Kinda Neat

I thought this was neat:

Hey, how about this! We were just notified by True Majority.Org, run by Ben and Jerry’s ice cream co-founder Ben Cohen, that TalkLeft has won a blogging award for being one of their top 25 favorite blogs. They are sending us a case of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

I doubt Ben Cohen reads Balloon Juice, but if he did, the only flavor he would probably send me is raspberry.

Port Security

Sounds like a good plan:

The Bush administration has decided to place teams of American inspectors at major seaports in Muslim nations and other smaller, strategically located foreign ports to prevent terrorists from using cargo containers to smuggle chemical, biological or nuclear weapons into the United States, senior administration officials said.

The inspectors, they said, will be provided with radiation monitors, chemical detectors and other equipment to inspect “high risk” metal cargo containers before they are placed on ships bound for the United States.

Port security should not be a partisan issue, but the Democrats have tried. At any rate, this is a good start, and it should be applauded. By the way- it should be recognized that no matter what steps we take, I am convinced there will be another attack on the United States- we are just too big to defend everything. Regardless, we are making progress and learning as we go. Security is not an overnight goal- it is something we will have to work on for years.

More Of This Please

On Tuesday we had this:

Sam Waksal, the ex-CEO of ImClone Systems who admitted to insider trading allegations, was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday.

Judge William Pauley also ordered Waksal to pay $3 million in fines and $1.26 million in restitution. He is the first CEO to be sentenced in the wake of numerous high-profile corporate scandals.

Today, we have this:

Three former Dynegy Inc. executives were charged in a federal indictment unsealed Thursday with conspiracy and fraud for their roles in accounting transactions that regulators say improperly boosted the energy company’s cash flow and lowered its taxes.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit agsinst the three people.

“These defendants are accused of withholding the truth about Dynegy’s true fiscal condition from the SEC, shareholders and the public,” U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby said.

Named in the indictment were Jamie Olis, 37, Dynegy’s former senior director of tax planning; Gene Shannon Foster, 44, former vice president of tax; and Helen Christine Sharkey, 31, a former member of Dynegy’s risk control and deal structure group.

We need a lot more of this, and the only thing that is going to keep these people straight is the fear of long stays in the Big House if they get caught.

Of course, if I were hyper-partisan like the increasingly strident Yglesias, Marshall, Barlow, and the rest of the liberal bloggers, I would have to point out that a couple more indictments and stiff prison sentences, and we may finally end the culture of corporate fraud and greed that set in during the Clinton years.


I believe that the way our current system is set up, very few come out out of prison a better person. Via TalkLeft, we find Gray Davis’s latest attempt to make this worse:

The state’s financially strapped corrections department is prohibiting inmates from leaving their cells at three prisons in an attempt to reduce overtime pay for guards and is considering further cost-saving restrictions at most of the system’s 32 institutions, according to the chairwoman of the state Senate committee that oversees prisons.

Fabulous. Folks, unless someone is on Death Row or in jail for life with no chance of parole, these people WILL be released from jail. And in most cases, they will still be unskilled, uneducated, and perhaps carrying Hepatitis B, HIV, or both. The only skills training they will have received are PhD’s in hard crime, an education provided free of charge from their fellow inmates. Add to this to the well known destabilizing effects of sensory deprivation caused by longterm solitary cofinement, and we are ACTIVELY experimenting in the creation of a breed of supercriminals- supercriminals who will be one day back on the street, living down the street from you, and more than likely, responsible for the majority of the violent crimes happening in your town or neighborhood.

It is not being soft on crime to recognize that this is a recipe for disaster. You are not a flaming liberal for not wanting to have these monsters released from prison in a worse condition than when they entered (and we did put them away for a reason, didn’t we?) You are not a bleeding heart commie for wanting prisoners to receive education, skills training, and rehabilitation. What you are is someone with an IQ higher than a pool of tepid water.

Oh hell. Go read this. This is sort of related.

The Real Question

I am sure this will be spun as more evidence of an anti-homosexual agenda, but something is bothering me about this:

The Justice Department has barred a group of employees from holding their annual gay pride event at the department’s headquarters, the first time such an event has been blocked by any federal agency, gay rights leaders said today.

Justice Department officials told the group, called DOJ Pride, that it could not hold its annual event at the department because the White House had not formally recognized Gay Pride Month with a presidential proclamation, Marina Colby, a department policy analyst who is president of the group, said. The group represents several hundred gay and lesbian employees at the department.

“This sends a real chilling message to Justice Department employees who are gay and lesbian,” said David Smith, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay advocacy group.

“This says, `You’re not welcome,’ ” Mr. Smith said. “It says that employees can celebrate Asian-American heritage month, and Hispanic heritage month and so on, but you cannot.”

Why the hell are government assets being used for ANY of these celebrations? And if they are going to let there be Asian-American Heritage month, I agree with DOJ Pride, let them have Gay Pride month. But here is a better suggestion- GET RID OF ALL OF THEM and get back to work.