Archive for October 1st, 2009
Retired Judge James Gray has impeccable conservative credentials. I’ve posted about him previously. In a recent article in the Daily Pilot, he most reasonably suggests that most Americans would share most of the following goals:
1. Reduce the exposure of drugs to and usage of drugs by children;
2. Stop or materially reduce the violence that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs, especially to police officers and innocent by-standers;
3. Stop or materially reduce the corruption of public officials, individual people and companies, and especially children that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs;
4. Stop or materially reduce crime both by people trying to get money to purchase drugs and by those under the influence of drugs;
5. Stop or materially reduce the flow of drugs into our country;
6. Reduce health risks to people who use drugs;
7. Maintain and reaffirm our civil liberties;
8. Reduce the number of people we must put into our jails and prisons;
9. Stop or materially reduce the flow of guns out of our country and into countries south of our border;
10. Increase respect for our laws and institutions.
What is a good way to simultaneously further all of these goals? All we need to do is to treat the manufacture and sale of drugs “just like we treat alcohol.” Consider #2 in more detail–attempting to curtail violence on the streets. Judge Gray offers a hypothetical:
Today if Budweiser has distribution problems with Coors, they don’t take guns to the streets to resolve them. Instead they file a complaint in court, and have it peacefully adjudicated by judges like me.
Consider also, common sense economics: if drugs were not punished with criminal sanctions, the price of drugs would fall and “drug addicted people would only need to steal half as much to get their drugs.”
The case for decriminialization is utterly compelling to anyone who takes the time to consider the sceop of the current problem. For instance, it’s time to stop throwing 700,000 people into jail every year just because they use marijuana. Many of these people are (other than the marijuana offenses) peace-loving tax-paying citizens with families. It’s time to stop the insanity.
Andrew Sullivan has taken some time to consider why Liz Cheney would approve of the use of torture. For one thing, torture is (amazingly) not shameful to the far right; rather, it’s red meat to them. Sullivan quotes Adam Serwer on this point:
For the GOP, torture is no longer a “necessary evil.” It is a rally cry, a “values” issue like same-sex marriage or abortion. They don’t “grudgingly” support torture, they applaud it.
They celebrate it. Liz Cheney’s unequivocal support for torture methods gleaned from communist China has people begging her to run for office.
And thus, Liz, is given a second reason to defend her father, who should be treated as the war criminal he is. Her first reason, of course, is family loyalty:
Family members are always, and understandably, the last defenders of the criminal. The Cheneys’ natural inability to see Cheney in any reality-based perspective renders them psychologically able, even eager, to defend evil as a force for good in ways more forthright than others. Why this should be a plus for Cheney among the GOP rather than an obvious conflict of interest is part of the right’s current derangement. They too cannot hold the concept of their own moral fallibility in their fearful, clenched minds.
Sullivan’s entire post is well worth a read.
What am I supposed to think when a woman steps forward to publicize her decision to give up an adopted child that she had raised for 18 months?
This story leaves me bewildered. I don’t think the story tells me enough to allow me to know what to think. I keep wondering, “What if it had been her biological child? What would I think then? Would I have an opinion in that case, or would I be in this same puzzled/confused state that I’m now experiencing?
How could I possibly render judgment without knowing a lot more about all of those involved? Even though I am sorely tempted to be angry with this adoptive mother at a gut level. But, as indicated in the video, this woman has parented her own biological children too. But that can cut two ways. And why aren’t we told anything at all about the adoptive father and his history and attitudes regarding this baby? And what about the claim that the baby is doing “well” with his new family? That cuts both ways too, in my opinion. What’s really going on here? Were there financial issues? Racial issues? Medical issues?
Such a frustrating story to me. What is the take-away message from this story? It makes me feel like a voyeur and it makes me want to accuse MSNBC of irresponsibly packaging this story.
Note: For those who don’t know me, I am an adoptive parent of two girls from China who I very much consider to be my daughter forever, no matter what happens–and that’s how my wife and I looked at adoption from Day One. I wonder how much my personal history colors my views on this abandonment story.
The U.S. Government is considering loosening the hold on the group created by the U.S. Government to oversee internet naming for the world. This recent PC Magazine article describes how ICANN Begins Moving Away from U.S. Control.
One big milestone will be to allow alphabets other than Latinate (English) in website names. This is a big change; going from one-byte letters to unicode two byte letters to accommodate the thousands-of-letter alphabets of pictographic languages. You browser already can handle this. And the next billion new internet users won’t need to first become fluent in the Roman Alphabet.
But the change that has the business community abuzz is that they are opening up the Top Level Domains. You know, .com, .org, .us, etc. Back when they added .com and .org there was some sputtering about the lack of need. After all, we had .gov, .org, .edu, and all the country domains. Why have specific virtual realms for-profit and non-profit suffixes? Then the web took off, and “everyone” soon associated the commercial superdomain (.com) with “the web”. Eventually, even government entities gave up on .gov, and made .com their native home, like usps.com.
Now, businesses are worried that opening up these suffixes completely will get expensive. One likely suggestion being debated is “.food”. Will McDonalds have to pony up to buy its suite of names in .food as well as in .com? What if someone opens up .burger? Want dot fries with that? It could get expensive and confusing to have dozens or hundreds of names for any given website.
Will this become a new boom time for cyber-squatters, those who buy up names and hold them for ransom?
And what about “www”? 15 years ago, there still was a subtle distinction between hyper-text transfer protocol (http://) and the Web (www). The former originally applied to text-only Bulletin Boards. But this has long evaporated, and www has become an artifact that remains mainly because it is easier to type than “http://” as an indicator to a browser of what you mean by a URL.