Saturday, 29 September 2007
I know I said I was done with Ron Paul, but this has been bugging me ever since I read it.
To solve the problem of frivolous lawsuits, which admittedly do happen, Ron Paul propses that we simply have people insure THEMSELVES against malpractice by their doctors.
That way, the doctors don't get sued and get to keep their money, the insurance companies get more business and more money, people harmed by doctors get compensated eventually after they sue the insurance company to get the money out of them after the insurance company denies the claim based on trumped-up excuses. Everyone wins except the trial lawyers, who get a career set-back after they have to change specialties from suing doctors to suing claims-denying insurance companies.
Sure...except those who can't afford all the insurance premiums that are already required to just live in our society. They get screwed some more.
Plus, how does this serve the much-vaunted Libertarian value of personal responsibility? I have to pay money to insure myself so that someone else doesn't have to pay for their mistakes?
Pardon me, but that's F$%#!ed up.
You know what would help doctors out a lot? Paying more attention to their patients, listening to them when they describe their symptoms, and not dismissing their concerns about specific health problems out of arrogance. Also, hospitals could help by better managing their staff and not exhausting them with Bataan death-march shifts that lead to fatigue errors.
One of the things I've noticed is an increased reliance on Hospitalists. Would hospitals and doctors be motivated to innovate improvements in patient care if accidents and mistakes just became the patient's problem? Having a doctor around who is familiar with all aspects of a patient's care (where patients might have more than one or two conditions that need to be considered in care), as well as making sure that hospital procedures and policies are followed will go a long way to preventing medical malpractice and the suits that go with them. Who knows what other improvements hospitals and doctors can make to help them provide more consistantly better care?
When I think about all the stuff that we've gone through in our lives due to negligence and summary judgements of medical professionals not paying attention to their patients, being dismissive and arrogant, not following hospital procedures, etc, it makes me just MAD that someone would suggest that we should have to pay out of our own pockets to protect other people and institutions from their own mistakes.
Saturday, 29 September 2007 06:24:32 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Political
Thursday, 27 September 2007
The Preamble as I see it:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
From what I can tell, this is the Preamble as Ron Paul sees it:
“We the people of the United States, in order to
form a more perfect union, (forming a more perfect union involves too many activities that could infringe on state’s rights) establish justice, (that’s a state issue) insure domestic tranquility, (too much infringement when you try this)provide for the common defense , promote the general welfare, (Collectivism!!)and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity (to not have any significant responsibilities as citizens), do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
I've read pages and pages and pages of Ron Paul, now. I've read pages and pages and pages written by his supporters, and by his detractors.
I've done what Mark asked and seriously considered Ron Paul for President.
I've read about how politicians should do what the Pope says, because he's just saying what God says, and how the church should rule America. Pretty much, if you just read what Ron Paul himself has written about religion and government, and then go read what Gary North and R.J. Rushdoony have written about it, you'll pretty much see why the theocrats LOVE him to peices.
I've read about how rectifying specific injustices against particular groups so that they can exercise their full rights as citizens is descrimination against those who already exercise their full rights...and anyway it's a states issue if they want to guarantee human rights to their citizens or not.
Or even ammend the Constitution to deny historic conditions of citizenship as a matter of convenience.
I've read how he describes the Constitutional investment of interpretation of the constitution, as well as the concept that Equity in the Law is invested in the Federal Courts as recent inventions. (and as an aside supports the rights of states to regulate private sexual activity)
I've read about how people getting together with others who have similar issues and trying to solve them together is "collectivism", and bad. (see pretty much any of the above cited articles).
And I've decided that I'd sooner choke on moose vomit than vote for Ron Paul, who goes beyond being "anti-Socialist" to just being plain anti-social. And though his public face is much more palitable than the views of his most ardent and vocal supporters...it would be, wouldn't it? He's the politician who represents the constituancy after all. He'll put the nicest face on it.
So, Ron Paul is out, and Hillary is out. And All three Republicans who raised their hands when asked the question about creationism are out. Romny's out because he's just too damned smug. Time to move on.
“Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals . . . By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called “diversity” actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racists . . . we should understand that racism will endure until we stop thinking in terms of groups and begin thinking in terms of individual liberty.”
OK...so...when you say "Not all black people are a certain way, and it's wrong for someone to judge them due to their race. Let's come up with some stratagies that disinsent people from barring people from the opportunities of our society based on race."
What we are actually saying, according to Ron Paul, is that all black people are a certain way, and must be treated all alike.
So, Ron Paul's solution is to remove all disincentives for judging people on race. Stop keeping track of statistics that show how people are barred from the opportunities of our society based on race, and the problem will just disappear.
Interesting. If you stop reporting on a problem, it will go away. The attempt at solution contains the root of the problem...it's all a matter of perception you see...what is real is unreal. The idea that we can all exsist as individuals in society on our own terms rather than having to conform to some sort of culturally-enforced norm (diversity) is actually the cause of racism and collectivism. You see what you see only because you create the image with your eye.
Who knew Ron Paul was a Zen Master?
And now, I suppose he will go on to prove that black is white and get killed at the next pedestrian crossing (apologies to Douglas Adams)
Thursday, 27 September 2007 12:14:11 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Political
So I'm on my way to my Wednesday night class,and I'm stopped behind a Ford Taurus at the stop-light, when I notice the vanity plate:
That's all it says.
So I look at the "Taurus" logo on the back of the car, followed by the "BM" vanity plate...and I think "Bullshit?"
Am I the only one?
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Whoa. That's a big swingandamiss for our latest McJesus Franchise opening here in Eden Prairie.
Christ's Family Church International sent me a piece of analog-spam the size of a large postcard. On the front, is a picture of a bunch of multi-ethnic teens slouching around some concrete steps sporting a skate-board and a basketball in front of a ferociously tagged brick wall. Tremulous clumps of weeds cling tenaciously to the border between the concrete side-walk and the brick wall, the only sign of plantlife in this bleak urban jungle.
"Just wanted you to know...We're in the Hood!" anounces the banner accross the front. Uh huh. The "hood" of Eden Prairie.
The back of the postcard thoughtfully gives their location: "Our new facility is located in the Golden Triangle Business Center at (address redacted) directly behind Winter Park - the Minnesota Vikings Training Facility." Uh huh. "The Hood" of the Vikings training grounds and the business center of the town, known as the "Golden Triangle".
It goes on to give information about when their services are and how much they LOVE children.
The pastor's first name is Cherrie, and if you believe her picture, she's just as cute as a button as she gazes impishly, yet coyly out from under her perfectly tinted blond hair, capped teeth gleaming, along with noticably manicured nails and a smart black blazer that blends in with the black-and-white photo to leave nothing but Cherrie's shineing face and manicured hand clinging to her doctor husband (who isn't the pastor, but appears with her in the photo, and is listed first in the ending salutation of the communication.)
What a piece of work. I almost want to go to church there and see what the heck sort of service they do.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
So, say you're a sanctimonious, self-important little jerk who is a member of a homeowner's association of a high-priced suburb of a Midwestern city. Say your homeowner's association decides to rent space for their annual meeting in a Community Center. Say the staff of said Community Center warns you that the night you want, the room is also rented by a Martial Arts Class for Special Needs kids. This class will be operating behind a flimsey temporary partition for the first fifteen minutes of your meeting, at which point it will ajourn.
So you say "OK" and you show up for your meeting, and said Special Needs Martial Arts class is in full swing next door.
a) Begin your meeting and announce that it to be over in fifteen minutes, you were warned.
b) Delay the beginning of your meeting for fifteen minutes.
c) Go and tell the happy active Special Needs students (whose group ALSO PAID FOR THE FREAKING SPACE) to "keep it down", even though all they were doing was holding their regular martial arts class that they attend every week?
d) go and tell the happy active special needs students (whose group ALSO PAID FOR THE FREAKING SPACE) to "keep it down" while exuding an air of aggrieved victimisation.
Of course, you do "d", because you are a sanctimonious, self-important little jerk, whose first fifteen minutes of meeting is much more important than the happiness of a bunch of disabled children.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 22:42:50 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Personal
“I think the authorities and officials of the university should practice a little more listening to other points of view and listen to things they don’t like to hear.”
--crazy-ass theocrat from someone else's country.
Sorry, Ahmadinejad...so very sorry you didn't get the warm, polite reception that you felt you deserved.
It's true, you were an invited speaker, and it's true that the audience should give your thoughts and ideas all the credit they deserve.
Guess what? They did. booyah.
Thing is, we've go our own crazy-assed theocrats over here to deny the Holocaust for us, and re-write history and re-define "science" and pave over the homosexuals while simultaneously blaming them for everything that goes wrong...
...and we have to play nice while our politicians make kissy-face with them on the T.V. and act all polite and respectful and not gag openly.
So, why don't you go home and run your little country while we try to keep control of ours?
Monday, 24 September 2007
Saturday, 22 September 2007
From the Yourica Report (commentary on the Reason magazine article referanced at the bottom of this page):
"Mainstream outlets like the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post are finally starting to take note of the influence Rushdoony and his followers have exerted for years in American conservative circles. But a second part of the story, of particular interest to readers of this magazine, is the degree to which Reconstructionists have gained prominence in libertarian causes, ranging from hard-money economics to the defense of home schooling. "Christian economist" Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law and star polemicist of the Reconstructionist movement, is widely cited as a spokesman for free markets, if not exactly free minds; he even served for a brief time on the House staff of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 1988, when Paul was a member of Congress in the '70s. For his part, Rushdoony has blandly described himself to the press as a critic of "statism" and even as a "Christian libertarian." Say what?"
[UPDATE with more info] Here are some of the writings that Gary North has done in support of Ron Paul. For more, you can go to the Chalcedon website, or to lewrockwell, and read for days all of the glowy stuff he has written about how you should elect Ron Paul.
Now, I'm pretty sure that Ron Paul isn't a theocrat...so it leaves me to wonder how he gets such heartfelt support from someone who believes the things that Gary North believes. Reason Magazine (where you can go for all the latest thoughts on Objectivism and Libertarianism) wonders the same thing. The Invitation to a Stoning article is a must-read, as the author asks what price the support of theocrats is worth. The thing I think we need to remember is that the theocrats have MONEY and give it to the causes they champion with religious zeal.
From Reason Magazine (I urge you to read the whole article, but if not, here's a gem to read here):
Among other ideas Reconstructionists have helped popularize is that state neutrality on the subject of religion is meaningless. Any legal order is bound to "establish" one religious order or another, the argument runs, and the only question is whose. Put the question that way, and watch your polemical troubles disappear. If we're getting a religious establishment anyway, why not mine?
"The Christian goal for the world," Recon theologian David Chilton has explained, is "the universal development of Biblical theocratic republics." Scripturally based law would be enforced by the state with a stern rod in these republics. And not just any scriptural law, either, but a hardline-originalist version of Old Testament law--the point at which even most fundamentalists agree things start to get "scary." American evangelicals have tended to hold that the bloodthirsty pre-Talmudic Mosaic code, with its quick resort to capital punishment, its flogging and stoning and countenancing of slavery, was mostly if not entirely superseded by the milder precepts of the New Testament (the "dispensationalist" view, as it's called). Not so, say the Reconstructionists. They reckon only a relative few dietary and ritualistic observances were overthrown.
So when Exodus 21:15-17 prescribes that cursing or striking a parent is to be punished by execution, that's fine with Gary North. "When people curse their parents, it unquestionably is a capital crime," he writes. "The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death." Likewise with blasphemy, dealt with summarily in Leviticus 24:16: "And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him."
Reconstructionists provide the most enthusiastic constituency for stoning since the Taliban seized Kabul. "Why stoning?" asks North. "There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost." Thrift and ubiquity aside, "executions are community projects--not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do `his' duty, but rather with actual participants." You might even say that like square dances or quilting bees, they represent the kind of hands-on neighborliness so often missed in this impersonal era. "That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the reintroduction of stoning for capital crimes," North continues, "indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians." And he may be right about that last point, you know.
Saturday, 22 September 2007 09:28:12 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Those Wacky Fundies
Friday, 21 September 2007
Thursday, 20 September 2007
Day three in Maine began with us running Alicia and her kids to another museum, this time in Bar Harbor. After some minor logistical issues were ironed out, Sue, Barb, and I were on our way on a whirl-wind tour of the Harbor. Our first stop was Seal Harbor. We enjoyed that very much. Seal Harbor has a very cute beach, and there are many cool rocks there, as well as a very nice view.
Sue's daughter, Panda Girl found a rock in the water, and held it up "Hey! This looks like the Virgin Mary!" It did, sort of.
I said "Well, if we had a Joseph and a baby Jesus, we could make a Nativity Scene."
Barb caught the fever, and we began looking for rocks.
In the end, this is what we came up with:
The green rock is Mary, the blue is Joseph bowing his head over the cradle. You can see a shepherd and his sheep kneeling in front of Mary, and the three wise men there on the left.
An older woman and her 90-somthing-year-old father came to investigate what all the activity was about. They were thrilled, and took many pictures as well. We left the nativity there for others to see. I wonder how many people noticed it, and how many figured out what it was supposed to be. We like to do stuff like this...leave little mysteries and strange things behind us in our wake for others to make of whatever they will.
I also found a rock that looked like the Stone tablet of the Ten Commanments, but we didn't have time to do a stone diarama of Moses descending the mountain. Also, we would probably be pushing our luck trying to hunt down a stone that looked like a golden calf.
We then caught the Bar Harbor bus and rode to Jordan Pond, where Sue and Panda Girl sang the praises of that most wonderful of places. We ordered lunch. I had lobster stew and pop-overs. It was delicious, but I needed to take a picture because if I died that night, I wanted people to get a good look at what killed me.
That, my friends is molten butter, floating on the top of enough hot, steamy cream to cover an entire lobster cut into chunks. The week after this I went to the Dr. for my yearly check-up. My cholesterol is normally 170 or lower. This bad boy is what I blame for my much elevated score of 202.
We took a short stroll down to see the lake up close and personal. You can see it there, in the background, and you can see what a lovely place this was to spend an hour eating pop-overs and Lobster Stew.
We had a wonderful server, who was friendly and helpful and just lovely. She kept saying "You are so nice to serve, so simple! So easy!" She was delighted at our obvious enjoyment of the food and our appreciation for the scenery and the wonderful experiance we were having. English was not her first language, so I assume that calling us "simple" was a compliment.
At one point, she brought us extra pop-overs, and Barb exclaimed "I love you!" Our server earnestly replied: "I love you too, ma'm."
When it was time to go, she brought our check and said "Thank you for coming, I love you all." An absolute sweetheart.
After out stroll down to the lake, we lingered too long, and found that we had only minutes to reach the bus to go on to the next site. We sprinted up the hill, and found that the bus was a little late. Fortunate...as some of us needed to visit the ladies room.
We moved on to Sand Beach. That was really awesome. Plus, I found lots of sand dollars. We did some rock climbing. I ran wind sprints back and forth on the beach through the surf, because I needed to do something after that outrageously decadant lobster stew. There was also an opportunity for rock climbing.
Although, due to the rain, it was difficult and slippery. The sand part of the beach was behind me as I took this picture.
We had so much fun at sand beach, that the 1/2 hour we had there wasn't enough, and we ended up missing the bus. We wanted to go on to see Thunder Hole, which Barb and I had not seen. But we were going to have to catch the next bus, and the next bus was the LAST bus of the day that we could catch and still make it back to our car. it looked as though we were going to miss Thunder Hole, when who should come to our rescue, but a couple of young Good Samaritans.
Here's a picture of them:
They offered to drive us in their rented Saturn. Barb, Panda Girl and I squeezed in the back. Sue stayed behind (there wasn't enough room for her) and waited for the next bus. Thank you very much, kind, generous, adorable Good Samaritan Couple! Sorry for the three wet butt-prints on the seats of your rental car. Hope that didn't cause you any problems.
Here's a picture of Thunder Hole:
As youcan see, the name comes from the loud booming noise that the water makes when it crashes into this hole here. We got a couple of decent booms out of it, but I guess it's much more spectacular when the tides are coming in.
We went from there to Bar Harbor, where we walked around a little, had some ice cream, did some shopping, and rejoined Alicia and her kids on the last bus back to Seal Harbor, and our car.
We ended the evening with a very odd dinner of left-overs as we tried to clean up the odds and ends of our food. We would be leaving the next day, and didn't want to have to drag a lot of food with us.
Thank you to Sue and Panda Girl, who were excellent guides, and who did a great job of getting us to the highlights of Bar Harbor in one short day!
Thursday, 20 September 2007 19:45:34 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Travel
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How to raise a daughter whose mind is an open vessel for your ideas, a blank template for Biblical womanhood, and won't give the man you give her to as a gift any trouble.
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A triumph of Biblical feminism, where women show how much they value themselves by pouring all of their energy and talent into the benefit those around them without making any unseemly judgements about if those people are worthy or not. Only someone who truly loves her self as God loves her could wrap her brain around the contradiction.
Guarantee not valid outside of a gated, home-schooling-only community. Failure to provide regular corporal discipline and weekly visits to an approved house of worship invalidates guarantee. Cloistering of your daughter is a recommended supplimentary treatment to be used in conjunction with this book. *These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA, mostly because we don't recognize the authority of the FDA to function in America, and are not intended to diagnose or cure any disorder, such as independant thinking, secular humanism, feminazism, or freewill. If you paid money for this thing and it didn't work out the way you'd hoped, you should have read this fine print first, don't ask for your money back it's a free market, sucker! As long as people want and buy our product, they should be free to do so, unhindered by regulation requiring it to work as promised. Let the market decide. Oh and don't even think of bad-mouthing our product or we'll sue your ass.
Thursday, 20 September 2007 12:04:37 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Those Wacky Fundies
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
So I'm on the phone with Barb, and we're both drinking. It's a little thing we do when there's nothing else going on. She's in Missouri, I'm in Minnesota, so we call each other up at a time when both of our cell-phone plans give us free minutes, and we drink and talk on the phone.
And Barb starts talking about how one time she went and visited this guy that I had dated, and he was reading her some of his writing and one of the pieces he had written was about me.
And her rememberance of it was that he described me as some sort of epic super-heroin, a cat-like force of nature. A goddess of potential mayhem and violence. He just says that because I kicked his ass in sparring. Repeatedly. Thoroughly. and with more enjoyment than a strictly sane woman would have.
And her response was that this was strange and new to her. To her, I was just Teresa, who could be sullen and moody; goofy and geeky; a tortured and lost soul with a bit too much drama mixed in to be taken seriously. I was her kindergarden friend who like playing cars with the boys and moved away and came back years later as a third-grade tom-boy cowgirl with a chip on her shoulder. The nerdy girl who smoked with the toughies behind the Jet-Mart across the street, and had lots of scary friends, yet never seemed to be scary herself. Who drank enough to be mouthy when it wasn't wise, but somehow managed to pull off an escape when trouble struck. Who got arrested on occasion, but was too embarassed to admit it outright and did detention for truancy rather than admit to larceny if she was dragged down to the cop-shop during school hours. Who showed up at school with spectacular bruises and more spectacular stories that no one really believed or listened to. Who appeared to make up as much stuff as she told straight, who covered under callousness and carelessness a sense of wonder and responsibilty.
I responded that if she didn't think I was a cat-like super-hero force-of-nature chick, it was probably because she had never been sexually attracted to me, and plus, if she'd never seen me as an epic heroin, she had probably never seen me clean a toilet.
Because me doing battle with the forces of disorder and chaos in a houseful of males is nothing short of the epic battle between Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven. And that goes double after a LAN party where you have at least a half-dozen men who don't live here, have been living on Little Debbies, Doritos and Mountain Dew for 17 hours, and want to get back into play before they get greased by a teenager who has more of a natural tolerance for Little Debbies, Doritos, and Mountain Dew than they do.
Barb called bullshit, as child-hood friends will. the subject changed, and we moved on.
And I kept my real secrets again. Hidden in plain sight from those who know me best.
Because you know, don't you dear readers...you're only REALLY dead...when they put you in a box.
This morning, I got Grasshopper up a little early so that he can put in more time on homework. Yesterday was kind of a C-F so I figure it would be good to spend a little extra time on homework. He had everything that was due today done, but still some projects due Friday that needed to advance.
Today he has an audition for Orchestra, as well. I just realized that he forgot the music he was supposed to bring. Grump.
I get the kids through some more homework, get them to put their stuff in their backpacks and get them off to school.
I sit down to work on editing Rocky's latest e-book. Jay is laying down under my desk, contentedly nibbling away on one of his dog toys. I've got a stack of papers that need to be filled out sitting next the the laptop waiting for me to need a break from scanning pages of technical gobbeldy gook on the screen looking for mispelled words, misplaced commas, akwardly phrased sentences, formatting inconsistancies, etc. (now maybe you know why I don't proof-read my blog. I've already done more than enough proof-reading.)
Suddenly, Jay leaps up and starts jumping around under my "desk"...which is actually just a light plastic craft table. Because that's the way I like it...small, portable, durable, and repurposable.
It's like he's been hit with a cattle prod. My computer, coffee cup, papers and PDA go flying every which way. The coffee cup ricochets into the laundry room and shatters on the concrete floor. I've got coffee on my carpet, the wall, my papers, PDA, and in my keyboard.
A half-an-hour of clean-up later, and I still haven't figured out what the heck set the dog off, but he hasn't come back into my office since. He keeps licking one of his back feet, but I can't see anything wrong with it. Other than that, he seems fine, though subdued.
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 08:25:52 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Personal
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Neil has an entry up about how the Bible answers all our questions.
He's right, too. Sound Doctine also has answers. Science also answers questions, though maybe not as quickly or as easily as we would like. For instance:
"Oh, how in the world do we keep from dying of the Black Death?"
The Bible answered right away: "There's nothing you can do, you're a sinful worm and deserve to die. Accept your fate and heaven awaits."
Sound Doctrine also answered right away: "The Jews killed Jesus, and you're letting them live among you. How 'bout you burn some Jews at the stake and see what happens? They're probably poisoning the wells".(today sound doctrine would substitute Homosexuals or secular humanists)"
Science took a little more time, and came up with an answer:"Penicillin, and maybe cut down on the flea-bitten rats a little."
You take your pick of which answers you like, and I'll take mine.
Monday, 17 September 2007
Neil has an entry up about how abstinence-only education is the best option.
Naturally, the usual chorus of dittoheads is jumping on board with the usual thoughtless platitudes and pontifications.
But the fact of the matter is, no matter how many well-funded think tanks churn out results from carefully rigged studies;
It is better to tell kids the truth about how their bodies work, and about how reproduction works. It is better to deal with them honestly, to tell them all the facts.
Comprehensive Sex Education is the way to go. And incase anyone is in doubt about what "comprehensive" means...abstinance is an important part of comprehensive sex ed.
Telling them they can get HIV from tears and sweat, or that HIV can pass directly through condoms or that birthcontrol pills are poison, or that there is a link between abortions and breast cancer, or that birth control is genocide for the white race (or whatever the sound-bite of the day is) isn't going to help.
Teenagers have a seriously sensitive B.S. detector, and it is positivly dangerous to give them false information. They WILL find out about it, and if there is one thing you do not want to do, it is cavalierly negate all influence and authority that you might have with a teenager by letting them catch you in a lie.
There's a reason that "reefer madness" became a cult classic amongst the drug sub-culture. When you lie so outrageously, people catch on, and they mock your lie, and use it as an emblem and an object of fun, and a reason to not listen to ANYTHING you say.
Anyway, in 2001, the CDC said this:
America's teenagers were less likely to become pregnant in 1997 than at any time since 1976, when national data on pregnancy rates first became available, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which updates trends in pregnancy and births in the United States. The teen pregnancy rate fell 19 percent from its all time high in 1991 to reach a record low of 94.3 pregnancies per 1,000 women ages 15-19 in 1997.
"The fact that fewer teens are becoming pregnant is encouraging news," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, CDC Director. "Few teens are ready for the challenges of parenthood. When they delay this responsibility it enables them to gain the education and maturity they need to be good parents and good citizens," he said.
The teen pregnancy rate had risen from the mid-1980's and reached a peak in 1991; the 1997 rate is actually 10 percent lower than the 1986 rate when the upturn began.
Teenage pregnancy rates declined for all teenagers with the steepest declines among non-Hispanic black (down 23 percent) and white (down 26 percent) teenagers. The overall decline is attributable to both reduced rates of live births (down 13 percent) and abortions (down 32 percent). Teen birth rates are available through 1999 and show a continued decline, totaling 20 percent since 1991.
Among the factors believed to be driving this downturn in teen pregnancies are increases in condom use, the adoption of the effective injectable and implant contraceptives, and the leveling off of teen sexual activity.
OK, back to me again: So, what this says to me is that comprehensive Sex ed was WORKING both to educate children in the proper and effective use of contraceptives, as well as getting the message through to them that abstinance was the best policy (it worked for me).
Saturday, 15 September 2007
Adventure Boy must have enjoyed the Rush concert very much. Here is his sketch of Geddy Lee that he did today...from memory.
In a conversation I overheard him having with Grasshopper, he said "I didn't watch the monitors, because you're at a live concert...why would you watch a screen?"
Pretty awesome, huh?
[update: My Sunday Devotionals sometimes involve Rush - check out these lyrics by Neal Peart]
"The Way The Wind Blows"
Now it's come to this
It's like we're back in the Dark Ages
From the Middle East to the Middle West
It's a world of superstition
Now it's come to this
Wide-eyed armies of the faithful
From the Middle East to the Middle West
Pray, and pass the ammunition
So many people think that way
You gotta watch what you say
To them and them, and others too
Who don't seem to see things the way you do
We can only grow the way the wind blows
on a bare and weathered shore
We can only bow to the here and now
In our elemental war
We can only go the way the wind blows
We can only bow to the here and now
Or be broken down blow by blow
Now it's come to this
Hollow speeches of mass deception
From the Middle East to the Middle West
Like crusaders in a holy alliance
Now it's come to this
Like we're back in the dark ages
From the Middle East to the Middle West
It's a plague that resists our science
It seems to leave them partly blind
And they leave no child behind
While evil spirits haunt their sleep
While shepherds bless and count their sheep
Like the solitary pine
On a bare wind blasted shore
We can only grow the way the wind blows
Thursday, 13 September 2007
I guess STD's are on the rise in Minnesota. Have been since 2003. and peaking this year (2007)
You'd think that with the institution of the extremely effective and very cost-saving required abstinance-only requirement that the state puts on funding for Sex Ed (and has since about oh, 2003) that rates would be plummeting as teens stop having sex in droves.
You'd think that just telling them to not have sex would make them stop. After all, Condoms and such cause MORE STDs because they give a false sense of security.
So, you would expect the STD rate to go down, not up, and you certainly wouldn't expect the rate to go up significantly more in the age group of the students who benefit from the improvement of moving to an abstinance-only sex-ed curriculum...
...God must be testing us for his own mysterious purposes, by giving virgins STDs.
Yeah. That's it.
(If your kid has comprehensive sex ed in Minnesota, it is because your school district said "no" to the state funding, and funded the sex ed themselves. Please write your school board, and say "thank you".)
Thursday, 13 September 2007 19:33:44 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Sarcastic
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Looking for new music nobody else you know has heard? Looking for music you can't get in a store? Looking for music unsullied by corporate focus-grouping?
Looking for music from a couple of mid-western family men?
Looking for music that is free AND good?
Look no further. The Sidetracked project is available.
Also, as far as I know, this is whats available from Jagged Spiral, who are also new, unavailable in stores, unsullied by focus groups, free, good and mid-western, and one of them has a family as far as I know...
...but they are a little evil. PLEASE read the disclaimer before you play the music out loud. The world doesn't need anymore dead chinchillas than strictly necessary.
Days from Evil
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 07:56:19 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Cheer Up!
| Pop Culture
Neil has an entry up about how gays are "heterophobic".
I don't know...a phobia is an irrational fear of something.
At first I thought. Huh, even though I'm hetero, is it possible I'm heterophobic? After all, I'm afraid of what people can do if they think you're gay.
For instance, there were a couple of girls in our Highschool that believed I was a lesbian. This idea caught on with their little group, and they made my life a living HELL. The harrassment included things that you would consider sexual assault if they happened in a workplace or on the street instead of in a highschool, where people dismiss it as simple "teasing".
So...I don't think it is possible for a gay person to be heterophobic. Because if you are openly gay, you have to face the probablility that, at any time, your life and well-being could be in danger from a straight person who comes after you only because you are gay, and feels like they are justified in attacking you, or even morally obligated to kill you for no other reason than that.
I wouldn't call fear of that "irrational", would you?
Neil might point out, and rightly so, that HE PERSONALLY would never harm someone for being gay, and I absolutely believe him.
However, he gives money to places like the IRD, an organization with heavy ties to Christian Reconstructionism (Howard Ahmanson is one of a handful of major contributers, and his wife serves on the board), Christian Reconstructionism teaches that Homosexuals should be stoned to death. Ahmanson has since tried to distance himself from this message without lying; saying that he no longer believes the stoning to death of homosexuals (and other harsh Biblical punishments) is "necessary", but that if one came across a country where such things were done, one could not say they were wrong.
So, while it might be irrational to be afraid to be alone in a room with Neil (probably the most aggressive thing he'd do is serve you milk and cookies, and perfrom a lovely devotional to help save your soul), I don't think it is any stretch to be afraid to live in the country with his politics and form of activism, and the groups he supports.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 06:50:08 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Those Wacky Fundies
Monday, 10 September 2007
Rocky, Adventure Boy, Tara and Rick were there with us!!!
High points of the concert (in no particular order):
"Witchunt" with the guys on a stage lit up like a firey furnace.
Some completely new and un-Neil...or should I say "super-Neil"? sounds coming from that magnificent new drum kit during the "All Neil Show" portion of the show. Always in motion, is the Neil.
ONE LITTLE VICTORY! (always)
THEY PLAYED "BANGKOK"!!! (And they NEVER play Bangkok).
Geddey Lee in a kilt. (NEVER thought I'd hear myself say that.)
Alex and Neil waking up with each other (Also, not something I'd hear myself say)
The LIGHTS! the ACTION! The LAZERS! The VIDEO IMAGERY The ROTISSERIE CHICKENS!!! (but how did they clean their clothes between shows now?)
*sigh* Happy Trees has Rush fix now.
Jason Bock seems happy too.
Monday, 10 September 2007 13:41:05 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Pop Culture
Saturday, 08 September 2007
East Coast Vacation, Day 2
(Or Sue and Barb and Teresa meet the nice, but slightly scary woodswoman)
The next morning, it had been decided that we would all get back in the cars and drive back to Bangor so that Alicia could bring her four children (ages 9 years to three months) to a Children’s Museum there. There had been talk of white-water rafting, but since Alicia has health concerns that prevent her from driving, and Val didn’t want to drive on unfamiliar roads, Sue would have to drive the Expedition with Alicia, Val and the kids, it was apparent that we would not have time to drop them off AND go whitewater rafting. Barb was willing to drive, but she wanted to go with Sue and I and she was only added as a driver on my car anyway, and it wasn’t big enough to hold Alicia and her family (more on that later). Val agreed to drive the Expidition home, however, so Sue would be able to ride with Barb and I as we explored the park.
Barb drove to Bangor, and we chatted. I tried not to think about the fact that we were driving back about 1/5 of the distance we had traveled yesterday to get to the cabin.
In Bangor we stopped and looked at the statue of Paul Bunyan there. I’d like to know what Bangor thinks they’re all about. Everyone knows that Bemidji is the REAL home of Paul Bunyan (home is where the heart is and WE’VE got his best friend, Babe). And Akeley and Brainerd are right out (sorry, Dracut and Karen, but you know it’s true.)
We drove up to a mountain on the Appalachian Trail, called Mount Katadhin. For some reason, I was over-come with fatigue, and fell asleep in the back seat while Sue and Barb visited. Sue had read a book about a couple of travelers who had left the AT and had come out of the woods near the Katadhin Iron Works.
Lo and behold, we saw a brown sign pointing to them, about the time I woke up, so we decided to go see what was there. A long and scenic drive down a gravel road. We met a bright red mustang driving like a bat-out-of hell, and wondered what THAT was all about.
We finally got to the iron works, and there we met Fran.
Fran is the caretaker of a gate into the Kl-Jo Mary Multiple Use Management Forest. She makes sure everyone follows the rules, looks out for people, registers guests, and a variety of other things. We told her about the woman in the Mustang, and Fran said “Yeah, was SHE pissed off”. Apparently, the woman had dropped her car off at the Mary Lake Gate and had someone drive her to another gate, with the intention of walking the trail in between. Trouble was, that she was actually parked two gates away, so when she asked the other gate-keeper how far the hike was to the next gate, the gate-keeper said “six miles” when the hike the woman had to make to get back to her car was actually closer to 13. She was PISSED and took it out on Fran.
At the end of the story, Fran flashed a double-barreled Eagle (one of these, not one of these) and threw a cheery “have a nice day” in the direction the woman had gone.
We walked around the Katahdin Iron Works a little and then went back and visited with Fran.
Sue had a Bar Harbor sweatshirt on, and asked Fran what it said. Fran mugged a face like she was ready to chew rock and spit nails, but she complied.
“Bah Hahbah”, she said, bracing for our exclamations of delight at the Maine accent. I told her about being cornered by little old ladies in Winn Dixie and made to speak in my “Yankee accent”, and that seemed to level the field a little.
Fran had lots of stories for us. Some of them are depressing, but wait for the last one, its sort funny and sweet.
There was the story of the woman who left the AT during a season when the bugs were particularly bad. The mosquitoes and black flies are apparently always pretty bad in the Spring, but they were unusually bad that year. The woman came to Fran’s post in the middle of the night. She was traumatized and hysterical. Fran made her tea, and tried to talk her down. The woman kept saying “I slept in an outhouse, I slept in an outhouse.” Over and over again. She had taken refuge in an outhouse to get away from the bugs, and stayed there rather than brave the bugs long enough to pitch a tent. The woman was taken in by a group of people that take in hikers off the AT.
Fran said that a lot of hikers that leave the trail come back to finish it. That woman didn’t.
Fran showed us pictures of some of the beautiful waterfalls in the park, and how they freeze in the wintertime.
She told us a story about a professional ice-climber, who had a guide business in the area. He came to the park with his daughter. He was going to climb the frozen waterfalls, and his daughter was going to take pictures for his promotional literature. He fell from the waterfall and was killed. It took days to recover his body.
Fran told us about two boys who had come to the park every fall with their uncle from the time they were little. They would come and hike and jump off of small waterfalls in the park. One year, they came with their uncle in the spring, instead. Fran told them not to jump off the waterfall, because the water was a lot higher and more dangerous in the spring.
One of the boys waved to her as he turned and left, saying “Don’t worry mom, we’ll be fine!” The uncle came back later to report that one of the boys had dove off the waterfall and been sucked under. The second boy had jumped in to save him, and they both drowned.
Fran told us that she had quit her job for two years after that.
Another story was of a woman who had come to the park to camp for the first time on her honeymoon with her husband. They had skinny-dipped in one of the pools there. Every year, they came back on their anniversary to camp and skinny-dip in the pools. They grew old together and eventually the husband passed away. The woman continued to return on their anniversary, camp in the park and skinny-dip in the pools. One year, when she was in her seventies, she went into the pool to skinny dip and found it too difficult to climb out.
He calls for help were headed by a group of boys in their mid teens, who rescued her and helped her to safety.
As the old woman was being assisted, Fran noticed one of the boys looking disturbed and agitated, very upset.
“What’s the matter, hun?” asked Fran.
“I’m never having sex.” Said the boy
At this point in the story Fran stopped and looked at us. “Because our bodies DO change you know?”
Um, Sure. In theory.
We did some sight-seeing along the gravel road, hoping to see some moose, or other wildlife.
I noticed a little brown frog, and as we were all gathered around examining it, a pick-up truck came down the road. I was full of men. Probably seven or eight guys.
“What you lookin’ at, ladies?” they asked.
“A frog.” We answered.
“A frog? Is that all, how big is he?”
“Not eatin’size.” We answered.
“Any ya’ll seen a lost dog around here? We’re huntin’ and we lost our dog.”
“What’s his name?”
“What kind of dog is he?”
“Half black lab half coon-hound.”
Barb finally asked, because of their outrageous southern accents; “Where you boys from?”
“Jawa-ga” came the drawled reply.
“Oh no, you’re putting’ that on. That’s TOO perfect to be real.”
“No, ma’m, we’re not puttin’ it on. We’re from Jawa-ga.”
More chit-chatting, and then they drive off, content in the knowledge that we would be keeping an eye out for “Bucky”.
About an hour later, when we returned for our car, Fran said “Those boys in the red truck told me to apologize for them.”
“They said to tell you there isn’t any dog named Bucky.”
“Bastards!” Barb said, “Those evil, evil bastards! I was all worried about Bucky. And they FOOLED us! US! How did they manage to fool us? WE’RE the ones who pull that kind of schtick on other people. Nobody pulls that sort of thing on us. Ohhhh! They were good.”
So we told Fran to tell those boys when they got back that we were awful sorry about Bucky. We saw a dog just like they described, but he didn’t come when he was called, so we decided to try to stun him with a rock so we could catch him, and poor Bucky died.
Then we told her to tell him that we found “Bucky”, and liked him and decided to take him home.
And then we came up with all sorts of other things for her to tell them…and finally we just said “You’re good with stories, just tell ‘em something good.”
We took a picture of ourselves with Fran, and said “goodbye”, did some more sight-seeing and then headed for “home”, the cabin in N.E. Harbor and the secret dungeon trap for unwary travelers that lurked within it.
Saturday, 08 September 2007 10:42:07 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Travel
Neil asks the question: Are questions better than answers?
Not surprisingly, his answer is "no".
Now, we all know that neither questions nor answers are inherantly good.
The old saw about there being no such thing as a stupid question is generally true, but let's take, for instance, the "questions" of the ID crowd.
Those questions are:
1) Questions that have already been answered, require no new information to answer again, and yet are asked repeatedly over and over again in order to obstruct the aquisition of new knowledge, and to impede the implimentation of current knowldege.
2) Questions that are not questions at all, but actually statements that contradict the information available with a question mark at the end (Is the eye too complex to have evolved?). These require no proof or information to ask, but require the re-iteration of long, rambleing answers and reams of information and documentation to even address the false premise of the question. Most people get bored and quit before they even get to the answer...but the question sticks in their head. Of course, if you just say "no", you didn't answer the question.
3) Questions that are designed to be rediculous to the point where any answer will make you sound like a pedantic, condescending dick-head. (Q: Are you descended from a monkey? A: Of course not, monkeys and humans are descended from a common ancest... Response" "See?!? even evolutionists don't even really believe their own BS!) Jesus was questioned this way all the time, and I have to say, this is one area where scientists could really learn from Jesus, because he did a good job of getting out of them. 'Course, it didn't hurt that the disciples had several decades during which to write down the answers...
4) Questions for the sake of questions: I'm STILL waiting for a flat-earther to make the genious move of changing a few words in the flat-earth argument, re-defining a few terms, and demanding that flat-earth "theory" be taught in schools. Why do I think this would be hilarious? Because when they are rejected and their "experts" denied tenure, I would love to hear a flat Earther yell "I'm being treated just like Galileo!" It'd be worth all the wasted legal wrangling and public expense and disrupted classtime, and lost hours at school board meetings, and wasted professional time from college professors and scientific experts just to hear that.
But maybe I'm the only one on the planet who would find that funny.
Not all answers are created equal either. Answers based on revealed knowledge that can only be confirmed through the source of the revealed knowledge cannot be questioned in any useful way. There is no way to get additional knowledge (especially when the revealed document itself explicitly says that there will be no new information), and there is no way of testing the old knowledge (especially when the revealed document explicitly forbids the testing of the origin of the revelation).
For religion, questioning and answering is a circular and futile process. The answers are the answers or they aren't. They're the only answers you'll ever get. They promise that those are the only answers you will ever need, but how would you know? Questioning cannot lead to better answers, and the quest is to stay where you started, with the knowledge given to you to begin with.
In the quest for new knowledge, good questions lead to better answers. Better answers lead to better questions.
And creationists call THAT futility.
Saturday, 08 September 2007 07:49:52 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Those Wacky Fundies
Friday, 07 September 2007
Here is an extensive quote of the relevant information of our common law regarding use of deadly force in self defense. It is from This document.
Obviously, this doesn't constitute legal advice from me, as I'm not a lawyer, and am merely quoting a document.
· Most important of the justifications.
· Nothing controversial about self-defense itself, but it comes up in controversial and sensitive contexts.
A victim can use non-deadly force any time that victim reasonably believes that force is about to be used on him.
Common Law Elements for Use of Deadly Force in Self-defense
(1) unlawful threatener, i.e. aggressor is wrongdoer and you are innocent agent;
(2) honest and reasonabe belief that you are subject to imminent harm, (reasonable because you need to be innocent and if not reasonable then negligent; imminent because if not you have a chance to get away. Subjective approach would allow everyone to claim justification at all times.);
(3) force used must be proportionate (because the balance of evils must be positive)
(4) Actor is not the original aggressor.
Classic common law says if you are initial provoker you lose self-defense unless you communicate withdrawal.
(5) No retreat requirement in most jurisdictions.
Where retreat requirement exists it only holds if actor knows of a place to which he could retreat in complete safety.
MPC Elements for Use of Deadly Force in Self-defense
(1) Force is immediately necessary to protect against unlawful force by another on the present occassion.
(2) Unlawful force threated is death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or rape.
(3) Actor did not initially provoke for the purpose of using deadly force.
If you provoked with the use of non-deadly force and the other party responds with deadly force, MPC allows justified use of deadly force. (Still liable for initial battery.)
(4) Duty to retreat if actor knows he can avoid the need to use deadly force with complete safety to himself. Minority Rule. Three exceptions: don’t have to retreat from home, or if victim of rape or robbery, or if you’re a cop.
(5) Belief must be honest.
(6) Estimate of using force must not be negligent or reckless, if it is guilty of reckless or negligent crime.
Texas version of the Castle Law (copied from here):
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to the use of force or deadly force in defense of a person.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 9.01, Penal Code, is amended by adding
Subdivisions (4) and (5) to read as follows:
(4) "Habitation" has the meaning assigned by Section
(5) "Vehicle" has the meaning assigned by Section
SECTION 2. Section 9.31, Penal Code, is amended by amending
Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (e) and (f) to read as
(a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is
justified in using force against another when and to the degree the
actor [he] reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary
to protect the actor [himself] against the other's use or attempted
use of unlawful force. The actor's belief that the force was
immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed
to be reasonable if the actor knew or had reason to believe that the
person against whom the force was used:
(1) unlawfully entered, or was attempting to enter
unlawfully, the actor's habitation, vehicle, or place of business
(2) unlawfully removed, or was attempting to remove
unlawfully, the actor from the actor's habitation, vehicle, or
place of business or employment; or
(3) was committing or attempting to commit aggravated
kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault,
robbery, or aggravated robbery.
(e) A person who has a right to be present at the location
where the force is used, who has not provoked the person against
whom the force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity
at the time the force is used is not required to retreat before
using force as described by this section.
(f) For purposes of Subsection (a), in determining whether
an actor described by Subsection (e) reasonably believed that the
use of force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider
whether the actor failed to retreat.
SECTION 3. Section 9.32, Penal Code, is amended to read as
Sec. 9.32. DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON. (a) A person
is justified in using deadly force against another:
(1) if the actor [he] would be justified in using force
against the other under Section 9.31; and
(2) [if a reasonable person in the actor's situation
would not have retreated; and
[(3)] when and to the degree the actor [he] reasonably
believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to protect the actor [himself] against the
other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or
(B) to prevent the other's imminent commission of
aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual
assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.
(b) The actor's belief under Subsection (a)(2) that the
deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that
subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor knew or had
reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was
(1) unlawfully entered, or was attempting to enter
unlawfully, the actor's habitation, vehicle, or place of business
(2) unlawfully removed, or was attempting to remove
unlawfully, the actor from the actor's habitation, vehicle, or
place of business or employment of the actor; or
(3) was committing or attempting to commit an offense
described by Subsection (a)(2)(B) [The requirement imposed by
Subsection (a)(2) does not apply to an actor who uses force against
a person who is at the time of the use of force committing an offense
of unlawful entry in the habitation of the actor].
(c) A person who has a right to be present at the location
where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person
against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in
criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not
required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this
(d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining
whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed
that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not
consider whether the actor failed to retreat.
SECTION 4. Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies
Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 83.001. AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE. It is an affirmative
defense to a civil action for damages for personal injury or death
that the defendant, at the time the cause of action arose, was
justified in using force or deadly force under Subchapter C,
Chapter 9 [Section 9.32], Penal Code[, against a person who at the
time of the use of force was committing an offense of unlawful entry
in the habitation of the defendant].
SECTION 5. Chapter 83, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is
amended by adding Section 83.002 to read as follows:
Sec. 83.002. COURT COSTS, ATTORNEY'S FEES, AND OTHER
EXPENSES. A defendant who prevails in asserting the affirmative
defense described by Section 83.001 may recover from the plaintiff
all court costs, reasonable attorney's fees, earned income that was
lost as a result of the suit, and other reasonable expenses.
SECTION 6. (a) Sections 9.31 and 9.32, Penal Code, as
amended by this Act, apply only to an offense committed on or after
the effective date of this Act. An offense committed before the
effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect when the
offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for
this purpose. For the purposes of this subsection, an offense is
committed before the effective date of this Act if any element of
the offense occurs before the effective date.
(b) Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, as
amended by this Act, and Section 83.002, Civil Practice and
Remedies Code, as added by this Act, apply only to a cause of action
that accrues on or after the effective date of this Act. An action
that accrued before the effective date of this Act is governed by
the law in effect at the time the action accrued, and that law is
continued in effect for that purpose.
SECTION 7. This Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
Friday, 07 September 2007 09:04:06 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Political
Thursday, 06 September 2007
Vance is crowing about the country-wide success of the Castle Doctrine. So I decided to renew my Google searches for people convicted of shooting burglars.
For my search criteria: convicted of shooting a burglar, Here are the things I came up with:
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - A woman held on a gun charge claims she accidentally shot her husband in the head after becoming startled when the couple's burglar alarm activated, authorities said Wednesday.
So far, not a support for the necessity nor wisdom of the Castle Doctrine…
Hit Number two was a jeremiad from Great Britain. Hardly applicable to U.S. arguments.
There was the story of Christakes Christou, who was charged after wounding a burgler iin his bar, but eventually plead guilty to tampering with evidence. The prosecutor took the plea bargain, because it was not expected that they could convict him. (expectation was that common law would have come out on the side of the property owner)
Sounds to me like if the property owner wasn’t paranoid about getting wrongly convicted, he would have completely walked . Huh. I wonder where he got the idea that he was in danger of being wrongly convicted? NRA propaganda? Nahhh…couldn’t be.
As an aside, I ‘d just like to point out how ironic it is that the bar bears the name of Buddah, who would never have condoned killing someone who just wanted to steal property.
Hit number four was another from Great Britain, the famous case of Tony Martin, the reclusive farmer who shot a young burglar to death on his farm. It’s a favorite story for the NRA-types to harp on, but hardly a compelling story for our purposes since it happened in Britain, and has nothing to do with what is going on in the US.
Hit number five was a story about an unusually long sentence given a man who shot a victim while committing burglary.
Hit number six was reporting on the condition of a female police officer who was shot while responding to a burglary. Once again, this story is from Britain.
Much lower down, was one about a guy who shot a burgler in his home and was charged with not having proper registration for the gun. The charges were later dropped, the prosecutor said because he didn’t think it was necessary to charge someone for what they had discovered was a mere memory lapse. There was a city ordinance banning handguns in the city limits (something I think is unconsitutional, but is not addressed by the Castle Doctrine so not germaine to this discussion a judicial challenge would likely make short work of that ordinance). No word on whether he was fined. Had he had proper registration, it appears that no charges would have been brought. This guy’s name was Hale DeMar. Articles about Hale DeMar fill up the next three or so pages of search results.
After perusing five pages of search results, I’ve got:
1) One case of mistaken identity
2) One case of tampering with the evidence.
3) Two cases in Britain, which don’t count in a discussion of US. Law.
4) One burglar charged with a shooting.
5) One officer shot while responding (before anyone in the house was hurt) to a burglary.
6) And one guy charged with not having proper registration for his weapon.
Not one case of someone actually being convicted in the shooting of a burglar in the U.S.
As I said last time I addressed this issue: Somebody prove to me that this is a REAL problem in the US. I challenged everyone to come up with one single solitary case where a person IN THE US actually went to jail or had any penalty at all for shooting someone in a common law self-defense situation.
In fact, here's a site that has a whole list of people who didn't go to jail after shooting people in their homes.
Thursday, 06 September 2007 09:53:42 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Ugh.
Wednesday, 05 September 2007
Or: Teresa and the Dungeon of Near Death
Got up at oh-five-dark-and-sleepy, Rocky got me to the airport in plenty of time. I got on the plane, plane took off on time, no bumps, no hitches, no muss no fuss.
Well, maybe a little muss and fuss. I sat next to a grumpy, incommunicative little man who passed noxious gas the whole flight. But that’s sort of something I’ve come to expect. Travel has a deleterious effect on some people’s digestion.
Got to the airport in Boston, found out Barb was in a completely different terminal, but she got there in enough time to orient herself and find where I would be.
Good thing too, because my eyes were watery and difficult to focus for a while after I got off the plane.
I got my suitcase, and Barb and I hiked to the shuttle bus area where we looked for our shuttle to Enterprise Rental. We saw every other possible type of rental car shuttle, but no Enterprise. Barb went back to the rental car phone bank to make a call, and three Enterprise shuttles came all in one glob while she was gone.
At Enterprise, we were greeted by a fully-staffed counter of freshly-scrubbed and smiling faces in shirts and ties. And I mean greeted, handed bottles of cold spring water, had our hands shaken, were asked about our flights, checked in promptly, and given excellent directions to our destination (including an offer to print out a Google Map, which Rocky had already done for me.)
We got on the road, and began our aimless wander up the coast of Main, taking wrong turns there, and right turns that turned out to be wrong there, and wrong turns that were actually right at the other place…
Oh, that reminds me of something I wanted to say:
“HEY NEW ENGLAND!!!! YOUR SIGNAGE SU-DIDDELY-UCKS!”
There, just had to get that off my chest.
We stopped at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset on Sue’s recommendation (she had been through there days earlier) and the lobster roll, crab cakes and fried zucchini were delicious. The ice cream was rather…eh.
A nice couple we met in line gave us their card, and a sales pitch for a patent medicine that was made from a rare asian herb that would cure all migraines and cluster headaches and a whole list of other seemingly unrelated conditions. It had changed their lives. Uh huh.
More driving, beautiful country, lots of fun chatting and catching up and such, and we finally arrived at N.E. Harbor, where our “cabin” was. We drove all over the place trying to figure out where 76 Harbor Street was, only to eventually find out that somebody (who shall remain nameless) had given us the wrong address and it was actually 76 Summit.
Our friend Alicia, her two daughters and Sue’s daughter walked down to rescue us. There was much rejoicing.
We were exhausted, so I pulled the air-mattresses Sue had loaned us out of my suit case, and we began blowing them up. I got light-headed pretty quickly, so while Barb took a turn at trying to inflate one of them, I went in search of something to help. I thought we might hook a vacuum hose up to the exhaust and use a vacuum to blow up the mattress. I’ve done this before, so I asked about a vacuum.
“In the closet” said Sue.
“What closet?” I asked.
“There’s a door in the entryway.”
I looked around the entry-way, and sure enough, there was a door. I opened it, and there was a defunct dust-buster sitting on a shelf an arm’s length in front of me in a very shallow closet, cloaked in shadow as it was late at night, and that corner of the entry-way was not well lit. I pulled it out and examined it. The thing had probably not worked for ten years. There was rust on it. I went to put it back, and it tipped off the narrow shelf. As I leaned in to right it, I took a step forward…into NOTHING.
My hands shot out and braced against the wall in front of me and the wall to the left. My back slammed up against a shelf that ran along the wall to my right, and friction held me there as I yelled, groped with my foot for the floor that wasn’t there, and yelled again.
More foot-groping, one more yell. Three seemed like a good number of yells.
“What?” Sue demanded, sounding irritated.
“No floor! No floor!” I yelled, or something like that. It’s a little fuzzy. I was still holding myself up, one foot on the threshold, braced at three points by hands and back against walls, and most of my weight dangling over blackness that should have been a floor.
Sue’s daughter brought a flashlight, and shined it down the hole, revealing a steep stair-ladder Chimera going almost straight down into a stone-walled basement filled with junk.
I pushed HARD with my right hand against the back wall, and got myself back out of the “closet”, shut the door, replaced the hook-and-eye latch, and tried to catch my breath.
“That door was sealed off, we couldn’t get it open.” Said Sue, still sounding irritated. She also pointed me to the identical door on the opposite side of the entry-way...where the closet was. It was not immediatly apparent from the side I was on at the time.
“It opened right up,” I replied.
Then I realized that I was probably walking into an already tense situation, and with Sue and Amanda’s help, Barb and I got the air-mattresses inflated, and I laid down and listened to everyone debate endlessly how the logistics were going to work to get everyone somewhere that they wanted to be tomorrow.
Eventually, I said something like, “I don’t care what we do tomorrow, if I’m not asleep in 20 minutes, someone is going to die.”
Plans for the next day were hastily concluded, and I fell asleep to dream of falling and being stuck in a dark dungeon with rats all night.
Tuesday, 04 September 2007
As a history buff, particularly a colonial/revolutionary history buff, I always love to visit Boston.
I always learn something new.
This time, I learned that if someone says you're "slow as molassass in January", its not the dis it appears to be.
Molassass in January apparently can travel as fast as 35 miles per hour. At least when it is traveling in a 25-foot-tall wave.
I also learned the conditions of one of the first class-action lawsuits in history, and also, I've learned that blaming disaster and mayhem on war protestors is nothing new.
Oh, and for proper form, I should mention that it was Sue and Barb who learned this stuff first, and passed it on to me.
Meet Justin Taylor.
Neil at 4Simpson’s says he has “a profound understanding of God and his control over all things.”
Don’t confuse him with THIS Justin Taylor.
[Update: Justin Talyor thanks God for the Ministry of D. James Kennedy and his Coral Ridge Ministries. D. James Kennedy you ask? Wasn't he all chummy with R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North? Well, he might have been, but it doesn't matter, 'cause he's dead now, and so is Rushdoony. And time isn't exactly going to wait for Gary North, if you know what I mean.]
Justin Taylor was interviewed by a guy named Adrian Warnock.
Adrian was thrilled to be interviewing Justin, because he’s apparently known as “John Piper’s right-hand man”.
John Piper is a bad man. He’ll tell you so himself:
But don’t take HIS word for it. Take GOD’s Word for it. His take on the 35W bridge is that we all deserved to die, and those poor people on the bridge just met their judgment earlier than the rest of us (in other words, they deserved it, and so do we.)
But don’t confuse him with Fred Phelps, whose whole ministry is centered around this idea, and who s completely different because he proclaims the exact same message, but uses vulgarity and unpopular actions to do it. It’s true that he’s focused on gays, to the exclusion of other sins, but his essential doctrine, if you pay attention is that we have all sinned, and deserve to die horribly.
They both profess to believe, at the foundation of their core beliefs, that all it takes is for your existence on this earth as a human being to deserve the weight of God’s wrath. God caused us to be born, deserving to die horribly so that he can save us, but we have to give ourselves over to him and cease to be human.
Maybe Neil could explain to me the difference in their philosophies (beyond the polished polite veneer that John Piper and Justin Taylor give it…as opposed to Fred Phelps who at least acknowledged its ugliness, looked the flaws in the face and embraced them along with madness.)
He might be able to, but I doubt very much that he will…because if he really looked into it, I suspect he’s smart enough to know, he would risk detecting the flies in the butter.
Until then, I think I’ll just write Calvinism off as a bad idea, thanks. I’ll leave you with a little quote from one of my favorite Babylon 5 characters:
“Wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happened to us, come because we deserve them? So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the Universe.”
From now on, when people ask me why I don’t believe in the God of the Christian religion, I believe I will answer simply “Because it is better than the alternative.”
Ben is quitting blogging.
And just a little while ago a small penguin was visiting me, and said "I'm in love with Ben."
Now where will I go for an internet kindred spirit?
Sad Teresa has mopey face now.
Good-bye Ben, and please stop back by here once in a while to say "hi".
And, should the blogging itch hit you some night when you are up late and have a thought ping-ponging around inside your head, please write it down and send it to me as a guest blogger.
You always have a venue here.
Tuesday, 04 September 2007 07:05:58 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | | Personal
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