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  • In Your Name (State sanctioned Murder)
    knew several decades ago that it was going to be hard for me deal with the fact that the US had reverted to being a barbaric death penalty nation. Not that there is any dearth of very bad people who deserve to die here, but the idea that our clunky justice system was capable of sorting out such things in anything resembling a just manner seemed impossible to me. The moral implications of the state taking lives of people who are securely locked up as a matter of self-defense is completely illogical, although I guess most people believe there is some value in demonstrating the "eye for and eye" concept as a deterrent. I haven't seen any evidence that this works, but it's an intuitive thing that most people seem to feel is important.

    Still, reagrdless of where you stand on the morality of executing guilty people, justice is a joke when the state arbitrarily takes the lives of some guilty people and not others and subjects citizens to the capriciousness of a patchwork of laws that vary from one state to the next. It only gets worse when one considers the inevitability of human error, capriciousness and plain old malevolence of those in authority. But nothing in all that compares to the absolute certainty that the state executes innocent people, which is a moral nightmare of such epic proportions that it still stuns me to think that any civilized country would do such a thing. (Well, maybe not so much anymore --- after all, we are back to torture now, too.)


  • Conservative elites are conflicted on evolution, liberals are not

  • Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200
    Summary

    Our inbox has been overrun with messages asking us to weigh in on a mammoth list of claims about the House health care bill. The chain e-mail purports to give "a few highlights" from the first half of the bill, but the list of 48 assertions is filled with falsehoods, exaggerations and misinterpretations. We examined each of the e-mail’s claims, finding 26 of them to be false and 18 to be misleading, only partly true or half true. Only four are accurate.

  • Newt’s Bilingual Newspeak

  • Newsmax: Military Coup Would Take Care Of "Obama Problem"

    There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the Obama problem.
  • Ignore the bells and the smells and the lovely Raphaels, the Pope's visit to Britain is nothing to celebrate

    tip to Chris


  • The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief

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    Comments

    re: the "in your name" exerpt-

    regardless of the points the author makes so sloppily, that has got to be one of the worst-written pieces you've ever posted here, norm.

    ah, and now i can sit back and watch my name stay on the sidebar no matter who posts after me. some fun.

    first.

    you know, norm, because of the time difference i could probably post "first" on every post of yours for the next week. then you could take a look at the sidebar, see "jonathan becker" ALL THE WAY DOWN, and rethink this thing i've been trying to tell/ask you about for 2 months now.

    OnegoodBecker

    Rethink what? What have you been trying to tell me or ask me for two months?

    You think the writing was bad, that the arguments were poor, or you think the death penalty is a good thing. Do you disagree that it is highly likely an innocent man was executed? Is that an acceptable outcome in the jb world. Do the benefits of the "ultimate punishment" out weigh the near certainty that innocent people lose their lives. I know your okay with collateral damage in "war" does the same rational apply here?

    He is just complaining about the "Recent Posts" sidebar. It currently shows the first comments on the most recent posts instead of the most recent comments from all posts.

    Well he is also complaining about that article. I read the it rather quickly but it seemed fine. Certainly the premise is an important one that gets too little attention. Now that crime is down and our prisons can't find enough money to operate it might be an issue to raise once again.

    I meant "recent comments"

    sigh.will someone please try to explain to him? is "sidebar the wrong tech term or something? does no one else notice that the recent comments list has become the "list of first comments"?

    There are four lists of entries on the sidebar. One for recent comments on the blog and another for entries. There is also a list of recent entries and comments for the forum.

    The current list of comments on the blog are from jonathan becker, Ann, jonathan becker, David Peters, Kaleena, Ravelin, jonathan becker, OmegaVader, bugjah, Shelley, Frenetic, Andyo, Bat Guano, gypsy sister, and lukkystarr, and though I haven't checked it against the list of stored comments it looks about right.

    The comment and entry lists don't update in real time. I think it is every half hour and so they are not always up to date, but then we don't have many standing on the corner of blog and forum rubbernecking all the action so it goes unnoticed.

    Sigh.

    Norm, Look at

    Ann on: Glenn Beck blames godlessness for America's problems

    It is listed in the top of the list for me. But Ann commented on the 30th and quite a few have commented since. the post is at the top of the list because gypsy sister commented at October 1, 2009 6:01 PM

    thanks, red7. in other words, norm, there's currently no way to see if a conversation has progressed without actually clicking on the comments. which may have something to do with the lack of rubberneckers at "the corner of blog and forum". the "accident", such as it is, appears frozen in time and a casual visitor would soon loose interest. i've been trying to tell you...

    a casual visitor would soon loose interest.

    I'll look into it, I certainly wouldn't want someone to 'loose' interest:)

    oh yay, you fixed the blog recent comments. now, can you fix the forum recent comments? then i could die happy.

    if you could do the realtime alert thing in the comments i could die much, much too happy.

    oh, i see you've fixed the forum comments bar too. i am in exctacy. i will probably expire from pure pleasure. please, no more. don't start posting more often, or taking more interest in the comments. i would expire from sheer delight.

    I considered Red's suggestion of just letting you stew, you have been a little snarky lately. But trying to live up to your vision of me as the nice guy, a la Garrison Keillor. There is a, subscribe to comments option, that will send you an email every time there is a comment on a thread you've subscribed to. My host's email is a little flakey but I believe it works. Try it and report back. I wouldn't want to lose you.

    i tried the email thing before, didn't work for me. i'll try again, thanks.

    oh, right, "lose", that's how you spell it. damn.

    On the other hand, Norm.

    This does annoy becker...

    also, the names (except for the forum list) used to update in real time. what changed? isn't that how most blogs do it? seems to make sense.

    btw, there have been plenty of times over the last few months when i wanted to comment first but refrained so as not to fill the entire sidebar with my own name. if i wanted to see that i'd start my own blog. :) but i much prefer the idea of a community of commenters, and hate to see that idea suffer because of a technological quirk.

    for instance, joann disappeared for much of that time. she came back recently with her own forum post. if she comes back a few days later, she'll be disappointed to see her own name still listed as the most recent comment and maybe not even check to see if anyone's posted. which may explain why she disappeared again. or maybe not. but i hope you understand what i'm saying now. i'm not just griping, it's about the community.

    JoAnn has the chess bug, I suspect that is part of the reason you're not seeing her here as often. It is also part of the reason I'm spending less time here. I'm spending much of my spare time finding new ways to lose a game of chess.

    while on the subject: i've been hanging around another blog (i know, i'm a cad) where, when you're on the comments page, a realtime update appears to alert you that someone else has posted while you've been reading. this greatly facilitates realtime discussion, one of the things i used to really love about this place. especially when, because of the time difference, i'm typing in the evening after a good belt of booze, arguing with someone who's typing in the morning while rubbing crunchy granola from their eyes and trying to find their mouth with the coffee cup. :)

    is there any way you could arrange for such a realtime notice in the comments?

    Hmm, was hoping to read some comments about the articles, guess not :)

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