Monday, October 31, 2005

I [Heart] Chipotle

Tinfoil ... $2
3 $1 drinks ... $3
More tinfoil ... $2
Dressing as burritos on Halloween and getting free food from Chipotle ... Priceless
There are some things I can't afford to buy. For everything else, there's senseless promotions.
I went to Chipotle
I got a burrito

Friday, October 28, 2005

I Got Married To The Widow Next Door

Does anyone else get the feeling that in the Herman's Hermits song "Mrs. Brown" the singer is actually not upset about being dumped by Mrs. Brown's daughter, but rather trying to play the sympathy angle on Mrs. Brown herself?

Mrs. Brown you've got a lovely daughter

Diss Appointment

As I'm sure everyone is aware by now, the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, Mrs. Bush's choice for the Court, has been withdrawn. Oh wait. Sorry, this just in. Apparently it was Mr. Bush's choice.

CoughAreyoukiddingmeLauraBushwantedawoman
andalltheotherpickswouldhaveimmediatelyfaced
tremendousuphillbattlesbecauseoftheirextremely
conservativerecordsandsoasGeorgewasagonizing
overthepickhiswifeprobablythoughtaboutherfamily
friendandturnedtoherhusbandandsaid"whatabout
Harriet,dear?"towhichBushsaid,"she'dnevermakeit
asajustice"towhichLaurareplied,"ohIthinkshewill,
andifyoueverwantanyofthisagainyou'llnominateher
likeagoodboy"towhichBushsaid"yesdear."Cough

Once again to confirm that change, Miers was Mr. Bush's nomination for the Court.

Na na na na,
Hey hey hey, goodbye

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Happy Birthdversary!

Happy Birthdversary Philosofickle!

Yup, that's right. On Oct. 24th my blog turned 1. I've been doing this for a full year. It's been a terrific experience and I'm going to keep on, keep on, keep on, blogging all through the, uh, foreseeable future.

So out in DC Papa John's has this special deal. On Monday you can get a large cheese pizza for 8 dollars. Then, for every touchdown the Redskins scored on Sunday you can add a topping. And, if the Redskins win, you add two toppings for each touchdown. Which means that this Monday you could have gotten a 14-topping pizza for only $8. If you could get through to order that is. Apparently it was their busiest day ever, and when we finally got ahold of them they had decided to stop delivering pizzas. And since we didn't have anyway of going to pick it up, we didn't get to take advantage of this wonderful offer. Bummer.

I've been working diligently on a paper for my bioethics class. Much of it is premised on an article I read in The New Yorker a while back. Check out the article here, it's a terrific read.

Oh, and here's a question for you men out there: would you rather get punched in the face once a minute for an hour or be kneed in the groin?

If only I could write my bioethics paper on that topic. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to settle for profundity.

I wish you love and good will
I wish you praise and joy

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Rageohol

SO ANRGY!

Game two is done. I hate the White Sox. HATE. I finished watching a movie tonight (the original Star Wars), just in time to see the Astros tie the game in the 9th. And to have my faith blown apart by the Imperial Storm Trooper that is Scott Posednik, blasting a laser shot out of the park for a game winning home run (forgive the mixed metaphors).

But the anger doesn't start with tonight. It goes back, a long time ago, in a ballpark far, far away.

Last year I witnessed the injustice of all injustice, the Red Sox winning the World Series. There are few more evil than the Red Sox, and their success was the downfall of noble tradition, in which good always triumphed. The villains won, and all innocence was destroyed. It was pain beyond description, a wound which can never heal.

And yet my afflictions grow worse. It seems that evil will not rest until the last remnants of good have been wiped from the face of this Earth. For the most vile of teams, the White Sox, their foul stench polluting the pure air of this fair land, appear solidly on path for their own title. The White Sox, worse by ten-fold than the Red Sox, are solidly in command of this year's World Series. I am so mad I could puke.

I lament in anguish, "Oh what hath I done that the Lord should favor mine enemies?"

They are but a plague, a scourge to all that is good. They stand against the noble, they war against the Twins. They are my most bitter rival, and their success is my destruction, and the destruction of all beauty.

I hate the White Sox. They make me angry.

Or I could still be reeling from the death of Obi-Wan.

Like a giant carbonated soda, S-O-D-A, soda

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Cure

Something strikes me as troubling when I hear people mention a cure which has yet to be discovered. The problem seems to be that they always use the phrase "the cure". For example, how many times have we heard that we shouldn't cut down the rainforest because some plant or animal may supply "the cure" to cancer or AIDS. We hear the same phrase with all sorts of promising research - "stem-cell research may lead to 'the cure' for Parkinsons" - and there's something horribly misleading about such a statement.

The absolute, cold, hard reality is, there might not be a cure. To any of the diseases and conditions which remain uncured. But when we talk about "the cure" we're speak as if it is already out there somewhere, pre-existent, and all we need to do is locate it. The very phrase "discover the cure" further reveals this faulty thinking. It's likely we can cure lots of diseases currently afflicting people - but it's also likely that there is no ready-made cure, waiting to be found.

It's a hard reality. Not a fun one to admit. But for quite a while I've felt incredibly uneasy with the presumption of a cure. And maybe we need to speak with greater precision when discussing related subjects. How much would it change our view of things if we more accurately realized the limited potential of our discoveries? If we changed our presumption, from one where "the cure" is waiting to be found, to one where there is no "the cure"?

Don't get me wrong - I think we still need to be optimistic and work our butts off to cure disease. To hope that we find "the cure" is important. But so is recognizing that "the cure" isn't always waiting to be found.

Hiding the tears in my eyes
'cause boys don't cry

Monday, October 17, 2005

Putting the "On High" in "Thoughts On High School"

Let me tell ya something: mooning your roommate just doesn't have the same effect when your roommate is your wife.

Given Sunday's Gospel reading, these next two tidbits seemed especially relevant:

I read a terrific story in the paper today about a marching band that had to change their song selection because the music they were playing may have violated the separation between church and state. The song? Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." It seems the parent who "complained" was just trying to start a dialogue about the proper place of religion in school, but the director got cold feet at the suggestion of impropriety, and dropped the selection. Which is too bad, because the guy has a terrific point, and it most certainly is a worthwhile dialogue. When we say separation of church and state, do we really mean to apply it to all religions? Or are we only concerned with promotion of the major western theologies? If we keep out Jesus, shouldn't we keep out Satan? No matter the form of the reference? (Though it should be noted, there is a legitimate educational purpose exception and this often justifies religious selections in music classes. But set that aside and consider the question for itself.)

And, speaking of religion in the schools, has anyone else been following the Intelligent Design/Evolution trial? Since when does a partial rejection of evolution amount to an unconstitutional teaching of religion in the classroom? I mean, even if intelligent design ties itself to the Divine, the heart of the theory is that evolution is incomplete. That, whether you want to admit it or not, is a scientific conclusion. Now, I'm no creationist - in fact, I subscribe to evolutionary theories. But I don't think they're complete. And I don't think any good scientist would tell you that they're complete. So, provided that you actually go on to teach evolutionary theory, what's so horrible about pointing out that it isn't complete? Teaching criticism of a scientific theory - when that criticism is scientifically rooted - is a valid use of classroom time.

Another interesting thing I've been watching is the 10th planet deally. It hasn't officially been named a planet yet - I think. But it probably will be. You can tell I'm watching this real carefully. Anyone should feel free to throw out more information here. But it's interesting because two groups apparently discovered it around the same time. However, one group - the group that released the info to the press first, was basically cheating off of the other group's telescope positioning, which they acquired on Google. God bless science and its complete lawlessness. If the trend continues, within a decade the Nobel Prize for Science will go to a roving gang of pick-pockets.

Comin' from Uranus to check my style

Friday, October 14, 2005

Question:

Would you rather go blind or deaf?

I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Would Recommend

Everyone should make sure they check out Freaks n' Squeeks, at MarvelousPatric.com. It's a hilarious comic strip, and lately the story lines have been amazing. Everyone should read it daily. Just save a link in your Favorites section, and make sure you click it, otherwise you're really missing out. Seriously, it's funnier that many strips in most newspapers. And if you like it enough, you can always feel free to sign up for a membership. I feel kind of bad advertising like this on Philosfickle, but this is a product I'm happy to stand behind. Now go. Read.

Give him the word that I'm not roamer

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bite Me

Recently my school decided to hop on the socially-responsible-eating bandwagon. Now every Thursday is "Eat Local" day. The menu on campus is made up of almost entirely local (within 50 miles) foods. Cheese and eggs from Maryland. Potatoes from Virginia farms. Fish which died in the polluted waters of the Potomac and floated ashore. You get the picture. And really, eating local is a great idea.

But why stop there? Why not give each day a theme? Sure, devoting yourself to a food-mantra once a week is a good thing, but I think we can do better. I'm challenging us to push the envelope farther. So I've come up with some theme suggestions, and a sample menu for each day of the week:


Monday: Eat What You Kill Day
Menu:
The last pound of venison from the deer you shot 6 years ago
Roadkill, (with side of MXP-349)
African Violet
(For oil tycoons and SUV manufacturers, anything found in
nature would be acceptable for dining on this day)

Tuesday: Eat What Kills You Day
Menu:
Alligator (with side of Bin Laden)
Items that become lodged in your throat
Whopper with cheese
Peanuts, shellfish, or other allergens

Wednesday: Eat What Rhymes Day
aka Nobody Eats An Orange Day
Menu:
Steak
Shake n' Bake (with side of Frosted Flake)
Cake

Friday: Eat Like A King Day
Menu:
Mutton Chop
Chicken ala King (with side of King Crab)
RC Cola
Dairy Queen

Saturday: Eat Like You Live In a Third World Country Day
Menu:
Um, let's see...
I think there might still be some rice or beans from the red cross...
Nope, all out (with side of apology)

Sunday: Eat What Seems Familiar Day
Menu:
From the Book of Genesis. "And on the 7th Day, God created
Leftovers. And He looked, and saw that it was good.
But not quite as good as the first time around."
Have a banana, have a whole bunch

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Gonzales v. Oregon

Today, I made it in. To the SCOTUS that is. I know, it sounds dirty, but it isn't really. You see, for those of you in the real world, SCOTUS = Supreme Court Of The United States.

The case, of course, was Gonzales v. Oregon, and I was able to talk my beautiful wife into coming with me. Her sister, who is living with us (more on this in the near future) tagged along.

If you've been reading this blog, you know that the case dealt with physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Much of it came in the guise of a discussion about states' rights, but the underlying PAS issues popped up quite a bit.

It was a terrific argument, and the Justices effectively disemboweled the arguments presented by both sides, though the pro-PAS Oregon seemed to get the worst evisceration.

That doesn't mean, however, that Oregon is going to lose. The federal government's argument was a little less tenable coming into the argument, and much will probably turn on the briefs submitted by the courts. A similar case last year was decided 6 to 3 in favor of the federal government (I misspoke earlier and said that was an 8 to 1. I was wrong, Rehnquist and Thomas joined O'Connor's dissent).

But this is a tougher case. Several of the Justices seem more sympathetic to PAS than they do to medical marijuana. And we've had significant court turn over. And there are many ways to frame the issues.

But after sitting in the court, I get the feeling this case may turn on whether or not O'Connor is around when the opinion comes down. She seems to favor PAS, along with Ginsburg and Stevens. But both of those two will feel some devotion to the federal government. Breyer seemed sincerely conflicted (I get the impression he really likes PAS but recognizes how weak the arguments are). I think he'll also come down with the Oregon people, but it'll be in a concurrence. Scalia and Roberts seemed to favor the federal government. So that leaves three question marks. I don't know about Souter and Kennedy, though I expect at least Kennedy will be on the federal side again. Thomas is also unknown (he may go Oregon in favor of states again). So this might ultimately look like a 4-4 tie when we take away O'Connor's vote. And it'll probably involve a few concurrences and dissents. Which makes for a fun deliberation. We'll have to wait and see.

I should also say that I was highly impressed with Chief Justice Roberts. He was a natural up there, and looked more eager and interested than any of the other Justices. Especially Thomas, who both napped and read a book during the hour. (This is, of course, nothing new for Thomas). Roberts seemed to be comfortable and in complete control. Plus he beat Scalia to the same question at one point in the arguments, which was really cool. He will certainly hold his own, and I think that whether we agree with his decisions or not, the Court is in very good hands. The Roberts era is here, and I think it'll be a high point in the Court's history.

There are many seasons to feel glad sad mad

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tie-ins

Everyone feel free to keep posting on the urination blog below. This is just a recent development in a couple of continuing Philosofickle threads, so I'm going ahead and post.

I recently wrote about physician assisted suicide (PAS). And I recently wrote about how much I hate when people make ethical arguments based on what they want, not what ethical thinking actually implicates. And now, they've all come back around to tie neatly into each other.

Here's the story:

On Wednesday the Supreme Court will be hearing a case about whether or not Oregon can allow PAS. The case comes up on some more or less technical grounds - basically whether or not the Attorney General has the authority to interpret a federal drug law in such a way that the law prohibits PAS, and thereby invalidate Oregon's law.

The thing is, last year a very similar case came up involving the same federal drug law and California's law allowing medicinal marijuana. 8 members of the court sided against California, and with the Attorney General.

Now, there are some statutory differences between the two, and I won't get into those here. What I want to mention is that Justice O'Connor's dissent said something to the effect of "this is a state law area, and we should let the states be laboratories, so each can figure out what's best for themselves."

So now, in my Bioethics class we're discussing these two cases. And one student approved of applying O'Connor's idea in the PAS case. She writes:

"I am fond of the states-as-laboratories value advanced in Oregon and by O'Connor in her [medical marijuana] dissent, but I am only fond of it to the extent the state law favors a behavior I value."

Basically she says "Don't trouble me with actual Constitutional or ethical reasoning. I'll use them as a front if I have to, but all that really matters is that we get to then end I desire." I'm not sure if I should applaud her honesty or marvel at her ethical incompetence.

I guess if she admits that's what she's doing, I can't really accuse her of intellectual dishonesty. However, I can, and do, accuse her of gross stupidity.

And this is just a prime example of what's wrong with law school. Too many people who "reason" like this lady.

But while I'm on the subject of moron law students, let me just say quickly that Zhubin is one of the few law students who is completely unlike these idiots. I know, I sell/copy his blog here all the time, and I'm doing it again, but it needs to be said. Zhubin is a thinker, and someone with integrity (despite the fact that he's selling out to some big NY law firm). Sad to say, but that's hard to find at law school. So cheers for Zhubin. And a swift kick to the groin for the girl in my class.

Now that's ass backwards
All you got in the refrigerator is bratwurst