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Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Lone Star State: What's Wrong With America

I have refrained from commenting on the raid of the FLDS compound, despite serious qualms about Fourth Amendment issues regarding the seizure of 450 (or does anyone know the true number?) children. I have refrained because I did not wish to raise hell without cause and serious contemplation, and without more facts. I write now because I finally have enough to form and express an informed opinion.

Furthermore, as a Mormon, I find myself in very strong disagreement with some fundamentals of the FLDS belief system. I do not approve of a number of their beliefs, and few were as happy as I when Warren Jeffs, their leader, was rendered a guest of the state, hopefully for the rest of his natural life. My extreme distaste for their leader aside, I write today on a matter of principle, and what are we if we do not have our principles, those lines we simply do not cross and cannot tolerate the breach of?

As stated in a ruling by a Texas appellate court panel, it turns out my deep concerns had a basis in fact. In my view, either through woefully insufficient or completely absent judicial oversight, the state of Texas is guilty of the abuse of these 400+ children, or at the very least, complicit in said abuse. In this case, the abuse has taken the form of forcibly removing children from their homes and placing them into foster care without just cause, and alienating them from their parents, friends, and family, all on the word of someone suspected to have actually been in Colorado, not Texas. Did the "good" people of El Dorado, Texas' "finest" lack the wit to recognize a 303, 719, 720, or 970 area code? For Christ's sake! Police had Caller ID before it became available for public consumption, and they allegedly couldn't recognize that those four area codes were not from within Texas, couldn't even be bothered to go to Yahoo or Google or a number of other resources in case they were confused or didn't have a phone book with its area code map handy?

I remember earlier on in this coverage, I saw an official with Texas' "child protection" services refer to the forcible removal of children as the "death penalty" of family court. Let's take him at his word. By extension, then, it could be argued that the state of Texas showed all the subtlety and consideration of jack-booted thugs rounding up a couple of thousand people and putting them before a figurative "firing squad", only the "bullets" with which these people were peppered was the shattering of their family units, and unlike an execution, this pain lingers on.

Again, I disagree deeply and fundamentally with the FLDS. Again, I'm VERY happy their leader is a guest of the state and will probably be so for the rest of his natural life, because of his abuse of children and his complicity in the same. However, the very fact that the government assumed that type of power based on the flimsiest of evidence is something we should all find terrifying.

I was going to do something with the Texas flag, but apparently, I have a lot of stuff to learn about GIMP before I will be able to use it effectively. I suppose that'll be part of the fun. Just know that it'll be unexpectedly offensive when I finish with it.

Enjoy the show.

Friday, May 09, 2008

See my shiny new button?

As you may have noticed, I added a little something to my website during my sabbatical. While I could give a bunch of excuses about being tired, or not having much to say, or having a lot of thinking to do, the simple truth is that I just got out of the habit of posting. Perhaps it was good for me. Perhaps not, but regardless, it happened, and I think it was necessary.

I did some deep soul searching, and I came to a conclusion about the remaining two (it was three at the time, but no more) remaining candidates: I'm not going to like any of them from an economic policy perspective. That's a given, and since that's the case, what is the issue I value the most after that? That answer was very simple: Civil liberties, and on that score, there was simply no contest. Senator Obama respects the rule of law and the rights of victims while also understanding that the rights of the accused MUST be respected and protected for our republic to adhere to its highest ideals. At the very least, we can trust him to not ignore the first eight Amendments to the Constitution of the United States when it's convenient, and we can trust him to respect the checks and balances afforded by our system. Given all that, I can and do support him with a song in my heart. I won't agree with him on every issue, and in fact, I'll strongly DISAGREE with him on a number of issues. However, he has earned my respect, and my vote in November. He has slain the Clinton Dragon(lady), and he is now returning to his kingdom with fanfare and banners to a hero's welcome.

For tonight's musical number, this link is in honor of Senator Hillary Clinton, or more to the point, to her people to perhaps give her a hint. Enjoy.