacking.

There is an amazing piece of information that comes out on Page One of the report, which came as a complete shock to me. The report indicates a computer system was in place on 9-11, which identified passengers who should be subject to, “special security measures.” (P.1) The system was called CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System).

This computer system identified Mohammed Atta when he checked in to American Airlines Flight 11 at Logan International in Boston. (P.1) Despite the fact CAPPS thought Atta was squirrelly, the only consequence of the CAPPS flagging was that Atta’s bags were not put on the plane until it was confirmed he actually got on the plane. (P.1)

All we have heard in the years following 9-11 is that there was some sort of intelligence breakdown which led to the horrible events of that day. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the media and the halls of Congress. How could our intelligence services have failed us, goes the standard refrain.

It does sound like an intelligence failure to me, but not quite the way the media has portrayed it.

Atta was identified as a problem. In fact, 10 of the 19 terrorists were identified by the CAPPS system, in different airports across the country. (Footnote 1, P. 451). Despite the fact that over 50% of the terrorists were spotted by CAPPS, not one of them was arrested. None of them were prevented from boarding. We all know what the result was.

Call me an alarmist, but it seems to me if someone is suspected of plotting terrorist activities in the US, they probably should be kept off airplanes. That sounds like a fairly reasonable security precaution to me. Guess what, Mohammed? Send money to Hamas or another terrorist group, and your boarding pass gets cancelled.

Atta and his fellow practitioners of the religion of peace were flagged as potential problems. They should never have been allowed on the planes. Yet they were, and thousands died. Am I the only one bothered by the fact the airlines let these murderers on board?

The big question that comes to mind is: why? The short answer is probably political correctness. How much carping would the ACLU and other “civil rights” organizations do if a Middle Eastern man was dragged off a plane? Suppose the man had no criminal record? Would there be reasonable suspicion which would lead to probable cause, which would support arresting the flagged individual?

Probably not. If he had done nothing wrong in the past, and exhibited no outward threats or other suspicious behavior, there was no reason to arrest him. Law enforcement was helpless in this case.

What about the airlines themselves? It seems somewhat reasonable to me that the airlines should be able to refuse boarding to an individual who comes up as suspicious. They probably would, if they could avoid getting the crap sued out of them. The sad truth of the matter is the ACLU would be on them like white on rice. How dare they discriminate against a person of Middle Eastern descent?

Everyone who flies today is still at risk. If the airlines drag people off who MIGHT be problems, a lawsuit is imminent. Somebody’s feelings are going to get hurt, and some lawyer will think it is compensable. However, I would bet no more planes would smash into buildings.

I have to give some credit here. We have not had any more terrorist attacks here since 9-11. I wonder if that is because President Bush took the fight to them in their own backyard? I would like to think so.

I think if you look suspicious, you probably should be treated that way. Stereotypes get a bad rap, but they are survival mechanisms of the first order. Unfortunately, Middle Easterners should probably have to deal with some additional scrutiny. Do not blame us; blame your kindred, who seem intent on killing everyone who is not Muslim. Is that discrimination, or is it just good sense? Perhaps an offended Muslim or person of Middle Eastern descent might try putting heat on those who ruined it for everyone else.

The last white guy I am aware of that hijacked a plane was a bank robber named D.B. Cooper. He jumped out of the plane without killing anyone on board, and smeared himself all over the Rockies. Granted, whitey might hijack a plane every once in awhile, but I would bet good money that 99% of the hijackings that have occurred since commercial aviation began were the fault of Muslims.

I think even a card-carrying liberal might get their feelings hurt worse if a plane they were on plows into a landmark, flown by one of these lovely people the ACLU won some money for.

Speaking personally, I do not want to be on a plane with a passenger who has been tagged as a potential terrorist. In fact, I would pay more money to fly an airline that guarantees nobody who has to go through extra security steps gets on a plane.

I think Delta should start a whole new ad campaign, after putting in some strict new guidelines for passengers. If you come up on the computer system as a potential problem, you do not fly Delta. If you look like a potential terrorist, you are going to be searched so thoroughly the security people will know the size of your prostate. Sorry, but you do not have to look like Osama to get the rubber-glove treatment. Cat Stevens is fair game, too.

Even then, you might not get to fly. If you do, you might have to settle for flying naked in handcuffs, locked in a special cell in cargo until the flight lands.

Delta’s new slogan can be an acronym: “We’re Delta, the terrorist-free airline. You can trust Delta, because the name means ‘Don’t Even Let Them Aboard.’”

I would pay big money for that sort of assurance. I doubt I would be flying alone.

Friday, October 22, 2004

A letter to the editor: re John Kerry and Gun Control

I haven't fired off a letter to the editor in some time. The CANADIAN RECORD is a very small paper in West Texas, and I was compelled to respond to a letter from citizen Ray Byard. He (I think) tried to point out that John Kerry was not completely an anti-gun liberal pinko-commie. I disagree, and I enclose my letter. Mr. Byard's letter appeared in the Oct. 14th, 2004 edition.

Many thanks to the NRA for compiling most of the info in the letter.

Dear Ms. Brown

I feel compelled to write regarding Mr. Byard's letter. First, I have no idea what the writer's message here really was. Is he illustrating that John Kerry is anti-gun? Is he pro-Kerry or against him?

Second, if the point of the letter was to show that John Kerry is not seeking the eradication of private firearms ownership in America, then Mr. Byard is flat-out wrong.

John Kerry's record on the right to keep and bear arms is one of the worst in Congress. He rivals Diane Feinstein and Charles Schumer in this regard. Their avowed goal is to completely ban gun ownership in America.

One has only to look at Kerry's voting record and legislation sponsorship to ascertain Kerry is an anti-gun liberal. I believe firmly that the only way to judge what a candidate will do in the future is to examine what he has done in the past.

This month's AMERICAN RIFLEMAN details a list of Kerry's anti-gun legislation and votes. Kerry's voting record is easily obtainable online, for verification.

For instance, John Kerry co-sponsored a bill that would ban ALL semi-automatic shotguns and detachable magazine semi-auto rifles (Nov. 21, 2003, S. 1431).

Notice that Kerry wanted to do away with ALL semi-auto shotguns. I am sure there are a few people in Canadian who would have to turn in their bird guns and deer rifles if this were ever passed. How does taking away Grandfather's dove gun do anything to make the streets safer?

John Kerry is in favor of taxing all guns and ammunition (CNN's "Late Edition", Nov. 7th, 1993). I have to give him credit for being a good liberal democrat. He wants to tax everything.

Kerry has voted to hold the makers of guns responsible for actions a criminal might take with a gun (Vote No. 24, March 2, 2004). Heaven forbid we actually punish the person who committed the crime. I am certain there are no crimes committed in America without guns (note the heavy sarcasm). Again, liberals cannot stand the idea of personal responsibility.

Kerry also voted to punish citizens whose guns were stolen and used in crimes (Vote No. 118, May 14, 1999). As noted, personal responsibility is not a liberal strength.

Kerry voted with his mentor Ted Kennedy to ban ALL centerfire rifle ammunition (Amendment 2619 to S. 1805).

Kerry voted to ban gun shows, period (S. 254).

The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Its purpose was to keep some power in the hands of the people. John Kerry is a classic socialist, who believes the government should control every facet of our lives. As long as private citizens can own firearms, true socialism can never be achieved. So it only makes sense that Kerry wants to curtail Second Amendment rights as much as humanly possible. Every measure Kerry labeled as "gun control" exists only as a stepping stone towards the eradication of gun ownership in America. The same patterns were followed in Great Britain and Australia. Both countries saw a massive increase in crime as a result. It is fairly easy to rob or murder someone who is defenseless. It is also quite easy to enslave them.

John Kerry has been called the most liberal senator in Congress. He has constantly voted for tax increases, and constantly voted against the right to keep and bear arms. He is a socialist, pure and simple.

I think it only fitting that Mr. Byard has been confronted about Kerry's stance on gun control. Anyone wanting to keep America free should do so. There is much there to be concerned with.

A voter who wishes to avoid the U.S. becoming a socialist state is well-advised to vote against John Kerry.


Kyle Miller
Ft. Worth, Texas

PS--Anybody wanting to jump this guy's case can do so at

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Good and Evil--A Primer

There seems to be some confusion about good and evil. Since there are some people who just do not get it, allow me to lay out some examples of what evil is, and what it is not.

Evil: Flying an airplane into a building and killing 3,000+ innocent noncombatants.

Not Evil: Killing a person who is intent on flying into a building and killing 3,000+ innocent noncombatants.

Evil: Strapping explosives to your chest and detonating yourself in a restaurant, killing innocent noncombatants.

Not Evil: Building a nice big fence around your home turf, ensuring that nobody with explosives strapped to their chest can blow themselves up in your local Whataburger.

Evil: Declaring that someone who does not hold the same religious beliefs as you is less than human and should be destroyed.

Not Evil: Stating that it is evil to chop the heads off people who do not share your particular religous beliefs.

Evil: Going into a 7-11, shooting the clerk, and stealing the cash from the register.

Not Evil: A clerk in a 7-11 who shoots a robber who was about to shoot him and steal cash from the register.

Evil: Drowning your own children in a bathtub.

Not Evil: Punishing someone who drowns their children in a bathtub.

Evil: Running a country where some denizens plot to fly airplanes into buildings, blow themselves up in public places, and thinking those things are fairly good ideas.

Not Evil: Kicking the crap out of the aforementioned country, so they cannot send or encourage anyone to come into our country to fly airplanes into our buildings and blow themselves up in our public places.

Evil: Communism.

Not evil: A republican democracy.

Evil: A totalitarian regime that sponsors terrorism.

Not evil: A republican democracy kicking the crap out of the totalitarian regime so they will no longer sponsor terrorism.

Evil: The clown from IT.

Not Evil: Superman.

I hope this helps somewhat.

Rathergate Isn't Dead Until We Say It Is, By Golly

Completely objective journalism does not exist. The Rathergate scandal has pretty well proven this. Today, Peter Jennings came clean and admitted it. Human nature forces individual perceptions on the things we see and hear. However, this should not be foisted off by reporters as truth. When that happens, it amounts to attempted mind control. The damage the liberal media does to true freedom is minimized because there are new sources of information out there. Thank goodness.

There seems to be little doubt now that CBS broadcast a story based on pretty shaky evidence. The question is: why would Rather and CBS run with this story in the face of so many warning signs that the Bush National Guard documents were false?

The answer is that somebody (or several somebodies) at CBS WANTED the documents to be authentic. They wanted Bush smeared, so that Kerry had a better shot at the presidency.

It is not as though this should come as a surprise to anyone. In the 2000 election, Dan Rather called Florida for Al Gore at least two hours before the polls had officially closed. This probably kept a few voters in that state home, because they figured their vote was a moot point anyway. Rather went on to assure the viewers that when he said a state had voted for a candidate, it was Gospel truth.

People have a tendency to ignore facts which run counter to a deeply held belief. The ugly truth is whoever reports the news has a tendency to interject their own biases, beliefs, hopes, dreams and nightmares into their story. Since the majority of journalists are leftist, the news is thusly left-slanted.

He will never admit it in a million years, but Dan Rather is a liberal Democrat. At least his boss Don Hewitt has the guts to admit it. I do not begrudge Dan his political views. I just wish that he would come clean, and state his reporting is actually editorializing.

Rather probably believes in his heart that liberalism is what the country needs. He believes in the left wing Democratic Party’s agenda. I believe that he ignores things which run contrary to his moral, ethical, and political views. Consciously or unconsciously, he spins things to reflect positively on that which he thinks is right. So to him, the Swift Boat Vets are liars, Kerry had heroic service in Vietnam, socialized medicine will cure all our healthcare needs, high taxes are justified, and conservatives are all closed-minded bigots.

This is the best case scenario: Rather and CBS unintentionally filtered out the problems with the Bush documents. They wanted it to be true so badly that their minds just refused to recognize factual inconsistencies with their deeply-rooted beliefs. It is analogous to a UFO freak seeing a weather balloon in the sky. He really wants it to be an alien spacecraft so much that his mind sort of blots out the US AIR FORCE stenciling on the side.

This assumes, of course, that Dan Rather and CBS are not actively trying to foist left-wing propaganda off on the rest of us. This is happening too often to believe in the innocent explanations anymore. Honestly, I cannot convince myself of the innocent explanation anymore. There were just too many problems with the Bush documents to ignore. This earns Mr. Rather the coveted pinko-commie label. Wear it with pride, Dan.

As a citizen, Dan Rather has every right to think that way. As a journalist, he should be thrown out on his ear. To report things slanted to one’s point of view is not journalism. It is editorialization, and should be clearly identified as such.

The problem here is that the UFO freak really hurts no one when he sees what he so desperately wants to see. When the media reports things they want to be true, it is downright sinister. They are trying to influence what we think, and they do so under the guise of objectivism. It scares and infuriates me.

When I realized what happened in 2000, I lost all respect for Dan Rather. It was rather crushing to me. I was journalism major in college, and Dan Rather was like a minor deity to me. He was a Texas boy who made it big in journalism, and I wanted to be what he was. One of the things that I admired most was what I perceived to be his objectivism; the heart of journalism.

It is not just the news. Entertainment shows constantly force the liberal agenda down our throats. We are bombarded with pro-liberal, anti-gun, anti-Republican, anti-capitalism messages in our movies and TV shows. Until recently, there were no dissenting voices out there. There are still more liberal than conservative voices in media.

I have serious issues with the lack of ethics this shows. However, there is some much-needed balance. We are saved from being completely poisoned by mainstream media by the fact there are now alternative sources from which to draw information. Were it not for conservative outlets such as talk radio and the Internet, liberals would control most of the information we digest every day.

Yes, these “alternative” sources of information are slanted right. That balance is desperately needed, and it is still not enough to completely balance the scales.

I am heartened, because I do seem to sense more fair play from the conservative media. Michael Savage is relentless in his criticism of Bush’s handling of our borders. O’ Reilly has been pretty skeptical about the Swift Boat Vets (though undeservedly, I think. Plus, I think O'Reilly's about to lose true conservative status with me). There seems at least willingness from conservative media to be objective. That strikes me as intellectually honest. I do not recall the mainstream media calling Clinton on the carpet about anything for eight years.

It was startling to realize that the mainstream media was not being quite as objective as we always thought they were. Matt Drudge hammered this point home when he broke the Clinton-Lewinski scandal. We realized that if it were not for the Drudge Report, the mainstream media would have quietly swept this little scandal under the rug. Drudge was vilified in the press.

We are seeing the same thing today. The Internet bloggers are being excoriated for revealing more about CBS and Rather’s incredible left wing bias, among other things.

There are more sources of information out there than ever before, and that is a good thing. Since the mainstream media cannot keep bias out of its stories, there should at least be a counterpoint to their left-wing propaganda. Talk radio and the Internet have provided it for us.

The only way we the people have true freedom is if we can evaluate all the evidence for ourselves. If the bloggers, conservative radio show hosts, and Fox News are silenced, then the liberals control all the news that we digest.

Notice that the Rathergate story has pretty much vanished from the headlines. If it were not for the blogs out there, the story would just be gone.

It is much the same with the Sandy Berger document-swiping routine. Where did that story go? The MSM has decided that these particular skeletons in its closet have been exposed enough. So they vanish. No follow-up. No daily report on the investigation. Dan Rather still holds court every night, though less are paying attention. The emperor has no clothes.

In a perfect world, we would receive the raw data only from news sources. Since the world is not perfect, we must wade through the editorialization. It is much like jury duty: evaluate the facts and arguments of both the prosecution and defense, and decide for ourselves.

It is so incredibly vital for there to be more than one source of information out there. If the MSM is going to lean left, then somebody has to be out there to balance the canoe back to level. The only way to balance it out is to lean right.

So I thank the good Lord above for conservative talk radio, the Drudge Report, Powerline and Hugh Hewitt, among others. I am glad to see and now be a small part of the blogosphere, adding to the great discussion out there. I am glad there are others out there who think like me. It was kind of lonely for awhile. I am happy to know there were others just like me out there. We just had no way to hear each other.

Kind Words in the Blogosphere

Check this site out, if you have the chance.


Politics and guns happen to be a couple of my favorite subjects.

Also see ""

I just wish I could figure out how to hyperlink....Oh well. My technical savvy grows every day. Soon, very soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Media Bias Further Exposed

The Drudge Report has an interesting bit from everyone's favorite pinko-commie Canadian, Peter Jennings. Basically, they're ok with being biased....

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

You Ain't Somebody 'Till You Been Linked

Many thanks to Hugh Hewitt (the blog deity himself) for linking my very first post at his website. What an honor! It's the week long symposium on why Bush and not Kerry. Check out his website for other, more talented bloggers than yours truly. There's some great thoughts out there, that actually give me some hope for this country. Check out Hugh's radio show, here in Dallas it's on KSKY 660 AM, from 8pm to 11am. Definitely worth listening to.

But don't ignore me. I hate that. Please read "Cognitive Dissonance", then feel free to virtually smack me around the ether with comments.

Hugh Hewitt. Is that not cool?

Cognitive Dissonance

First off, let me say that I am very grateful for President George W. Bush. However, I wonder at times whether or not I overlook the flaws in my preferred candidate for president. Take last week's debates, for instance. At first glance, I take some umbrage with some of the things my President said he was in favor of, and things that he seems to think he has done well. It pained me, and yet I'm going to vote for the guy. Is there a problem here? Why am I going to do that?

The headshrinkers call this sort of thing cognitive dissonance, and it is something we try to avoid in our lives.

I think that I have to look at what the President has done so far for my answers. What has the man done, as opposed to what has the man said? The democrats want America to look at what Kerry has said, as opposed to what he has done. I'll take the former over the latter any day. I think it is the only reliable predictor for what the candidate will do in the future.

W pointed out that he did not renew the assault weapons ban only because it never came up. Congress never submitted anything for him to sign. This on the same day the NRA announced they were endorsing him. Ouch. Not a great way to win my vote.

I am VERY pro-Second Amendment. I happen to think the Brady Bill was probably one of the most useless pieces of legislature to ever be passed. The only function it served was as a stepping stone to further erode gun rights.

So to hear MY presidential candidate say he would have supported the ban if had come up did not sit well with me. In fact, it caused a bit of ranting at the television, until I was told to shut up by She Who Must be Obeyed.

Border security is another sore subject with me. A couple of years ago, an old golf buddy was killed by an illegal alien in Central Texas. The murderer fled across the border, and I doubt they will ever catch him. The President said that his administration had in fact increased security at the border. They are spending more money, which means more agents, more unmanned vehicles, etc.

Fine. It's a darn big border, though. This country has never been willing to defend it the way it needs to be defended. Pancho Villa ran amok on the border almost 100 years ago. That should have let us know we had problems. There are apparently Chechnyan terrorists sneaking over into Arizona, and that frightens me. Common sense dictates borders should be protected by big walls and big guns. Set the dogs on anybody trying to cross that is not supposed to be there. That seems to be a relatively simple, elegant solution. Nobody seems really willing to do that, however. W never said what I wanted him to say.

How do I reconcile voting for George Bush, given these beliefs? Easy. The answer is to examine the deeds, not the words. Simply analyze the opposition. It does not take very long to see how Lurch Kerry stacks up on these issues.

Internationalism is the order of the day with Kerry. No borders anywhere would suit him fine. Two words: global test. I think he would welcome an influx of illegal immigrants into the US. First, they would probably vote Democrat, not knowing any better. Democrats have been buying the immigrant vote since the days of Tammany Hall, and they have picked up a few new tricks since then. At least they are consistent.

Second, the left-wing Democrats are socialists. I will use the term pinko-commies, just because I want to. As his voting record attests, you cannot find a more liberal senator than John Kerry. We do not seem to like to actually acknowledge the elephant in the room (to steal a phrase from Michelle Malkin), but there it is. The dems simply believe that government can run our lives better than we can. They welcome those who need, want, and crave the government handout. It allows the Democrats to build a case for more government tax dollars to help all these allegedly needy people. Thus the government entrenches itself more into our lives, thus stealing more of our money, etc. You get the idea. Not that all illegals are going on the government dole. Some of them are actually working hard over here, earning money so that they can eventually kill us by crashing planes into our buildings.

If Kerry is NOT a pinko-commie (which I have no doubt that he is), then he is simply a bleeding-heart liberal. He's either actively trying to turn the US into the USSR, or he is criminally stupid. I'm not sure which is worse.

Either way, he would probably welcome the poor illegals simply because he feels they deserve free medical care, television, a new Camaro, and the ability to vote for him. Either way, he has no interest at all in my well-being, or that which I think would best serve the country.

We know Kerry is the most liberal senator out there, so we know darn well he will do nothing to curb illegal immigration. We are already painfully aware of his views on defending this country. Therefore, no matter how bad Bush has let me down on border security, he's done more than Kerry ever will.

I believe W will have to get even tougher on the issue next term. To be fair, he HAS increased border security. I hope that means he will work even harder on the issue next term. What's Kerry done to make us safer since 9/11?

By the same token, I know darn good and well what Lurch Kerry will do to gun rights. He is in favor of the Clinton gun ban, and beyond. Handgun Control Inc. has him in its back pocket. If Kerry gets elected, we won't even be able to carry a water gun in this country. (As an aside, I think that is further evidence that Kerry is a pinko commie. Remember Lenin said that one man with a gun can control 100 without one.)

George Bush signed the Texas Concealed Carry Law into effect during his tenure as governor. I know where he stands. Despite his seeming to back away from the NRA's position during the debate, I know what his track record has been. I think that W probably said what he did because it was a safe statement. A non-issue. There's no way in the world to prove what he would have done with that legislation, because it never came up. I can say definitively that I would have put the carriers to sea before December 7th, 1941. There's no way to prove I wouldn't have done it, is there??

Deeds, not words. W has shown me that he supports the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. So I can forgive him for not coming out and saying what I wanted to hear. Though it galls me somewhat; I think I know what he would do, based on what he HAS done.

So there. No more cognitive dissonance.

The bottom line is, I know my candidate will be better on my key issues than the pinko-commie Lurch. I think the Republican Convention this year highlighted that we can still have our differences as a party, but still function as a unit. That is what democracy is all about, and what has made the US so great.

George W. Bush still represents my beliefs, my hopes, and my desires far better than Lurch Kerry ever could. I can tell that from W's track record. Kerry's track record? Nonexistent in some areas, pathetic where it does exist. I know what he will do on my particular key issues.

And yes, I am very familiar with the concept of rationalization. It is not applicable here. Why? It's my blog, that's why.

Hi There, First-Time Blogger

I'm new to this whole blogging thing, but I'm looking forward to posting. I've still got to figure out the formatting, etc. But I'll get there. Thanks for reading my musings, and I hope I at least spark some critical thinking. Or revulsion. Or both.....

I plan to post a few essays, some general commentary on life, the status of world, and anything else that pops into my tiny little mind. Feel free to comment, disparage, compliment, etc.

This is my blog. So I get to write pretty much whatever I feel like. Kinda like Dan Rather.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Why Trial Lawyers Suck...(The Life Out of All of Us)

Let me preface this diatribe by admitting something: I am a lawyer. Lest someone think this harsh criticism is simply armchair quarterbacking by someone who does not know anything about the subject; I am the subject. I write this because I am painfully aware that the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate is a very successful trial lawyer. I believe I know what John Edwards stands for, and I do not want someone who has his values in office.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers suck huge jury verdicts out of the coffers of businesses, insurance companies, and anyone who can afford to pay out a little something in legal extortion. However, the big jury verdicts are not the only monetary damage wrought by lawsuits. Even when a plaintiff loses, we all suffer.
I worked for the last three and a half years as an insurance defense attorney. I would estimate that 90% of the cases I dealt with had little or no merit. For example, the typical case I would see consisted of a rear-end collision at less than 20 miles per hour, with usually less than $1000 in property damage to both vehicles. Sometimes the damage was almost not apparent to the naked eye.
There was always some sort of claimed injury, however. The plaintiff had neck and back problems, and went to a chiropractor for months of treatment. Usually, they would have $5,000 worth of MRI scans. Sometimes they would consult with an orthopedic surgeon, who would say they needed to continue chiropractic treatment indefinitely.

The plaintiffs in these cases typically stopped at a law office before seeking treatment. Speaking personally, if I felt I had been hurt, the last person I would talk to would be a lawyer. In my mind, severe pain equals hospital and/or doctor.
After whatever first aid the lawyer inflicted on the prospective plaintiff, they were sent to a chiropractor. This chiropractor did not expect payment at the time of service. The attorneys usually sent the chiropractor a letter stating the attorney would do their best to protect the chiropractor’s bill. In other words, they would make sure to pay what they could of the bill immediately after the settlement.
Usually the chiropractic center also owned an MRI facility, and had several doctors and surgeons on staff. These doctors were more than ready to write glowing recommendations about how much good the chiropractic care was doing, and how the plaintiff was more than likely never going to be 100% again. There were pages and pages of documentation to support these injuries, and pin all of the plaintiffs’ problems on the auto accident.
On the rare occasions where the plaintiff hit the chiropractic centers first, they were referred to an attorney. The chiropractor would give a plaintiff a list of lawyers they could use. Some places refused to treat the plaintiff unless they retained an attorney.
A personal injury attorney typically had a contingency fee arrangement with their plaintiffs. They charged 40% of the recovery if the case had to be tried, and 35% if the case was settled before trial. They charged 30% if the case settled before a lawsuit was even filed.
As a rule, these cases mostly settled below the amount of the claimed medical damages. Oddly enough, a case would settle nicely when the amount offered was divisible by three. The lawyer got a third, the doctor got a third, and the client got a third. Often, a lawyer would reduce their fee in order to make the post-litigation settlement numbers work.
Typically, the plaintiffs had a prior history of car accidents where they recovered some money. Sometimes they would have a history of slip-and-fall accidents. Invariably, they complained of the same exact injuries in each and every case. Sometimes they used the same lawyers, sometimes not. They certainly would not disclose their prior accident history unless they had to.
I was one lawyer working for only one insurance company, in one relatively tiny part of the state of Texas. I had an average of over seventy active cases. Of those seventy, 90% were of the type I just described. I worked in a law firm with 15 other lawyers, who shared an identical caseload.
These numbers serve to illustrate the magnitude of the problem. If each insurance company has at least 15 lawyers working for it in this area alone, with an average of 70 cases; each company has about 1,050 cases going on right now, just in this area. This number is on the low side, since I am only figuring one law firm per insurance company. It is not unusual for an insurance company to hire several firms to defend its cases in an area the size of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. I know the carrier I worked for had several firms they used, in addition to the one I worked with.
Think about the cost of having that many lawyers floating around out there to defend these suits. The insurance company has to foot the bill for all these defense lawyers. Defense lawyers in this area bill their clients somewhere between $100-200 per hour. A typical law firm requires its associates to bill 2000+ hours per year.
Does the reader wonder why their insurance premiums skyrocket every year?
Insurance premiums are a relatively easy way to illustrate what the plaintiff’s bar does to the rest of us. Lest the reader think only the insurance company has to pay this tab, look where else the plaintiff’s lawyers nail us.
The majority of the civil courts’ dockets are tied up with personal injury lawsuits such as I described. Looking at the numbers from my personal perspective, one is forced to conclude that most of them have little or no merit. I am not even considering the thousands of medical malpractice suits that are out there, or anything other than a small car wreck.
Even if one managed to exist without buying any type of insurance whatsoever, there is still a cost to the average American. If the reader lives, breathes, buys something, or otherwise exists; they are paying taxes. Taxes are necessary to fund the judicial system. There have to be courts to file these cases in. Each of those courts has a judge. Judges need staff. The staff needs clerks. All of the above want health care, free parking, and employee of the month stickers; not to mention a salary. All of that takes money, which comes from taxes. Any governmental entity is a leech; it requires taxes to sustain itself. They do not earn money on their own.
The number of lawsuits being filed determines how many courts there are in a particular county. The more cases filed, the more courthouses have to be built. Courthouses are not cheap. To fund a new courthouse, more than likely taxes will go up. So tax money is going to fund a nice place for the plaintiffs’ lawyers to file their junk lawsuits in.
While the cost of creating new courts is enormous, the economic drain does not stop there. Each case in district court is tried to twelve jurors. Each county court case is tried to six jurors. Each of these jurors would more than likely rather be off earning real money, and contributing something useful to society. The jurors who are unfortunate enough to make it on a panel are paid a whopping ten dollars a day for their services. They lose much more than that in productivity and salary. The rest of us no doubt lose the benefit of their services while the jurors perform their civic duty.
It gets worse. Almost every product the American consumer buys has become more expensive because of legal costs. Think about the cars we drive. How many times has Ford been hauled to court for a product defect? Each of us pays a higher price for the product. What about our food? Even the fast food places are now getting sued because some genius lawyer says it makes people fat.
Let us not forget McDonalds took a hit for having hot coffee. Yes, the stuff is hot. Most of us like it that way. While I am not a smoker, the price of tobacco has skyrocketed because of taxes and lawsuits against the tobacco companies. By the way, cigarettes are bad for your health. It says so right on the package. I would bet there is not a product in use in America that has not been sued for some sort of alleged defect.
A business owner can be sued for someone coming in and falling on their property. They can be sued for some form of discrimination. They can be sued because their product allegedly does some sort of harm to the consumer. They can be sued for something one of their employees does or does not do. They can be sued for a contract dispute with their suppliers or vendors.
Companies that produce a product have to foot the bill to defend this garbage. Companies cannot expand because more capital is tied up in paying high insurance premiums, or paying for judgments against them. Again, this does nothing but make the price of the product go up, but the overall effect is far more serious.
When a business succeeds, it hires more people. That means more jobs and more money for everyone. A lawsuit never managed to create economic growth. Lawyers have made business owners afraid of expanding, or sometimes even going into business at all for fear of getting sued.
Add to that a myriad of government regulations and permits needed before a new business can even open its doors. A potential new business owner can very well be scared away before they ever get started.
We all suffer because of this. Lack of competition also forces the price of the products we all buy straight up. If only the big companies can bear the cost of a lawsuit, the smaller companies do not have much of a chance. That means less of a choice in where and who we can all buy from.
This is not to say that a business or insurance company does not always do the right thing. Sometimes they do have to be brought to justice. Again, the majority of the lawsuits I saw had no merit. The alleged tortfeasor either did not cause any appreciable harm, or was not negligent in any way that I could see. That did not prevent them from being dragged into a lawsuit in what amounts to legal blackmail. While that word might seem to be a bit harsh, it appears to me to be totally apropos.
Often, the cost of defending these cases forces insurance companies or businesses to settle the case, rather than face a trial. The plaintiffs’ lawyers know this, and would settle out marginal cases rather than face a trial themselves. Their strategy was to hold out for the biggest settlement they could; an insane bluffing game. In other words, the plaintiff’s lawyers out there knew the case was not worth anything. They just wanted to squeeze as much as possible out of it.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers know their money is made by settling cases before they go to trial. For the most part, juries did not want to listen to some jobless loser whine about how his neck hurt after a rear-end collision at less than five miles per hour. They reacted accordingly when it came time to hand out verdicts. Plaintiffs’ attorneys try to settle as many cases as possible before they are tried. Often, the cases will settle below their actual medical damages. The only way the lawyers make any money on these cases is to handle an incredibly high volume of them.
This explains why late-night television and daytime programming are full of lawyer commercials. They have to have a constant influx of cases to live on. Each ad promises big bucks to a plaintiff who has not been treated fairly by an insurance company. Each ad promises the lawyer will fight tooth and nail for the best settlement possible. Each ad suggests that the poor viewer is a victim of circumstance, and that they need that lawyer to stand up for their right to get money from the big bad insurance company. By portraying the insurance company as a greedy conglomerate intent on shafting all comers, the standard lawyer ad creates a victim mentality that seems to be prevalent in American society as of late.
Trial lawyers help bring out one of the worst traits in humans: the tendency to blame something else for our misfortunes and problems. Let us face the cold hard facts: if one smokes cigarettes, there are certain health repercussions one will have to deal with. This should come as surprise to no one. Again, it says so right on the package. If one eats at McDonald’s every day, one will probably get fat. That should not come as a shock.
Human nature tends to make us avoid personal responsibility on unpleasant things. Dying of cancer? It must be the tobacco companies’ fault. Never mind the fact that they have been telling us that their product was dangerous for at least 50 years. Did that cut back on the number of people who smoke? No way. The lung we just hacked up on the floor is black because we smoked 3 packs a day. We knew this might happen, and did it anyway.
There is no such thing as personal responsibility to a plaintiff’s lawyer. A personal injury attorney has never seen a client who is at least partially responsible for what happened to them. In part, it is a survival mechanism. It would be hard to go in and fight for someone who does not really deserve what they are asking for. At least, I think so. I know some of my attorney brethren have no qualms about it whatsoever.
There is no gatekeeper to prevent these lawsuits from being filed. When an unmeritorious case gets filed, somebody is going to have to pay to defend it. That somebody is the average taxpayer, one way or the other. There needs to be some procedure in place to stop these cases from being filed in the first place.
The plaintiffs’ attorney would argue that an unmeritorious case can be disposed of by the court before the case comes to trial. There is a procedure called summary judgment. However, that does not stop the lawsuit from being filed. It does not prevent months of discovery being exchanged by the lawyers on both sides. It does not prevent the defense lawyers from billing merrily the whole time.
Even if a motion for summary judgment is filed, that does not mean a judge would do the right thing and dismiss the case. Judges are elected creatures, and they have to finance their campaigns somehow. Usually, their biggest contributors are the lawyers who appear in front of them. If one side feels treated unfairly, they might not contribute when the election rolls around.
It is far easier for the judge to claim a fact issue exists in a case. That way, they do not have to summarily dismiss it. By not dismissing the case, they usually force a settlement. Even if the case did not settle, the judge has managed to avoid making a decision that could potentially result in an appeals court finding error and reversing the decision. Reversals can lead to bad publicity, which leads to somebody else getting the bench when the next election comes up.
So if the judge cannot or will not prevent these cases from getting kicked out of the legal system, what can be done? The answer is to stop them from ever getting filed in the first place. That means tort reform, which makes the American Bar Association scream like stuck pigs when suggested. Tort reform basically discourages certain kinds of suits from being filed by taking away the financial incentives in the suit. By limiting jury awards in certain types of cases, plaintiff’s attorneys lose their primary motivator: money. By forcing plaintiff’s attorneys and their clients to bear the cost associated with defending a bogus lawsuit, the natural result is that not as many lawsuits will be filed. This is not a bad thing, unless one is a plaintiff’s attorney.
The more lawyers there are, the more lawsuits there will be. The more lawsuits are being filed, the more taxes have to be raised. The more taxes go up, the less money the reader will bring home to try and make his or her American dream happen.
On reflection, does this smack of the worst sort of hypocrisy? Again, it should. Trial lawyers make money when people want to be victims.
Everything in the natural order of the universe requires balance. Lawsuits have been used historically to keep some bad people honest. Those days are pretty much gone. In their place, we have a system of too many lawyers who are basically parasites. When the parasite becomes too much for the host to handle, there are problems. If the parasite kills the host, then both will die. It is really that simple.
In other words, if the lawyers put the insurance companies out of business, we all have no more insurance. If they sue a business and make it close its doors, a whole lot of people are going to be without jobs. If they make it so expensive for a businessman to open up a business, there will be a lot less money put into the economy. That makes the tax burden much higher on the people who do have jobs and earn money. That is exactly the point this country is about to reach. Putting a plaintiff’s attorney into the Vice President of the United States of America’s office is begging for trouble. Tort reform seems to be catching on in some places. You can bet that despite his promises to the contrary, John Edwards will not be a strong advocate for continued tort reform.