Daily Wisdom

April 16, 2007

God Wept Today

In New Jersey, the rains fell. All day Sunday, and into the afternoon of Monday, the rains fell. The rains fell at historic levels... 5-8" of rain in less than 36 hours. There was flooding, property damage, inconvenience, and even death.

For most, it was just a storm. The collision of air masses. Warm humid air meeting cooler dry air. A simple matter of barometric pressures, weather fronts, jet stream motions and the condensation of moisture.

But for me, God wept today. God cried over the needless deaths of 33 people at Virginia Tech University. His tears overflowed the river banks. His tears flooded houses and businesses.

I know I'm being foolish and sentimental. This same storm has been working its way across the country for days. So be it. For me however, the deaths of these 33 innocents in Blacksburg, VA will forever be linked to the record storm which struck NJ on the same day.

Lord have mercy.


At 4/17/2007 9:54 AM , Blogger camojack said...

If Virginia Tech didn't have rules against people with gun permits actually carrying them, that situation might have been mitigated.

At 4/17/2007 6:50 PM , Anonymous Elroy said...

On what day did the Lord create small arms?



At 4/18/2007 12:24 AM , Anonymous West Coast Liberal said...

To camojack:
You're a retard. If the state of Virginia did not have such lax firearms laws to begin with, the killer would not have had a chance to lay his hands on a gun in the first place, let alone kill 32 people.

The 2nd Amendment is a complete joke. The founding fathers of this country probably had one too many shots of tequila when they write that into the Constitution.

At 4/18/2007 11:22 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Your ignorance of the Constitution and the reasoning behind the Second Amendment is compelling evidence of your need for additional education. Your ad hominem attacks are compelling evidence of your frustration at being unable to impose your world views on the rest of us. You should be aware that this not only reduces your credibility but suggests an inability to coexist peacefully with people of differing values and opinions. That is very non-PC of you.

At 4/18/2007 10:05 PM , Anonymous west coast liberal said...

The law is an art, not a science. Legal doctrine is open to interpretation which makes it so interesting.

2 things. the first is that I did not say that the Constitution does not allow citizens to bear arms. I said that the founding fathers of this country were smoking crack when they wrote that into the constitution. It should never have happened to begin with.

Secondly, in terms of interpretation of the 2nd amendment, a very prominent CONSERVATIVE legal scholar who goes by the name Robert Bork, thinks that the constitution DOES NOT give citizens the right to bear arms, but rather the right to form a militia.

last but not least, the rest of the world weeps with the folks of VA Tech. However, make no mistake about this, the rest of the world also looks at the US with scorn, with an absolute disbelief at how Americans do not care that guns can flow freely on the streets with the support of idiots like you conservatives.

At 4/18/2007 11:49 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

The Law is neither an art nor a science... it is an institution. And according to the U.S. Constitution, the Law is to be interpreted by the Judicial branch of government in strict accordance with the Constitution. The Law is NOT living and evolving, to be changed by the whim of whatever wind may blow through the ears of some judge.

Dozens of rulings have been issued by judges in flagrant violation of these principles, because the judge thought the law to be "outdated". Frankly, that's BS! The role of a judge is to interpret a case according to EXISTING law. If he (or she) thinks the law is outdated, then he (or she) has the same right as every other citizen... that is, to petition their LEGISLATORS to change the law.

According to the U.S. Constitution, only the Legislative branch of the government may create new laws. And when those laws are passed, the courts are to accept those laws unless they are clearly in violation of the Constitution. And even then, the courts cannot rule upon such laws unless suit is brought which questions the Constitutionality of such laws.

Your suggestion that the Founding Fathers were on crack or drank too much tequila when they passed the 2nd Amendment AGAIN implies that you know nothing about the basis for the decision to do so. Read your history and get back to me. I have no time to educate you. When you can tell me WHY the Founding Fathers passed the Second Amendment, then we can discuss it... and not before.

And I never said that Robert Bork was perfect... (although you seem to think so), but he would have made a better choice than either Ginsburg, Stevens, Breyer or Souter (IMHO).

And if the rest of the world "scorns" the U.S. as you suggest, then so be it. We should just stop giving them all that foreign aid. The U.S. is the most generous and giving country in the world. If people scorn us that much, then they can do without our support. I think it would be a great idea if we just kept all that money for ourselves. Not only that, but we should stop paying 25% of the tab for the United Nations to the tune of $1 billion per year.

Screw those who scorn America! They didn't rescue Britain during WWII. They didn't liberate North Africa, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Germany, Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, and all those other islands of the Pacific (like Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal).

Screw those who scorn America! They didn't stand up to the Russians through the Cold War. They didn't keep South Korea from falling to the Chinese. They didn't tell Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall". They didn't pressure the Russians to the point where Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Rumania and Yugoslavia were able to break free from Soviet domination. They didn't stop the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia or Kosovo. They didn't liberate Afghanistan or Iraq. They didn't spend as much or give as much to aid those who suffered from the South Pacific Tsunami. They didn't give anything to the U.S. after the U.S. suffered the most devastating hurricanes in history (Katrina and Rita).

America has done more for the freedom of the peoples of this world than ANY other nation on earth. And the rest of the world has done little (if anything) for us. Well so be it. If they scorn us, then screw them. Let them eat wind.

At 4/19/2007 4:10 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

Oooh, that second amendment! It’s a tricky one! What does it actually mean? Well, for a start, which one do you want to use? There are, it would seem, two versions.

Here’s the one signed and ratified by the states:

‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’

And here’s the version hand-written at the time that hangs in the National Archive:

‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’

Oh, what a difference a comma makes! To me, and others, this alters the meaning significantly. It’s an interesting and complicated issue, so if you have the endurance I would urge you to read this.


Now, as I know you consider Wikipedia to be another cog in the VLWC, I checked what Conservapedia had to say on the subject but they merely found it sufficient to publish the text with no commentary or explanation at all; however, it is interesting to note that quote the SECOND version. Apparently, despite the differences, the two versions are interchangable; Governments, and conservatives, use whichever one comes to hand. Frankly, I’d be surprised to find that they even knew there WERE two versions, let alone how they differ. However, I do recognise that Constitutional Theory is a complictated and intense disipline requiring many years of study that I, for one, haven’t done. I wonder,what are Hawkeye®’s qualifications are in this regard?

That Conservapedia do not bother to discuss the extensive controversy that has raged for eons over the second amendment is indicative of the standard of debate in conservative circles. The meaning of the second amendment is debatable – personally, I do not think that the Founding Fathers had any intention of allowing every citizen to be armed to the teeth¬ ¬– but you wouldn’t know that talking to conservatives. For them, things are black and white, bumper stickers. I think it’s an attention span thing.
Hawkeye thinks that the ‘law’ is an inviolate monolith and ignores the fact that he has benefitted greatly for judicial activism – I feel fairly sure that, unlike my good self, he would not be in favour of repealing the legal confection that maintains the notion of ‘Corporate Personhood’ – but of course the law is constantly changing. I think some guy once said ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and there were no qualifications, no ‘Unless they’re Muslims’ or any of that, yet here we all are in Iraq, killing.

There is something is badly wrong in a society were there are 300m people, 250m guns, and were the solution is to hand out the other 50m on the PDQ. Here’s a solution: stick 'em in the crusher like we did down here in Australia. Here's another: stop making guns. But here's the best: stop making bullets. Thus the 2nd amendment remains untrammeled and people stop dying in such vast and indiscrimate numbers both in the USA and the rest of the world.



At 4/19/2007 8:19 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

You, like your counterpart WCL, have failed to answer the question I posed which is to tell me WHY the Founding Fathers passed the Second Amendment. When you can do that, then we can discuss it... and not before.

You have only told me WHAT the Second Amendment is, and where I can read about it, and that you disagree with it. You have not showed me that you understand the reason behind its passage. I refuse therefore, to discuss the issue with someone who presents no evidence that he knows what he is talking about.

At 4/20/2007 12:43 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...


I find it risible that you have mounted your high horse with such righteous haughter over the perception that I have failed to answer the question y’all posed concerning the motivation behind the second amendment as this is a crime which you commit with unerring predictability; indeed, you have chastised me one more than one occasion for banging on a bit, but that is why I do it – expressly to avoid this kind of accusation, to make sure that I cannot be accused of the sins of omission.

Don’t forget, you asked WCL, not me, but now that you expect me to speak to every subject that you raise or face your own special brand of pious stonewalling, you’d better prepare for some true epics from yours truly. You ask many questions – how do I know which ones to answer? I’d better answer them all! Be careful what you wish for!

Now, I don’t pretend to know what was in the minds of the Founding Fathers as they negotiated the wording of the US Constitution way back when – indeed, that document’s inherent vagueness has kept many a law professor in Harris Tweed ever since ratification – but I would hazard a guess that the challenges faced by a collection of sparsely populated agricultural colonies seeking to overthrow an absentee landlord monarchy are somewhat at odds with those facing a highly industrialized federation that wields supreme power with the largest standing army on the planet.

However, it seems to me that gun lobby are as confused on this issue as anybody, if not more so. On the one hand we are told that the second amendment is sacrosanct to protect citizens against being taken over by the Federal Government, but on the other hand we are told that it is to protect citizens from each other. Or was it for protection against marauding Muslims hordes? Yeah well, Whatev! But hey! You seem to know the answer! Why don’t you tell us so we can move on? Enlighten us, you constitutional scholar you! We give in!
And the answer is…

To me, the second amendment allows citizens to bear arms in order to maintain a militia in the absence of a state mandated facility – back then there wasn’t any National Guard, US Army, you get the drift – but if you ain’t in the militia, you don’t get the guns. Sadly for the many thousands who die from looking down the unfriendly end of a Betsy, America has interpreted the 2nd as meaning that EVERYBODY is in the militia. But that’s just my view. What’s yours?

Look, what cannot be denied is the effects that the second amendment is having today, now, in the 21st Century, and if the Founding Fathers’ logic is any longer truly applicable.



At 4/23/2007 11:37 PM , Anonymous west coast liberal said...

unfortunately, your argument that interpretation of the law does not evolve over time is nothing but an attempt to regurgitate right-wing talking points.

Everytime a judge or a justice issues an opinion that conservatives do not like, that judge or justice is automatically classified as a judicial activist. It's the same old, lame argument that gets recycled over and over again because there are that many morons in this country that believe in it.

if one were to believe that there is only ONE standard in interpreting the law, between the 2 of them, who is the judicial activist when Scalia and Thomas issue opposite opinions? Between Bork, who believes that citizens do nothave the right to bear arms, and Alito, who ruled that Congress cannot regulate gun control, who is the judicial activist? Last but not least, members of the Federalist Society cannot even agree among themselves whether a President should be given more power in times of war. The libertarian-leaning conservative scholars are vehemently opposed to the NSA spying on citizens.

There is one word to describe folks like you: LAME

At 4/24/2007 4:34 AM , Anonymous elroy said...

ms to think that history is etched in stone and by the Republican Party at that! His interpretation of the events of the past fifty-odd years is all highly arguable.

Did the USA rescue Britain during WWII? No, that was mostly the Russians and Hitler’s own stupidity. They didn't liberate North Africa, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Germany, Burma, and Thailand either; the Brits and the other allies were on the case too. Some of the countries Hawkeye mentions never saw a GI, and some were never invaded in the first place. According to the Brits the USA was late. Twice.

As for the Philippines, it was an American possession anyway, taken and held during the US – Spanish War 1899 under the pretext of liberation that saw up to 300,000 locals who fought the Spanish slaughtered by US soldiers. Guadalcanal was an outerlying island of the Solomons whose importance lay more in its strategic value than the oppression of its citizens and Iwo Jima, well, it was a Japanese volcano then and it’s a Japanese volcano now. Oh, and no one lives there. Population 0.

Everybody stood up to the Russians through the Cold War, mainly because the USA told them to, and God forbid that they didn’t.
The USA may have kept Korea from defining its own destiny, but we’re still not sure why.

Reagan may have told Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall” but so did the rest of the world, not least the people behind it, and you really should ask your old pals the Taliban about the fall of the USSR, ‘cause they reckon THEY did it!

Some of the countries Hawkeye mentions didn’t actually exist when the Gipper was single handedly wraslin’ the Russian bear, and Yugoslavia never actually suffered from Soviet domination. But never mind; why let the truth get in the way of a perfectly good piece of propaganda?

The USA didn't stop the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia or Kosovo on their own, they had a bit of help from NATO, and if I remember rightly Clinton was given a very hard time about that from Republican hacks screaming for an exit strategy.

The USA didn't liberate Afghanistan or Iraq. Again, they had plenty of help, and as far as I know those conflicts are far from over. In fact many Iraqis would argue that Iraq still needs liberating, but FROM the USA. The rest of the world gave massively in aid those who suffered from the South Pacific Tsunami, and as for the claim that they didn't give anything to the U.S. after the U.S. suffered the most devastating hurricanes in history, well, um, someone lied to you honey, ‘cause they did. Buckets. Mostly because the ROTW knew that the WH wasn’t going to.

The world is highly critical of the USA at the moment, but to the world’s constant amazement all the USA wants to do play the victim and go ‘Waaaah! We’re so misunderstood!’ but y’all should really imagine it as just a bit of Tough Love.

If your kid went off the rails and started selling drugs, and shooting guns, and selling guns, and lying to everyone he encountered, you would want to stop him, right? Not only for the danger that he poses to himself but to others.

So what to do? Lock him up and ostracize him from the rest of society?
Listen to him as he tells you why it is not his fault, how he did it all for everyone else and how they ought to be grateful? Or sit him down with all his friends and those that love him, and try to make him see the error of his ways?

That’s what the world is trying to do. We can’t ostracize y’all – impose sanctions – you’re too powerful, and have too many client states who will always cave to your threats of extortion; we’ve listened to your whinging about how you can’t be blamed for anything, and so now we’re onto the tough love scenario but as long as y’all remain in denial there is not much the rest of the world can do. Luckily, democracy ensures that nation states are, by nature, schizophrenic; soon, in 2008, the WH will undergo a personality change and then maybe some progress may be made in the USA ‘s rehabilitation.

Sometimes I think it might be good if the USA DID stop giving the developing world ‘all that foreign aid’, as most of it comes with unconscionable financial strings attached, is given as military hardware or as market distorting food to mask the fact that it is simple dumping activity which causes far more hardship than it relieves. Don’t flatter yourself.

And the USA is not that generous anyway. As a percentage of GDP, the USA actually gives the least of all the developed nations, but don’t get any ideas about retreating from the world because the sad fact for Americans is that you need the world more than it needs you. They OWN you. And by the way, you haven’t paid your UN dues for years anyway. And $1 billion? Chump change! You want to save some money? Get out of Iraq. You want to REALLY lose some money? Go into Iran.

America has done more to oppress the peoples of this world than ANY other nation on earth, and the rest of the world has done a whole lot for it. Do you REALLY think that y’all such a victim? Have you REALLY become the dominant world superpower in spite of the ROTW? Or with its help? This image you have of America being a noble force standing alone in the face of slings and arrows of outrageous fortune is such a naive farce that it would be laughable were it not so dangerous.

Why the right swallows everything they are told with out question while telling the left that they are the thought-free brainwashed is beyond me, but there you go. If you want to take your bat and ball and go home and sulk, go right ahead. You’ll be back. We’ll just eat wind, which we call fresh air. Give us a call when you’re ready to play nice.



At 4/24/2007 8:34 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I repeat, the role of the judicial branch is not to MAKE laws or change laws. That is the role of the legislative branch. When the judiaciary makes new laws, they are usurping the role of the legislative branch. The role of the judiciary is to rule on cases within the framework of existing laws. The role of the U.S. Supreme Court is to determine if the lower courts made such decisions correctly and/or if the laws that have been passed by the legislative branch comply with the Constitution. Their role is not to CHANGE the Constitution. There is a process for changing the Constitution within the Constitution itself. Read it.

In your proposed case of Bork vs. Alito (which is purely hypothetical BTW), I would suggest that Bork (in this case) would be the judicial activist if he were to change existing laws denying citizens the right to "keep and bear arms".

I too am opposed to the NSA spying on citizens, but I don't believe the NSA has been "spying" on citizens. Since none of us knows the actual workings of the various NSA programs, we cannot determine if the NSA is "spying" on anybody. All of the programs in question have been the subject of Congressional oversight. I believe that the NSA has been intercepting the phone calls of foreigners, tracking financial transactions of foreigners, and collecting data on phone and internet usage looking for patterns. None of these programs would constitute "spying on citizens".

At 5/01/2007 10:58 PM , Anonymous west coast liberal said...

Sometimes I think you're so much in denial that you shouldn't even be on this planet.

It is clear and apparent that you're simply regurgitating conservative sound bites.

There is a very good reason why, for the most part, liberals go to law school at Harvard and Yale and conservatives go to law school at 4th tier Regent University, a school for University of Phoenix rejects.

Why is that so? Cos in inherent nature of conservatism simply does not allow for the process of thinking in a larger framework or setting, and conservatives are far more comfortable just regurgitating the same old shit without thinking for themselves.

Bork vs. Alito is not hypothetical. Bork does not believe that citizens have the right to bear arms. It's a fact.

Lastly, I am NOT opposed to the NSA spying on me. They can spy on me as much as they like. I don't give a damn.

At 5/01/2007 11:20 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Only God can decide who remains on this planet... and fortunately you are NOT God. I hope you live in torment with the knowledge that I remain here. Let it be a reminder that while I live... you are NOT God.

Let me also remind you that President George W. Bush went to school at Yale (and humorously enough) got better grades than John F. Kerry. I would not consider GWB a liberal by any stretch of the imagination.

Bork vs. Alito is not hypothetical?? Show me where they argued a case against each other under ANY circumstances... DOLT!


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