Quote Of The Day.

Sunday, March 31, 2002


the full text of the "Consumer Broad Band Act." Then do as Lee Ann and I have already told you to do. Protest. On this the Spinsters stand united.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 31, 2002 | link

The Great Blogger Buy Out

Instapundit and other blogs have been acquired by AOL. Usually I think it's a scary thing when big corporations buy publishing houses and other media, if for no other reason than that corporations have their own interests which may not correspond with the interests of art, good content, or analysis. The beauty of blogs, however, is that they're created by individuals. Anyone can create and write for a blog, and this makes the number of potential blogs almost infinite. So the influence of an AOL will by necessity be minimal, since AOL cannot buy every blog. The accessibility of the technology ensures the independence of the medium. Incidentally this is something Eric Alterman and others on the left should wake up to.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 31, 2002 | link

Women can be nasty

Having survived seventh grade, I could have told you that. I take issue, however, with the thesis that all or even most women are cowardly, underhanded, and back stabbing, although I have known my share: Alice B. Kuzniar and Erika Lindeman being two. I certainly don't think that men behave any differently. After all
how brave and direct is having political opponents carted off by the secret police. This isn't a direct confrontation of ideas. Sending people to the GULAG is a form of ostracism, an unwillingness to confront criticism, and an effort to protect your own turf. Stalin, however, wasn't a woman. Men and women are underhanded, back stabbing, power grubbing, and downright mean. Or at least they can be, especially when they get into groups and have something at stake in their relations with others beyond mere personal affection. Salon's suggestion, however, that evolutionary psychology could be the great panacea here is ridiculous. The great panacea is realizing that people exist as individuals and in groups and understanding how those two things interact.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 31, 2002 | link

Rethinking the War

Well, actually I don't really think it is a war, not in the technical sense of the term anyway, but I do think that this program on PBS should give those who support it pause. Perhaps we should be subverting dictatorial regimes not with guns but with money and ideas. Wars create physical and economic chaos, but an internal non-violent democracy movement relies upon the very things which make democracies work: the peaceful prosecution of change, the implementation of ideas and ideals into action. Maybe the best way to work toward change in the world is to work toward it not fight for it. Maybe the tee-shirt is mightier than the sword.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 31, 2002 | link

Dueling Property Rights.

This article came to my attention through Ron the Bigfan (of who? Braves? Titans? ‘Aints?). Here we have the classic duel between the property rights of neighborhood newbies and the property values of the older residents. It’s hard not to sympathize with both sides, but I’ll have to side with the newbies on this one. While it isn’t very attractive to have cars parked all over your lawn, if you have limited garage space and several people who need cars to get to work, those workers should have access to their cars. I don’t like the idea of limiting the number of people who can reside in a home. That’s too invasive of a citizen’s privacy rights. Sure, I don’t want a flophouse down the street, but if I have family or friends who are living with me, that’s none of your business. I think this comes down to nuisance laws. If somebody is running a flophouse, or if their guests/ residents are loud or abusive of the neighbors, the extra people have to go. But well-behaved, law-abiding extended family or friends should be able to live where they want. It’s a private residence, and unless the residents are causing real, legitimate trouble, I say let them park where they want, on their property, so long as the homeowner maintains a clean, neat yard. Liberty trumps prettiness.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 31, 2002 | link

Good Work Gena!

It's always good to see a liberal fight for freedom. And if any liberal does, you can bet that it will be Gena. You can also fight the Consumer Broadband Act by logging on to Digital Consumer. You just enter in your name, email address, and it will automatically fax your Congressman. Do it now, and I mean NOW!

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 31, 2002 | link

Happy Easter!

Gena and I would like to wish everyone a happy and holy Easter. May the love and blessings of the Risen Christ be upon you and yours. Gena is still under the weather, but she wishes everyone the best.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 31, 2002 | link


Saturday, March 30, 2002


the  "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act." Read about it. Get mad as Hell. Sign the petition and write to your Congressman.

posted by Gena on Saturday, March 30, 2002 | link


The web's largest archive of German e-texts finds a new home at the Spiegel.

posted by Gena on Saturday, March 30, 2002 | link


Friday, March 29, 2002

Sowell Patrol.

Is foreign aid a good thing? Does it really help those who receive it? Thomas Sowell, intellectual god, says no. Foreign aid only fosters dependence, not prosperity. Debt forgiveness only encourages more fiscal irresponsibility. Be warned though, Townhall has its formatting screwed up and the article has no paragraphs. This is very annoying, but the article is worth it.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, March 29, 2002 | link


Well, the death toll from the Netanya seder is at 22, 4 settlers were gunned down last night, 2 worshippers in a synagogue were stabbed to death this morning, and 2 shoppers were blown up in a supermarket. That makes 30 in less than 3 days. All civilians too. In response, Israel has finally decided to rip out Palestinian terror at the roots. Have they attacked mosques with knives? No. Have they run through neighborhoods randomly shooting civilians? No. Have they blown up any religious gatherings? No. They have confined their response to Arafat and his heavily armed terrorist minions. The Palestinians wanted war and now they have it. They probably thought Israel would just sit back and let their people be slaughtered. They forgot that the Jews have learned a lot since the last successful printing of Mein Kampf. The most important thing they've learned is that you don’t sit back and wait for the Angel of Death to stop in to chat. You grab your guns and defend yourselves. Viva Israel!

Benjamin Netanyahu has a brilliant op-ed in the Jerusalem Post that clearly sums up the problem and the solution. Here’s an exerpt:

“An unremitting carnage that indiscriminately slaughters all who come within the murderous reach of Palestinian terrorists shows the depths of their hatred. Clearly, the only constraint for Arab terrorists is their destructive capability. Given the power, they would destroy all of us, down to the last infant.

“The primary objective of Arafat's terrorist regime is not to establish the twenty-second Arab state, but to destroy the only Jewish state. This was and remains the heart of the conflict.”

The article is great. Read the whole thing, several times.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, March 29, 2002 | link


Thursday, March 28, 2002

Advice You Are Already Aware Of.

I don’t want to knock UTK’s law school, as I’m sure it’s great, but how many conservative teachers do they have at the law school? If they don’t have a few I’d worry about the quality of education you’d get. Some law schools have no conservative professors. I recall one law school that refused to hire a second (that’s right, second) conservative because they thought that having 2 conservatives (among dozens of professors) would make the department “unbalanced.” If UTK has conservatives, take their classes and think about what they have to say. Consider seriously if they might be right. If you aren’t getting the conservative view, you are not getting the full depth of the law. If your views aren’t challenged, you are not being educated, just pandered to.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, March 28, 2002 | link

Just Wondering . . .

Why are you getting so all-fired concerned about suicide bombers now? Is this massacre of innocents any different from the ones before? The body count is the similar to the Dolphinium massacre of teenagers. It is maybe less than the death toll at Sbarro’s. Is it because it was at a Seder? Well, they’ve bombed a little girl’s Bat Mitzvah. Why the concern now? Weren’t the other dead Jews good enough?

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, March 28, 2002 | link

Die Terrorist Scum!

OK, so if both the Israelis and the Palestinians are fighting, they must be equally at fault? That is a sophisticated coward’s excuse for avoiding tough moral questions. If a people has freely embraced evil, why shouldn’t they take the consequences of their actions? Doesn’t a nation have the right to defend itself against a genocidal enemy? The Israelis want peace and will gladly live together with the Palestinians. The Palestinians are the ones who refuse to accept Israelis (you know, Jews) among them. Why do the settlements have to be abandoned? If Palestinians can live in and be citizens of Israel, why must Palestinian controlled areas be Judenrein?

Not every Palestinian is suicide bomber or a terrorist. . . . And more than certainly not every Palestinian deserves to die.” I never said they all were terrorists, but the vast majority of Palestinians support the terror campaign. If you will recall, they even celebrated the WTC attacks. I said those who slaughter should be slaughtered, not those who are simply evil slaughter-lovers. By the way, Israel does not want to kill all the Palestinians. Israel is just about the only countries in the Middle East that allows Palestinians to become citizens. Israel wants to live in peace with the Palestinians. The Palestinians want to kill all the Jews. Did you know that the best selling book in PA controlled areas is the new Arabic translation of Mein Kampf?

“A prosperous society in which the Palestinians enjoyed full economic and political participation and equality might still breed its share of murderous fanatics; but they would be like our murderous fanatics - out on the fringe wondering why they were sitting there alone.” Evil people are responsible for their own actions. Anti-semitism is not related to socio-economic status. Neither is terrorism. All the 9/11 bombers were wealthy or middle class. The rich Saudis are firm believers in blood libels. The Nazis didn’t exactly drag themselves off the streets of Calcutta. Israeli Arabs enjoy the full economic and political benefits of Israeli citizenship, yet they still support terror. The Red Crescent transported the explosives for the latest suicide bomber. An organization under the umbrella of the IRC isn’t exactly marginalized.

“Some in fact many Palestinians hate Israelis; the converse I should add also holds true.” The Palestinians hate all Jews; the Israelis don’t hate all Palestinians. Can you really blame the Israelis for taking a strong dislike to people who murder and celebrate the murder of Jewish children? The alleged Israeli “hate” is a direct response to a campaign of anti-semitic murder. You know I bet they hated Nazis too. I for one don’t blame them. The Palestinians hate the Israelis because the Israelis are Jews. Virtually the entire Middle East is trained from childhood to hate Jews. When Adolf Eichmann was arrested, the Arab press described him as a man who “had the honor of killing 6 million Jews.” That’s still mainstream opinion, not the lunatic fringe. Israelis are not trained to hate Arabs. There are many Israeli organizations that are dedicated to supporting Palestinian rights. Don’t bother looking for Palestinian reciprocation.

“They are also however predicated on the fact that the Palestinians live under occupation, and most of them in refugee camps.” And whose fault is this? If you keep slaughtering unarmed civilians, you are going to get your freedoms restricted. It works the same way as jail works. Most of these camps you talk about are in places like Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Why don’t those countries allow the Palestinians to leave the camps and integrate, as temporary aliens or foreign workers, into the societies of their host nations?

Have you never asked yourself why there are pro-Palestinian Israelis but no pro-Israeli Palestinians? Not even a lot of moderate ones? The Palestinians, as a people, are allowing their children to be indoctrinated into hate and violence. If the Palestinians want to support suicide bombers, they can suffer the consequences of their freely chosen path. Israel wants to eliminate terrorist and the terrorist power structure, not the Palestinian people. The only ones eager to exterminate their opposition are the Palestinians.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, March 28, 2002 | link

My Mom Reports

That Charlie Rose kissed Barbara Walters after she told told him she'd be madly in love with him if she weren't a hundred and five. This is what you miss when you blog.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 28, 2002 | link

Lee Ann Sent Me

This article on academic idiocy. Sadly enough after two years of absurd disputes over such weighty topics as whether or not looking out a window automatically implies voyeurism, I can't find much to disagree with here. Indeed I decided on law school mainly because I figured that if I were going to spend my life getting yelled at by people, I might as well get paid for it. On the other hand, Mr. Goldblatt is wrong when he writes: "If you cannot attack a position on "straightforward logical grounds," what grounds remain? That's when the shouting starts. Which is the current state of affairs in the Columbia English Department. And, sadly, in literature and humanities departments nationwide." This may be true of UNC but it isn't of the Universityof Tennessee. The professors there are by in large genuine lovers of their subject and they know a jerk when they see one, and consequently don't hire them. UT therefore has what UNC and Columbia do not: a vibrant and flourishing intellectual community. Maybe this isn't the main (cough)  reason I choose UT as my law school, but it's certainly why I didn't shed too many tears over Cornell and its waiting list.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 28, 2002 | link

Well I am Mad

About the Palestinian suicide bomber; on the other hand I don't think screaming for blood does much of anything except turn the rivers red. Not every Palestinian is suicide bomber or a terrorist. Not every Palestinian who sympathizes with Hamas would do so were the situation different. And more than certainly not every Palestinian deserves to die. A prosperous society in which the Palestinians enjoyed full economic and political participation and equality might still breed its share of murderous fanatics;
but they would be like our murderous fanatics - out on the fringe wondering why they were sitting there alone. Some in fact many Palestinians hate Israelis; the converse I should add also holds true. The suicide bombings are I am more than certain motivated out of hate. They are also however predicated on the fact that the Palestinians live under occupation, and most of them in refugee camps. The Israelis want security. The Palestinians want out of the camps, and they see that their way out of the camps is to take away what Israel wants. In the absence of an army, they use bombs. Does this make their actions justified? No. It does however make them rational, and for that reason eliminable. I said before the US should lean on the Israelis. It is now time to lean on the Palestinians; to give them to understand that what they want is genuinely obtainable, but that they have to lay down their guns too; if they are to get it. There are blood screaming fanatics on the Palestinians' side, people who don't want peace but only more blood. And there are people like that over on the other side of the check point as well. And all of them need to be peaceably squashed by a fair and equitable state which will shove them permanently out on the fringe where they belong.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 28, 2002 | link

Vengeance Is Mine Saith the Israelis.

Wake up Palestine, the time of reckoning is at hand. The latest Palestinian suicide bomber has killed 20 and wounded 130. I am beginning to believe that the Palestinians are irredeemable. They have, with cold-blooded calculation, set out to slaughter Jews on their holy days. Passover is a religious holiday where Jews celebrate their deliverance from Egypt. They are gathered, unarmed, in groups. Entire families come together. The suicide bombers are trying to slaughter unarmed families for no reason other than Judaism. If the Palestinians want hell let lose upon them, so be it. They’ve earned every last bullet. I can’t help but agree with Dave’s songs of rage. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword; those who slaughter innocents should be slaughtered themselves.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, March 28, 2002 | link


Wednesday, March 27, 2002

What in the Hell

Are the Palestinians doing? I'm sorry but this crosses the line.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Dave and Glenn

spank Marta Sanchez, the UVA law student suing her professor for tapping her on the shoulder. Have to say I agree with Dave on this one: "I feel sorry for Ms. Sanchez's earllier history, but if she honestly believed that she was going to get raped in front of a class of law students, she hassome serious psychological issues that would prevent her from successfully completing law school." Yes, or from being a lawyer for that matter.

On the other hand, although I haven't read Vosburg v. Putney perhaps Sanchez's suit does show a certain flaw in the logic of the case.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

A State Court

In New Jersey ruled that secret arrests are "odious to a democracy" and that the government would have to fork over information about detainees held in two NJ jails. This was over the objections of the omniscient INS.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Stephen Spielberg

Has edited out the guns in ET. The FBI agents now carry walkie talkies, apparently to appease Drew Barrymore who objected to guns being in the movie. I haven't seen the re-release of the film, but regardless of how you feel about guns per se, don't you expect FBI agents to carry them? And as I remember the FBI agents in the movie are the bad guys. How scary is a dude armed by a fearsome walkie talkie? This would have given me nightmares as a child.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Tariq Ali

Says the leftists who support the war on terrorism are the "Empire's" useful idiots. Maybe so, but Mr. Ali sure doesn't do a terribly good job of making the case for the intelligence of those of us who don't. This is one of the most vacuous and intellectually scrambled articles I've ever read. And although I'm no fan of Freshman Composition classes perhaps it really wouldn't be such a bad idea for Tariq to go back and take one.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Hey Look, Gena’s Still Wrong.

The indomitable George Larson is back, doing a pretty good job of taking down Gena’s objections to Military Order No. 1. Before I yield the floor (and part of the wainscoting) to George, I first want to say that you shouldn’t have ragged him for the “spanking”; he didn’t use that word, I did. Now, over to George, with my comments in brackets:

“ ‘Executive Order: an order issued by a government's executive on the basis of authority specifically granted to the executive branch (as by the U.S. Constitution or a congressional act)’ Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. (Ooh, a dictionary. This guy is fiendishly clever!)

“Notice how this Executive Order starts: ‘Executive Order 13112 By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990, as amended (16 U.S.C. 4701 et seq.), Lacey Act, as amended (18 U.S.C. 42), Federal Plant Pest Act (7 U.S.C. 150aa et seq.), Federal Noxious Weed Act of 1974, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.), Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and other pertinent statutes, to prevent the introduction of invasive species and provide for their control and to minimize the economic, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause, it is ordered as follows:’ (I for one have been warning of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance threat for quite some time. I told you to beware of the Plant Pests! Now maybe you’ll believe me!)

“It states up front why the President has the power to make the order. Observe the limits of authority below: (Brace yourself, this is where he starts smokin’!)

" ‘Executive Order shall be carried out subject to the availability of appropriations and to the extent permitted by law. ...’ ‘Executive departments and agencies shall carry out the provisions of this order to the extent permitted by law and consistent with their statutory and ...’ (Notice how the provision is governed by the law. Note how “provision” and “law” are two different concepts.)

“Disregard the example and consider the implication of your idea about executive orders. According to Gena all it takes is an executive order for civilians to be tried by military tribunals and military law. If true, this is an excellent and overwhelmingly powerful legal tool to use by state and federal governments. Any embarrassing trial or important legal problem of an administration could easily be tried by military law under a military judge and jury. Why didn't President Nixon or President Clinton think of this? . . . It is faster, cheaper and the government is more likely to win. Military Officers serve at the pleasure of the President. Most State Adjutant Generals are appointed by their Governors. There are even military laws allowing conviction without a separate judge, jury, prosecutor or defense, Summary Court Martial. . . . Court Martial conviction rates exceed 90%. The Commander in Chief or commander of the state militia merely has to write an executive order and tell his military commander who to arrest and try. Why isn't it happening? Why didn't Nixon complete his second term? Why was Clinton impeached? They could have squelched it all with Executive Orders. If you are right and Executive Orders are the supreme law of the land most of our lawyers should be unemployed and the Criminal, Civil, State, Federal, Tax, Tribal and Emigration Courts empty and our military courts should be overflowing. This is not reality or how our republic is supposed to run. (No, but the idea of unemployed lawyers and empty courts is nice. George makes excellent points about the limits of executive privilege. Neither the president nor his Executive Orders are above the law.)

“I think what you are missing is the role of the courts. A judge will enforce an executive order that does not contravene existing law. A soldier can be court martialed for not obeying any executive order, but not necessarily convicted. Executive Orders clearly can rule when law authorizes use of presidential power and no law specifically prohibits the order. But the courts can still review action taken under an Executive Order. All the defense lawyer has to do is find a sympathetic judge with oversight authority. An Executive Order saying no appeal is possible is only a piece of paper that would be a red flag to most judges. Their job is to review government actions and it takes more than a letter from the President to invalidate that function. When the Law and the President's wishes conflict, the Law wins. Even a soldier's first duty is to preserve and protect the Constitution, then to obey lawful orders. (Bingo! George wins the white carnation. Have I mentioned that an Executive Order cannot invalidate a duly enacted law?)

“It does not matter what Joel B. Grossman, Gena Lewis, George Larson or almost anyone else say on this issue. I am not aware of The Supreme Court putting an Executive Order above enforcing a Law, if only because the Supreme Court gets the last word on what the Constitution means. The Supreme Court will simply say the law does not apply in this case. Arguing about undecided legal issues unless it is in front of a judge is like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Until the Executive Order about Military Tribunals for ‘detainees’ is actually printed in the Federal Register and a Defense Attorney tries to contest it will we know for sure.” (Gee, does this mean we have to wait and see what the Order will entail before getting hysterical about potential abuses? What a concept! By the way, knock off with that “angels on the head of a pin” stuff. Gena likes that kind of discussion.)

I agree with George. I grill with him too. He and his military lawyer seem to have a better handle on the legal technicalities of this. There’s also a nice run down on the subject by Jed Babbin, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Can’t Butterfly This Ballot!

Here’s your chance to vote for the first ever recipient of the Croix de Grits. This award honors achievement above and beyond the call of duty to the South (or better yet, Alabama). If you want to honor those who have brought honor to the South, click here. Remember, vote early and vote often.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Goodbye Mr. Television.

Milton Berle is dead at the age of 93. Uncle Miltie was a pioneer of television comedy and ruled the air waves for almost ten years. His performance in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was comic genius. His live, on-the-air take down of RuPaul at the MTV awards was classic. It’s very disconcerting when such a long-standing fixture of your cultural universe dies. Uncle Miltie has been in my pop culture consciousness for longer than I care to remember. I shudder to think how I’ll react when Bob Hope goes. The really disturbing thing is that these kings of comedy don’t have heirs to speak of. Most young comics don’t have their breadth of talent or raw abilities. They rely too heavily on the shock factor to the detriment of developing real style, not to mention substance. Milton Berle’s death makes me very sad. There’s no other way to say it. I’m sad.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Reducto ad Politicus Correctus.

The continuing saga of King County, Washington’s abuse of the memory of the noble William Rufus DeVane King continues with . . . homophobia! Yes, the maligned Alabamian was gay, and King County has seen fit to slight the memory of this lifestyle pioneer. This seems to be an awfully repressive thing for such a self-proclaimed progressive region to do. As that intrepid freedom fighter Carol G. says, “King County would just die of embarrassment if they knew that they had taken the name of the county away from a gay man. My goodness gracious, what is the world coming to. I wonder if I could find a couple of gay men with open minds and a sense of humor to start raising a stink. It sure would be fun . . ." Indeed it would.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link

Passover Slaughter.

Looks like the Palestinians are derailing any chance at peace by slaughtering 16 Jews celebrating Passover at a hotel. Unfortunately, everyone was expecting terror bombings of this sort. Passover is an important Jewish holiday and its religious nature prevents Jews from being armed during its celebration. With so many Jews unarmed and gathered together in groups, you just knew that the suicide bombers would be out in force. Maybe this is part of Bush’s rope-a-dope strategy for getting rid of Arafat. I hope so.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 | link


Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Girl Scout Cookies.

We have gotten a couple of hits from people googling for the secret recipe for Girl Scout Samoas cookies. We don't have the recipe, but I can tell you that Little Debbie's German Chocolate Cookie Rings taste exactly like them. They are also available all year and at lower prices than the Samoas.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 | link

Umberto and Silent Mario Strike Back!

You have very strange ideas of my reading habits. I am familiar with Mario Vargas Llosa but haven’t gotten around to reading much from him. I do read the New Republic, but not as frequently as I used to. They had a sharp decline in quality during the late 90s and have only recently started to pull out of it. Why on earth would you think I’d go ballistic over an Umberto Eco article? It was an excellent review of Eco’s Kant and the Platypus. Were you under the impression that I don’t read philosophy, or that I don’t read Eco? I read both. Names like Heidegger, Kant, Wittgenstein (who was a sponsor of Georg Trakl), Hegel, and the like are an active part of my reading. I happen to love Umberto Eco. He’s one of my favorite authors. I’ve read Foucault’s Pendulum, The Name of the Rose, and I highly recommend The Island of the Day Before. I do need to reread FP, just to see how much I’ve learned since my last reading of it. His essays are also very good, and I have bought (but not yet read) The Limits of Interpretation. As to your other posts, you seem to think I’ve fallen into illiteracy. I don’t mind Nussbaum, actually. I’m not crazy about her (or her repressive gender feminism), but her literary analysis of the Old Testament is intriguing. I think she gets a bit too locked into one theme and can sometimes miss the point as a result, but her work is worth a read. The first two paragraphs of the article are cute. MacKinnon and Chodorow? Talk about psychotically hard left. And as for Judith Butler, if Gender Trouble is any indication, she’s not “intellectually conservative.” Neither is Martha Nussbaum. Exactly how leftist is this professor friend of yours? By the way, Butler regularly wins “awards” for Bad Writing.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 | link

Welcome Back to the Land of the Living

How nice that Gena has survived her bout with the plague. Your Tennessee blogs are nice, but can't compare to those of Alabama. The Mighty Marsupial and the Warliberal can thrash most K-villers. The Knoxville Alliance is going to need more than the Blogfather to threaten the Axis of Weevil.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 | link

I should be back

To my usual evil incendiary self tomorrow, but until I am here's another of my favorite articles from the New Republic before it went bust, this one by Mario Vargas Llosa on why literature is and should be important. And just so Lee Ann can go ballistic, here's one by Simon Blackburn on Umberto Eco.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 | link

We Tennesseans

Are going to give the Axis of Weevil a run for its money. Here's a Tennessee blog by a guy who seems to be known only as the "Rap Master," and appears to be from right here in Knoxville. There must to be something about Knoxville and blogging lawyers, or blogging aspiring lawyers as the case may be. To date I count three: Instapundit, this guy, and yours truly. Perhaps we can form the evil triad of logs. Law bloggers of Knoxville united.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 | link

Croix de Grits nominees.

My first suggestions for the Southern Medal of Honor are Florence King, Clarence Thomas, and the Black voters of Mississippi (who I think could win on attitude alone). The reasons are elaborated over at the Possumblogger’s Lair.

My next nominee will be Condoleeza Rice, of Birmingham, Alabama. Her political contributions are quite clear, considering her starring role in leading the War on Terror. However her intellectual achievements should not be ignored. She served as provost of Stanford, is the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and is a tenured professor of political science. Talk about extending Alabama’s cultural hegemony!

The Axis of Weevil will post all nominations and take a vote of Southern Web-Critters. We encourage your participation.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 | link

A Hero Honored.

Johnny “Mike” Spann, the Martyr of Mazaar-I-Sharif, has been honored by the state of Alabama. The length of Highway 129 from Corridor X to Highway 78 has been named “Johnny Michael Spann Highway.” Spann, who was beaten to death in the Mazaar-I-Sharif prison uprising, was the first American to be killed in Afghanistan. It is truly fitting that his courage and sacrifice be honored by his home state. All Americans should honor not only Spann, but all the heroes on the War on Terror.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 | link


Monday, March 25, 2002

Sick Spinster and Martha Nussbaum

Well, I'm sick - yes, you already knew that - but I mean literally, physically ill; so I won't be posting tonight. However, in the grand tradition of Spinsters' smack downs, I refer you to this article on Judith Butler. A professor friend of mine labeled the article "intellectually conservative." I replied that conservative or not Martha Nussbaum still kicked Judith's a**.

posted by Gena on Monday, March 25, 2002 | link

Sex and the Renaissance Girl.

There has been a major revival of the work of Artemisia Gentileschi in the last few months. Artemisia is one of the major female painters of the Renaissance and has, until recently, been more famous for her personal life than her art. This has changed. Now her work is getting the attention and respect it deserves. Most popular commentators have focused on Artemisia’s rape and viewed her art as a Freudian screen to read her psyche off of. To reduce her art to being a mere catharsis for her personal suffering is degrading and is not done to male artists. Does anybody view Don Quixote as a psychological catharsis for Cervantes’ years of imprisonment and slavery? To view Artemisia’s work as some therapy exercise is just as ridiculous. Well, people are finally looking past the scandal and seeing the art. And the art is quite brilliant. Check it out for yourselves.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 25, 2002 | link

Biscuits and Oy Vey!

More about Judaism and the South. This time Rachel Pomerance tells of the shrinking world of small town Jews. Sad, but inspiring. Passover starts Wednesday by the by. Both Catholic moi and atheist Gena would like to wish all of you a happy, healthy, and holy Passover.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 25, 2002 | link

Croix de Grits.

The Possumblogger, your humble Spinster, and the rest of the Axis of Weevil have decided to establish a Medal of Honor. The award will recognize service above and beyond the call of duty to Dixie. The Mad Marsupial has the full details at his place. We of the Axis are now accepting Medal nominations from fellow Bamabloggers, Southern Web-critters, those of the Southern Diaspora, and from the rest of you inveterate lovers of liberty. All nominees must be Southerners in good standing and have promoted the cultural, artistic, political, intellectual, culinary, literary, whatever-ary of the South. They must exemplify the virtues (or more pleasant vices) of the South. They must also have avoided any overtly boneheaded deed that would embarrass dear Dixie or, more importantly, the Axis. Eccentrics are welcomed as nominees. Lunacy keeps the riffraff out. Nominations should be sent to me or to the Prehensile Tailed Powerhouse.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 25, 2002 | link

Passover in Birmingham.

Frederick Kaimann writes about his Passover pilgrimage to the American Promised Land, Alabama. His observations about life as a Jew in an overtly religious Gentile city are very moving. Southerners have a long history of Jewish culture and many prominent Southern historical figures were Jewish. Alabama is chock full of Christian Zionists, so the description of the growing trend in Christian Seders doesn’t surprise me. I’m all for it. After all, Easter is Sunday and Christ’s Last Supper was a Seder. I also recall the former Governor Fob James did pledge Alabama’s support for Israel. He never did pledge military support though. Good thing too. If the Alabama National Guard were over defending the Israelis, they wouldn't be able to make up the bulk of the soldiers in America's War on Terror.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 25, 2002 | link


Sunday, March 24, 2002

Higher and Deeper.

Here the Washington Post looks at the flood of Ph.Ds. plaguing our society. They don’t say plague, but I do. I can tell you that I learned almost nothing in grad school. If I learned it, I taught it to myself. Major works of literature? Well, we read a couple, but we didn’t learn much about ‘em. They rambled on about race-class-gender theories or Freud, but never got around to the literature. We read Greenblatt on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the man mentioned the play exactly once. In the first paragraph only. Most grad schools are pumping out degrees by gutting requirements. No languages, no history of the discipline, certainly nothing that might require thought. Think studying English means you get exposed to the greatest work of English literature? Wrong! There are so many novelty “interest” studies that you can get a Ph.D. without reading The Bard. The universities (and the schools) have failed to educate their students. Today you can get a Ph.D. and still be an absolute moron. You can get a humanities degree and never hear that the Earth isn’t flat. You can get a degree in the sciences and be functionally illiterate. Sure, the students are just as bright as they ever were; the problem is they are less educated. The same professors who received an intensive classical education are now hell bent on making sure their students cannot receive the same. At Chapel Hill, there was a girl, a dear friend I must admit, who pronounced the word “laugh” as “lag.” There are schools in this country which refuse to teach Shakespeare. A big time English Department poobah advocates teaching from Cliff’s Notes. Teaching from them!!! Grad school was a fraud. I wanted an intellectual challenge, but not the challenge of trying to be incredibly stupid using 14 syllable words William F. Buckley has never heard of. Big bucks in student loans to be an autodidact. Sheesh.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 24, 2002 | link

I'm off to watch what's left of the Academy Awards. After all, Billy Bob will be there.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 24, 2002 | link

Sharia Law

The Nigerian Ministry of Justice has declared Sharia law unconstitutional. Nothing like a good dose of law to ruin a mullah's day. Take that twits.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 24, 2002 | link

All I Want for Christmas . . .

Is a flat tax. Mitchell is not praising Russia for having devised a perfect economic system. He is illustrating how the flat tax has enormously improved Russia’s economic situation. Russia has progressed from abysmal to merely bad. Russia’s previous tax compliance rate hovered between a dismal “nada” and a respectable “bupkis.” Now, people actually pay taxes. Those wealthy corrupt oligarchs you complain about are just the latest version of the fabulously wealthy, corrupt Soviet oligarchs who ruled Russia for 70 years. A system as corrupt and malignantly Byzantine as the Soviets’ doesn’t get cleaned up overnight. Yet the Russians have made enormous strides, and not a little of that progress is due to the flat tax. As a matter of fact, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hong Kong, and Bermuda have all reaped the economic benefits of the flat tax. Back in Russia, the underground economy that grew up in the shadow of Soviet and post-Soviet corruption is now going above ground and is entering the tax base.

Try this article from Deroy Murdock on the Russian flat tax. It’s much better at addressing your concerns. Murdock compares America’s tax burden to that of the Soviets in a fascinating parallel. Would you believe that “The old Russian system featured three income-tax rates: 12, 20, and 30 percent. The top rate kicked in at the ruble equivalent of $5,000 in taxable income. In contrast, the U.S. has six tax rates: 10, 15, 27, 30, 35, and 38.6 percent, the last of which takes hold at $307,500 for married couples filing jointly.” Hmm, I thought they were supposed to be the Communists. How about the change in attitudes about the tax system? Well, “This initiative ‘is establishing the custom of paying taxes in Russia,’ senior Duma member Dr. Konstantin Remchukov told me over lunch last fall. ‘It's greatly simplified everything.’ He says that three years ago, tax revenue equaled 9 to 10 percent of Russian GDP. By last November, that number had grown to 16 percent. This follows the supply-side Laffer Curve: Lower marginal tax rates produce higher revenues as both new and previously concealed economic activities enter the tax base. No wonder Russia's GDP grew 5 percent in 2001.”

Here’s some more links on the flat tax. Here’s a pro-flat tax page from Dick Armey. It has a neat flat tax calculator on it. Here’s an interesting Q and A site, which gives a good intro to the subject. This appears to be the flat tax homeland, with every flat tax issue you can think of. Did you know there’s a liberal case for a flat tax? Neither did I. I did know that there’s a liberal case against one, which is here.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 24, 2002 | link

It's a Smackdown

Over at Ted Barlow's website. There's not much left of this National Review article on Russia and the flat tax after Ted gets through with it.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 24, 2002 | link


Saturday, March 23, 2002


The best thing about a spinsters' spanking is that you always have the option of spanking back. In other words, bend over Mr. Larson, the paddle's coming out (in direct violation, I should add, of the Geneva Conventions).

I see no need to respond to the first paragraph of Mr. Larson's response, since I have already done so below. If I have missed something there, please inform me. Now on to more interesting things:

The Secretary cannot apply the tribunal policy to citizens protected by the Constitution because the executive policy is not law..

? I'm not sure what exactly Mr. Larson means here, but if you take his statement at face value, then any executive order which applied to any citizen protected by the Constitution would have no effect, since it could not be applied. This would encompass most executive orders, and render most of them inapplicable. Not such a bad thing, perhaps, but also not part of current reality.

The Act called Posse Comitatus specifically prevents the armed forces from trying civilians.

Actually no. Posse Comitatus prohibits the Army and Air force from acting to execute the civilian laws of the US, i.e. the Army and Air Force can't act as a police force. Whether the Act could be used as an argument against hauling civilians before military courts is an interesting question, which so far has not been tested. Were you hauled before a Military Commission, however, you might have a hard time arguing that the whole enterprise violated the Posse Comitatus Act, since the Military Order prohibits independent judicial review.

There was a case in World War Two where the Supreme Court allowed a Tribunal to try and condemn German saboteurs. That is probably the legal basis for the tribunals and Rumsfeld's policy.

Ah, from the glorious era of Korematsu. Undoubtedly Ex Parte Quirin does form some part of Bush's legal justification for the tribunals. For a more thorough analysis of this "justification" and for why Bush's Military Order is as Mr. Larson so succinctly puts it "not
law," I refer you to this article by Joel B. Grossman. I would point out to Mr. Larson, however, that one of the parties to Quirin was an American citizen, who was eventually tried by tribunal, and executed.

You ought to check the beginning of the document and find out where this policy gets its legal power.

Again allow me to refer you to Prof. Grossman.

Under the Geneva Convention we could try POWs by Tribunal, the Code Napolean, Islamic Law or any established legal code we wanted.

Um no. Actually, Article 82 states: "A prisoner of war shall be subject to the laws, regulations and orders in force in the armed forces of the Detaining Power," so unless the Code of Napoleon is in force in our military, we could not try POWs
by it.

During WWII some German POWS were allowed to try one of their own under German Military Law for desertion and condemn the "deserter" to death while in a Canadian POW Camp in Holland. The Germans were allowed to execute the 'deserter'. This was legal.

Perhaps, but not under the Geneva Conventions which weren't adopted until 1949.

Oh, Mr. Larson, consider yourself spanked.

posted by Gena on Saturday, March 23, 2002 | link

Spank a Spinster.

Seeing as it seems to be “Spank a Spinster” day, I thought I’d also post a good response to one of my articles. Dan Hartung makes an interesting point about broom-jumping:

“First, good things about the name issue -- but second, wrong about the broom. Whether or not it's really imported from Africa, ultimately, isn't even a point. What this is, is a classic reclaimed symbol. Just like Washington's Army reclaimed the derisive 'Yankee Doodle Dandy', or ethnic groups reclaim the use of their epithets for use as a boundary marker, gays reclaimed the pink triangle, which many had to wear in Nazi Germany, the conversion of churches to mosques (Hagia Sophia) and mosques to churches and temples to mosques, and . . . .”

“So the free choosing of the broom is in fact a repudiation of the power of slavery.”

A very good point and the idea of broom-jumping as a reclamation hadn’t occurred to me. However, I still think that some things are just so heinous that reclamation is just a further insult. Yes, gays reclaimed the pink triangle, but Jews have no interest in reclaiming the yellow star. It’s just too profound and personal an insult. Dan mentioned in a follow up email that we don’t view things like our ancestors did and that that’s a good thing. Well, in many cases it is a good thing, but our ancestors were right about a surprisingly large number of things. I think this is one of them.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, March 23, 2002 | link

Gena Gets Spanked.

Well, disagreed with anyway. But “Gena Gets Disagreed With” makes a lousy headline. Any-hoo, an intrepid Spinster reader sent in a very sharp reply to Gena’s worries about Military Order No.1. Take it away George Larson:

“I read your comments about the tribunals. I do not agree with your interpretation of the last section. First you should not consider this law. It is a policy of the executive branch. The Uniform Code of Military Justice is law. It was passed by Congress and signed by the President. The Manual for Courts Martial is not law. It is a document of policy on how to apply the UCMJ. For instance, child abuse is not an offense under UCMJ, but the manual for Court martial states it should be tried under the article 'Offenses prejudicial to the good order and discipline...', The Devil's Regulation. The Commander in Chief has the authority to change the Manual for Courts Martial as long as it is consistent with the UCMJ and the Supreme Court decisions. He cannot summarily change the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“The Secretary cannot apply the tribunal policy to citizens protected by the Constitution because the executive policy is not law. The Act called Posse Comitatus specifically prevents the armed forces from trying civilians. The 'detainees' are not protected by the Constitution or US law. If they are POWs they are protected by the Geneva Convention. There was a case in World War Two where the Supreme Court allowed a Tribunal to try and condemn German saboteurs. That is probably the legal basis for the tribunals and Rumsfeld's policy. You ought to check the beginning of the document and find out where this policy gets its legal power.

“Under the Geneva Convention we could try POWs by Tribunal, the Code Napolean, Islamic Law or any established legal code we wanted. During WWII some German POWS were allowed to try one of their own under German Military Law for desertion and condemn the "deserter" to death while in a Canadian POW Camp in Holland. The Germans were allowed to execute the 'deserter'. This was legal.

“In your biography you mention how you liked Germany. I have lived there. I liked it too. Have you read about their legal system? There is no presumption of innocence for the accused. This is common in Europe. There are few places in the world where there is a presumption of innocence for the accused. Our 'detainees' do not automatically receive it even if they are prisoners of war.”

Whew! And to think I was going to post a Fruit Loops based metaphor.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, March 23, 2002 | link

Mark Byron to the Rescue!

Of the Southland, that is. Byron has a nifty thesis on how the South saved civilization. He stresses the South’s militarism, religious liberalism, and social conservatism. It’s a must read. One thing though, there is no William Bedford Forrest. His name is NATHAN. Considering his significant contributions to military history, and wretched contributions to every other kind of history, Byron ought to get his name right. (I checked again and Byron did make a correction.) I may despise Forrest, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m one of those “historical accuracy” people.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, March 23, 2002 | link


Friday, March 22, 2002

Crapalicious Pseudo-musical.

Seriously, that’s a genuine quote from the review. The review by David Skinner that is. The review itself is great and ought to win an award for succinct, to the point headline writing: Moulin Rouge Sucks. Gena’s hysteria seems to have put me in a whimsical mood. So enjoy the review. It’s my tribute to the Oscar ceremony that I will scrupulously avoid.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, March 22, 2002 | link

And the point is?

Drum roll please. Technically the Constitution is a "guideline" for the establishment and running of a state. The Tennessee code is a "guideline" for what behaviors are allowed and what are not. Nowhere have I referred to the Order as a law; and nowhere have I claimed that the Order does anything besides carry out George Bush's military order - which also had its Section 7(10) (referred to there as Section 7(2)(c)). But call it a law, an order or a pink elephant, the Order will govern the tribunals, has established the procedures for them, and has done so without substantive guarantee of the enforcement of those procedures as they relate to the accused. That was my point. And I'll repeat it trusting you have the vocabulary to understand: If you are accused and brought to trial under the auspices of this Order, you cannot use the Order in your defense should the provisions of the Order be violated. So if they deprive you of counsel, or sentence you to death on the strength of one vote, you can't claim that these things violate the terms of the Order and should therefore not be done to you, since both those things may be construed as "rights, benefits, or privileges."

That was my argument. That was my point. You may swing at windmills all you want, but until you address that, you have not addressed my argument. So to stick to the same example, what's to stop defendants from being deprived of counsel? What's to stop US citizens from being hauled before tribunals? Where are the safeguards? You say it was not the intention of the Order to create such safeguards; I'll agree with that, but that you realize supports my argument, not the other way around. My point was that  in essence the Order establishes that anyone may be tried before a tribunal, for any crime, and in any manner, and does so because the procedures outlined in the Order are enforceable only against the accused, not against the government; and thus provide no safeguard that the provisions of the Order protecting the accused with be enforced. That was my point. What is yours, and more importantly how does it negate anything I've just said? Do you mean that the "rights" of the accused will be enforced elsewhere? Do you mean that this order is simply temporary? That may be, since Donald may update it whenever he pleases, but the Order is certainly not temporary in the sense that it does not govern the tribunals and does not have the power to do nasty things to you - meaning if you are tried before a tribunal, you will be tried under this Order. And that's an implementation of policy
with the power to chop off your head.

posted by Gena on Friday, March 22, 2002 | link

Check Him Out!

I'm tickled various shades of magenta to have found this new blog from The Ole Miss Conservative. One of his first posts is a rather snazzy take down of the Allende/ Pinochet controversy from Chile. Mississippi is agreat state too, for not being Alabama.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, March 22, 2002 | link

This Time I’ll Use Small Words.

The Military Commission Order No.1 is a guideline to implement a prescribed military policy. The military is, by law, obliged to undertake certain actions as prescribed by the President’s Military Order. The President gave his orders and Order No.1 is how the military intends to carry out those orders. Perhaps the direct statement that “This Order implements policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures under references (a) and (b) for trials before military commissions of individuals subject to the President's Military Order" is confusing to you. Note how it says “implement policy” and not “enact law.” It also clearly states that Order No.1 “prescribes procedures,” which indicates that this is a guideline for how certain actions will be taken. Those are a couple of those subtle points you’ll have to notice if you want to go to law school.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, March 22, 2002 | link

Actually I'm not lazy

Just stupid, far too dumb in fact to understand the point of the statement: "Has it occurred to you that Military Commission Order No. 1 is a set of guidelines and is not intended to create legal rights?" I don't dispute that the Order is not meant to create any legal rights, that you'll recall was the subject of my post. I don't understand, however, what you mean by "Guidelines," no doubt something terribly erudite and subtle. The purpose of the Order however as stated in the Order is that:

This Order implements policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures under
references (a) and (b) for trials before military commissions of individuals subject to the
President's Military Order...Unless otherwise directed by the Secretary of Defense, and except for supplemental procedures established pursuant to the President's Military Order or this Order, the procedures prescribed herein and no others shall govern such trials.

Perhaps in light of this you could further clarify your criticism for the benefit of all of those like me who lack the power deductive reasoning.

posted by Gena on Friday, March 22, 2002 | link

Gena is Lazy Anyway.

Has it occured to you that Military Commission Order No. 1 is a set of guidelines and is not intended to create legal rights? Or would that require deductive reasoning? By the way, dissing America's newest sex symbol is unlikely to result in a surge in Spinster popularity.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, March 22, 2002 | link


Thursday, March 21, 2002

Americans are Stupid and Lazy

This is obviously the opinion of Donald Rumsfeld who obviously thinks that no one will read to the end of his "Military Commission Order No. 1" and that if they do, they'll be too stupid to figure out that Section 7(10) nullifies the whole thing. Yes, after 16 pages of procedures and regulations - some disarming, some threatening - one arrives huffing and puffing at the bottom of page 15 and finds that slogging through it all was a big, gargantuan waste of time; for Section 7(10) establishes everything which preceded it as a smokescreen for the real objective of the tribunals, which is for the government to do whatever it wants. Here it is, Section 7(10) in its entirety:


This Order is not intended to and does not create any right, benefit, or privilege, substantive or
procedural, enforceable by any party, against the United States, its departments, agencies, or
other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person. No provision in this Order shall be
construed to be a requirement of the United States Constitution. Section and subsection captions
in this document are for convenience only and shall not be used in construing the requirements of
this Order. Failure to meet a time period specified in this Order, or supplementary regulations or
instructions issued under Section 7(A), shall not create a right to relief for the Accused or any
other person. Reference (f) shall not apply to this Order or any supplementary regulations or
instructions issued under Section 7(A).

In other words you can't use the Order in your own defense. So if, for instance, the Commission should deprive you of counsel, you can't argue that the Order guarantees you access to counsel, since the Order also states that it is "not intended to and does not create any right, benefit, or privilege, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party, against the United States, its departments, agencies, or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person." Your "right" to counsel, therefore, exists fully at the charity of the tribunal, Donald Rumsfeld, and George Bush. And that goes for all the other nice, little, disarming things in the Order, such as the right to cross-examine witnesses, the prohibition against double jeopardy, the presumption of innocence, and the guarantee that nodeath sentence will be passed without the unanimous vote of the tribunal.

Some would probably say, "Well, who gives a damn; they're all terrorists anyway." I could claim the moral high ground here, but in this case I won't. I'll simply remind those people that one of the major "benefits" of any law, regulation, or order is the "right" of not being subject to it. An order which creates no rights, benefits, or privileges, and thus no substantive or procedural safeguards is one which can be applied to anyone for anything. Rate your chances of success at arguing to the Military Commission that you can't be tried before it because you're a US citizen and the Order specifically applies to non-citizens. How would you respond when the prosecutor got up and said, "Ah, but 'this Order is not intended to and does not create any right, benefit, or privilege, substantive or procedural, enforceable by anyparty,' including that of limitation on application or jurisdiction.'" The only response I can see you could possibly make to that would be to assert that not being subject to the Order is not a right, privilege, or benefit, but something else which somehow stands outside the purview of Section 7(10). What exactly that might be is beyond my poor intellect. Figure it out and you'll have my undying respect.

Of course if you do figure it out, and Donald is unhappy about that, there is always Section7(11). Yes, it's the convenience store of sections and it states:


The Secretary of Defense may amend this Order from time to time.

In other words, congratulations, Mr. Smith, on your successful argument that the Order does not apply to you; unfortunately the Order has just been amended by the Secretary of Defense, and the word "citizen" has been added. Welcome to your Commission, Mr. Smith. This way for the tribunal, Ladies and Gentlemen.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 21, 2002 | link

I've noticed that "go to jail" and "shouldn't be allowed to do that"

Make up a large part of my everyday vocabulary, and get applied to a wide variety of people whom I don't really think should go to jail simply because they knocked me aside in the supermarket, or cut in front of me on the highway, or stole my parking place. I'm not sure if the Pentagon police who stopped journalist Gregg Gursky and took his camera should go to jail, but I certainly think they "shouldn't be allowed to do that." And this is precisely why Rumsfeld's statement on the military tribunals fails to inspire confidence.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 21, 2002 | link


What is a hero? A hero is someone who stands up for what is right, and in practice that often means someone who stands against the character and impetus of their times. And it almost always means someone who stands against injustice and death. That isn't always an easy thing, for practical arguments are almost always more persuasive than abstract, moral ones, and evil is always an imminently practical thing. Evil applies through the accumulation of grievances and the collapsing of individual reality into those grievances. It reduces the complexity of individual lives to a catalogue of wrongs, apportioning responsibility to a group and denying the possibility of change. And it raises the trumpet and calls for the good fight, and labels people heroes who are not heroes at all. Real heroes are those who see others as individuals in all their frailty and complexity, and who know that the social circumstances of the world are those of our creation, and therefore that the possibility of living better than we do always exists. It is always a question of whether or not we will make the sacrifices necessary to take it. The Palestinian suicide bombers are not heroes, though they would call themselves such. Sharon probably thinks he's a hero; but he isn't. And a hero is exactly what both sides need, and what neither side has.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 21, 2002 | link

James Watson writes a book

About how he couldn't get laid at 24. Please excuse me while I rush out to the bookstore right now.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 21, 2002 | link

Artificial Societies

Sometimes you read something which makes you want to go out and learn how to program. The artificial societies discussed in this article from the Atlantic don't seem a terribly accurate representation of society: eventually police crackdowns eliminate official corruption? On the other hand, if you could program the actors in an artificial society with a sufficient complexity of motivation, computer-generated societies could provide a way of objectively studying things like the effect of law, the use of force, and genocide. Or they might just be a highly entertaining reductivist plaything. The possibilities are intriguing, however.

posted by Gena on Thursday, March 21, 2002 | link

How the South Saved Civilization.

The noble Possumblogger has been wrestling with the quandry of whether and how the South saved civilization. I say the South did indeed save civilization and is, in fact, responsible for the glories of the modern world. The South did this by birthing the men who would forge modern Western civilization from the ashes of decadent European despotism. I speak of course of those Founders of America (which technically did the grunt work of all this saving) and, by extension, Founders of Freedom.

George Washington, Father of Freedom. Without Washington there would be no America. Without America there would be no civilization. Washington, as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, defeated the British and secured America’s freedom from Britain. The Army would have disintegrated without Washington’s leadership and charisma. Washington was the alpha male of alpha males and kept the cause of freedom alive until Britain was finally worn down and defeated. Ol’ G.W. of also prevented the establishment of an American monarchy and served as our first president. Throughout the difficult birth of America, the grand old Virginian stood as a constant beacon of freedom.

Thomas Jefferson, Father of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson distilled the spirit of freedom and decanted it into the Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of Britain. Jefferson of Virginia is the philosophical father of the American ideal. When America fights for freedom from tyranny and for justice for the oppressed, she is fighting for the ideals of Thomas Jefferson.

James Madison, Father of the Constitution. You remember that Constitution thing, right? Well, little Jemmy from the Old Dominion wrote it. You like that Bill of Rights? Jemmy wrote that too. Our written Constitution stands as a solid guarantee of our hard won freedoms. It stands as a rebuke to those nations whose peoples still live as subjects to the whims of autocrats, elected or otherwise. Our Constitution and our nation stand tall as beacons of Freedom in a world of oppression. It was James Madison who lit that beacon.

Now here I could go into all the other Southern civilization savers. Men like Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, who preserved our nation during the bitter partisan battles of the mid-1800s. John C. Calhoun who saved our military after the devastating War of 1812 and who fathered the idea of the modern expandable army. There are also the millions of nameless Southern men who have formed the bulk of the American Army. When America fights for freedom, her armed forces are mostly Southern.

Together all these men created the American political system that has developed into the greatest, freest nation on earth. A nation conceived in the ideal of equality, liberty, and justice has made each of those ideals a reality for all its citizens. A nation born into a world of practical inequality has withstood slavery, Civil War, women’s suffrage, and civil rights. America not only endured, but grew stronger with each trial. As America was repeatedly forced to save Europe and western Civilization from its enemies within, it was the ideals forged into reality by these great Southerners that kept freedom and civilization strong.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, March 21, 2002 | link


Wednesday, March 20, 2002

A Fine Vintage of Whine.

Our betters in the great state of Washington have renamed King County to . . . King County. This to avoid association with a slave owner. The slave owner in question is William Rufus DeVane King, a noble Alabamian. King was a delegate to Alabama’s 1819 Constitutional Convention, founded the historic city of Selma, and served as one of Alabama’s first senators. In fact, King served an unprecedented 11 terms as President pro tempore of the Senate. On the international stage, King served as legation secretary to the U.S. minister to Russia and later served as minister to France, where he kept the French from interfering with American plans to annex Texas. Oh yeah, he was also the Vice President. Not good enough for our sage friends in King County. To them, King achieved nothing more than political incorrectness. As Carol G. (who tipped me off to this nonsense) notes, they’d have changed the name of the state if they could. This is pointless, yet self-righteous. It's as if the only thing Rufus King (or George Washington) ever achieved was slave ownership. This kind of historical ignorance and the consequent arrogance of “presentism” only show the uneducated, self-satisfied pomposity of our modern p.c. elite.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 | link

Today is the Annual Day of Fear and Trembling

Yes, it's my birthday. Ah, the pain. I may not be up to posting much, but we'll see.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 | link

Si vous avez un modem, Glenn Reynolds a une opinion à vous offrir

Instapundit is famous in France. I've been trying to think of something pithy in French to say about that, but the only thing my rather expansive French vocabulary can come up with is: C'est tres bien.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 | link

Scott Speicher

Well, I am outraged over the treatment of the poor man, but being horsewhipped into expressing it throws a bucket of cold water onto my otherwise fiery rhetoric. You found a story I hadn't heard about. You then assigned me a position I didn't hold, and indeed couldn't have held, since your post was the first I had ever heard about Scott Speicher. And now you throw down the gauntlet: "However, I leave the task of spleen venting on this subject to Gena, who is so enamored of the Geneva Conventions... If you can’t manage a respectable amount of outrage over this story, you are forbidden by the laws of decency from ever mentioning the Geneva Conventions again." Thus, I am left with two distinctly unpalatable choices. I can express my outrage over Speicher's treatment, in which case it'll look like you beat me into it, and I was simply too cowed and weak to defend my real opinion. Or. I can refuse to express my outrage, in which case I'll look like an insensitive, morally obtuse, outrageously hypocritical lout. Ah, the choices. Which shall it be. Coward or lout? Well, actually neither. I shall feel my outrage privately, and you may express it publicly for both of us, this being after all your story.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 | link


Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Genocide Alert!

Zimbabwe is at stage six of Genocide Watch’s list of the Stages of Genocide. Mugabe has been shoring up his political power with racist demagoguery for some time now and it looks like his nation is about to explode. He has split the country on racial lines, restricted constitutional freedoms, stolen the election, and has been confiscating privately owned firearms. Here are the six stages that lead up to genocide and Genocide Watch’s reasons for targeting Zimbabwe.

"Classification: the population is ethnically classified and ZANU-PF has become an ethnic party.

“Symbolization: Possession of ZANU-PF party membership cards is mandatory to avoid beatings by the Shona militias.

“Dehumanization: President Mugabe refers to his opposition as "weeds," and has called on ZANU-PF to "go and uproot the weeds from your garden." In August, Vice President Msika declared, "Whites are not human beings."

“Organization: the ZANU-PF Youth Brigades are militias being systematically trained and armed, taught Shona songs, and organized like the militias that participated in the 1982-1983 genocidal massacres.

“Polarization: President Mugabe regularly appeals to race and ethnicity, and refers to his opponents as "traitors" and "terrorists." Police have begun to arrest moderate leaders, including church leaders.

“Preparation: President Mugabe's latest moves to shut off Zimbabwe from monitoring by human rights groups, election monitors, and the press, and his new laws to criminalize anyone who criticizes him, are ominous signs that he is planning at least massive election fraud. Enemy lists have been compiled by the state and party intelligence services, a sign that political and possibly ethnic violence and terror are being planned that President Mugabe wants to hide from outside scrutiny. Movement of a largely Shona Zimbabwe Army brigade into Matabeleland, and mob attacks on opposition party offices are ominous harbingers of potential mass violence.”

We stood by and watched as the Rwandans carried out the most efficient genocide campaign in history. Let’s hope we do what it takes to stop the killings in Zimbabwe.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 | link

Where’s the Outrage? Here is an update from Cmdr. Robert Stumpf on the continuing saga of Lt. Cmdr. Scott Speicher, MIA in Iraq. Stumpf gives a summary of the evidence that led the government to reclassify Speicher as MIA. If this is true, it is the most blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions I can recall. An American airman abandoned to suffer the physical, mental, and sexual torture dished out by the Iraqi regime in unacceptable. If he really is alive, it’s all the reason we need to invade Iraq and oust Saddam. However, I leave the task of spleen venting on this subject to Gena, who is so enamored of the Geneva Conventions. There is more evidence of wrongdoing regarding the Speicher’s situation than there ever was for your Gitmo fit. If you can’t manage a respectable amount of outrage over this story, you are forbidden by the laws of decency from ever mentioning the Geneva Conventions again.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 | link

Sexist Double Standards. While abused women get a lot of press coverage, abused men don’t. Studies that show one woman being abused every 15 seconds also show that one man is abused every 14 seconds. Many studies now show that women are more likely to be the aggressor in a domestic dispute than her male partner. Male abusers are subject to the full force of the law, while female abusers are giggled over, as if their crimes were some joke. It is unacceptable sexism to hold women to a lesser standard of responsibility than we hold men. Violent women are always assumed to have been provoked or to be somehow the “real” victim, even when the evidence clearly shows her to be the aggressor. Society seems willing to accept any excise to avoid confronting the reality of feminine evil. Everyone seems to be making excuses for Andrea Yates that they would never make for her husband, no matter how blatantly insane he might be. Susan Smith makes unverified accusations of childhood abuse and gets life in prison; if David Smith had been a sexually abused Holocaust survivor he would be a dead man walking. The violent tendencies of women should not be glossed over with some “poor little girl” excuse. If women really are equal to men, they must be treated equally. Equal crime; equal time.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 | link

Girl Scout Cookies Are Evil

They are of the devil, and I will say that, even though I'm an atheist and assertions about supernatural beings like Lucifer are technically against my religion.

Yes, they are there, an entire box of them on the printer beside my computer. I don't have to look at them, but somehow my eye is irresistibly drawn to the box. "Do-si-dos," it says. Peanut butter. And then the voices start up in my head: "Just one more," they say, over and over again. I flip the box over - 160 calories per serving. One serving equals three cookies. I try to calculate how many cookies I've eaten - half the box, not so bad. There are after all only seven servings. Then I remember I ate half the box of Samoas as well. How many calories per serving there? I shudder to think. But then and here's where I really start believing in things like the devil, the rationalizations start. "Just one more," they say. "C'mon. It won't matter. Somebody's out of town. It doesn't matter how you look this week. And you do have an entire week. You can work it off. It will be fine. One more cookie won't make you bloated and fat." I reach for the box - just one more. The devil exists.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 | link

Christopher v. Harbury

According to the Washington Post, this case - argued yesterday before the Supreme Court - is attracting notice "as a conflict between citizens' right to know what their government is doing – and the government's need to operate in secrecy under some circumstances." Strictly speaking Harbury is arguing that Secretary of State Warren Christopher's denial of knowledge as to the whereabouts of her husband - a Guatemalan rebel leader - blocked her access to the courts. However, Christopher and others including the Bush
administration seem to be arguing that the real issue is the government's right or even obligation to withhold information in order to protect "vital interests." In other words, it's an old dog - see the Pentagon Papers case for example-, which the government is hoping will hunt, this time, at least.

Democracies however depend on transparency in government, for if the citizens of a state have no idea what their government is up to, they can't criticize it or even form an opinion as to its conduct, that information not being available. For that reason the government has the obligation to prove that there really is a "vital interest" in keeping something secret, and that should this interest be violated, real people will die as a result. In other words, there is a difference between denying a newspaper access to plans for an upcoming battle, and denying a woman basic information about her husband. In the one case there is a legitimate reason for secrecy - troops will die or be endangered if the plans are published, but in the other there is no reason at all - other than the government's wish to keep the information secret. The Court has acknowledged that difference in the past. Let's hope it continues to do so.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 | link

Warp Drive

According to the Spiegel there's now a debate among physicists over, you guessed it, warp drive. This is probably an attempt to keep up with the biologists - well, yeah, so you've mapped the genome, but just wait: we're going to send you to meet the Borg. Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre argues that you could achieve warp drive, if you pulled two of the ridges in space together and then released them. This would create a wave effect, which your space ship would essentially ride like a surf board. The advantage of the method according to Alcubierre is that in this scenario space itself would be moving - instead of the ship, which means that you would avoid the time lag caused by traveling at or near the speed of light.

Naturally, this being science, Jose Natario, a portuguese physicist, says it's all nonsense. Natario's objections run the gamut from claims that the method would lift the whole space-time continuum out of its sockets, to objections that Alcubierre's method for creating enough gravitational force to pull space together is flawed, since the method relies on the use of matter with negative energy, matter which so far has not been proven to exist.

For all that, I still think Alcubierre's idea sounds promising (more a matter of technology, than physical impossibility) - though I'm not a physicist and thus probably have no standing to make that claim. It's certainly cool in any case. The Spiegel article is in German, but if you don't read German, don't despair: here is the Alcubierre Warp Drive Club.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 | link


Monday, March 18, 2002

A Terror Victim on Terror. David Gelernter, a victim of the Unabomber, speaks out on terrorism in Israel. With Arafat’s minions publicly admitting to ordering terrorist attacks, it looks like the Palestinians are rejecting peace again. Here are some good quotes on the origin of terrorist violence:

“WE OUGHT TO FACE squarely the origins of the Palestinian descent into barbarism. In July 2000, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak made a peace offer that stunned Israel and the world: Israel would re-divide Jerusalem--would turn over large pieces of its ancient capital to the same people who had destroyed its synagogues, desecrated its cemeteries, and banned Jews from entering when they last ran the show. Arafat rejected the offer. Then in September 2000 the new wave of murderous violence began, supposedly triggered by Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount.

In short, the Palestinian response to Israel's generous peace offer was, 'Drop dead.' How could that possibly have happened? A trick question--because the obvious but wrong answer is so close to the right one that it's hard to tune the right one in. You have to fiddle the dial back and forth. Yet the difference between the two is crucial. The 'lesson of appeasement' is not that appeasement is futile. Appeasement is not futile, it is dangerous. Israel's enemies claim that Israel herself provoked the ongoing Palestinian pogrom, and in a sense they might well be right. Outlaws interpret an openhanded offer as weakness, not generosity. They interpret weakness as an incitement to violence. You can goad a dangerous animal to attack by threatening or by shrinking back. Unless you want to fight, the only safe maneuver is to stand still.”

The difference between the Israelis and the Palestinians is the difference between a violent assault and self-defense. As the Palestinians continue to target innocent Israelis (preferably children) for death, the question remains: How many dead civilians, women and children, have to die before Israel can defend itself? What should Israel do when the Palestinian Authority sends suicide bombers against civilians? How should they respond if not to kill the terrorists? And don’t say stand there and die so Gena can feel good about herself.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 18, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol. Here Dr. Sowell takes on one of my biggest pet peeves. Some background here: I used to work in the UNC libraries, digitizing slave narratives. In the course of this I must have read hundreds of the darn things. They range from the maudlin to the incredibly moving. One of the primary themes of these narratives is the intense familial devotion of the slaves even when sold hundreds of miles apart. Therefore it really pisses me off no end when some ignorant buffoon starts spouting off about how he is rejecting his “slave identity” and embracing a more “authentic” one. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the Mr. Black Pride knows jack about his own heritage. Take family names for instance. Family names were forbidden to blacks until after their Emancipation. At that time, blacks freely chose their own family names. Many kept the family name secretly passed to them by a parent and others chose the name of their owner (and presumed parent) to force acknowledgment of illicit paternity. Some chose the name of a particular hero, which explains why there are a lot of black Washingtons around. Then some semi-educated but fully propagandized idiot says he wants to take some Arabic name to replace the “slave name” his ancestors fought 250 years to get. Chances are Mr. Black Power never bothered to research the African slave trade. If he did, he would find that Arabs enslaved Africans for centuries both before and after the Europeans first found Africa. An Arab probably sold his ancestors to the Euros to begin with! Broken families as a legacy of slavery? Nuts. Impoverished and illiterate escapees and freedmen often spent decades searching for family members. They had family ties like you wouldn’t believe. The thing that burns me the most though is that freakin’ broomstick nonsense. The thing nowadays is for blacks to “get in touch with their heritage” by jumping over a broomstick at their weddings. Do you realize how much the slaves HATED that damn broomstick? In narrative after narrative the ex-slaves would tell about how they were denied the basic human dignity of a real wedding. They didn’t get a preacher or a legal marriage; instead they had to endure the humiliation of jumping over a broomstick as a mocking substitute for a real ceremony. If you are jumping over a friggin’ broomstick at your wedding, just know that your slave ancestors would gladly rise from their unmarked graves and beat you to death with the stupid thing!

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 18, 2002 | link

Here’s Real Public Art. A series of Giotto’s frescoes has been unveiled after an 8 month restoration project. Now this is art. No big red cigarette thingies, no rusting metal tulips. This is some great big glorious art. This is what public art should be, something to inspire the viewer to the heights of the human mind. Excellence, my dear Gena. That is what art should be. Now if we can just convince the zoning boards . . .

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 18, 2002 | link

“That Number is Not Acceptable Within My Artichoke.” Brilliant Gena! That rocked the world. I think we have a new Spinsters catch phrase! Well, maybe not. Either way, your version was much more logical than Derrida ever is. I met Derrida once at a conference in Tuscaloosa. He was a gruff, rather professorial old Frenchie in tweeds. He smokes a pipe. I stole a poster and got him to autograph it. He spoke in English, yet I understood none of his lecture. He might as well have been lecturing on particle physics. He should take N plus 7 lectures from you.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, March 18, 2002 | link

Finally Finished the Bio page

Now you can find out everything you didn't want to know about the liberal spinster.

posted by Gena on Monday, March 18, 2002 | link


Sunday, March 17, 2002

"And then my heat with plenty fills/ And dances with the imbeciles"

The new Atlantic features two commentaries on Wordsworth’s “I wondered lonely as a cloud” that use the Oulipian “N plus 7” method, a method of critical exegesis substituting each noun in a passage with the noun that comes seven nouns after it in the dictionary. Given the success Harry Mathews had with the application of this method to Wordsworth, I decided to try it out on one of my favorite authors: Jacques Derrida.

From Derrida's Preface to "Of Grammatology," translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak:

"The first part of this book, “Writing before the Letter” sketches in broad outlines a theoretical matrix. It indicates certain significant historical movements, and proposes certain critical concepts.

These critical concepts are put to the test in the second part, “Nature, Culture, Writing.” This is the moment, as it were, of the example, although strictly speaking, that notion is not acceptable within my argument. I have tried to defend, patiently and at length, the choice of these examples (as I have called them for the sake of convenience) and the necessity for their presentation. It is a question of a reading of what may perhaps be called the “age” of Rousseau. A reading merely outlined; considering the need for such an analysis, the difficulty of the problems, and the nature of my project, I have felt justified in selecting a short and little known text, the Essay on the Origin of Languages. I shall have to explain the privileged place I give to that work. There is yet another reason why my reading might be incomplete: although I have no ambition to illustrate a new method, I have attempted to produce, often embarrassing myself in the process, the problems of critical reading."

After“N plus 7"

"The first passenger of this bottom, “Writing before the Library” sketches in broad gold leaf a theoretical height to paper (type height). It indicates certain significant historical murders, and proposes certain critical conferences.

These critical conferences are put to the thing in the second passenger, “Needle, Curtain, Yawn.” This is the mood, as it were, of the exhibition, although strictly speaking, that number is not acceptable within my artichoke. I have tried to defend, patiently and at length, the cigar of these exhibitions (as I have called them for the sake of copper) and the neighbor for their priest. It is a rabbit of a recipe of what may perhaps be called the “air” of Rousseau. A recipe merely outlined; considering the net for such an animal, the difficulty of the profits, and the needle of my propeller, I have felt justified in selecting a short and little known thing, the Essay on the Origin of Languages. I shall have to explain the privileged plate I give to that wrench. There is yet another record why my recipe might be incomplete: although I have no anchovy to illustrate a new milliner, I have attempted to produce, often embarrassing myself in the progress, the profits of critical recipe."


Given the limited availability of French/ English dictionaries, I have relied for the purposes of this commentary on Traveler’s French Dictionary and when that failed on the Oxford-Duden Pictorial French and English Dictionary.

posted by Gena on Sunday, March 17, 2002 | link

Toot Toot!! Pardon me for blowing my own horn. The Possumblogger has seen fit to award me the first Medal of Morawski for meritorious Alabamaosity for my contributions to the Axis of Weevil. I accept this Order of Valor and pledge to do my utmost to advance the cause of the One True State. Resistance to Alabama is futile. You will be assimilated.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 17, 2002 | link

Oh, Walter! Feast your eyes upon this! It’s a real life maybe-murder mystery starring Gena’s favorite literary critic, Walter Benjamin. Was he really murdered by Stalin’s agents? If Walter was important enough for a long-distance rub-out, maybe I ought to read some of his stuff. I saw this a while ago and wanted to be sure that you got a chance to see it. Something tells me you don’t troll the same sites I do.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 17, 2002 | link

It’s Not the Faith, It’s the Man Who Wields It. Reading the bunny-boy article, I don’t see his point. OK, fundies are annoying. They pick and choose from convenient Bible verses and call themselves saved. Whoop-de-freakin’-do. However, this Grimmelmann guy is not much brighter. Let’s ignore the fact that Kierkegaard is not a theologian and his ideas about faith are so idiosyncratic that it gave rise to the genre of Christian existentialism in an attempt to grasp it, instead let’s see what Jimmy has to say about faith and the depressive Dane. He rambles on about stuffy old Denmark and how Kierkegaard was a major freak. No quarrels there. His argument boils down to the assertion that faith could command people to violate moral and ethical precepts. Maybe you were too blinded by the amazing originality of that concept that you failed to notice that Jimmy does not support his case well. He makes accusations against faith, but avoids the obvious problem of the same problems existing in atheism. Every flaw he sees in faith is equally, if not more, present where there is no faith. He’s got a few tag lines, but no real meaty argument. First the tag lines:

“Loan one of them 20 sesterces and he'll come back to you next week with some sob story about Christ appearing to him in a vision and telling him to give the money to the poor instead.” Uh, actually that’s theft. A good Christian might do it with his own money, but he has no right to dispense with yours. For Christianity’s command on this subject, see the part where the young rich man asks how he can be saved. Jesus said to keep the Commandments, which would include the “don’t steal” one. Give of yourself, don’t steal from somebody else. Nice line, but refuted by the facts.

“The Romans understood that deep down, the man of faith is a sociopath.” Actually, a sociopath is fixated on the here and now, with no concern for the future or past, and certainly not for other people. Sociopath is a very specific psychiatric term and misusing it does not bode well for the intellectual abilities of the writer.

Pretty swift, eh? Car looks nice, but it’s still sitting on cinder blocks. The fundamental flaw in his logic is that he’s doing what the fundies do. He’s picking one or two statements that agree with his prejudice and ignores the rest. Each sample quote he uses has a context. Most are part of parables or stories and their meaning is dependent on those stories. Using the quote without context only supports his case when you don’t know the story he’s referencing. The problem is that anyone even remotely familiar with the Bible can refute his examples ten times over. “We’re on a mission from God” sounds fanatical only if you’ve never seen the Blues Brothers.

This whole thing starts with Fear and Trembling which deals with Abraham and the near sacrifice of Isaac. If God can order Abe to kill Isaac, then what immoral act cannot be justified by faith? Problem: the story of Abraham and Isaac is completely contradicted in the New Testament. See the story of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, where Peter cuts off the ear of the Pharisees’ servant. Christ rebukes him and heals the ear, establishing that violence is not to be used to further the Faith. This gets ignored when it’s inconvenient, but that sin falls on the ignorers, not the principle ignored. For Christians, like Kierkegaard, the New Testament fulfills and replaces the Old Testament. He and Jimmy might have a point about Judaism, but not Christianity. God sets out His rules very clearly. See that part in Exodus about the 10 Commandments. His further moral precepts are set forth in the eleventh Commandment: Love thy neighbor as thyself. He also tells some parables to give a few hints. There’s also the Beatitudes to tell you what kind of person is righteous, but that would require knowing something about your subject matter. That in itself would require effort. But bunny analogies, those are easy.

Have you read the New Testament? How do you know its philosophy doesn’t hold together? It makes more sense, intellectually, than most of the philosophy I’ve read. Including Kierkegaard. Just because some people misuse something doesn’t mean that thing is bad. Too much water and you’ll drown; is water a bad thing? Faith can inspire evil actions, but so can lack of faith. Faith has a much better record for improving the human condition than atheism has. Faith inspires man towards knowledge, beauty, and charity. Faith created the Sistine Chapel, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Dante, Cervantes, Hopkins, Chesterton, Graham Greene, O’Connor, de Unamuno, Aquinas, Augustine, Descartes, Damian of Molokai, Mother Teresa, Walesa, and Wojtyla, just to name a few. That’s just the Catholics. Heck, I’m leaving out MLK, Bonhoeffer, Desmond Tutu, Maimonedes, and plenty more. Atheism has inspired man to, um, well, those statues of Lenin are kinda cool. Un-God has killed more people in this century than God has in the last 10. See The Little Black Book of Communism.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, March 17, 2002 | link


Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
Contact the Spinsters at: brodskii@yahoo.com (Gena) calhounista@hotmail.com (Lee Ann)

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