Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Gun? No Funeral! No Problem!

Apparently there's a minor scandal brewing in the Great White North about a website for a group called "No Gun, No Funeral."
Some people think the group wants to ban handguns in Canada but I think that's a myth; instead, I assume they want to encourage handgun ownership by having funeral homes refuse to organize funerals for people who refused to own handguns.
So I signed their petition. In fact, I wanted to help them so much I signed it twice!
My spelling was a little bit off. In fact, the second time I signed it, I wrote
I am many times the rappist and want to help sure that no womyns have gun for stop me! Thank you for your helps! I visit you soon to thanks you!

Of course, what I meant to say was "I have been a therapist many times and want to make sure no hysterical women (or men) have guns because they might shoot me during a therapy session. Thank you for your project, and I hope to visit you soon to thank you in person!"
I'm sure no one could construe my comments as a threat. And even if they did, why, since I don't own any guns (as far as they know) they don't need guns to defend themselves, do they??

Feat of Clay, or Blowing the Whistle in a Glass House

(Sorry for the corny puns in the title of this post; I'm ill and can't think well.)
The New Republic is one of my favorite publications, and one of my goals in life is to contribute to them. I am so upset over the Scott Thomas Beauchamp scandal that I'm physically sick, with intestinal problems.
David Thomson has an interesting post on Pajamas Media. Money quote: "Why does TNR continuously have this problem? Why don’t these incidents ever seem to occur in more conservative publications? This is a very simple question to answer: left-wing writers are far more inclined to lie and slime."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What are the consequences when the powerful are impervious to justice?

Bernadette Atahuene's post at Blackprof poignantly asks "

What are the consequences when the powerful are impervious to justice?"

I oppose the Occupation of Iraq, and I am in favor of equal justice for all.

BT posted: Iraq - Genocide of entire religious sects.

I agree with you: the world should definitely demand that the Sunni and Shiite terrorists who are slaughtering civilians be punished for those crimes.

Mwafrika posted: Bush and Co. will never answer for the more than 0.6 million Iraqi (according to some estimates) and 3600 American soldiers.

That's true, because the 600,000 Iraqi civilians were killed (deliberately) by insurgents, and not killed by Coalition forces.

According to the Iraq Body Count project, Allied forces killed about 9,000 Iraqi civilians in the two years from 2003 to 2005. So I agree that Dubya and his gang should be held responsible for those deaths and punished, while the insurgents should be held responsible for the remaining 591,000+ deaths and punished proportionally.

Mwafrika also posted: Presidents Mugabe, Chavez, Castro get away with human rights abuse and dismantling of democratic structures in the guise of fighting imperialism.
Their "fighting imperialism cred" win them massive support among the oppressed people in their respective countries and the world, hence imposible to dislodge from power.

I agree that Mugabe, Chavez, and Castro are guilty of crimes against humanity and should be brought to justice as soon as possible!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Political Pigfight: Death to the Corrupt and Evil (Young and Stevens)

TheHill.com has a heartening article about principled opposition to two of the most corrupt and evil men in Congress, Representative Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens, both Republicans from Alaska. Both of them are evil because they helped lead the fight, during the GOP's control of Congress, to maintain and increase "pork" spending, i.e. spending for special interests, such as corporate welfare and "earmarks" -- a term which means, very simply, "giving money to special interests."
I'm an active and registered Republican but these two, like are corrupt and evil in a way which makes me embarassed to admit my political affiliation these days. In fact, they would make me proud to be a Democrat instead! As Noam Schriber pointed out in The New Republic,
"When small-government conservatives abandon their principles and become big-government conservatives...scandal is a predictable result. The reason is that people ideologically predisposed to doubt the effectiveness of government don't see much practical difference between running programs in the public interest and running them as vast kickback operations, in which they spread government lucre among their favorite interest groups. If government won't work either way, you might as well make your friends happy."
To quote Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), "The Republicans didn’t do what they said they were going to do. They deserve the wrath of the voters.”

Update: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2007/aug/17/i75_blog_fight_over_10_million/?breaking_news


Update: Ace of Spades HQ says
"When your own partisans (such as myself) are actively rooting for Republican Congressmen to be arrested, you've got a problem. Deal with the problem. Eliminate all earmarks. All of them."
He expresses my sentiments perfectly. Hat tip: Instapundit.

Update: Fred Barnes in the WSJ says "the road to political recovery...for Republicans is to stop acting like, well, Republicans--that is, Republicans of recent vintage." Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan, who gives Barnes the Yglesias Award for Political Honesty!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Political Catfight

I feel as strongly about this conflict as I do about the one between Hamas and Fatah! Please check out the "America Held Hostage" .gif on the header of my blog to see one of the several reasons I have no respect for Nancy Pelosi, and for another reason you can check out my post about the Democrats voting for additional powers for Attorney-General Gonzales when it's clear that he suffers from advanced Alzheimer's disease and can't be trusted with them. Of course, her support for corporate welfare (especially for farmers) and her opposition to school reform are the main reasons I dislike her, but I'll support practically anyone who is against Pelosi.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

On his blog The Agitator, Radley Balko points out something that I use to show -- or rather remind -- my conservative friends why the so-called "Patriot" Act is such a bad idea:
the Democrats want to fire Alberto Gonzalez, but then voted to give him new eavesdropping powers (because) they believe Hillary Clinton will be president come 2009.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

3 Laws (of War) Safe

Kenneth Anderson's Law of War and Just War Theory Blog has an excellent article on applying the laws of war to robots. At this stage of development military "robots" are just remote-controlled armed fighting vehicles but Anderson makes it explicit: "That post was about machines with the capability to act independently, independent of human control." He also quotes an article in The Economist.
For me, of course, the money quote from Anderson's post is this:
The most striking part of the project is that I do not see that the attempt to translate ethical decisionmaking into machine terms involves genuinely novel questions of ethics as such. On the contrary, what we seek to do is not to establish novel ethical principles, but rather to create, or re-create, hypothetically ideal or perfect ethical decisionmaking and conduct as we would imagine it for a hypothetically ideal or perfect human soldier but do so within a machine, a robot. The problems are in translation, not the creation of new problems or new solutions. In that sense, one could say that however interesting or important a task of ethical translation, it poses no new tasks in fundamental ethical theory. (Italics mine.)

He then goes on to provide an interesting and well-thought-out discussion of the current state of just-war theory...which (surprise, surprise) hasn't advanced in any discernable way since I first read Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars thirty years ago.
ObCit: "3 Laws Unsafe" by the Singularity Institute, and a "Prognosis: Terminal" by David McDaniel, may God rest his beautiful soul!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Would You Like Freedom Fries With That?

Eurasia is allied with Oceania.
Eurasia is at war with Oceania.
Eurasia is at war with Oceania.
Eurasia is at war with Oceania.
Eurasia is allied with Oceania.
Eurasia is at war with Oceania.
Eurasia is allied with Oceania.
Eurasia has always been at war with Oceania.
Eurasia has always been allied with Oceania.
Eurasia will always be allied with Oceania.
Eurasia has always been at war with Oceania.
Eurasia has always been allied with Oceania.

...And I Wish For A Pony, Too!

Bruce, who blogs at Pink Sheets, has posted a comment (in response to "It's Not the Paper, Stupid!") on Jack Lail's Random Mumblings which gives some good suggestions:
Imagine someone opening up a news agency whose highest priority is providing information without judgement. If a big news event happens, they just roll the cameras and show the scene, without commentary, without speculation, without moral lessons.

Imagine they create a culture of extreme objectivity, firing anyone for the least infraction. Where a photoshopped picture would not only result in firings, but would also provide years of open ridicule. Imagine a news organization that not only admits its errors, but places them on page 1 if they were regarding page 1 stories. What if they had a detailed introspective followup explaining how they would avoid similar errors in the future, what changes they would make?

What if they had active elements within the organization continuously seeking out any and all biases, no matter how small?

What if they allowed their customers an open forum, easily viewable by their customers, for pointing out errors, commenting on the stories, making suggestions, etc.?

Some might think this is overly optimistic, but I am an idealist and I really think it's possible, with some effort, for the MSM to rise up to the level of quality now provided by the blogosphere. I don't think it's likely to happen, but at least it's possible.

Update: this article on "Augmenting the Pros by Linking to Them" at Classical Values, and this one from Knoxnews.com. Hat tip to Instapundit, of course!