SocraticGadfly: 1/23/05 - 1/30/05

January 26, 2005

Vote no on Alberto Gonzales

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee all held the line to vote no on Alberto Gonzales as our next Attorney General.

Simply put, we don't need someone who:
A. Condones torture, and
B. Says the president is above the law

to be the man charged with enforcing our country's laws.

This would be like Nixon nominating John Mitchell for Attorney General in late 1973.

Maybe Democrats are the minority. But it would be great to see one of the two older, engaged, antiwar lions -- Kennedy, or better yet, Byrd -- filibuster.

I once thought Russ Feingold ...

Would be a good progressive presidential candidate, after being the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.

No more.

First, he voted to certify Ohio's electoral votes. I could have accepted him abstaining, rather than voting against certification. But to vote in favor? Nope.

And now, he's voted for Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State.

Sorry, Russ, turn in your progressive's wings and halo.

The complete list of the 13 Senators voting no is:
James Jeffords, Mark Dayton, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Carl Levin, Robert Byrd, Jack Reed, Richard Durbin, Daniel Akaka, Evan Bayh, Frank Lautenberg and Tom Harkin.

Call me callous, but ...

If you’re going to kill yourself, do it right, dammit.

If you really believe nobody else cares about you, then:

1. Don’t just paralyze yourself, make yourself comatose, or otherwise leave yourself alive, but a burden on people who supposedly “don’t care about you.”

2. Don’t involve other people, whether to get a posthumous version of the “15 minutes of fame” you may believe you’re due, or whatever. Kill just yourself. And above all, do not be like the would-be L.A. commuter rail would-be suicide and back out while still killing others.

In my city, we had a person do something similar. She drove her car across the median of I-35E in a suicide attempt. She, too, failed in this objective, but managed to kill multiple persons in the oncoming car she hit.

I don’t believe that such cases exemplify mental illness, at least not enough to beat the rap on an insanity plea. If you’re rational enough to plan out such a suicide, rather than gulp a bottle of sleeping pills in an alcoholic haze, you’re rational enough to stand trial.

January 25, 2005

"Spiritual healing"? How about "egotistic bullshit"?

So now Philadelphia Eagle hotshot wide receiver and egomaniac par excellence Terrell Owens is claiming he has been "spiritually healed".

What BS.

First, I think any true Christian ought to take offense at this, the latest and most over-the-top example of athletes believing a god, if he existed, actually cares about who wins a stinking football/baseball/basketball game.

Second, traditional Christians should see this as Exhibit A for what is wrong with the "God and greed" mentality of "success theology" Christianity and its ego-stroking.

Third, I as a secularist am warming up the interior schadenfreude motor, just waiting for T.O. to be a big fricking flop.

Finally, T.O.’s claims of "spiritual healing" always beg back to the issue of theodicy and the problem of evil. Hey, T.O., if you love your God so much, and you think he cares about your football success so much, why don’t you ask him why he let your leg get broken in the first place?

Update, Feb. 6: Unfortunately, Owens played in the Super Bowl as if he had gotten some sort of healing. Nine catches for 122 yards is very good. At least the Eagles lost, so he wasn't able to shoot his mouth off too much, let alone thank God for an Eagles' victory, as so many athletes are wont to do, as if a divinity actually would put an athletic contest on that high of a scale.
Now, the ancient Greeks, for whom the Olympic Games were soaked with religion, might well disagree. But, Athens didn't have everything right, either.

The real national security problem...

Is illegal immigration.

My position is that of Main Street America, vs. both Wall Street conservatives and a broad swath of liberals. It needs to be stopped. Now.

Barbed wire, with concertina on top, all the way along the border, would be step No. 1. Then, denude a five-mile deep swath of our side of the border for easy tracking. Set up more spy cameras. Use solar panels, if efficiency levels continue to grow, to electrify the entire fence. Use search dogs liberally.

The old Soviet Union did this for years along its southern and eastern borders. And it worked.