Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nothing Left To Lose - Permissible Barbarism

Just a couple of weeks ago, in a post I titled Nothing Left To Lose, I noted that the Journal of Medical Ethics had published some musings on the subject of whether or not it was morally permissible to kill individuals who may be “universally and irreversibly disabled, because they have no abilities to lose” in order to harvest their organs.

Not content with musing on this barbarism, the Journal of Medical Ethics is also considering the subject of killing newborns, publishing the subject matter under the heading of After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?, with an abstract that reads as follows.

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

Just another apologetic for permissible barbarisms.

The Silicon Graybeard, where I first read about this, comments on the subject in a post titled These Were Predictable.  DougM, at Sondrakistan, also comments on this subject in a post titled ethics 101: (no longer offered at these institutions), as does Donald Sensing in a post titled First, we kill all the newborns, and Keith Burgess-Jackson in a post titled Ethics.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/29 at 10:52 AM
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Right Neighborly

Living in a smaller residential neighborhood, which I regularly walk, though some say I patrol, I know a good many of my neighbors by their first names, but not necessarily their last.  I occasionally find myself lending these neighbors a hand to accomplish one thing or another.  Not because my neighbor(s) necessarily asked for help, but because I could and wanted to lend a helping hand.  It’s sometimes referred to as being right neighborly.

Joel, at The Ulitmate Answer to Kings…Is Not a Bullet But a Belly Laugh, who does not live in a residential neighborhood, but still has neighbors, discusses the subject of being right neighborly, but from the viewpoint of being on the receiving end of a right neighborly helping hand, rather than the lending of a right neighborly hand in a post he titled Good karma or good luck?, which opens as follows.

This is embarrassing for a self-described hermit to have to admit, but lately other people have really been coming through for me.

Being right neighborly, or being on the receiving end of some right neighborly helping hands, is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/29 at 10:17 AM
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


“Yes We Can”: It’s not a slogan, it’s a threat.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/28 at 03:21 PM
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Please Don’t Feed the Animals

Peg, at the blog what if?, posts the following comment made by a top level bridge player under the heading Irony.

“Isn’t It Ironic? The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to “please do not feed the animals” because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.”

Posted by John Venlet on 02/27 at 04:32 PM
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Escaping the “Prison of Contemporaneity”

From a Leon Wieseltier piece titled Voluminous via Arts & Letters Daily.

THE LIBRARY, like the book, is under assault by the new technologies, which propose to collect and to deliver texts differently, more efficiently, outside of space and in a rush of time. If ever I might find a kind word for the coming post-bibliographical world it would be this week, when I have to pack up the thousands of volumes in my office and reassemble them a short distance away—they are so heavy, they take up so much room, and so on; but even now, with the crates piled high in the hall, what I see most plainly about the books is that they are beautiful. They take up room? Of course they do: they are an environment; atoms, not bits. My books are not dead weight, they are live weight—matter infused by spirit, every one of them, even the silliest. They do not block the horizon; they draw it. They free me from the prison of contemporaneity: one should not live only in one’s own time. A wall of books is a wall of windows. And a book is more than a text: even if every book in my library is on Google Books, my library is not on Google Books. A library has a personality, a temperament. (Sometimes a dull one.) Its books show the scars of use and the wear of need. They are defaced—no, ornamented—by markings and notes and private symbols of assent and dissent, and these vandalisms are traces of the excitations of thought and feeling, which is why they are delightful to discover in old books: they introduce a person. There is something inhuman about the pristinity of digital publication. It lacks fingerprints. But the copy of a book that is on my shelf is my copy. It is unlike any other copy, it has been individuated; and even those books that I have not yet opened—unread books are an essential element of a library—were acquired for the further cultivation of a particular admixture of interests and beliefs, and every one of them will have its hour. The knowledge that qualifies one to be one’s own librarian is partly self-knowledge. The richness, or the incoherence, of a library is the richness, or the incoherence, of the self.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/24 at 09:36 AM
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

School Daze Speed Zone


Government Clarity, via Karen De Coster.

Is This the Most Confusing Speed Limit Sign You’ve Ever Seen?

Posted by John Venlet on 02/19 at 12:33 PM
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fido Fetching Fees for the State

A few days ago a story out of Jefferson County, Colorado told the tale of an individual, Matthew Townsend, who was jailed for not having licensed his dog Wolfie.  Townsend had previously been cited for not licensing Wolfie, and as a result of his ignoring this citation, a warrant had been issued for his arrest.  Townsend ran afoul of the authorities, in large part by chance, after the arrest warrant had been issued, was arrested, and spent seven (7) hours in jail for not having licensed Wolfie.

There should be no argument that Townsend’s arrest and subsequent time in jail for not having licensed Wolfie is a ridiculous response to not having a licensed dog, not to mention an egregious waste of tax dollars, but of course the authorities justify the alleged need for licensing dogs, and the issuing of arrest warrants for failing to comply with such laws, by stating such conditions are for our benefit, i.e. if Fido runs off and is rounded up by the authorities happy reunions can be arranged.

While the above stated reason for licensing your dog has the appearance of being legitimate, the actual reasons why the authorities demand that Fido be licensed are as follows.

The county say the animal licenses are needed to fund the new $10 million Foothills Animal Shelter…

By CBS4′s figures, Jefferson County and other governments are missing out on a lot money for non-compliance on dog licenses. Jefferson County misses more than $2.5 million a year in uncollected license fees. Denver has 19 percent of its dog owners and 1 percent of its cat owners with licenses, missing out on nearly $3.5 million in money it could collect. In Aurora under 9 percent of dogs and only 1 percent of cats are licensed, missing out on $2.5 million in revenue.

Fetch those fees, Fido.

Not Having A Dog License Leads To Jail Time

Posted by John Venlet on 02/18 at 11:30 AM
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Assessing the Threat

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor titled Threats to US: Pentagon officials drop three surprises, “senior US military and intelligence officials” are expressing concern about the following.

Senior US military and intelligence officials are warning of their growing concern that rogue “radical” elements are operating – or preparing to operate – “within the ranks” of the intelligence community and armed forces.

“The potential for trusted US government and contractor insiders using their authorized access to personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks or information systems in order to cause great harm is becoming an increasingly serious threat to our national security,”...

“Trusted insiders now have unprecedented access to US government information and resources in secure work environments,” he added.

He warned of those who have become “self-radicalized,” as well as “lone wolves,” particularly “within our ranks.”

Why do I think the suspicions, as expressed, are expressed against active duty service members who may be Oathkeepers, who take seriously orders they will not obey, because said orders are constitution bypassing aberrations, rather than possible radical Muslims inside the ranks?

Linked via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/18 at 09:16 AM
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Unreasonable Men

Though this news came out on January 19, 2012, I was not aware of this madness until just moments ago.  Dems propose ‘Reasonable Profits Board’ to regulate oil company profits

The Gas Price Spike Act, H.R. 3784 (pdf of 11 pgs. - ed), would apply a windfall tax on the sale of oil and gas that ranges from 50 percent to 100 percent on all surplus earnings exceeding “a reasonable profit.” It would set up a Reasonable Profits Board made up of three presidential nominees that will serve three-year terms. Unlike other bills setting up advisory boards, the Reasonable Profits Board would not be made up of any nominees from Congress.

And what, exactly, is a reasonable profit?  This.

(4) REASONABLE PROFIT.—The term ‘reasonable profit’ means the amount determined by the Reasonable Profits Board to be a reasonable profit on the sale.

The six unreasonable individuals sponsoring this madness.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr (D-Michigan)
Rep. Bob Filner (D-California)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)
Rep. Jim Langevin (D- Rhode Island)
Rep. Lynn Woolsley (D-California)

Via Vanderleun’s Sidelines.

UPDATE: The above unreasonable individuals’ mentor, Hillary Clinton in 2007.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/16 at 03:56 PM
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On Being Only Human

In the movie The Matrix, there’s a scene where Agent Jones stands over Neo, his gun to Neo’s head, and Agent Jones utters “Only human,” as prepares to pull the trigger to end Neo’s life.

Naturally, Agent Jones is thwarted from ending the only human Neo’s life, since it is a movie and there are two sequels to follow, but that phrase, “Only human,” somehow resonates with us humans, but typically in a most self-deprecating way.

Jonathon Pearce considers the phrase “it’s only human” in the Samizdata quote of the day post, responding to Bryan Caplan quoting a portion of John Galt’s speech which contains the phrase “it’s only human,” but not as a statement of self-deprecation.

...if we say “it’s only human” when we refer to someone being an asshole, or forgetful, or inconsiderate, or loses their temper, or some such, shouldn’t we also say “it’s only human” when a person is thoughtful, considerate, productive, courageous and adventurous”?

On a slightly different tack, though, I think people often use the “I am only human” when, as the use of the word “only” implies, we are talking about the limits, and inevitable fallibility of we creatures. But then again, it is precisely because of our limits and partial knowledge, that it is all the more admirable, and worthy of note, when we imperfect creatures do the right thing, do things well, and show excellent character.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/16 at 02:07 PM
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“Stupor Tuesday”

Bergstrom’s, of Attack Cartoons, Stupor Tuesday cartoon.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/16 at 12:09 PM
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Domestic Terrorist Warning Flyers

Did you know that home improvement stores have been warned that if you are purchasing a “combination of unusual items,” such as “sponges, candles, matches, bolt cutters” you may be a domestic terrorist?

Did you know that tattoo parlors have been warned that if you are a frequenter of tattoo parlors and the tattoo artist notes that you’ve changed how you look each visit by “shaving beard, changing hair color, style of dress, etc.” you may be a domestic terrorist?

Did you know that shopping malls have been warned that if you and your male friends arrive at the mall in a group, and then split up and communicate with each other by phone after splitting up, you may be a domestic terrorist?

Did you know that hobby shops have been warned that if you enter a hobby shop to purchase a “large quantity of paintball equipment and supplies” and seem to possess “very little information about local paintball activities” you may be a domestic terrorist?

Well, the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Assistance are warning the above mentioned retailers, and numerous other types of businesses, that these are some of the signs that you may be a domestic terrorist.

FBI “Communities Against Terrorism” Suspicious Activity Reporting Flyers

There are twenty-five flyers to choose from, in pdf format, print them out and hand them out to your friends and neighbors, or trade and swap them with your favorite domestic terrorist.

Via The Silicon Graybeard.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/16 at 11:29 AM
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

True Believers in Liberty

True believers.  When reading those words, true believers, many individuals will experience a visceral reaction.  All individuals will experience a visceral reaction to the descriptive words true believers as defined at that link in the number one position, but not all individuals considering the descriptive true believers will experience the visceral reaction as defined in the number two and three positions.

AM, who just recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, considers the subject of true believers from the standpoint of Muslim true believers, and true believers in liberty, in a post titled True Believers, the effects of morality on unconventional warfare which is worth considering.

If America is to have “an Army of Davids” that is good.  If America is to have “A Nation of Riflemen” that is good.  But without a “Nation of True Believers” there is no chance at all for either Davids or Riflemen to stand against the forces of the endarkening and challenge them back…

Anyone who can sell the idea of Liberty to a non-believer and create a True Believer will do more for the cause of freedom than any marksmanship instructor or small group leader.  In our world where “relativism” makes Tyranny no better or worse than Liberty it is an extreme position to say that there IS a right and wrong, and that there IS a good and an evil, and that it is GOOD to fight against EVIL.  It isn’t a thousand or a million trained riflemen that make Tyrants fear the night.  It is the thought that there are True Believers who oppose, who will not “be reasonable” who will not “talk it out” who will not “compromise” who will not waiver in their faith and course.  Faith gives rise to action, it must, or it is not faith

Posted by John Venlet on 02/15 at 09:31 AM
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

America Needs More Consistently Principled Individuals

At the blog The New Clarion, MikeN skillfully deconstructs a recent Leonard Pitts Jr oped wherein Pitts attempts to chastise Ron Paul’s “foolishly consistent…extremism.”  MikeN’s takedown of Pitts, titled Why we seldom get principled leaders, ends this way.

...My hope is that there are principled leaders out there taking notes on the election campaigns and deciding whether the public is ready for principled leadership. I think a growing number are. I just don’t know how big that number needs to be to turn this country around. Perhaps 2012 will give us a clearer picture.

While I appreciate that there is a need for principled leaders in this world, I think there is a far greater need for consistently principled individuals, because if there were a far greater number of consistently principled individuals, the need for leaders decreases exponentially.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/14 at 02:41 PM
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For the 0.0019 Percent

Glenn Reynolds is concerned about the fact the untreatable gonorrhea is on the way.  I say that unless Glenn is running around on his wife, or vice versa, or, as individual you’re running around with an any port in a storm attitude dipping your wicky into every honeypot that can breathe, this is nothing to be concerned about.  To wit.

The disease has been estimated to affect 600,000 Americans annually,...

Current United States population.  313,018,143

600,000 divided by 313,018,143 equals 0.0019.  So, unless you are one of the 0.0019 percent lacking any sense of responsibility or fidelity, what are you concerned about?

Posted by John Venlet on 02/14 at 02:03 PM
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