Wednesday, February 22, 2006

pet euthanasia and capital punishment

Is there any doubt that the injections used to put sick dogs and cats to "sleep" are essentially painless? If so, a lot of pet owners would want to know it. If not, would that be a simpler approach than the multi-stage "lethal injection" for condemned humans, now the subject of several court cases?

Related question: why do states insist that lethal injections be administered by the one group -- medical professionals -- whose code of ethics prohibits doing harm? I suppose it'd be impractical to have "executioner" as a non-medical technical career -- there wouldn't be enough work to keep anyone fully employed. One hopes.

Meme: pet names for pets

I'm sure we're not the only family that gives pet names to pets. Our dog is "Sweet doggy-dog" to one, "Puppalicious creature" to another.... Anyone care to confess to any such?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Jihadists and Greens -- room for temporary alliance?

My husband, the Hoosier Gadfly, now and then comments that environmental extremists are the greater enemy, but that it appears we'll have to deal with Islamic jihadists first. It occurred to me this morning that there is some possibility we'll at some point be dealing with them simultaneously. If bin Laden and Saddam Hussein could contemplate some mutual assistance, despite fundamental differences in their world views, then mightn't these two groups, both of whom are deeply suspicious of scientific and technological progress (though willing to use same for their own purposes), both of whom are nostalgic for eras several centuries past, find ways to help each other out in the short term?

I am more worried than I used to be about the worldwide vigor of an Islam that wishes not to tolerate various democratic freedoms. The chance that environmental extremists will try to tap that energy or benefit from it in some way may not be huge, but it exists.

Climb in and stay a while

This morning my husband and I and younger daughter had the day off, and my older daughter did not. And it was very cold out. So in addition to getting up and making sure she made it out the door to the school bus, I drove her there and waited until the bus came. (This is harder to do when I have to get ready to take daughter #2 to school.) Then I came home and got back into bed, and spent some time contemplating beds, sleep, sleeping positions, expensive mattresses we don't have that may be very comfortable, etc. One thing that occurred to me is that most of the pleasure of getting into bed (leaving out any sexual possibilities) comes from knowing you'll be allowed to stay there for a while. It's an anticipatory pleasure. Having a young child or (as in our case) puppy in the household makes the prospect of staying in bed somewhat iffy.

Monday, February 06, 2006

OK, Mr. Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt asks bloggers who are discussing the cartoon controversy to answer the questions: "Are we at war with Islam? Do you want a war with Islam?" He goes on, "My answers and the answers of any sensible person ought to be 'no,' and 'no.' "

It may be almost that simple, but not quite. We are not at war with Islam in general in anything like the sense that we are at war with radical Islamic jihadism. But if Islam, in some monolithic general way, requires an end to any political commentary that could offend religious sensibilities, then it seems we are or should be at war with that demand. Using the term "at war" in this context is unnecessarily inflammatory -- unless it turns out that the Islamic world as a whole takes this demand seriously enough to condone and organize violence in support of it. I hope and so far believe that this is not the case. But let us stay tuned.

Iranian nukes, space shuttles, and the Cold War

An article in some MSM today, I forget which, indicated that many people are shrugging their shoulders and saying that well, the Iranians will get nukes sooner or later. They're counting on the roomier estimates of when, and hoping that something lucky happens by then to change the Iranian leadership or its intentions.

This is a continuation of Cold War thinking. It's a "well, we've lived with nukes this long..." approach. The difference is that it's hard to deter people who think that glorious destruction of self and populace is a good second best to glorious victory, with either outcome highly acceptable to Allah. It also reminds me of the thinking that contributed to both space shuttle disasters. Each time, those dealing with the shuttle got used to seeing certain anomalies. They weren't per spec, they weren't supposed to happen, but they kept happening and the shuttle kept making it home. Rather than blessing their good luck while feverishly trying to solve the problem before next launch, they redefined what was acceptable to include the anomalies -- since, after all, they hadn't caused any problems so far. (I'm oversimplifying, but it's that or never get it written.) (And no readers will explode as a consequence, at least not literally.)

Wake-Up Calls

The latest eruption of militant Islamic intolerance, this time over the cartoons featuring Mohammed, has served as a much-needed wake-up call to many in Europe. I won't exactly say "Ain't it great?" about intimidation and arson, but the impact these events have had, and the refusal of many European media to roll over submissively, is a nice silver lining, to say the least. Of course, not everyone wakes to a wake-up call; some just mutter a rejection of unpleasant reality and keep sleeping.

I was ready to blast the State Department for failing to defend and explain freedom of speech, but it does seem that the higher-ranking spokesfolk did do some of that, and that the reporting here at home re State Department statements has been (once again) misleading. See this post at the Volokh Conspiracy, and the discussion currently at the top of the Media archive page at Right Wing Nuthouse, entitled "More Lazy Reporting from the Media". However, as Instapundit noted, "this was not a time for nuance." Or at least not for confusion and internal contradiction. One can acknowledge that some might be offended, and still not suggested that the world would be better if everyone trod too carefully to cause such offense.

After I'd already drafted some of this post, my husband, the Hoosier Gadfly, sent me the link to this article at RealClear Politics, which semi-scoops my conceit of a wake-up call. So I'm being fair and linking to it....

Friday, February 03, 2006

T-shirts are one way to petition government

I more or less detest Cindy Sheehan, despite the magnitude of her loss, but it was outrageous of the Capitol cops to disturb her, let alone arrest her, because she wore a T-shirt with a political message. It was delightful karmic retribution that the same force then had to figure out what to do about a T-shirt with a less disagreeable political message, worn by the wife of (so I read) an influential member of Congress.

Note to everyone connected in any way with any branch of government or law enforcement: the First Amendment specifically protects "the right of the people . . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." If a law enforcement officer has occasion to shout "Protester!" when spotting a political T-shirt, it should be in respectful recognition of a citizen exercising this basic right -- saying "Right on!", if you will.