Monday, October 31, 2005

Revisiting Porter/Jameson: Thoughts and Questions

Note: This has been edited to include stuff not in this before. Scroll down to questions if you've already read this before.
In an earlier posting I had about JJ/Norman, I stated my four thoughts on his situation. They were:
  1. He had rehabilitated himself,
  2. He may not have repaid his debt to society,
  3. Who's to say he didn't turn himself in, and
  4. Some people are better off behind bars. He may be one of these people.
As for the first point, while I still stand by that viewpoint I've narrowed the scope of that to the killing part. The basic soul and spirit behind the man seems to have been stubbornly unchanged, while he himself kept a running total of how much of his old self was still alive, I would bet that remaining part was the basic foundation -- the portion of himself that he couldn't destroy no matter how hard he tried.

While the guy who wrote this article is, I believe, a bit nuts (as is the majority of the Chicago poetry and arts community, IMHO), the article is, I believe, an accurate reflection of Mr. Porter/Jameson. It seems the guy is loyal to his friends (to a fault?) and distrustful (if not hateful) to the rest. Maybe it's because of his being an escapee, but there's definitely a stain on this guy's name.

As for the idea of paying off his debt to society, there's still the ghost of the two killed men. Not only that, but it's obvious that the American public has supported the idea that more should be paid for the crime -- both in prison and afterwards. While the idea of the death penalty has yet to become a nationwide, active cause, there will eventually be a need for it if the trends continue -- after all, Americans are cheap and keeping people in jail year after year (even without trying to make them into future upstanding citizens) is DAMN expensive. And not the 20 years of making sure we got the right guy we have now, either; if it comes back in vogue there will be a strong drive for it to be immediate, unimpeded and active. Texas will only be the shadow of things to come.

As for him turning himself in, I don't think it happened that way. I also doubt that he was found via the FBI; as all they would have done is melded the Porter and Jameson files into a single computer file with two identities in case either one came in. I think someone called the FBI -- remember, he was Poet of the Month when he was arrested -- and they matched up the fingerprints as a matter of making sure. Wouldn't surprise me if someone, knowing he wrote poetry in jail, looked through various poetry websites and found what he was looking for.

Remember, we're talking about Public Enemy Number one here, not a two-bit shoplifter. Two dead, twenty-two escapes from prison and two famillies who've built their whole world around making one man suffer for his crimes against them (Never mind their so-called claims at having lived their whole life; one of the ladies considers his "confession" as her most prized posession) makes for a lot of heat aimed at someone. It didn't surprise me that the moment his face got nationwide exposure was the moment his freedom came to an end.

Not that I blame him for escaping. I still don't. After all, we're talking about a place no one should want to be in. I know a few nations that don't consider escaping from prison as a crime for this reason alone. Besides, as Detective Lieutenant Kevin Horton said on Boston's version of America's Most Wanted, "He saw the handwriting on the wall. That the system was [becoming more punitive]." (yes, I did change the quote. Made it less PC, more accurate to what he wanted to say. And more to the way many in the US want it to be, at its most kindest).

And finally, I have a couple questions. Not very king towards Porter/Jameson, but stuff he needs to answer to, IMHO:
  1. Would the families have wanted to persecute him so much if he had apologized to the families years before?

    The fact that it took him months to finally admit that he did do some murdering and apologize to the families AFTER HE WAS FOUND AGAIN AND TAKEN BACK TO PRISON leads me to ask that question. Plus there seemed to be nothing about him having apologized before his jailbreak (had he done so, the press would have brought it up. The press did this when I talked about the guy in Indiana). I have to wonder: if he apologized to them before he walked away from jail, would they still be out for his blood? Indeed, would he have needed to break away -- after all, if there's no family members demanding he stay behind bars, the guy would probably have gotten a job at a Boston University and have taught generations of poets how to write in his style.

  2. What other crimes may he have committed during his years away from prison?

    Let's face it, this guy may be smart and strangely manipulative (remember, he held his friends close and everyone else in severe contempt), but it seems his basic personality was static throughout the years. Four arrests between 1989 and 1994 under the Jameson name -- how many more, and where else? The people looking for him were looking in the wrong places -- Southeastern U.S., Canada and Europe. Are there people in the Chicago River with his handprints around their neck? Maybe the poet shot in 1997 was shot by him (I can hear the families of the murdered now, praying for this to have happened, and badgering God why more of the Chicago poets didn't get such a "present" from him). Maybe elsewhere -- he WAS in Washington State at one time.

    Besides, who does petty crimes at the age of fifty? Only someone who hasn't reformed; IMHO.

Flash: Alito Gets Nominated (Constitutional Option Week, Vol. 4

Alito Nominated for Supreme Court Seat

Darn. This is more like it.

A strong KNOWN conservative (especially on Abortion Limitations), he has spent his time as the dissenter in a liberal circuit court. Now he gets a chance to say how law is applied nationwide.

I still say this is how the Republicans ban the Democratic Party and set themselves up as sole legislators in this country. Remember, many are still itching to destroy the Fillibuster rules in the Senate, and should certain Dems try to ban things you'll see a vote on the floor allowing for majority rule in stopping debate. After that...

(Thing is, the Republican leadership has done a wonderful job in declawing and deteething the Democratic party. They've gone from fuming over how people could pick some actor over a man with experience (Reagan) to accepting that they're going to be Ghettoized ("red states/blue states") and cheated against (Florida, Ohio, possibly others) and sabotaged (Dean, post-Iowa). At some point it wouldn't surprise me to find the Democratic Party withdraw from certain states (Tennessee, Texas, Montana, etc) because of money woes, leaving the Repubs as the only national party).

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Intelligent Design -- My Take

As everyone who's paid attention to the "beginning of the world" wars, there has been a lot of talk about "Intelligent Design."

A few thing you should understand about this:
  1. What we're talking about is the "Watchmaker God" concept revived for a more scientific age.

    Thing is, there's nothing wrong with that. Sure, Genesis says "days," but the word actually used refers to "times." And besides, if a day can be a thousand years and a thousand years can be a day, why not a million? a billion? Two and a third billion years equal to a day? Remember, we're talking about God.

    And besides, using a range of billions of years allows for God to exist in a world that develops in the time frame that we observe in the world around us. Otherwise, we make of God a liar (how else do you expect billions of years in the Cosmos when you only give God six days to make everything and six thousand years to bring you into the world?) -- or a prankster at best -- for giving the world and the cosmos a thick patina of lies and misleading information.

  2. A pair of lies is being used to make this theory sound scientific.

    • First, there is the mistake of assuming that "NonZero" is equal to "Zero."

      (To understand the term "NonZero," consider the chance of me putting my fist through the table my computer is on. If you consider that both the table surface and the hand surface is not solid but a mass of negatively charged ions which repulses each other AND that the area underneath is not so much solid flesh but space with small dots of matter (electron microscope level of reality), then you will understand that, given the right circumstances, the hand can go through the table cleanly. Such a chance, however, is so remote that the term "Nonzero" would fit it. Not "Zero," but Nonzero. The difference is miniscule, but important).

      Much of the case for Intelligent Design involves the extremely narrow confines of the relations that the various aspects of the universe much fit into to allow itself to exist as it is, never mind us. Stars, galaxies, the Earth, even Humans cannot exist without the forces, their relationships, or other items existing in such narrow margins of error that one must concede that it's extremely unlikely (to state it mildly) for what we see to have come about randomly. The numbers have exponential levels high enough to implicate impossibility (one number is 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 400!!!).

      And we're to jump to the conclusion that these extremely low chances equal zero chance. Sorry, but I don't bite.

    • Then there's the idea that "if there is not enough evidence to point towards one answer, then it must be the other."

      Probably the best thing about the scientific method is that it allows the answer "I don't know" to be uttered honestly and as a sign of proper knowledge. While saying "I don't know if Carbon has the ability to bond to four different atoms" is stupid, "I don't know" makes sense for areas where doubt exists -- i.e. how our universe came about, what will happen tomorrow, etc.

  3. Intelligent Design is a decent belief. It makes sense at Sunday School, in Humanities, in Philosophy, in Religion.


    The fact is, Intelligent Design invokes the concept of "God." "God" is, logically, immeasurable and therefore outside science.

    1. If God can be proven to exist, it means He can be measured
    2. if He can be measured, He can be controlled (or reacted consciously to)
    3. if he can be controlled, he is no longer "God," but a "god." (We become gods ourselves under such a logical outcome, but that's another ball of heretical wax)

    Scientific theory, on the other hand, needs a cause and effect to decipher what's happening. It may be strict almost to the point of the word "alwaysL (acidic items burn through other items) or weak and subject to ready change (Sociology), but there's a cause and an effect invoked. Plus that cause cannot be some "Deus Ex Machina" (something brought in to fix things up) like a "God" (Pure wave universe plus "God" equals a Galaxy-filled universe made specifically for us), but somthing that was the effect of another cause.

    And, again, the term "I Don't Know" is acceptable, as it does not imply ignorance but lack of knowledge. If the knowledge is easily gotten, there remains the responsibility to find it -- not knowing is not a fault, NOT CARING TO KNOW is.

  4. Does anyone remember the "Creation Science" movement? That's where a bunch of scientists tried to fit scientific knowledge into a six-day creation event. "Creation Science" failed because the idea that billions of years of observation was in actually 6,000 years (give or take a few) and six days was too stupid for anyone to accept as anything but a belief. there's this new, shiny (and acceptable as a belief AND AS A BELIEF ONLY) theory which allows for scientific observation to stand "unchallenged." It's called "Intelligent Design," and while you need a god to believe it, you don't have the baggage of six days of work making the world, faking the past and making fools of the intelligent.

    Is it me, or does this sound like a Trojan Horse brought in to destroy science:
    1. Belief in Intelligent Design implies the existence of God (or of the Gods).
    2. Belief in God (or Gods) implies a special creation of Man (by dint of consciousness). Thus Evolution goes by the wayside, since one case of special creation implies the rest of the world made FOR man -- as do the social sciences, as it becomes impossible to study humans through animal behavior.
    3. Special creation implies a young earth built quickly, since it makes more sense for a God (or the Gods) to make the world quickly rather than spend their time making things "JUST SO." After all, why waste billions of years for a being you can make NOW? A whole slew of scientific disciplines (both hard and social) goes out the window, as time becomes suspect and impossible to trust.

    The biggest thing? Simply put, the above lineup is logical. Each step makes sense from the last. But you get to the end, and nothing makes sense.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sox Win!/Miers Backs Off

  1. Socks Win! 88 Years of Frustration Vanquished!

    I don't mind this year, as we're talking about a victory long in the making. However, I'll get a bit peeved if this happens again in the next few years (and it's a possibility).

    After all, I'm a fan of the Baseball Puddy-Tats (not to be confused with the Football Puddy-Tats, although they come from the same city). Been over fifteen years since I've had a team worth cheering about. Not only that, but the team seems to have gone out of the way to mess things up -- building an oversized stadium in the age of smaller spaces, steroid kings after their magic potions have been banned, etc.

    At least there's Hockey and Basket-Ball

  2. Miers Withdraws Nomination

    Now don't get me wrong, I do think the next nomination will force the court more over to the right (and they ought to congratulate themselves on this). However, I have to support this withdrawal simply because we're talking about qualifications -- and I don't think she's quite that qualified. Especially after Roberts, who was probably one of the best nominations AS AN ASSOICATE JUDGE.

    At least we'll still have O'Conner around for another year or so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What Warren Farrell Doesn't Understand

In his book "Why Men Earn More," Mr. Farrell expects that, in light of the many areas where women earn more than men, many couples will decide to have the man be the householder and let the woman be the breadwinner. This suggestion is wrong on two counts:
  1. The areas where women earn more than men tend to be the lower-earning jobs. While it is true that the more dangerous jobs tend to earn more, there's still the differential in where women work and where men work.
  2. When it comes time to start bearing children, many women will want to take on the job of full-time mother. And with the more liberal divorce laws around now, there's the definite possibility that a woman, faced with a man who wants to do the mothering (which she will read as "sit down on his lazy ass and let me bring home the bacon) will bear the child, divorce the father, and stick him with the Alimony. He'll be stuck in a job he hates, and while she may be working, it won't be at the full forty-plus hour week up the corporate ladder (or if so, he'll be salting away her retirement from the Divorced Men's Arms).
  3. Remember, we're talking about women. By definition, a being that has worth by dint of her existence. Otherwise, you wouldn't see the differential in earnings (in a woman's favor) in places where women and men compete directly. I call that "The Childbearer's Premium."

How much does this "Childbearer's Premium" add? In some cases, it leads many women to jump directly out of the workplace and into the role of mother. Many of the woman who could climb the corporate ladder have decided to take the truly radical step and step out of the working world, pissing off the militant feminists (who too many people would mislabel "Radical Feminists") who believe that a woman's place is in the boardroom and ONLY in the boardroom.

That's where Mr. Farrell's view falls short. It misreads the "Childbearer's Premium" in purely economic terms, forgetting to include calculations in time and in the ability to get others to earn for you.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Something VERY Odd...

Friday I was in a severe funk. For some reason I wanted to make a phone call to someone apologizing for my existence, and further apologizing for not having offed myself. A dark few hours, but not the worst I have felt (the fact that it lifted proves it wasn't quite as bad).

So I finished work and made it home, and my housemate (who had broken her hip the week before and just started therapy) was complaining of pain so severe that she was wishing he had had a heart attack that killed her instead.

So had I gotten to the point that I now shared her emotions?

Surely I had no idea that she had had the hip break when it happened. I found out about it when she called a half hour later, saying she fell but things would be okay. And then, I figured it had been a ministroke (she had the real thing seven years ago, enough to force an early retirement from her job as a legal secretary). And besides, I've known depression for so long I just slog through it nowadays, getting a few extra hours of sleep in the night (trust me, sleep helps).

But still, it bugs me. Maybe she didn't know anything happened and thus didn't know to tell me telepathically. And besides, I had called her a few times earlier that week, for some strange reason.

Stuff to think about....

Saturday, October 22, 2005

No Respect Given -- No Respect Deserved

Northwestern Destroys Michigan State, 49-14

Sad. Very Sad. Actual score: 49-7, with MSU scoring 7 garbage points near the end.

Here it is, a team that beats Notre Dame (Yes, they lost to USC, but unlike your average team it was ONLY by three points) and pushes Michigan to overtime bending over for a deep penetration by Northwestern.

Which was the farce? I'm thinking the victory over ND was a farce, and should be revoked.

Once again, as with Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and others, they come out well in the first half (although miscues tended to obscure that fact) only to turn around and bend over the second half. Almost as if they figure out some gimmick to come out ahead but can't correct when the other team figures out the gimmick.

And they wonder why no one takes them seriously.

Fact is, no one should. They haven't proven that they can sustain a whole game for two years when it matters. Fact is, even if they had scored on the drives they turned over the ball in the first half, they would have lost to Northwestern -- that's how badly they played in the second half.

Understand this: until they can give a full game's play week after week, they won't be playing in any bowl worth playing in soon. Already we've been passed by by Wisconsin and Northwestern. Who's next -- Indiana and Illinois?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Virgin In The Supreme Court? (Yet More Constitutional Option Week, vol. 3)

Harriet Meiers Promoted As A Virgin

I don't know about you, but I have further doubts about her.

Sixty years old, no sexual experience (ever, it seems)...and actually quite attractive for a woman her age. Actually looks like someone I wouldn't mind jumping on (or being jumped on by, for that matter...;). No puritanical vows of chastity, either, so it seems.

So my mind starts working overtime (watch out...) and I come to this point in the road:


There are certain issues and aspects of life that celibate people have have been unwilling or unable to experience. As a man single for too long, I'm not exactly ready to identify singlehood as a gift, but intead tag it more as a curse to be endured, if not avoided. I'd almost rather have someone with too much experience than someone with none, right?


Admittedly her time was BEFORE the "Trophy Husband" concept became hip (Trophy Husband: the man a powerful woman grabs up during the years between when she can attract a man with her body and when she can attract a man with her mind. Also known as Mediocre Marks, since that's what they tend to be: Mediocre.). So it was likely that a Career Woman in the most Redneck of States would find herself unmarried until it was too late. A pseudo-boyfriend to go along would also be helpful, as that gives the image of someone committed. Protestant Churches tend to be a bit more tolerant towards situations slightly different than what would be considered "biblical" (twenty-year courtings, oldsters living together but not marrying due to legal issues, etc.), so her "relationship" would be an acceptable analoge for a sexualized marriage she may not have wanted.

So I can set this issue aside. Besides, there's better reasons for opposition -- like her absolute lack of judging experience and dependence on Bush Jr. for her career. At least Roberts had direct experience in the Supreme Court and an abiding respect in the institution (which made him an easy pill to swallow). Also, if I see another photo with Miers in soft focus in the background gazing enrapturedly at the male in the foreground, I'm going to GAG. It's almost like she is a coattail candidate. At least James Danforth Quayle was more qualified for his office than she seems to be.

Monday, October 17, 2005

USSR: United Smurf Socialist Republic?


Remember that cartoon too many of you loved in the early eighties? The little blue stains on your TV that grew so popular they were given AN HOUR AND A HALF at their height?

Well...would you believe The Smurfs Were Communists?

No, not in the Stalinist or neo-capitalist Chinese versions, but in many ways the original, utopian way of communism can be found in The Smurfs cartoons -- both in print and on TV.

Obviously Papa Smurf as Marx makes sense, but he can also be considered a Socrates- style philosopher-king. Brainy Smurf looks very much like Trotsky (look at the pictures side-by-side), but you also have the theme of haughty, inflexible intelligence versus humble, easygoing wisdom in that dichotomy. And Smurfett resists all kinds of comparisons, in part because Smurfette is...well, Smurfette, and that's all she needs to be.

But Gargamel? There the comparisons click, with no way out.

At first, Gargamel wanted to boil the Smurfs down and extract the gold from them. It wouldn't surprise me if at first he made a fortune from melting down Smurfs into Gold and by the time the Smurfs shrank down to a group of a hundred there was nothing else he could do.

Later on it turns out that Gargamel wants to EAT the Smurfs, not kill them for gold. That can be seen as a metaphor for profiting off their labor, as whatever wealth they produce but don't keep becomes the bosses to keep. One also must keep in mnd that such a switch makes sense for a brand name that had begun to slip -- odd ideas that were passed through without thinking before were changed for the sake of reaching "the demographic" -- youngsters who got up every morning to watch cartoons.

Thing is, not does this idea have its own Wikipedia entry, but that entry is surviving/has survived a deletion attempt. After all, there's at least five different pages up on the subject (see above links) and the subject has been raised on College Campuses.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hip Fracture

You don't want a hip fracture.

I have a friend who suffered a hip fracture recently. She spent a few days in the hospital, and while now home isn't really up to snuff. Mortality rates are very high: 15-20 of people who suffer hip fractures die within a year, usually because of secondary and tertiary problems related to the injury. And while people who live the year become like other people afterwards, many who suffered a hip fracture never return to their former level of mobility.

It's going to be interesting seeing what goes on with her. I'm sure some of her family will visit in the next few weeks, others will visit soon as well. However, more important is that she'll need rehabilitation to be able to walk around with out a walker, and in a couple weeks she'll need X-rays to see what's happening in her hipbone.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Still Easily Accessed and Pissy About Who Talks To Them, so...

You know, if these money-worshippers would learn how to limit access to whom they want to see, then maybe they wouldn't have people like me posting their links for the mocking they deserve.

(an earlier posting, bumped up. And again, hello AmQuix folks; thanks for watching my blog.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Another Case of Neocon Misdirection

Remember Newt Gingrich? The guy who took on the Democratic party through the eighties and nineties, and won?

I'm sure you've heard the tale on how he was caught in a tryst with some young thing in his office, and had to resign his leadership role. Seems the story has made its rounds all over.


I remember how, once Newt, once his party became the majority party, pissed off the young bucks in his party by actually working with Clinton on various things. The attempted government shutdown didn't do them to well, either ( I do remember that very clearly). In the end, Gingrich resigned his leadership almost in tears.

No hidden sex uncovered. Just a change of leaders for a change in position.

The mainstream press (liberal? HAH -- last time they were that, they sided with PATCO against Reagan. Once workers resigned themselves to the new fact that strikes no longer made sense for anyone except the corporations, the press fell slavishly in line.) talked about how he could only agitate; more likely he understood his power was behind the scenes.

A few months later, Newsweek decided that they knew Clinton was guilty of (sex) with an intern but didn't have enough to publish with. So the editorial board wired Drudge with the scoop, and the rest was history. Gingrich smiled, knowing he no longer had to act to damage the Democrats.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Illinois Readers: Watch Out for Utility Company Bullshit!

In the last few days I've been hearing advertisements on the Television supposedly against utility reform. Here's how the speech goes (meaning-wise, not actual words):
Once upon a time California took over its utilities. Prices paid by the consumers stayed low for a while, but the costs went up. Then, one day, the lights went out, and California found itself with a massive bill -- one which they're still trying to pay, but are falling behind even today.

Don't let our state become another California. Write your congressman and your governor.

A bunch of bullshit. Here's the real story:

California had a well-run, well-regulated industry. Then, at the behest of the electrical utilities, California deregulated its utilities. An outside company (Enron; from Texas, of course) took over the supply side, then created a shortage that jacked up prices. The State stepped in when they felt they absolutely had to, then the prices dropped -- in mockery of the state. Had Enron not collapsed, I'm sure some other states (New York, Minnesota, Michigan, etc) would have found themselves played the same way, by the same company.

The Illinois Governor (Don't ask me to spell his name) wants to put a pro-consumer person in charge of their utility regulation commission. The utilities don't want that, as it would force them to actually be responsible towards the consumer, and not just when there's a remembrance of mass ineptitude.

And yes, write the governor, write your congressman. Tell him not to fall for these obvious lies. As long as we remember what happened in California, and what regulatory commissions are supposed to be for.

America Cuts Corners; People Pay.

Reading over the New York Times Online today, I came across a story about the pumping stations in New Orleans. Interesting to read that the older pumps worked while the newest ones (put in mid-90's, probably used for the first time) pooped out right away.

And so it seems to go: everything newer is made shoddier and with the eye towards budgets that get skimpier and skimpier. What would have once been a well-built system with redundancy built in turns into a well-built system buit to specs turns to a shoddily built system built within a tightened budget.

And after that comes a public-private funding scheme where a developer gets to clear land for yuppification in return for helping build that shoddy system slightly better than otherwise (read: built at all this time around). Something gets built, but only for the rich and decadent, and tourists. Meanwhile the rural outlands of America pray for the cities to get destroyed a la Sodom and Gomorrah.

You can tell the decay in quality in today's planning: A stretch of US 31 in Michigan gets built for the cheapest possible amount, skipping over better plans because of the cost of said plans. So instead of a straight connection to US 31/ Interstate 196, you get an easy-turning hookover to BR 94 near Saint Joseph/Benton Harbor. Even a sharper-curved hookover would be better, as these turns could be translated into exit ramps when the connection to Interstate 196 finally gets built (If it gets built -- lest we forget, we're getting cheaper and cheaper).

And so we get what happened in New Orleans: the Old Machines work while the New Machines fall apart, then shoddy building elsewhere (dykes built in the sixties) fail and make the Old Machines' work obsolete.

God Bless America...hopefully with foresight and and willingness to pay for good quality next time around.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Losing Weight

I've actually lost some weight over the past couple months. Where I was originally around 267-270, I now weigh around 258-263.

I also understand very much how Anorexics and Bulemics get very involved in their weight to the exclusion of all else.

Simply put, your body gets used to being a certain weight. As long as it's at that weight (or slightly above), you're satisfied with the world at large. Run a bit below that (say, five pounds) and your body starts yelling for food. Your mind focuses on food and on resisting the urge to eat, slowly pushing aside all other thoughts.

My guess is that, push the weight 30-50 pounds below where you're at and food becomes the sole focus of your thoughts. The body so much wants to get back to its pre-diet weight, and resisting the urge takes up so much effort that other things become secondary -- covered if need be, otherwise ignorable. This especially if the woman takes her weight loss below the point where menstruation stops.

I've been taking Hoodia off and on during the past month. It does work in that it takes the edge off the hunger, so you don't feel as pushed to eat as before. However, the rest of the body starts yelling for its food, once you take your weight below a certain level. There's also some side effect (throat seems a bit swollen, though not enough to choke you), and it is possible to overcome the hoodia (one sunday I swallowed a pill, then proceeded to eat a big dinner and a double-dip ice cream cone).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Robert Brown and the Duty To Life:

Chief Justice John Roberts Aggressively Defends The Federal Government's Right To Dictate Life to the Dying

Okay, so it's just his opposition towards a patchwork of states that might turn a state or two into a haven for those who want to die (or want others to die). But it's strong enough that Roberts would make sure to comment on it strongly, and often.

My take: While I am a supporter of the right to choose the conditions under which one would prefer death (which is what the right to die is about) I see the logic of the opposition -- the "right to die" can be easily switched to the "duty to die" from doctors who'd rather spend their time on those they can heal and relatives looking at the cash in the bank accounts of their elder relatives. Then there's the slippery slope between a personal wish not to live one's life like Terri Schivo and a movement to kill off anyone not "healthy enough to live." While I would welcome a law that would tell me what I'd need to do to insure I live under normal conditions, I can see where an automatic "keep alive at all costs for all people" would set some people's hearts at ease.

Probably my biggest fear is seeing bed after bed of brain-dead people kept alive because of a beating heart, a human body that once ran around freely, and somebody who loves them now that they can't do anything to disappoint them. Or, worse yet, joining them.

I haven't gotten my living will together yet, but I will want to do so. While I still have the right (or ability) to.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Thoughts on Harriet Miers (Constitutional Option Week, V. 3.0)

Maybe This Explains Their Wish to Impeach Judges....

I was reasonably acquiescent over Judge Roberts. While I think Bush gambled by placing him as Head Justice (Which I don't mind, as Scalia would have been a sure bet at keeping the court leaning towards the right and Thomas would have made the lean bitter and thoughtless.), he was a good choice for justice. Especially when it turned out he was replacing Reinquest instead of O'Conner.

As for this Harriet Miers, I have serious doubts. The right is bellyaching, as they want someone blatantly anti-birth control, pro-business and anti-federal government. They want to act like they're so powerful that they can snap their fingers and the government will beat each other up to give them their wish.

Thing is, real power is subtle. It tips, it hints, and it gets what it wants by faking out. Sometimes you get by seeming to give to the others, then taking away stealthily. Like with steel imports: he let the tariffs pass, then gave exceptions to everyone until the tariffs made no sense.

Same with this Harriet Miers. I'll bet her politics are as follows:
  1. Monty-Pythonesque view on birth control
  2. Rights don't reside in individuals, they reside in corporations
  3. Only governments that count are (southern) states. (and I say southern as a reference to where the power comes from, not as a snobbish cutdown)


Monday, October 03, 2005

$20 Million for Failing???

The Sun-Times Article. Scroll down 1/3 of the page to find the item in question.

Okay, so it's over something that Curry has no control over, and would be unable to change if the wrong answer came out. And it's in a field where people earn much more than that over a shorter span -- if I remember right, Jordan earned more each year the last three years he played as a Bull.

Still, the idea that someone would gain $400,000 per year over fifty years; or $20,000,000 for faililng, is shocking.

Evidently Curry felt the gamble was worth it. He has now allowed himself to be traded to the Knicks.

For Curry's sake, I hope he's right. Not necessarily because of any personal bias, but because I'd very much hate to learn he died in practice, or worse yet, during a game (see #3), and to find out a genetic test showed he inherited his heart problems.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

What Bo Meant by "Proper Perspective"

U of M Wins, Again

So, for the first time since 1983, Michigan State has had four years without a victory against Michigan. That means that unless there are some players who were redshirted freshmen back in 2001, nobody on the team has defeated Michigan. Worse yet, it appears that Michigan State played like a team bound to lose.

Thing is, I don't remember Bo's comment about the return of "Proper Perspective," but I think it want along these lines:

"They come to our place, we beat them. We go to there place, we beat them. No need to worry, for they're always under us."

And so it goes. Michigan State Football has always stuck itself behind (or at best alongside) Michigan Football since 1965, its last year of untarnished glory. Since then, it has found a way to lose enough so that (at least in the overall standings) it's not higher than Michigan. In the years it defeated Michigan, it found a way to lose to another team -- last time they beat Michigan they lost to the two last place teams in the Big Ten (!!!).

Fact is, until the MSU football team can feel comfortable enough with itself to finish ahead of Michigan when it has the head start to do so (even now they got a better record), nobody (outside of ND, who presently has no choice) will give them respect. And now, that they seem to go out of their way to lose what should be their game to win, there's no need for them to think of doing so.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Mass Transit Expands in Northwest Indiana, Finally???

Possible New Lines for the South Shore

Looks like they're gonna make an effort to expand the South Shore System. About time, too.

This has been planned for a while, and has been in the news on occasion. Not only that, but the line to Valparaiso would revive transit service that occurred there until 1993. The fact that there was no real MTA for Lake and/or Porter Counties (outside of a group whose sole purpose was to beg for a source of money so it could do more than beg for a source of money) held up these plans for so long.

I hope they're able to work it so there's decent two-way traffic during the whole day and into the weekend, instead of rush-hour only service. I hope they add in a station at 173rd near Hohman, so I can walk to use it (it's not on the list, but is strongly considered). And I hope this is indeed an expansion, and not part of some hairbrained plan to switch lines with the Grand Trunk/CN along the route where the present Chicago-Valparaiso line is being planned (While the Republicans believe mass transit is evil, it wouldn't surprise me if the idea had passed through their head -- and they rejected it because of the cost of doing so). I also wouldn't mind if they actually tried out a route that went straight up instead of the presently planned hookover into Calumet City (better access throughout the county, although it'd be strange to see the center point of a system to far askew).

But, if nothing else, it's good to see things finally moving towards fruition.

Took a day off the internet

You should try it.

It was actually nice not feeling locked up to the computer, having to do X amount of web brousing because I happen to be waiting for the mail.