Friday, February 27, 2009
May you live in interesting times...
Indiana State Senator Greg Walker (District 41) is reported to have filed
some form of what has recently come to be referred to as a "Sovereignty
Resolution" whereby a state reasserts its rights under the 10th Amendment
to the U.S. Constition and reminds the Federal Government of its
constitutionally limited powers.
Although details are still pending a posting of the bill it is
believed to be Senate Concurrent Resolution 37 (2009-2010) and that
Senator Dennis Kruse (District 14) and popular Senator Mike Delph (District 29)
might also be working with or supporting Sen. Walker's effort.
As many as twenty states are believed to have had similar resolutions
introduced in 2009 including Arizona, New Hampshire (HCR 6) and Oklahoma.
UPDATE 1:45 PM FEBRUARY 22, 2009: It is now confirmed that State Senators Walker, Kruse and Stutzman have introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 37.
UPDATE 11:20 AM FEBRUARY 26, 2009: Senator Mike Delph (29th District) has been confirmed as the 'second author' on the bill and there are now 14 total authors/co-sponsors.
Text of the Resoulution:
First Regular Session 116th General Assembly (2009)
RESOLUTION No. _____
Whereas , The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States specifically provides that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people ”;
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION urging the honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled, and the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives of each State's legislature of the United States of America to cease and desist, effective immediately, any and all mandates that are beyond the scope of their constitutionally delegated power.
Whereas , The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being those powers specifically granted to it by the Constitution of the United States and no more;
Whereas , Federalism is the constitutional division of powers between the national and state governments and is widely regarded as one of America 's most valuable contributions to political science;
Whereas , James Madison, “the father of the Constitution, ” said, “The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people ”;
Whereas , Thomas Jefferson emphasized that the states are not “subordinate ” to the national government, but rather the two are “coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government ”;
Whereas , Alexander Hamilton expressed his hope that “the people will always take care to preserve the constitutional equilibrium between the general and the state governments. ” He believed that “this balance between the national and state governments forms a double security to the people. If one [government] encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by [the] certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them ”;
Whereas , The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be limited in its powers relative to those of the various states;
Whereas , Today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government;
Whereas , Many federal mandates are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;
Whereas , The United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States , 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and
Whereas , A number of proposals from previous administrations and some now being considered by the present administration and from Congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States; Therefore,
Be it resolved by the Senate of the General Assemblyof the State of Indiana, the House of Representatives concurring:
SECTION 1: That the State of Indiana hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.
SECTION 2: That this Resolution serve as a Notice and Demand to the federal g overnment to maintain the balance of powers where the Constitution of the United States established it and to cease and desist, effective immediately, any and all mandates that are beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers.
SECTION 3: That the Secretary of the Senate immediately transmit copies of this Resolution to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of each state's legislature of the United States of America, and each member of Congress from the State of Indiana.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Admiral is not a movie that would have been made 30-20-maybe even 10 years ago in Russia, but itseems lately that the time is come for Russia to rehabilitate some of her heroes from before - or in this case during - the revolution. Alexander Kolchak (played by Konstantin Khabenskiy, in a role that did not stretch him much) was leader of the White Russians, who vied for control of the country following the downfall of the Russian monarchy. Admiral tells the love story of Anna Kapel and Admiral Kolchak against the backdrop of the 1st World War and the revolution and subsequent battle for control of Russia.
As depicted in the film, Kolchak is not a sympathetic character, and I had a hard time rooting for either Anna or the admiral. Anna was the wife of a subordinate, very well portrayed by Sergei Bezrukov, and Kolchak himself was married. The affair, although unconsummated until after the two of them had separated from their spouses, broke up two marriages and was, I thought, unconscionable. More interesting to me was the glimpse into Russian history, although doubtless as skewed as such a movie would be in America. I am moved to know more about this period.
I think Andrei Kravchuk and Ron Maxwell must have had the same teacher in film school. As I watched the story of Admiral Kolchak played out in stylish vignettes with not much connecting story, I couldn't help but think that here was an opportunity wasted. Director Kravchuk certainly has an eye for setting a scene; the movie is gorgeously shot. Costumes and locations draw you into the period. Battlefield recreations are nicely done and if Admiral had a story to match, this might have been a great film. I swear that if a scene with Admiral Kravchuk praying with a negro cook had been included, I would not have been surprised.There was in fact a scene where Kolchak leads his sailors in prayer during a battle against a German battleship. At least Admiral moves right along, where Maxwell's Gods and Generals was insufferably slow-paced.
The problem with epics is that characters get lost. To properly develop characters, the movies have to run way long. It seems most directors never quite get the balance right.
The movie I saw was in Russian with English subtitles; I could be wrong, but given the packaging of the DVD I obtained, I imagine this was probably geared to Russian-American buyers. The included MP3 CD was all Russian dialogue and so was useless to me. I had rather hoped it contained a soundtrack or something - no such luck. I got a horrible recording - I watched large chunks of the movie in stop motion and no sound. I'm hoping to return it and get a good copy. Perhaps my opinion is colored by the problems I had with the disc.
I would recommend Admiral with some reservation. It is a beautifully shot movie, after all. As I understand it, Admiral was made on a budget of $20 million. If true, it's amazing what the Russians can do with a tenth of the budget of an American flick. After I get a clean copy of the DVD, I'll try it again and maybe offer a different take.
Elizaveta Boyarskay, who plays Anna is - well - HOT!
Friday, February 20, 2009
UPDATE: Friday -
Just talked with the driver of the other vehicle. Seems like a nice guy. He has two fractured vertebrae and will be in a neck brace for the next 8 weeks. His wife and child were at the school I passed on the way to the accident scene. She had heard the sirens and said a prayer for the people involved in the accident, not knowing one of the victims was her husband. The son found out about the accident from a schoolmate, who had recognized his father's truck at the accident scene.
I'm not ordinarily a fan of insurance companies, but it is a rare luxury to be able to worry about the people involved in an accident and let the insurance companies worry about the unimportant crap. Husbands, wives, sons and grandmothers are much more important than minivans and pickup trucks.
As expected, the wife is bruised, battered and stiff, but still all good. Amazing how many different colors a bruise can turn - none of them skin tone.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday. It's 7:30am.
The wife has just left for work, a routine that's just becoming routine again after being unemployed for more than a year. Still in my pajamas, I've settled back down to doze for another hour or so. I work evenings and am rarely in bed before 3:00 am, so a doze is definitely in order. Ordinarily, I might have made coffee and cooked up a quick breakfast for us, but not this morning; I'm tired. I'm just staring to drift away. Naturally, the phone rings.
So much for nap time. Is it work? One of the kids? Whatever, at 7:30 it's an imposition no matter who it is. I might just let it go to voice mail, but no. I suck it up and answer the phone.
"I'm in a bad accident on 39. Come and get me hurry." She was crying.
Seven seconds - my phone timed it. By 7:34, I'm starting my car and trying to figure out how to get the frost off the car FAST. It doesn't happen that way. I scrape the window in record time and roll down the side windows in my old heap and drove to the end of the driveway. Out the driver's side window I can see the ambulance making the turn to go south on 39 and I CAN'T SEE A DAMNED THING OUT OF MY WINDSHIELD because the inside has fogged up and frozen. I hit the windshield a lick and try to keep going, but have to pull over after turning out onto the highway because it's just no use. I compose myself and finally get the windshield clear enough to see and I work through the school traffic as quickly as I dare and head south on 39. By this time the ambulance is well out of sight.
Indiana State Road 39 is a two lane blacktop highway that is the main route between Podunk and the next town south where my wife works at the local middle school as a para-professional (meaning non-degreed and not under contract and underpaid teacher. She loves her job.*) It's about 10 miles of curvy road and lots of the intersections with county roads and driveways that make driving in rural Indiana a hazardous proposition. In the seven second conversation, she didn't mention where she was on the highway and she hasn't called back with more information, so I don't know when I'm going to come upon the accident scene and I have no idea what to expect when I get there and inside I'm half frantic and I'm going over all the reasons that it can't be all that serious - I mean she called after all so at least she wasn't unconscious or anything and she's been in accidents before and everything nothing serious and I see the accident scene finally and she didn't make it TWO MILES and there are two ambulances and rescue crews and there's a mangled red pickup truck parked in its own debris and her minivan is 30 feet into a muddy, harvested cornfield, stubble stretching as far as I could see and I park on the northwest corner of the intersection and half trot toward the minivan while trying to absorb as much infomation as I can and there's someone in a neckbrace and back board strapped to a gurney - not her she's still in the van and a paramedic is working on her and the van is a godawful mess the left rear wheel has broken completely off and is lying next to the van and I get to the door and she's alert and talking - thank God! - and I can begin to calm down. What happened?
The driver of the red pickup was probably on his way to work. He stopped at the intersection where the county road met Highway 39. He looked both ways - my wife saw him do this - and didn't see the van. He started across the intersection and laws of physics, unmerciful as they are immutable, took over. As the van smashed into the pickup, the driver was tossed violently to his right. When his head snapped back to the left, his head smashed through the driver's side window and his neck fractured under the strain - thank God it did not dislocate. Injured and bleeding, his first thought was to come to my wife's aid, at one point collapsing to the ground while he tried to call for help. It was about this time that others arrived on the scene and the wife collected herself enough to call me.
The wife never had a chance to avoid the truck; all she saw was red and she thinks she just managed to lift her foot off the accelerator. When the minivan struck the pickup just behind the right front wheel, suddenly, the westbound truck was headed south and the southbound minivan headed southwest, the van and truck touching once more side-to-side before separating. The second impact as the two stricken vehicles careened out of control broke out the side windows and snapped the left rear spindle of the minivan. She was comparatively lucky. As the van drove into the pickup at about 55 mph, she was thrown forward. The air bags deployed and her forward motion was arrested. She settled back into her seat and while stunned and bruised was relatively unhurt.
A cop is sifting through the litter in the passenger compartment of the minivan, looking for the van's registration like it's some kind of holy grail. WTF? Who cares? Any info on the registration he can get by running the plate. The glove box exploded when the air bag did and the contents are scattered all over the interior of the van. The registration - I know this - is actually in the center console. I pluck it out of the console and hand it to the cop. Meanwhile, the paramedics have cut up the wife's right pants leg to get a look at the knee and ankle, which had taken a shot and were swollen and painful to the touch. Oddly, the destruction of her pants - bought new just the night before and worn for all of thirty minutes before the accident - affects the wife more than the demolition of the van. The paramedics and hospital personnel destroy about a hundred bucks worth of clothing with scissors as they expose her layer by layer to the scrutiny of doctors, nurses and machines. Pants, shirt, bra and panties will all succumb to the shears before the day is over, but it's the pants she's most upset about.
Finally, the paramedics fit her with a neck brace - de rigueur in this type of accident - and pull her out of the van and load her onto a back brace, then onto a gurney and into an ambulance for the 20 mile ride to the hospital. Knowing she's okay I stay and survey the scene for a few minutes, sifting through the wreckage looking for glasses, cell phone, purse and other items that she will need before they haul the sad remains of the minivan off to the impound yard to await the final judgement of the insurance adjuster. Someone - fireman I think - just notices that the fuel tank has broken and is spilling gas under the van. I actually like the smell of gasoline. I've been a mechanic too damn long. Good thing I don't smoke; I continue to go through the van and ignore the fumes.
I finish poking through the van for the important stuff, leaving the rest for a follow-up visit to the impound yard. The ambulances are gone now. The emergency crews are sweeping the debris out of the roadway and waiting for the arrival of the wreckers. A cop directs traffic around the site and after one final survey, I take a couple of pictures using the cell phone camera. I walk back across the street and get into my beat up old Honda. As I sit in my old beater, built before the advent of air bags, I shudder at what could have been. The same crash in this smallish car could easily have meant death or serious injury for my wife.
The windshield still has frost on it. The side windows are still down and I pull onto the road and drive off to be with my wife at the hospital, thanking God and the Chrysler Corporation's engineers for my wife's escape.
Several long hours at the hospital. A small fortune in MRI's and x-rays and blood tests and exams later and all for bumps and bruises only, thank God! She's going to be sore for a few days, but I still have her, and that's all good.
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