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Basic cousinship.

01/24/2009

Cousinship between pesons is determined by their common ancestor (the person from whom both are directly descended).

There are more complicated cousin relationships that I make no claims of understanding, but I have figured out the basic pattern for determining one’s cousinship.

A shared grandparent makes two persons first cousins.

A shared great-grandparent makes them second cousins.

A shared great-great grandparent makes them third cousins.

As long as both persons are descended in the same way, the pattern holds.

In the case of one person being fewer or more generations separated from the common ancestor, the cousin relation that would exist if both persons were related as the person with fewer generations separating him from the common ancestor, is used. To be removed means there is a generational difference. In other words, a grandchild and a great- grandchild of the same person, are related as first cousins, once removed, not second cousins, twice removed. Likewise, a person’s great-great-grandchild and great-great-great-great-grandchild are related as third cousins, twice removed.

When one person is a son to the common ancestor, the other person is always his nephew/niece, then grand nephew/niece, then great-grand nephew/niece, and son on.

Hopefully, if I was clear and concise enough, the pattern can be recognized, and fewer people will need to refer to cousin charts to understand how they are related if they only know who their common ancestor is.

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My thoughts on the Gitmo detainees.

01/21/2009

Many of the detainees have never been charged, and some, it seems many, remain detained by weak, difficult to even obtain for review and challenge, evidence.

The fact that some released detainees have resumed, or perhaps begun for the first time, maybe as a consequence of their improper, where applicable, detainment, their terrorist activities, does not convict the remaining Gitmo detainees. Granted, there is a higher probability of guilt among said detainees than exists for the average person, but, nevertheless, greater than average probability without fair trials to present them in, does not prove guilt. Evidence of what they might do is less important than strength of evidence for what they’re accused of doing, as the latter is needed to support the validity of the argument for the former.

Furthermore, weak evidence itself undermines the security necessity argument for indefinite detainment. Assumptions that the remaining detainees will do as whatever percentage of the released detainees who committed acts of terrorism have, is an insufficient reason for indefinite detainment. It is cruel and unusual; excessive.

Some of you want to argue that the Constitution does not apply to the detainees. I’m not a scholar on the subject. I’m not going to make claims as to what it covers, whether it’s citizens only, or any persons within the US, and I’m not making any contentions on whether Gitmo is US soil and therefor covered by the Constitution of the United States, though I think the Courts have established thus far that it is. But I am going to put forth this analogy: If your children were in the same situation as some of the detainees, your natural inclination would not be to say that all of the rights of the Constitution (which many of you would proclaim to be God-given and merely acknowledged in the Constitution) which are meant to protect people from injustices, et al, are the exclusive “privilege” of the Americans, but to adamantly contend they, at least some of them, are the humane principles which should apply to all peoples, especially your son, daughter, what have you, because it would be an injustice for them not to be. Were you a non-American parent, would you say, “screw my son, if the Americans claim he’s dangerous, that’s good enough for me. Afterall, I don’t need to see the evidence supporting his detainment; it’s the Americans who have him”?

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Joe the Plumber wants you to know:

01/12/2009

Ignorance is patriotic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDlst03I3lk

That’s the interpretation I have of this. Frankly, disagreeing makes you a terrorist loving, baby murderer. How did babies get into this, and how am I murderer, you ask? Stop asking questions, you whore for Hamas!

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Re: To Alan Colmes, et al, and his bringing up of the subject below (see link).

12/25/2008

http://www.alan.com/2008/12/22/saudi-court-prohibits-8-year-old-from-divorcing-58-year-old-husband

By his bringing this subject up, I have to question Alan’s fairness and consistency.

I recognize some of the callers to his show who complain about Muslims, whether in reference to specific Muslims or all Muslims, and the part(s) of the Quran wherein is mentioned Muhammed’s relationship(s) with an underage, at least by the current standards held by much, I hope most, of the world, female(s), are bigots, but the validity of Alan’s common responses (as I recall them) are unaffected by the fact of him not being a bigot, and not dependent on any bigotry existent in any of the callers to whom he is responding.

Alan’s responses to these callers are:

A., to mention that similar, or equally as offensive, examples of personal impropriety can be found in the Bible, etc;

B., to point out that not all aspects of Islam are followed literally, (which is the same case with Christians, etc., and their following of their religions’ doctrines), with the purpose of undermining the credibility of the caller, should he be religious and imperfectly following his religion, to complain about the existence of actions which most Muslims don’t follow.

The validity of each aspect of the above two rebuttals is beyond my scope to comprehend, and I admit to believing they are probably factual, on the basis of how I believe human behavior to be, and my own, albeit small, knowledge of religious writings. But I also recognize the logical fallacy of their use as rebuttals of callers’ resolutions against Muslims and, or, Islam: In both cases, the resolutions are avoided, not directly challenged, with the exception of the pronouncement that most Muslims do not engage in the morally questionable behavior which exists in the Quran. But all of that is the least of what’s bothering me.

What bothers me is that Alan has brought up a subject which he would criticize his callers for doing, apparently on the basis of their supposed hypocrisy, and false assumptions about Muslims. But it’s not clear to me how the appropriateness of the subject in question is made null if his callers bring it up, even if most or all of them are hypocrites and bigots, but not if Alan does. Does the supposed difference in intent make the subject only proper for one side to bring up? Some would say yes, but I contend that the ethical nature of a given behavior is not contingent on the moral character of the person who brings it up for scrutiny.

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This are be another comment turned it is to this here blog post.

12/22/2008

http://www.alan.com/2008/12/21/biden-isnt-asking-cheney-for-vp-advice/

I believe Mason’s contending that if excluding religious expression is, or can be reasonably inferred as, an unconstitutional respecting of the included religion, singling out one religion for ridicule in a place funded by government, i.e., tax payers, implies the same sort of unconstitutional respecting of the religions not so derided.

She has an interesting argument, though the apparent partiality present in both cases is more relevant in the case of courts of law, since its existence is more detrimental to our right to a fair trial, whereas partiality in the other case is mainly of the personal offense variety, and can understandably be seen as an ethically improper use of tax payers’ dollars.

The greater difficulty in determining whereat there may be allowances for religious expressions, comes in deciding the propriety of Nativity scenes, and such, on open public lands, as allowing them does imply favoritism for Christianity, but not partiality of the kind which can be seen as evidence of probable corruption against non Christian persons, as is more likely the case if it and other Christian religious symbols are in courts of law, etc. But the opennesss of such scenes implies also cultural favoritism, not just religious, as it is promotional, by its very presence, of a single religion, hence the need for myriad religions to be represented, a task probably easier accepted than done. If the culture presents itself as Christian, those who are not, may respond by repressing themselves in order to not offend the apparent majority.

I don’t believe funding of museums by government or, as the source of government revenue, us, gives it carte blanche to prevent expressions of the “offensive” variety from being showcased in museums, as such places have the express purposes of being both places of historical learning, and of artistic expression, and are not placed into the nearly unavoidable view of some of the public, among which may be many person who are disapproving of the presence of Christian symbols on lands which they might well see as places where there should be neutrality on the matter of religion. Whether there should even be government/tax payer funding of museums is a matter I’m presently undecided on, though I lean in favor of it, mainly for the loss to our culture.

So long as government does not try to exlude art which speaks directly in favor of Christianity or in opposition to other religions, it, by not abusing the authority it assumes to be conferred upon it by virtue of its partial, even full, funding of museums, and by allowing the free expression of artists therein, does not violate the constitutional clause against respecting an establishment of religion. This is so because the free expression of the people, which may not also be assumed as the expression of government, superceeds any implied religious favoritism, or disfavoritism, implied by its allowance.

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The German Fuck You Principle

12/20/2008

More stories where part of Europe shows itself to have delusions of enlightenment.

“Ex-German Terrorist Walks Free After 26 Years in Prison”

“[Christain]Klar has been in prison since his arrested on
Nov. 16, 1982. Ten years later, he was sentenced to six concurrent life
sentences, as well as individual 15-year, 14-year and 12-year sentences.”

“German law is based on the principle of
rehabilitation and it is very common for convicted murderers to serve
less than 20 years for life sentences. Several other former members of
the Red Army Faction have also been released.”

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,470284,00.html

You may recall that, for a time, the maximum Josef Fritzl could have gotten for his apparent crimes, was 15 years.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,353338,00.html.

That included considering the forced imprisonment, rape, etc., of his daughter. His case, though, is set in Austria.

Recently, Austrian prosecutors were able to charge him with murder, a crime for which he could get life, if convicted. Given that Fritzl’s in his 70s, while a life sentence would be right in principle, I must concede that it’s a moot point to argue that he should serve more than 20 years, let alone life, in prison. It’s also moot because he’ll probably be released withing 10 years, even if he’s convicted on multiple charges.

At this time, I’m not able to find a story which says exactly when the murder charge was made, but I am quite certain it did not happen at the beginning of the coverage of the case. Back then, 15 years was the maximum allowable sentence for the other crimes Fritzl’s alleged to have committed.

There are also two cases of German women convicted of killing their children, ranging in ages from infant to 2 years.

In the more recent case, the woman, Monika Halbe “. . . was sentenced to four years and three months in prison by the court in the western town of Siegen.’ Also mentioned in the article is the other case, where the German ‘…woman in eastern Germany was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing eight of her babies.”

“She had buried them in flower pots and a fish tank in the garden of her parents’ home near the Polish border.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7759055.stm

There’s also this story, which I haven’t read in full yet, but I did see this at a glance.

“The twin horrors have many Austrians wondering if their justice system is harsh enough on society’s most outrageous offenders.”

Let us learn of the harshness that is the Austrian justice system.

“Although both Wagner and Leidolf were convicted of murder in the
1983-89 slayings at Vienna’s Lainz Hospital and sentenced to life
imprisonment, in Austria that maximum penalty typically means 15 years
of incarceration. Like other European nations, Austria does not have
the death penalty.”

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/17/news/Austria-Nurse-Killings.php

I’m not a death penalty proponent. In fact, I’m against it. I was even against the hanging of Saddam Hussein, but the aforementioned German principle on rehabilitation of murderers, despite the heinousness of their crimes, and the pattern of 15 years as the actual time most people sentenced to life imprison will face if convicted in Austria, according to the above link, speaks terribly to what at least two European nations’ concepts of justice are.

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If Iraq becomes a liberal, even stable, democray, it will prove Bush as one of the great U.S. Presidents

12/18/2008

Wrong.

That will only prove Bush was correct about its possibility

It won’t prove the war was justified.

It won’t invalidate the greater global opinion against this war.

Are those who doubt the security based necessity of going into Iraq supposed to be silent?

Are those who think genuine democracy can only be created from within, not imposed by violent means from without, supposed to declare that the ends justify the means, and accept a stable democracy as the same thing as a liberal democracy?

Nevermind trying to convince the world of the international security based necessity of going into Iraq, let’s just have them think it’s justified by the democracy that’s been created there.

Hell, why even have a reason to believe a country is a viable threat to the world, even itself? Why don’t we just throw darts at a world map and democratize the first nation which isn’t already one?

This isn’t about how great an accomplishment it will be for Bush if Iraq becomes a successful liberal democracy, this is about post rationalizing an uneccessary war and praising Bush for it.