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Friday, May 28, 2004

Al Queda at Denny's?

 
A Denny's manager from a Denver area Denny's says 2 of the al Queda suspects stopped in for a bite to eat on Wednesday

So what is happening to America?!?! I think that if al Queda strikes again on American soil any time soon, the NAACP will have lots of blood on their hands! Sure, Denny's racial discrimination was a BAD thing, but if Denny's still had an unwritten policy of not giving prompt service to non-whites, do you suppose the suspects might have still been waiting for their order when the FBI finally got around to responding (5 hours later)? If Denny's wasn't afraid of another suit, perhaps their history of slow service for non-whites could have saved American lives!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Job satisfaction

 
What the hell are you doing?

No, seriously, what do you do? I'm not asking that question for me, though I'll be happy to read what you have to say in the comments. I'm really asking the question for you.

Now, is that who you are? What kind of person are you?

I was prompted to ask questions along these lines by examining myself (I discussed some of that here), and also because in the last couple of weeks a couple of close friends have asked career advice from me. Objectively, I don't know that I would be the person you would want to go to for career advice, but my friends see something in me that I didn't recognize. They saw something about my "purpose."

Personally, I enjoy seeking out complex truths and then helping others understand them. When I was young, I thought the fact that I enjoyed seeking "answers" to complex things meant that I had to be a scientist or engineer, so I studied engineering, and today I'm an engineer, but BEING an engineer has never brought me joy. Part of engineering is about seeking the answers to complex problems, but another is "using" that answer. I can do that, but that part of the job doesn't give me joy and personal satisfaction. Like I said, I enjoy helping others (persuading them) to understand complex things. That's not what engineers, generally, do.

Now, I'm in law school. The more I learn about law and the practice of law, the more I see trial work (as a "trial attorney," an appellate lawyer, and eventually (I hope) a judge) as THE fit for me.

I'm not alone. According to a report based on a survey released last year, a mojority of people are reporting being discontented with their jobs. I think there are two root causes.

First, there is an unhealthy materialism that is rampant in America. That's the "easy" problem to find. Just look around. Many, and probably most, married couples both work. Why? If you ask most working mothers, my guess is that they will tell you that the family "needs" their income. The easy, and correct, solution is to live on less. Don't buy two or three Sport-utes, and you don't need to live in the most exclusive gated community. That's easy to say, easy to see, and it will NEVER be commonly implemented.

Second, and more fundamentally, I think, is that Americans don't know themselves. Sure, you've got a passing familiarity with yourself. You probably know how rare or well-done you like your steaks, and what your favorite color is, but Americans just don't know themselves. I know I'm risking sounding like a dope-smoking hippie who's escaped from the 60's, but the superficial pleasure-seeking that most of the fad-experts seem to advocate is not where I'm going. They told people to follow pleasure and to seek out feeling good and to avoid that which reduces your "feelings" of happiness. Feelings aren't all the're cracked up to be. (see this) What I'm talking about is a seeking what gives you actual joy. The kind of joy that allows you to suffer discomfort because you know that there is true value in what you are achieving.

Americans have a split view of value. We seem to think that all "higher" value in the world is about going off to some foreign land and feeding children, or something like that. On the other hand, we think that "practical" value is in doing whatever makes the most money. There's a some truth in both, I suppose. Economics reflect reality, but through a filter, so that the only thing that can be seen is the money or other expressions of economic value. It's true, as a general statement, that if you are more productive, you will usually be compensated more highly. However, it's also true that giving selflessly to others is a well-founded Biblical principle. (This gives a good overview.)

I believe that this disconnect in the minds of Americans that we need to seek practical value OR higher value as separate pursuits is one of the important steps in being led astray. The Bible tells us to "work with all our hearts" and that if we are really skilled at what we do we will work before kings, not obscure men. Without doing a full Bible-study on the topic, the praise the Bible gives for those who are skilled, indicates that high-quality effort is a GOOD thing. Likewise, we are supposed to have our hearts in our jobs. If the only way we can get emotional satisfaction IN our jobs, is to give selflessly to other who are in desperate need, then there's almost no chance we will be doing work that a king would need.

I've come to the conclusion that we, all of us really, CAN do a wide range of jobs that utilize a subset of our talents. However, to use our whole heart, we need to find an occupation that confirms in us our sense of self and value. Music, Law, Medicine, Science, Engineering, Manual Labor, etc. Any of these, and more, are capable of being satisfying for the person who's individual purpose is being fulfilled in that task. Americans, by and large, seek excellence in execution, or at least to optimize results which is seen as a proxy of excellence in execution. This sort of results-maximization is seen as confirmation of purpose, but it's only a poor indicator of internal purpose, at best. Here's an ABCNEWS story about modern career issues which highlights a fellow who changed careers twice, and in the second career move, he largely ignored the finance-side to follow what fulfilled him.

Bill Gates is a great example of a fellow who was on a path into college, because that is a well known entry port into "success." He detoured from that path to combine his talents in business and technology to become the wealthiest person in the world (as of 2004). Regardless of what you personally think of the man, he's an example of achieving excellence by pursuing your purpose. Of note, Mr. Gates is also the single most generous living person (as measured in dollars), and so, by following his purpose, he was both able to achieve excellence and the resulting economic recognition, AND he has been able to help the poor throughout the world more effectively that any other private person in the modern world.

So... Job satisfaction. It can't be measured in dollars (not everybody can be the richest person in the world), but you will maximize your personal recompense when you have it.

Unfortunately, we don't know how to find it, because we don't know how to seek out our own purpose, and therefore we often spend years on end training, learning, and working, at things that we can do, but that don't fit. I'm sure many people don't ever find satisfaction because they never find and do what they were made to do. That's unfortunate.

Some might say that the search for "job satisfaction" is just a reflection of selfishness in America. If we didn't "want" so much we wouldn't be dissatisfied. I don't think that's true. Yes, lots of people go from job to job only for the increase in pay that they can get, but people who change careers usually do so because they recognize they simply have no joy in what they are doing. Perhaps the fact that job satisfaction IS, in part, a product of increased national prosperity. Perhaps before, people just never asked if they were "happy" with their jobs, because feeding your family was the only concern that mattered, so as long as you could do that, that was the only satisfaction that mattered.

If you aren't happy, before you change jobs, find out who you are first. Ask yourself questions about what makes you feel as if you add value to the universe. Ask yourself, when completed, what tasks do you have the greatest sense of satisfaction from a job well done? Then, also ask yourself, what do others recognize as especially good about you? You may not need to ask them, but if you still aren't sure, then you probably need to either ask, or at least examine, how others interact with you. As odd as it may seem, others often recognize, at least subconsciously, what your purpose is long before you do. Why else, do you think, the Bible tells parents to "Train a child in the way he should go?" Who would love those kids enough to watch them and seek out their talents more than parents? Fortunately, it's not too late for you to find the way you should go. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Watch out!

 
On the radio a few moments ago, I heard that there is new intel that "al Queda or it's allies" were planning to attack sometime this summer, probably with the hope of influencing this November's election. (Here's a Washington Post story about it on Yahoo!)

I couldn't help myself... When I heard we had to fear, not only actual members of al Queda, but their "allies," my first thought was, "Damn those Democrats! What the hell are they planning?!"

Then I thought, maybe they were refering to some other set of al Queda allies, but I couldn't think of any group that more stunchly opposes the US and supports al Queda than Democrats in Congress.

They're going to be spreading out all over the country this summer... real soon... If you have any of them near you, watch them closely, there's no telling how they will try to sabatoge America next! (Check here for the Senate and here for the House, but you'll have to pick "Party" and the current year manually.)

Why do they say "Each day today is worth 10 years under Saddam," if Iraq's economy is worse now?

 
Yesterday I was listening to Ron "The Voice of Reason" Smith on WBAL, again. Ron's got issues, but often he's entertaining to listen to, though he's been rabidly anti-war. However, instead of just being anti-war, he seems to have drifted into the quasi-conservative-sounding protectionist/isolationist and occasionally anti-Semitic I-don't-care-if-they-burn-cuz-they-aren't-my-family libertarian camp.

Anyway, among the propaganda he appeared to have manufactured while working atop a toilet was the idea that, over-all, Iraqis were noticeably worse off than they were under Saddam. (Though he left open the theoretical possibility that, since Saddam was a not-nice guy, they might some day be better off without him, in spite of the U.S.) I was dumbfounded. The basis for this claim was that he had studied video of pre-war Iraq that showed bustling economic activity and lots of cars. It never occurred, apparently, to Ron that Saddam might have STAGED those scenes. I've been casually consuming the news I encounter about how civilian life is REALLY being impacted by the Iraqi people by our (the U.S.'s) efforts since the start of the war. I remembered that over the past year several stories have appeared in various news sources (which are not exactly shills for the Bush Administration) that have highlighted the thriving economic situation in Iraq now as a dramatic improvement for the AVERAGE Iraqi since Saddam was removed.

I did a quick Google search and found this USA Today story: Iraq economy shakes off the shackles of Saddam

Which does that title imply about the economy to you, that things are better or that they are worse now? Let's clear up that confusion now with a couple of excerpts from the story -
Hussein Abizaid Khadum doesn't care where the cars come from. His auto-repair shop serves car thieves and crime victims alike. He and his crew paint over vehicles, patch up bullet holes and pound out the dents and dings suffered in the daily crush of Baghdad traffic.

His business is thriving, taking in about $1,000 a day. He estimates that stolen cars account for 20%. "I don't care about the source of the business," Khadum, 37, says cheerfully, his T-shirt and work pants splotched with paint, the air around him heavy with paint fumes and exhaust. A longtime renter, he's about to move his family into a brand-new house.

...

Baghdad families show off late-model used cars, just imported from Dubai. Police say the number of cars in the capital, a city of more than 5 million people, has doubled to 600,000 since Saddam fell. "Where are they going to find roads to drive all these cars?" wonders police Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Taha al-Shaikhli, commander of west Baghdad's car-registration center.


This isn't to say that all is rosy. It certainly isn't. Crime is rampant because there is neither respect for nor application of law in Iraq. Significant challenges still remain for the average citizen, but let's put this in perspective... Under Saddam, the estimates range from 500,000 to 5,000,000 Iraqi civilians were murdered by his regime (1979 - 2003). If we pick the smaller number, that works out to OVER 1,800 civilians murdered per month. The dope-smoking peaceniks are complaining now about the violence against Iraqi civilians by the US saying that we have killed about 5,000 civilians since the start of the war (about 14 months). For comparison, that works out to 357 civilians per month. (If you were an Iraqi, which would you prefer, economic freedom and 357 dead per month, or strict oppression and 1800 dead per month? You in the front, Mr. Smith, you say oppression and about 6-times greater deaths. I'm sorry, I'm going to have to take away your title of "Voice of Reason" until you complete some courses in remedial logic and reading comprehension.)

It looks to me like, both the Iraqi economy is better and rapidly improving now that we've gotten rid of Saddam AND that the Iraqi people are actually safer than they've been in about 2 dozen years.

Of course, I wouldn't expect Ron (or anybody else who has any significant part of his/her reputation vested in making as many people believe that America neither should try to nor can actually help the Iraqi people) to contemplate evidence that draws serious doubt on the premises of his arguments. What's especially sad for Ron is that he's spent nearly two decades making a reputation for himself in the Baltimore metro-area as "The Voice of Reason." As the facts dribble in, that we can win (he agreed with one of his callers, Jeff from Paw-Paw W. Va., before the war that we would suffer over 30,000 U.S. soldier fatalities in our doomed attempt to depose Saddam, though he did assert that in spite of the grievous losses he anticipated, we would achieve military victory eventually, but that all the people would rise up against us), that the Iraqis are better off without Saddam, and that virtually everyone he points to as providing a "smoking gun"-type revelation of how bad or wrong America is has a financial motivation to do so (book deals for Clarke, and Zinni, etc.), Ron's legitimate claim to credibility is diminishing.

It's a shame, but all too predictable when someone who is opinionated and proud has publicly picked a side on an issue for pragmatic rather than principled reasons.

It's certainly possible to be principled, conservative, and still be opposed to the war, but pronouncing imaginary reasons of why others should consider you correct while valiantly avoiding verifiable evidence to the contrary is not how to do it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Bush's Judge deal - Bush wins; conservatives complain

 
I've seen several places where conservative pundits and polititians are pissed-off at President Bush for "caving-in" to Senate DUMB-o-cRATS. (here and here for two)

I'm perplexed over the whining from the right. on this issue.

What the president gave-up for this deal was to be able to "recess" appoint judges. When a President does that, the judges are only in until the next Congressional session... That's next January, folks. How many judges do you suppose President Bush would have appointed over the summer break while he was also campaigning? I would guess: not many... maybe 3 to 5 at the most. On the other hand, this agreement gives the President the opportunity to put Federal Judges on the bench for life. To me, it looks like the President won this game of Chicken. If President Bush doesn't win re-election, we've at least got 25 life-term Federal judges who are more likely to respect the Constitution than we would probably have, otherwise.

To the extent that the President could have exercised THE ultimate Constitutional Nuke, I agree, he seems to have "given up" some of his Constitutional authority. However, since no President has ever called the Senate into executive session for the express purpose of demanding a vote on a judicial nominee, this seems like a very reasonable alternative.

Friends, conservatives... Stop bitching about it, we WON!

As stark a comparison as there ever has been

 
Senator Waffles, in full campaign mode, is desperately pursuing President Bush.

Ya know... It's amazing how different some "war heros/criminals" look when compared directly to a REAL leader.


Hungry?

 
Alan Walden, a curmudgeon and commentator on WBAL frequently has worth-while insights. Today, I think he has an excellent point about American Cannibalism The entire text of his commentary is included below:

I've been pondering CANNIBALISM. Not that we physically eat other human beings in these United States. We do, however, have an unhealthy appetite for feeding on one another emotionally and psychologically. At the moment we're engaged in a feeding frenzy over what happened to some of the Iraqis held captive by American military police. Fueled by the kind of media overkill many of us have come to know and despise we are chewing on the story like a bunch of junkyard dogs. And, not to be outdone by the Senate Armed Services Committee a Circus Maximus atmosphere prevails at the 9/11 hearings where the marquee players have been telling their stories of what happened on that terrible day. How dare anyone suggest that a deputy assistant fire chief might have been responsible for the death of his brother because he forgot to push a button on his radio? John Adams was right when he suggested, 200 years ago, that democracy will, eventually, consume itself. Our appetite is insatiable and we are, ourselves, the main course.


I think this speaks to the pragmatic among us who are easily swayed by what they hear. Some people were opposed, on principle, to the war in Iraq, and they still are. Okay, I disagreem with them, but if they have maintained their stance on principle, and it is a principle that they hold-to regardless of the party affiliation of the president, then I can respect that.

Others supported the war early, when the President said that, in addition to Saddam being a cruel mass murderer (who has actually used chemical weapons in the past), we had every reason to believe that Iraq either had or was developing Weapons of Mass Distruction, and that we could not afford to wait until the threat was imminent. Since then, the anti-Bush media have attempted to convince America that (1) President was trying to settle a personal scale, and that the mass murder thing wasn't really important to our decision, (2) We were only interested in seizing Iraq's oil, (3) President Bush told us the threat from Iraq was imminent, and (4) President Bush told us that Iraq actually did have WMDs, but he knew for a fact that they didn't but just wanted to go to war anyway.

What's especially sad is that, not only are people telling and believing these lies, but that the lies can easily be shown to be lies with a little research or even a functional memory. Here are a few lines from President Bush's State of the Union Address from 2003.
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. (Applause.)

The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages -- leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained -- by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. (Applause.)

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. (Applause.) And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation. (Applause.)


So far as I can see, all of the major anti-war mantras are totally false, and they are all forms of national cannibalism. Perhaps the American people are as fickle and unprincipled as our enemies presumed. Perhaps, if it had not been for the fact that President Bush was in the office we would have wrung our hands for so long after 9-11, that we would have lost the urgency and moral clarity of the knowledge that we were wronged and that justice and future security demands that we eliminate those who attacked us.

God Bless President Bush, and may the Lord forgive us for our petty forgetfulness and selfishness in the face of necessary but unpleasant tasks. I pray we turn from this tendency to attack ourselves whenever the going gets tough because surely we will not survive long if we do not.

In a symbolic stand for this proposition, I will be forgoing waffles until sometime after the election this fall.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Sue the wrongdoers? HA! It'll never survive an appeal!

 
Part of me loves this story on Fox News: Bar Owners Turn Tables on Underage Drinkers

But, I don't think it will survive appellate review, if somebody appeals. The situation, as it currently stands, is that minors who get into a bar for a drink risk a citation and about $250. The Bar, on the other hand, faces thousands of dollars in fines. I agree that the underaged drinker's actions are "knowing and intentional," and therefore have a much higher degree of culpability. The Bar, on the other hand, assuming it does *try* to card underaged entrants, is at best "negligent." In a civil allocation of liability, the underaged drinker, since his or her action was intentional, would be fully liable since it far outweighs the culpability of the Bar.

However, this is criminal law. The state has decided that it is bad for an minor to get an alcoholic drink, and the legislature has placed a punishment of a fine of about $250 on such an action. The state, however, decided that it was FAR WORSE to serve alcohol to a minor, and therefore places a much higher punishment on the establishment that serves the drinks.

It's as if a 13 year old girl (who looks very adult) decides to seduce an adult guy. If they're caught, she'll probably be sentenced to counseling, but HE will be found guilty of a sexual assault (statutory rape),probably get significant time behind bars, and then, probably, have to register as a sex-offender with the police for the rest of his life. HE may have reasonably believed she was of-age, but that reasonable belief is not (currently) a defense to statutory rape, and the fact that SHE intentionally seduced him (even with the intent to get him arrested for statutory rape) is NOT relevant and therefore inadmissible as a defense to the charge. Society has decided that the adult is just more deserving of punishment, per se, and what wrongful intentions of the individuals involved is irrelevant.

For this reason, I think that if the minor appeals the verdict against her, she'll win. The fact that she's more culpable is nor a defense for the Bar when the state has determined it's actions are worthy of a greater punishment. Attempting to shift liability is an attempt to subvert the intentions of the state legislature. This becomes a separation-of-powers issue, and the Courts should not be allowed to intervene.

On the other hand, if the Bar can show that it was not culpable, at all, and not even negligent, then it might have a Due Process claim to be able to be relieved of liability, but probably not to shift it. If the bar can show that it follows "Best Practices" to attempt to prevent underage drinkers, then any punishment is probably a Due Process violation where one person is punished for the wrongdoing of another. The fact that there is a Due Process violation, does not increase the minor's liability under the law, however, and so, in any event, an appeal will probably reverse the verdict.

Too bad, I like the idea of punishing the wrongdoer.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Fla. Appellate Court Finds "Bosses" are not human!

 
You probably had your suspicions, but now you have some legal authority! Of course, it's from the state that brought us the Palm Beach voters who couldn't figure out how to vote, so maybe it won't be all that persuasive in other states.

A state appellate court in Florida has overturned a woman's conviction for attempting to poison her boss on the grounds that there is no such crime. I know, I know, criminal code varies from state to state, but generally attempted murder is attempted murder. Basically you've got to have an action that is of the sort that would cause the death of a human, no legal justification, AND the intent that the action cause death or grievous injury. In most states, a killing by poisoning is a First Degree Murder. First Degree Murder requires the specific intent to cause a person's death without legal justification.

From what I can gather, then, the unsuccessful poisoning was not an attempted murder because the object to be poisoned was a "Boss." Therefore, the court must have determined that Bosses are not human.

There *might* be more to the case than this, but, really, do we need to read it to determine that the appellate judges were off their frikkin' rockers!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The final straw

 
I'm not going to post much over the next day or so because I need to take care of some issues with my family.

Today, my wife and I are removing our oldest child from her public school. She's exceptioinally bright. Eerily so. Out of frustration and boredome she has developed a stress-related disorder over this past year. We've had her in treatment for it, but the primary source of stress that aggrivates her condition is school, and she's only in the third grade. She's in the "Gifted and Talented" program, but they don't teach much. (The school apparently thinks that requiring vast quantities of busy work is effectively the same as "teaching more" academic material, but that's no surprise.)

The "final straw(s)" were the evnts of this week. I know (we all do) know that evolution is taught in the schools as a "scientific" theory. It's bunk, and the fact that it's not taught next to other, equally valid, theories, is intellectually dishonest, but at least it's only taught as a theory. That's, apparently, not how it's being presented. Evolution and it's associated claims are being presented as ESTABLISHED FACT.

Whether, dear readers, you are a Christian, Jew, Athiest, or what-have-you, going from (tenuous-at-best) circumstantial evidence to "proof" takes FAITH. "Faith" about the origin of life is firmly within the realm of "religion." Because we talk about science and religion, and other issues of importance with our children, my daughter recognized immediately that she was being forced to accept information that contradicts her religious beliefs. Third-graders, even very bright ones, are just not prepared to confront their teachers and tell the teachers that the information, especially on such a complex topic, is wrong or misleading. Especially for smart children, being told that she's wrong is a traumatic experience they attempt to avoid, usually by studying hard, but in this matter, the only way to avoid being told she was wrong is to either (1) NOT stand up for her beliefs, or (2) ABANDON her beliefs. Neither option is appropriate for a young child (regarding a religious topic) in a public school.

Moreover, her teacher, this week, has begun to read to the class Harry Potter. Long ago, we told all of our children that they were not allowed to watch the Harry Potter movies, read the books, or have anything to do with Harry Potter. Young children are just not ready to comprehend the implications of the glorification of the occult that is throughout the Harry Potter stories. Again, our daughter was greatly troubled, since she KNEW that she should not have anything to do with Harry Potter, but her TEACHER was reading it to the class, and she didn't know that she would get in trouble for complaining. Even if she didn't she was concerned that she would become the object of ridicule for taking an unpopular stance.

You're welcome to tell me how wrong we are to make such a rule for our kids, but (and here's THE point) they are OUR kids, and this is a matter of obedience to our religious beliefs. What others think about our choice makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. Fighting with the school over this will only add stress to our daughter's life that she does not need as she continues to battle with her condition.

So... today she comes out of school for good. I almost want the school to try to stop us because this is a matter of accomodating her medical condition (about which they are aware) and therefore covered under the ADA, and religious liberty, and therefore covered under the First Amendment (both for her and for us). I've had far more than enough of them causing unnecessary injury to my child. The sad thing is that we have learned, upon discussion with other parents of children in her Gifted & Talented class that all or nearly all of them are being treated for stress and depression related disorders.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

ADL angered over Sen. Hollings comment that indicates Pres. Bush acts to support interest important to American Jews

 
WIS TV10 from South Carolina has this story:
Sen. Hollings defends column labeled "anti-Jewish" by some

Here's the final sentance from the story:
Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, asked Hollings to retract his comments.

I'm simply not sure if Mr. Foxman is upset that the statement might be anti-Semitic, or that it implies that the President (a Republican) wanted to do something that supports issues important to American Jews... presumably fighting Islamofasciast-Terrorists who are also slaughtering Israeli women and children.

Of course, Mr. Foxman wouldn't want all of the ADL's donors to realize that Republicans are actually their friends and subsequently stop supporting the ADL since it shills for the DUMB-o-cRATS consistently.

Get to know the world's favorite Terrorist / "Champion of Peace"

 
IowaHawk is providing a great service to international peace and understanding between the peoples of the world with his profile of Yasser Arafat.

Read it, and grow as a human.

NOTE: Drink Alert!

When the Brits charge, they mean it!

 
Emperor Misha of the Rottweiler Empire brings us this storyabout how some Brittish soldiers who were outnumbered charged the Iraqi attackers with their bayonets and WON!

So, why, exactly do we "need" the French to help us in Iraq?

Was God wrong? - No, but are you sure you're right?

 
Rebecca Hagelin has written a new article in response to the "same-sex marriage" stuff going on in Massachusetts entitled, "Was God wrong?"

Below is my response to Rebecca Hagelin's article:
Dear Ms. Hagelin,

In your article you made this claim:

"Advocates of preserving traditional marriage, myself included, have argued that the fundamental building-block of every single civil society in the world throughout history has been marriage defined as a union between one man and one woman – all societies that have veered from this definition eventually vanished"

Unfortunately, I must disagree, sort of.

Polygyny (one man with multiple wives) is expressly approved in the Bible. When Moses took an Cushite (2nd) wife, God approved and even punished those who grumbled about it (see Numbers 12). The Law expressly provides for division of property between multiple widows, and the only "prohibition" about multiple wives was that the KING was not to take "many wives," but "many" was not defined (Deut. 17:17). Taken in context of the Kings of Israel, having several wives was NOT a sin. Solomon, apparently, had too many wives (700 + 300 concubines), but David who had several when he sinned with Bathsheba was rebuked by Nathan and told that he could have had more wives if the number he had were not enough (see 2 Sam 12:8).

I want to be clear. I agree that the Marriage Covenant is sacred between the Husband and the Wife. There are ONLY two people in THAT covenant, however, the Bible does not prohibit the husband from also entering the same type of covenant relationship with (several) other women at the same time. It DOES, however, prohibit a woman from having multiple husbands. The 10 commandment prohibition on Adultery only applies to married women (i.e. any time a married woman had relations outside of her covenant, that was adultery, but the same was not true of her husband).

From an economic analysis, the practice of polygyny makes exceptionally good sense. The ratio of men to women is approximately 1:1, and that means, in a binary world, just about every man, no matter how miserable a husband/father he might be, will probably be able to find a woman.

In a polygynous society, the value of women is increased, relatively, since the supply of available wives is decreased. Widows with children need not pick-over the rejects and left-overs, and can, instead, pick a new husband who has proven that he can provide and care for his family. Children will, more likely, grow up in families with committed fathers, and men who, lets face it, simply should not reproduce, are less likely to do so. Also, there would be more available young men for the military.

Binary-only marriage discriminates against less attractive women. If a woman is fabulously beautiful, she is likely to attract a wealthy suitor relatively quickly, thereby removing her from the pool of available potential wives. The less attractive women will be in a position of being the rare commodity, and hence, of heightened value, for the less wealthy suitors, and that will give her SOME choice in the matter which is greater than her current "take-it-or-leave-it" propositions, if she even gets that.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not a wacko or a "Fundamentalist Mormon" or something. I'm a Christian (who is an engineer and law student) who decided to actually research the question in the Bible. What I found is that pagan Rome instituted binary-only marriage, and it is NOT found in any religious command. This does not weaken the argument. Rather, I think it strengthens the MAN + WOMAN paradigm for marriage since it proves that God's design was to create an appropriate environment for raising children. Also, since pretending that the binary-only marriage is a religious command, you weaken your stance in the argument by having to avoid significant portions of the Bible.

If God was right when he wrote the rules, then the rules expressly INCLUDE polygyny.

Kind regards,

I've gone through this before. I fully agree that the "marriage issue" is a morality and religious issue. However, people who claim to revere the Bible get on their high-horses way too fast and ignore what the Bible actually says about marriage, and I think that this hurts their credibility, the argument in favor of what a marriage is supposed to be, and the image among non-believers of what it means to believe in the God of the Bible.

If you think I'm wrong, let me know how.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

This might not be why they're the "Ultimate Driving Machine"...

 
But it looks like a good reason to buy one anyway!

I'll take this one... and this one too, just to be sure.

NBC should be asking, "What did we do to bring this on ourselves?"

 
NBC Staff Abused by US Troops in Iraq

Just a thought... If they would stop having the insurgents run their news operations, perhaps the US Soldiers would stop arresting and sending their staff to Abu Gharib. I mean really, what do you expect? If you look, and act like the enemy, you should not be surprised when that's how you're treated!

Darwin Award wannabe

 
Here's an article out of Texas about a kid who took a $2.00 bet to drink an unknown chemical mixture from a school chemistry lab. He survived, but was found later bleeding from the mouth and nose in the school hallway.

Good grief. I'm sure with his special mix of fearlessness and lack-of-common-sense, someday he will achieve his goal and actually win the Darwin Award.

News from the OTHER war-front

 
I know it's been a while since I've given an update on the ongoing battle between Humans and the EVIL SUVs. I'm sorry. There have been additional skirmishes, and I've got a few listed below.
11-year-old boy dies after being struck by SUV - I think this proves that SUVs have the morals of terrorists who would attack women and children.

SUV Crash in Maine Leaves 7 People Dead - This may not be WMD level, but it's huge and shouldn't be ignored.

On the other hand, there are some human traitors out there giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Here's a story entitled, "Man Seeks Revenge on SUV-Damaging Turkey"

Also, SUV Driver Crashes Into Backyard Pool clearly indicates that sometimes, humans directly aid the violence of the SUVs

We're apparently teaching our children well... maybe too well. No matter how worthy the fight, I just don't see it being worth sending young teenagers to battle for us adults: MC girl OK after crashing into SUV - at least she'll live, perhaps long enough to grow into a proper soldier in the fight against SUVs.

Finally, it's going to get worse before it gets better. As we attempt to cut-off their food supply, I suspect they'll get desperate and more dangerous before we see any benefit in terms of reduced carnage.

Be careful out there!

Coincidence?

 
North Korean rail explosion foiled missile shipment to Syria

Maybe, maybe not. But it gives me a warm feeling, right there. How about you?

Find those S-O-Bs!

 
Just saw this story from Drudge:
Four arrested over beheading of US businessman in Iraq

Good!

Wife swapping is as easy as ABC!

 
ABC is is picking-up the British show, 'Wife Swap'. I suppose there's a certain amount of actual entertainment value in the concept of seeing how different families adjust to a temporary replacement of the wife.

It's probably going to start out fairly tame... The novelty of the show should produce a good draw. I'm just worried about what they'll do when the novelty has started to wear-off and "Sweeps" arrive... Will they be able to air it on prime-time? Will it need to be pay-per-view? Did the recent moritorium in Southern California's other film industry have any impact on the show's initial development?

VOTE!!!

 
Ok, folks, I know if you read this, you're probably intelligent and rational, so I wouldn't expect you to have found this survey on CNN's site. Nevertheless, they're running a poll about whether their readers think the federal ban on assualt weapons should be lifted or not.

I'm not going to tell you how you should vote. I'm sure you can make up your own mind as to whether the weak should be able to defend themselves against aggressive criminals. I'm sure you already know, and therefore know how you will vote on the issue because you recognize that the only people who comply with gun control laws are the law abiding citizens and therefore any gun prohibition only takes effective protection from the law-abiding citizens of America, leaving the only people with weapons as those inclined to commit crimes with them.

So, go vote. It'll serve two purposes. It will inject a bit of rationality into the survey (the gun grabbers are winning right now, at about 2-to-1) AND it might convince CNN that they are getting a full political spectrum for their audience, right now, and therefore that they're doing a good job. It will encourage them to keep up the same level of competence that has led them to lag pathetically behind FoxNews.

Moral of the story: If you hire a lawyer, plan for "contingencies"

 
Ted Frank, at Overlawyered, has an interesting piece about a law firm that is suing one of its clients.

Generally, I'm in favor of pointing out the stupidity of much of the legal shenanigans that (mostly trial) attorneys perpetrate. Nevertheless, attorneys are (arguably) people too. If they make an agreement with a client, they need to be able to demand that the client lives up to the bargain.

If the facts as alleged are correct, then the firm has a good case, I think. The client hired them on a contingency for an employment discrimination case. The firm negotiated (eventually) a $1.35 Million settlement offer, but the client turned it down because she wanted the law firm to reduce its share to increas her take-home amount.

Obviously, if the problem is that the settlement amount was simply not sufficient, that's not actionable on the law firm's part, HOWEVER, if she though the settlement was OK, but determined that she didn't want the law firm to collect its whole fee because she decided that she didn't think their effort warranted it, then that's another issue. If the number was, otherwise, acceptible to her, then they presumptively satisfied their professional obligation to her, and SHE entered the contract knowing that a specified percentage of any recovery was to go directly to the law firm. Deciding at that point that she didn't want to let the firm get what they were contractually obligated to receive sounds like bad-faith to me.

It's an odd circumstance, and suing your client is not, generally, a good idea, but lawyers need to have the ability to protect their rights just like the rest of us, so I think this is a good thing.

The beautiful thing... The client may or may not have gotten anything out of the original suit, but she will be, potentially, on-the-hook for the contingency on the $1.35 Million AND she'll have to pay (by the hour) for the defense of the suit by her first law firm.

Greed,it seems, can be its own reward AND a fun spectator sport!

Canada's own "War on Terror"

 
I haven't heard a snappy slogan for it, like "Either your with us or your with the terrorists," but I'm sure one is coming soon. Canada is in the heat of a pitched battle with the most insidious threat that they have, perhaps, ever faced, FOXNews.com - Business - American frozen pizza.

I'm sure that you too can understand their very real moral revulsion at the apparent "dumping" of foodstuff's on Canada by America, especially when Canada has so much high-quality farmland with long and productive growing seasons (or not).

I know that the Canadians feel it is their patriotic duty to spend many more of their weak Canadian Dollars on basic foodstuffs rather than let American consumers suffer the economic hardship, in the form of subsidizing Canadian purchases, that would result from actual "dumping."

I would say "God Bless those (self)righteous Canadians," but I wouldn't say it up there, for fear of being arrested for a hate-crime.

Summary of the Iraq prisoner Torture news

 
You should always get your torture news straight from the most reliable source on the web. Iowahawk is has a wrap up (only a couple of days old now, but still valuable) about the torture of Iraqi prisoners, etc.

I especially liked this:
Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy today said that "Saddam's Torture Tavern has reopened under new U.S. management," and complained that "these new f[bleep -Ed.] are watering down the drinks."

Political Dodgeball?

 
There are a couple of stories, and you may have already heard about "Dodgeball" a new high-tech way to socialize. AZ Central has this story: "With Dodgeball, friends are just a text message away"

Basically, the way it works is that you sign-up for the service and then you "check-in" on the web or using your cell-phone when you get to one of the known locations (usually a bar). The service then searches it's lists for other members in the area to find people that you know or who are friends of friends, and alerts them to your location.

As it's set up now, it's mostly a bar-hopping and get-laid tool, and I'm sure we can all agree, Americans do need help finding bars and getting laid.

I think there are other more important uses, though. What if state parties were able to put together a database of members and were able to bring groups together with less pre-planning (and expense) and greater attendance since people *near* the event would be informed of it automatically though they might not have been aware of the event ahead of time.

I fear that the DUMB-o-cRATS will have an initial, and perhaps insurmountable advantage in the use of this kind of technology... Think about it, they're the ones who always have time to protest everything since fewer of them have productive jobs. This will allow them to show up for whatver protest is in their area in spite of the fact that the pot they've been smoking has destroyed their memory so that they couldn't remember that where and when the event was supposed to be even if they knew ahead of time. Republicans might just be too busy to meet-up at the last minute.

On the one hand, I think this has a great potential to bring people together in the "real world" and to therefore reverse the sad trend of the first-generation of web-users to become isolated by substituting personal contact with virtual contact (Hi, thanks for coming to my Blog... Visit as often as you like!"). On the other hand, I think this may reduce safety, and. Potentially, Constitutional (4th Amendment) protections. The 4th Amendment protects your items from being searched where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy (among a couple of other things). The more technology reduces the amount of privacy and anonymity, the less there will be any expectation of privacy. On the other hand, perhaps, if the argument can be properly made that humans have a psychological need for private places, this will enhance our expectation of privacy in physical locations... It's a theory.

As for safety: I don't know what kinds of protection the service has to prevent stalkers from being able to use the service to find the objects of their obsession. Maybe that's not a problem, but it should, at least, be considered.

It's a neat use of technology, and I suspect that something like this will become universal within a decade or so.

Hmmm... This will, I think, make life a lot tougher for cheating spouses if the electronic devices we keep with us announce our location at all times to those in our "circle of friends." Perhaps that's a good thing... I suppose we'll see soon enough.

Monday, May 17, 2004

That sound you hear is lawyers scrambling to adjust to a new reality...

 
That's not the point of this story... You've all heard about the fact that as of today, same-sex couples are allowed to marry in Massachusetts.

Who really benefits from all of this? Well, since the average homosexual's lifespan appears to be somewhat lower than that of the rest of society, I suspect it won't be vast hords of elderly gay people who want to receive social security benefits. (See the results of this Google search... most of the numbers show an average male-homosexual lifespan of about 40-50 years; however, I have not found an "authoritative study" that provides conclusive numbers.) Since nearly all of the rights (family determinaiton issues) can be clearly created and protected through a properly crafted will, I suspect it can't be that inheritance issues are driving the discussion.

In the end, the main beneficiary of gay marriage are and will be the members of the Family Law Bar. I'm sure that, even now, lawyers are formulating new and exciting plans of how to profit from breaking apart these new (un-holy) unions. Who do you suppose should presumptively get the adopted child of a gay couple when they break-up? Is it in the best interest of the child to be with the "Butch" or the "Fem" "parent?" I'm sure we'll find out sooner than we want.

Would THIS count as "evidence of WMDs"?

 
Reuters is reporting that an artillary shell that was rigged as a roadside bomb contained sarin a deadly nerve agent.

I suspect that the lefties will pooh-pooh this with some mumbling about it not really being a WMD since it's not big enough and it didn't actually kill anybody.

For what it's worth... This is the evidence tha, not only did Saddam HAVE the chemical weapons, but that they have been able to hide them from us, AND that whether the rebels know it or not, they apparently have access to WMDs.

The article seemed to down-play the fact that this shell with sarin was used as a roadside bomb, but I'm not as willing to accept the idea that the insurgents "accidentally" picked up a nerve-agent shell when they reached for a normal "high-explosive" shell.

Worse yet, it's proof that the WMDs are in small packages that are easy to conceal and transport. This is proof-positive that President Bush was right to be seriously concerned about Iraq... but don't hold your breath waiting for the anti-Bush media to state the obvious.

Quick! The cops are coming! Take off your pants!

 
Professor Volokh had this interesting highlight of a bill that recently passed the Lousiana House Judiciary Committee that would outlaw wearing low-slug pants.

I too find it humourous to think that the law outlaws low-slung pants but, apparently, not walking around in undies. It's just another example of what we get by not requiring some basic competency testing before people can run for governmental offices... Ferpetesake, we make postal workers and IRS "helpline" workers take the civil service exam... why can't we do that for elected officials?

Sir, Ma'am, I believe we have found the cause of the problem

 
Ananova has this bizzare story about a couple who had been married for 8 years and wanted children, but had been unsuccessful up to this point. The title of the article says it all, I think:"Childless couple told to try sex"

They had NEVER heard the specifics of how to accomplish conception. It boggles the mind. I heard of this sort of thing happening back in the Victorian Era, but there it was disgust with the process rather than a lack of technical knowledge that kept couples from having sex and hence children.

For all the detractors of Homeschooling out there, I will admit that we can be fairly certain that this is NOT an educational problem that can be attributed to public schools.

Being the optimist that I am, I can see the upside... for at least 8 years the wife did not suffer from frequent headaches!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Vatican states the blindingly OBVIOUS

 
Reuters has published this article -
Vatican Warns Catholics Against Marrying Muslims

Unfortunately, too many dim witts need somebody to tell them what they should know from a casual review of history, or the simple application of LOGIC, or even glancing at their own sacred texts.

The hardliner inside me would say, "If they're so stupid to marry someone who adheres to a religion that calls for their extenction, then maybe they should be allowed to receive what they've asked for." However, all too often it's not even the non-Muslim spouse who suffers the most. Quite often it's the children of that union who are kidnapped or worse. (See this and this and this, but there are many more instances.)

God thumbs nose at Feminists AGAIN: Men are NOT obsolete!

 
CBC News is reporting that sperm provides more genetic information than just DNA. It also appears to provide RNA which provides additional "information" for the creation of a new human. Here's the story: Dad's sperm delivers more than DNA

I can imagine the lesbians of the world rushing to grab their comfortable shoes to march on Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detriot to decry the injustice and discrimination of nature in that men have not been found to be totally obsolete.

God's SpokesMAN, Torah, indicated that God has not ever endorsed the feminists' positions about the men being secondary to women, referring to women as existing for the express purpose of being man's companion and helper.

Yet another reason to re-think the "Necessary & Proper" Clause

 
Amy Ridenour on her National Center Blog has an essay by a National Center Fellow that has been published in the Miami Herald about the Endangered Species Act.

The overriding principle is that the Endangered Species Act has not been effective at it's purported purpose and in highly invasive and adverse to individual property rights.

I've argued in the past that the Founders did not intend for the Federal Government to grow without limit under the auspices of the Necessary and Proper Clause. For reference sake the Necessary and Proper Clause is in Article I Sect. 8, and I am including that section here with emphasis added for the Necessary and Proper Cause itself.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;


To borrow money on the credit of the United States;


To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;


To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;


To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;


To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;


To establish post offices and post roads;


To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;


To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;


To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;


To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;


To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;


To provide and maintain a navy;


To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;


To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;


To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;


To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And


To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

My contention is that the Founders were not stupid. They knew what they were doing and they used two words that are not synonyms to describe when the Federal Government should exert power that is not specifically given to it through the CONSTITUTION. (NOTE: It does not say anything about being usable to support statutory mandates that are themselves only tenuously connected to the enumerated powers.)

I believe that "Necessary" means "essential or so closely related to the actual exercise of the enumerated powers." What else could it mean? Surely "Necessary" should not be allowed to mean "interesting to somebody in a position of governmental authority, or useful in purchasing the good will of political constituencies."

Likewise, "Proper" must mean something other than "enacted through established governmental measures." Procedurally "proper" and actually "proper" are distinctly different concepts. For example, if the government wanted to execute a political dissident, but could did not actually have evidence of that person committing a crime, it could not simply put the person on trial for a crime they knew he didn't commit, manufacture evidence, and then claim that the execution was "proper" since the "appropriate channels" were utilized (trial, appeal, etc.). "Proper" must mean, when you are contemplating the exercise of governmental powers, that the means employed are closely related to the goal to be achieved. How can some means be "proper" if it is not accomplishing its goals?

This brings us to the essay that Amy posted on her blog... I'm not entirely clear how the endangered species act is "necessary." Which enumerated governmental power, exactly, does it exist to enable, and has it been shown to be essential to serving the exercise of that power? Perhaps the "Commerce Clause" and perhaps the "General Welfare Clause." I don't know. Nevertheless, another problem exists, if it's not even effective at preserving endangered species, then even if it is "Necessary" it's NOT "Proper."

Right now, when a program is found to be Constitutional, it's Constitutionality is never challenged again, really. The understanding of the Necessary and Proper Clause that I advocate would require a periodic re-examination of governmental programs that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. Perhaps "Rural Electrification" was a proper exercise of governmental powers way back in the day. Perhaps, but now it's neither necessary nor proper. It has NO Constitutional basis for existing, and yet we are taxed to support it.

I don't know how to fix the problem. I hope that this theory of "Necessary and Proper" as an Intermediate or Strict Level Scutiny Test for non-enumerated governmental powers catches on. We don't need a "blanket" authorization of all interesting or "pet-peeves of governmental officials" projects, but that's exactly how the Necessary and Proper Clause is being used.

We need executives who are willing to nominate judges who are actually willing to honor the Constitution, and the fact that it exists to RESTRICT the Federal Government, not the rights of individuals.

Help me spread the word... The Necessary and Proper Clause should be the friend of those who love civil liberties, and not our worst nightmare.

Breaking News - Jet Crashes Near BWI

 
WBAL (Channel 11 in Baltimore & 1090AM) is reporting that an aircraft, probably a small jet has gone down near BWI.
TheWBALChannel.com - News - Jet Crashes Near BWI

For anyone who knows the area, you too will agree that this is precisely what traffic in the Baltimore/Washington area needs this week!

Seriously though, one fatality has been reported. I pray there are no others.

UPDATE: In the 8:00AM news blurb on 1090 AM WBAL, the reporter announced an indication that 4 people have died, but I have not found any confirmation of this yet. ALSO, that the plane ended up in someone's driveway, but did not crash into the house.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Oh... Air America had to close its LA and Chicago Sales offices because they were so successful...

 
Now it all makes sense! Reuters has this article:
Liberal Talk Show Shuts LA, Chicago Sales Offices

This was my favorite quote (emphasis added):
"The business model has changed with our on-air success. The fact that we are moving the needle so quickly with affiliates has surprised us and negated the need for us to control our own stations," Sinton said.


Of course, this statement, from down near the bottom had me scratching my head.
Serious errors in business judgment account for Air America's problems, rather than its slate of programing, say various radio industry insiders.


Just yesterday, I read this article in the New York Daily News which seems to point at the programming as the main problem.

Of course I wouldn't know from personal experience since, so far as I am aware, they don't have an affiliate anywhere near the nations' capital, and I, like virtually everyone else with any taste, wouldn't listen to it even if it were available to me.

Format Change Notification

 
Before you get on my case about being dumb... I know I probably deserve it, I just finally found the way to turn on the "Titles" option on my blog.

From here on out, I'm going to use them, and I might even begin to go back and change the initial line into an honest-to-goodness title for my previous posts. Don't hold your breath on that.

Anyway, I don't want any of you to be too shocked and spend years of your life and your accumulated fortunes in counseling over the unexplained changes in my blog, so I'm being up front about what and why the look is changing, a little.

For what it's worth, I might also change the basic template I use, but I'm not decided on that one, so you don't need to hyper-ventilate about that just yet...

Also, I'm adding a couple of new links on my blogroll. He's new to Blogging but just don't Push this "Elephant on the Edge" because as we all know, The Elephant Never Forgets

Also, if you want to get a glimpse of life from the perspective of a real Iraqi, look at Iraq the Model.

Finally, I'm becoming a real fan of Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog

Economics as a barometer of reality

 
Ali over at Iraq The Model has a story and some thought about Iraq's economy to share with the world. It is well worth the read... for a lesson in economics AND an eye-opener as to the perspective of what some real Iraqis are thinking.
Ibrihim and the dark future

He's absolutely correct. People say lots of stuff, but how they ACT (economically) speaks of what they BELIEVE.

The Iraqi economy is stabilizing... STABALIZING! In spite of all of the uncertainty and strife, the people are living far better than before the war and the ones who are able to think straight (more than you might think) have not missed the causal relationship between the presence of Americans and the increased prosperity they are experiencing.

It's true, you know, that exchange rates reflect the easily spooked general perception of the future, or more accurately, the CHANGES in exchange rates, when the curriencies are free to seek their own equilibrium, are a barometer of what the groups of people think about their future. The Iraqi Dinar has become almost rock solid in its exchange value, and that means the people have confidence, and maybe, when coupled with the increases in income noted in the post, they have significant hope for future increases in prosperity too.

It's something of a "So There!" to the anti-Bush whiners out there who keep crying that Iraq is just a drier version of Vietnam. It's not. We're getting the job done, and, if we hold the course, prove that there can be justice under the rule of law, and continue to demonstrate compassion, we will win in spite of the hopes and dreams of most media outlets!

Do you get DIRTY or do you just have a dirty mind?

 
Cal Ripken, Jr. thinks you need to actually get dirty!

He's got a point, after all. People, especially kids develop both in their gross motor skills, and in their ability to live a healthy life by going outside, where they are exposed to lots and lots of new and exciting germs, and playing... but not on their GameBoys.

Think about it, and if you have kids, go do the right thing by them: Let 'em out and let 'em play!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

What the Liberal SOBs don't want you to know: We knew what we were in for from the beginning AND we're winning.

 
Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog has this post today that you MUST read:
A New E-Mail from the Front in Iraq: "I Ask That the American People Be Brave"

Here are a few especially sharp comments that the correspondent makes with my emphasis added -

Last year in April while the main war was still going on to defeat Saddam Hussein's military, I myself gave a class to my company of the 16th Engineers about the threat posed by Sadr and the prospects for conflict with his militias. Though my fellow soldiers didn't appreciate having to attend a class at 8am on one of our last days before deploying to Baghdad, they can tell you that what is happening now is no surprise. I used open and general information that my superiors were already aware of.

...

Goal one: His so-called Mahdi Army militia is fighting alone. We are out defeating them day and night, and all the time we find them exposed and vulnerable. The people of Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf are not supporting him. His forces are isolated.

...

I'm telling you this because you need to know that your soldiers are working their hardest. My unit is just one of many in this fight. What you need to do is be strong and persistent in your faith with us. Sadr's militia is in panic and desperate, so they are dangerous, but you need to keep this all in perspective. The pessimists would have you believe this is a disaster. Don't listen to them. I think some of them feel that their reputations require our failure because they have been so negative all along, so they are jumping at every opportunity to sensationalize what is happening here as a disaster. Eliminating Sadr's threat is part of the overall mission and we are further ensuring the liberation of the Iraqi people. This has to be done, and we are doing it.


Read the whole letter. It's very encouraging.

The men and women of our armed forces can win the war, and we can help them win the peace.

Encourage our leaders to support the idea of victory over there by strongly supporting our troops with all of the supplies and munitions that they need. Pray for our forces, EVERY DAY, and for the Iraqi people.

However, to win the peace, the element that the Middle East lacks and the reason, I think, that there has never been a truly successful Muslim country that embraces freedom (aside from the discussion of the nature of Islam, and this, by the way is fundamentally related to that topic, but I digress) is that there is no comprehension of justice under the law. I touched on it here.

Write to the President and your congressmen (and/or women), and demand that they focus efforts at establishing a real judiciary with REAL laws that seek to obtain the just result for every case or controversy that comes before it. Only then will the people honor a free society's need for personal restraint.

"Just Lunch"... Really... Not, perhaps, criminal?

 
I just heard another radio commercial for Its Just Lunch

It dawned on me... They are advertising for men to sign up for their service... They GUARANTEE that you will be matched up with a *real* female person with witch to have "just lunch." However, I've NEVER heard anyone advertise for women to sign up for the service. If they are going to guarantee that women will be available for each man who signs up, but they aren't advertising for women, then it sounds as if they have a stable of women employed to date men. That's not illegal, of course, but isn't this what all "legitimate" escort services offer?

"It's just lunch"... Sure. That's all you pay for up front.

From the "Cats & Dogs Sleeping Together" file...

 
The withoutACLUe actually got this one right...
FOXNews.com - Top Stories - ACLU Helps Restore Biblical Verse to Yearbook

Yes, students do have Constitutional rights. No, a student expressing a religious view as his or her own view DOES NOT violate the artificially generated and wrongly enhanced "wall of separation between church and state" that so many people seem to find, somewhere in the 1st Amendment.

FYI, here's the ACTUAL text:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Senator Snobby-Gigolo-Traitor Dwarf accidentally on the right side of an issue!

 
Check it out! Kerry accidentally did the country a favor by being absent from a vote that would encourage the unemployed to not try to get jobs!
FOXNews.com - You Decide 2004 - Kerry Absence Dooms Jobless Benefits Vote

This just proves my contention that America is safer when the Politicians are NOT in Washington. I only wish they would all be out campaigning 90% of the time. I think that America should be willing to double their salaries if they would just go away and stay away.

Congress, America needs your help! STOP legislating! We don't care if you spend your time campaigning for an office you won't win, or just spend your time making waitress sandwiches. We just need to stop legislating ways to cripple the economy!

Environmentalists are DIM wits!

 
The Guardian has this article: "Goodbye sunshine"

Apparently the world is getting darker. Less Sunlight is getting to the Earth's surface.

What are the implications??? Obviously, less "global warming." In spite of what you may have thought, that's a BAD thing. Plants consume CO2 and most pood-producing plants thrive in moderately warm climates. A mild increas in global temperature will make more of the planet's surface agraculturally productive.

Also, if less light is getting to the Earths' surface (and that's where most of us live), there will be less exposure to harmful radiation and therefore there should be less risk of skin cancer!

ET on Summer Vacation

 
If you were on an intergalactic vacation, where would you go?

Right! Cancun, of course!

Squash the Snobby-Traitor-Gigolo Dwarf!

 
Squash the Snobby-Traitor-Gigolo Dwarf!
Crush Kerry is dedicated to that idea. Bookmark the page, sign the petition, and pray that they are successful.

On the otherhand... if they are successful, who might take his place? Shudder - Wretch - Hurl!

I've said it before... REPEAL 17!!!

 
In today's column Bruce Bartlet discusses "The problem with the 17th".

He's totally right. I've made the same point before. At this point we've got 2-year panderers and 6-year panderers, and we do not have any representatives of the federal division of powers as allocated to the states. The only place left that the states can hope for any protection is the one place where NOBODY has representation... The Federal Judiciary.

Don't get me wrong... I like the judiciary, but the Founders had it right when they determined that the people should be represented in the House of Representatives and the States should be represented in the Federal government by the Senate.

If you want any hope of restraining the growth of the federal government, it is long past time to REPEAL 17!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bravo to Gary Sinise and Laura Hillenbrand!

 
Operation Iraqi Children: Mission Statement

This is what Americans are about. If you can do something to help them, please do. I am certain that the children of Iraq will remember this as one of the primary results of our getting rid of Saddam for them. Regardless of the pain of the current transition, help the next generation know what the Compassion of America really does mean.

They need Judges not Kings and Princes

 
Mike is asking "Who's gonna 'drive the bus' in Iraq?

His conclusion is that the Iraqis can't really comprehend "presidents" like Americans, so we should give them a Monarchy with some rules, kinda like the English model.

I disagree. I firmly believe that the solution MUST be found in establishing a solid and fair judiciary. Right now, nobody over in the middle east, except perhaps in Israel, know what it is like to have a government that is actually ruled by law rather than the will and whim of men. In such a situation, you wouldn't bother going through the "legal" solution either, you would trick or kill to get what you want since there is no other way.

Seriously, how many of us shake hands with the President on a daily basis? We do know that if we have a serious disagreement with somebody, we can hope to get a fair determination through the judicial process. We respect the LAW because it represents the transcendent ideals of justice, even if it isn't realized perfectly each time.

The Iraqis don't respect the LAW because it represents the capriciousness of a viscious dictator.

For what it's worth, with all of the rules that Jewish people are obligated to follow (613 Mitvahs, I think), there are really only 7 that are supposed to bind non-Jews. These are known as the Noahide Laws. They contain 6 prohibitions, and only one positive command... to establish Courts of Justice. The laws don't say anything about whether you should have an elected president or an inherited crown, only that there be Courts of Justice.

I commented about this, though without mentioning the part about the Noahide Laws, on Mike's site. Read em here!

Latest on the Lovell Wheeler case

 
Here's a link to what I mentioned...

baltimoresun.com - Man sues over arrest in gunpowder case

I'm not going to add my thoughts right this moment. I'm actually making this entry to try out the new "BlogThis" feature...

This case might be stupid... However, it might just have more merit than you think.

Mr. Wheeler is representing himself... I know there's some saying about people who represent themselves... Perhaps he's trying to prove the saying is true.
 
Sorry for going on Bog-cation without sending any postcards...
I know, I know... I should have written or said that I wasn't going to write anything for the past week, but I just needed a break, ya know? Classes had just ended and I was tired of thinking.

Anyway, I'll be back to my normal blogging frequency, more or less right away.

I'm going to throw some thoughts together in a little bit about the Iraq torture stuff. I've more-or-less purposefully avoided news about it. It's disturbing, and frustrating, and as nearly as I can tell, overblown. The President may have already compromised any case against most or all of the alleged perpetrators of the torture with "undue command influence" by making pronouncements about the case.

Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is, the Pentagon DID NOT cover this story up. The basics were released back in January. JANUARY!!! The only thing that came out recently were pictures. Now that there are pictures, torture is newsworthy, and upsetting to Congress. Back before the pictures were released, Congress, WHICH DID KNOW ABOUT THE ISSUE, just didn't care. I can't tell if they are more shallow or disingenuous. I don't know if it matters.

Like I said, I'll put some thoughts together on this, and maybe some thoughts about the latest with the Lovell Wheeler case, and if I'm feeling really energetic, I'll post Question # 2 of the American (Political) History Quiz. (See Part 1 here.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

 
How to Let a Killer Free, by the Howard County, Maryland Police Department
Today I heard of a lady who killed a motorcycle driver while driving drunk last year.

The driver had a BAC of 0.29 (MORE than 3 times the legal limit). After the accident she was issued a citation for "negligent driving." Her attorney was able to successfully argue that she could not be prosecuted for vehicular homicide since she had paid the fine for the ticket.

The 5th Amendment, among other things, prohibits what we call "Double Jeopardy." Basically, you can't be convicted for the same crime twice. If an adjudication was not completed, such as when there is a mistrial, the Double Jeopardy does not kick-in. Here, the fine indicated on the ticket, combined with the purpose for the citation constitute "jeopardy" for a crime.

In this case, the "crime" was "negligent driving." When I first heard the report on the radio, I was sure she was issued a ticket for drunk driving. The distinction is VERY important. You can be negligent without being drunk, and you can be convicted of drunk driving even if you were driving very carefully. The ELEMENTS of each crime are distinct. Therefore, a punishment for one is NOT a punishment for the other.

The problem, in this case, is that the crime of manslaughter (whether voluntary or involuntary) does not require malice, and vehicular manslaughter, is a death that results from an violation of some misdemeanor traffic law, especially negligent driving. If there were evidence that she had been intentionally driving in a way that was likely to cause someone's death, they might have been able to go after Second Degree (in Maryland) "Depraved Heart" murder. All they've got is that she was *seriously* not paying attention. That's negligence, at least. Doing so while drunk makes it negligence per se (violating an applicable law is "defined" as negligence before the law) and is probably easily "gross negligence."

In citing her for "negligent driving," the police gave her the option to "plead guilty" to the criminal element that is central to a Vehicular Manslaughter charge. Therefore, to move forward with the prosecution would be to punish her twice for the same crime. The elements of the Vehicular Manslaughter charge minus the negligent driving amount to nothing more than a tragic, but non-culpable, accident.

At least, if the police had charged her with drunk driving, they could prosecute her for Vehicular Manslaughter, so long as they did not introduce the fact that she was drunk at the time.

It makes you wonder about how (if?) officers are trained in Howard County. The shame is that if anybody is going to get in trouble here it will be the individual officer who wrote the ticket, and the real problem is somewhere at a higher pay-grade where "traffic citations" (and the revenues they produce) are encouraged above basic law enforcement.

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