Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Breaking news: The KKK does not support Obama.

October 16, 2008

In Oklahoma, the Klu Klux Klan passed out an anti-Obama flyer with people’s newspapers. Video here.

From what can be seen in the video, the flyers say that the Klu Klux Klan does not endorse Barack Obama for president.

Really??? Whoever would have guessed that the KKK is not endorsing a black candidate?

Also, in the video they mention that they’re considering filing hate crime charges. For passing out a flyer???
Yes, they’re the KKK, yes, they’re evil and it’s horrible that they still even exist. But passing out flyers is not a hate crime.

October 16, 2008

The Supreme Court refused to hear Troy Davis’s death penalty appeal. From SCOTUSblog:

In appealing to the Supreme Court, Davis’ lawyers urged the Court to issue a definitive ruling — something it had only assumed previously — that the Eighth Amendment creates a right of an innocnet person not to be executed.

Does that really not go without saying? Why doesn’t the court have the guts to say it?
Whenever I discuss the death penalty with people who are for it, they always say that there are so many appeals an innocent person would never be convicted.
Because clearly the real world works like that.

Joe the Plumber

October 15, 2008

Joe the Plumber was mentioned, by both candidates, 26 times (2 more times than McCain said “My friends” in the last debate).
The funny thing is, I used to know a plumber named Joe who actually called himself “Joe the plumber.” He was psychotic and abusive.
I don’t think it’s the same guy, since the “Joe the plumber” they were talking about is from Ohio and probably doesn’t even describe himself as Joe the plumber. Still, it was weird.
Besides for that, tonight’s debate was the most interesting of the three. Did McCain really say that while he would nominate judges for the Supreme Court based on qualifications, anyone who agreed with Roe v. Wade wouldn’t be qualified? Wtf? And that people in the military shouldn’t have to go through any more education or have to get a credential to become teachers? Because learning to kill people clearly makes you qualified to teah children. Not that soldier’s can’t be good teachers, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t have to get the smae credentials as anyone else. Especially since there’s not exactly a shortage of teachers right now, huge amounts of teachers are getting laid off or loosing their classes.
About McCain’s position on torture- he was against it a long time ago, then he was for it- is he currently against it? Obama congratulated him on his position, but I thought his position was that waterboarding was okay? Hopefully he changed his mind?
And also- Sarah Palin’s son isn’t autistic, he has Down’s Syndrome- there’s a pretty huge difference there.
I loved Obama’s response to that though- that if McCain is saying Sarah Palin will help special needs children, that won’t happen with a budget freeze. Not that it’s likely Sarah Palin would do anything for children with special needs anyway, or anyone else- I completely hate her, but I’ll go into that when I’m less tired. (My main issues with her are that she kills wolves, wants to kill polar bears, is completely anti-choice, made women who were raped pay for their own rape-kits, wanted to ban books…

History repeats itself.

October 9, 2008

In this article Tuesday,  an attorney for the Uighurs who are being held in Guantanamo said, “I’ve never heard anyone argue our relations with other nations are a basis for holding someone.” But really, that was the government’s argument for holding the slaves in the Amistad case.
And now, as in that case, the courts are blocking their release. As Emi McLean, a CCR attorney said, “Seventeen men were told yesterday that they were going to be released after nearly seven years of wrongful detention. Now, they have to be told that their detention will continue to be indefinite.”

McCain is an idiot

October 7, 2008

McCain said “My friends” 24 times during the debate. We are not his friends!

Every statistic he used was “95%”. There is no way he’s not making that up.

“Nuclear power. Senator Obama says that it has to be safe or disposable or something like that.” Wtf? Um, does McCain not think nuclear power should be safe? Or just not know what he’s talking about whatsoever?

That one.”

He practically gave the audience lapdances.

And completely talked down to them. His tone of voice was condescending, he said that they probably never heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before… Does he really think the way to get people to vote for him is to treat them like idiots?

 

Speaking of people doing the wrong thing to get people to vote for McCain, a few weeks ago I went with Peace Club to see Amnesty International’s model Gitmo cell in Santa Monica. Nearby was an Obama/Biden booth and a McCain/Palin booth. We talked to the people in the Obama/Biden booth and one of my friends bought a button, and then we went over to argue with the people at the McCain/Palin booth. The first guy we talked to was an ex-military guy who didn’t think McCain was conservative enough. We talked to him about Guantanamo and he agreed that innocent people shouldn’t be held and people should be given trials, and agreed to read an article in the Amnesty International magazine.

Then I started to talk to this other guy, and we started arguing about Iraq, and I don’t remember exactly what we said but it ended with him waving his finger in my face yelling, “We did not put the Taliban in power! We did not put the Taliban in power! We did not put the Taliban in power! We did not put the Taliban in power!”

“Uh, I have to go now,” I finally mumbled, and turned away from him. Unfortunately, my friends were deep in conversation with someone else, so to get away from the guy Iwandered around to the other side of the booth where some random people who’d been passing by were watching someone talk to another guy from the McCain/Palin booth.

“Say I’m an undecided voter,” he told the guy from the McCain/Palin booth. “What’s one reason I should vote for McCain?”

“We don’t want your vote! We don’t need your vote!” the guy screamed.

Uh, yeah. If you’re at a booth for a political candidate, you’re probably there to try to convince people to vote for your candidate. And that is not how to do it.

July 11, 2008

To most people, the biggest fear, ahead of roller-coasters and spiders and even death, is public speaking. That’s not my fear. Not that my heart isn’t thumping when I walk to the front of a crowded room and begin to speak. But though my voice may shake with nervousness as I begin, I thrive on public speaking. My biggest fear isn’t of speaking in public. It’s that when I do, no one will listen. That I’ll get up in front of a crowd of people and pour out my soul and back it up with facts, and it won’t make a difference. That I won’t make a difference.
There’s no reason I should feel this way. I’m politically active, head of peace club and an officer in Youth & Government. For all my life, when I’ve talked, people have listened. But what if they didn’t? What if nothing I do, or write, or say has any effect on the world?
Theres a story where a guy’s walking on a beach covered with starfish that have been washed up and will die from lack of water. The guy sees someone, either a young man or a little girl, picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water. “Why are you doing that?” the man asks. “There’s so many, you can’t possibly make a difference.” The person rescuing starfish picks one up and tosses it back into the oean and answers, “I made a difference to that one.”
But what if you don’t make a difference to that one? What if, as soon as it’s back in the ocean, an animal eats it, or another wave washes it right back up onto the shore? What if you go your whole life and nothing you do makes any difference to anyone?
It’s not that I don’t think I can make a difference. I know I can. Just like you know you won’t actually die from speaking in public and the spider’s more scared of you than you are of it and the rollercoaster’s not going to break.
But what if it does?

Torture

June 10, 2008

UPDATE: I have my report here.

OUTLAWED: Extraordinary Rendition

In my history class we just did a project on a current issue, which we got to chose. I did mine on torture because it’s a really important issue to me. I finally finished my report, and it was actually going over the page limit so I had to cut some of what I was planning to write such as everything about the Military Commissions Act, habeas corpus, problems with trials and the lack of them…

Most of my report focused on Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and extraordinary rendition, with facts and specific examples of people who were tortured, such as Hamid Al-Ghizzawi and Binyam Mohamed, shown in this video (which I’m using in my powerpoint).

Towards the end of my report I talked about the legality of torture and the torture memos, and finally the debate on the morality of torture. Personally I don’t think that torture is or can be justified, but I talked about some of the arguments that people use in favor of torture.

In Torture: When the Unthinkable is Morally Permissible, Mirko Bagaric and Julie Clark do argue for the morality of torture by calculating costs and benefits. They even have an equation for it: (W x L x P) / (T x O); where W = whether the agent is the wrongdoer; L = the number of lives that will be lost if the information is not provided; P = the probability that the agent has the relevant knowledge; T = the time available before the disaster will occur; O = the likelihood that other inquires will forestall the risk. They claim that “torture should be permitted where the application of the variables exceeds the threshold level.”
There are numerous problems with this idea. For one thing, although Bagaric and Clark admit that the formula is hardly exact and insist that this is not an argument against the proposal, not only is it inexact but most of the variables are simply unknowable. In most cases, it would be impossible to know whether the agent is the wrongdoer or the probability that the agent has relevant knowledge. In most cases it is impossible to even know that a disaster is going to occur, much less the time until it happens. Nor does the formula take into account the likelihood that torture will succeed. After all, even if the agent is definitely a wrongdoer with relevant knowledge about a disaster that will kill millions and is going to occur any minute, if torture will not be effective, clearly it is pointless. And who would use the equation? Would we really trust the government not only to know these virtually unknowable variables, but also to make the decision to apply them?
Additionally, the formula does not and cannot take into account the effects of using torture- not only on the victim, but also on the torturer and the entire society that condones it. Maybe if we were robots the proposal would be a good idea, but as humans, we cannot coldly calculate the morality of torture.

To me, this was one of the most disturbing things I found in all the research I did for this project, or for any of the other papers I’ve done on torture. The idea of using an equation to calculate whether torture is justified is chilling to me.

Okay….?

June 8, 2008

Police nab man claiming to be Christ, George Bush
Those are so mutually exclusive.

2013

May 15, 2008

For most of the presidential primaries, McCain has been saying that he has no plans to bring the troops out of Iraq and does not think it’s a problem if they stay there for “a hundred years.”

But McCain just announced that now he thinks the Iraq war can be won by 2013.

Why 2013? Well, say he is elected president. People are upset that we’re still in Iraq. In 2012, before the next presidential election, people will say that we should vote for someone who will bring us out of Iraq. And McCain will be able to say, “I’ve said for years that we’ll be out by 2013, and we will be.” He gets elected again, troops are still in Iraq in 2013, but by then it doesn’t matter to him since he can’t run for president again anyway.

I am so happy to live in California right now.

May 15, 2008

The California Supreme Court just ruled that gay marriage is legal.

We are now the second state to have gay marriage, after Massachusetts.

The article makes it seem that it’s not likely to last long because there’ll be a constitutional amendment in November banning gay marriage. Maybe that will be on the ballot, but I think it’s very premature to assume it will pass. Hopefully enough people believe in equal rights for everyone, or at least that who marries who is not the government’s business.