July 31, 2006


Fun with Screenshots

...If anyone notices odd links to news stories on this site, I’m going to be experimenting with an idea that Legally Insane gave me. Instead of linking directly to the Websites, I’m linking to screenshots of the sites which I’ve uploaded to another Blogger account (each account is limited to 300MB, and the screenshots can be around 180KB, so a second account should prove useful). The URL can be seen in each screenshot, so you can go to the URL if you want to read the full story if it happens to be cut off on the screenshot.
...The main reason that I’m doing it is because news links have a tendency to disappear after a certain amount of time. The secondary reason is that perhaps these screenshots will be able to bypass any search engine filters that might be used in other countries.

July 28, 2006


Intermittent Responsibility Disorder

Robert Lee Vincent, Sr.

...I’m not planning on making it a habit to turn Faint Expectations into a clearinghouse of wanted posters, considering how many wanted criminals there are in this country, but when I came across this story I quickly realized that the perpetrator in question might have a solid defense.
...Law enforcement officials in Gaston, North Carolina, have issued a murder warrant for Robert Lee Vincent, Sr., of Garysburg. Vincent is wanted for allegedly murdering a 12-year-boy after the boy’s father and Vincent had engaged in a verbal altercation along the side of a North Carolina highway. While the men were arguing, the little boy and his mother stepped out of the family’s vehicle hoping that it might calm the situation. Instead, Vincent allegedly grabbed a shotgun from his pick-up and shot the 12-year-old in the head.
...It might be argued that Vincent was the real victim in this incident, since it was announced in early June that people who might otherwise be said to have “road rage” and need to take responsibility for their actions are actually victims themselves, suffering from “intermittent explosive disorder,” which affects 16 million Americans, according a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
...In early June, Dr. Emil Coccaro, the chairman of psychiatry at the University of Chicago’s medical school, said, “People think it’s bad behavior and that you just need an attitude adjustment, but what they don’t know…is that there’s a biology and cognitive science to this.”
...Ronald Kessler, a health care policy professor at Harvard Medical School, added, “It is news to a lot of people even who are specialists in mental health services that such a large proportion of the population has these clinically significant anger attacks.”
...What’s the condition called when a person becomes frustrated by seeing a new disorder diagnosed whenever someone perpetrates an irresponsible or criminal act? Moreover, is there a name for the condition of thinking that intermittent explosive disorder is a convenient way for the pharmaceutical companies to market a new drug and have psychiatrists prescribe it?
Sources: WRAL, MSNBC

July 27, 2006



...Microsoft helps to block anti-government blogs in China; Google censors its search engine there; Yahoo! turns over user information to Chinese authorities—including two journalists who were eventually prosecuted.
...These stories have been in the news for several months, and more recently Amnesty International has released a report entitled Undermining Freedom of Expression in China: The Role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google, which offers 32 pages with a scope from freedom of expression in general to the role of Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google.
...Over the last few weeks I’ve internally debated my role in the censorship issue, as my blog host is Blogger: a Google affiliate. I’m a huge supporter of free speech, but has my use of Blogger facilitated the growth of Google, helping them to gain a foothold in China, and ultimately helped to imprison two journalists who were guilty of one thing: harboring dissent and talking about it?
...To ask bluntly, have those of us who use Blogger, MSN Spaces, and Yahoo! 360° essentially helped to put these people behind bars for engaging in an act which those of us in the United States take for granted?
...Or is this just our ability to take advantage of our situation, whereas those in China aren’t as fortunate? We live in a country where we can criticize our local, state, and federal governments; we live in a country where we can criticize asinine laws and illegal pay raises; we live in a country where we can debate issues in an effort to come to some kind of solution. Even if a solution is never attained, we have the right to vent our dissent and not have to worry about facing the possibility of winding up behind bars.
...Are these nothing more than examples of why we should consider ourselves some of the luckiest people on the face of the Earth? Are they examples which lend themselves to suggest that we should criticize the Chinese government instead of Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft? After all, it could be argued, these companies aren’t the ones making the laws—they’re only obeying them.
...With that said, it could also be argued that users of Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft have helped to aid and abet in the silencing of voices which have raised crucial questions and offered pertinent criticism. Have we indirectly helped to put them where they are now? After all, no one forced these companies to take advantage of the growing Chinese economy.
...I don’t have an answer, which is why I referred to this as my dilemma in the comments section of the previous post. I’m usually unwavering in my beliefs, but this one has me torn. Is it because I don’t want to feel guilt knowing that I use at least one service from each of these companies, or is it because I realize that I’m extremely lucky to be a citizen of a country which has better free speech guidelines and other countries have censorship levels that might never change—no matter which company sets up shop there?

July 26, 2006


War for Peace

...In late January, former CNN NewsNight anchor Aaron Brown discussed the state of television news and feedback from viewers. As an example, he mentioned an e-mail which was sent to him by a peace protester who disliked the “inadequate” coverage by Brown and NewsNight of an anti-war march that had been held in Washington. The e-mailer explained, “I hope the violence visited on the people of Iraq will someday be visited on your children.”
...Yesterday in Australia, Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams, giving a speech to schoolchildren, proclaimed, “Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.” The children cheered.
...Apparently this “war for peace” idea is catching on. Even the peace movement likes it.

July 24, 2006


Crooked Grind

(Photo by Cara Grae Meling)

...In a recent “This I Believe” segment on NPR’s All Things Considered, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk discusses being proud of his career and also describes how skateboarding is viewed by many people who aren’t members of the skateboarding community: “It was a kids’ fad, a waste of time, a dangerous pursuit, a crime.”
...While Mr. Hawk probably didn’t break any laws throughout his skateboarding career, it’s necessary to say that many people view skateboarding as a crime only when it’s perpetrated in a criminal manner. And yes, those of us who choose to live in the real world are fully aware that skateboarders have committed crimes—namely vandalism and trespassing, but sometimes worse.
...A few months ago a new Subway was erected in my hometown. As soon as the cement was dry on the steps and ramp leading to the front door, several local skateboarders made sure that they had christened it by riding their skateboards over it, grinding their wheels into the steps and leaving chunks behind for the owner to pick up the bill. The local police had to patrol more than usual just to make sure that the kids weren’t destroying more of the private property.
...In June, a town a few miles away was the scene of a similar situation, where a new woodworking shop was built, complete with a brand new set of steps and lengthy ramp—almost identical to the local Subway. Before you knew it, that town’s skateboarders decided to lay claim to those steps, leaving chunks of concrete in their wake, too.
...Finally, as I had mentioned earlier, sometimes skateboarders do things that are worse than vandalism, and unfortunately this time it hit closer to home than I could have imagined. Three years ago, a family member’s high school friend had been experiencing routine problems from three skateboarders in his neighborhood. His house had a large brick wall in front of the sidewalk with steps to one side leading to the home, and the three skateboarders had decided to call the brick wall their own, using it for tricks and destroying it a little more each time that they used it. He and his wife had been growing frustrated with threatening to call the cops, and even when they did call, the kids would make sure that they were out of the area by the time that the cruiser rolled by.
...Then one day things took a turn that he hadn’t expected. It was another afternoon when the three kids were using his brick wall as a ramp, loosening a few bricks and knocking out a few more. This time he decided to let them know, face-to-face, that their parents would be getting a bill for the repairs to the wall, and that he had called the police yet again. What happened next, no one would have predicted.
...One of the kids picked up his skateboard and used it to sucker-punch the homeowner, leaving him unconscious on the ground with a fractured skull and broken jaw. No one was sure if he would recover, but over time he has.
...None of the kids were prosecuted because the homeowner’s memory had been affected by both the blow to the head from the skateboard and the fall to the ground. The only witness didn’t see the actual attack—only the kids running away from the scene (and it wasn’t even enough to make a positive identification).
...It should not be assumed that I’m suggesting that all skateboarders break the law. Instead, I’m suggesting that an unusually high percentage of skateboarders are willing to break the law—mostly by trespassing and vandalism, some much worse—and thus give the rest an extremely bad image.
...With all due respect to Mr. Hawk, those of us who view certain acts of skateboarding as crimes don’t do so simply because we don’t like the act of skateboarding; we do it because too many skateboarders are actually committing crimes.
Source: NPR

Dressed to Oppress

Tarzan (© 2003 Les Edwards)

...After all the discussion (what little there was), after all the name-calling, and after all the mud-slinging, it turns out that the entire issue of Hazleton’s immigration ordinance is probably a moot point.
...Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency that is in charge of deporting illegal immigrants, almost always orders state and local law enforcement to ignore illegal immigrants unless they’re charged with a violent crime or subject of a federal detainer.
...Now I feel as if I’ve wasted valuable blog space on my analysis of semantics from three days ago. I could have been spending more time settling on the right loin cloth pattern for any future super-feminist revolution. Any suggestions?

July 23, 2006


Unhallowed Ground

(Photo by A.J. Nelson)

...When the story of the Westboro Baptist Church began to gain momentum a few weeks ago, I was nearing the end of my first summer semester of graduate work and couldn’t make time to say anything about it. I’m still busy, but this morning I came across a headline in the Washington Post that has me wondering if the ACLU is now equating harassment with free speech.
...To preface this, the Westboro Baptist Church is the group whose claim to fame is chanting anti-homosexual slogans and holding signs reading “God Hates You,” “God Hates America,” and “God Hates Fags” at funeral services of slain military personnel from the Iraqi War. The fundamentalist group was eventually banned from protesting “in front of or about” any location where a funeral is held, from an hour before the service to an hour after the service ends. Offenders will be hit with fines and jail time.
...To conclude this preface, it’s also no secret that I’m skeptical of the ACLU as a whole, simply because of their continued support for violent sexual predators and child molesters. Yes, they’ve made a few good calls on issues like protecting medical records and even a few gun control laws, but it seems as if more and more they take one step forward and two steps back.
...This morning while perusing the Washington Post I found this headline: “ACLU Sues for Anti-Gay Group That Pickets at Troops’ Burials.” At first I was a little shocked, but that feeling wore off after about a nanosecond. The organization is saying that the Westboro Baptist Church’s First Amendment rights are being violated as the Missouri ban is being imposed on the basis of the messages’ content.
...Tara from Soul Blessings made an excellent point regarding the ethical side of the protests by saying:
The soldier did not start this war we are in. In fact, due to the current economy, many have even joined the military prior to this war as a means of financially surviving. Either way, soldiers serve a purpose, a deeper means. They put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Maybe we are wrong for being over in Iraq, but how is it justifiable for anyone to stand outside of a soldier’s funeral and criticize them for dying for our freedom? Furthermore, how can someone justify their own protest when they are arguing someone who is not even capable of defending themselves? Seems like a bit of a cop out to me. The energy could be directed in a much more positive and productive manner than picking at the deceased.
...I’m going to go one step further and argue that this isn’t even a free speech issue—it’s an issue of harassment. Allow me to explain.
...The Westboro Baptist Church members aren’t organizing protests in their local public parks or on their public streets as a general protest. They’re targeting specific individuals—fallen soldiers—and their families at funerals, which aren’t intended (since intent is important to the ACLU) to be “public” ceremonies. Let’s put it another way: If a member of the Westboro Baptist Church or ACLU were walking down the street and found themselves approached by groups of people with protest signs and screams, following them wherever they go, it’s not free speech; it’s a targeted form of harassment and stalking which would fall under already-established laws pertaining to such actions.
...This would also be true if anti-ACLU or anti-Westboro Baptist Church folks decided to protest at the funerals of members from either organization who might have passed away. Staging general protests of either group is one thing; only showing up at graveside services of deceased ACLU or Westboro members would be something else.
...With that out of the way, I thought that it should be noted that I came across an interesting piece of information via Common Dreams while researching this topic. It turns out that speaking freely isn’t something that the ACLU wants its own members to enjoy. From a May 24, 2006, New York Times story by Stephanie Strom:
The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization’s policies and internal administration.
“Where an individual director disagrees with a board position on matters of civil liberties policy, the director should refrain from publicly highlighting the fact of such disagreement,” the committee that compiled the standards wrote in its proposals.
“Directors should remember that there is always a material prospect that public airing of the disagreement will affect the A.C.L.U. adversely in terms of public support and fund-raising,” the proposals state.
...Protesting at fallen soldiers’ funeral services—where family members aren’t even necessarily supportive of the cause for which their loved one died—is nothing more than harassment. The Westboro Baptist Church has gone beyond protesting issues or causes by singling out specific people in situations where family members have little choice but to endure the taunts. As Tara pointed out, the primary target can’t even offer a defense because they’re dead. As such, they’ve crossed the First Amendment line and may have very well entered the realm of harassment.
...As for the ACLU, their primary objective is becoming more and more blurred. They’ve always been greeted with criticism from conservatives, but—especially considering their own in-house directives to keep quiet when board members harbor dissent—it should be difficult for liberals, libertarians, and anyone else supportive of the Constitution to withhold unfavorable reviews, too.

Thy Will Be Done

...This is a sign from above. It must be.

July 21, 2006


In No Uncertain Terms

...I wasn’t sure how—or if—to expand upon the issue of the illegal immigration ordinance in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. I don’t object to anyone, from any country, moving here, there, or anywhere in a pursuit of a better life, as long as it’s done so legally. While I recognize ethnicity, I don’t use it as a determining factor of judging a person’s character or work ethic. Considering the number of white Americans that I’ve lambasted over the last two years, I could probably be called anti-white or anti-American more than anything.
...With that aside, over the last week a few more topics pertaining to the Hazleton story have arisen: six neighboring towns are considering similar ordinances to deter Hazleton’s illegal immigrants from settling there after leaving Hazleton; Governor Ed Rendell, no doubt risking the loss of many union votes in the upcoming election, has made it known that he’s opposed to Mayor Lou Barletta’s new law, calling the crackdown “mean-spirited”; and a local newspaper has called for all enforcement of immigration legislation to come from Washington—not from state or local governments.
...As such, I figured that instead of taking the now-common approach to this debate—where one side says that illegal immigrants need to leave and the other side cries racism—I decided that I would rather focus upon something that might be hindering the entire discussion: We’re disagreeing over the definition of “illegal.”
...Not to become a slave to strict definitions, but it should be noted that the online FindLaw Legal Dictionary offers a rather terse entry for “illegal”: “contrary to or in violation of a law: ‘illicit’ and ‘unlawful.’”
...When we apply such an adjective to the term “immigrant,” we can—or rather, should—see a distinct difference between immigrants—who are legal residents and workers—and illegal immigrants, who are in America without any official documentation or, for lack of a better description, without anyone knowing that they’re here. Analogies to such definition differences include gun possession, whereby illegal possession of a firearm is vastly different from legal possession, and driving a vehicle, whereby people driving with valid drivers’ licenses are vastly different from those who drive with expired or suspended licenses.
...Somewhere along the way some of us have turned “legal” and “illegal” into synonyms. Thus, a heated debate has ensued.
...The editorial staff of the Pennsylvania newspaper The Morning Call has said that “Hazleton’s image has become downright ugly, and the ordinance—not crime—is to blame.” They also took aim at Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, who is pushing for state legislation to require that Pennsylvania businesses implement an already-existing voluntary federal system which verifies Social Security numbers of prospective employees.
...In their editorial, the paper’s staff provides a reasonable example of what I mean when I submit the possibility of interchangeable definitions. Morganelli was quoted as saying, “The fact of the matter is that their illegal entry automatically leads them to additional illegal and criminal acts, such as the utilization of fraudulent identities and cards,” to which the editorial staff responded with, “Mr. Morganelli's statement reflects an assumption that all illegal immigrants in Northampton County commit crimes.”
...It appears that they’re failing to see that being an illegal immigrant is a crime, simply due to the status of “illegal.” Morganelli evidently is referring to such a status, otherwise he wouldn’t have used the word “additional” in his statement. Furthermore, due to the illegal immigrants’ status as “illegal,” their identification and cards have to be illegal by definition. After all, one cannot be here illegally but have their identification or cards be legal. It’s possible to be here legally with illegal documentation, but to have it the other way around would be contradictory.
...The July 21 editorial concluded:
Far-reaching immigration reform in Washington is preferable to a patchwork of state or local laws, including the one proposed by Mr. Morganelli. It’s better to wait until the federal stalemate is resolved than to rush in with ineffective and polarizing local and state measures.
...That’s nice in theory, but if federal legislation were so efficient, we wouldn’t have reached the point of the Hazleton ordinance in the first place. Besides, patchworks of state and local laws are sometimes necessary; let’s not forget about last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. New London, which made the use of eminent domain easier than ever.
...The Kelo ruling inspired many states to toughen their laws pertaining to eminent domain, as property owners across the nation quickly saw increased potential of land confiscation from not only their local school districts, but also from Wal-Mart and developers eager to build an infinite number of strip-malls and townhouses. The Morning Call editorial staff might be opposed to those state laws, too.
...Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is sticking with the ethnicity card in this fray. He voiced his opposition to Barletta’s new law, calling it “mean-spirited” and said:
“The only ones I want to hear speaking up and complaining about immigration are the Native Americans who we screwed. A lot of this is being pushed by politicians who absolutely want to keep your eyes away from real stuff. They feed off hate and divisiveness.”
...I’ll completely agree that Native Americans were victims of reprehensible acts. I’d go even further and say that two of the biggest black marks on United States history are the treatment of Native Americans and the institution of slavery.
...With that said, does past treatment of Native Americans somehow disqualify us from debating present-day handling of illegal immigrants? I’d argue no, because if we do, we can continually use the Native American argument whenever any immigration issue arises.
...I’d sooner assert that this is Rendell’s spin to cast a negative light on the concept of local control—on anything. It’s no secret that Rendell looks unfavorably upon communities having a say on what they do. In 2004 he said that he’s “not for letting anything be decided by referendum” when asked about the possibility of municipalities having a say over potentially-hazardous sludge being dumped in their backyards.
...Is Rendell correct in suggesting that some of those in support of Barletta’s ordinance are full of hate, divisiveness, and mean-spiritedness? It’s quite possible. Pennsylvania has its fair share of residents whose attitudes might mirror those of the south during the civil rights era. James Carville once said, “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.” Having lived in Pennsylvania for most of my life, I’d find it difficult to disagree.
...Does this automatically mean that everyone supportive of recognizing the word “illegal” in “illegal immigrant” is mean-spirited or full of hate? I’d adamantly say no. The text of Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance doesn’t contain anything pertaining to race, ethnicity, Mexico, Hispanics, or the like. Yes, most of the illegal immigrants in Hazleton are from Mexico or Central America, but if the ordinance has the potential of punishing illegal immigrants from Canada, Vietnam, Korea, Russia, et al., it’s difficult to deem the act “racist,” “bigoted,” or anything similar. The definition wouldn’t apply.
...Rendell is not the only one to view the ordinance as having racist intent, however. Ethnic organizations stand by the charges of racism, since the majority of illegal immigrants are Hispanic. The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund has joined with the Pennsylvania chapter of the ACLU to sue the city on the grounds that “the ordinance erodes the federal government’s power to regulate immigration.”
...Either way, the rhetoric is escalating and becoming coarser. One example, an entry entitled “The First Nazi City in America” by Juan Santos of the Guerrilla News Network, states:
Everyone will have to register their nationality with the government. No one will be exempt. People of certain nationalities will be targeted for removal. Those who look like they might be from those nations will be marked as suspects, constantly subject to harassment, official and unofficial.
There’s only one thing the “immigration debate” is about: It’s about white nationalism.
Official Amerika will never admit that the matter of “national origin” and “immigration status” is little more than a thin excuse for ethnic suppression and ethnic cleansing.
...We’ve come a long way from debate class.

July 20, 2006


Hot Under the Collar

(File photo by CoastView)

...Parts of North America are currently experiencing high temperatures, and that usually lends itself to public service announcements about making sure that you don’t leave your pets in your car if you go shopping. The heat can reach well over 100 degrees and subsequently kill the animal.
...Recent news stories show us that times are changing, however, so I figured that I should offer this public service announcement and say, “With the onset of summer’s oppressive temperatures, please do not keep your pet or family members in your car for extended periods of time, as the interior temperature can reach in excess of 100 degrees and lead to death.”
...Thank you.

Circus Maximus

Conservatives have long referred to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as the “Ninth Circus Court of Appeals.” Sometimes it’s just because the court rules against a conservative idea; other times—like recently—it’s a term that fits.
Attorney Lawrence Siskind recently detailed a disconcerting free speech case, Harper v. Poway Unified School District, in which high school student Tyler Harper had the Ninth Circuit Court rule against him, 2-1. Unfortunately, the court’s reasoning on the ruling was more troubling than the actual case. Mr. Siskind explains:
Harper v. Poway Unified School District grew out of a decision by a San Diego area high school to hold a “Day of Silence” to “teach tolerance of others, particularly those of a different sexual orientation” (in the words of its Assistant Principal).
Not all students supported the Day of Silence. Tyler Harper arrived wearing a T-shirt reading “I WILL NOT ACCEPT WHAT GOD HAS CONDEMNED” on one side, and “HOMOSEXUALITY IS SHAMEFUL ‘Romans 1:27’” on the other. The next day, his T-shirt read: “BE ASHAMED, OUR SCHOOL EMBRACED WHAT GOD HAS CONDEMNED.” School authorities considered the T-shirt “inflammatory” and refused to allow Harper to wear it on campus. When he would not remove it, they confined him to a school conference room. He spent part of the day doing homework, and part discussing the Bible and the T-shirt with school officials and a deputy sheriff. After the last period, Harper was instructed to proceed directly off campus.
Harper sued the school district on First Amendment and other grounds. He sought a preliminary injunction barring the district from “continuing its violation of [his] constitutional rights.” After the district court denied the motion, Harper appealed.
As previously stated, Harper lost the appeal. Mr. Siskind, in his piece, points out that the Ninth Circuit Court could have said that its ruling was derived from some judicial basis. Instead, the court opinion shows us that the appeal was turned down not for any legal basis, but for reparations. From Mr. Siskind:
Focusing on the specific anti-gay content of Harper’s T-shirt, [Judge Stephen Reinhardt] ruled that schools may restrict “derogatory and injurious remarks directed at students’ minority status such as race, religion, and sexual orientation.” In a footnote, he wrote that the court would “leave...to another time” the question of limiting derogatory remarks aimed at gender. But Judge Reinhardt proceeded to establish a new constitutional calculus, under which the protectability of speech would depend on the minority status of the listener.
Judge Reinhardt wrote that a different standard should apply to derogatory remarks aimed at “majority groups such as Christians or whites” because “there is, of course, a difference between a historically oppressed minority group that has been the victim of serious prejudice and discrimination and a group that has always enjoyed a preferred social, economic and political status.”
Who needs a silly little thing like a constitutional amendment getting in the way of a ruling when you can just as easily cite revenge?
Source: TCS Daily

July 19, 2006


Permit Issued

Faint Expectations hasn’t been hijacked (knock on wood). I’ve decided to alter my template, but only by a little bit. The basic two-column Minima format was becoming overused, so I’ve decided to go with a three-column template from Pam Blackstone that was simply tweaked from Douglas Bowman’s original design.

July 15, 2006


Hostile Takeover

...While taking a break from school work I came across a few things that might be of interest to anyone whose computer skills are as rudimentary as mine and whose blog is important to them.
...Last night, just before I was about to log into Blogger, I noticed a recently updated blog scrolling by called The Real Blogger Status. The odd name piqued my interest, so I decided to check it out. It’s a blog about blogs, run by an IT consultant named Chuck. The information on Chuck’s site made me a bit more aware of a few things going on in the world of Blogger that will no doubt affect those of us who use it on a regular basis. Among the important things:
  • Over the last few months, the number of Blogger-deleted and hijacked blogs has increased. Some blogs have fallen prey to a new Blogger anti-spam program, whereby the blogs are mistaken for spam and sent to the Internet graveyard. Other blogs have been stolen from their owners by hackers, and in some cases—such as this poor guy—the thieves taunt the victims.
  • Some of the hijackings have been carried out by individuals with a grudge, others by spammers who see an opportunity to have yet another site to sell their crap.
...Either way, there are quite a few interesting things which are on The Real Blogger Status that might be worth doing if you have a lot of time invested in your Blogger blog:
  • Never delete an address. Even if you want to delete the posts, hold onto the address because your address might be ranked on a search engine, and that creates a prime situation for spammers who can easily grab the address if you give it up.
  • Make some kind of back-up for your blog if possible: save the template code, save the post text, etc. This doesn’t take much space if you copy and paste the information to a Notepad file, but remember: Don’t copy and paste to a Word document because it might “fix” things that shouldn’t be “fixed,” such as perceived spelling errors.
  • Make your password disgustingly random. Don’t use anything that might be found in a dictionary because software to decipher passwords has become so sophisticated that it can detect words spelled forward, backward, and in patterns. Make it a sick soup of letters and numbers that have no significant meaning whatsoever. P-Synch offers more information on this topic if you’re interested.
  • Posting on a regular basis can be a good thing. Two folks (Person 1; Person 2) have reported their blogs being deleted after having not posted anything in several weeks.
...If anyone happens to see anything odd occurring with this blog in the future, it should be known that it’s not my doing; I have no intention of deleting or changing anything on Faint Expectations. The only thing that has been tweaked in the last few weeks is the font, from Georgia to Verdana for easier reading.
...If anything negative should happen to occur, I’m not sure if I’d return to Blogger. I’d cross that bridge if I came to it.

July 10, 2006


Time Out

Portrait of a Scholar (Attributed to Domenico Feti)

This might be my last post for the next three or four weeks, as my next summer semester for graduate school is about to begin. For roughly the next month I’ll be evaluating literature for the social sciences and not much else.
Auf wiedersehen.

July 09, 2006


War of Words

...Given our current political climate, I felt that it was necessary to offer what might be best known as “applied definitions” for four words that have become bastardized over the last few years.
...Using my trusty fourth edition of The American Heritage Dictionary, I found the following definitions:
communistn. One who subscribes to an economic system characterized by collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for common advantage.
fascistn. One who advocates totalitarianism marked by right-wing dictatorship and bellicose nationalism.
open-mindedadj. Receptive to new ideas or to reason.
tolerancen. The capacity for respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

...Now we’ll rework the definitions so that they’re more applicable to 2006 usage.
communistn. One who subscribes to any liberal idea.
fascistn. One who subscribes to any conservative idea.
open-mindedadj. Receptive to those who agree with you on all levels and no one else.
tolerancen. The capacity to accept those who agree with you on all levels and tell those who disagree with you on any level that they’re either a communist or a fascist.

July 08, 2006


When Humans Deserve Choke-Chains

...By now it’s well known that I like animals more than people. It’s also well known that I have no tolerance for animal abusers, nor the gutter trash that defends them. While blogging about such people might not do much other than allow me to vent, it’s still worth it if it brings attention to a few more examples of what’s wrong with the human race.
...Sadly, we can add two more names to the ever-growing list of those whose mothers should have opted for abortions when they had the chance: Eric J. Henry and his attorney, Eugene J. Maurer.
...Henry was recently sentenced to five years in prison after bludgeoning a puppy to death during a burglary last summer. While robbing a home with two accomplices last July, Henry used a baseball bat to beat to death the family’s seven-month-old Lab mix named Voodoo. The puppy was found in a pool of blood atop the stairs with his head bashed in and his leg shattered. Blood was splattered across the walls and a trail of the puppy’s blood was throughout the house.
...After police found the puppy’s blood on Henry’s sneakers, his response was typical of most modern criminals: He said that it wasn’t his fault. Henry claimed that he was on PCP at the time, and that the PCP was to blame—not him. As if such an excuse weren’t pathetic enough, it turned out that it was a lie; there was no evidence of Henry having PCP in his blood at the time.
...The puppy’s owners were understandably traumatized and husband/father Nick Dumas explained, “This just really changed my life—not in a positive way.” The judge in the case said that she was “sickened by the photographs” of the dead puppy, and told Henry that the act “was a cruel and senseless act.”
...Here’s the part of the story where we add insult to injury.
...Henry’s attorney, Eugene J. Maurer, thought that the sentence was rather harsh for burglary and the pummeling death of a seven-month-old puppy with a baseball bat. Maurer said:
“If there were different victims in this case for whom the impact of the crime was not quite so great, and if they could handle it better, then the sentence wouldn’t have been so harsh. With all due respect to them, I would hope that they would be able to handle such a trauma a little bit better than that. To have your whole life ruined by this just seems a little excessive.”
...Filth like Maurer and Henry make me both sick and embarrassed to know that we’re somehow part of the same species. Since he mentions “different victims” in his completely disgusting remarks, it’s quite apparent that the “different victims” in this story should have been both Maurer and Henry.
...With all due respect to them, I would hope that they would be able to handle knowing that it wouldn’t be a loss whatsoever if they were to meet the same fate as the puppy in this story.