Eff's Rambles (Archive)



I'm taking a break from most internet activity, focusing on some much more than others. So nothing new here will be forthcoming anytime soon. I have an archive, so if some honor me with reviews of my older posts, including assaults on my abuse of the English language, that would be good.

Have a good whenever.


Libby indicted and mean ol' right wingers.

Yes, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been indicted. All I want to say is that I admit to being glad someone was. I have no animous toward any of the persons involved. But at least now there is a story to continue. Had it ended on no indictments, conspiracy theories would have run amok. Now the new story has substance. The first story had substance, and so does the second story. Leftist conspiracy theories and rightist lionizing, had no one been indicted, would not be a story. It would be bored people inventing facts and creating images unproven by a non indictment.

And the mean ol' right pushed out Miers? They might have, but the real mean ol' person here is not the general right winger, or even further right than them. The arrogant prick is Bush, whom it seems thought he could get someone through with dubious credentials, based on his word. The argument here is that if his earlier nominations fit the conservative mold, conservatives should defer to his selection and disregard the issue of a lack of documented qualification. Who knew character references are all that's needed to get on the Supreme Court? Yes, Bush's arrogance, though he might have meant well, put Miers through a proverbial meat grinder. I feel sorry for Harriet E. Miers more so because Bush can't advocate for anyone or thing much better than saying "trust me" and "things are hard, you must overcome," than for what the mean ol' right supposedly put her through. If I drank, I'd cheer Bush's inflated ego.


Sped and Pled and other Dred

When did they become archiac? Am I the only one sick of hearing and reading speeded in place of sped and pleaded in place of pled? Also, am I wrong or do people use but a lot, sometimes even if there's no conflict in their sentence?


Abortion Debate and War

I am pro choice on abortion. I do not like the act, but few do, so far as my impression of public sentiment goes. I prefer to trust in womens' choices on the difficult decision. For me, the most I would want from a girlfriend or wife whom I impregnate is to know if the decision is to have an abortion before the. My permission is not what I want sought. I just want to be respected and have a chance to come to acceptance with it, especially if their choice is abortion.

That said, I have seen some people claim there is hypocrisy in the position of being for a given war while also being against abortion. The argument is that many innocents die in war, so why are not those innocents as deserving of protection from war as a fetus is from abortion? The premise there is that all life is sacred and must be protected and preserved as much as possible.

The argument is correct on the surface. Looking from it, there is moral inconsistency. But there is a problem; a failure to make an important distinction.

The difference is what can be served not by, but despite the deaths.

Abortions, hypothetically speaking, could serve in the long term to result in negative and positive consequences for the societies inwhich they are committed. But that is without consideration of myriad possible reasons for either type of consequence, thus from that basis any contention that abortion will have a particular result is incorrect; plausible alternative reasons should not be excluded nor ignored before disproving their plausibility. The same holds true for the deaths or murders of people in and around war zones.

But war, while not not able to promise to resolve all matters current and future, can still serve a purpose, in the short term. That is the proper basis for judgement of any war second to the ethical nature of their justifications. This means that, while not wanted, deaths of innocents resulting from wars might not make the wars inviable.

For some people, no war, no violence, can be justified. But I am not a pacifist. I do not dismiss the possibility that a war can be done for a just reason. And, pragmatically, the continuation of a war could be necessary for reasons beyond the originals for a war.

So the difference is this: In the micro sense, abortions serve a purpose, in the macro, they might, but from a broadly hypothetical basis. But in the micro and macro, war can serve to result in something positive. Indeed, more lives could be saved if the previous existing situation was more deadly, statistically speaking, than the war situation. Even if or when war's micro and macro successes are equally hypothetical to that of abortion's, there might exist an urgency of an encompassing nature for many that compels a war to come into being or continue. Abortion opponents have difficulty, or cannot, seeing when and how abortion could result in something positive for many. But some of them, and not only them, can conceive of war being able to save more lives than it ultimately takes. Can abortion do this to an equal degree?


Nauseating tv ads

  • Mel
  • reminded me,
  • here
  • , of a gripe I meant to make not long ago.

    To all the advertising firms behind the promotion of drug research companies, plastics makers and generally any product that has a life saving potential, for the love of something, shut up. I assume some of the involved companies do great work, but, every time I see these ads, I feel like someone is trying to sell me Mother Theresa in a bottle. The damn ads look almost the same. And the Philip Morris "don't smoke but by our junk anyway" ads takes it all for not only bordering on moral inconsistency, but for being the most pitiable crap I've seen in sometime. It's probably the lawsuits that forced them to make the stupid ads. When the damn Truth ads against the tobacco industry start to become bearable, the sap-filled, "look at us, we're doing Jebus work" ads start. Yes, I'm a griping jerk, but the ads are just so annoying. "Plastics make it happen." I happen to want to ram a plastic fork into some places.

    And another thing. Why are models talking back to me? Really, I've never been one really impressed by most models, but that's a personal aesthetic I won't get into. But I liked it better when they were quiet. I say this not intending to supress expression, but to spare my ears. Some of these models are more masculine in voice than me. Well, nearly everyone is. But Ms. Gorgeous with the Husky Voice could help to drop, or never have it created in the first place, the second half of the nickname by being quiet and showing off her even skin and golden ratio jawline and not disturbing poor me.

    Mix of nonsense

    Try as I may, I just don't feel much empathy for those kids at the Catholic school in Long Island, N.Y. being denied sponsorship for their spring prom and having it cancelled by the school. Sure, it's an important time for the kids, and one can question the fairness in judging people on how much they spend on themselves. But, still, I'm not good at partiality on this one. I despise the existence of beer and debauchery in general, which is apparently a mainstay of many of these events, and the thought of some young person getting lost in the euphoria they might feel in such events, which could be a beautiful thing, makes me reactively uncomfortable and a bit angry, because it could also be that person is happy because they are high. Is it my business if they are high? Well, yes because of the potential for harm that can come about because of their state of mind, which could adversely affect me, but I doubt many of them will grasp that consequences of getting plastered. My nature has always been reserved, even anal retentive if one prefers, but unless the principal, Hoagland, is lying, he has my support, because no school that must keep up a moral appearance should be required to support people having beer parties, and worse, where the potential for loss of contol becomes exacerbated.

    In Pal Talk's Social Issues section, which I was just in a few minutes ago, people were discussing bikes and I don't know what else. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but there are just somedays when one doesn't feel like listening to off topic comments.

    Speaking of Pal Talk, it seems there's some famous person known as The Social Issues Tattler. I've no clue how long this person has been around. I was once asked if I was him/her. No. Really, I guess because of narcissism, I don't care a lot about him/her until I get a mention or until someone else I'm interested in is mentioned, which has a happened on occasion. I've not read all his stuff (I just glance).

    I bet I'm not the only one unsure of when to use commas, brackets and parentheses.

    We need more art. Yes, but putting the art in accurately would be good. Weeks back I was watching a cartoon and an excerpt from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was read aloud in it. Beautiful part, to bad the captions messed up a bit of it. I don't know if it ruined the eulogy aspect of the scene, but accuracy would be nice.

    I think someone has to ask this if it's not been asked already: Wilma the Hurricane is angry, so what did Fred do?

    Law & Order: I'm getting mixed signals from the show's direction. Is Waterston leaving it soon? He seems to be near ready to have a nervous breakdown every week.

    I can't get into recent major news stories. I don't know how I can not be enthralled by the events in Pakistan and the surrounding areas in its neighboring countries, and in Iraq, but I'm just not. One thing has bugged me for a bit, where is the Bono, et al, lead fundraising concert? Speaking of Pakistan's tragic events, I heard some guy on BBC radio from the UN calling donor countries stingy and saying we don't get it. He might be right, but regardless of that, I enjoyed his emphatic nature. Winter is coming. Give more, world governments. Good man, that guy. Whatever his name is.

    For sometime I thought my local station was tape delaying the BBC radio. Damn DST to hell.

    Lastly, I hate gripes about alarmist media. Of course some reports probably go beyond the pale, or not, but anyone running out and stock piling submachine guns, 50 cases of each conceivable supply, and going into their bunker over how I've seen most stories reported, can, I hope, only have the good fortune, for the rest of us, of getting stuck there and forgotten. Good riddance to hyper reactionary morons.


    The public will as the moral reason

    As I basically touched on in my last post, I wonder if public will and a traditionalism of deferrence to states' rights and privileges, especially on the matter of inspiration for this query, is enough to supplant federal authority, presuming such authority exists.

    But, more broadly, is public will a sufficient moral predicate? And, in cases of health care, is there a standard to which people related thereto are obliged, or is it solely a case of individual moral preference, along with public will, among?

    I do not know if I would call for an absolute standard, but I find it hard to find justification of the states' rights premise on matters of medicine, etc., without some moral predicate that gives at least tacit acceptance of controversial medical practices, such as physician-assisted suicide.


    Philosophy and morality over the Oregon case

    I have not yet fully read, and I admit legal documents intimidate me, the CSA to confirm or debunk my initial beliefs. But, even so, I am glad that I am willing to take a position contrary to the interest of my own morality. It would be easy for me to say that a state has a limited right to use drugs in the manner prescribed, but what I must remember is that my morality might not have been a large motivator in the passage of the CSA and all parts within it relating to the Oregon case. But, in all honesty, it's not a case of being an advocate for physician-assisted suicide, it's that I don't want to intrude on the business of other people to that extent. Even if the use of the particular drugs is unlawful, it's temporary.

    Another thing that makes me question the inherent wisdom of the state's rights argument is this notion that one must defer to them on matters of medical use, defining what is proper. But can "medically legitimate" be defined absent some moral basis, a Hippocratic Oath or some other standard? Is Oregon entitled to define proper use based on the tradition that states usually do, or they don't, but I'm not sure?


    Villainy (hyperlink to article)

    A Faulty Law, a Feud, a Fatality

    Sunday, October 9, 2005; Page B08

    Last month John Frederick Ames, a bankruptcy lawyer from Richmond, was acquitted of the murder of his neighbor, Oliver "Perry" Brooks [Metro, Sept. 17]. It was the latest chapter in a story worthy of William Faulkner that concerns an arcane 1887 law and a state legislature that refused to repeal it.

    The dispute that led to Brooks's death began in 1989, when Ames, who had purchased a 675-acre Caroline County farm from a widow facing bankruptcy, sent his neighbors a registered letter informing them that he was going to build a fence around his property. The letter also said that he was going to charge his neighbors for half the cost of the fence, which amounted to thousands of dollars. Ames said the 1887 law allowed him to bill them for the fence even without their consent.

    Ames's neighbors, who included retirees on fixed incomes, received bills of $6,000 to $45,000. All of them, including Brooks, who was living on $400 a month from Social Security, refused to pay. Ames had billed Brooks $45,000 for his share of the fence. Ames reportedly offered to forget about the $45,000 if Brooks would deed over some of his land, but Brooks refused. The case went through the courts, and in 1991, Ames finally prevailed in the Virginia Supreme Court.
    His neighbors then scraped together the money for the fence -- all but Brooks, that is, who continued to refuse to pay. Ames subsequently sued his neighbor for $450,000 for fence damage caused by a bull that Brooks owned. The bull repeatedly broke the fence and strayed onto Ames's cattle farm. Ames called these bull incursions an "intentional disregard" of his rights. Brooks responded with obstinacy and anger.

    The bad blood finally boiled over in April 2004, when Brooks's bull once again strayed onto Ames's land. Despite court orders barring him from entering Ames's property, Brooks went to retrieve his livestock. An armed Ames told him to leave the animal. When Brooks brandished a stick he used to herd the bull, Ames shot in the face and then four more times.
    Ames said the shooting was in self-defense. But his acquittal by a jury last month on a murder charge on the basis of self-defense isn't the end of the story. Ames still may get the land that he was seeking from Brooks. He previously sued the Brooks family for $11.3 million in an action that originally cited everything from infliction of emotional distress to terrorism. He recently withdrew that action, but he still has a lien on the Brooks property and an outstanding fence payment that could exceed $150,000 with interest. The Brooks family is suing Ames for wrongful death.

    Ames may fit the stereotype of a lawyer who will use any law to his advantage, regardless of the cost to others, but the Virginia General Assembly deserves equal blame for the mess that culminated in the death of a man. It repeatedly failed to repeal the archaic law that allowed the feud to get going in the first place.

    When the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ames in 1991, it noted that Virginia was out of step with the common-law rule that a landowner's boundary line is a lawful fence and that a cattle owner is liable for trespass by his animals. Virginia, however, does not impose such liability on livestock owners and allows them to force neighbors to pay toward "fencing out" livestock. Despite the feud and requests for the law to be changed, the legislature did not act. Only after Brooks was dead and Ames was facing a murder charge did it change the law -- and then only to exempt landowners without livestock, which would not have protected Brooks.
    The common law and most states impose costs on livestock owners for any damage that their animals cause to a neighbor. This sensible "fence-in" approach recognizes that a livestock owner should not be able to impose the cost of his or her enterprise on neighbors.

    A fundamental purpose of the law is to reduce conflicts among neighbors by maintaining clear, consistent and fair rules. The Virginia legislature clearly failed in that duty. It may be true that good fences make good neighbors, but the Brooks killing shows that bad laws, like bad fences, make for bad neighbors.

    -- Jonathan Turley
    is a law professor at George Washington University.

    Congratulations to this morally bankrupt fellow Virginian for being a jackass.

    My big question is this: If he could not afford the cost of the fence project, or is to cheap to pay it himself, why the hell did he buy the farm in the first place? And my second question is what other options did Ames have?

    "Ames's neighbors, who included retirees on fixed incomes, received bills of $6,000 to $45,000. All of them, including Brooks, who was living on $400 a month from Social Security, refused to pay. Ames had billed Brooks $45,000 for his share of the fence. Ames reportedly offered to forget about the $45,000 if Brooks would deed over some of his land, but Brooks refused."


    There's straw in that bush

    I did not catch all of the speech but I shall read the transcript off the Whitehouse's page in full later, but the part I heard, which I quote here, reached out at me.

    "Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 -- and al Qaeda attacked us anyway. The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet the militants killed more than 180 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan. "

    He is making a strawman. He gets half the argument right when he says some have argued our presence and actions in Iraq have strengthened extremism. But then he goes on and claims that the argument also states that what we are doing is the reason for the extremism. The correct way to refer to the argument is to say that some believe our actions have strengthened extremism and exacerbated it, creating more extremists. Such a distortion as Bush has made makes me wonder how much attention he gives to the nuances in arguments against his policies. I would hope that his advisors could do a better job, or that Bush could try to pay more attention.

    My knowledge of the Russian and Chechnyan conflict is small, but I do suspect that Bush is making a false analogy. If judged by the supposed reasons for Osama, al Qaida, et al, hatred of the US, I doubt the Chechnyan attacks on the school in Beslan was motivated by unwanted US presence, along with other things which are either factual, false or conspiratorial, whose blame is put on the US. If the Beslan school terrorists were Muslim, or proclaimed as such, that seems to me to be the strongest link, that I am aware of. Even if they are connected with al Qaida, I doubt that US troops in or near Mecca motivated them. And there all ready exists another reason, Chechnyan "liberation," or whateverterm is appropriate. Bush's comment can be interpreted as saying that the attack on the school was done more for the purposes of al Qaida than for Chechyan "liberation." While there could be statements supporting that theory, I doubt it was the strongest motivating factor. How much does Iraq and terrorism there really have to do with the Chechnyan and Russian conflict?


    From my slight skimming (as it's far too complex for me to read through all of it, ok, I'm lazy) of the CSA, in reference to the Oregon assisted suicide case, although my empathy is with Oregon, I think the Feds will win. I doubt the allowance of a merciful death, though it is emotionally compelling, will be seen as a compelling public interest, especially in terms of public safety. I also don't think an argument of a traditional role of states determining medically legitimate uses, which I think is a major argument being made in defense of Oregon, is going to work when in reference to federally regulated opiates that fall under Schedule II definition, which does not seem to directly, if even tacitly, to sanction, let alone support, medically assisted suicide. Even if one argues that an absence of specific comment on this issue in the CSA should give the states default authority, it must still be argued how that would be good for the public safety. Public safety, being a broad term, could, I believe, more easily be used to argue against what is essentially the hastening of death for a person. I believe many philosophies and religions would define the quickening of a person's death as antithetical to the concept of public safety, though I realize not all would, or so I presume.


    Death with Dignity?

    Well, I might look into the Oregon assisted suicide case later, but I can say right off hand that it's not easy to feel immediate empathy for the federal government's case against the law in Oregon, which, as I understand it, allows a doctor to prescribe drugs which can be taken in lethal doses to hasten death in a less or unpainful manner for those whom are terminally ill with 6 month or less to live. But the case is not my immediate interest right now, though I am curious about it.

    What I am interested in at the moment is the phrase "death with dignity." I can imagine how some people would feel this way, especially if the disease that strikes them will effect them in terrible ways. But, and this speaks only for myself, were I that ill I am not sure, even with the most terrible last few weeks, days and hours I could imagine, if I would feel I died without dignity. And who knows, in some cases, if I could tell if I was without dignity? I also doubt I would feel dignified in dying by medication overdose. Still, I am not here to judge people, and my empathy is with Oregon, but I do find it interesting how people perceive dignity.

    To me, though I might die horribly, so long as before that period I felt I was a dignified person, if I do have a spirit, I think it will forgive itself.


    Two things I find disturbing.

    First is the notion that the corruption of a source, or even the alleged corruption thereof, proves the information it provides is false. Which, if applied universally, would make the concept of informants moot.

    The second is idea that anyone is guilty because they are disliked.

    I have seen examples of each recently, and in places where I would hope more consideration would be given before expresssing what might be a knee jerk response, as if the comments were between two buddies watching sports together instead of at places where though out opinion and argument is the intended purpose.

    The second one disturbs me especially at this moment because what I have to ask is, "would you really want you anymore to go down for something he might be innocent of, and do you want to gloat before his guilt is even established?" I wonder how that could not bother a person.

    People have strange ethics.


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