things i don't have time to comment on

...but that you should read.

--The new coalition government in the UK is actually talking about rolling back its own police power. File this under "I'll believe it when I see it", but Greenwald is depressingly correct: it is inconceivable that we would hear what Nick Clegg is saying from Barack Obama.

--Matt Yglesias on the fuzzy line between public and private. This is an argument libertarians should take seriously. This too.

--On a related note, Thoreau has an excellent suggestion for libertarian-ish pols who cannot seem to address issues of race and civil rights without stepping in it up to their eyeballs.


the one true church

Just so I can be sure I have this straight, since I never have been (nor, you can be damn sure, will I ever be) a Catholic...

If you're a priest who fucks a few kids, you get reassigned, and the Church's hierarchy may very well cover your ass up to and including the point of obstructing justice.

If you're a nun who--acting in your capacity as an administrator of a Catholic hospital--signs off on an abortion that saves the mother's life, you get excommunicated.

"She consented in the murder of an unborn child," says the Rev. John Ehrich, the medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix. "There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can't do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means...

Ehrich agrees that sexual abuse can't be tolerated. But he says neither can McBride's actions.

"She said, 'Yes, you can kill that unborn child.' That's a heinous act. And I'm not going to make a distinction between what's worse. They're both abhorrent," Ehrich says.

First of all, a moral philosophy that makes no distinction whatsoever between the agency of a living, breathing, conscious mother of 4 living, breathing, conscious children and that of an 11-week-old fetus is not one that deserves to be taken seriously.

Second, Ehrich's assertion that there's no distinction to be made from the Catholic perspective between abortion and child-fucking is utter nonsense. The Church has made the distinction very, very clearly, and it is this: Sister McBride was automatically excommunicated. There was no fact-finding, no process. It just happened. Not one priest has been excommunicated over substantiated claims of abuse. Even if 95% of the claims of sexual abuse by priests are false, the distinction remains just as clear, from "the Catholic perspective".

This is insane. At some point, a noble (even though I happen to disagree with it) concern for the sanctity of human life devolved into fetus worship.

By way of preemption: I am completely uninterested in debating abortion, here or anywhere else. You are free to sound off to your heart's content on the subject, but don't expect me to respond.


quote of the morning

A couple of years ago after I’d given a speech on [the use of military-style tactics by local law enforcement], a retired military officer and former instructor at West Point specifically asked me to stop using the term "militarization," because he thought comparing SWAT teams to the military reflected poorly on the military.

Read the whole thing.


minor facelift

I'm trying to get back into flexing the writing muscles a bit more. Not really sure what exactly that means in terms of content just yet, except that I'm steering this away from "personal" content, and leaving that stuff to Facebook (and/or whatever follows it.) My main reason for this is that when I write about little more than myself or my life, it bores the hell out of me.

In quasi-related news, I've refreshed the blogroll to reflect my wider reading habits and disengage it somewhat from purely personal blogs, most of which are pretty fallow of late anyway (though if you are still blogging, I am still reading.)

how we treat foriegners is a leading indicator


What's most amazing about all of this is that even 9 years after the 9/11 attacks and even after the radical reduction of basic rights during the Bush/Cheney years, the reaction is still exactly the same to every Terrorist attack, whether a success or failure, large- or small-scale...

It really is the case that every new Terrorist incident reflexively produces a single-minded focus on one question: which rights should we take away now/which new powers should we give the Government? We never reach the point where we decide that we have already retracted enough rights. Further restrictions on rights seems to be the only reaction of which our political and media class is capable in the face of a new attack. The premise seems to be that if we keep limiting rights further and further, we'll eventually reach the magical point of Absolute Safety where there will be no more Terrorism. For so many reasons, that is an obvious myth, one that ensures that we'll reduce rights infinitely and with no discernible benefit.

Sadly, this is old news. I can't really say I find the Obama administration to be a disappointment in this regard, but only because my expectations were so low to begin with:

And herein lies the real problem. The political center in this country, if the actions of the political class are any indicator (and is there any reason to think that they aren't?) is still so irrationally afraid of terrorism that there is broad support for shredding the Bill of Rights in the name of the appearance of security.

And no politician is going to fix that. This is a cultural problem. The politics merely reflect that.


i never say never, but...

I think it is very unlikely I will vote for any Republicans in this century. Two reasons:

1) Sarah Palin is widely considered a legitimate contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Gary Johnson, on the other hand, is considered to have "less than zero" chance of the same. (Briefer and funnier Gary Johnson here.)

2) Stuff like this: