Jonathan Coulton (with Paul and Storm) covered this last night...
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled today that "foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts," that Habeas Corpus does still glimmer, albeit dimly, over the shadow of our modern times.
Five to Four.
Four Supreme Court Justices dissented, voted against this most basic, obvious right. John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas each voted that prisoners, individuals, human beings cannot challenge their detention. They did not vote against the release of the prisoners. The did not vote against the aiding, the abetting of prisoners. They did not vote against the glorification of prisoners. No. They voted against the right of these individuals to simply challenge their detention, the right of these individuals to walk into a United States civilian court and demand proof, evidence, or merely ANYTHING that could justify their imprisonment.
And so we must ask upon what did they base this decision, what clairvoyance aided their assessment?
Scalia said the nation is "at war with radical Islamists" and that the court's decision "will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."Please.
What evidence, what proof is offered to support this position? What rational argument is its base? Americans will die if terrorist suspects held without proof, evidence, or charges are allowed to challenge their detention? From what laughable realm of fiction does this fear mongering come? In what Nation was Scalia born, raised, educated? Whose history did he learn? Whose values did he adopt?
On March 23, 1775 when Patrick Henry stood before the Virginia House of Burgesses and proclaimed "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" was his sentiment dishonest, baseless? Is "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils." mere rhetoric? Is Anthony Kennedy's statement that "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times" false?
What are we as a nation, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas? In what do we believe? Is our legal system little more than the means by which we achieve short-sighted, ignorant, fear-based goals? Do we really want to take a machete to the Constitution and reassemble it with Elmer's Glue, scotch tape, and blind fear? Are you seriously terrified that if Osama bin Laden's former driver has access to a U.S. civilian court we'll all die?
Upon hearing the decision President Bush said "We'll abide by the court's decision. That doesn't mean I have to agree with it."
Of course you don't agree with it, Mr. President. You're disdain for the Constitution is abundantly clear at this point. But John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas? Whence the fear these Supreme Court Justicies have for freedom, for rights, for the law? Are they truly so divorced from reality, from history, that the patriotic declarations of our history move neither their minds nor their hearts?
"Give me liberty or give me death!"
"Live free or die!"
Perhaps some still understand the sentiment of these declarations: that it is better to die than to live in tyranny. But for others, for the weak-willed cowards of John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas these are little more than hollow reminders of a chivalry long lost and a history quickly forgotten. To them these quotes are delusional. More apt would be a cry that we are mere children perpetually trembling at the notion that the driver of a car could enter a courthouse and be treated like a human being.
"The nation is 'at war with radical Islamists' and that the court's decision 'will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.'"
Please, Scalia. Did you write that statement while cowering behind your mother afraid that the big, bad Islamo-fascist caricatures were going to get you? Or do you actually believe your own tripe?
Resign your posts and retire to your cribs, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Thomas. We have no use for frightened children on the court.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The Euthyphro is my favorite Platonic Dialog. I find its crux to be the most enjoyable crux of all the Platonic Dialogs given the degree to which it is puzzling, unanswerable, and applicable to a plethora of everyday situations. So I'm going to talk about the Euthyphro, then discuss the primary crux of the Euthyphro, and finally relate the Euthyphro to some stupid shit McCain has been saying. Sound good? No? Alright, then.
The Euthyphro is a dialog between Socrates, antiquity's first grifter, and Euthyphro, a religious expert and pompous asshole, concerning piety. The dialog begins in the typical Platonic fashion with the two characters meeting one another, a situation arising which fosters debate, and Socrates luring the unsuspecting dipshit into discussion. To Socrates' first question of "What is Pious" Euthyphro replies with a particular example of pious action. Socrates dismisses this as a mere particular example and explains that he wants to know what makes pious things pious. Euthyphro then states that "piety is what the gods approve of". Which is a fine definition, until one realizes that the gods disagree with one another. Euthyphro then amends his definition by saying that "What all the gods approve of is pious, and what they all disapprove of is impious". As Euthyphro's definition is obviously fixated on the will of the Gods Socrates then asks the question which is the crux of the Euthyphro, the Euthyphro dilemma:
Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?Stated differently, is "pious" a characteristic of a thing itself or is "pious" a characteristic attributed to a thing by the gods? With regard to piety this creates a dilemma in that things are pious regardless of the will of the gods (nonsense/makes gods subject to something) or things are only pious because the gods say they are (arbitrary/naturalistic fallacy). With regard to reality independent of the Euthyphro, however, this dilemma is terrific.
My interest in the Euthyphro comes from an extraction of the fundamental crux and its application to everything else in reality: Is X Y because it is Y, or is X Y because we say it is Y? Dissecting reality in this way is a hoot: Is candy delicious because it is delicious, or is candy delicious because we say it is delicious? Is good good because it is good, or is good good because we say it is good? What is the nature of an attribute? What is the relation between characteristics and things? How does this fundamental component of reality, attributes, relate to things? Are they separable, inseparable? Whence their meaning and application? It is a wonderful mind puzzle, especially when you apply it to John McCain's dipshittery.
On Monday John McCain was interviewed by Brian Williams. During the interview John McCain said, "And the fact is we are winning in Iraq." Of course, you can see where I'm going with this: Apply the Euthyphro Dilemma to McCain's statement:
Are we winning the war because we're winning the war, or are we winning the war because we say we're winning the war?
Ignoring the fact that one could easily dismiss McCain's premise and rather claim that we are not winning the war it is far more enjoyable to assess "winning" in terms of the Euthyphro. So, which is it? How can we tell?
Have fun with that. And feel free to apply the Euthyphro Dilemma to everything else in your life. I promise that doing so will never, ever piss anyone off.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Newsweek: Do you think that an Obama presidency would make the country less secure?So while Obama would not make the country less secure, he would not make it as secure as McCain. Woo-hoo! That's some substantial, quantifiable, and spicy rhetoric from McCain. Let's just hope McCain never says that Obama would make America safer, otherwise McCain would "not have much of a reason for me seeking the presidency."
McCain: Not as secure as my presidency would. That's one of the major reasons why I'm running. I believe I have the experience and the knowledge and the judgment to make America more secure than an Obama presidency would. And if I thought he would make it safer, then obviously I would not have much of a reason for me seeking the presidency.
If you have not read When there is no good choice or have not told your friends to read When there is no good choice then I suggest doing both.
One of the components of the abortion debate which I loathe is how pro-lifers will blindly cling to their stance and stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the degree to which reality, and by extension the abortion debate, is not black and white, right and wrong. There is nuance involved. That nuance is what When there is no good choice attempts to convey.
The article tells the story of Mary Vargas whose fetus experienced Potter's syndrome, a severe lack of amniotic fluid. The article conveys the difficult decisions and choices Mary Vargas and her husband faced which pro-life dipshits ignore. It grapples with the emotional struggle of the Vargas family, who wanted to have a child, as they tried to do what was best for their doomed fetus.
That is the story the pro-life stance fails to acknowledge; the struggle the pro-life stance pretends away. Blind adherence to baseless dogma removes any chance of nuanced understanding and rather adopts a holier-than-thou position maintained independent of the real-life situations with which families grapple every day. As Mary Vargas is quoted in the article, "It felt like we were answering directly to George Bush, and that he was telling us what we were doing was wrong."
The article also touches on Perinatal Hospices, which as I have already stated are basically institutions which support psychosis. But you know what? Even if Perinatal Hospices basically perpetuate psychosis and cater to the illusion that fetuses are little people deprived of hats at least they are trying to help people. And even if that help is misplaced and even if its foundation is ignorance at the end of the day it provides an option to families which can make people feel better. Perinatal Hospices try to ease the pain families experience in a failed pregnancy.
That, I think, ought to be the focus of the abortion debate. It doesn't make sense to be pro-life or pro-choice, to adopt a position estranged from the particular circumstances which give rise to this debate in the first place. It doesn't make sense to craft laws and rules from the position of an uninvolved third party. It doesn't make sense to ignore reality and start with a fabricated, unsubstantiated, transcendental ideal.
Start with Mary Vargas; understand her plight. And then shut the god damned fuck up and let people live their own lives. If an individual, particular family decides to have an abortion then let them. If an individual, particular family decides to go to a perinatal hospice then let them. If an individual, particular family decides to deliver the baby then let them.
The choice is theirs to make. Let them make it.
If we pretend that there is no choice, that there is only the faux-objective truth of the blind adherence to an ideal then we've left the real world and ventured into the realm of fantasy; we've constructed a fairy-tale and founded our stance within that fiction. We've shoved our heads up our collective asses and missed the fucking point: We're trying to help people. Not fantasy people. Not imaginary people. Not platonic ideal people. Not rhetorically defined-to-be people. Not potential people. Not dogma people. Not hypothetical people.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
[16:06] Courfeyac: Man. You can't rick roll to save your own skin.
[16:06] Darthbert: I just did.
[16:06] Courfeyac: Posting to a youtube video of Rick Astley is not rickrolling.
[16:07] Courfeyac: if that shit don't bounce around the screen, and quote lyrics at you when you try to close it, it's not a Rick Roll.
Rickrolling is a prank and Internet meme involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a classic bait and switch: a person provides a Web link they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video.Now we have documented, for the records, Roscoe's predilection for fabricating his own criteria by which a phenomena is to be assessed which contradicts the established, accepted method of identification.
... Or Journalism in Unwise Hands.
Posted by Roscoe at 12:05 PM