Thursday, March 31, 2005

O Constitution, where art thou?

Does anyone in the media, our federal government, or the majority of the inflammatory pundits on TV in the past week remember what are Constitution says? I dont think so.

While there are many other things that are offensive about the Terri Shiavo case to me - Congress and the President intervening in a family affair, the outrageous punditry that's been going on non-stop throughout this ordeal, the interference by so many special interest groups in the affairs of a troubled family - I think the people that burn me the most are those that claim that the judiciary ran wild and ruled incongruently with the will of Congress and the President. Does anyone remember the idea of checks and balances??? Judges do not write the laws, they are there only to interpret the law and enact whatever judgements are required under the law. The idiots in government that are blaming the judges for this fiasco seem to forget that they are the ones writing the laws the judges must apply in these cases. If they don't like the laws, work to change them, but don't blame the judiciary because you simply don't like the way they ruled in a case.

This is an abomination and usurpation of our government. The fact that both State and federal authorities got involved and they all laid the blame on the doorstep of the courthouse only serves to prove the point that they are completely out of touch with the ideas America was founded upon. I am disgusted that government officials could behave this way, though I am saddened to say that since the Bush administration started running things this has become more the norm than an exception.

Some questions the media might consider asking someday when they get their spines back:

1. Why did the President take time off his busy vacation schedule to sign a law that applied to only one person and was of questionable constitutionality? Why did he choose to take time off his vacation for this, but not the Tsunami? How about in August 2001 when he got the memo about Bin Laden?

2. The President said that when in doubt we should err on the side of life. So where was he when a Texas hospital removed the feeding tube of a newborn (which they were able to do as a result of a law that he signed as Governor)? How about when he was signing all of the execution orders while Governor of Texas? Do they not warrant that benefit of the doubt??

3. When did Bill Frist become one of the primary doctors for Terri Shiavo? I mean, he made a full diagnosis of her condition on the floor of the Senate, so I'm sure he must be regularly checking her condition, visiting with her, examining test results. Oh wait - he just saw the same video they keep showing on the news. So how exactly did he reach his expert medical conclusions?

Lastly - since Congress was compelled to pass a law for one person, I have some requests on my own behalf that I'd like them to take up on the floor immediately.

1. I have some student loans that I'll need paid off. I'll need them to take some money from Social Security to help me pay those off.

2. My GF needs some money for school, so we'll need some additional funding there as well.

3. I've been fairly upset that I have to pay taxes. So I'll need an exemption from those also.

4. I always felt that it wasn't fair to make people work on Mondays. They'll never get that passed for everyone, but I figure that since it should be my turn for some lawmaking, I'd like a personal exemption from work on all Mondays in perpetuity.

I think that covers it for now, but I'll get back to them as I think of more. I figure this will be on a first-come, first-served basis so with only 290,000,000 people in the country, they should be getting around to me sometime soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

SWM: Loves Executions, Hates Gays

While I was going to overlook the whole Schiavo case in favor of a three-hour rant on why I hate my job, I decided, since political commentary is so rare these days, to put in my two cents. So here I go:

I don't believe that DeLay and Frist care about this woman. I believe that over the weekend they were trying to refocus the media off of the ethics violations and the Iraq anniversary. I believe they were trying to force the Democrats to take a lose-lose stand against this case, knowing that it would paint the Dems as pro-death. But the Dems didn't come out at all, splitting the vote straight down the middle for those who bothered to show up at all. The Senate, which is now, sadly, a joke of a legislature, didn't even bother to get more than three people in the room during vote time. A voice vote? What the hell is that? And why did the President cut his vacation early to vote on this bill when he couldn't even come back to DC after the Tsunami, in which hundreds of THOUSANDS died. Pathetic. More pathetic: the bill he signed into law allowing hospitals in TX to remove life-support based on whether or not the patient can pay. Most pathetic: This sanctity of life crap which is so obviously hypocritical based on the fact that TX executes children, mentally retarded people, and has done so to more prisoners than the rest of the states combined. Um, hello Bush and DeLay... Kettle meet pot.

This also is a slap in the face to Republicans who actually believe in Federalism, States rights, and, not that I'm a big fan, but the sanctity of marriage. No, we don't know for certain what Schiavo wanted. But her husband knows. And all we can do is believe him. There's no other choice. We can't second guess every spousal end-of-life decision so we can't second guess any of them. All we have is his word. So that has to be good enough.

I'm telling everyone I know this: I don't want this. I don't want heroic measures taken to artificially prolong my life; I want my organs ripped from my still-warm body for donation before they go to waste. And I certainly, extraordinarily, sincerely, most-assuredly do NOT want Tom Delay or Bill Frist anywhere near my breathing tube. Frist, the man who thinks AIDS can be spread through sweat. And DeLay... Well, let's just quote him:

"You know, one way they stopped churches from getting into politics was Lyndon Johnson, who passed a law that said you couldn't get in politics or you're going to lose your tax-exempt status, because they were all opposed to him when he was running for President. That law we're trying to repeal. It's very difficult to do that, but the point is, when they can knock out a leader, then no other leader will step forward for a while, because they don't want to go through the same thing. If they go after and get a pastor, then other pastors shrink from what they should be doing. It forces Christians back into the church. That's what's going on in America. The world is too bad and I'm going to get inside this building and I'm not going to play in the world. That's not what Christ asked us to do."

Yup. Jesus loves executions and hates gays. Why do you hate freedom so much?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Weapons of Mass Entertainment

There's a bill in the Washington State House of Representatives that would "...hold the makers and sellers of violent video games liable if someone under 17 years old commits a crime, due in any part, to playing the game." The bill essentially gives legitimacy to any lawsuit brought against a video game maker or distributor (watch out Netflix).

Wow, this seems completely rational. I mean, we hold gunmakers and gun dealers responsible for the murders committed by a gun they produced or sold. Oh wait: we dont do that. So what we're really suggesting is that a video game, and the people who created and marketed it, are more responsible for a violent murder than the company that produced the gun that was used in the crime.

I looked through the documents related to the bill, and I'm left wondering who the legislators think they are serving by introducing a bill like this. I guess it's making trial lawyers happy. This bill will give frivolous lawsuits new life, as the gaming industry starts to feel the same kind of heat that the gun indsutry once felt, only this time the plaintiffs will be given legal legitimacy to demand large checks from the development houses.

We have already had a number of lawsuits pass through the courts where victims of gun crimes (just one example of a violent crime) where they attempted to hold the gun makers responsible, and all of those cases resulted in a win for the gun makers. If the people that are providing the literal means to commit the crime are not responsible, how can video game makers, who make something that is in no way used to commit a crime, be held responsible for them? Does that make rational sense to you? To anyone?

The video game industry has moved by leaps and bounds to ensure that adult-themed games are sold only to adults. They created the ESRB to help educate the public and help parents determine what games are appropriate for their children. If you've played computer games for as long as I have (I'm not ashamed to admit it), you would know that adult verification used to consist of asking the player trivia questions about beer (check out the old-school Leisure Suit Larry games). I think it's safe to say that the gaming industry has come a long way from those days.

To anyone that thinks that the America is on its way to banning violent video games, I would say I think that is ridiculous. With that said, all options are on the table.