Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Keeping up on the health care plan

At Little Green Footballs there is a link to a list of questions and answers about the health care plan in the US currently being worked on by our legislature. The questions were collected from commenters at LGF. The person keeping the list is inserting answers as they are discovered, with citations to where he found the answers. It might be a useful resource.

May the force be with you(r lunch)

Lightsaber chopsticks!

For the record, threats against Bush

Death threats when Bush was president versus death threats against President Obama.


Many readers may naively think, “The answer is obvious: no protester was ever arrested for threatening Bush at a protest because no one ever threatened him at a protest. Who would be that stupid? I certainly never heard of any such threats.”

Alas, if only it were that simple. Because the bald fact is that people threatened Bush at protests all the time by displaying menacing signs and messages — exactly as the anti-Obama protester just did in Maryland. Yet for reasons that are not entirely clear, none of those Bush-threateners at protests was ever arrested, questioned, or investigated (at least as far as I could tell).

There are burning effigies, bumper stickers with rope nooses, posters, graffiti, and excerpts from speeches.

Hat tip Common Reader.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm scared, so take away that guy's rights please!

At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall wonders why people who have guns are allowed at presidential events. After all, he thinks:

you don't take a gun somewhere unless you think there's some chance you might have occasion to use it. So there's no question that these guns are brought as a provocation.

Maybe that's the only reason he'd take a gun somewhere--to threaten someone, like the president. People who are actually exercising their Second Amendment rights don't need a reason, don't have to justify carrying a gun. But if they were asked, they'd give reasons like the following:

1. I'm carrying to exercise my right to carry--rights you don't use might be taken away.

2. I'm carrying because a rapist might attack me, and I want to be able to defend myself.

3. I'm carrying because a mass murderer might begin firing at the crowd, and I might be able to stop him from killing more than one or two.

4. I'm carrying because I always do, and there's nothing special about this event that changes that decision. I wouldn't leave off my gun any more than I'd leave off my wedding ring.

5. I'm carrying to encourage others to exercise their rights. If they notice that I can do it, maybe they'll try.

There is one reason some people carry that is...not so much a provocation as due warning:

6. I'm carrying because once we had to fight a war to throw off an oppressive government, and if we need to do it again, I'm ready, willing, and most importantly, able to do so.

Those are all perfectly legal, justifiable reasons for carrying a gun.

Mr. Marshall concludes:

But put me down as not believing we should allow the brandishing of firearms in proximity of the president as an acceptable way of expressing opposition to the president.

Carrying is not brandishing (brandishing has a legal definition, it's not just a fancy word for "I saw his gun and I was frightened!"); expressing opposition to the president is protected First Amendment speech, until it rises to actual threat. Mr. Marshall questions the Secret Service's judgment, libels citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected rights, and--without any evidence--implies that everyone who carries is doing so solely to express opposition to the president. He's rude, he's smug, and he's wrong.

Hat tip Jay Lake.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Epictetus: Against the Academics

- It's hard to change a man's opinion when he refuses to accept the truth set in front of him, and arguments won't sway such a person because he is hardened "like a stone."

- There are two ways of being hardened: one when a man isn't able to understand, and the other when he's won't go back on what he previously said, to withdraw from a position he already took, because he is dead to modesty and shame (about the mistake). This latter one is sometimes mistakenly considered power or strength by people who don't see the damage it does to one's character.

- There's no arguing with he who pretends not to perceive; there's no torture that will show him he is hardened. He pretends not to notice what he perceives to be true, to avoid feeling bad.

- But there's worse: the man who sees it, and allows himself to perceive it, but won't improve himself.


I laughed over and over while reading this aloud to my husband in the car on the commute home today. I've certainly dealt with these people, one just yesterday in fact.

Keeping an open mind is important, because I could have made a mistake, or new information could change a situation enough that I would change my opinion. And getting it right is more important than having been right in the first place, so making a mistake is a reason to improve myself, not to pretend I didn't make it.

I understand why my friend recommended Epictetus to me. :P