Saturday, December 29, 2007

LotD II

Americans may know that the death penalty's not working. They just don't care enough to insist that something be done about it.

Link: Capital Opportunity
Nostalgia

AOL shuts down Netscape. ::sniff:: My very first browser...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Failed states

We (Lori, jemima, and yours truly) were discussing "failed democracies", ie Pakistan, and our conversation reminded me of this list of failed states that had been published in the year. There are few surprises in the first 30 or so, but things start to get more interesting as you move down the rankings. Pakistan is ranked 12th as a failed state (Sudan is number 1 and Iraq is second), while the United States is hovering at 160. Norway is the least failed state, ranked 177th. I was surprised to see Venezuela at 74 -- somehow, with Chavez's antics, I'd expected it to be lower on the list, rather than neighbors with Israel, at number 75. This list also shows how little of the world I know. The Solomon Islands (where?) is ranked in the top 30 (why?) as a failed state. Some of these other countries -- Central African Republican -- are a big blob of confusion to me. I would point out that most of the countries towards the bottom of the rankings were the colonizers and the failed states, for the most part, were colonized at some point in the last 50-60 years.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Money trail

I was looking at some Perry Homes, but will cross them off my list in light of this piece of information from the AP:

According to Federal Election Commission records, ClubForGrowth.net received $200,000 this month from Bob Perry, a Houston homebuilder who in 2004 pumped nearly $4.5 million into the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth to pay for unsubstantiated ads that questioned Kerry's Vietnam service.

Full story is here.
I definitely don't want any of my dollars going towards defeating Democrats, that's for sure!
LotD

The Shakespearean Authorship Question

Monday, December 24, 2007

On the road with Seema

I've been discombobulated lately, which is why you haven't heard much from me. In the last 10 days, I've been in 6 different cities -- one of them twice. My suitcase has taken up residence on the living room floor and I don't know what's in it anymore. I vaguely recall throwing sweaters and turtlenecks in one day, and then replacing all of those with t-shirts, only to learn my destination had temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Frequent flyer miles are building, as is my toiletry collection. You'd think after all of this, I'd get the TSA rules down, but no -- last week I forgot the little baggie and got my toothpaste tossed out. Yes, I was one of *those* people.

I've run out of steam, basically. I've got a few days off now and I might write, but mostly I want to figure out if Shakespeare was actually Shakespeare or someone else. I also have a couple of book reviews to put out, and some major cleaning/organizing/tidying to do. I really just want to spend one whole day lounging around, not having anywhere to be, or any baggies to organize or think about whether I need a sweater or a short-sleeve blouse. I might even (gasp) watch some television and if I'm really, really lucky, I'll catch a movie. But mostly, I just want to relax.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The switch

It scares me just how motivated people here in Very Red State are so willing to pull the switch and end someone's life. I understand the arguments for the death penalty -- deterrence, the ultimate punishment for heinous crimes, the cost of keeping someone locked up for life, etc, etc. In fact, there was even a time in my life when I half-heartedly supported the death penalty, but that was also because I lived in a state where it was never used (and in fact, I just realized my home state only has the federal death penalty). It's easy to have a blood thirst when you don't realize what's going on in terms of fair trials, DNA evidence that's overlooked/ignored, witnesses who are unreliable, lawyers who are incompetent, etc. When I moved to Very Red State, I didn't understand why people weren't willing to wait 30 days to reconsider evidence. If the evidence proves the person is guilty, fine, but if not? Then what? My main opposition for the death penalty is that it is IRREVERSIBLE.

You can convict someone wrongly (and it happens every day), sentence them to jail, and whoops, they're innocent, so you set them free. Yes, they've lost time, they've lost opportunities, etc., but at least they have a chance at a normal life. With the Death Penalty, if the person is innocent, then there's nothing you can do once the drug cocktail is administered. I don't have an issue with 'cruel and unusual' (I wonder how 'cruel and unusual' stacks up to how most of the victims die), but I do have an issue with the fact that innocent people may have been executed. To me, all of the other reasons FOR the death penalty are invalidated on the basis that mistakes do and have happened. I can't support, in good conscience, a system that is so imperfect that its consequences are irreversible.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Playtime!

What's your Traveler IQ? I got to level 7 and a score of 236,030 points. Ironically, I missed Venice by about 200 km, but got within 5 km of the Doge's Palace. In my second go around, I got to level 8 and 285,528 points. Those random island nations, most commonly populated by the cast of "Survivor" just kill me. Anyway, it's fun; certainly beats the chores I'm supposed to be doing!