Wednesday, October 21, 2015

If Initiative 42 language doesn't match explainations in petitions, it may not survive post-election challenge

    With all the arguments going on about Initiative 42, I’m surprised we aren’t hearing more about the almost fraudulent nature of the very petitions used to put this petition on the ballot in the first place.
    The original Initiative 42 petition which voters signed was accompanied by a statement on how it could be paid for, which asserted that it could be funded over several years out of new revenue only. This is not in the amendment.
    Another statement said, "For purposes of the initiative, a minimum standard of contemporary adequate education is described by the funding formula of the current version of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program and an efficient education is one that will, among other things, enable Mississippi's public school graduates to compete favorably with their counterparts in surrounding states." But again, nothing about MAEP appears anywhere in the amendment, and these statements will have no legal effect.
    Essentially the people who were asked to sign the 42 petitions were told it would do one thing when the words of the actual amendment say something else entirely.
    That’s why we keep hearing people insist that there will be no tax increases; after all, that’s what was in the explanatory statement of the petition they signed. It’s just not in the actual amendment. That’s why we keep hearing that the purpose of the amendment is to fully fund MAEP, even though MAEP isn’t mentioned in the amendment. The poor voters who were tricked into signing the thing were told, in writing, that the amendment was to fully fund MAEP.
    As a reminder, here is the actual amendment that is proposed. You will note that there is not one word about it being funded over time only out of increases in revenue, not a peep about MAEP, and that the chancery courts have no limits whatsoever placed on their power. This is just plain English:
Section 201 (Proposed)
To protect each child's fundamental right to educational opportunity, the State shall provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools. The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.
    In 2011 the Mississippi Supreme Court refused to consider objections to the Personhood Amendment on the grounds that the issue was not ripe since it had not yet been approved by the voters. It held that the court should only consider the case if the Initiative was actually approved, at which time it would consider challenges.
    If Initiative 42 should pass it will become ripe for challenge. Opponents will be able to point out to the court that the amendment doesn’t include the provisions that were promised to those who signed the original petition, and therefore the attempt to amend the constitution should fail.
    It’s not hard to write a constitutional amendment that will do exactly what an explanation says it will do. There is no excuse for the Initiative 42 that is being laid before the voters to have none of the provision that were in the petition description, unless the omissions were intentional.
    This fraud on the public must not be allowed to stand.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A broken water pipe forces a bathroom remodel, so we decide to do something a little different

Our new shower has only a half wall and no door
    Several months ago we had a broken pipe in our bathroom that required us to cut our shower out of the wall in order to get to the water line. It was a mess. We decided to make the best of things and remodel the bathroom.
    Our shower was located in a separate room with a toilet. It was an  insert shower with sliding doors that was going to cost just under a thousand bucks plus labor to replace. We decided we wanted a tile shower.
    I lobbied hard for a doorless shower with just a half-wall on one side, partly for the clean, modern look and partly because I was too cheap to buy a door set. Jinny, as always, made decisions concerning tile and color. I don’t know that I’ve seen any showers like this, but I sure do like the way it turned out. There's a door to the toilet-shower room, so there's privacy available should one want it.
    Not included in the photo is our toilet, which is not particularly interesting, although it will flush a dozen golf balls according to the manufacturer. I’m not sure why one would want to flush a dozen golf balls down the toilet, but it’s nice to know we can if we want to.
    I’ve taken the first couple of showers over the past two days. A bit of water reached the bathroom floor from the entrance to the shower, but that was expected; a bath mat will take care of it.
    We had planned to place a glass screen atop the half wall to keep water from splashing all over the place. I’m glad we didn’t, because not one drop of water splashed over our half wall during my showers, so we won't be needing it. I think it looks better without the glass screen, and shower glass always develops a haze over time.
A bench where we can keep our stuff!
    We used a pebbled stone tile on the floor of the shower. This came in 12x12 sheets. I was very happy with the way it came out. We also built a little bench so we would have a place to place our soap and shampoo, and so Jinny would have a place to put her feet when shaving her legs. It can even be used for sitting. I've left the soap and shampoo in the photo, because after all, that's what it's there for.
    I think I may be tempted down the line to leave things on top of the little half wall. I foresee squabbling over this.
    There’s still a bit more work to do on the bathroom, but we’re almost there. It’s great to be able to use my own shower again.

    Here are some specifications for anyone wishing to build something like this.
    The half wall is 32 inches long and 58 inches high. I really wish we could have made it 38 inches long, but there was no way to do that in our space.  The interior dimensions of the shower are 55" long by 39" wide. It's a little wider than normal, but I think the extra width is the reason no water splashes over the half wall. I really like the extra width. The perfect size would be 61"x39", with a six inch longer half wall.
    As a matter of personal preference, I think this works best where a toilet and shower are together in a single closed off room. But with that said, it might be attractive in an open bathroom with a tub backed up to the half wall. At any rate, if I've presented you with a design idea that you can use, have at it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

In unarmed societies genocide is the rule, not the exception

Countries where victims of genocides of 100,000 or more lived are colored in red.

    Shown above is a world map with all of the countries of the world that have experienced a genocide of 100,000 or more since 1900 shown in red. Death estimates vary, but many estimate genocide deaths of the 20th Century at more than 150 million. Most of these victims did not own guns.
    Not included in this map are countries where smaller genocides have taken place. If they were added the map would be mostly red.
    What countries should be shown is a matter of debate, and some of the countries had multiple genocides. Included in this number are those sent to die in work or concentration camps.
    It should be noted that estimates of total dead vary widely. The number of dead in Congo, for example, is based on the decrease in population, which is subject to debate. Here’s a link to a Wikipedia page showing the list of genocides by death toll, as well as another list I used in creating this map. I'm sure I've failed to color in some countries which should have been included.
    Almost all of Europe is colored red because of the genocides of Adolf Hitler. But much of Europe, particularly the Balkans and the Soviet Union, earned genocide status without Hitler’s help.
    Now for a question to which I do not know a definitive answer: How many of these people would have died if their societies had been armed in the way that the citizenry of the United States is armed. My opinion is that most of them would have survived. Others may disagree, but this is the issue that we must agree on before we ever start discussing restrictions on gun ownership.
    But aren’t there more gun deaths in societies where the populace is armed? Yes there are, but there aren’t 150 million of them.
    During the fall of the Soviet Union that country’s leadership was at a crossroad where they couldn’t decide whether to bring down the boot of oppression ever harder or to release their grip and allow their citizens greater freedom. In the end greater freedom won out, but while the debate was going on they confiscated virtually every hunting gun in the country. They knew that it’s much harder to oppress an armed populace than an unarmed one.
    Citizen gun ownership is a prophylactic against tyranny and genocide. Those who say “It can’t happen here” need to take a good look at the map; genocide is the rule, not the exception. It can happen here, and if the liberals get there way, it likely will.