Saturday, May 22, 2004

False Imprisonment of Newborns

Yet another argument in favor of giving birth at home.

My wife shocked me the other day by informing me that hospitals "won't let the new mother and baby leave" unless the party is in possession of a car seat.

I couldn't believe it. "You mean they will commit the crime of false imprisonment?", I asked. "No, they'll just call the cops.", my wife said. As usual I popped up with something my wife took to be a smartass remark, "What if you're walking home?"

One more example of the loss of our natural liberty protected by the 5th & the 14th Amendments. Professor Barnett please note.

It's a miracle I made it home from Alameda Hospital in 1951 without such an apparatus. I wonder how I survived.

It should be obvious that transporting an infant in a car without a car seat is not an inherently dangerous activity. It's only a problem if you have a crash (and if your vehicle is light enough to be affected by the crash).

By the government standard (slightly increased risk of harm), bathing the baby at home is dangerous, carrying the baby is dangerous (you might drop it), and certainly sending the baby to government schools is dangerous. Why are these acts not outlawed too?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Unlawful Law School Jokes

When I entered Law School (just as the film version of The Paper Chase was released) certain ancient jokes were fading from the curriculum. In the interest of historic preservation, these are the only ones I can remember:


Why is a tight skirt like a covenant running with the land?

Because they both bind the assignee.


Why does the Law of Torts call it the "Reasonable Man Test"?

Because there's no such thing as a reasonable woman.

[Few, today, will credit that we actually called it the Reasonable Man Test for hundreds of years.]


There was a young lawyer named Rex
who had a diminutive instrument of sex.

Charged with indecent exposure
he pleaded with composure:

De minimis non curat lex.


--Courtesy of the National Commission for the Preservation of Politically Incorrect Law School Jokes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Mirror of Justice: Bishops, Politics, and Excommunication

It's one thing for godless, atheistic, communist bloggers and other media to make theological errors in discussing Catholic Church responses to straying Catholic politicians, but it's quite another when Vince Rougeau at Mirror of Justice does it. After an excellent review of Catholic bishops promoting integration during the Civil Rights Era, he says:

it seems curious that some bishops think that a person who simply supports a candidate who is pro-choice should not receive communion. The Church has also been quite explicit in its condemnation of the Iraq war, and a substantial body of Church teaching finds preemptive war immoral. Given what has been going on in Iraq (and Abu-Ghraib is just part of the story), can a Catholic vote for George Bush? Should Catholics who are active supporters of a war the Church opposes be excommunicated?

First the bishops haven't been talking a lot about excommunication, they've been talking about the fact that those who (by their own actions) prove that they've left the church should not receive communion (since they aren't in communion). The bishops have been careful to restrict their comments to abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage because the Church has determined that those are clear evils which are never to be committed.

War and the death penalty on the other hand are permissible in some circumstances and the individual consciences of Catholics must judge their specific application.

Thus the Catechism of the Church (here and here)reads:

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion....Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

..."It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."[83]

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. ... Under no circumstances can they be approved.

on the other hand:

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. ... These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.


2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

It is clear that some things are always and everywhere evil and others are not. The Church distinguishes between them. Even secularists feel this way about different things (read PETA's stuff for example).

Now non-Catholics will not care about the Catechism but Catholics and Catholic bishops should not be thought strange if they do.

Most clubs have rules.

And one last picky point. The Bush administration has justified future preemptive war in some circumstances but Iraq is not a preemptive war. We've been at war with Iraq since January 1991 with loads of international support (including the Politburo of the Soviet Union -- remember them!) in response to their aggression against Kuwait. We signed a ceasefire with Iraq later in 1991 but they violated it immediately (by firing at aircraft) so we had the right to resume hostilities at any time.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Desire to smash a bureaucrat

Claire Wolfe expresses an understandable "Desire to smash a bureaucrat" when she encounters problems obtaining "something" from one.

I've structured my life so I rarely have to deal with petty government bureaucrats. But today I had to go take care of an ordinary little matter I've been putting off for several years -- something most folk do about once a year or so, but that I've managed to avoid until now.

I thought I had all my ducks in a row, all my information structured so that I could breeze through this process with both minimal hassle and more importantly, minimal database invasion of my very private life. Then I got there and found that the state, in its infinite nosiness, had just adopted a new paperwork requirement. Do I need to mention that it's a highly invasive paperwork requirement?

...something most folk do about once a year or so

I'm going to take a wild guess that Claire's problem involves vehicle registration. This is an easy call since persons of Claire's (and my) persuation only approach the state in a very few circumstances and car registration is the only significant contact which is usually annual.

Things to say in the course of vehicle registration (which may not get your vehicle registered but will make you feel better):

* Can't the homeless register their vehicles in this state?

* Is it the official policy of this state to discriminate against homeless persons?

* My residence has never been assigned a street address or a Rural Route number. [Works best in rural areas.]

* My parents never registered my birth with the government. They chose instead to register my birth with a genealogical organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. They felt that government birth registration was the first step to a Communist takeover of the US. In retrospect, I see that they were right.

* I don't have telephone, cable, electric, or gas service. As far as I can determine, one is not required to purchase those services.

* The telephone, cable, electric, and gas service at my residence is not in my name but in the name of another person. Is it the public policy of this state to inquire into the domestic arrangements of its residents?

* My residence does not have mail delivery (aren't government cutbacks terrible?). I receive all my correspondence at an accommodation address at my local UPS Store.

* I never obtained a Social Security number. If you read the application you will note that submitting it is not mandatory. Since it is voluntary, I chose not to volunteer.

* Since fictitious entities such as partnerships, trusts, estates, private and municipal corporations, and even the Government of the United States can register vehicles in this state without birth certificates, photo IDs, or SSNs; why can't I?

* Do you know the Great State of Mississippi manages to survive without even having a DMV. The cops handle licenses and the tax commission handles vehicles. Maybe we should try that approach.

* Maybe I should move to Iowa, New Hampshire, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, or Wisconsin where I don't have to pay off the blood-sucking insurance companies to drive my vehicle.

* How come a Saudi fresh off the plane can rent or borrow a car anywhere in North America and drive it in this state on his Saudi DL without even telling you about it but a loyal American like me has to stand in line and fill out all these nasty forms before I can do so?

* You won't register my car? Fine, I guess I'll break down and pay a lawyer to form a trust or a corporation, register the car to that entity, and then I'll drive it without telling you a thing.

* Back in 1914, my 13-year-old grandfather drove unregistered trucks on the streets of San Francisco without a driver's license (because California had no such requirements). San Francisco survived. This state would survive too.

[Check back for future additions.]

Traditional Treatment of Prisoners in the Region

Since so much interest has been shown, of late, in the treatment of prisoners in the Muslim world, I thought that you might be interested in the traditions that were in place prior to the introduction of corrupt Western practices.

My source is a fascinating work that has been on my bookshelf for many years: Under the Absolute Amir. By Frank A. Martin. For Eight Years Engineer-in-Chief Successively to the Amir Abdur Rahmam and Habibullah, and for the Greater Part of that period the only Englishman in Kabul. Illustrated by the author's drawings and photographs, and by other photographs. London: Harper & Brothers 1907. 1st ed., xii, 330pp. + plates.

It's not necessary to read the whole work. Simply reading the Table of Contents of Chapter X -- Tortures and Methods of Execution is sufficient:

Amir's iron rule--Hanging by hair and skinning alive--Beating to death with sticks--Cutting men in pieces--Throwing down mountain-side--Starving to death in cages--Boiling woman to soup and man drinking it before execution--Punishment by exposure and starvation--Scaffold scenes--Burying alive--Throwing into soap boilers--Cutting off hands--Blinding--Tying to bent trees and disrupting--Blowing from guns--Hanging, etc.

It's too bad that such rich cultural traditions have been (somewhat) replaced by oppressive Western methods of dealing with prisoners.