Friday, February 29, 2008

Wilhem Scream

Being such a film lover, I just had to link to this.

I must be bad or privileged or something

First, apologies for any typos or other incoherence - sleep is still a dim memory with a one-week old and a two-year old. Maybe that's why I'm also being the way I'm being in this thread.

I want to be clear that I don't particularly care who anyone else votes for who is reading this or that other thread. I don't think the numbers would make any difference. And everyone should vote their conscience. That doesn't mean I won't discuss the relative merits of voting each way, or the consequences of doing so either way. If you can't discuss that, you might as well never talk about politics.

As I've said here many times, I myself have often been disgusted with what the Democrats do (or refuse to do) and would threaten to vote GOP just to spite them and to get them to pay attention (not that it would work). So I can certainly understand not wanting to vote for a candidate you don't think will do you any good, regardless of how bad the other candidate is.

That said, those who seem to think you'll get about equivalent sexism from Obama or McCain I think are smoking something pretty strong (and probably illegal, not that it should be). You have people openly saying that a woman is not qualified to be president as McCain's supporters and then you have Obama, a liberal, who might have said some sexist things (if you get out the decoder ring) on the campaign trail. But I never see anything about actual POLICY. I somehow doubt Obama is going to be creating anti-woman policies. If he has said he will, I wish someone would point them out to me. Thus far, nada, but a few vague statements about tea parties, which to me mean nothing because it is just the campaign noise that I generally ignore as meaningless.

Now, I admit being somewhat obnoxious in the thread at Shakers, probably because I'm so punchy from lack of sleep, but I was thinking about doing a post about some of this before anyway. As I'm sure anyone who has read me a while knows, I think the concept of "privilege" is overblown and used more as a bludgeon to shut people up than it is a useful concept. Not that people can have advantages and disadvantages for various reasons - of course they can. But when someone sees a person post in a thread, for instance, and immediately the response is something about "privilege" rather than addressing the issue at hand, then it is clear that the "privilege" concept in that context is bullshit. If you can address the point at hand, then address it. If all you can do is throw "you're privileged" out, then it just tells me (1) you have nothing substantive to say and (2) you're a world-class asshat. I can be the most "privileged" person in the world and you can be the must underprivileged, pathetic person to walk the planet, and yet still I can be right about a particular point and you can be wrong. "Privilege" means diddly and should not be part of the conversation. And yet on so many "progressive" blogs it is brought up as if it is some sort of "trump" card - when really, it just is an indicator of someone who ought to be kill-filed. Sure, if the discussion is ABOUT privilege, then talk about it, but if it is about something else, yelling "you're privileged" and pointing at one of the participants in the conversation like a little schoolchild tattling doesn't add anything to the conversation and just shows (1) and (2) above. I'm almost to the point now where I want to just ignore everything a person dumb enough to do that says because they've already demonstrated it'd be a waste of my time to read it. Get a clue, people.

And so obviously some of my comments are mocking those who have done exactly that in aforementioned thread - I had to stop myself from laughing out loud when one of the participants said that I deserved to be mocked for what I was saying in the thread - apparently she was too clueless to realize who it was who was being mocked. But then she often seems to think foul language and insults is evidence of wit, and she's not the only one there who thinks that (though most people there are generally pretty reasonable and thoughtful).

Maybe I just have no more patience because of fatigue. That probably is the case. I said in the thread and I repeat it now that I really just want the stupid election to be over so I can see who won.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll feel all apologetic about this once I've gotten some sleep, but right now, I have no patience, I'm very irritable, and so I have a low threshhold for bullshit. That said, I'm still very happy to be a daddy for the second time. I'll happily cop to being "privileged" on that point.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One Year Anniversary of this Blog

It just hit me - yesterday was the one year anniversary of my starting this blog. Time flies! I often wonder just how many people read this regularly. It has been an interesting experience. I certainly have been able to express things here that I have been itching to express that I couldn't just get out in comments on other sites (as I had been doing for a while, and still do).

I certainly appreciate any and all comments I get here, even if I don't agree with them.

I want to thank all of my readers, just for being there - while I still would probably be mouthing off regardless, it is more interesting when you know at least someone will read it, and perhaps even add to what I have to say. So thank you. I appreciate it.

My Toddler is Growing Up - Binkys and Bedtime

I'm not just talking about the fact that as she approaches 2 1/2 in two days, she's over 3 feet tall. I'm not just talking about her vastly increased vocabulary. I'm talking about the dreaded b-word (in our house): Binkys.

She has needed one from birth. Unfortunately, we didn't have one when we first brought her home from the hospital. Silly us, we thought she'd not need one. One night of screaming all night with no sleep later, and we had a dozen of the little things, boiled and ready for service.

She pretty much needed them in her mouth all the time when she was a baby. She certainly would never sleep without one. This made bedtime troublesome when she was a baby because she did not have much control of her arms (as no baby does) and she'd move her arms about and knock the binky out of her mouth at night before she fell asleep, thus leading to screams. I spent many a night with her in another room, on the bed (so my wife could sleep, since she was working), my arms around and behind my daughters back as she lay on the bed next to me, holding her arms down by her sides and her binky in her mouth until she was sound asleep. Then I'd pick her up and put her in her bassinet for the night by our bedside.

Later, when she could pick up binkys herself, it was easier - no more wakeups from her crying that it fell out - or far fewer - we'd often see her feeling around with her eyes closed, then finding it and popping it back in her mouth. Sometimes we'd have to help her find it as it fell out and then either my wife or I were on top of it. But still, it was much nicer than the frequent trips to the crib to replace a fallen binky (which was later reduced also by her staying in our bed when she was eight months old til now, since we did not have to go across half the house just to pop a binky back in).

Fortunately, it looks like the new baby doesn't need binkys nearly as strongly as our daughter did, though he still seems to like them sometimes. Which brings me back to my daughter. We originally thought we might get her off binkys at age one. No such luck. Once she got older, we did at least get them limited to when she wanted a nap or when she was really really agitated. But now, as she approaches 2 1/2, enough is enough. Part of the problem is my wife basically can't let her cry or be upset, ever. Taking binkys away at night would cause much upset. But then there was an opportunity. After baby two was born, my wife was in the hospital for four days. I was home with our daughter at night. With encouragement from my mother (who is staying with us for a week), I took her binkys away entirely. The first night was rough - but not as bad as I thought it might be. It probably went much easier not having mommy there (since she would have caved in after about five minutes). I snuggled with my daughter, held her close, told her she didn't need it, everything would be fine, and after much protests and screams, she fell asleep after about 20 minutes, binkyless, and that was that.

The next night, she didn't even ask for one. Nor the night after that. And now, after four nights, she's doing great - no more binkys at naps at day care, none at home, and she didn't even express interest in a binky when she saw the new baby with one. She did ask for one briefly this morning, when she was half-awake, but I just told her she didn't need it, hugged her, and she was fine.

So that went far easier than I imagined it would. We probably could have done it far sooner. It is great to see how well she handled it, after sleeping with one basically every day since she was born. My daughter is growing up!

More later on how she handled having some competition (i.e. new baby).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Damn I'm Tired

Ok, I was going to post today about new baby, but damn, I'm tired. I barely had enough energy to work today (which unfortunately I had to do). But I will soon - I have lots to say, once I'm awake...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another reason we need a Dem in the White House

To investigate (and prosecute) everyone involved in the false charges levied in Alabama. From Karl Rove on down, they need to go to prison. Those prosecutors need to be disbarred and sent to prison. This sort of corruption of the legal process disgusts me so much I can't even describe it without swearing. This has to stop.

This is just one example of why we need a Democrat in the White House - so they can control the Justice Department and start prosecutions in this and other matters, and clean up the corruption that is there. People have to know that even if they think they can get away with things or be political because the current administration is corrupt that they will NOT get away with it when a new president comes to town and investigates. Ugh.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Boy oh Boy

It's a boy! Not that we didn't know this already. Vital stats: Born: February 21, 2008 at 11:25 pm, 7 lbs 15 oz, 20 1/2 inches long, and now I'm off to go back to the hopsital. Baby and mommy are fine. Daddy is exhausted. All are happy. That is all for now. I'll probably have a lot to say later!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It happens to every guy sometimes...

I'm all tapped out. I had wanted to post some on this thread and then this thread and this thread over at Shakesville, but with all the comments I've put there, I'm all commented out.

There is something only tangentally related to it that I do want to talk about, but that will have to wait a bit longer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My New Computer ROCKS

Or pick another good descriptive word that is synonymous with Extra Helpings of Awesome! I just had to say it. I'm so spoiled now. But alas, work beckons. But I'll probably be back to posting regularly now that I've gotten things (mostly) set up and I'm back into my routine.

I haven't been totally idle - I posted at this thread about Obama and his alleged sexist dog whistles. I have something to say about that, in general, and I'll write on that later today.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Occupied by Babies

It figures that when one plans things carefully, it goes awry. Though no, there is no baby yet. But we thought we'd be having baby number two a bit earlier than expected when Wednesday night it seemed that my wife's water might have broken. So off to the hospital, after getting a babysitter to watch our other baby (now toddler). So we're up all night for that false alarm. That kills Thursday. Friday, my computer is due. I was planning on staying home to receive it, then setting it up (and moving two older computers) - which would take all day. Except then baby number one (the two-year old) decides now is a good time to be sick (well, not that sick, but try arguing with a pregnant woman) so she stays home from day care as my wife goes to her last day of work before going on leave. So the computer comes (my new baby) and I do try and get things set up, but it is very hard as parts keep running away in the toddler's hands. Suffice it to say that it has been a busy few days. The new computer is awesome, of course, but I still need to set it up, transfer data, and so on. Basically, I got it booted and that is about it. (And the other computers are moved, as are the printers and scanner).

So it will be a busy weekend. Three babies of different sorts kept me occupied the past two days already. And this is without even the second baby being born. Oh boy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My New Baby

Ok, the title is a bit of a tease, more a bait and switch, since I'm not talking about the human baby that is expected very soon (sixteen days or less).

No, this is about another baby. One I just ordered online. No, there's no slavery involved here. Well, there might be, at some factory somewhere, but I hope not. No, I'm talking about a new computer! Yes, after six years of my old machine, a machine that despite a few minor upgrades (a new video card, a larger hard drive), is about to the end of its useful life as a decent machine, a machine that used to be at the top of the game. Now it is time for something new.

I spent rather a lot on it. Just under $5,000. Some might consider that alot. They would be right. But oh, it is going to be so sweet. (For those that think this is too much, consider that I have a ten year old car I plan on driving for another 15 years at least - saving untold thousands of dollars over those who buy a new car every five years (or less)). I'd rather spend car-money on a computer. Even at the high end, a computer is way way cheaper than a new car (though it doesn't have as long of a useful life). But I really don't need to justify this to anyone. I earned that money. I want to enjoy it. Between various discounts, I actually saved $700 over what I thought I'd end up spending, so it could have been worse. I think it is the most I've ever spent on a new computer, though I have spent quite a lot on them before. I think my last computer was around $4,000 new, though that might not be an exact comparison, because I got some software for it separately that I included in the order to begin with this time (because it would not be appreciably cheaper to get it separately like it was last time).

The computer is from Dell. An XPS. I have three Dells already, two desktops, one laptop. All have served me well. Call me a loyal customer. It is a quad-core intel chip. It has 4 GB of RAM, two 1-TB hard drives, a 768 MB video card, a nice sound card, nice speakers, a DVD-R/W/CD-R drive, and so on. It is, in short, one hell of a machine. And it arrives this friday. I can hardly wait. The only downside is I'll have to stay home for delivery because my wife isn't off work until next week. At least it will give me time to get the old computer ready for the switchover. They managed to build it and ship it in just over a day, rather than the eight days it said it could originally have taken. I really shouldn't complain about that, though.

I might as well enjoy it now, since in about two weeks, I'll have another baby to occupy me - and this other baby is going to cost me way more than $5,000. But that will be worth it, too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Book tag meme

I have been tagged. Specifically, the book tag requires:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the 5th Sentence.
4. Post the next 3 sentences.
5. Tag 5 people.

I'm terrible at tagging - usually anyone I could think of to tag has already been tagged upstream of me, though I will try. Consider yourself tagged if you read this.

I will have to update this with the book that is actually closest to my computer at home, since if I do it at work, all I have to pick up are books filled with case law. I think I know what book is sitting there right now. I'll update tonight.

UPDATE: Better late than never.

The leaves of the nearby trees fluttered in the light autumn wind, glimmering with their first touches of gold and red. Winter was coming; the first day of winter would soon be here. He thought about how he would get them across the boundary. They had to get one of the boxes of Orden, and when they found it, they would find Rahl.


Ok, so that is four sentences. So sue me. I just had to complete the paragraph. The book is Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind. It is the first in his Sword of Truth series. I'm reading it again. I've read it before. But it was years ago - I got haflway through the series (well all the way through the books at the time) but then other things took me away from getting the newer books, and now that I've gone and gotten them, I decided to reread from the begining rather than trust my memory of all of the books I've already read. Given the thickness and number of books, this should occupy me for a while. Though in about two weeks I'll be plenty "occupied."

The Origin of a Million-Dollar Lawsuit

Being a lawyer, I'm more aware than most just how despised lawyers can be. Particularly when it comes to "frivolous lawsuits" - or rather, claims of frivolity where probably none exists.

So I'd like to discuss something that is usually left out of the sensationalizing (probably on purpose) - the true origin of million dollar lawsuits (most of the time): People (usually with large companies) being total assholes.

Here's an example. The woman was clearly wronged. Best Buy not only lost her computer, and all of her data on it, but they lied about it to her for weeks. Then they gave her weak-ass offers of "settlement" that didn't even cover the cost of her lost computer, and then later, they only barely covered it. Finally, when she filed suit, they offered a rather lame offer that still probably was far less than all the trouble they caused her was actually worth. So now after months and months of pissing her off, she has filed a million-dollar suit. Will she win that much? No. In fact, she doesn't really expect to - she picked the number partly to get media attention, which apparently worked - and that is also a good strategy because that puts more pressure on Best Buy to actually give a reasonable settlement offer.

To those who would complain that she (and it is interesting that there are no lawyers involved here, she filed it herself) filed a "frivolous" suit, well, it obviously isn't frivolous. She WAS wronged. They DO owe her money. And given their conduct, they don't just owe her the bare replacement value of the computer. They lost data. They exposed her to ID theft. They also lied to her repeatedly and made her waste a lot of time before finally admitting that they just lost her computer. How much is your time worth? When wasted by liars, it sure as hell is worth a lot.

And Best Buy could have avoided a lawsuit if, instead of being assholes about it, they had done the right thing from the beginning: admitted they were 100% wrong, offered her a brand new computer to replace the old one, her choice, any laptop they sell, and then a chunk of cash on top of that to cover her for her trouble with their lying employees and for dealing with her ID theft and replacing her data. That's how you not only avoid a lawsuit, but keep a customer. I don't know what that amount would be, but something in excess of $10,000 would probably be appropriate (in addition to the replacement computer). For one, that is way cheaper than the lawsuit will probably be after you account for legal fees for Best Buy. And that would also have avoided any negative publicity. I sure as hell would never buy a computer from Best Buy after hearing how she was treated.

But no, companies don't do this. Maybe they figure it is cheaper to stonewall and that most people just give up. Which is another reason why ridiculously high damage lawsuits like this are important. We need to make the bean counters factor into their little equations the fact that even if only 1 in 1000 customers totally screwed over like this actually file a lawsuit, it still needs to be cheaper for Best Buy to do the right thing with ALL of them. That's why punitive damages are so important. They are not about making the plaintiff whole -- they are about punishing horrendous conduct in an attempt to avoid having it repeated. It is especially important with corporations, since you can't throw a corporation in jail - so the only thing you can do to punish them is cost them money. Otherwise, if you just capped what she could get in compensation, then you'd be making it financially desireable for Best Buy to repeat this poor woman's experience every time, and that is just wrong.

In summation, the best way to avoid a lawsuit is to DO THE RIGHT THING FROM THE BEGINNING. People who are treated well and apologized to don't file lawsuits. (And when you do the right thing they are happy to sign an agreement not to file one).

I don't know how many cases I've seen where something has escalated far beyond what it should have simply because people were too pig headed to be reasonable.

Yes, I know there are some people who sue at the drop of a hat and just see dollar signs and a lottery payoff. Guess what - they don't get it - and a truly frivolous suit will very likely be dismissed at the pleadings stage. The system, flawed as it is, really works in that regard. Probably far, far, far more meritorious suits are dismissed than there are "friviolous" suits that make it past summary judgment. We can blame the right-wing noise machine for the false public perception that the opposite is the case.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Electability. It matters. It does you no good to vote for the "best" candidate for your views in a primary if that candidate will then lose to the other party's candidate in the general election, a candidate far more removed from your views than another candidate in your own primary who, while not as good a fit to your views, is nonetheless more electable than your first choice. Winning elections matters.

Obviously, I'm referring to Obama versus Clinton. I think Obama has a far better chance at winning the general election than Clinton. I don't buy the argument that the right-wing smear machine will somehow change this, bringing him down to the same level as Clinton in polls of independents and Republicans. Sure, he will be smeared, but sorry, propeganda can only do so much. People have pretty much solidified their view of Clinton and of Obama. Many Republicans have already decided they like and would vote for Obama. Many more have already decided it would be a cold day in Hell before they'd ever vote for Clinton. A blitz of negative ads is not likely to change that sentiment much. In fact, it would probably be even less effective than normal against Obama simply because of the kind of campaign and rhetoric he uses - it probably would not stick to him and it would make the Republican candidate look bad - the meme is that Obama is above the hyper-partisanship and that people are tired of the hyper-partisanship, and so the smear machine may just end up helping him more than hurting him.

Personally, I think smears won't matter much simply because I don't think the GOP can smear itself out of the hole it has dug for itself. It certainly didn't work in 2006.

The simple fact is, a huge number of people irrationally hate Hillary Clinton. They hate her today, they've hated her for years, they will hate her on election day. Most of them are Republicans. Many are independents. Some are Democrats as well. This irrational hatred is absent with Obama. He overwhelmingly wins independents. He even wins some Republicans. With that sort of advantage, there's no way the GOP could beat him in November. Why would you not want to put such a sure-win in front of the voters in November? Why even give the GOP the slightest hope they could win?

I'm not saying Clinton could not win. She might win if she's nominated. But why take that chance? Right now, hatred of her is about the only thing that could rally the base of the GOP to the polls in November. They sure as hell don't much like McCain. I think with an Obama candidacy, the rabid base would probably just stay home. They might still do so with a Clinton candidacy, but I think hatred of her would bring a lot of them to the polls. Independents also seem to like McCain a lot, which is where elections are won. Again, why take that chance?

I'm not saying this is the only reason to vote for Obama - it is, in fact, not the main reason I like him - though it is a very important one. I'm not saying I don't think Clinton would be a good president or that she couldn't win. I am pointing out that voting for her in the primary won't do any of us any good if it leads to President McCain.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

It's about frickin' time!

The Nebraska Supreme Court, in the last state to use it as its primary method of execution, finally baned the use of the electric chair as cruel and unusual punishment. Well, DUH!

Anyone who tries to claim that it isn't a horrible and torturous death to electrocute someone is a bald-faced lying scum who deserves to be put in the chair when they reach the end of his life. And yet they still argue it, even in this case. Its such horseshit because the chair was used for years as a big threat against law-breakers BECAUSE it was viewed as such a horrible way to die. Everyone knows it. And yet you see them there, calmly making bullshit arguments before the court that the chair minimizes the risk of unnecessary pain, violence and mutilation. I'm sorry, double bullshit.

If I had the authority, I'd disbar lawyers who made bullshit claims like that for violating their ethical duty to only make pleadings supported by fact. I think they just want to inflict pain on those who are executed. Why else put up so much resistance to switching to a painless method? They say it is because they don't want to keep ending up in court fighting over each new method, but really, how hard can it be to do a little research and come up with an actually scientifically proven painless method of killing? Killing someone in a way without pain ain't exactly rocket science. We seemed to have figured out how to do it with animals without too much difficulty.

For the record, I'm against the death penalty entirely. But I'll get into that (and why) in my promised post on my viewpoints on various issues, which I hope to put up this weekend.

Friday, February 8, 2008


I just realized I forgot to do my promised post about what positions I take on various issues (avoiding labels as best I can). In my own defense, my 2 year old was sick this week, preventing me from getting much done (and keeping me home with her two days).

I will try and get to that this weekend. If anyone cares. Heh.

Password Annoyances

Grrr. I really really hate systems that force you to change your password every few months, especially where they don't let you reuse a previously used password. That annoys the hell out of me. It pretty much forces me to write down what my passwords are, something else security people supposedly say you should not do (though I've read others say that this isn't a problem as long as where you've written them is secure).

I have several passwords I've used for years, never written down, never told anyone, and there's zero chance anyone could ever guess them. What makes for a good password also makes for something that is hard to memorize. But those ultra-secure passwords are unusable on some systems I use at work because I have to change passwords - so now I have a lower-security, written down password instead.

I fail to see any point at all in forcing password changes except to annoy users and decrease security. And even if there was some security reason for it that wasn't total bullshit, that still has to be traded off against annoyance to users.

Glad I could get that off of my chest.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Origin for Disliking Labels

First, when I'm talking about labels, I'm talking about the general, all-encompasing type of labels, like the kind attributed to people to label one's politics.

I want to explain that the reason I get so annoyed by them is that in years past, when I was in undergrad, I'd participate in a discussion group (online) that argued endlessly about politics. I know, it was mostly a waste of time, but people enjoyed "scoring points" - or at least thinking they did. And what annoyed me the most about that, and why I finally stopped participating (among other reasons) was the annoying use of labels over substance pretty much for every single freaking thread of discussion. It seemed like, particularly from the Republican side, there was an attempt to pigeonhole every thing into a label that could then be used to discredit. If someone brought up an article criticising some Republican position, for instance, every effort would be made to try and label the author as a "liberal" and then that author could be safely ignored. Similar things would happen with participants. Though I never called myself a liberal and, in fact, had many positions exactly opposite what liberals would supposedly have, I was repeatedly labeled a liberal simply because of disagreement on a few narrow issues with the very conservative Republicans in the discussion, and then pretty much every time I said anything, I was dismissed by them as a "liberal" not worth listening to - while none of my salient points were ever addressed. And that annoyed the hell out of me.

That's why I prefer talking about the issues, not the freaking labels, and not using them, particularly where they are done in a dismissive way.

I do acknowledge that certain positions can have, inherint to them elements of sexism, for instance. And if they are extreme enough, one could make a reasoned argument for why certain positions are inherintly misogynist. But in my mind, those have to be pretty extreme, given the meaning of misogyny - hatred of women. Because I somehow doubt that half of the population actually hates women. I think there is a vast gulf of difference between sexism and hatred. One can have the (completely wrong and stupid) notion, for instance, that men are better at most professions without actually hating women. Sure, it is sexist as hell, but sexism does not automatically mean hatred. It annoys the hell out of me when the proper term is sexism and misogyny is used instead.

It is interesting when this dynamic is used in the other direction - for instance, where some people label certain radical feminists (and perhaps even all feminists) as "man haters" (or misandrists) - this is a huge no-no (and I think it is stupid and wrong when applied to all feminists). People get rightly upset about this. But this is no different than the overuse of misogyny - because again, it is accusing people of hatred where that simply isn't the case.

I'd much rather argue the merits of a position than slap labels on it. I'd much rather argue the merits of an individual's rights to gun ownership than argue whether I'm an "NRA nut" or I'm a "neoconservative" or I'm a "liberal" when it comes to guns, for instance. A discussion on the merits of the position is interesting and useful. A discussion on whether one's views on a position dump you in that hated group or this hated group is bullshit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Another reason I dislike labels

Another reason I dislike labels is that they by their nature generalize. You hear someone is a 'conservative' and then think you know all of their positions on various issues. I'd rather just list what I believe and leave the focus on the particulars instead of having a label that has just about a 100% chance of convincing someone that I hold a position I do not hold.

If I say I'm a libertarian, someone will think I want to abolish government and have corporate rule.

If I say I'm a liberal someone will think I want a nanny-welfare state where the rich are taxed at 90%.

If I say I'm a conservative, someone will think I'm pro-life, I want to ban gay marriage, and I am for the Iraq war.

So no matter what label I use, I'll end up having to explain how in the details, so much of what I think does not match what the label generally indicates to people when they hear it.

I'd rather just avoid all of that and just say what I believe and focus on that, rather than on what label is appropriate. I know I have self-labeled myself libertarian-leaning, in an effort to partially describe myself in shorthand while also showing that I don't fully subscribe to big-L libertarianism. Perhaps I should eliminate that as well and simply say that I favor checks and balances on power, no matter where it is, and leave the details to my other postings within the blog. But then I lose the 'libertarian-leaning lawyer' alliteration...

In any case, in my next post, I'm going to list out every position I have that I can think of, without labels.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Maybe this is why I hate labels

Ed has an interesting post about how it is both lazy and incorrect to simply label someone misogynist for being against abortion - and he lists other contexts for such labeling as well.

I commented there, but I'll briefly recap. As I commented:

I think this is something that needs to be pointed out more. I've been accused of being a mysognist by certain feminists simply for disagreeing with them, heck, even for not completely toeing the line where I agree with them. It seems like 'mysoginy' is an overused word, in general. I somehow don't think there are as many people out there "hating women" as the use of that word would imply. Heck, one can even be a sexist jerk without necessarily hating women.

But as [Ed said], it is easier to label someone with something that you can then safely ignore as "evil" and not worth listening to than it is to actually adress the content of what someone says. In times past I saw a similar phenomenon with debates I had with those of the more right-wing bent - their dirty word is now 'liberal' so they labeled everything and anything they disagreed with as 'liberal' or they'd label you a 'liberal' and then you could be safely ignored as automatically discredited.

I think it is better to try and address issues than just slap labels, especially where labels are so loaded. Labels like 'racist' or 'misogynist' basically brand someone as almost irredeemably evil in our society - which is part of why I in the past have so loudly protested the overuse and misuse of these words. It is not particularly helpful, for instance, to label all white people racist - all that does is piss people off and frankly, anyone who does that has lost rather a lot of credibility in my eyes to even discuss the issue of racism. Not to mention the fact that labeling an entire race with a term of 'evil' is itself probably a racist thing to do.

So it is better not to use labels, if you can avoid it. It is better to deal with people as individuals. I will use labels people have self-identified with, but even there, I will point out where a label might have problems of its own (as I've suggested in the past with the 'feminist' label).

Another Reason I'm Libertarian Leaning

This posting about a letter from a police officer is an anecdotal tale that illustrates a big reason I call myself libertarian leaning. I really distrust those with official government authority. Power leads to abuse, inevitably. Who watches the watchers? Usually, no one does. Or those that are supposed to are in league with those they are watching. Look at official Washington and the war crimes Bush and co have gotten away with these past eight years.

I have a big beef with overzealous, too-powerful police and prosecutors. The above posting is an example of why. If I were supreme dictator of the world, I'd have those DA's disbarred and put in prison for the bullshit that was outlined in that article. Though perhaps they did see the light and didn't follow through. But if the only reason they didn't follow through with their illegal and horribly unethical conduct was they didn't think it would fly, that doesn't excuse them.

Once the state has accused you of something, you are generally screwed, which is why it is so important that prosecutors actually do their job and seek justice rather than just convictions.

Progressive Blogroll

I don't know if I'd call myself progressive. Perhaps progressive leaning. Maybe I just don't like labels. In any case, after reading this post by Barefoot Bum, along with a few of his others about this new blogroll, I decided to add this new blogroll to my blog.

I am fed up with the total failure of the establishment in terms of checking the horrendous abuses and criminal behavior of the current administration. It is so sickening to me. I really don't have a clue what can be done about this. I almost think that nothing can be done about it, though since I haven't blown my brains out or fled the country, I must have a tiny kernel of hope somewhere that things will get better. Either that or I'm too lazy to run or I'm in denial. In any case, perhaps another small spark can be found out there, in the blogsphere. And in that spirit, I add BB's progressive blogroll to my blog.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Excuse me while I clean up this puddle on the floor that formed after I looked at this.

I love movies. I so wish I had a nice home theater system. Maybe I eventually will. Right now, I just have a 27 inch standard TV, and a few hundred DVD movies and TV series. But one day...