Thursday, April 17, 2008



Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness. . .

Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, you're straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

- Emily Dickenson


"Simply because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of 'objectively intolerable risk of harm' that qualifies as cruel and unusual," wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Roberts, of course, is Catholic. As are a total of 5 of the 9 justices now on the bench, 7 of whom gave the thumbs up to the continued use of a three-drug cocktail in order to kill citizens convicted of capital crimes. That, despite plaintiffs arguments that "if the first drug does not work, the second induces a 'terrifying, conscious paralysis' and the third causes an 'excruciating burning pain as it courses through the veins.'" Of course, the Catholic Church strongly opposes all such state-sponsored executions. Yet all 5 of the Catholic justices joined the majority decision to end a temporary national moratorium on state-sponsored killing of criminals. All on the very same day the Pope came to D.C.

Two consumer groups asked the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday to create a "do not track list" that would allow computer users to bar advertisers from collecting information about them. The Consumer Federation of America and the Consumers Union also urged the FTC to bar collection of health information and other sensitive data by companies that do business on the Internet unless a consumer consents. . . In December, the FTC approved Google's purchase of advertising rival DoubleClick over the objections of some privacy groups. At the same time, the agency urged advertisers to let computer users bar advertisers from collecting information on them, to provide "reasonable security" for any data and to collect data on health conditions or other sensitive issues only with the consumer's express consent.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has denounced Harvard University for photographing protesters at a political rally last month near Harvard Square during which university police arrested two people. Officials at the ACLU also want Harvard to explain why an undercover officer was taking photographs at the rally, what the university intends to do with the photos, and whether it is sharing information with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces, as have universities around the country. . . In a statement, Joe Wrinn, a Harvard spokesman, said the university is not participating with the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and that it does not have a political intelligence unit or an undercover unit.

Two men were found guilty of harassing a dolphin when they frolicked in the sea with it after leaving a party in the early hours of the morning. Michael Jukes, 27, and Daniel Buck, 26, were found guilty of intentionally or recklessly disturbing a wild animal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Dover magistrates court heard how the pair had "touched and stroked" Dave the dolphin as they went for a late-night swim at Sandgate, near Folkestone, Kent, in June last year. . . The two men said they had not realised they were doing anything wrong in swimming with Dave, and even thought the animal had "enjoyed itself" as much as they had done. The presiding magistrate, John Offord, said a number of experts confirmed the dolphin's normal pattern of behavior was disturbed and troubled by the defendants' actions in the sea.

The cabinet of Spain's re-elected socialist government was sworn in with women forming a majority for the first time. . . The nine women in the 17-strong cabinet include Carme Chacon, 37, who is seven months pregnant and Spain's first female defence minister. She immediately pledged to boost the number of women in Spain's armed forces, which first allowed female members in 1988.

Spain and Italy were embroiled in a war of words after Silvio Berlusconi criticised his Spanish counterpart for appointing so many women to his cabinet. In one of the first interviews after being elected Italy's prime minister for the third time, Mr Berlusconi attacked Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government, describing it as "too pink. . . Mr Berlusconi, who won a sweeping victory in this week's election, told Italian state radio: "Zapatero has formed a government that is too pink, something which we cannot do in Italy because there is a prevalence of men in politics and it isn't easy to find women who are qualified for government." His comments caused outrage in Spain as the new parliament was inaugurated by King Juan Carlos. . . Magdalena Alvarez, the infrastructure minister in the Socialist government [said] "Many of us women would never belong to a government headed by Mr Berlusconi," she said.

A poll by EPIC-MRA in Michigan shows McCain 46 percent, Clinton 37 percent and Nader at ten percent. With Obama in the race, the poll shows Obama at 43, McCain at 41 and Nader at eight percent.. . . A Fox poll last month showed that about one in seven voters - 14 percent - say they would "seriously consider" voting for Ralph Nader.

Every year, on April 19th, Project Laundry List joins together with hundreds of organizations from around the country to educate communities about energy consumption. National Hanging Out Day was created to demonstrate how it is possible to save money and energy by using a clothesline. For many people, hanging out clothes is therapeutic work. It is the only time during the week that some folks can slow down to feel the wind and listen to the birds. Consistent use of clotheslines or drying racks can save the average household much more than a hundred dollars every year in energy bills. . . Some communities prohibit clotheslines, ostensibly, for aesthetic reasons. National Hanging Out Day is a time to protest such draconian covenants. In some states, "Right to Dry" legislation is being introduced to override these restrictive community regulations that ban the use of clotheslines.

"President Bush also told the pope that he has prayed every single day since he became president. Hey, since Bush became president, we've all prayed every single day." -- jay Leno

No one died during 2007 in accidents among larger scheduled U.S. airlines and smaller commuter aircraft, and deaths in private plane accidents dropped to 491, their lowest total in more than 40 years, the government reported.


At April 17, 2008 4:29 PM, Blogger xilii said...

The pope's visit also provided one of the few times when you could hear "Jesus Christ" and "God help us" in Nationals Park without a baseball game in progress.

At April 17, 2008 4:45 PM, Anonymous robbie said...


At April 18, 2008 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't be holding my breath waiting for Ratzinger to excommunicate the Supremes whose votes went against church policy.



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