Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Interesting story in the San Antonio News Courant - apparently a man is going to trial after being arrested earlier this year for malicious mischief at Sea World. He reportedly took a Sharpie and drew all over the dolphins at the dolphin tank. His lawyer's statement makes it look like his defense is going to be an accidental occurance - he claims his client "didn't do it on porpoise."
Read the whole article, and read Douthat's first. But understand that this is a dangerous opinion - "Muslim Extremists are bad." "Some Muslims are extremists." "Therefore we must wage war against all Muslims," and ask yourself how this is compatible with Jesus' teachings ("Love your neighbor as yourself," "Turn the other cheek," "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," etc.)?
It's obviously true that some Islamic extremists are inherently incompatible "with the Western way of reason," but that's just as true of Christian extremists and Jewish extremists and a whole array of other kinds of extremists. And some measures taken in the name of accommodating Islam are in tension with core liberties -- just as laws enacted in order to impose Judeo-Christian dogma are.
But the claim that Islam itself -- and the world's 1.5 billion Muslims -- cannot be accommodated by, or peacefully co-exist with, Western values or Christianity specifically is bigotry in its purest and most dangerous form. It's hard to imagine anything more inflammatory, hostile and outright threatening than a call for Christians of all denominations to unite behind the common cause of fighting against Islam as Christianity's most "enduring and impressive foe." No more "conciliation" or appeasement. What, exactly, does Douthat have in mind for vanquishing the Islamic menace from Europe? What weapons will this "united Anglican-Catholic front" employ against its reason-hating enemy? Which "accommodations" of Islam exactly should cease?
BTW, Glenn's updates show western Christian examples that are not necessarily compatible with "the Western way of reason."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I have also changed my diet a little (it's a slight change, not a "diet"). I am doing the Subway for lunch thing - I walk through the downtown tunnels to the subway by Beck's Prime (best burgers in Downtown, but definitely expensive) and I get a six inch sub from their "Low-fat" menu. I do still get cheese on the sub (so it's not the "less than 6 grams of fat"), but not the mayonnaise, oil, or vinegar. I also am only eating a 6 inch instead of the foot longs that I used to have.
Dinner I do the same. For Breakfast, I'm actually eating a little now, instead of purely a liquid breakfast. I don't know how much help that is, but it's probably better than nothing.
At any rate, I'd venture to say I've managed to cut close to 3 pounds' worth of calories from my diet by making these little changes. If that's the case, then maybe I'll be a little trimmer when I fly out in 26 days.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The difference is key - one (cutting off funding) is designed to make illegal actions that affect ONE entity - ACORN. This is called a bill of attainder and is expressly prohibited in the Constitution. The other (allowing rapists to sue their rapers) effects ALL entities that would contract with the government and is perfectly legitimate. It doesn't make actions that happened before the bill illegal - that is to say Jamie Leigh Jones still won't be able to sue Halliburton or her rapists (alleged) over her ordeal. That would be unconstitutional as an ex-post facto law. But going forward, unless Inouye gets his way, then future injuries of this kind would be viewed in court. It doesn't require that defense contractors quit putting rape arbitration clauses in their contracts. Rather it says that defense contractors who don't take these clauses out will not be able to contract with the government. (He who pays the piper calls the tune).
I've been having troble with embedding video recently on here, so I'm going to direct you to Glenn Greenwald's site, where you can watch a video of a congressman being educated on what you would hope he would already know (though he's a Republican congressman, so perhaps ignorance of the Constitution is allowed?)
At home, all seems well. At work, we're rather busy.
And this is my seventh day Coca-cola free. I've possibly made the successful switch to Diet Coke, which, if I calculate correctly, is saving me about 900 calories a day. I've not changed my eating habits other than to eat less - with less fat - during lunch. I eat the same amount at dinner.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I firmly believe that when it comes to quitting something, you need to be physically and mentally ready to quit, both on a conscious and subconscious level. I think there are several people who "want" to quit but are not ready and therefore their attempts to quit will not be fruitful. Once you're ready to quit, though, then it is rather easy - you essentially just stop.
I had a similar situation happen to me yesterday - I made the switch from regular Coca-cola, which I've had virtually every day since 1995 (and a whole lot before that, as well, but '95 was the last time I stopped drinking it), to diet Coke. While I don't expect merely making this switch is going to result in my losing copious amounts of weight, I do think it will help stem the tide of weight gain I've been noticing over the last couple of months.
I still need to exercise more (I looked at Bikram yoga, but I'm a little too Middle Class Midwestern at heart to make that plunge, especially at $140/month), and might start running in the mornings, or something to get on the way down...
But it's a start.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
There was to be an inquiry into the execution of Willingham, particularly to the question of whether or not the State of Texas executed an innocent man. The board was set to convene, when Governor Perry fired 3 of the panel members (including the chair). The new board, with a chair appointed by Governor Perry consequently cancelled the hearing. Governor Perry has now canned a fourth member of the committee (he can only remove four, the remaining five are appointed by other state officials). Governor Perry has essentially stated that the inquiry is unnecessary because he's convinced Willingham is guilty. As Publius wrote in the article linked above,
The problem in this instance isn't that the Death Penalty exists. While I am reluctant to advocate its use, I believe that its presence in and of itself does serve as a deterrent. There are enough criminals who manage to lead very productive lives even in prison and enough violent crimes that take place in prison to suggest that merely putting someone in prison for the rest of their life might not be sufficient as a deterrent, and the presence of capital punishment as a possible sentence might affect actions that otherwise might have occurred. The problem comes with its utilization - in order for it to be defensible as a sentencing tool, it needs to be rare and reserved only for the most clearly brazenly guilty.
Of course, his motive is fairly clear. Perry contributed to the execution of an innocent person. And the formal recognition that Texas executed an innocent man would trigger a massive political earthquake -- one that would clarify to an inattentive public the utter barbarity and immorality of Texas's criminal justice system.
So yes, I can understand Perry's motives. But it doesn't change the fact that he is acting in a profoundly immoral way. The whole thing reminds me of a banana republic dictator clumsily covering up his crimes.But in addition to making me mad, I'm hopeful that this story will change some "hearts and minds." Specifically, I hope that social conservatives (particularly in Texas) take some time to reflect on the implications of the fact that Texas executed an innocent person -- and that Rick Perry is trying to cover it up. It's hard to think of something that more directly contradicts the "culture of life."
No, the issues isn't with the existence of capital punishment, rather the issue is with Governor Perry's brazen cover up of his mistake. He knows that he did something completely and utterly indefensible and he's trying to deflect attention. He has gone on the record stating that he believes Willingham was guilty, so the execution was justified. However, the key piece of evidence of the murder (the arson) has been called into legitimate question by renowned arson experts such as Austin forensics expert Gerald Hurst and Baltimore Forensics expert Craig Beyler, and Governor Perry doesn't want this information getting out. This cover-up is what is at issue. As far as I know, nobody is calling Cameron Todd Willingham an angel - they're merely stating that he likely didn't commit the murder for which he was executed - he was innocent. He was not convicted of any other heinous acts, and to execute him for reasons for which he wasn't convicted laughs in the face of our criminal justice system and our Constitution. He may have been a "monster" as Governor Perry refers to him, but that doesn't mean he was a murderer. And an inquiry that could have brought this to a final conclusion has been quashed by the person who could most benefit from its potential conclusion.
Kay Bailey Hutchison (a gubernatorial candidate) piles on in an eerily partisan manner.
Orly Taitz claims that this sanction is just an attempt to intimidate and make her stop. She's half right.
What I think, more than anything else, is that his name was the one placed on the award, yet the award was for the American people, who elected to remove a blight from office (yes, he was on his way out anyway, but we could very easily have chosen John McCain, who basically vowed to continue with Bush's techniques), and we chose to look a different direction. I think this was our award, rather than the President's, and it speaks to how the international community views us on the leaderboard.
Like I said - it's my 2 cents' worth - so it's not too profound, maybe I'll expound later...
Monday, October 12, 2009
From Obsidian Wings, who posted this poster with some commentary on what led to President Obama's nomination/win (it wasn't for what he did, it was what we as a country did in electing him after 8 years of the alternative - though imho the jury is still out on just how much better President Obama has been/will be on indefin
Sunday, October 11, 2009
But I do have a good dinner waiting to be eaten. I have some solace there.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The amendment passed Senate Vote by a vote of 68-30 with Senators Byrd (D) and Specter (D) not voting. The 30 nays?
Apparently, for these Republicans, it's ok for contractors to go overseas and help in the fight to defend our constitution from the menace of those marauding insurgents that we created, but it would be ghastly to allow the employees of these agencies the benefits guaranteed by the Constitution...
Monday, October 05, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
We're having Shrimp Boil tonight - there is little in the world better than a good old shrimp boil.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
3 months and much cajoling later, I finally yielded to the lamentations of my wife and co-workers and went to get it checked out. Let me first say that I was not terribly impressed with the clinic at which I was seen. The wait was over 2 hours just to get in to the room, and then another 25 minutes after that. I saw a Nurse Practitioner for all of about 3 minutes, who looked at my finger, didn't know what it was, and decided to give me steroids and antibiotics. I don't feel at all uneased about this situation.
Still, I'll take the medicine and hope it all clears up for my trip to Rome in 48 days.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
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