Taking one for the team

One hopes, anyhow. Since everyone, including me, has been utterly lame about writing book reviews for posting here – I posted some guidelines on what I was looking for about six months ago – Big Chilly has decided to step up to the plate after reading the back of that Kearney SF Romance novel. (Rofants? Science Fuction? Just what shall we call this subgenre?)

Anyhow, he couldn’t resist after reading the back cover text… which is honestly no worse from the text sample he read aloud to me, and he insisted on doing a review in order to prevent anyone else from having to read the atrocity. But who wouldn’t enjoy this:

A hunk named Kahn, who told Secret Service agent Tessa Camen an outlandish story about traveling through time, saving the world, and a Challenge only she can accept. Kahn offers her proof she can’t refute: Tessa has been brought forward through time to save Earth by winning an intergalactic challenge.

Kahn only has a few weeks to train Tessa to use the psi-abilities he insists she has. He is confident in the success of a time-honored method that uses sexual frustration to bring out her powers, but Tessa is dubious. She’s a martial arts expert and can fight her way through anything, but she’s never had much luck with emotions.

Luckily for Earth, Kahn can be very convincing…

The right to kill

I hope you will forgive me if I don’t bother trying to fake any sense of outrage over the Schiavo affair. Although there are those who will attempt to deny the “slippery slope” argument, it is easily demonstrable in both historical and current terms, which is why I have long expected this. The process of legitimizing murder by defining humanity in such a way to exclude the unborn, the disabled, the sick, the elderly and the undesired is a well-known one and since parts of Europe – Holland, particularly – have already moved well along this process, it is no surprise to see the usual suspects following suit in America.

But conservatives bear their own share of blame in this. They can rationalize their support for the death penalty in a wide variety of ways, but the fact remains that a government which possesses the power to kill its citizens has only to redefine its target list in order to provide legal cover for state-sanctioned murder. A state that has the power to kill a criminal necessarily holds the power to kill a non-criminal.

This is why libertarian philosophy is essential for a society dedicated to human freedom in the long run. (And no, I have no plans to respond to that silly query about past libertarian societies; considering that the philosophy dates back to around 1927, one would hardly expect to find one in the 1700s.) Libertarianism seeks to hamstring the government, simply because it is human nature to seek to use government power to further personal, political and ideological goals. Conservatives want the government to be able to kill criminals, liberals want the government to be able to kill the weak and undesired. A government that can do one necessarily has the power to do the other, only by removing that power is it possible to prevent either.

As laudable is their motivation, it is a terrible mistake for conservatives to seek to use the power of the federal government in what is likely to be a futile attempt to stop the state-sanctioned starvation of Mrs. Schiavo. They would do far better to use civil disobedience, as that is less likely to come back to haunt them in the future. But that would require personal sacrifice, instead of the much easier sacrifice of principle, to which, unfortunately, conservatives have become all too accustomed in their enthusiastic embrace of the decidedly anti-conservative Bush administration.

That liberal spirit shines through

Peter King writes in Monday Morning Quarterback:

There was one thing I’d wanted to ask Dungy since the 20-3 divisional playoff loss at Foxboro in January: How did he feel about the Patriots choosing not to cover the Gillette Stadium turf during a sleety, rainy week leading up to the game? Was that, in his mind, home-field-advantage gone mad? The Patriots are more comfortable with a slow, plodding game. The Colts like the game on the carpet or on a fast surface. By not covering the field during the week and ensuring the game would be played in a bog, New England’s power running game and its suspect secondary would both have an edge over the Colts. And should the league take over field management during playoff weeks to ensure a quality pitch for both teams?

“No, I don’t see anything wrong with what they did,” he said. “To me, that’s what home-field advantage is all about. There aren’t any rules on the books about field management before a playoff game, so that’s part of the mystique of winning home-field in the playoffs. We’re not going to sit here and make excuses about the condition of the field.”

Noble. But if I were the Colts, I’d be putting forth a bylaw this week asking for the league to oversee field preparation for all playoff games.

Come on, Peter! I’m with Dungy on this one. Home field advantage is supposed to mean something, after all, and if the Patriots feel it’s in their interest to play in a swamp, then that’s their right. Unless the field is actually rendered unplayable, the league should leave well enough alone.

If you want to make sure that the field is to your liking, then maybe you should work to win home field advantage.

Based on his reasoning here, any guess as to which faction of the bicephalous ruling party Mr. King supports?