Friday, March 31, 2006


Squirrels are cute.
"A dangling penis is a happy penis."

I'm sure most of you have heard that many SATs last year were scored incorrectly. For my overseas readers, the SAT is a test used my many colleges to evaluate applicants for admissions as well as scholarships. The errors in scoring were not caught in time for most scholarship decisions and even probably application decisions. This morning I saw a feature on a young man whose score went up 140 points after re-scoring. That could be the difference between being denied admission and getting a significant scholarship!

So naturally this left me wondering what kinds of legal claims one could have against Kaplan, the company that administers the SAT program. It would probably have to fit into a contract mold, and it certainly seems that there may be a breach of the contract by Kaplan. But the measure of damages is problematic. An obvious remedy would be to refund the cost of taking the test, but for many people that may not be enough. At the same time, however, I can't imagine bringing a case and trying to prove that
1. The client would have been accepted to a better college
2. The client would have gotten a scholarship (the price of the scholarship should be paid by Kaplan)
3. And the better college would have gotten the client a better standard of living (just imagine the cost of the difference in wages over a lifetime)

This doesn't seem to be the right method for correcting the situation, because of the multitude of problems with the suit. But something needs to be done! I'm sure Kaplan will be more careful in the future, or they may lose their position as owning the premier college entrance exam. There is already an alternative, the ACT, which I don't believe is owned by them. But it looks to me like they screwed up big time, and they should have to pay something to the students who were hurt by their mistake.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Guest Blog

I have my first-ever guest blog at Full Metal Photographer! Click the image to check it out:

It's from a good old friend of mine, Khorbin, who runs the new blog Geeks Incognito.

Also, I've noticed nobody has clicked on my renter for this week. Honestly, I wouldn't bother myself because it's nothing special, but if you click it then that makes me look good.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

FBI Checking License Plates

Before I discuss this issue, I'd like to note that I've posted a lot of brand new pictures on my photoblog, and they're at these locations:
Snow-covered Swing
Snow-covered Telephone Pole
Solo Conversationalist
But I've gotten into the habit of not posting these links here, so make sure to check out every day!

Yesterday I got into a discussion with someone about an interesting topic. Apparently, some protesters planned to meet at a book store somewhere in Colorado. The FBI, upon learning this, decided to run all the license plate numbers for the cars in the store's parking lot. She was, probably understandably, bothered by this. My response? Well, maybe it's a little bit 1984, but there's nothing unconstitutional about it. And I think the fact that she didn't tell me what these people were protesting gives me a bit of added clarity on the issue.

Every contra-factual situation (hypothetical) she threw at me to get me to change my mind either elicited the same response or the response that it violated the 4th or the 1st Amendment.

Think about it for a second. There is no 4th Amendment violation. The FBI isn't searching anything, in the constitutional sense. They're only looking through their own records, which they have full right to do. And they're only looking at license plate numbers that are in plain view. They're not interfering with these people's lives by stopping them, so there's no arrest or even a simple stop. So clearly the 4th Amendment isn't violated here.

One hypothetical that particularly bothered me was this: what if the FBI hides somewhere across the street and looks in your window on a full-time basis. This is incredibly bothersome, but they're not searching anything in the constitutional sense. So far as I know, SCOTUS haven't even decided to make this a violation of their generalized "right to privacy." My friend then pointed out that this is a waste of government resources, but so what? That's still not illegal, it's just stupid.

As far as the 1st Amendment, there would only possibly be a violation if the FBI was doing this with the intent of suppressing speech based on viewpoint, and even then I think you have an uphill battle if you take it to court. They have every right to find out if someone has an outstanding warrant for their arrest and to arrest them. Just because you're going to a protest doesn't protect you from crimes that you've committed. I think they also have the right to observe that some groups of speakers are more likely to have criminal records than others and to act accordingly. And they certainly shouldn't be required to blind their eyes to the fact that a particular known criminal is a member of a particular protest group, and those that associate with that criminal may be involved in a joint criminal enterprise.

Sure, I don't want the FBI tracking my every move. But that's not what's going on here. They're only picking either an arbitrary or an incredibly efficient method of looking through their own records. They could certainly look through every fifth name they have in the system, but it's more efficient to look through records when they know where a person is. I don't see any problem with the FBI goig to a Wal-Mart parking lot every day and checking every license plate there. The only way you're going to be harassed here is if you've already committed a crime. Is this a problem? I think not.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Springtime, and a New Renter

It's spring! Even though we had a lot of snow last week, nearly all of it is gone. And I know it's spring because the forsythia are starting to bloom and I saw some squirrels doing the nasty.

I also have a new renter, "Pictures from My World." It's a photoblog (yay!), and while it's not a "WOW" photoblog, the owner certainly shows some talent and it's definitely worth checking out. Click the thumbnail in the sidebar to pay them a visit!

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Crime of Rejecting Islam

There's a lot of hubbub in the news right now about a man in Afghanistan who rejected Islam in favor of Christianity. The clerics all want him executed, and apparently in that country it is a crime punishable by death.

The first thing that comes to my mind is, what kind of government did we allow to remain there? Sure, the Taliban was bad, but how much better is this?

But although I'm as outraged by the whole thing as everyone else, I can't entirely condemn the people of Afghanistan. They're scared, and understandably so. They had Westerners come into their country five years ago and shake things up, and they want to hold on to their old way of life. Islam is the one thing that unites them and it's the central fact of their lives.

The good thing? At least they don't execute people for never accepting Islam in the first place.

The worst thing? It certainly doesn't show a very strong faith when you have to use duress to keep people in the faith. And it really doesn't encourage people to convert. The only people who apparently want to convert to Islam are boxers and basketball players.

But you know what? They're no worse than a good number of Medieval Christians. They're just a few years behind us in social development, and I don't think it will be too many years before they've caught up. We should be thankful this incident is an excellent example for instruction of these people, so they can really think about the issue if they're able, or at least be forced by international pressure to spare him and let this "rejecting Islam" crime to be an institutionally unenforced law.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I didn't get this picture onto this computer in time for Halloween, and I've already been waiting too long for the next Halloween to come around. We should have at least four Halloweens every year. Anyway, this is a pic of me and some friends from my class in high school, taken my senior year (2000). I'm Ace (far left), in case you can't tell. This wasn't actually Halloween, but rather "favorite band day" during "Spirit Week," in which you were supposed to dress up as a member of a band to show your school spirit. I don't actually care for Kiss, but it was fun to dress up like them, and I know why their fans do it for their concerts. Aside from us, however, the only other person to participate was a junior high kid who went as one of the members of the Insane Clown Posse, and I won't comment any more on that.

EDIT: That smear on the left-hand side is actually from darkroom chemicals, and not part of the real picture. Make sure to clicky-clicky for a bigger version.

At the time I was dating a girl who was going to a Lutheran high school in nearby Norfolk, Nebraska. I went with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons to wait for her at the school (since we got out early that day). I was informed later that when one of the teachers saw us she started crying and thought that we were there to kill everyone like the kids at Columbine. They almost called the cops . . . . I'm not sure whether this story is funny or not.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Right (Not) to Associate

Note: new picture at FMPhoto.

Today in Constitutional Law II we will be talking about two cases involving the First Amendment right not to associate. The justification for this right is simple. If you have the right to speech and to peaceably assemble, then this right would be violated if you could not associate with others for the purposes of speech. And your ability to associate with others presupposes the ability to exclude those that you wish to exclude.

We read two cases on the subject. In the first, the Jaycees (a largely commercially-oriented organization) wanted to exclude women from voting membership in their organization. The Court upheld a state's right to force integration of the group. In the second, the Court struck down a state's attempt to force the Boy Scouts of America to allow a gay-rights activist to be a scout leader.

I agree with the result in both cases, but their methods trouble me. In both cases, the Court looked to the speech that the organizations were trying to engage in and tried to determine whether allowing state inteference would interfere with the message of the group. This appalls me. If a group is making a claim that it interferes with their speech, this should be prima facie, indisputable evidence that it does interfere with the speech of the group. If the BSA says that they disapprove of homosexuality, then you should accept that message--if only because the claim in court is a powerful First Amendment-protected message itself.

If you don't like the latter result, try to think about it from another perspective. Assume that an actively racist person is also an avowed homosexual. This gay, racist man is very active with his views, and speaks out against non-whites on a regular basis in full public view. He also wants to join the GBLT, a homosexual-rights group. The GBLT wants to exclude him because of his racist views. Would you want a court determining whether forcing the GBLT to include him would interfere with the message that the GBLT is trying to convey? I think not. The BSA case was a perfect opportunity for the Court to overturn the analysis in the Jaycees case, but they didn't take it. This was one time when stare decisis would not have been greatly offended by doing so.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Sorry, I've been gone due to the blizzard. But I did get some nifty new pictures, like this one.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Euthanasia, Part 2 (Finally)

Note: new picture up at FMPhoto.

Sorry it took so long to post this follow-up to my previous discussion of the subject. My thoughts are still somewhat all over the place on euthanasia. But here I go anyway.

Assisted Suicide

Implementation of legalized euthanasia is no easy task. What grounds for euthanasia are permissible? Who is capable of making the decision?

The easiest area to deal with (aside from passive euthanasia) is when a person decides for himself or herself to end his or her own life. But I think we all agree that suicide is more often than not a bad choice. There should be safeguards to prevent using legalized euthanasia to act out the suicidal choice of someone who is mentally unstable. Here is one process that I envision for ensuring responsible assisted suicide:
1. The person must file a petition with a court of law.
2. Interested parties must be given notice. These would include:
a. Close relatives, named in the will or otherwise, if any
b. Dependents, if any
c. Spouse, if any
d. Anyone else who would have standing to challenge the will
3. The court would appoint a psychiatrist
4. An informal trial would be held on the issue of mental capacity to choose euthanasia, as well as whether the grounds for choosing euthanasia are acceptable.

Another advantage of this system is that any challenges to the will could be litigated with the testator present to give evidence. The most important issue is often the intent of the testator, and who would be better to give evidence on that issue?

But should any grounds be acceptable? Depression by itself I think would not be enough. I think anyone amenable to legalized euthanasia would agree that painful terminal illness would be sufficient grounds. Should we otherwise limit it?

Nursing homes can cost a lot of money—about $70,000 a year. Many people, when forced into nursing homes, will first convey most or all of their property to relatives so the nursing home can’t seize all of their assets to pay for care. This makes them wards of the state. It’s quite natural, I think, for people to want to pass on their assets to their loved ones, and to keep it out of the grubby hands of the care providers. Should you be able to end your life simply to avoid these massive expenses?

What about the early onset of Alzheimer’s or some other disease? Personally, if I was diagnosed with a disease that will destroy my mental capacity, I think I would want to end it all. Paralysis is a similar situation. Many people go on from paralysis to lead very fulfilling lives, but many others simply sink into a deep depression from which they never recover. I think assisted suicide should be available in these circumstances, although if I was a legislator I may require a waiting period after onset of paralysis or some other diseases.

But these questions are relatively easy to answer. What about involuntary euthanasia?

Involuntary Euthanasia

I limit this part of the discussion to “active” euthanasia, the administering of lethal treatment rather than the denial of life-saving measures.

Should active, involuntary euthanasia ever be permissible? I established in the previous discussion on this subject that the impossibility of leading a happy life is the basic premise behind the support for euthanasia. But many people that are incapable of leading a happy life are also incapable of choosing to end that life. Examples include people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. They are very expensive (and mentally taxing) to care for, and are certainly unhappy and confused a majority of the time. Perhaps the severely retarded would also qualify, as well as possibly some others.

But the question here is, who gets to decide? We naturally loathe letting some people decide. A very rich man with Alzheimer’s may be at the mercy of the people named in his will or who would receive property through intestacy statutes. At the same time, however, those who stand to gain nothing also likely don’t know what the wishes of the person would be. And we certainly don’t want the government to decide, especially when the person’s life at issue is a life supported by the government’s treasury. Most people could handle these issues in a living will, and I think that’s probably the best option. But then there are still countless others who can’t decide for themselves. Can we trust the parents of a severely retarded child to make the right choice? Most such parents love their children without regard to any mental or physical defect. But what about the others? And when you get into this area, I think you are getting dangerously close to the issue of abortion.


This is why it took me so long to post. Note all the question marks in the post. I think it’s very difficult to answer most of these questions, and I personally don’t know how. I’m not immediately opposed to involuntary, active euthanasia, but once these questions start to pop up then sometimes my gut squirms a bit. Maybe some of you will be able to help the discussion along.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy 55th!

Check out my new renter, "Smile if You're Lying," especially if you've ever wondered why anyone (other than Tom Selleck or Alex Trebek) would grow a mustache!
Then, when you get back, check out Crane Reflection, a brand new shot up at FMPhoto.

And then, when you get back, say happy 55th birthday to Kurt Russell.
He is quite clearly the greatest actor of all time. People who still celebrate St. Patrick's Day are chumps. That's right. I went there. Instead, I recommend that you watch one of these fine movies to celebrate. You can still get drunk and puke, but green beer is out. It might give people the wrong idea. Irish beverages (such as Irish Cream, Guinness, or Jameson) are acceptable. I'm going to watch Escape from L.A. and drink to celebrate. How about you?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wisdom Teeth

Still not ready to post on euthanasia again. My thoughts are so back-and-forth on it. FMPhoto got three smacks yesterday, which is pretty good considering they usually hate everything that I like about blogs.

Today's Story

Gather 'round kids, and I'll tell you about the only drug-induced haze that your grandpa ever went through. It was the spring of 2001, when dinosaurs and VCRs still roamed the land. I was to have all my wisdom teeth removed at the same time. They gave me an absolutely wonderful mixture of anesthesia and nitrous oxide, so I giggled like a little schoolgirl before they ripped my mouth open. They also gave me some fun little pills with codeine. Can you say codeine? And it was the same day that Tool's album Lateralus came out, so I was under the influence of a mixture of many different drugs and listening to Tool's most hallucinogenic album ever. I am probably entirely unique in having this particular experience, but if you ever have to have your wisdom teeth removed then I recommend the same things. And have pudding, too. That's good stuff.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

Playing Dress-Up

The second part of the euthanasia discussion is not yet ready (perhaps tomorrow, since I'll be working at the library for the weekend). So instead I'll let you in on this.

I'm not big on people dressing up their pets, but when Lily came out of the bedroom wearing Laura's nighty, I almost crapped. We did not dress her up in it (we would have done a better job) but instead she did what many kids do: she dressed up in mommy's clothes.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Final Blog Idea . . .

. . . before I move on to something else.

As a side note, a Technorati search ranks me as third of 43 blogs tagged "law student." Nifty, huh?

Suburban Paparazzo*

You've seen celebrity blogs. And you were probably bored when you saw them, too, because the same information can be found in thousands of other places--and this information is unavoidable. "Suburban Paparazzo" is a blog with a similar premise, but instead of posting celebrity news and pictures it's all about the blogger's neighbors. To do this one right you'll need a camera with a long zoom lens so you can take shots of your neighbors in their exciting lives. Blog post titles would sound like "Dan Sutherford called in sick to work--and left the house in golfing clothes!" You'll also have to come up with mutated names for couples in your neighborhood. If Richard Salinsky is dating Elizabeth Brown, refer to them as Richabeth. Try especially hard to find the women of your 'hood going out without makeup (to prove they're no better than the rest of us) and to find cellulite.

* Don't actually do this. I'm pretty sure it's illegal and/or tortious. If you do it, I take no responsibility.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Odd Planet

Hey everyone, I have a new renter, Odd Planet. Be sure to click the link in the sidebar to get him what he payed for! His blog covers weird news events, like an Australian woman's encounter with a crocodile and a Des Moines woman's attempt to get out of paying parking tickets by faking her own death. The writing is so good that at first I thought he was plagiarising, but some of his comments dispelled that belief. Go! Go! Go! Click the thumbnail in the sidebar!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

1 in 649,740

Last night I got dealt an ace and ten in clubs. The flop: K Q J in clubs. I got a royal flush on the flop. This site says the odds of getting a royal flush in Texas Hold 'Em are 1 in 649,740. This means that you have to play 324,870 hands before you even have a 50% chance of having it. This site reports that the odds of getting struck by lightning are 576,000 to 1 (so I better watch out), and the odds of becoming President or getting killed by a falling part from an airplane are 10,000,000 to 1, so I'm not sure if I want to get 14 more royal flushes in my life. And the odds are about the same as those for drowning in a bathtub.

More Blog Ideas

Like I noted yesterday, there simply are not enough blogs out there. And I know many of you want to start a blog, but you don’t know what to write about. I’m here to help. And I think the best place to start is with other successful blog ideas, and give them a bit of a twist. Feel free to take any of these ideas (and I’d appreciate a link back).

A Taste of Heaven

Many of you may have already seen cooking blogs. They usually include recipes and pictures of the food. And I imagine that the recipes are pretty good. But the premise behind this cooking blog is a little twisted. “A Taste of Heaven” is exactly not what it says—the recipes are 90% accurate, but one of the ingredients is wrong. It could be far too much salt or Tabasco Sauce. It could be cumin or paprika where they don’t belong. Or it could include impossible instructions, like “wait until it turns golden-brown” when in fact it will never turn golden-brown. As an added bonus, it should often use expensive ingredients, like lobster or crab. That way people dump a lot of money into having a nice candlelit dinner at home, and when they bite in they get a surprise. Reading the blog itself won’t be all that funny, unless people try it out and put stuff in the comments.

A Mommy Blog

Mommy blogs are pretty popular. You don’t have to actually have kids to start one of your own. Talk about how your kids are little brats. Tell people about how you made your kids drink hot sauce when they mouthed off to you (and mouthing off could be something very small, like a single “I don’t want to”). Lock your kids in the closet. If you want them to have a happy day, tell them how you brought your kids to the bar and you passed out. If someone tells you you’re a bad mother, or a monster, just tell them that they can’t tell you how to raise your kids.

True Crime in [Your City]

Scan your local newspaper for unsolved crimes. Tell stories on your blog about how you were the one who committed the crime. Make sure to include a lot of details. On second thought, this might be obstruction of justice, so just make it up. Solicit your readers for their home addresses. Have a Paypal donation function. Post your plans for upcoming crimes. Create an entire persona for your blogger, including a photo.

The Drunk Race

Some people start blogs to follow some task that they’ve chosen. One blogger decided to collect change to see how much money he could get. Your task: start drinking. Your posts will likely be incoherent, but that will add to the realism. See how long you can stay drunk. And don’t think of death from alcohol poisoning as failure, but rather think of it as taking it to the next level. It’s dedication. (You might want to get someone to sign a liver donor contract first.)

My Gothic Hell

I started with heaven, so I end with hell. Adopt a gothic persona. Search around on MySpace for about . . . three seconds is all it should take . . . to find some gothic person who has posted pictures of themselves. Use them to identify your gothic persona. Then take little things in your life that nobody cares about and vent about them. Make them all seem like the end of the world, and everyone’s out to get you. Talk about cutting yourself. Write bad poetry. And after you develop a significant following, post a long suicide note on the blog and never post again.

Monday, March 06, 2006

So you want to be a blogger?

There's a brand new shot up at FMPhoto.

"There are some 2.8 million blogs" according to this site. I know, I know. If you're like me, you thought, "No wonder I don't have anything to do on the Internet. There isn't enough content out there to read!" Maybe there are some among you who want to help rectify the situation, but you don't know what to do. Well, I've decided to give you some suggestions for blogs that you could start without having any expertise or special knowledge, or even half a brain! I'll start the series now with the first entry.

Dr. Spurious

The best idea for a blog I have is called "Dr. Spurious." Everyone has some kind of medical advice to give, and as far as I can tell it doesn't seem that any of them are getting sued for it. I don't know if there's anything illegal or tortious about it, but Dr. Spurious would be full of dubious medical advice. You could accept questions and give people advice. Here's an example of how I envision Dr. Spurious:
Q: What's all this hubbub about washing hands? It seems lately that every fast food restaurant that hires me (briefly) has a sign in the bathroom that says "Employees must wash hands." That's a bunch of crap! What makes them think they can run my life like that?


Filthy in Delaware

A: You're right, Filthy. The modern obsession with hand-washing stems from an ancient superstition that diseases are caused by "germs," tiny creatures not unlike elves or gnomes that somehow climb into your body and wreak havoc. They are commonly depicted in Greco-Roman mythology as very small and green, and are also said to have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yeah, right! The scientific evidence in favor of this view is questionable at best. I recommend not washing your hands because dirt forms what I like to call a "health shield" that keeps out illness vibes.
You might also want to make it a little more believable, but I do wish to dissuade you from writing prescriptions. Log in tomorrow for more suggestions.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Two Links

1. I've posted a picture on FMPhoto that I never posted on this blog.
2. Pie has started a caption contest and I'm pretty proud of my entries. Check it out.

On Euthanasia, and Where I Disagree with Organized Religion

(Those atheists/agnostics who know me might enjoy my divergence from what I’ve been taught.)

Euthanasia, like capital punishment, war, and abortion, is a divisive moral issue. I haven’t heard a lot of non-Christians weighing in on the issue, but even within Christian circles different conclusions have been reached. And I know that many people (including some federal judges) don’t agree with Oregon’s statute on the issue (which allows doctors to perform assisted suicide).

We do it for our pets. Why not our parents?

We love our pets. I, for one, think that dogs are better than people. But when they get old, and can’t hold their bladders, and are in pain from cancer or can’t enjoy life anymore, then we do the merciful thing. We put them down. The day we put my first dog, Bernie, down was the saddest day of my life, but even my young mind (I was around 10 at the time) could understand that it was the humane thing to do. (I even found a web site once with a discussion on the most humane way to euthanize a goldfish—freezing or alcohol?) Now, on to Raider.

(Photo by Laura Hoffart)
Raider has been with my family for the better portion of my life (quantity and quality). He’s one of my best friends. He’s quite the character too. And at over 13 years of age (that’s 91 in dog years—98 in May) he’s still quite the happy old dog. He doesn’t have cancer to our knowledge, and he can still hold his bladder for over 12-14 hours on the odd occasion that’s necessary, despite having food and water always available. And he goes for a walk every day that the air outside is above 0 degrees Fahrenheit. But he does have some heart trouble. So when the air outside is cold, he wants a shorter walk.

I’m not looking forward to it, but when he doesn’t feel like walking anymore then it will be time. Why, when we put them down, do we do it?
1. Our dog is no longer capable of leading a happy life
2. Life is not worth living if you can’t be happy
3. THEREFORE, the humane thing to do is to euthanize him
Why is it, then, that we don’t apply the second premise to people? Is there some other premise that applies to human life than to animal life? Do we love our dogs more that we permit them to die when they can’t be happy (thereby being selfish in keeping our family members alive)? Or is it selfish euthanasia, that we don’t want our dogs around anymore when they’re not any fun? I certainly don’t think it’s the last one.

Until very recently I hadn’t come to this conclusion. Is it flawed? I don’t think so.

Do humans have an even stronger case?

Humans may have an even stronger case for euthanasia as applied to them. A mind that is more conscious of suffering, that can anticipate future suffering, is a mind that suffers more. Also, in many cases, the object of euthanasia can choose for him or herself whether to be “put down.” Whether we should ever actively euthanize a person who can’t decide (or refuse it for a person who ostensibly can) is a subject for next week.

What does religion have to say?

I put a lot of stock in what the Bible and the church have to say about moral issues. Whether you do or not it’s still useful to look to a group that’s been arguing about morality for much longer than you or I have. And when two denominations that don’t bullshit (tiptoe through the tulips/blow smoke up your butt/beat around the bush) about the issues are in disagreement, something can be learned from their division. And if there’s anything that applies differently to people than to animals, then it must have something to do with the soul, right?

Take the case of Terri Schiavo. The Catholics raised an outcry over this. Their position is that it’s immoral to commit any kind of euthanasia because it’s God who should decide when someone dies.

I was raised in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod (which is pretty big in this area). The only newspaper article I read that quoted an LCMS pastor must have found the wrong guy, because he tiptoed through the tulips. The official position of the LCMS (if I recall confirmation class correctly) on euthanasia raises a distinction between active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is what got Dr. Jack Kevorkian into the news—administering lethal treatment. The LCMS says this is wrong for the same reason the Catholics say all euthanasia is wrong, because it usurps God’s role in deciding when people should die. Passive euthanasia, on the other hand, is what happened to Terri (or rather her brain-dead body). It’s allowing a person to die of natural causes by removing or failing to administer life support. The LCMS says this is not immoral, because it’s not usurping God’s role. In fact, you might find some LCMS pastors who would say that giving “extreme” life-saving measures is usurping God’s role in life and death.

I have come to the conclusion that both churches are wrong on this issue. Why? Perhaps this has something to do with the reason many people think that God is cruel, or that there can’t be a god because he would have to be a cruel god. God doesn’t kill people! If you believe that he does, you seriously need to rethink your theology and your relationship with God, because Christianity doesn’t make any sense at all if you think God is going around killing people. (By rethinking it, I don’t mean abandoning your faith, of course, but rather seriously considering my view.) Death is a natural result of sin, in Christian theology, and God has nothing to do with sin—ergo, God has nothing to do with death.

(I’m going to e-mail this link to my pastor and see what he has to say about it. I’d hate to take a position when no one is around to champion the other side. It offends my lawerly view of the world.)

Next week: Euthanasia, part 2—I might quote you, link to you, maybe even change my position, and talk about pragmatic concerns.

And now, my usual command: Discuss!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tagged . . . again . . .

I hate to just keep plugging my favorite webcomics, but the latest PvP is funny too.

And my renter has tagged me with a meme. Make sure to click the thumb in the sidebar to check out his site! Normally I wouldn't do this kind of thing but he was nice enough to come and check out my blog when he didn't have to.

1. What were you doing ten years ago? I was an 8th grader probably reading in Electronic Gaming Monthly that Final Fantasy VII was to come out on the Playstation. I therefore resolved to buy a Playstation. And then I probably scratched myself, because, you know . . . puberty.
2. What were you doing one year ago? Worrying about my oral arguments in legal writing class.
3. Five Snacks I enjoy: Not big on snack food, but homemade chocolate chip cookies are good, as are coffee-flavored ice cream, coffee-flavored hard candy, sweet coffee-flavored drinks, and probably something else that tastes like coffee. Coffee is also a good snack food.
4. Five Songs to Which I Know All the lyrics: Just about anything by Metallica, or Godsmack, "More Human than Human" by White Zombie, "Bled for Days" by Static-X, and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."
5. Five Things I'd Do if I Were a Millionaire: Pay my student loans, build a samurai sword collection, buy a Bentley, build an expensive liquor collection, and end world peace.
6. Five Bad Habits: Biting fingenails, picking nose, binge drinking, chain smoking, and scratching crotch. Oh, wait, this was supposed to be my bad habits. Then just the first one.
7. Five Things I like Doing Travelling: Take pictures, listen to music, um, eat and . . . sleep.
8. Five things I would never wear: a corset. That's definitely out. Also high heels, crotchless panties, the pantyhose with the seam going up the back, and anything from Abercrombie & Fitch. So pretty much I'm not a transvestite.
9. Five Favorite Toys: My cell phone has a silly Texas Hold 'Em game. I own a PS2, but I haven't played it in months. Emulators on my laptop are good. I chew on strips of rawhide a lot, do those count as toys? (I find that my dogs have very good taste.) Are books toys? And if not, then what if you throw them?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Penny Arcade

These guys are great. Theoretically it's a comic about video games. But you don't have to know anything about video games to get the jokes. Take today's comic for example. Hilarious. Not only that, but Tycho has an engaging writing style on their blog, so much so that you don't have to care what he's talking about. These guys are really geniuses. It's no wonder they don't have to work for a living anymore. They just churn out three comic strips a week (even the "mainstream" comic artists have to do 7) and hire other people to run everything else.


I have a new renter! Check out Pile of Dog Bones. He has light text on a black background, but if you can get past that it's not a bad read. It's just your average personal blog where he posts quiz results and so forth, but he's kind of a thoughtful person.

Also, have a sober and demure Ash Wednesday. ("Happy Ash Wednesday" just sounds weird and completely wrong.)

Anyway, on to the point of the post. My wife is a huge American Idol fan. And of course that means that for the first time ever I am an American Idol watcher. And despite my utter hatred for pop music I like the fact that it lets me be a music critic. No, I don't vote.

I'm not going to get into my opinions on who I think is good/bad (mostly because you can make up your own damn mind about that) but I do have to say that Simon gets a bad rap. He seriously knows his shit and he's not afraid to tell the truth. Never, ever, will Paula's or Randy's back-patting help any of them. And Simon is never mean. He's just totally honest. It's not like he's "brutally" honest at all. Like he says, he does this for a living. Well, I'm sure he earns his paycheck.