Speaking of Older Matters:

While looking back for those older posts, I came across my first post on "Fitzmas." I wrote:

Indictments are, as everyone knows, proof of nothing except the prosecutor's intentions. The actual trial, at which a defense is permitted, is the point at which real information is likely to emerge. I have known real-world indictments that were dropped entirely without trial, and the prosecutor forced to apologize, once the defense lawyers got involved and began to unmake the case. This prosecutor, however, seems unlikely to have made gross errors of the sort that lead to such a situation.

My basic principles about government-official indictments remain the same:

1) A desire to defend the weaker party, which wants to see the matter resolved in the favor of the innocent whenever an innocent man is threatened by the state's power.

2) A desire to see corruption in government restrained, which desires to see the matter resolved by hurling any guilty men into the dungeon in this case. This is true whether "the guilty" is Delay, or the prosecutor, should the prosecutor in fact be engaged in a political prosecution.
Looks like principle #1 was the governing one. Also, I was wrong about Fitz being a good prosecutor: though I was right that the indictment shows nothing except the prosecutor's intent.

Too bad about Fitz. He was a good official, once.

thanks to GOP

Thanks to the Grand Old Party:

Mark Noonan of GOP Bloggers wrote to ask me to guest blog over there. I had to decline, of course, because I am a Democrat. It was nice of them to offer, though, and I wish to express my gratitude for the kindness of their words regarding the content of this site.

As to which content, allow me to post a few links explaining why I remain a Democrat. In brief, it is because it is too high and fine a heritage to surrender.

On Kelo.

On James Jackson.

"Both Barrels, and the Bowie Knife."

No offense, lads. But I was born a Democrat, and mean to die one.

The Smell of Death

The Smell of Death:

I have posted a philosophical piece at Winds of Change. It may be of interest to some of you. It's rather long, though, which doesn't work well on a Blogger blog.

Friday Laugh

We've a new "flex-time" option at work... so I decided to head out on Friday, and take care of some things at the University of Houston. While I was there, I decided to declare my minor. I had in my mind either English or Military Science... so I went and spoke with the English department... easy enough, fill out the paperwork and get it stamped. Then I headed over to the Military Science building, walked into the Army ROTC office and was told the Major was out to lunch. That was no big deal, I needed lunch myself... but I decided to walk into the Air Force ROTC building and get the low-down on their military science program. I was promptly told by the Air Force Sergeant that they were not military science and that I needed to speak to the Army.

So there was my Friday laugh.

RV Send

Russ Vaughn Sends:

Russ has a piece for you calling defense contractors to charity. It's worth some attention. I don't know to what degree a corporation is morally required to perform charity of any sort -- they are legal persons, it's true, but unlike real persons, a corporation is amoral and meant to be so. Its moral effects are felt, as Adam Smith reminds us, in the good that arises naturally from people pursuing their own ends.

Nevertheless, these contractors make their living on government dollars, which means that their profits are extorted from us all. We each, therefore, have a claim on what they do with the money -- unlike with truly private corporations, whose monies are their own, earned in the market.

So, give it a read, and see what you think.

Croc Hunter

On the Death of the Crocodile Hunter:

I saw (via InstaPundit) that the "Crocodile Hunter," whom I learned was really named Steve Irwin, died after an encounter with a sting ray. Austin Bay has some words for the event, with which I find I entirely disagree. He portrays Steve Irwin as some sort of haunted figure, suffering from some dark inner need:

In the komodo dragon show I thought Irwin crossed the line from skilled showmanship to inexcuseable thrill-seeking – wagered mortality is tantalizing, but adds a queasy, dark twist to a family program. I told my wife “I wonder if this guy (Irwin) has a death wish?”

If my comments on the komodo dragon show seem a bit harsh, understand I’ve watched it a half-dozen times. I’ve gaped with the rest of the circus audience.

But I may never watch it again. Irwin died over the weekend, died while filming at-close-quarters another dangerous species. The poisoned barb of a sting ray put a hole in his heart.... [It was a] violent, unnecessary death.

Irwin was idiosyncratic, personable, enthusiastic, informed, and physically courageous. That’s a lot to admire. But what drove him to get too close one too many times?
I myself have seen only one episode of "The Crocodile Hunter," one time -- precisely because I can't stand some of the qualities Austin Bay admires. What he found enthusiastic and personable, I found irritating and noisy.

That said, Irwin may have been the least dark, haunted figure in easy memory. He got close to those animals because he loved them. That is the same reason he read all he could about them, and loved to tell others about them.

Far from a death wish -- a wish easy to fulfill, if it is genuine! -- Irwin seems to me to have had a real love of life and of the world into which he was born. It is a dangerous world, but he refused to be afraid of it. He embraced that world as he found it, and if it killed him, well, it's going to kill all of us, too.

So, no, it wasn't an unnecessary death: he was already going to die. So are you.

It was a violent death, but so what? Violent is not a synonym for bad. Do you really want to die from organ failure in some hospital, or after some lingering illness? If not, you've really only got two options: die suddenly from a heart attack or other quick-acting cause, or die violently.

An argument can be made that a family man has a duty to survive, as long as survival is honorable, in order to provide for his family. Well, I don't doubt that Irwin had laid plenty of investments, so that his family is protected from ruin. His death will surely cause them grief, but so would his death from a heart attack. We aren't entitled to have those we love around forever, any more than we are entitled not to die.

A serious engagement with the deepest philosophical questions in life suggests to me that Irwin lived exactly the right way. He was an adventurer, and if I found his television manner impossible to tolerate, I admire everything else about the man. May I die the same way: engaged in experiencing, and loving, the world into which I was born.

Not fearing death is not the same thing as wishing for it. Neither is it dark. It is the right and proper attitude: the one to which the sages and the religions alike counsel us, and which martial art and meditation both seek to create.

The Crocodile Hunter got that, got all of it. Good for him!


Podcast with Abizaid:

The Saint Petersburg Times has an audio interview with CDRUSCENTCOM General John Abizaid. You can download it, or listen to it from the website.

The general emphasizes cautious optimism on Iraq, with a focus on steady progress. However, he also warns that most of what remains to be done has to be done by the Iraqi people themselves -- and if they choose not to, but prefer sectarian conflict, we cannot hope to stabilize Iraq in spite of them. He also warns against US public pessimism arising from negative press reporting in the news cycle.

It's a quick interview, with nothing surprising, but it is good to hear the General expressing confidence.

Geek Grendel

Terror House II:

The actual description of Geek with a .45's trip to Hungary's Terror House is posted. You can, and you should, read it here.


Terror House:

The Geek w/ A .45's series on his trip to Budapest takes a turn from the celebratory to the horrific. All the same, this piece deserves to be read.