Mailvox: a swing and a miss

This kind of “mob” mentality leads to mob “justice” and that’s not where we really want to go, if you think about it. Besides, do courts and juries ever get it wrong? Yep, you bet.

I remember watching the case (on A&E) of this black man, Ronald Cotton, of Burlington, NC who was arrested of raping this white girl in 1984 and was tried and convicted of it in early ’85. He kept saying he didn’t do it and claimed the girl had it wrong, but she pointed him out specifically.

The significant difference, of course, is that Cotton denied committing the crime. The late and unlamented Spanish Torch admitted it without expressing any remorse for it.

When the king fails to provide justice, people will seek it on their own. Thus has it always been, thus will it always be.

Fiery justice

From WND:

A Spanish mother has taken revenge on the man who raped her 13-year-old daughter at knifepoint by dousing him in petrol and setting him alight. He died of his injuries in hospital on Friday.

Antonio Cosme Velasco Soriano, 69, had been sent to jail for nine years in 1998, but was let out on a three-day pass and returned to his home town of Benejúzar, 30 miles south of Alicante, on the Costa Blanca.

While there, he passed his victim’s mother in the street and allegedly taunted her about the attack. He is said to have called out “How’s your daughter?”, before heading into a crowded bar. Shortly after, the woman walked into the bar, poured a bottle of petrol over Soriano and lit a match. She watched as the flames engulfed him, before walking out.

The woman fled to Alicante, where she was arrested the same evening. When she appeared in court the next day in the town of Orihuela, she was cheered and clapped by a crowd, who shouted “Bravo!” and “Well done!”

I suspect that we may see more of this in the future, as a Wave Three mentality takes hold and the courts continue to abdicate their role of attempting to provide justice in society in favor of working hand-in-hand with the politicians to expand central government power in every Western country.

As for the vengeful mother, she should be tried, found guilty and given a suspended sentence. I highly doubt that she’s crazy or that she’s any danger to society.

Perhaps it’s wrong, but I find it amusing to think how the look on the gloating rapist’s face must have changed at the moment he realized what his victim’s mother was doing.

How quickly they forget

From ESPN:

Perhaps even more amazing was the sight of two teens in pink shirts and ponytails — 15-year-old Michelle Wie and 17-year-old Morgan Pressel — grabbing a three-way share of the lead and standing 18 holes away from a chance to become the youngest major champion in golf history.

I find it amusing that sportswriters, the very people you’d expect to know the most about sports, still get excited about teenage girls competing effectively against older women. They inevitably predict decades of dominance, which never happens because women peak athletically much more quickly than men.

I ran track in high school and college, and I can’t recall a single year that there wasn’t an eighth or ninth-grader turning in excellent times in the 100 or 200 meters. But in most cases, by the time they hit their junior or senior year, they were running slower than they had been before. The same process usually holds true in tennis, figure skating and gymnastics, where the female athlete still competing at a high level at 25 is the exception rather than the rule.

Now, it’s true that things may be different in golf, since golf isn’t a sport requiring athletic ability but is a game requiring precision and skill. So, perhaps Wie will become the Jack Nicklaus of women’s golf and dominate it for the next three decades. But I doubt it.

A Zen koan

If a Supreme Court justice’s house burns down in the woods, has any private property been harmed?

Honoring a good man

I spent the morning at a funeral today. It wasn’t the least bit depressing, though. The deceased was the grandfather of a good friend of mine, and it was interesting to see the size of his legacy, both familial and spiritual. He was survived by 13 grandchildren and around 18 great-grandchildren, and it was a pleasure to serve witness to the depth of their love, affection and respect for the man.

It was also good to feel the genuine sense of celebration of a race well run. There was a little sorrow expressed, but not much, and I like to imagine him walking up a hill in the sunshine with his arms stretched out towards a little girl, smiling as he tells her that great-grandaddy’s finally here, just like great-grandma promised. (The family lost an infant girl in a car accident a few years back.) Perhaps that’s not how it works, but that’s how I’d prefer it to be, anyhow.

Of course, the man probably never walked up a hill in his life; he always ran. I rather enjoyed him, for he was not only a man of God, but something of a character who had an absolute obsession with performing the sort of daily exercises that are disdained these days by physical trainers. But then, he not only made it to 95, he was also considerably more spry than many individuals three decades younger. In light of that, I may have to consider adding jumping jacks and deep knee bends to my exercise regimin.

It was a beautiful day.

A little good news to balance the bad

From WND:

A former IRS agent who believes citizens are not required to pay federal income taxes was acquitted today on charges he attempted to defraud the government.

Joseph Banister, a Certified Public Accountant in San Jose, Calif., had been telling his clients they don’t need to file federal income tax returns because the 16th Amendment, which gives Congress “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes,” was never properly ratified. A leading figure in the “tax honesty” movement, Banister was taken into custody Nov. 19 by IRS agents and released on $25,000 bond after pleading not guilty.

A jury in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento found him not guilty on a charge of conspiracy and on all three counts of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns for a client.

I don’t think Banister’s defense was entirely predicated on the 16th Amendment question, but in any case, it’s good news that the jury saw through the tax fraud on the part of the IRS. Still, it’s not much use being able to keep the money you earn if you can’t buy any property with it.

Welcome to serfdom USA

From WND:

Property-rights advocates condemned the Supreme Court’s split decision today allowing a local government to seize a home or business against the owner’s will for the purpose of private development.

“It’s a dark day for American homeowners,” said Dana Berliner, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented a group of Connecticut residents in the case.

“While most constitutional decisions affect a small number of people, this decision undermines the rights of every American, except the most politically connected,” Berliner said. “Every home, small business or church would produce more taxes as a shopping center or office building. And according to the court, that’s a good enough reason for eminent domain.”

I’m not surprised by this at all, but I am disappointed. This effectively ends all pretense of American property rights, since state and local governments now have the ability to hand over a desired property to anyone with the requisite political influence. This is a recipe for disastrous corruption, of course, as the redefinition of “public use” in the same manner as “interstate commerce” not only renders the language meaningless, but the law as well.

I have said it before, but I will say it again: there is no longer any law in America. W. Somerset Maugham had it right when he said “do what thou wilt, with due regard for the policeman around the corner”.

Mailvox: In defense of ROTS

Jamsco argues eloquently:

Three reasons why Vox should go see Episode III

1. It’s got Darth!

I know that you don’t think that even “Return” was as good as the first two and I would have to agree. The Ewoks were too cute and so forth. But wouldn’t you agree that you enjoyed every scene that Darth Vader was in? My thought is that the Darth Vader thread, throughout the first three, was always strong and enjoyable to watch. He is a bad guy that we like. (And I don’t mean “Like to Hate.” In Ep’s 5 and 6 we really want him to come around. He is a good guy on the wrong side) From the beginning, when he found the Death Star Builder’s lack of faith disturbing, we thought – this is a guy who would be good to have as a friend. And now Ep 3 shows his creation. Although I disagree with a few of the choices in how this was portrayed and the fact that his actor is still a pretty boy, the manner of Anakin’s fall makes us empathetic to Darth, just like we were empathetic to him in Return. It’s worth it just to see the mask being put on.

2. It’s got Light Sabers.

Again, I state that Star Wars is the best of the six. But having said this, my thought is that of all six, it has the worst light saber battle. I think these battles between 2,3, or 4 people, in sharp contrast to pretty much every other facet of the six movies, is something Lucas got better and better at developing. Ep 3 shows the battle that we have wondered about since 1977, the fight between Kenobi and Skywalker. And yet you say no. You have stated publicly your disdain for Ep 1, but didn’t the Jinn/Kenobi/Maul battle stir your heart a little? Personally, I think it was the best part of that movie.

3. What about your 1977 self?

Every time I’m at a hotel where there is a swimming pool and, as an adult, I choose not to use it, the eight year old Me yells at the adult Me, calling me a fool to not take the opportunity. Have you completely shut down, or blocked out the call of the ten year old, who saw it five times, who knew all of the trivia, and all of the names of the actors? (Not just Han Solo and Artoo, mind you, I’m talking about the Grand Moff Tarkin, The Head Sandperson and several Jawas now. (And I bet you get the reference in that last sentence.)) I can’t speak for that boy, but the ten year old
me would be saying “You are a big loser. Don’t give me that big talk about cinematic quality, it’s got Chewbacca in it! Let me see it!”

The bad news is that if you see Ep 3, you should probably rent Ep 2 first, which is, depending on your point of view, worse than the first. But it’s only two hours of your life. I’ll pay for the rental if you don’t want to give Lucas money for it.

Big Chilly is lobbying me as well. I’m wavering, but let’s face it, it’s always fun to have an excuse to say: “you’re dead to me”.

I remain dubious, although that third point is a compelling one.

Security and stability

Doubts on National Review:

This has become the conventional wisdom (I mean, of the last month or so) among conservatives who support the admin. on Iraq: That if only the President and his people would get out there and explain their case, public support would firm up.

I beg leave to doubt this. The admin. case on Iraq is not hard to grasp, and is, if my own conversations with friends & neighbors can be judged by, widely understood: A secure & stable Iraq is essential to our nation’s long-term security.

I’m not sure the problem is that people haven’t heard this. It may be that people have heard it, but just don’t believe it.

Probably because it’s a crock of equine fertilizer. Iraq was secure and stable prior to the US invasion and occupation. Saddam Hussein was no more of a threat to the USA in 2003 than he was in 1983.

China is a serious threat to our nation’s long-term security and it is both secure and stable. The Congo is insecure and unstable, but it is no threat. As usual, the gap between the administration’s pronouncements and logical credibility is enormous, which is why people, even rock-solid Republicans, no longer believe anything that comes out of the Bush White House.

Carelessness and the pole

Peter King defends his critique of two Fathers of the Year:

FATHER’S DAY LEFTOVER. From Tim Novak of Pittsburgh: “Your Larry King and Donald Trump comments aside, I hope you are not classifying all divorced men as poor fathers. I would be very disappointed, if you were.”

I am classifying two men with a total of 10 marriages as highly, highly questionable choices as Fathers of the Fear. I understand divorce happens. But don’t tell me if you’re divorced six times, as King was, you could qualify as a father of the year. Part of fatherhood is staying around. One divorce, I can see it. Two, well, starting to go over the line. Six? Gimme a break.

It does bring to mind the Oscar Wilde quote about losing more than one parent, doesn’t it? My theories about fatherhood are inchoate, but I believe Chris Rock has the right of it when it comes to daughters. While I have no lack of respect for dancers of any sort and have probably been acquainted with more than is the norm, I nevertheless think his fathering imperative is a wise one.

“You’ve got to keep them off that pole!”

In any event, Donald Trump and Larry King should not even be mentioned in the same sentence as fathers of repute, unless the adjective preceding the last word is “ill”.