Who wubba huh wubba woah…

April 17, 2008

We are all continuously bombarded by so much bad news that it is almost enough to make you decide to call it quits for a few weeks and just lock yourself in a dark room and not come out until you develop a few new personalities to hang out with… so today we take a look at some of the good (or at least funny) news circulating in the press.

First up:

Jonathan Lee Riches (a pretty sweet name, if I may say so) is an inmate locked up until 2012 in a federal prison. What does one do with all of that time? The answer seems almost obvious… sue Michael Vick. What is Mr. Riches beef with Michael Vick, you ask? He claims that Vick stole two pit bulls from his home in Florida, used them in dog fighting, then put them for sale on e-bay. After selling them, what was Vick going to do with his earnings? Riches claims he was going to use the proceeds to buy missiles from the Iranian government (it seems that there is a lot that we don’t know about Michael Vick). In the complaint, Riches says “Michael Vick has to stop physically hurting my feelings and dashing my hopes.” He is suing for $63 billion, “backed by silver and gold”. Right on, Jonathan Lee.

Next up:

Let me start off by saying that they don’t build ’em quite like they used to. Daniel Kuch really must have hated his job. Instead of quiting, calling in sick, or doing the good old no-call-no-show, Daniel had his buddy shoot him in the shoulder so that he could get a few days off. Apparently he was trying to avoid a drug test. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go to work than get shot any day.

These may sound strange, but the web is full of stories of mis-guided people doing awesome stuff. You know you’ve finally made it when you turn up in Yahoo!’s odd news section.


Hey Billy, pass me a cold one!

April 4, 2008

Question: How old do you have to be before you can legally drive a car?

Answer: 16 years old in most states, although there is some variation.

Dangers involved: Numerous, probably too many to list. Driving is one of the most dangerous activities that most of us engage in on a regular basis. Severe injury and death are certainly possibilities.

Question: How old do you have to be to enlist in the U.S. military?

Answer: 17 years old (with parental consent), 18 years old otherwise.

Dangers involved: Quite a few, but not nearly as many as driving… If, by chance, you actually see combat you could be severely injured or die. Heck, I suppose you could even be injured or die outside of combat, considering the general nature of this line of work.

Question: How old do you have to be to purchase cigarettes?

Answer: 18 years old.

Dangers involved: Lung cancer, emphysema, burns, other types of cancer, death (long term).

Ok, so what is the point, you ask? While watching the idiot-box last night, I happened upon a show that followed the daily activities of police officers working in spring break hot-spots. I was surprised to see that their job basically consisted of going from one party to another looking for underage drinkers, and it got me to thinkin’…

I am not going to re-hash the cliche argument that goes along the lines of “if I am old enough to be drafted or take a bullet for the country, why the hell can’t I enjoy a beer?”…

But seriously, if someone is old enough to take a bullet for their country, why the hell can’t they enjoy a beer?

I am sure that some “Mother Against Drunk Driving” is going to read this and come back with a million reasons detailing the dangers of under-age alcohol consumption… but is it more dangerous than walking onto a battlefield? Better yet, is it more dangerous than driving a car or smoking? But again, the MADD person will probably say that smoking doesn’t put others at risk to the same extent as drinking…

You can get a CDL and drive a semi-truck in most states at the age of 18 (not in Ohio, my state of residence, unless you are going to drive ONLY in Ohio). Read that again: the guy driving the semi-truck next to your compact car may be 18 years old. Why is this ok? Because he has passed a course and been “licensed” by the state to do so (and more importantly, he has paid the price of a CDL to the BMV). This made me think…

One great way to fund alcohol rehabilitation programs would be by “licensing” people to drink at the age of 18… Basically, the 18 year old pays some cash, takes a few courses on the dangers of drinking and how to drink responsibly, and is then “licensed” to drink at 18 years of age. The proceeds from the licensing fees could then be used to pay for alcohol rehab programs, clinics, etc…

Would the government actually do this? Heck no! Why? Because it would make too much sense (and be costly… think of all the lost revenue in bail money for the 19 year old who just got caught getting blitzed following finals week).

Much as we are trying to “medicalize” everything into a medical condition, we are on the road to criminalizing everything as well…

Seriously, I would like someone to explain to me why a 19 year old can’t legally drink… Is it because they are too immature to make the right decisions (if so, should we really let them behind the wheel of a car, or arm them with a tank on a battlefield?)?


A Small Step in the Right Direction

February 8, 2008

Today, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the electric chair satisfies the criteria for ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment, eliminating its use on a state-wide basis. Nebraska was the only state remaining that used the electric chair as its sole means of execution.

I have written about the topic of capital punishment before (https://goingbald.wordpress.com/2008/01/22/are-we-there-yet/) and I am adamantly against the use of capital punishment, so needless to say I feel that this is a small step towards a more civilized U.S. society.

Why outlaw the electric chair? How is it cruel and unusual punishment? Here are a few brief examples from the Death Penalty Information Center (WARNING: If you are sensitive to graphic writing, skip this section and then ask yourself how you can justify punishing people this way if you can’t even read about it!):

Frank Coppola, 1982, Virginia: Two 55 second jolts of electricity were required to kill Mr. Coppola. During the second, Coppola’s head and leg caught fire and the sizzling sound of burning flesh could be heard in the room.

Allen Lee Davis, 1999, Florida: Mr. Davis was the first man to be executed in Florida’s new electric chair. Before he was pronounced dead, blood seeped onto his shirt from his mouth (reports state that the spot it formed was the size of a dinner plate). Florida’s senator, Ginny Brown-Waite, admitted that she was shocked to see the blood until she noticed that it was forming what she thought was a cross on his chest, indicating that “God approved of the execution.” (I have to interject and say that Ms. Brown-Waite sounds like a real wacko)

These are just a couple examples of what amounts to state-sponsored torture. Run a search for ‘botched executions’ and you will find dozens more. Unfortunately, other forms of capital punishment are still legal in many states. The most common currently used is lethal injection. It too is a real gem.

Joseph Cannon, 1998, Texas: After beginning the procedure, the vein in his arm collapsed and the needle popped out. When he saw what happened, Cannon had to tell the executioners “It’s come undone.” The officials closed the curtain to the witness room, re-opening it 15 minutes later to reveal a sobbing Cannon, who made a second last statement before the procedure resumed.

I think that it is important to understand that I in no way sympathize with these people… they murdered others to receive this sentence. I simply question whether it is appropriate to punish the crimes that these people have committed by committing the same crime against them. I also, like the Nebraska Supreme Court, question whether the methods used are appropriate… no human deserves to be tortured at the hands of another.

These methods, and capital punishment in general, have been condemned by other countries, scholars, philosophers, and even the Pope. What will it take for the people of the U.S. to acknowledge this cruel and unusual practice for what it is?


Remember the 4th Amendment, or was that just a silly detail?

February 7, 2008

I recommend that anyone who does not know the rights given to us by the 4th amendment review the constitution before reading this article…

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23037049

Evidently when you are coming into and going out of the country the federal agents can do whatever the heck they want to you or your stuff.

A fictional, but likely airport encounter:

Stunned traveler: “Hey, don’t you need a search warrant to go through my cell phone or laptop? When will I get that back?”

Federal Agent: “Look lady, I’ll go through what I want whenever I want. You might get it back and you might not. My ol’ lady needs a new laptop.”

I can understand the whole “national security/anti-terrorism” concept, but this is getting absolutely ridiculous. This lady’s company laptop was seized… she was told she would get it back in 10 to 15 days. A year later she still hasn’t seen her laptop or received an explanation. Another person handed over their cell phone… when it was returned the call history had been erased.

I find this absolutely infuriating. What gives a border agent the right to take and search your stuff with no probable cause?

This is a serious infringement on our constitutionally protected rights… hopefully anyone who reads this will take it as seriously as it is.


Only in America…

January 16, 2008

Let’s begin with a few news reports from today:

It seems that legislators in Virginia still have some common sense…

State Del. Lionel Spruill has introduced legislation to make it illegal to hang fake rubber testicles from your truck’s trailer hitch. Sounds good to me, but evidently many people feel that one of our ‘inalienable rights’ is the right to display rubber genitalia in public for all 5 year olds to see. Ironically, the only people who find these things ‘cute’ or ‘amusing’ are people with the minds of five year olds. Grow up, people.

The full story can be read here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080116/ap_on_fe_st/trailer_testicles;_ylt

=AipbPk3mRT0mNLufOhWO9THtiBIF

Next up:

In Kokomo, Indiana, some idiot trying to rob a convenience store shot his own nuts off. Yep, you heard me right… after demanding that the clerk hand over the cash and cigarettes, this whiz-kid discharged the gun into (and through) his right testicle. Oops.

The full story can be read here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080116/ap_on_fe_st/robber_shoots_

self;_ylt=AtJfrk4HGkElDtASnqIOc__tiBIF

I guess my point is this:

This kind of stuff is going on continuously in the U.S., and it is extremely expensive for taxpayers, insurance policy holders, etc…

Maybe the rising cost of health care has a thing or two to do with some idiot, probably without insurance, blowing off his own ‘man jewels’ while trying to steal a $5 pack of cigarettes. Likewise, maybe our income taxes wouldn’t be so high if the courts weren’t bogged down with expensive cases involving people who passionately believe that their rights are being infringed upon because they can’t hang rubber gonads from their trailer hitch.

We are supposed to be the best educated people in the world. This makes for some funny reading, but I think it is time to step up to the plate, people.