WWYL? What would you legalize?
File sharing
Recreational drugs
Open container
Cock fighting
Automatic firearms
Driving without a seatbelt
Black Mail
Killing Geese
Class A Fireworks
Stem cells, embryos and abortions.... oh my!

Earlier I outlined a case for rejecting the use of embryonic stem cells. However, like most discussions on the case of ethics things aren’t as neat and tidy as we’d like. In the first article I articulated a position in which no matter how great the potential benefits of embryonic stem cell research it couldn’t justify the intentional destruction of human life. However, there are approximately 400,000 embryos, which were “frozen” with the intention of bringing them to full development in the future but have since been forgotten. In addition to these embryos there are also aborted fetuses, which would also be a source of embryonic stem cells. Why shouldn’t we use these sources of embryonic stem cells?

Oddly Contradictory

Here's a story recounted by Slaid Cleves about his dog dying.

In the middle of it he writes, " We are at the mercy of . . . what? Fate? I don't believe in fate or a personal god. One that looks over us and decides what happens, who listens to us and judges us. I don't believe there is a meaning imposed on the universe. We find meaning in the lives we choose to lead."

Its impossible to get more existentialist than that. However, he also writes the following sentences.

"Dogs. You gotta love 'em. They are designed to break your heart."

" I suppose I'll be blessed with such a companion again someday."

"We loved on Huddie and gave her a milk bone. She ate half of it (something I've never seen her do before) and placed the other half on the grave."

There's more in there but you have to read large stretches of text at a time to get the sense of the writing, you can go read it yourself if you want. The point I wanted to make is that even someone who explicitly embraces an existentialist point of view which entails rejecting any overarching meaning and claims the only meaning which can be created is in the personal experiences of life makes statements that indicates something more is out there. The third statement is the least explicit of the three but at the same time is the most damaging to an existentialist worldview. It indicates some sort of greater meaning or at least significance than a dog that met up with a jerkhole with a .22 rifle. Once you start to get meaning and significance that transcends personal experiences you don't have existentialism. You've got something else entirely.

Anna Nicole Smith Is Stupid

We have a new contender for stupidest person alive who can breathe on their own. I have no idea how overly plastic blondes have been stereotyped as stupid. I mean, just because it takes an active effort on her part to keep her heart pumping doesn't mean she's stupid.

What the crap am I saying? She was smart enough to marry a billionaire right before he kicked off. If you got nothing but this life to worry about that's a pretty easy way to go about things.

Let me leave you with an actual quote from her.

"LA is different from California. Right?"


When Shall We Then Compromise?

Since 1973 when the Supreme Court forced the legalization of abortion onto every locality within every state in the United States Christianity has spent a large amount of resources in trying to roll back legalized abortion. But I have to ask, at what point will there be enough restrictions on abortion that you would be willing to divert resources into other activities? At some point the return received isn’t worth the resources put into it. There are several lines of thinking on this issue.

The Hardline:

Of course there will be those who will say that they will not rest until it is completely outlawed. What this means is that pro-life activities will sap resources indefinitely and many of those resources will be directed at law-making activities rather than at heart changing activities. An hour spent writing letters to a congressman is an hour less spent teaching scripture or evangelizing. I also find it likely that this attitude will prevent compromises being made, such as waiting periods, parental notifications, and other restrictions.

The Personal Moral Choice:

Now don’t freak out that I used the word “choice”, just hang on just a second. This strategy emphasizes reducing abortion through the voluntary choice of potential abortion clinic customers. On the legal side of things this strategy emphasizes things like waiting periods, parental notifications and requiring counseling sessions that informs women of exactly what an abortion is, and the potential health ramifications. On the personal side of things the personal moral choice strategy pours resources into pregnancy crisis centers, counselors, adoption agencies, and general support of the babies and mothers after birth. This strategy is grounded in eliminating abortion via the lack of supply. The advantages to this position is that rather than simply banning abortion, it can be used to advocate a Christian worldview, and is a much more powerful evangelistic tool than any law could ever hope to be. The downside is that it is unlikely to completely eliminate the destruction of innocent human life.

The Moderate Position

This position immediately concedes that because of the political lay of the land abortion will never be illegal. However, it also recognizes that certain strides can be made. This position generally pushes for the elimination of late term abortion, parental notification and other restrictions that will limit abortion, but at the same time understands that the outright elimination of abortion is highly unlikely. This position also supports pregnancy crisis centers, but sees them as part of a two-pronged attack rather than as the only form of attack as the Moral Choice strategy does. This position is more likely to produce restrictions on abortion because of its willingness to compromise, as well as reduce abortions through the support system. The bad news is that this strategy is unlikely to produce an outright ban, and is likely to lose steam once a series of compromises are made and then progress appears to stop.

Breaking the Black Voting Block

I may not be a political strategist, but I play one on the interweb. For the last 40 years (at least) as a group blacks have voted automatically for the Democratic candidate in Presidential elections. Were a Republican candidate to take away even 10% of that vote he or she would win in a landslide. Now, I don’t particularly care about the fortunes of the Republican Party, but I do care deeply about the fortunes of conservative principles. And it just so happens that the same issue that would bury a Democratic candidate in a Presidential election is, what I consider, an extremely important conservative issue (perhaps the most important conservative issue): vouchers. School vouchers is the issue that could break the black voting block.

New Poll

Reagan wins a squeaker over Lincoln.

Now you get to choose a vice to legalize. Personally I'd like to see the simultaneous legalization of recreational drugs and Jart. I just know that would produce a Fox special in the vein of When Jarts Attack.

Stem Cell Research

With the death of President Ronald Reagan the subject of stem cell research has inevitably been raised. Stem cells are cells that have the capacity to form into any other type of cell found in the body, as a result they may have the capacity to repair damage to the body by creating cells which the body needs to function. However, in order to get stem cells to do research it is necessary to create an embryo and then destroy it in the process of harvesting the stem cells. However, at the same time stem cell research has the potential to cure Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and other horrible diseases. This is the dilemma we find ourselves in: our best hope for significantly increasing our quality of life lay in creating human life with the intention to destroy it.

A Decade After The OJ Trial

June 12th marked the 10th anniversary of the gruesome murder of Nicole Simpson and Ron Brown. Which means we’re probably going to get all kinds of retrospectives on the “trial of the century”. In fact, I know that at least one of the 5,000,000 Dateline clones has aired an entire hour of an interview with OJ. That being said lets get this out of the way as quickly as possible.

First, the OJ trial exposed some of the weaknesses of our trial by jury system. One of the jurors said something about how the forensic evidence held no weight because he failed to understand what DNA evidence was. There’s an old joke about jury duty that anyone smart enough to serve on a jury will be able to get out of it. Judging by the remarks of this juror there’s a lot of truth to it. To be sure, with the rise of shows like CSI, CSI: Miami and CSI: Seinfeld the extreme ignorance of forensic science probably wouldn’t be pervasive enough to let OJ get off today. However, it’s quite sad that it takes a forensic science pop-culture revolution to make something like DNA evidence accessible enough to jurors that it can be used effectively in a criminal trial. What’s the solution? I would suggest that unless a juror has had directly dealings with the defendant, or is dying should be the only way that a potential juror can escape jury duty. Additionally, the first 12 jurors picked should be the jurors that serve. This would assure that everyone serves who is selected regardless of whether they want to get out of it or not, and that neither the defense nor the prosecution could manipulate the composition of the jury to their benefit.

Shortly after OJ was found to be not guilty in a criminal court Nicole Simpson’s family filed suit against the Juice in civil court. If I remember correctly they won the wrongful death and received a huge award for it. I made this point right after the news came out, and I wasn’t received too well by people I confided in, now I still think I’m right. OJ is guilty of murder, however, the second he was declared not guilty by a jury of his peers he should have been free from any additional persecution. Either OJ committed the murders or he did not and after society goes through its truth seeking activities and finds that he didn’t do it then he didn’t do it. But to live under a system in which it is possible to be guilty in one court, and innocent in another makes absolutely no sense. I don’t care if the standard of guilt is less in a civil court, I don’t care what the rationale is for allowing two separate trials, which result in two different outcomes. You shouldn’t be allowed to have your property stripped away from you if you’ve been found not guilty. But at this point in time that’s exactly what can happen.

The final image that has stuck with me from the trial is the image of jubilant blacks celebrating and one individual declaring, “this is huge for us”. In the words of Chris Rock on this issue, “who’s us”? I mean seriously, how absurd is this attitude? How many of those openly celebrating the verdict will ever be invited by OJ into his home? Forget being invited to dinner, how many could get close enough to him to get his autograph without having to pay for it? Cheering for a not-guilty verdict based solely on the skin color of the defendant is as ignorant as it is racist. It’s made even more absurd by the elite status OJ enjoys. I guarantee neither he nor Johnny Cochran will set foot in the neighborhoods that appeared on camera that day. But apparently it was huge for “us”.

Tort Reform....Or Else

Doctor proposes refusing treatment to attorneys who sue doctors for malpractice.

Do you know why health care costs so much? Part of it is because of the huge premiums doctors have to pay for insurance due to malpractice suits. Unless tort reform passes it’s only going to get worse. The effects don’t end just at increased prices. It might be tolerable if the difference was only increased prices (depending on how much of an increase it is). After all, there is a certain value to having a financial motive to making sure you don’t screw up. In that way it is possible for the threat of malpractice to produce better health care. However, at its current level the amount of awards are prohibitive to doing business. The result of this situation is that any medical practice operating with thin profit margins will be driven out of business. Unfortunately the practices that work on the thinnest margins are those that provide basic medical care to poor areas. In addition to the forced bankruptcy of medical facilities that serve the poor there is also the damage done to consumers. By reducing the number of facilities able to operate the number of choices are also reduced. This means there will be longer lines, lower quality of service, and fewer services offered at the remaining facilities because there won’t be any competition.

So, what’s the solution? What will both provide compensation for malpractice, but keep doctors from being put out of business? First do away with punitive damages. Punitive damages are awards that are meant to punish rather than to make up to the victim what was lost (and incidentally are generally the spectacularly huge awards that grab headlines…and the attention of trial lawyers). Secondly, create a loser pays system. If a doctor is sued and wins then the person who sued gets to pay the doctor’s court costs. Of course, it cuts both ways. And finally, refuse trial lawyers who pursue malpractice cases medical care. Hey, a good idea is a good idea.

Cincinnati, Population: Useless

The City of Cincinnati is facing projected deficits of $71 million dollars by 2008.

Of course this is the same city that made some very bad decision about the two new stadiums, caves into racial black mail everytime a so-called black leader throws a hissy fit, and refits police with new equipment and training everytime a drugged up fat man attacks police until his heart explodes.

Now, I will give them credit, they have planned to make cuts, but most of these cuts were not anything that required any sort of backbone. Basically the city of Cincinnati has made cuts by simply eliminating jobs that are currently empty. What they have not done is cut services which people will actually cause a fuss over. I seriously doubt that will happen. What I expect to happen is that the pathetic excuse for a city council will be raising taxes, probably both on businesses and individuals. Already its gotten to the point where anyone who can afford to move out of the city is doing so, an additional tax will only drive more people out, which will in turn reduce the tax base and lower tax revenues. The same applies to businesses but more so. Living in the 'nati means you're only a few minutes from Northern Kentucky which has experienced a business revival of sorts. Any additional taxes will only drive even more businesses across the river. Once again reducing the tax base and reducing the amount of tax revenues.

Its only a matter of time before everyone productive moves either north or south and this place is a ghost town.

Huggins Under the Influence (HUI)

UC Men's Basketball Coach Bob Huggins was suspended indefinently today for drunk driving. I have two conflicting strains of thought about this.

1).Leave the poor guy alone. He's getting railroaded because of his celebrity when he should be treated like anyone else. A normal person would have plead out, paid his fine, did his time (community service and/or jail time) and gone on with his life. It happens to a great many people every single year. Why should Huggins be treated any differently?

2) Huggins isn't like everyone else. He's high-profile and is very well compensated because of it. He doesn't wait in line with the rest of us, nor, when he screws up does he take his punishment like the rest of us. If Joe Smith, average citizen, is arrested for DUI, then UC is not linked with DUI offender.

I don't know which one of these strains of thought is right. But I do know which is the one which reflects reality.