Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Lisa Montgomery is scheduled to be executed next month.

 Lisa Montgomery is sitting in a federal prison in Texas. Next month, she is scheduled to be taken to Terre Haute and lethally injected. In 2004, she killed a pregnant woman, cut her open, and took the baby. Montgomery kept the baby girl until she was caught and arrested.

The death penalty is a highly controversial and emotional subject. A lot of people go with their gut feeling and base their stance on that. Some folks think all murderers and rapists should be thrown off a cliff. Some people think that only the worst killers should get the needle. A growing number of people think the death penalty should be abolished entirely. For a long time, I thought that the death penalty should be reserved for terrorists and war criminals. My thinking was that such people are too dangerous to be kept alive. Except that most of these people just don't live long enough to answer to a judge and jury. The rare terrorists who do get caught and convicted in the US are put in an administrative maximum prison, or AdMax for short. See, a while back the government decided it needed a level of prison security more maximum than maximum, so they came up with AdMax. AdMax inmates don't go to lunch, play in the yard, or even get to pick up trash along the highway. They spend 23 hours a day sitting in the cell and they get one hour of exercise where they walk around in a concrete pit. As it stands now, there are no AdMax facilities for women, since no women up to this point have created that kind of a security concern. Instead, Lisa Montgomery is on suicide watch in the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth. She doesn't get to have socks, underwear, or anything that someone might have used to harm themselves in the past. Guards watch her go to the bathroom. Take a moment to appreciate this irony: the government is going to a lot of trouble to keep this woman from killing herself so that she can be killed by a designated government employee. Also, they plan on transporting her more than 800 miles to get this done. As if there is nobody in Texas who knows anything about executions. Only the government can make death this complicated. Lisa Montgomery is a mother of four and suffered from physical and sexual abuse as a child. If you don't feel sorry for her because of what she did, that's understandable. I'm not writing this to save her life. I'm writing this to protect due process. Everyone in jail or prison has a right to a lawyer. If the government starts making exceptions for really bad people or during times of crisis, they'll keep finding reasons to make exceptions. There might come a time where you or someone you love needs a lawyer, and you'll just be told "no". Lisa Montgomery's lawyers have both been infected with COVID-19 as a result of having to fly back and forth to Texas from their offices in Tennessee. Lisa Montgomery's execution should at least be delayed until her lawyers can safely represent her. It is bizarre and macabre that the Trump Administration would make federal executions a priority during a pandemic and his last year in office, but here we are. A lame duck president has nothing to gain or lose politically by commuting a death sentence. This will be the time when we really get to know what kind of man Trump is. https://www.newsweek.com/aclu-files-lawsuit-end-torturous-conditions-lisa-montgomery-1547625

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day

 Today is Veterans Day. November 11th was chosen because World War 1 ended on that day. That was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but it had a sequel. Sequels are great for Hollywood, not so much for soldiers and people who live near combat zones. Neither world wars nor civil wars should have sequels.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

No civil war tonight


The cool thing about elections is that it gives you a preview of how a civil war might turn out. The Founding Fathers weren’t allow to vote for or against King George III, so they were flying blind. The South wasn’t terribly happy with the outcome of the 1860 election, but they accepted the outcome eventually in 1865, after Appomattox. If they accepted the outcome sooner, Atlanta wouldn’t have been burned to the ground.

If the guy you voted for wins the presidential election, you might be happy but you might be concerned that the other side won’t accept the results. To be sure, there are always going to be a few people who won’t accept the results. That’s fine. Nobody has to believe in anything in this country. You can believe that the Earth is flat and the moon is made of cheese if you like. All of those college kids who wore “Bush Is Not My President” shirts during the 00’s at least grasped that they weren’t going to finish school if they personally took up arms. The American political landscape is much like the weather: if you don’t like it, wait a while and it will change to something else.

If the guy you voted for lost, welcome to my world. I’m 41, I’ve voted in every presidential election since 2000 and I have never voted for the winner. Bush, Obama, and Trump all have that in common in that I voted against all three of them. The reason why I’m not dead or in prison is because I’m not the type to resort to violence when I don’t get my way. If you’re my age or older, you’re too old for this civil war shit. If you’re younger than me, you need to understand that wars don’t go the want you expect them to.

I expect that the military will back the winner of the Electoral College. If they don’t back the duly elected commander in chief, they lose their billions in funding and there will be no shiny new toys for them next year. If the military can’t agree on who the winner was, well that’s that and it’s been nice knowing all of you. But if the military is united, it’s suicide to try to overthrow the government this year.

Look, if you really want a preview of a 21st century civil war, turn off the water, power, and gas to your house. Live off the semi-rancid food in your fridge for a month. Odds are, you won’t die in glorious battle, you’ll just freeze or starve to death.

So, yeah. No civil war tonight. Just the same low level violence that America has always had. If you didn’t want that violence, maybe you should start voting against the drug war.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Let's all go back to Blogger!

I like Facebook but it has problems. I get that content moderation is part of their business model. Keep things family friendly and boomer safe. Ultimately, the site belongs to Mark Zuckerberg and anyone fortunate enough to own Facebook shares.

Think back to the original reason that you signed up for Facebook. A lot of you dudes probably signed up because some hot girl wanted help watering her virtual crops. Well that girl is middle-aged now and her crops are long dead.

This is what's cool about Blogger.

1. Anything goes, even nudity. Have some common sense though. Shit like kiddie porn will still get you shut down.
2. You can make money off of AdSense ads.
3. If I get banned from a lesser website, you all still know where to find me.
4. I'm not committed to using that bland Tahoma font.
5. I can embed links anywhere I want.
6. I can put pictures anywhere I want.

Welcome to Blogger! Post the links to your shit in the comments!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Lukewarm Takes: The Kenosha shooting and the Denver shooting

 So we have Kyle Rittenhouse protecting a gas station. He's 17 years old, he should not be working as an armed security guard because he is too young. A bunch of morons decide to screw with him and he shoots three of them. If Kyle felt that it was too dangerous to travel to Kenosha without a firearm, then he should have stayed home. He had no duty to protect that gas station. If the owner of that gas station knowingly allowed him to work security for free, then that owner violated some perfectly good labor laws about allowing a minor to work for free. My guess is that Kyle was protecting this gas station without the gas station's consent. You can argue that 17 year olds should be allowed to go wherever they want with a rifle, but my stance is that many retailers do not allow firearms on the premises, and since Kyle was not employed by the gas station to protect it, he just should not have been at that gas station. I hope he gets the fairest trial that Wisconsin can muster, but he should face some consequences. Even if it's just a slap on the wrist, I hope that slap stings to the point that it deters him from "guarding" a place without being paid.

The moral of this story is that nobody should guard a business for free. If you want to pro bono protect a church, synagogue, mosque, or school, go right ahead. Vaya con Allah. But don't work for a business for free.

In security work, there are risks. You might injured, infected, or shot by some asshole. Ideally, nothing happens during your watch and you stand around wondering why you bothered showing up. Boredom isn't a risk, it's a certainty. You should embrace the concept of boredom in security work. Just about any other job is more fun than this. But a boring day is a good day. Ideally, would-be trouble makers see you on the job and just walk on by.

While police officers are almost always armed, security guards may be armed or unarmed, depending on the assignment. Firearms are almost always mandatory or forbidden in security work; a guard's employer either provides a weapon or explicitly bans the guard from having any weapon at all. Now there are people who are pacifists, and there are people who insist on having a firearm at all times. Just as a pacifist should not serve as an infantryman, a person who does not feel safe without a gun should not accept an unarmed security assignment. Matthew Dolloff did bring a firearm to an unarmed assignment. He should have either refused the assignment or left his gun at home.

In summation, if you feel that protecting other people's stuff is your calling, feel free to seek employment as a security guard. If an employer thinks that you have what it takes, don't let them down by taking unnecessary risks. Follow the directions provided by your supervisor, and you can keep your name out of the news.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Trump's taxes

There are 4 possible Libertarian takes to have with the news of Trump's taxes being released. You can use as many of these as you like.

1. "Taxation is theft, and Trump was smart to cheat on his taxes and get away with it. However, if he can get away with it, then as long as he is President he should pardon everyone else accused of tax fraud."

2. Taxation is the price we pay for a strong, civilized nation. Trump broke the law by cheating on his taxes and belongs in prison.

3. Trump did not cheat on his taxes at all. He is just so incompetent at business that he really had no income to report.

4. Trump's companies took advantage of overseas tax shelters. The tax code should be reformed so that businesses can't use this loophole. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

The lockdowns weren't going to work

 Have you all noticed that the more the COVID-19 virus spreads, the fewer restrictions are in place? When less than 100 people in the entire state were infected, all the schools, bars, and restaurants were shut down. Only essential workers were allowed to commute, everyone else was only allowed out to buy food.

Now there are over 100,000 cases in Indiana and the restaurants that haven’t gone out of business are allowed to operate at full capacity.

The lockdowns were never going to work. There were loopholes that some businesses were able to exploit, and there were individuals who just didn’t take the threat seriously. If AIDS couldn’t scare young people into celibacy, COVID-19 wasn’t going to stop college students from partying either. Almost every elected official has been to college, so you’d expect them to know how a frat brother’s brain works (it often doesn’t work at all). Any policy that requires 100% public compliance to succeed is doomed to failure.

We all knew, or should have known, that the pandemic was going to be a marathon and not a sprint. If staying at home for 14 days was all it took to stop the virus, we would have moved on by now. In hindsight, a governor had two choices: A)wreck the economy and fail to stop the spread of the virus or B) not wreck the economy but keep the public warned about the threat that the virus poses. The virus is going to spread in either scenario. Many politicians are tempted to choose Option A because it makes it look like they are taking harsh measures to stop the threat. But if the threat can’t be stopped, the harsh measures only make things worse.

In times of crisis when nobody is sure what to do, governments should err on the side of freedom and individuals should err on the side of caution. You probably shouldn’t go out tonight, and you know this. But if you need to go out for supplies, or even if sitting around the house all week has taken a toll on your mental health, the government shouldn’t try to stop you from going out.