Quote

Today at Judge Sotomayor confirmation hearings:

“When your house is on fire and your life is in danger there are no time for do-overs.”
– Frank Ricci (plaintiff in Ricci v DeStefano)

I would have added to that, DIVERSITY DON’T PUT OUT YOUR HOUSE FIRE!

Civil Unrest in China

Ok so sue me and call me an idiot but I can’t possibly be the only person in the world who mis-heard and thought this story was about China cracking down on wiggers. I am totally seriously, that is almost exactly how I heard it pronounced on TV.

Bleh. I read the story and it would have been more funny if it was the way I originally understood it. Picture riot helmeted Chinamen taking batons to eye rollin’ head bobbing white girls. PLICELESS!!!!

Take THAT Fat Megan!!!

The judge in Fat Megan’s so-called cyber bullying trial has reversed a jury’s verdict and acquitted Lori Drew on computer fraud charges related to the suicide death of Fat Megan. As of the writing of this blog entry the judge’s decision is said to be tentative pending his written decision but I, for one, applaud the judge’s actions as the case against the defendant in this trial was simply a witch hunt spurred on by an angry populace who, not understanding the term suicide, wanted to assign responsibility to Lori Drew for Fat Megan’s death.

The general public first began calling for Lori’s head when it was discovered that before killing herself Fat Megan was distraught over the internet postings of her online boyfriend who turned out to not really be a boy at all but was actually an online persona invented by her former friend and the friend’s mother who is the defendant in this case. To the chagrin of all the torch wielding slack jawed yokels in the world, it soon came to light that it was in fact not against the law for a person to say mean things to other people online so, amid the steaming masses’ demand that Lori Drew be charged with something, a federal prosecutor tried and convicted her with computer fraud for violating Myspace’s terms of service.

Seriously. It is somehow in the public interest to incarcerate this woman for misrepresenting herself to myspace? Portraying Myspace as the victim in this case is perhaps the best example of a victimless crime that the world has ever seen and this also begs the question as to why the billions of other people who have misrepresented themselves to Myspace and other social networking sites have not been prosecuted for their actions. The reason, kids, is because putting people in prison for misrepresenting themselves to social networking sites is not in the public interest. The only reason Lori Drew was singled out for this infraction was because people were upset because of the fact that the action they wanted her to be prosecuted for (saying mean things to Fat Megan) was in fact not against the law.

Saying hurtful things to people, up to and including opinion statements such as “the world would be better off without you” (a message reportedly conveyed to Fat Megan from the fictitious account), is constitutionally protected free speech. Standing up for free speech doesn’t mean only defending words that we find pleasant or happen to agree with, it means standing up to defend all speech that is not libelous, convey threats, or incites violence (“the world would be better off without you” does not fit any of those definitions).

[cue American flag flapping in the background] Thankfully, we live in a society where it is not legal to physically attack people without provocation or to burn them out of their homes but it is legally permissible to exchange ideas. The free exchange of ideas, as unpleasant as that must seem to communists and the clinically prudish, is the cornerstone on which our society is founded. The fact that the media is referring to Lori Drew’s actions as “cyber-bullying” leads me to believe that many people in our society are either unfamiliar with the tenets of basic American freedoms or are too stupid to make a distinction between physical violence and words.

Since American jurisprudence does not allow judges to disregard findings of fact made by juries, the fact that the judge reversed the decision means (I believe) that the ruling is being tossed out due to an issue of law. I feel that the judge’s decision is the right one and I am very curious to see what the issue of law is. I’m thinking that it has something to do with selective prosecution as it pertains to equal protection under the law and the harrowing implication this precedent would set on free speech. At any rate, I’m thankful that this judge had the courage to do what is right instead of what is popular. Americans need to realize that there is no constitutional duty to be inoffensive.

Thriller

I am terribly sad today. I don’t have any words to add to everything that’s being said on TV so all I can do is post a link to My own Michael Jackson impersonation.

Neda

Puerto Rican Chick Nominated for Supreme Court Justice

According an article I read today, I am rejoicing because Sonia Sotomayor has been nominated for Supreme Court Justice. What issues does this person stand for that are supposed to thrill me I actually do not know. The article simply implies that I (and all other Latinos) are supposed to be exploding for joy like so many Piñatas, presumably because Sotomayor is brown like me. Apparently, issues only matter for white people, but for ethnic minorities, we’re only supposed to care about what somebody looks like on the outside rather than caring about anything of real substance.

But to be fair, it’s not just CNN that represents the issue like this. There are many people in the Hispanic advocacy groups (whatever that means) and in the Latino community who also seem to think the same thing. Look at this quote in the article attributed to Yale student David Perez:

“People are going to remember where they were when they heard about this nomination”

I can see it now. In future years I’ll be telling people “I was questing my 75 alliance rogue in Zul Drak, doing the Amphitheater of Anguish 5-man quest when I heard the news.” Except I can’t figure out why this person’s nomination is supposed to be great for me. Is the color of the hand that bangs a gavel really the most important qualification of a Supreme Court Justice? Or do their views and the content of rulings ultimately matter more than that? And if content really matters (as I truly hope it does) for most Latinos, then why should the skin pigment of any particular Justice matter at all? Is it realy possible that a candidate (of any color) can truly represent the entire American Hispanic population? Did I miss a Mexi meeting of some kind where the official Latino stand of abortion, gay rights, taxes, free speech, socialized health care, and gun control was outlined for me? Am I wrong to use my own cognitive processes to arrive at my own decisions on these issues as an individual?

This also from the article:

Advocacy groups had been putting pressure on Obama to nominate a minority to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by retiring Justice David Souter.

Instead of saying advocacy groups, why don’t they just say racists? Because that’s what CNN would call it if white groups were pressuring the President to select a candidate based on his whiteness. I am dead serious about this, Latinos, if we want to have any legitimacy whatsoever when we call out racism in the white community, then we can’t give our own people a free pass when they do it. We have to call a diamonds a diamonds. (what??)

Also:

Anne Guarnera, spokeswoman for the Hispanic College Fund, said Latinos are inspired by the fact that someone of their ethnic group is being portrayed in such a positive light.

Sotomayor will inspire young Latinas to chase their dreams, she said.

ORLY? Cuz my thought on this is that if you haven’t been moved by any one of the countless examples made by people of all other races and you’re sitting around waiting for someone of your own color to do something first, you probably aren’t very much prone to inspiration in the first place.

My point is not that Sonia Sotomayor is a bad person or that I believe she will make a bad Justice. The truth is that I don’t know enough about her at this point to make any kind of informed judgment. My only point is that a person’s race or gender should have no bearing on whether they are qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. I didn’t say little bearing, I said it should have none at all. Similarly, I don’t like for it to be presumed that a certain candidate is “for” me or that I should be for them simply based on a random detail of their birth. To be honest, I like the theme and idea of change but true change would involve Americans thinking with their cognitive processes instead of grouping up according to their skin color. I am for intelligent and rational thinking, and anything other than that is simply repackaged status quo.

Double Standard

Riddle me this: why is this cartoon depicting a US President as a monkey considered racist whereas this is not? Because people treat the two differently based on the race of the person being mocked. And that double standard is, of course, racist.

?????????

Latinos groups are putting pressure on Obama to pick people because they’re Latino? How exactly is racism change???????

The Magic Negro Song Controversy

I avoided blogging about this because I had to get past the title and actually read the news articles on this one. Apparently a republican candidate for party chairman Chip Saltsman has been criticized for distributing a CD with a song entitled “Barack the Magic Negro” shortly after Barack Obama won the Presidential election. Saltsman defended his actions to CNN stating:

“I think most people recognize political satire when they see it. I think RNC members understand that.”

First off, the issue is not that people are hearing the song and concluding that Obama is literally a magical entity or that they think Al Sharpton singing the song himself. Everybody knows it’s satire. That, however, does not get you off the hook. Second, when I first read about this incident I found the song on youtube and watched it to see what manner of satire it was. It turns out that, rather than being a satire of Barack Obama, it’s actually a satire of Al Sharpton as it depicts him singing a song that shows his resentment for Obama becoming the de facto black leader even though he’s not a “real like me”. The parody of Sharpton is terrible, portraying him singing with exaggerated black American phonetics and the worst part is it’s not funny at all.

I don’t mean that in the sense of ‘this is absolutely hilarious but for the sake of political correctness we must all declare it unfunny’, I mean there’s not a genuinely humorous line in it. Chip Saltsman evidently thought the song was hilarious and that leaves me with the uneasy conclusion that he must have found it delightful because someone finally referred to Barack Obama as a negro.

I’m willing to entertain the idea that I might be wrong so feel free to listen to the song yourself and tell where the humorous line is. As comedy goes I think this song is shit even without the racial epithet, and although etymologically ‘negro’ is a Spanish word that means black, make no mistake, in contemporary American society negro is a put down word that harkens back to a time when America was more racially stratified and is most often used now as an attempt to put black people “in their place”. While not admirable, that mindset is not terribly important if you’re an unfunny political satirist or a divisive political commentator, but if you’re vying to lead a political party that aspires to be relevant to the American people in years to come it is incredibly important.

The Republican party already has an image problem among minority voters as it is and if you think that doesn’t matter than you haven’t been paying attention. And I’m not gonna say anything all sappy and leftist about how you have to seek to be “inclusive” (whatever that means) and that you have to be all touchy-feely and understanding about people from different backgrounds and I’m definitely not going to say that you should fake it. I’m saying that the republican party has ideals that can appeal to all sorts of people regardless of race and gender but if you want to effectively represent that then you have to live it. That includes not hurting your party by doing things that make you come across like a racist asshole. Behavior like Saltsman’s is boorish and stupid at best and it gives the party a white eye. HAHAHHAHAHAHA ok I couldn’t help it I had to say that.

** None of this is intended as a defense of the ass-clown Al Sharpton

The Problem of Evil

About fifteen years ago I was browsing in my local public library when I picked up a book whose subject was the problem of evil. I thought it was a magnificent find as I imagined the book was going to deal with the monkey wrench that the existence of evil throws into the philosophical concept of an omnipotent and omniscient god being the creator of the universe. Upon examining the book, however, it became clear that this book instead was written from a Christian perspective talking about confronting and overcoming evil in the modern world. The book was clearly useless to me because I was looking for something that cut through the apparent moral relativity that makes both sides of a conflict often view the other side as evil. My question was, subjective viewpoints aside, does evil really exist and if so, what would be a good working definition of it?

Followers of any of the three great monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) would be quick to chime in at this point that evil is whatever God opposes. This actually creates more problems than it solves because, even if everyone could agree as to which of these religions is correct, the god represented by these ancient worldviews tends to be misogynistic, irrational, superstitious, angry, and a bully to top it all off. Worse yet, to say that evil is whatever God opposes is tantamount to basing the declaration of what is evil on whim. In this view, evil cannot be deduced by what is harmful or even what violates rights or even human nature, evil is whatever god declares. Today homosexuality is a sin but tomorrow it could be a changed to virtue and heterosexuality could become sin if only god declares it.

Anybody who would protest that the Book of Ecclesiastes or any other such book declares that God is eternal and unchanging, just try arguing that with god when he manifests himself in all his glory and commands you to get yourself a mouth full of tube steak. Oh but god wouldn’t do that. Why not? Because he’s good. Well I have news for you idiot, good is WHATEVER GOD SAYS IT IS! SO SHUT UP AND GO GET YOUR FUCKING SHINE BOX!!!

I digress. The question is, theistic nonsense aside, does evil in fact exist or is this simply a reification that human beings invented and believe in simply because it’s useful? One person might say it’s evil to commit adultery, someone else might regard that type of behavior as simply gauche or tacky without rising to the level of evil. Is it evil to draw a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad? There are views on both sides and they can’t both be right. Was hurricane Katrina evil or was it simply entertaining?

For my part, I would limit the concept of evil as being the product of human beings (or other sentient creatures if they exist) and would define evil as intentionally violating someones rights or acting against another person or person’s interests using them as a means to an end without their consent. By that standard, if I’m afraid an electrical outlet may be faulty and I ask you to plug something in it and I don’t warn you there might be a problem with it, that act is in fact evil. If I warn you before hand however and you agree to check it anyway, that act is not evil because you have consented to exposing yourself to possible danger.

How does this definition apply to events in the real world? Simple. If somebody gets angry and shouts “JESUS ASS-FUCKING CHRIST!!!” to the shock and horror or others present, the person who shouted can be accused of being distasteful, tactless, rude, and funny, but that person is not in fact evil because in a free society, nobody has the right to not be offended (workplace or school is a special exception, not the rule). If, in an attempt to dissuade others from acting in that manner, an offended person punches the blasphemer in the mouth, that would be using the blasphemer as a means to an end without his consent and the offended person could then be said to have done evil.

So my worldview, far from doing away with the concept of evil, would actually simplify it and make it more objective. Most of the things we now consider evil would still be considered so, including robbery, murder, torture, rape (yes even funny rape), and all other manner of bad acting. Moreover, since intent is part of my definition, people who are genuinely delusional cannot be said to be truly evil if they are mistaken as to the very nature of their acts, such as Andrea Yates who drowned her children because she thought god commanded it. In her defense, I would say that her theistic dogma taught that Abraham was pretty much willing to do the same thing and nobody in the church is even alarmed about that story but whatever.

I’m bored. I shall continue this tomorrow, God willing.