Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good riddance

From's "The Ticker": An aide to Hastert said Thursday he will retire by the end of December.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Denny Boy will need to undergo reconstructive surgery to remove a rubber stamp which had grown into the flesh of his right hand.

Aren't we missing the forest here?

The Supreme Court is hearing a somewhat controversial death penalty case, but to me this seems to present the classic example of missing the massive forest because of a particularly gruesome tree.

[Disclaimer: I have always been somewhat intellectually squishy on the death penalty, but I have been able to deal with (weasel out) of my moral conundrum on practical grounds because of the manifestly unfair way the punishment is administered and the frightening likelihood of killing the innocent]

The court will decide, not whether the taking of a human life is a constitutionally appropriate punishment, but on whether the particular execution protocol used by most states is violative of the cruel or unusual punishment prohibition.

I understand the argument, that the current cocktail can cause intense pain while the paralytic agents prevent the dying (wo)man from crying out or otherwise signaling distress, but is this the constitutional question that we should address? Are those six minutes from the two nods, the initial one from the warden and the final one from the doctor, truly present the constitutional issue? This court has framed the question not as "should we kill," but rather as "hey, is there a more efficient way to kill?" The court's decision will not determine how we deal with the fundamental questions of life, death, and justice. Rather, it will either return the executioners to their gruesome work or send the chemists scurrying to their labs and the lawyers to their libraries to ensure that the killing protocol becomes a much more effective process.

Isn't it apparent that we really want state killing to be more comfortable for us, not the condemned?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meanwhile. back in Arkansas...

Slaughterhouse live: Teacher kills raccoon
Educator shoots animal with nail gun to use it for skinning demonstration


Monday, November 12, 2007

Sacrifice and Vanity

The president pulled out his "they shall not have died in vain" line again.

I'm sorry, that is just grossly inappropriate.

When Lincoln said it, the fate of the United States as a nation was very much in doubt. Lincoln quite reasonably committed the nation to defend itself from its internal enemy, not only because it was the right thing to do but also because it was his constitutional duty to do. To have done otherwise would have dishonored those who had already fallen for a clearly-defined and noble ideal.

But George W. Bush? He does not invoke a sacred duty but rather a wanton bloodlust, to commenorate those who have died by sacrificing more who will also die. And for what? So that a nation might live, as Lincoln said? So that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth? No, they are being sent to die for a vainglorious fool's delusions in a conflict that mocks the very nature of what the nation seen by Lincoln should be.

Mr. President, there can only be one way that their sacrifices will not be in vain, and that is for you, or others if necessary, to finally have the basic human decency to say that enough is enough. Enough blood, death. shattered bodies and shattered limbs, lost treasure and lost honor. Enough is indeed enough.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Maybe you had to be there

On tonight's episode of Family Guy, Stewie had declared himself president of the world, and was residing in the Oval Office. His mom paid him a visit to kill him, and as she was shooting up the room, the "camera" passed by portraits of recent presidents. After sweeping past W, she returned and emptied the clip into his portrait, obliterating him from the wall.

I'm just sayin'...

A picture speaks a thousand words

So here's a few thousand to cap off my football Saturday: