Archive for July 2008

That Would Eliminate A Lot Of Sermon Topics

July 31, 2008

This stunningly ignorant statement from the Confraternity of Catholic Bishops would also be the end of free speech. Period.

The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation’s constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few. Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.

. . .  Individual freedoms are limited by the boundaries created by the inalienable rights of others. The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

Uhh, yeah, we do. Sorry if you don’t like it, but this is America, not Afghanistan. There is no “your speech hurt my feelings” exception to the First Amendment. If there was, there would be no such thing as free speech. Everyone, religious and non-religious, would constantly have to watch their tongue, lest they offend someone else’s religion. Sure, it’s good manners not to intentionally offend people. But the law does not enforce manners. Nor should it.

BTW, If you don’t know, the specific occasion of the Bishops’ anger is two recent incidents in which people removed a consecrated host from a church. The first one occurred in at a public school in Florida. A student took the host to protest student fees paying for religious services. National Catholic Blowhards called for the student’s expulsion. Regular thugs just sent death threats. In protest of the insanity, University of Minnesota Professor P.Z. Myers asked for readers of his blog to send him a host, which he then destroyed. National Blowhards called for his firing and regular thugs sent death threats.

In my opinion, not only are the thugs and blowhards dead wrong about the law and freedom, but they don’t even really understand their own theology. Sure, no one but a good Catholic is supposed to take communion, and sure, the host deserves all respect. But isn’t this thing supposed to be God? Can’t he take care of himself? In other words, all the regulations are not to protect God, but to protect the handlers. They make us treat the host with respect not because God needs our respect, but because we ought to respect God. Not following the regs, then, won’t hurt God, it will hurt us. Accordingly, the focus ought not be on defending God, but on rescuing those who defame him. Rather than call for Myers’ death, the faithful ought to have prayed for his soul. Or if that’s too mushy, how about just letting the whole thing be, leaving God to deal with Myers and the student? Surely either of those options would be more productive than calls for death and civil enforcement of religious laws.

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Administrators Behaving Badly

July 31, 2008

This one, in Florida, not only banned all pro-gay messages of any type from his school, but harassed gay students, outed some of them to their parents, and then lied about his misbehavior in court, where he lost – badly – a lawsuit over his behavior.

This one is right here in La:

An Iberia Parish principal has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested on numerous drug charges just after midnight Wednesday.

Darius Sias, 38, principal of the Alternative Center for Education, was arrested as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation, according to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.

He has been charged with possession of Schedule II narcotics, which authorities identified as cocaine; possession of marijuana; possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance; possession of drug paraphernalia; and monetary instrument abuse.

Home school, anyone?

Fast Food Madness

July 30, 2008

I can’t decide which of these anti-fast food crusaders is the biggest bunch of idiots.

These morons:

A group that opposes same-sex marriage has called for a boycott of McDonald’s, saying the fast-food giant has refused “to stay neutral in the cultural war over homosexuality.”

The American Family Association (AFA) launched the boycott yesterday because McDonald’s joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce several months ago and placed an executive on the group’s board of directors, in addition to donating to the chamber.

Or these paternalistic busybodies:

City officials are putting South Los Angeles on a diet.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in an impoverished swath of the city with a proliferation of such eateries and above average rates of obesity.

Both are dummies, but I think the second one makes me angrier.

The AFA’s boycott could actually be a good thing. It sure won’t hurt McDonald’s (or the hundreds of other companies who have committed the same actions that raised AFA’s hackles against McDonald’s) but it means less chance of having to be in the restaurant with an AFA supporter.

The LA council, though, is actually prohibiting people form doing something they want to do. No one forced the restaurants to be in that neighborhood. They went because they saw a chance to make money. And they did, because that’s the stuff the people who live there both want to eat and can afford to eat. There was no force anywhere. Each side acted perfectly freely. Now the city council wants to force people to eat healthy. This may be a matter of first principles, but it really makes me mad that some petty official – any official – thinks they have the authority to put people on a diet.

Doesn’t That Imply Someone Knew About Us In The First Place?

July 30, 2008

According to the New York Times, us rubes in the ArkLaTex live in a “forgotten corner of the South.”

I suppose this is where I ought to get mad at the uppity reporter and take bets on whether or not he’s ever even been to this area. Or ask how such a prestigious paper let such a lazy cliche into a story. But really, why bother? Besides, the more people think this place is a dump, the fewer will want to come here, the nicer it will be.

And We Thought Cars Were The Problem

July 29, 2008

Via Radley Balko:

The cyclist was arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Another Taser Death

July 29, 2008

This one might result in murder charges:

A grand jury in central Louisiana will weigh criminal charges against a former police officer who is accused of jolting a handcuffed man nine times with a Taser before the suspect died, a prosecutor announced Monday. . . .

Former Winnfield police officer Scott Nugent has acknowledged using the 50,000-volt Taser on [21 year old Baron] Pikes while arresting him Jan. 17 on a drug possession warrant, Nevils said.

I found a few interesting things about this.

First, tasers kill people all the time, even though they are marketed as a non-lethal weapon. In other words, it is not that unusual to read about people getting killed for actions that do not seem to justify deadly force. Normally, it is not the cop’s fault. They were using the taser in a situation the taser is supposed to be used: one calling for less than deadly force. The problem is that the taser did something it is not supposed to do.

Second, this case is not the usual taser death. Usually it’s one shot, but the victim had some kind of medical history. Nine times? That sounds excessive, and death looks foreseeable. Then add the fact that the victim was already hadcuffed, and this starts to look really bad.

Third, I’m a cycnic, but I find the most shocking stunning amazing thing about this case is that the cop was fired.

Fourth, note the horrific crime that resulted in this guy’s death: Drug possession.

More Straight Talk

July 28, 2008

Check out this garbled nonsense from John McCain:

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your position on gay adoption? You told the “New York Times” you were against it, even in cases where the children couldn’t find another home. But then your staff backtracked a bit. What is your position?

MCCAIN: My position is, it’s not the reason why I’m running for president of the United States. And I think that two parent families are best for America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, what do you mean by that, it’s not the reason you’re running for president of the United States?

MCCAIN: Because I think — well, I think that it’s — it is important for us to emphasize family values. But I think it’s very important that we understand that we have other challenges, too. I’m running for president of the United States, because I want to help with family values. And I think that family values are important, when we have two parent — families that are of parents that are the traditional family.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But there are several hundred thousand children in the country who don’t have a home. And if a gay couple wants to adopt them, what’s wrong with that?

MCCAIN: I am for the values that two parent families, the traditional family represents.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you’re against gay adoption.

MCCAIN: I am for the values and principles that two parent families represent. And I also do point out that many of these decisions are made by the states, as we all know. And I will do everything I can to encourage adoption, to encourage all of the things that keeps families together, including educational opportunities, including a better economy, job creation. And I’m running for president, because I want to help families in America. And one of my positions is that I believe that family values and family traditions are preserved.

I have a good idea what was really floating around in his head during that interview. Probably something like “Boy, it sure is ignorant to oppose gay adoptions, but my party and I are beholden to just such ignoramuses, so I better appease them, still I don’t want to sacrifice all my integrity, or else the independents won’t vote for me, either.” What he actually said, though, made no sense whatsoever. Everyone is for two parent families. The questions were about situations where one or both natural parents are gone. In that situation, is it o.k. to let gay people adopt? All he had to say was yes or no. Instead, he pretended not to understand the question. Straight Talk? Only if by that you mean bulls**t artist.