Bomb Throwing Pacifist
Friday, December 29, 2006
Notes from the Asylum
I promised myself that this week's column would have nothing to do with the war, or our troops or the outrages that pass for news in this country.
But, this promise, like so many past New Year's resolutions has gone the way of all the others...lost somewhere amongst the bon-bon wrappers and spent wine cooler bottles. Carry on!
But, that was before I picked up this morning's newspaper and saw another egregious example of the liberal media trying to twist public opinion to their liking.
The latest outrage that's got me madder than a cat on a hot tin roof and sent my blood pressure sky-high was this headline: "U.S. Deaths in Iraq Exceed 9-11 Count."
Indeed. Journalism majors-ladies and gentlemen, take note. What is in the world of wingnuttia "another egreious example of the liberal media bias trying to twist public opinion to their liking" is often concurrently identified as "objective fact" in the rest of society. Those of you willing to placate your conservative readers are advised to change your headlines to something less troublesome and odious to their senisbilities. Something like "U.S. deaths in Iraq do not Exceeed 9-11 Count." It may not be true, but damn, it'll make you popular.
The Associated Press proudly proclaimed the banner news on Dec. 26, not even trying to disguise their glee.
"The U.S. military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,974, one more than the number of deaths in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, according to an Associated Press count on Tuesday."
The accompanying press photos included a shot of rows upon rows of body bags, adorable puppies, and a huge, full-color fireworks display with the caption reading "SCORE!!!!"
Excuse me! What a pitiable excuse for journalistic judgment. If I weren't so used to this slanted, biased, out-of-context information about the war in Iraq, I might laugh. But nothing about this countless recitation of so-called information is even remotely funny when American lives are at stake.
I agree with Stephen Colbert on this one. Indeed I too quivver with rage at the very though of these elitist Islamocommunist newspapers using the shield of the First Ammendment to advance their fact-based agenda.
Nor does this article do anything to illuminate the public about the war, why we are fighting it and why we are winning it. Yep. I said WINNING IT.
While I don't agree with Melanie on her assertion that we are winning the war in Iraq (with even George Bush having jumped off that ship a while ago), I do agree with her that we need more newspaper coverage in various underreported aspects of the war in Iraq. However exploring, documenting, and actually pinning down the exact reason "why we are fighting" Operation Shifting Rationale is more worthy of a multi-volume encyclopedia than a single newspaper article. I seem to recall there being some talk of Weapons of Mass Destruction, UN Resolutions, Iraqi involvement in 9-11, freedom of the Iraqi people, dominoes of democracy and the attempts of Saddam Hussein to aquire Vorgon Battlecruisers, but I could be wrong.
I did a cursory Internet search after that damnable wire story crossed, and allow me to be a bit presumptuous and rewrite today's repackaged propaganda that emanates from the dirty, cramped cubicles that most media occupy.
Oh that blasted media and its dirty, dirty cubicles! This message brought to you by Melanie Morgan and the Department for Factual Patriotism and Media Sanitation.
The headline should have read: "50,000 Iraqi Insurgents Dead, Caught"
That didn't take much work on my part. No, I didn't really even crack a sweat. It is an ACTUAL headline from the Washington Times dated July 26, 2005. The numbers now are undoubtedly higher. That works out to about a 17-to-1 kill ratio for our side. The side most Americans want to actually win this war.
Because if the Vietnam war taught us anything, it's that the side with the most casualties loses. In which case, the Iraqi civilians are the biggest losers. At an estimated 600,000, that makes the civilian to U.S. soldier casualty ratio 201:1, and the civilian to "terrorist" ratio 12:1. Ain't that a bitch?
Peter Mulhern, a conservative writer at the American Thinker, posits that there is this insane argument in the press today that Americans are using disproportionate force in Iraq, killing innocent civilians and not enough of the bad guys.
Oddly enough, all the article did to set you off was point out that more Americans have now died on a fruitless military adventure and vanity war in Iraq than were ever killed during the events of 9-11, the perennial piss-pants, trumps-all wingnut arguement to justify, well, pretty much everything. Tool.
Yet when numbers of dead terrorist insurgents are released, most of the media ignore it. AP is busy keeping count of American casualties but can't seem to find the number for the enemy killed or captured. The sad reality is that they are only looking for facts to support their liberal political position, not to inform the American people.
Yeah and I'm sure that if the Media had reported in 1973 that the NVA and Viet Cong had suffered close to 1.7 MILLION casualties (both killed and wounded), it would have totally reinvigorated the American public and given us just the dedication we needed to keep on fighting the war to the bitter end. Idiot.
The intellectual giants at the New York Times and networks want to have it both ways – too many American lives are being lost in Iraq AND that our troops are killing too many people. The liberals never make the distinction that these "innocent civilians" are oftentimes actually sympathizers or actively involved in blowing up those who stand with freedom.
The plain truth is that al-Qaida has virtually been eliminated in Iraq thanks to the best-trained soldiers in American history.
Which is no doubt why they staged a large walkabout in Mosul in broad daylight last week, distributed leaflets, and generally made a ruckus of themselves before disappearing again. Or why 70% of Iraqi sheiks have pledged allegiance or otherwise offered them support.
The pockets of insurgents that hide in the shadows of Baghdad suburbs are on the run and resorting to cowardly mini-bombs they hide under concrete or in the roadside garbage in two provinces.
Which is kinda like saying that since nly two cities were attacked on 9-11, the incidents were fairly minor in the grand scheme of things and not really worth all the fuss.
Don't be confused by the unfortunate sectarian violence that is occurring in Iraq today. There is a battle between various factions for control of the country, and the effort to get Iraqis to abandon violence and use the democratic process is a difficult and necessary road.
Shorter Melanie Morgan: The fact that various Iraqi factions are fighting each other for control of the country only underscores the great job we've done in briging them freedom and democracy.
But the media and the Blame America First crowd have quietly changed their refrain from "we are losing the war to the terrorists" to "we can't stop a civil war." Wait a minute. What happened to our losing to terrorists? We didn't lose. We won. It is too bad President Bush can't put a few sentences together to explain it to the American public.
Melanie, please note. Losing to the terrorists and being unable to stop a civil war are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, one might even argue that a burgeoning Iraqi civil war is proof that we have already lost. And as for the president being unable to explain what exactly is going on in Iraq, I seem to recall that his best feature in the 2004 election was his being a strong a decisive leader. Not some wishy-washy flip-flopper. Ah well.
But the facts are pretty clear that we have won the war against a brutal regime that increasingly supported and aided the international Islamic terrorist network. With lots of oil money and weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was a threat to American security.
1) Saddam had no connections to international terrorism.
2) Saddam couldn't sell his oil outside of the UN oil-for-food program
3) Saddam had no WMD and had abandoned his WMD project after the 1991 Gulf War.
Seriously, at this point, I'm about ready to freaking give up. And no, I'm not going to link to the 9-11 comission report or any of the other documents which prove the above facts. You can do it. Just fire up "teh google." You'll be fine.
The leadership in this country has failed to win the peace and has led us to a yawning precipice where just a gentle push by the left sends us tumbling into a catastrophic loss for the United States.
I thought the war was already won, Melanie, and that we'd only win if the damned liberal media gave it a rest. So are you backtracking now?
Tearing down Saddam Hussein's statue in the first weeks after the Iraq war began is a perfect metaphor for our inability to stabilize the region.
As was slapping an American flag over his face, much to the horror of the onlooking Iraqis.
Who can forget the live video as Iraqi civilians approached the statue, slapping their shoes at the man who oppressed them for over 30 years? Iraqi men and teenage boys soon swarmed the statue, clawing and tugging, pushing and prodding at the murderous dictator's likeness.
All happily bought and paid for by our good friend (and convicted fraudster) Ahmed Chalabi.
But it took the military might of a few American soldiers inside their Bradley tanks to crash the egomaniacal dictator's statue to Earth. The next live footage showed an American flag being hoisted and then, just as quickly, coming down, replaced with an Iraqi flag.
The generals back at CENTCOM were watching too and quickly sent out the order that the symbolism wouldn't play in the eyes of the haters of the United States, giving the order to switch those flags.
Well that, and it was freaking offensive as hell to the average Arab around the entire Middle East. Nothing says "we come in peace and brotherhood" to the entire Muslim world like a live Al Jazeera feed of American soldiers pulling down a monument and plastering it with an American flag. But hey at least you have the courage to sort of admit that the event wasn't as spontaneous and genuine as originally billed.
Politics, once again, triumphed over victory. If we are to prevail, one lesson that our leaders have to learn: We cannot back away from victory.
Oddly enough, that's exactly what I'm doing with this column. I only hope I left the back door open.
Some really good friends told me recently that I need to lighten up. Smile. Celebrate Christmas. Write about all the good news in the world today that might have been snubbed by our mostly liberal media. Yes, I thought, that is good advice.
Cheif Psychologist's Report, Belleview State Mental Hospital
I am happy to report that as of this morning, we have made some major breakthroughts in our study of Patient 18769. Although we knew from the very beginning that she was suffering from delusions of grandeur and utterly irrational, locked as she was in her fantasy world, Doctor Throckmorton's encouragement of "Melanie" to put her thoughts into writing seems to have paid off. Apparently "Melanie" fancies herself to be a successful, popular, well-paid conservative columnist and oftentimes mistakes members of the nursing staff for her "friends" and "admirers," while referring to Dr. Throckmorton as her "publisher" and the other inmates as members of the "liberal media elite." While these breakthroughs are fairly significant, I believe much remainst o be done before Patient 18769 is finally cured of her delusions, if ever.
I guess I'll just have to make a new resolution for 2007, because now I feel compelled to dive into the cesspool of liberal sanctimony.
Doctor's Report, Addendum
At approximately 4:26 this morning I received a call at my house from Dr. Lambert, the duty physician on staff at Ward A, reporting that Patient 18769 had begun another round of fecal obession and was even now being put in 4-point restraints lest she begin another episode of cropophilia. This is discouraging news to say the least, and I now begin to fear that Patient 18769 will never recover. Nevertheless, I will continue to do my best and check in on her progress as often as my busy schedule allows.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO - An advertising campaign featuring cartoon characters shaped like male genitalia encouraged more men to get tested for syphilis in San Francisco, according to a new study.
A picture of the cartoon can be found below.
I think I speak for a lot of men when I say that it is every man's dream to have a penis so large it can justify wearing a trenchoat and a fedora. Though I'm not sure about the sunglasses. Makes him seem a little suspicious to me.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
We Americans, despite our current grumblings, are fundamentally an optimistic people. Our optimism has helped us achieve great things. But it can also be a problem. There is an assumption in public life that every problem has an optimum solution, all gain and no pain.
No shit Barone. It's called "leadership." No wonder you're unfamiliar with this odd feeling of abandonment on the part of the American public. Then again, if my candidate's approval ratings were in upper 30s, I'd feel that way too. As for your comment on American society and its attitude concerning optimism...
Much of our political debate takes the form of yelling that everything would be just fine if the other side weren't so stupid that it failed to see the perfectly obvious policy.
Well that's only when you're not busy bitching about how the liberals are ruining everything in the country when your own party controls the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Whtie House, and the Supreme Court. Talk about a freaking martyr complex.
The debate over Iraq has often been based on this assumption. The Bush administration has been blasted for dissolving the Iraqi army (actually, allowing it to disperse), which left it harder to maintain order.
Which was of course the same time of sane, logical and well-informed reasoning which caused Viceroy Bremer to decide to fire all government workers who were eeeevil Ba'ath party members before realizing that if he did that, not a single school teacher would be left on the job. Talk about your less-than-optimal solutions here, B.
But maintaining Baathist officers in place would have produced much oppression and left weapons in the hands of many determined enemies.
I agree. I can totally see how leaving the professional, multi-ethnic inact army in place would have just lead to opression and death squads. Firing them all and rebuilding the police and army fro scratch was a brilliant maneuver. Speaking of which, I wonder what that flashing thing on the back of my news blotter is.
Well at least with the army disolved, it's not like the Iraqi insurgents could get their hands on any weapons now, could they? Or that the disollution of the professional, multi-ethnic army in any way, shape or form contributed to the lawlessness and insecurity plaguing the country from right after the fall of Baghdad up until today right? Gah, this is too easy.
There was no optimum solution here -- there were serious downsides to either policy.
Um, yeah there was an optimum solution, one which I came up with in the spring of 2003. It was called Operation DONT FREAKING INVADE IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! If you follow that plan, then you never even have to worry about what to do with the Iraqi army in the first place, savvy?
A superficial view of our history buttresses the assumption that there's always an optimum policy. In times of crisis, we seem always to have found great leaders -- Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt. In war, we have always surged through to victory.
Yeah well, there's a time for everything I guess. Our number must have been up.
Our economy has grown so bounteously that we have come to take its miraculous performance for granted.
Well, some of us are *cough cough* Royal Dutch Shell *cough.* Not all of us though.
We haven't won all our wars: the War of 1812 and Korea were ties and Vietnam ultimately a loss.
Well, but if you look at it the way Dennis Hastert does when it comes to the recent congressional elections, we didn't "lose" so much as "we took second place."
And sometimes we have been faced with tragic choices. Just 65 years ago, just after Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill spent Christmastime at the White House conferring with Franklin Roosevelt.
Really? Was it only 65 years ago? My, my, time does fly.
Churchill and Roosevelt were determined to move forward, even (as in the North Africa invasion of November 1942) against the advice of their military leaders. And they both without hesitation chose to support the Soviets, even though they were well aware of the evil of Stalin's regime -- and understood that in destroying Hitler they were risking Soviet enslavement of Eastern Europe.
But then again, Nazi Germany had kinda declared war against us, so you know. It's not like we really had a choice in the matter, short of having FDR get out of his wheelchair, tear off his shirt, high-five Winston, and take down the tag-team Duo of Hitler and Stalin in a winner-takes-all world domination match. Just sayin'.
We forget now, but there was opposition to Roosevelt's decision to go after Hitler first (hadn't we been attacked by the Japanese, not the Germans?) and to support Stalin (an indubitably evil leader).
Indeed, some people thought that going to war against Hitler was totally the wrong idea to begin with, and that the real enemy was Stalin and Soviet Russia. You know, people like Charles Lindbergh, Gerald Ford, and the America First Committee.
George W. Bush now faces an array of less-than-optimum choices on Iraq. On the campaign trail and on Sunday interview shows, many Democrats and a few Republicans for months blithely talked of withdrawal. But as they have faced the probable consequences, spelled out by among others the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, the downside risks seem ominous.
You know what else seemed ominous at the time? GOING TO WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE. I know that that's not really an option now, but oh well. This is just your circa-2003 "coward" 'traitor" "appeaser" and "surrender monkey" hammering out a rousing chorus of "I fucking told you so you fuckedy-fuckers."
And now, for your two choices. Choice 1: immediate withdraw of US troops, followed by civil war and ethnic cleansing. Choice 2: A few thousand more U.S. casualties and a few billion more dollars down the drain for our kids to pay off, followed by a withdraw, civil war, and ethnic cleansing. Guess which one looks more attractive to me?
Nor does the ISG's recommendation that we negotiate with Iran and Syria look at all promising, given the recent behavior of Iran's Ahmadinejad.
Q: Why does a hyena lick its own genetalia?
A: Because it can. What are you going to do about it, punk?
The success of military tactics, as Churchill and Roosevelt knew, is never certain. But the challenges before us are surely not as daunting as assaulting Hitler's Fortress Europa and reclaiming the Pacific from Japan.
All that talk about Germany and Japan and rebuilding and alliances and appeasement and Chruchchill/Chamberlain and being greeted as liberators and cakewalk and axis of evil stuff aside, we really didn't mean it!
Bush has stressed that he has followed the advice of his military leaders.
Except for when they unanimously disagree with him. Because he's the decider and stuff. He makes the decisions.
He needs to engage now with his new secretary of defense and his military leaders, in the aggressive and detailed way that Churchill and Roosevelt did, probing and critiquing their proposals, eliciting from them plans that can reduce the sectarian violence in Baghdad and the Baathist and Al-Qaida attacks there and in Anbar province to tolerable levels. Even over Christmas, as Churchill and Roosevelt did.
In conclusion, war is tough stuff. And when you're a president, you need to be prepared to put in long hours, even over Christmas. Doing what exactly, I can't really say, but I'm sure when its all over, the White House will have come up with yet another rock-solid, foolproof plan to dilly and dally until January 1st, 2009, at which point everything can be successful blamed on the incoming Democratic administration. "Til next time kids!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
This message of holiday cheer brought to you by...
- failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
- deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
- impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
- irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated fights or assaults (both physically or mentally)
- reckless disregard for safety of self or others
- consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain steady work or honor financial obligations
- lack of remores as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
Feel free to keep track of these as we dive head-first into his auspiciously-entitled article...
Can this be the end of stupid Christmas decorations, please? Can 2006 be the last time we celebrate Christmas with giant inflatable snow globes on our front lawns?
Well you do know Jon that many of us on the Left side of the blogosphere are looking forward to the day where Christmas is eliminated entirely. Will yu join us in our struggle to make Chrismas as secular and irrelevant as New and Improved Coke? Didn't think so.
I can't take it anymore. I'm not Scrooge. I'm not anti-Christmas, and I'm not anti-decorating for Christmas.
Awwww....He's so cute when he balls up his little fists like that. You see, JDM isn't so much an Ebeneezer Scrooge as he is Benito Mussolini. He doesn't hate you because of something you've done, he just hates you for who you are. Isn't that a nice change?
And I'm anti-anyone who decorates their lawn like an idiot.
Here's a list of what I never want to see again:
First on my list are people who seem to think that the best way to beat the length requirement for a writing assignment is by writing lots of one-sentance paragraphs. It didn't work in 5th grade JDM, and it won't work now (except of course for places that have much lower standards than Mrs. Brown's English Class. Then again, I never wrote for Renew America).
1. Those giant inflatable snow globes with real "snowing" action.
I agree. Just starting at those pearly white flakes circulating around an articicially created environment with their smiling snowmen and cozy houses through his telescope on mount crumpet pisses off Jon like you wouldn't believe.
2. Giant inflatable Santas, snowmen, polar bears, penguins with scarves, Winnie the Poohs, football players, and Thanksgiving turkeys. In fact, if you ever have the chance to put something giant or inflatable on your front lawn, don't.
Unless of course it's an inflatable George W. Bush, complete with its own super-inflatable air bladder to simulate our commander-in-cheif's mighty codpiece of destruction.
3. Nativity scenes made from cheap plastic where I can see the yellow light bulb inside the Baby Jesus's head.
I agree! From here on out, all nativity figures will be made from a minimum of 18kt gold lame and will be illuminated by the light being reflected off precious stones (lighting services will of course be provided by Halliburton).
4. Any simulation of the Santa Claus character. This includes electrical life-size Santas that turn at the waist as they wave at me, and small plastic Santas perched with reindeer on your roof.
It should also be noted that any one attempting to slide down Jonathan's chimney on or about the night of December 24th will be met by his welcoming committe of inbred redneck children and deranged cocker spaniel (named, appropriately enough, "Barbara"). You have been warned.
5. Anything that involves the creative arrangement of seizure-inducing blinking lights. Especially if it spells out a seasonably relevant word. Great — you can spell. Try spelling "Hi, I'm a moron" next time.
If I knew Jonathan was going to be driving around my neighborhood, I could think of a whole lot of other things I'd spell out with my Christmas lights. Things like "Jonathan David Morris is donkey-tupping arse-sniffer!!!" for staters.
I'm tired of seeing this stuff when I drive past your house every December. It doesn't make me merry. All it does is make me think you and your neighbors are pathetic (you for having the decorations; your neighbors for living next to you).
"I do, however, draw the line at people who drive around in your neighborhood staring at your stupid Christmas displays. They are no doubt named Jonathan David Morris, and exceedingly fabulous in all respects."
I think we've come to the point where people will put literally anything on their lawns as long as it's billed as a "Christmas" decoration. You could sell a giant menorah and write "Christmas" on the box, and people would put it on their lawn for Christmas.
Hey it wouldn't be the first time someone has used false advertising to sell a product. Jonathan's website, for example, bills him as "a voice for the age of media convergence," instead of "a fat flatulent git." Because we all know how well that would sell.
You could put human feces on a stick and tie a crimson ribbon around it, and people would be lining up to drive the sharp end of that stick into the grass outside their house.
"And if you're looking to find such a stick, you'll find it up my ass. No, you can't have it. It's hard enough for me to come up with the appropriate tone as it is without you stealing my only source of inspiration."
This needs to stop. These decorations have "white trash" written all over them. And speaking on behalf of fine white trash everywhere: Your Christmas decorations are giving us a bad name.
You'd think that Jonathan alrady had the market cornered on that particular angle.
For future reference, just because they sell a decoration at the drug store doesn't mean you have to buy it. They sell Trojan Magnums at the drug store, too. I'll bet you're not buying those every Christmas.
"And that's because your penis is teh smal!!11!!1!lol!1!1! Man, I crack me up. Speaking of which, my wife still says that she can only have sex once a year because of her womanly body. Anyone know if that's actually true?"
Someone should get everyone who wants giant inflatable snow globes to move to a single town out in Iowa somewhere. You would probably be able to see this town from space. But I wouldn't care, as long as I can't see it from my house.
"While you're at it, would one of you all mind helping me fix the compute before you leave? This whole 'updating-from-the-library' thing is really a drag."
I realize you're just trying to compensate for your complete lack of faith in anything spiritual. But honestly... I shouldn't have to look at it.
I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I do happen to have faith in something spiritual. That just one of these days Ms. Morris will finally get around to trying to yank those Christmas displays off other people's lawns and will suddenly learn a very short, sharp lesson in the nature of electrical currents on the human body. Oh well, we can only hope. 'Til next time :)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
STOP THE PRESSES!!
Now normally I wouldn't actually get so excited over any one particular odious peice of Wingnut literature, but Dennis Prager has been on a roll lately. First there was his column in which he claimed that if recently elected congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, was unwilling to wear his oath of allegiance to the United States on a Bible- or at least have a Bible present in the room- and insisted on swearing on the Koran, he should not be allowed to serve in the U.S. Congress. Yes, you read that right. Even though the constitution has that whole "religious tests" clause. Naturally, the Left-net proceeded to jump on Prager and bite into his pink, flabby ass so hard he was forced to scream uncle and writte a follow-up.
Next, because he seemed to be suffering under the popular wingnut misconception that Freedom of Speech also included a shield protecting him from criticism for his loathsome ideas, he decided to write a second column explaining how everyone was being mean to him and calling him a racist bigot, even though he never specifically mentioned that Ellison was black and all he said was that if Ellison was unwilling to compromise his faith and swear on the holy book of another religion, he should not be permitted to serve in any official capacity as a legislator. Granted, while it didn't cause the Anti-Defamation League to issue another scorching press release, he still ended up looking like a tool.
God, you'd think this guy would eventually give up, and at the very least take a "break." you know? Like the kind most GOP lawmakers end up going on when congress starts looking at issuing indictments and they suddenly develop the most inexplicable urge to spend more time with their grandkids, fishing. But no, Prager doesn't take the easy way out. Because like any other good cropophage, instead of quitting when going gets tough, he never stops looking for a bigger, better pile of faeces from which to fashion a new dwelling place. Take it away, Denny!!
Over the years, I have offered many arguments for capital punishment for murder:
All of them pretty shitty. But hey, who knows? Much like certain hit movies that I can think of, maybe if I do enough sequels, one of them will actually turn out pretty well. Just look at the Highlander series!
Yet somehow, I don't think Dennis is overly concerned about that when he helps get them elected to office. I guess the injustice of the situation is based off an elastic philosophical algorythm wherein the measure of injustice decreased by a direct relationship of the murderer in question's whiteness, wealth, and conservativism. Go figure.
2. Killing murderers is society's only way to teach how terrible murder is. The only real way a society can express its revulsion at any criminal behavior is through the punishment it metes out. If murderers all got 10 years in prison and thieves all got 20 years in prison, that would be society's way of saying that thievery is worse than murder. A society that kills murderers is saying that murder is more heinous a crime than a society that keeps all its murderers alive.
Therefore, by that logic, while we are all pretty good about killing people who commit capital murder and showing the world that we mean business and all (as is our wont to do as big, tough Americans), how the hell can we look ourselves in the mirror fully well knowing that there are places in world (like Saudi Arabia) where the punishment for fornication is flogging, theft is amputation, and homosexuality is hanging. No offense or anything, but I'm sure Dennis would hate to spend much time thinking about what panzies we must look like to the rest of the world when it comes to our tolerance of gays and shoplifters. No wonder thye think the west is weak!
3. It can, if widely enacted, deter some murders. Though I regard this as a less important argument than the first two, there is no doubt that it is true.
Which is of course why Canada and Australia have nearly inconprehensibly high murder rates, while our beloved nation-state of Texas remains a model of order, stability, and brotherly love.
The great thinker Ernest van den Haag brilliantly made the case for execution as deterrence: Imagine if a state announced that murders committed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays would be punishable by execution and murders committed the other days of the week would be punishable by imprisonment. Would murder rates remain the same as they are now on all the days of the week? I doubt it.
Likewise, if a particular state (Oh I dunno, let's say Wisconsin) abolished the death penalty, but a neighboring state kept it on the books and in full swing (let's say, oh, Illinois), then of course the murder rate in the state without Capital punishment would skyrocket while the murder rates in the other state would drop like a stone. After all, all the murderers and theives from the one state would simply cross state lines to conduct their vile acts, thus escaping the Ultimate Penalty(tm) and thereby giving a huge F-U- to the tools in the neighboring state. Right? Right?? Ah. Shit.
The most common objection opponents offer against capital punishment is that innocents may be executed.
Pfft! What a bunch of panzies. Worrying about the fate of the innocent and such.
My answer has always been that this is so rare (I do not know of a proved case of mistaken execution in America in the last 50 years)[...]
Well, considering the fact that the United States Department of Justice itself estimates that approximately 5-10% of all convictions in the United States are in fact false convictions. Not to mention that DNA evidence has exhonerated hundreds of people who have logged tens of THOUSANDS of years of incarceration time. But uh, sure. I guess I do have to admit that there hasn't yet been a proven case of a wrongful execution yet (although at the most recent count 123 people had been released from Death Row following DNA and other tests. Kinda makes you wonder). But anyway brace yourselves because what comes next is truely shocking.
[...]that society must be prepared to pay that terrible price. Why? Among other reasons, because more innocents will be killed by murderers who are not executed (in prison, or once released or if they escape) than will be killed by the state in erroneous executions.
....what? No, what, WHAT????? I'm sure I read that wrong. Surely crumbs from your pastrami and mayo bagel have jammed up your keyboard Mr. Prager, for there is no way a person in his right mind could possibly advocate the death of innocent people at the hands of the criminal justice system "for the greater good" and to support a system of deterrence which is not only racist, but has been time and time again proven not to work.
So, yes, I acknowledge the possibility of an innocent being killed by the state because of a mistaken murder conviction. But we often have the tragedy of innocents dying because of a social policy.
Ho. Lee. Shit. He really does mean it.
I support higher speed limits even when shown that they lead to more traffic fatalities. I support the right of people to drink alcohol even though the amount of violence directly emanating from alcohol consumption – from drunk drivers to spousal and child abuse – is so high.
In other words, we must be prepared for innocent people to die at the hands of the state because that's what freedom's all about. Because if you aren't willing to execute innocent people to prove a point about how seriously you take murder charges, well, you can't really support anything, can you? A legalistic justification for the murder of innocent people, all in the name of the greater good. And to think that up until this point, I thought I had seen it all.
Nearly all opponents of capital punishment (and many supporters of capital punishment) believe that if the police obtained evidence illegally, the conviction of a murderer should be overturned.
Now, THAT'S some deterrence I could get behind. But then again, Prager is probably the kind of guy who thinks it's okay to torture brown people if we think they might have information (even if they don't), because after all, if we don't end up torturing some innocent people, it will only encourage the terrorists to attack us more and limit our ability to respond. Tool.
Whether that position is right or wrong is not relevant here. What is relevant is this: The people who believe in this policy do so knowing that it will lead to the murder of innocent people like Mary Hutchison, just as I believe in capital punishment knowing that it might lead to the killing of an innocent person. So those who still wish to argue for keeping all murderers alive will need to argue something other than "an innocent may be killed." They already support a policy that ensures innocents will be killed.
I'm not going to even bother. Just remember kids. If you find yourself accused of a crime you didn't committ and see a fat, red-faced, silver-haired pundit with a bad case of hypervocalism about to be seated, I strongly suggest pleading guilty at once and throwing yourself at the mercy of the judge. Sure as hell beats the alternative.
Now, I need a drink.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Concrete slab collapses inside Virginia high-rise project
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Merry...-oh, wait! I know this one!
Oh, dear. Maybe. I'm not sure.
It depends on what choices in moviegoing signal about the American character. I see I'd better explain.
You know, they say that when trying to understand a foreign language, a fair amount of the subtextual meaning is lost in translation. However, a side-by-side textual reading of this opening paragraph alongside a in-game text screen from "Zero Wing" can only lead me to the conclusion that Murchinson's original language, while similarly garbled, is so incomphrensible that it can only be explained in the following way: Bill Murchinson is not from this galaxy.
The word came on Monday that the new PG-rated film "The Nativity Story" hadn't had the large opening expected for it -- just $8 million (in 3083 theaters) vs. $11 million for "Déjà vu" in its second week and $15.1 million for "Casino Royale" in its third, not to mention the Penguin thing, "Happy Feet," at $17 million. May it be inferred that American moviegoers are dissing Jesus, Mary and Joseph? If so, how come? Are the End Times upon us?While virtually any given wingnut can on any given day find fault with Hollywood, I posit to you that only a special brand of wingnut looks for signs of the impending apocalypse based off of the ticket receipts of Christian-themed movies. Indeed, if ticket sales alone are an effective wyay of telling the future, then it would appear that we are headed for an imminent invasion by an extraterrestrial race sometime in early July. Say near Independance Day. Yeah, that sounds about right.
"The Nativity Story," a warmly reviewed account of Jesus' birth[...]
If by "warmly reviewed" he means having an approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes slightly higher than that of the President, he's right. Just kidding of course. Bush's approval rating is well below 41%. But who knows? Maybe his mom liked it or something.
[The Nativity Story] is supposed to be at the leading of faith-based films that trail the gargantuan "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."
Heh, he said "gargantuan." Whenever I hear that word I can't help but thinking of hordes of unwashed lardies, desperately searching under seat cushions for any stray peices of mince pie and piggy pudding. I have to admit, Jesus isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but then again I was always bad at free association games.
A journalist who has frequented the cinematic palaces since Gabby Hayes and Hopalong Cassidy were in vogue confesses that he himself hasn't quite -- not yet, despite splendid intentions -- made it to "The Nativity Story" and therefore finds it hard to round on the millions who took their millions elsewhere last weekend in search of diversion. But he's going, he's going. Honest. Cross his heart and hope...
What then agentlike brought about that tragoady thundersday this municipal sin business? Our cubehouse still rocks as earwitness to the thunder of his arafatas but we hear also through successive ages that shebby choruysh of unkalified muzzlenimiissilehims that would blackguardise the whitestone ever hurtleturtled out of heaven.
No doubt the atheist authors now crashing the best-seller lists will share looks of satisfaction if events cause them to conclude the public couldn't care less about some old Nativity. On the other side of the coin is what we might call historical realism. Reading "the culture's" mind is no easy endeavor.No doubt the atheist authors now crashing the best-seller lists will share looks of satisfaction if events cause them to conclude the public couldn't care less about some old Nativity.
TWO of the above paragraphs are from Bill Murchinson's Article on the Nativity Story film. The OTHER is from James Joyce's epic stream-of-consiousness novel "Finnegan's Wake." Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out which one makes the most sense. You have 30 seconds. Choose!
Did the once-broad taste for Charlton Heston bidding the Red Sea part in "The Ten Commandments" signal broad devotion to the Law and the Prophets? How about the teeth-gritting of Burt Lancaster in "Elmer Gantry"? By watching, were we, the people, affirming the absurdity of sawdust evangelism? I wouldn't count on it. A large portion of us -- each of us -- seeks entertainment for the sake of entertainment, diversion for the sake of diversion. So it ever has been.
Hmm. I'm pretty sure any competent author (or indeed, native English speaker) could cut through this lard using 10 words or less. Hmm, let's try this: "Movies are fun." Moving on...
A populace that demonstrated its inner spirit by attending pious movies alone and pursuing pious pastimes the rest of the week would be … a little atypical, mightn't you say?
I agree. Any group of people that demonstrates its religious esprit de corps by patronizing religion-themed movies, amusement parks, and bowling teams would be a little atypical. But then again, I've never been to a "Hell house."
Not so many years in the past, Christians didn't necessarily hold with moviegoing -- any movie.
Nor gambling, spitting, drinking, divorcing, dancing, or love making (outside of the hallowed grounds of marriage for reproductive purposes only). My my how the world changes.
I recall 50 years ago hearing a local Baptist preacher relate with some satisfaction how he had torn up the free tickets he had received to "The Ten Commandments." No Charlton Heston for this guy -- just the good old Book of Exodus, which likely a number of his own good folk couldn't locate without some exertion.
Ah, I forgot! Better add "educating" to the above list of Christian no-no's.
It's nice to see the culture affirm, via its ticket purchases, the good and the true and the beautiful -- "The Nativity Story," shall we say, over "Borat." But it works that way only some of the time. Dare we forget the popularity of Britney Spears' latest videos on YouTube?
Shorter Bill Muchinson: It's really nice when the facts on the ground synch up with my preconceived notions. Except for when they don't, and stuff.
And for the record,
1) Borat opening weekend= $26.5 million.
2) Nativity opening weekend= $8 million.
3) Threfore, Borat > Nativity Story.
4) Oh hell, Borat > 3(Nativity Story).
Truth is Truth, projected on a screen or not.
I agree! I must say, it's really nice to see someone who dares to think outside of the box every once in a while and challenges the notion that the "Truth" does not exist independantly, outside the limited confines of the movie screen.
I think Christians may hope for, as well as toil and labor for, the success of any commercial endeavor that throws unexpected light on doings at the Red Sea or the Sea of Galilee. And yet, in some measure the thing is out of their hands. "God doth not need man's works or his own gifts," interposed Milton. No bad realization, this. Takes the pressure off to some degree. Man is not -- repeat, not -- the measure of all things. A somewhat higher authority has claimed that prerogative, and doubtless means to keep it
In short, it's the thought that counts. Sure, if the Nativity Story makes tons of money then it'd be a nice affirmation of God's influence on our pop culture. But hey, if it totally tanks, it doesn't really matter because God's still cool. Unfortunately for Mr. Murchinson, he is not God, and his column is reakky shitty. See ya next week!