Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Now that I've gotten the lighthearted cynicism out of the way, I have a few serious thoughts to add on this subject. Some people are afraid that this may open the way to lawsuits against the state. I happen to think that's full of shit, but in today's cartoonishly litigious society, that's not entirely impossible. No, my opposition to this is that the apology is several decades too late. The year is 2007. How many people are still alive who were victims of slavery, a practice which ended in the United States in 1865? What good will it do to the victims of slavery for their descendants, several generations removed, to be given an apology due not to those descendants, but to the victims themselves? I know, well, that is, I know as well as any American born in the last century, how awful slavery must have been, how inhumane and unforgivable it was. I am sickened by the fact that this is among the most shameful parts of this nation's past. I think that there was a time when an apology would have been meaningful to the victims of slavery. I just think this is a case where it's too little, too late, and issued by the wrong people. I realize that this is a topic for debate, and some may disagree, but this is what I think.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
In Gideon v. Wainwright, the SCOTUS ruled that, by virtue of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the state is required to provide lawyers for all defendants in criminal cases. In a small majority of states, this has meant the creation of a Public Defender's system. In my state of Alabama, well, this is newsworthy, and post-conviction representation is questionable at best for death row inmates. Were it not for the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama and other charitable organizations, plus the less-organized pro bono work done by individuals, my state would be much worse off, even as bad as it currently is. On a wider scale, the plight is taken up by the member organizations of the Innocence Network, of which the Innocence Project is easily the best-known. Other groups do this work as well, but I'm sure by now you get a rather disturbing picture. I ask you not to look down on my state, at how fucked up Alabama can be, but rather, to look in your own back yards, dig around, figure out what's broken there and try to fix it. I have little doubt that you will be as disgusted and disturbed as I was.
I believe, however, one of the core issues is that of an elected justice system. This has a great potential, realized in many known and probably more unknown, cases for justice to be perverted or denied outright to the accused. Put another way, a measure of job security, using evaluations other than that of the voting public, leads to clearer thinking on the part of prosecutors and judges and a greater chance of a fair administration of justice. Toss in proper oversight, including harsh punishments for rogue prosecutors and judges, and I think we can end up a much better nation than we are now. Forgive these musings of a tired mind, but I think it's food for thought.
Friday, April 13, 2007
You are Death
Change, Transformation, Alteration.
People fear this card, but if you want to change your life, this is one of the
best indicators for it. Whatever happens, life will be different. Yes, the Death card can signal a death in the right circumstances (a question about a very sick or old relative, for example), but unlike its dramatic presentation in the movies, the Death card is far more likely to signal transformation, passage, change. Scorpio, the sign of this card, has three forms: scorpion, serpent, eagle. The Death card indicates this transition from lower to higher to highest. This is a card of humility, and it may mean you have been brought low, but only so that you can then go higher than ever before. Death "humbles" all, but it also "exults." Always keep in mind that on this card of darkness there is featured a sunrise as well. You could be ready for a change.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Now that I've said that, I have some questions. How many lives were ruined by him calling the obviously intelligent and well-grounded women "nappy-headed hos"? How many good people had their names dragged through the mud, their freedom placed in jeopardy, and their careers destroyed with his one comment? If what Mr. Imus did was so terrible and he was so deserving of his fate, why then has Al Sharpton, who has ruined innocent people's lives, perhaps most infamously during the Tawana Brawley incident, been allowed to continue his work as a community leader and activist? Where is justice for his victims? To date, Al Sharpton has not even apologized to Steven Pagones. Where is his justice? Mr. Sharpton claims to be a man of justice and of the cloth, a man who, allegedly (and in the face of stacks of evidence to the contrary) is a man of God, a true Christian. To Mr. Sharpton, I quote a verse he apparently has never heard of, Luke 6:41: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Mr. Sharpton, why beholdest thou indeed the mote in thy brother's eye, motherfucker?
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
So, assume the Iraq War ends today, and the government now has an additional $125 billion to spend. What should be done with the money? I can think of a few ideas. The first priority should be to put that money towards the national debt, and to find ways to greatly streamline the federal government so that money can also make this nation solvent once more. This will benefit both us and the generations to come.
However, if you don't want to do that, there's another favorite of mine: research into alternative fuels and trebling fuel economy. I even have a preferred method for that. NASA has been using the same space shuttle design for 30 years or thereabouts, and they haven't come up with a workable replacement. At this point, NASA has become so mired in red tape that even minor changes to their technology require a tremendous investment in time and money. As a result, I think the government is clearly not the answer, or at least not the answer directly, to this question. Instead, I cite the Ansari X Prize as a shining example of competition spurring rapid advances in technology. State a goal, put out a fat reward for whomever achieves it first, and let the chips fall where they may. If it's big enough, it will even generate its own press. To that end, the people behind the Ansari X Prize are now in the process of drafting rules for an Automotive X Prize, with the most recent draft having been released on April 2, 2007. Actually, I prefer the X Prizes because they are privately funded, but if they want, they should follow as closely as possible the example of the Ansari family. Just a thought...