Thursday, December 09, 2004

Money Where the Mouth Is


"If someone is going to run the day-to-day operations for the Republican apparatus to elect U.S. senators across the country, then dog-gone-it, it better not be somebody who practices a lifestyle that is diametrically opposed to the evangelical Christian base that delivered George W. Bush and the Republicans in the Senate the victory they saw in November," he says. Glover says Allen's executive director recently resigned because he was outed as a homosexual.
Soon enough, it will be illegal for anyone to employ homosexuals. The people have spoken, after all. And definitely, no more man dates.

This is America. In America, we don't believe in that.

We are a moral people. A people who have built diversity into our very foundation. A people who are proud to be a nation of immigrants, a nation of tolerance, and a nation of justice. In America, we believe in the Bill of Rights, we believe in equal protection under the law, and we believe that all of us should have the same opportunity to work hard, succeed, and live the American Dream.

Moral people do not hurt others for being "different".

Leave that kind of crap to people like the Taliban.

Evolutionary Theology

Re-visit Beautiful Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay!

Memo Ordered Silence in Iraqi Abuse Case

"The only thing that torture guarantees is pain," [Former FBI, interrogation instructor] Navarro told the AP Tuesday. "It never guarantees the truth."

US forces face new inmate abuse claims

FBI saw 'abuses at Guantanamo'

BI counter-terrorism agents sent to the Guantanamo Bay camp complained to the Pentagon after witnessing "highly aggressive" interrogations and apparent prisoner abuse.
In a letter leaked last night to the Associated Press, Thomas Harrington, who led the team, told Maj-Gen Donald J Ryder, the army's chief law enforcement officer, that the Pentagon ignored FBI complaints about a series of incidents that matched the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.

ACLU says special forces threatened abuse witnesses.

ACLU Torture FOIA lawsuit.

There is growing evidence that the abuse of detainees was not aberrational but systemic, and that senior officials either approved of the abuse or were deliberately indifferent to it.

Rumsfeld Hates Soldiers. Well, that's what the article *should* be called.

Troops grill Rumsfeld over Iraq The BBC's more polite than I am.

Old Soldiers Back On Duty

Remember the saying about absolute power? Yeah. Absolute's fun when you have it. Not so much when someone else has it over you.

Ohio Vote Fraud

Conyers to Hold Hearings on Ohio Vote Fraud

The Clinton Curtis Affidavit. Clint's a programmer who was asked to create vote-fraud software. Purely as an intellectual exercise, I'm sure.

running report on the hearings, by William Rivers Pitt.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Dominion Theology

From over on ljdemocrats on dominion theology:

The gist of it is that Jesus can't come back until a "revived" church takes over the world and everything in it.
Once the church has purged all evil from the world, Jesus can come back.

So, the reading that I'm familiar with, that Biblical prophecies

a. are like 'signposts' that something is coming; and,
b. are predestined and will happen whether you try to help or not,

Is completely incorrect in the dominionist paradigm. What dominion/"Kingdom Now" types actually believe are that Biblical prophecies are simply instructions on how to bring about certain events.

Because God is what, your puppet? Just waiting for you to pull on all the right strings? Let's see there's the "wars and rumors of wars" string, and the "Jerusalem" string, and all the other strings, and just pull them, and *poof*. Look, everybody, it's Jesus!

If you force these things to occur, God will do your bidding and return.

I don't get how that fits with an image of an omnipotent God, because it sure sounds more like casting a magic spell or something. Do X, do Y, and God will appear!

I don't know about you, but I'm flashing back to Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams", and I'm pretty sure a bunch of dead baseball players aren't God.

Maybe I should take that last statement back. I do live in Red Sox Nation, now.

(For more on dominionism, check out
Kit's Concatenation or twistedchick,
Theocracy Watch,
and Brad Hicks)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform

We've been studying medical malpractice in my Torts class, so I allegedly now know what the word means. (Yeah, it means the same thing you thought it means, I just read a thick book and went to class to verify it. Science is all about verifiability, baby.)

And, over thanksgiving holiday, malpractice insurance and capping jury awards came up as a subject of conversation, and I wound up saying something that probably made me look extremely cynical (which is funny, because I usually let J do that, but she wasn't there, so I stepped up as best as I could).

(*waves at J* Miss you, dollface! Wish you were here! Though, probably not right this second, 'cause, you know, studying for midterms and my Torts final.)

The cynical statement: I'm not sure there's a direct relationship between capping malpractice awards and the insurance doctors pay. Insurance companies are going to charge doctors whatever they think they can get away with, and they're already got a certain payment level right now. Why would they drop it just because malpractice awards have gone down? That's not what they're in business to do.

So, and here's me dropping the cynicism, instead of capping jury awards in the hopes a trickle-down Reaganomic-esque effect will save doctors from absurdly high malpractice insurance rates, go and and cap the damn rates, instead.

At the very least, there's a direct causal relationship you can affect if you do that.

In other news, Corp Reform discusses the "McDonald's Coffee Case". Now, the truly cool thing is we talked about that case in my Torts class (though not when talking about comparative negligence, which might've made more sense).

Yes, whenever someone hears about that case, they think - she spilled coffee in her lap in a moving car! Git deserves it. I sure thought that.

Well, actually, upon closer inspection, the coffee was negligently, dangerously hot, and the car wasn't moving.

What's negligently hot? Pushing 200 degrees, Fahrenheit, when anything over 140 constitutes a burn hazard. Let's just describe that 180-190 McDonald's coffee temperature range as "well beyond the ordinary consumer's expectations". So, Stella (the plaintiff) was found by the jury to be 20% negligent, and McDonald's the rest - which means in a comparative fault regime, Stella's award for damages for McDonald's is minus the 20% due to her own negligence.

Note that it took a jury award of 2.6 million to get McDonald's attention. The preceding (as Corp Reform points out) 700 other injuries from the uber-hot coffee didn't.

And frankly, that's part of one of the purposes of the tort system: deterrence. And the only way to get the attention of a company that large is hit them with an award whose amount is significant to them. Not to you and me. To them. And other companies like them.

(It appears I'm riffing off topics brought up by Making Light today. Well, at least that way, they're interesting topics.)

And thank you, Corp Reform and Making Light, for helping me study for my Torts final today. I appreciate it.

Email Scam PSA

When is an email legit corporate spam, and when is it someone "phishing" for your personal contact or credit card information?

So, I got a 10 out of 10 on the first Phish test. All it asks is that you look at an email, and decide if it's bull, or not.

And a 9 out of 10 on the second test.

Wanna know how I do it? I don't trust people who tell me my account my be closed/suspended, etc., if I don't do what they want*. That's pretty much my rule of thumb. Plus, sure, there's the years of experience floating in the back of my head on

a. how corporations talk to consumers, i.e., me;
b. who I do business with.

Not that hard.

*In fact, that's why I missed the one on the Phish II test. I was overly suspicious.

Stopping Email Fraud (PDF). From MailFrontier.

Phishing Top Ten (PDF). Tips to avoid being Phished, from MailFrontier.

(Hat tip to Making Light.)