End of Days

28 01 2011

A few weeks late, but I just can’t let Arnold’s time in office come to a close without allotting just a moment or two to remembrance of it.  I mean…come on.  Our governor.

Free, courtesy of the suckers at Wikipedia

I’m not lying when I say that Arnold’s tenure in office strongly shaped how I view politics today.  I’m confident that he and Bush are the two happiest ex-executives in America today.

Death Penalty

9 06 2009

After reading about Sr. Gallo’s not guilty plea this morning, I read a lot of angry diatribes.  While there are some interesting arguments for the severity of punishments for drunk driving, the death penalty itself is a pretty interesting concept.  I’m barely awake right now, but I like throwing things out there while I remember them.  Here’s a few of my thoughts on the subject:

-If you could not flip the switch, you can’t justify it being done.

-Can anyone truly call themselves a sinner saved by grace and then choose to send a sinner to hell (effectively)?

-People didn’t have to worry about these things when the earth swallowed up sinners by the thousands.

-Do harsher penalties really deter violence?  In gang-related scenarios, I tend to agree that they do.

-Is capital punishment for capital crimes appealing to our best or worst nature?  (that is, satisfying some lust for blood atonement or releasing the sinners to the depths of sin itself)

-I don’t want taxes increased for criminals’ sakes.  However, I’m also against California’s threat/statement that prisoners will have to be realeased (what?) in the near future because of overcrowding and budget constraints.

-People would steal less if it cost an arm.

-There would be a lot more one-armed people around if we still operated on that principle.

-Are florescent lights worse than death?  Yes.  Yes they are.

Tell Me Why This Shouldn’t Offend Me

30 05 2009

“Justice [Sandra Day] O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and a wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.  I am also not so sure [sic] that I agree with the statement   I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

-Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

I don’t really know where to start on this quote (pulled from the June 1-8 issue of TIME).  One the one hand, it’s pretty standard pratice these days to bash white males as being the bastion (eh?) of close-minded intolerance.   On the other hand, hearing a potential (and exceedingly probable) justice of the highest court in the land espouse this opinion really disturbs me.  Smarter people than I have demonstrated the fallacy (and danger) of thinking that WASPs are the worst people group in America, and I’ve learned to just accept that as a given in our Modern Society.  I’m not going to spew some harangue about how much this bothers me (too late), but I can’t shake the feeling that I need to shout at someone.

Leaders, hose ’em

16 04 2009

Go check out Bob Timmerman’s One through Forty-Two or Forty Three right now.  He’s writing book reviews of all the presidential biographies he can get his hands on, and it’s quite good.

What, you were expecting actual content?

Jackson Enraged

14 02 2009

I have to replace a picture of me (ME!) with a quote from Old Hickory?

Addressing the nullifcation of tariff laws by South Carolina, Andrew Jackon gave an impassioned oration about the value of the union.  I enjoyed this one:

Without union our independence and liberty would never have been achieved; without union they can never be maintained.  Divided into twenty-four, or even a smaller number, of separate communities, we shall see our internal trade burdened with numberless restraints and exactions; communication between distant points and sections obstructed or cut off; our sons made soldiers to deluge with blood the fields they now till in peace; the mass of our people borne down and imporverished by taxes to support armies and navies, and military leaders at the head of their victorious legions becoming our lawgivers and judges.  The loss of liberty, of all good government, of peace, plenty. and happiness, must inevitably follow a dissolution of the Union.  In supporting it, therefore, we support all that is dear to the freeman and the philanthropist.

The time at which I stand before you is full of interest.  The eyes of all nations are fixed on our Republic.  The event of the existing crisis will be decisive in the opinion of mankind of the practicability of our federal system of government.  Great is the stake placed in our hands; great is the responsibility which must rest upon the people of the United States.  Let us realize the importance of the attitude in which we stand before our country from the dangers which surround it and learn wisdom from the lessons they inculcate.

Another excerpt from the same book:

Six days later, the president named a postmaster for New Salem, Illinois, a twenty-four-year-old lawyer who had lost a race for the state legislature.  He was a [Henry] Clay man, but the post was hardly major, and Abraham Lincoln was happy to accept the appointment.

From American Lion, by Jon Meacham

In Defense of the Union

4 02 2009

I’m currently reading American Lion, a biography of President Andrew Jackson.  It called to my attention one of the greatest speeches by one of the greatest orators America has ever seen.  Daniel Webster happened to pass by the Senate during a debate about South Carolina, nullification, and state’s rights.  The next day, he spoke in response to Robert Hayne, who had given a stirring and engaging defense of South Carolina’s inclination to propagate open disdain (if not outright rebellion) for the government, which had passed new tariff legislation lately that met with widespread disgust.  Anyway, I’ll spare you from further background information, as its better read in its context anyway.  While Webster disagreed with Jackson on almost everything, and quite vehemently, these two men were undoubtedly united in their thinking about the importance of keeping the union intact.

Webster closed his argument thusly:

I have not allowed myself, Sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union may be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it should be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise! God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluteddd, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto, no such miserable interrogatory as “What is all this worth?” nor those other words of delusion and folly, “Liberty first and Union afterwards”; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, placing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart, – Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!

Parting of the Ways

26 11 2008

As the country prepares to welcome an historic president, it is also doing its best to send a formal farewell to its current one.  While President Bush achieved new lows in approval ratings at home and abroad, President-elect Obama prepares to be welcomed into the masses’ waiting arms.

I have to say, though, that I’ve never seen known such a level of unadulterated hatred for an outgoing president.  Even when President Clinton left office after all of his wacky hijinx, I remember a distinctly obvious level of restraint among even his greatest detractors.  Perhaps it is simply the ramifications of President Bush’s decisions that have drawn this new level of ire, but there’s a large part of my political psyche that winces every time I hear vitriol spewed upon the name of our sitting president.  In fact, I worry that this election has signaled the dawn of a nastier era of political commentary than ever before.  And really, that’s something to lament no matter who you rooted for 22 days ago.  To offer up a real observation for once, I think that politics have become too much like a sports arena:  People rarely change their allegiances, no matter what evidence may come their way; People would prefer to favor a professional who is good at playing the game rather than someone they actually like; Most notably, people can rarely discuss their views with those of different opinions without resorting to churlish arguing.

Perhaps we should just accept it and start wearing jerseys…?


On a more peripheral note, the approaching of a super-majority in the Senate makes me long for the 2F’s rather interesting original plan for the presidency.  I mean, come on — if the popular vote is really as important as everyone in 2000 said it was, why not give it even more power?