The Jury Talks Back

3/21/2009

In Chicago

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 11:49 am

Well, not there NOW, but In about an hour and a half I’m headed to Chicago to see family, and will be back home sometime Sunday…

If any of the Chicago folks wanna grab a late meal or a drink, e-mail me asap at jury.talks.back@gmail.com

Edit: Outta here in 20 minutes (that’s 5pm Central).  If you wanna meet up and have means of getting ahold of commentor JD, he can give you my number.

3/20/2009

Pope Criticized For Telling African Men Not to Beat Their Wives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 8:09 pm

From Catholic Culture:

The Association of Compassionate Christian Caregivers today severely criticized traditional Catholic teaching on marital “love” and called upon the churches to encourage wife-beating Africans to take the “prudent, practical steps” to reduce the risk of HIV infection when assailing their spouses.

“The science is not in doubt” says Fizzy Osbourne, spokesman for the International Planned Widowhood Federation, “all the evidence shows that bare fists used to pummel infected spouses cause skin ruptures that increase the rate of transmission to the uninfected partner.”

AIDS experts advise uninfected wife-beaters to don leather bag-mitts—ideally on top of and in addition to standard latex gloves—before striking their HIV-positive wives. Knuckle abrasion and random laceration can be reduced by as much as 94%, which significantly decreases exposure of the aggressor to contaminated blood. . . .

h/t: First Things

3/19/2009

Court: Christian student group can’t exclude non-believers, gays

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 5:39 am

Last week a federal appeals court ruled that UC Hastings College of Law can refuse to recognize and provide funding for a Christian student group that excludes non-Christians as well as gays and lesbians.  The Ninth U.S. Circus Circuit Court ruled that the school may require that the Christian Legal Society “accept all comers as members, even if those individuals disagree with the mission of the group.”  The group requires that members endorse a statement of faith and prohibits anyone who shows “unrepentant homosexual conduct.”

One wonders whether the University and the Court have considered the implications of the decision.  Would a Jewish group be forced to accept Christians as members — or those who reject Israel’s right to exist?  Would a campus LGBT group be required to accept members that oppose same-sex marriage?  What about a student Republican or Democrat group that rejects those who support a different political party?  Would they lose funding or recognition?

The ruling appears to be in direct contradiction to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.  The high court has previously ruled that a public institution must provide equal access to campus facilities and funding to religious organizations as it provides to other student organizations. Decisions must be made on a content-neutral basis. (Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263 (1981); Board of Regents v. Southworth, 529 U.S. 217 (2000); Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819 (1995)) 

Hopefully the Christian Legal Society will appeal this hairbrained decision to the Supreme Court.

3/18/2009

March madness

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 8:00 pm

Interesting statistics about the seeds since the tournament expanded to 16-seed regions.  Each seed has been assigned to 96 teams since 1985.

  • #1 seeds – 44% reach the Final Four.
  • #2 seeds that reach the regional finals (44 out of 96) advance at a 48% rate.
  • #3 seeds have won 3 titles — no lower seed has produced more than 1 champion
  • #4 seeds – 41% reach the Sweet 16, and 15% reach the regional final.
  • #5 seeds reach the Sweet 16 about as often as #4’s, but hardly ever go further.
  • #6 seeds that win their opening game (66) are more likely than not to win their 2nd (34).
  • #7 seeds that win their opening game (60) have a 30% chance of winning their 2nd and a 10% chance of winning their 3rd.
  • #8 seeds win 20% of 2nd round #1-#8 matchups.
  • #9 seeds win 54% of 1st round games, but winners lose 94% of 2nd round games.
  • #10 seeds produce more regional finalists than #7, #8, or #9 seeds.
  • #11 seeds have nearly as many Sweet 16 appearances (11) as #8 and #9 seeds combined (12).
  • #12 seeds that win their opening game (31) have a better than even chance of advancing further.
  • #13 seeds pull off the opening round upset 18% of the time.
  • #14 seeds get an opening round victory 16% of the time.
  • #15 seeds have 4 wins – the most recent in 2001.
  • #16 seeds have come within 2 points 3 times – a 4th #16 took its goliath to overtime.

Good luck — I hope your team wins (… unless you’re playing my team!)

It’s good that we didn’t elect Palin, huh?

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 10:51 am

From the DC Examiner

How right they were to insist that she was unfit for high office.  Let’s just imagine what she might have done:

As president, she might have caused the stock market to plunge over 2,000 points in the six weeks after she assumed office, left important posts in the Treasury unfilled for two months, been described by insiders as ‘overwhelmed’ by the office, and gone on to diss the British Prime Minister on his first state visit, giving him, as one head of state to another, a set of DVDs plucked from the aisles of Wal Mart, a tasteful gift, even if they can’t be played on a TV in Britain…

[As] Secretary of State, she might have, as the AP reported, “raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe…when she mispronounced her “EU counterparts names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe’s,” then gave the Russian minister a gag “reset” button, on which the word “reset” was translated incorrectly.

What a good thing that Palin, whom Christopher Buckley called “an embarrassment, and a dangerous one,” wasn’t in office to cause such debacles, and that we have Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton instead.

Indeed.  How fortunate we are.

H/T: HotAir

3/16/2009

Mad About AIG Bonuses?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 8:47 pm

Mad about AIG bonuses?  Feel that the taxpayer is getting ripped off?  A humble suggestion:  Make the bonuses toxic.

Seems fair, after all, given that AIG championed the “credit default swaps” that has every bank in the world in shambles.  Toxic bonuses for toxic paper.

Tax them.  Put a tax on carefully-defined bonuses such that any income which includes a 2009 AIG bonus is taxed at, oh, 97% from the first dollar.  Unfair?  No.  Legal? Welllllllllll, maybe not.

But would you deposit the check?

(note: It isn’t ex post facto, see United States v. Carlton 1994)

Update (3/19):  And actually, I’m embarrassed that Congress actually did such an irresponsible thing.  Life imitates jest.  But that’s what clowns are for.

Obama to provide for Gaza rebuilding … but not for injured American vets

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 8:40 pm

The Obama administration has pledged more than $900 million to help rebuild the Gaza Strip, whose devastation by Israeli forces was precipitated by a series of Hamas rocket attacks on the Jewish state.  The money will be distributed through the UN and other groups.  For anyone who believes that Hamas will not get its hands on the aid and turn American taxpayers’ dollars into bombs and weapons, I’ve got a bridge spanning the Golden Gate I’d like to sell you.

Meanwhile, the President has decided to outsource on the national commitment to military veterans who suffered disabilities and other injuries related to their service.  The administration plans to require private insurers to reimburse the government for such treatment, which would likely make it more difficult for current and future military personnel to obtain private medical coverage.  Obama expects to save $540 million with the plan that reneges on a commitment the country makes to those who risk their lives in order to protect our liberties.

As expected, the American Legion is furious.  In a letter to the President, the veterans group stated, “There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran’s personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide.”  [emphasis added]

We can’t afford to pay $540 million to care for veterans injured while protecting us from terrorists, but we can afford to throw another $900 million at a terrorist-infested land that hates America!

This would be a perfect juxtaposition for a Republican Party ad campaign designed to increase the momentum of Obama’s slipping approval ratings; it would surely appeal to independents and moderate Democrats.  Do Republican leaders still have a light on?  Or perhaps it could be distributed in the talking points to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy…

3/15/2009

How to discourage speech disruptions

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 7:39 pm

Last week protestors at the University of Massachusetts disrupted a speech by Don Feder.  Unruly students repeatedly interrupted the speaker with heckles, boos, catcalls, and other troublemaking, preventing Feder from completing his prepared remarks.  Ironically, the title of the program — sponsored by the UMass Republican Club — was, “Hate Crimes Laws and Other Forms of Censorship: the Left’s Assault on Free Speech.”

When asked to explain why they sought to prevent others from hearing what the speaker had to say, protestors inevitably displayed their ignorance of the First Amendment and their obliviousness to irony…

“There’s absolutely no room for hate speech on this campus,” said [2008 UMass] graduate Natalia Tylim.  Her friend, senior Katie Perry, concurred, adding “I think campuses are places for open-mindedness, and this is the opposite of that.”

I witnessed a similar attempt to stifle a lecturer’s speech firsthand when I attended a 2004 talk given by Daniel Pipes at UC Berkeley.  Since then this mob censorship has happened with increasing frequency on college campuses across the country.  University officials have failed to punish the hooligans and often erroneously defend their actions as free speech.

I don’t understand why targeted groups continue to put up ith this assault on their free speech rights.  There is such a simple solution that would cause the protestors to remain outside the auditorium voluntarily — and would allow the speaker to communicate with those who actually came to listen.

My solution: charge admission to the event.  Announce that the funds collected will go to pay the speaker.  Or announce that the funds will be donated to a specific cause that the speaker supports.  (If the speaker is conservative, the beneficiary could be the Young America’s Foundation or the Alliance Defense Fund; if the speaker is pro-Israel, it could be Honest Reporting or Magen David Adom.  The point is that people who are so outraged that they would attempt to stifle an opposing view would be loathe to pay money that would support the cause they hate.

Why isn’t this being done today for such events?

Do university policies prohibit events that charge an admission fee?  I coulnd’t find such a rule in the meeting room use policy for the UMass Campus Events Office.  In fact the policy suggests that such admission fees are perfectly acceptable.  Nor could I find such a rule in the room reservation policies at UC Berkeley.

Is it too difficult to sell tickets and keep track of the funds?  I cannot believe that ticket sales or money handling would pose much of an obstacle.  It’s certainly a small effort to ensure a successful event.

Would it not work — would protestors pay the fee anyway to gain admittance?  I doubt it.  These people would not want so much as a dime of their money to support a cause they so vehemently oppose.

Is the principle of the matter to provide a free event?  If that’s the case, I don’t see the point.  Make it a nominal fee, say, five dollars.  Surely audience members would gladly dig into their wallets to ensure that their time is well spent.

I really want to know why this option is not being used to ensure orderly events.  What am I missing?

H/T: Michelle Malkin

EATAPETA Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 9:43 am

Today is EATAPETA Day.  Be sure to Eat A Tasty Animal for PETA.  And post your menu in the comments.

3/13/2009

The sign of willful ignorance is an unwillingness to learn

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 6:40 pm

So, we have all heard about Obama snubbing the UK’s Prime Minister.

Ok, fine.  Tired or not, piles of Clinton-era people who went through foreign leader visit or not, you get a pass on the first one.  We all – especially when we lack any actual skill or training for a job – screw up our first big project.

But Jesus God, the hits just keep on coming.

The Ecuadorian government today expelled Max Sullivan, first secretary of the U.S. embassy in Quito, for interfering in the country’s internal affairs, PL reported.

Or maybe this will amuse you more…

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president, has ordered a senior US diplomat to leave the country, accusing him of siding with opposition groups in a ”conspiracy” against the government in La Paz.

Ok, that’s not so bad…

Francisco Martinez, the second secretary of the US embassy in La Paz, is the second US diplomat to be expelled from the country in six months.

Well shit

Lets not forget that Morales has banned US anti-drug agents from working in his country, as he calls on the lifting of the ban on coca for some applications, and hopes for the support of President Obama in decriminalizing coca.  When the man speaks of “similarities” between himself and Obama, I must admit my mind did not go directly to “before, nobody believed that an Indian could be president and nobody thought that a black man could be president of the United States”.

The article says that:

Coca, the raw ingredient of cocaine, is used by millions of people in Bolivia and neighboring Peru to fight altitude sickness and stave off hunger. In its natural form, the leaf is also used in teas, in cooking and for religious ceremonies.

Amazing that it has such uses…  I wonder, why might it alleviate symptoms of these conditions…

Oh yeah, because they get freaking HIGH!!!!

*cough*  Sorry, where was I?  Oh yes…

Now, as is tradition when diplomats are booted from the country, Hillary Clinton signed off on booting a few diplomats ourselves.  This is normal, and is the canned response for this kind of thing.  You boot one of ours, we boot one of yours, and life goes on.  Oblah-dee, oblah-dah.

But Obama apparently someone tied to President Obama got in the way, nixing the response.

Awesome.  They can’t even get the simple shit right…

Oh, and lest we forget, apparently that whole “visit by a foreign leader” thing is tough to get a handle on…

But Brazil is already grumbling about the treatment of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will sit down with Obama this weekend and is the first Latin American leader to visit the White House under the new administration.

Among the errors?  Those things that just a tad bit of thought might have prevented?

Silva aides said the trip was pushed forward from Tuesday because of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday – making Latin America once again look like an afterthought. Then, the White House announcement misspelled his name as “Luis Ignacio” and put “Lula” – a nickname that decades ago became a legal part of the Brazilian leader’s name – in quotes.

I am beginning to suspect that an Obama action figure will come complete with the ability to talk and will feature, amongst other key phrases, “Foreign policy is hard”…

3/11/2009

Flight 93 Memorial

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 8:33 pm

While Pennsylvania is planning the Flight 93 National Memorial at the crash site, a California monument was completed over a year ago.  The San Francisco Bay Area Flight 93 Memorial is reportedly the first major memorial to honor the heroic passengers and crew of the ill-fated flight.

The monument begins with the Circle of Remembrance, where three boards telling the story of Flight 93 surround a tree planted in dirt that came from the crash site.  A path leads by the 40 granite monuments, each one bearing the name, age, and hometown of a passenger or crew member.  The unfinished sides of each stone represent the victim’s unfinished life; a stainless steel mirror above the name reminds visitors that it could have been any one of us.  At the end of the path is the Circle of Hope, where tiles hand-painted by local children surround the American flag.

The monument was envisioned by Michael Emerson of Hayward, Calif.  A retired Marine and veteran of Operation Desert Storm, Emerson was struck by the bravery of the passengers and crew.  He has repeatedly declared, “Those who died aboard Flight 93 are not victims; they are heroes.”  Initially he contacted and corresponded with relatives of some of the heroes.  Following a visit to Ground Zero on July 4, 2002, he determined to build a memorial to honor Flight 93, which was supposed to land in San Francisco. 

Emerson first approached Hayward, but the city council wasn’t interested.  Officials in neighboring Union City were more receptive.  They offered Sugar Mill Landing Park, a quiet strip of land across the street from a busy shopping center.  Emerson then began seeking donations for his project.

The memorial became a national testament to the cooperation and goodwill of American citizens.  A Wisconsin monument company agreed to donate the red granite for the 40 one-ton stones.  A firm in Georgia donated blue granite for the story boards.  A Georgia trucking company transported the red granite from Wisconsin to Georgia for polishing, and a Minnesota company brought the finished stones 2000 miles to California.  A Bay Area architect designed the memorial, and more than 100 union workers volunteered their time to construct it.  Emerson received donations and additional support for the project from hundreds of residents and businesses.

Despited encountering a number of obstacles, Emerson realized his dream when the Flight 93 Memorial was dedicated on a crisp, clear day in December, 2007.  Among the hundreds at the dedication ceremony were family and friends of the victims, donors, sponsors, and various civic officials, including several who flew in from Somerset County, Penn.  With the remaining donations, Emerson presented a $28,000 check to Union City for a trust fund to maintain the memorial.

Today marks seven and a half years.

[Note: I live within five miles of the memorial.  You can see me in this outstanding magazine article about the project.  In the crowd on page 21, in the upper left corner just behind the barrier, I’m wearing a blue sweater with large green and red diamonds.]

3/10/2009

Non-Religious Argument Against Abortion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 8:53 pm

From, Marquis, Don (April 1989). “Why Abortion is Immoral”. The Journal of Philosophy 86 (4): 183-202.

The misfortune of premature death involves a loss of the goods that make life worth living. On Marquis’s view, “the misfortune of premature death consists of the loss to us of the future goods of consciousness. What are these goods? … The goods of life are whatever we get out of life. The goods of life are those items toward which we take a pro attitude. They are completed projects of which we are proud, the pursuit of our goals, aesthetic enjoyments, friendships, intellectual pursuits, and physical pleasures of various sorts. The goods of life are what make life worth living” (190).

Accordingly, Marquis subscribes to the Future Like Ours Thesis (or FLO for short):

FLO: Killing a human is wrong because it deprives her of “a future like ours.”

Arguments in Support of the FLO theory:

The Considered Judgment Argument:

1. According to our considered judgments, what people fear the most about death is the loss of future experience.
2. If 1, then, according to our considered judgments, it is the loss of future experience that fully constitutes death as a grave misfortune to people.
3. Therefore, according to our considered judgments, it is the loss of future experience that fully constitutes death as a grave misfortune to people.
4. The fetus is equally capable of sustaining a loss of future experience.
5. Therefore, death is an equally grave misfortune for the fetus.
6. It is wrong to deliberately inflict a misfortune on a fetus that is as grave as death to people.
7. Therefore, it is wrong to deliberately inflict death on the fetus.

Another argument:

1. What makes murder the worst of crimes is that it deprives a person of her future experience.
2. If 1, then it is the worst of wrongs to deprive a being capable of future experience of all her future experience.
3. Therefore, it is the worst of wrongs to deprive a being capable of future experience of all her future experience.
4. A fetus is capable of future experience.
5. Therefore, it is the worst of wrongs to deprive a fetus of all her future experience.

h/t: Keith Burgess-Jackson

« Previous PageNext Page »

Powered by WordPress.