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OK, so I live in DC. Which means that I get to see political ads from Maryland and Virginia. There's a candidate in the Virginia governor's race who apparently doesn't believe that the death penalty is justice. His opponent is using this as the basis for an attack ad, using grieving relatives of crime victims to tug at our heartstrings and make us cry out for justice. (It's such an obvious tactic, it's kind of insulting, actually) What they don't seem to understand is that this makes me want the other guy to win. Because I don't believe the death penalty is justice, or moral. It's vengeance, which makes people feel better, but it doesn't make us safer, it doesn't make us more civilized people, it doesn't bring the dead back, it doesn't act as a deterrent and it basically doesn't do anything to actually further the cause of justice, it merely makes the system appear tough. The problem is that the death penalty is almost never given to people who confess, as they make deals and get life in prison. It's those who plead not guilt and who are convicted that are sentenced to death. And it costs us all lots of money in appeals. And it costs us all in goodness too. When I was a child, I saw some tv movie about someone who was falsely convicted of a murder he didn't commit. I don't remember much about it, other than that he was black and some of it was racially motivated, and that it left me with the thought that if it's possible to mistakenly convict someone, that means that it's possible to wrongfully execute someone, which basically makes the state a murderer.
On top of that, it makes the argument that some lives are worth more than others. And they're not. All lives should be equal before the law. I know that sometimes it's not that simple, that sometimes we have to decide between two lives, and we make choices, based on any number of things. But in principle, if we believe that life is sacred, that means all life is sacred. Christians who advocate the death penalty seem to forget a few things: Jesus was a victim of capital punishment, we are called not to judge others, and we can all be forgiven. The death penalty is a statement that we believe people to be beyond redemption. Which, for a Christian would seem to defeat the central tenet of the faith, since Christ's death is supposed to redeem us all, so we can't be beyond redemption, and if we are beyond redemption, then his death on the cross was just another one of billions of historical examples of needless violent deaths. For those of us who aren't Christians, the death penalty should be similarly morally and ethically abhorrent. One of the fundamental philosophies of the American experience is that we all can have a second chance, and raise ourselves up. Beyond that, if we are using capital punishment to punish those who take the lives of innocents, but yet we cannot guarantee that those we execute are guilty, we are hypocrites of the worst order. It's brutal punishment, and it's not befitting a land that claims to be a land that celebrates justice. We criticize those nations that exact other forms of corporal punishment, but yet we do it too. Our president claims that he wants us to have a culture of life, but yet he was governor of the state that executed the most people of any state in the union. That's a culture of revenge, not life.
Every Sunday at my church we say that we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and that we are called to express our faith through acts of justice and compassion. The death penalty is neither just nor compassionate.
lotusbiosm: (Default)
but, I'm going to write about it.
On Bullshit (Penn & Teller's show on Showtime), they're talking about creationism.
This guy claims that accepting the theory of the Big Bang means that you say that God doesn't exist, which means you're not accountable to anyone. Which is, as the title tells us, bullshit. The Big Bang does not preclude the existence of God. What it does is offer an explination of how the universe started, with or without an entity to start it. Nor does the absence of God mean that I am only accountable to myself. I'm accountable to my fellow man. To humanity. To my children, and their children. To my parents and their parents.
If I commit murder, I am accountable to the justice system, and can be imprisoned or executed (that's a whole other rant). If I steal, there are consequences for that. On top of that, I have my own conscience to deal with. I should (and try to) do the right thing because it's right, not because I am afraid of conquences, whether in this life or the next. Doing the right thing because you are afraid of punishment is nowhere near as ethically/morally mature as doing the right thing simply because it's right. I don't kill because killing is wrong. I don't steal because stealing is wrong. I try to be nice to people because I believe it's good to be nice to people. I try to be environmentally conscious in my decisions because I care about the way my actions affect other people, including those not yet born.
Do I believe that these actions make God happy too? Sure. I think God wants us to be good stewards of the earth and to love each other and be good to each other. But I don't think that the existence or non-existence of any deity or higher power, heaven or hell, reincarnation, karma, whatever, should change whether or not we do what's right. Do you really think that when you get to the pearly gates that the God who knows what's in your heart will be happy with your actions knowing they were based not out of love for humanity, or even for Him, but rather out of fear of His wrath? If you need a theological reason, and you believe in God, then do good things out of worship- in gratitude for the things you have that you didn't earn, for the grace that gives you the things that others lack, to show your love of God by demonstrating love to His children. Let your actions be a witness to the presence of your deity in your life. Don't live your life in fear of fiery torment or being reincarnated as a bug. Live your life being accountable to yourself, and let the supernatural take care of itself.
What's right is right, regardless of whether or not the universe started in a Garden in Mesopotamia, on the back of a turtle, or in a Big Bang.

I started this last night but got interrupted by a call from you-know-who
lotusbiosm: (Default)

~ I'm not telling you this one.  When I use lyrics from new/obscure songs, I'll educate you.  Songs like this, that are older than most of my readers, you have to guess.  At the end of the year, the person w/ the most right guesses will get... something.

I took my entire CD collection to work today, as I was getting sick of listening to the same cds over and over, no matter how good they are.  Listened to the "Once More With Feeling" CD, and had very inappropriate workday thoughts about Giles and Spike.  Then I listened to Newsies and had inappropriate thoughts about Christian Bale.*edit: They were also inappropriate thoughts to be having before 9 AM. 

Ok, this in random, but who invented the butterfly stroke? It's like the least efficient swimming storke in the world.  What is it good for aside from racing?  Nothing, as far as I can tell.  It's energy intensive and doesn't get you nearly as far as you should go for that much energy.  (Which is a good way to define inefficient).  (I'm watching the Olympics, if you couldn't guess)  The backstroke, now that's a quality stroke (plus now it's the men, and althetic boys w/o shirts.  mmmm And they don't wear those tiny speedos anymore, which I'm a fan of.)

Anyway, work is boring and dull, but goes by quickly.  I ennabled the sound card on the computer last week and moved the CPU so that I can put CDs in it more easily and so that the headphones reach from the computer to my head.  Typing in numbers and updating account info isn't very concentration intense, but when you listen to good music, it's suprising how much you get done and how quickly the day passes.  And using the comp. means I'm not eating batteries up like crazy.  So that's that.

After work, I went to the gym.  It was time for my monthly weight/measurement check.  I haven't lost any weight, but I have supposedly lost inches (which I believe, I can see/feel it).  But, my bust has apparently grown in the two months I've been going to Curves.  I don't need that to grow.  It's probably got to do w/ building pec muscles and maybe not sagging enough and slight differences in placement of the tape and body parts (different bras and whatnot) but still.  Of course, I haven't been eating well, and I've missed a bunch of workouts lately b/c of the apt. hunting.  So, whatever.

Then, after dinner, Dad and I went shopping.  I got a bed in a bag set, sheets (soooo soft, I want clothes made out of them) lamps, towels, and a mattress pad.  With the excception of the mattress pad, everything is of course, in shades of blue.  The towels and one set of sheets are being washed as we speak, and then will be packed away to go onto the new bed. 

Speaking of beds, the boy's living arrangements in Italy apparently don't allow overnight guests.  Which I kinda get, but that's annoying, a) b/c they're adults and b) b/c now I can't crash at his place if/when I go visit.  Oh well.  We'l figure something out....

I think that's it for now.  Just watching the Olympics and hanging out.

Mild revision on the butterfly.  I hate swimming it, and think it's useless, but I think that the fact that the camera moves while the swimmers move makes it look even less efficient than it is, b/c you don't see how much progress each stroke makes.  And it's partly based on the way dolphins swim, and they're mammals and aqautic, so copying them should make sense...  Whatever.

</rant> One last rant.  From a Budweiser commercial.  Why in the name of all that is logical and holy would you drink Budweiser (American Budweiser) while in Europe?  Why pay for what is imported beer over there, where they actually make good beer to drink lousy American beer, and advertise to everyone that you are a stupid American w/ no taste?  Half the point of Europe is the good alchohol that is cheaper than soda.  The other half is the cool art/architecture/history and whatnot.  And parts are the awesome chocolate and the good public transit.  Ok. </rant>

lotusbiosm: (Default)
So, if I'm going to post the results I get taking quizzes I found in the LJs of the friends of my friends, I think I should post a real post.
I am looking for a place to live. And a job to pay the rent for the place to live. I *may* have found a roommate, but she seems to have a bigger budget than I. I should keep looking for myself, but I feel like if I find another place it will be akin to stringing her along. But, I can't go even more into debt just to be nice to someone. So we'll see. I got Chinese food the other day, b/c the power was out (again) and so I couldn't cook. They gave me 3 cookies, so I had one yesterday for dessert, and it said "your path is arduous but will be rewarded" or something like that. I am hoping this is true. And I am trying to maintain my faith in the fundamental goodness of the universe and that things always work out and that God will provide, and consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air and all that, but I can't help also considering that I'd like to pay the rent without having to resort to exotic dancing as a way of raising that rent.

My Dad has now turned the tv to some random PBS show, where they are discussing gay marriage and stuff. Now here's my issue: who's business is it who anyone marries? HMM? If I went down to city hall tomorrow, I could get a marriage liscense to marry any man who was of age and willing to sign that paper. He could be a drug addict, an alcoholic, abusive, any number of bad things. And I could know that, and the guy giving me the marriage license could know that, but as far as I know, he couldn't do a damn thing about it, b/c I'm a sovereign adult and may marry any person of the opposite sex I so choose. But yet, I could not go to that same city hall and get a license to marry a woman who loved me, and would take care of me, and provide for me emotionally and financially and whatever, simply b/c we would be the same gender. That's dumb. What right does anyone have to tell me whom I may or may not marry. And what difference does it make in your life who I marry, as long as we don't mistreat each other or create some kind of difficulties for other people? And, if God made the world and everything in it (which I think He did), didn't he make Homosexuals too?
Which brings me to two other things: A) God doesn't write books, so the Bible is not the ultimate guide to God's thoughts (he made sunsets, he could write better than that)
B) Marriage is a social construct. It was created for a bunch of different reasons, but its connection with love is relatively recent historically speaking, and is not a universal cultural construct. Different societies have different rules about who may marry whom based on social needs. So marriage between one man and one woman is not some fundamental, natural thing, ordained by God from the beginning of time like the tides and the laws of physics and other things that are what they are no matter who or where you are.
The End

ssshhhh

Jul. 2nd, 2004 08:33 pm
lotusbiosm: (Default)

Ok, so I'm going to write about a particular pet peeve of mine.  People who don't know how to behave in the theater.  This is particularly bad in movie theaters, though sometimes the behavior carries over into live theater.  You DO NOT TALK during a movie.  Ok, you may talk, but only if you have an emergency, a particlarly witty observation, or a valid question, and it must be spoken QUIETLY, DIRECTLY into the ear of your filmgoing companion.  Understood?  I say this because I have friends who do not understand this, and many other people in the theater do not understand.  The ONLY time that this rule does not apply is when the only people in the theater are you and your party, and they do not mind.   If I can hear you when your mouth is not facing my ear, you are TOO LOUD.  This pet peeve has nothing really to do with my lack of desire to talk to you, so much as my attempt to obey the golden rule.  You know how annoying it is when the guy two rows back won't shut up, or the old lady in front of you keeps asking the lady in the seat next to her "who's that?" and "what'd he say?" Well, you're just as annoying to everyone else in the theater when you talk.  So don't do it.  I don't care if there's no dialouge at the moment- perhaps it's a dramatic silence, or maybe it's an engaging action sequence (we're hoping the movie isn't terrible here). Don't ask me what's going to happen, even if I've seen the movie, b/c I obviously either don't know, or found out by watching it the first time, and so will you.  If you're still confused afterwards, then I'll be happy to explain (assuming I understood).  If you really missed what someone said, I'll whisper in your ear.  If something really funny pops into your head, by all means, whisper it in my ear.  If you're annoyed b/c the film isn't exactly like the book, we can kvetch about it later.  If you think you know what's gonna happen, or what's in the box, or whatever, that's great, we're glad you're playing along at home.  But if the movie's good, chances are your wrong.  Chances are also that the filmmaker wanted you to think what you think and got everyone else in the audience to get it too, so you don't need to help us along.  Are we all following the message here?

Some of this doesn't apply to watching movies at home, b/c there aren't other people in the audience and b/c you can rewind. 

Along with my golden rule theme- don't stand in doorways or the middle of hallways chatting.  Move out of the way, b/c you don't want to be that group of people who are so rude that you block passage for everyone else in the building.  Trust me, you don't.

lotusbiosm: (Default)
I didn't see it, but I can't stop hearing about how Justing Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson's breast at the superbowl. It was a semi-accident. My thing is, it's a breast. I have two. Get me drunk enough, and I'll probably let you see them. And I would rather my children see a woman's breast than a gun, or an explosion. I would rather than see a breast than football, actually. Why are we so obsessed? Human bodies are not bad or dirty. (Funny looking maybe...) Sex is a perfectly natural and healthy thing. Not that we should be ripping each other's clothes off in front of millions of people, esp not for shock value. But it's just a breast. Can we please move on? Why are we wasting our moral outrage over a couple of popstars doing something stupid? Where's the moral outrage over the was in Iraq? The Patriot Act? Bush's goal of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? Why is that people can't be bothered to vote, but the networks are quaking in fear of what we'll do because we saw a nipple?

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