Friday, July 24, 2009

Let him rave on, that men will know him mad.

Wow, just... wow.

I'm a big believer in trial by jury but occasionally you get some ignorant yahoos that make some pretty ridiculous decisions. This trial is a glaring example of such a case.

Yes; I wasn't in that courtroom listening to weeks of testimony. I'm not privy to all the information the jurors had to reach their verdict.

None of that changes the central fact of this case: this couple through the process of faith healing allowed their 15-month-old daughter to die a long, painful death from pneumonia. Take religion out of the equation- at it's base this is case of neglect and manslaughter.

Still want to give the jury the benefit of the doubt? Read this account of how the jury reached their verdict and tell me if you still feel the same way.

Here's juror Ken Byers account of the process:

"Trying to come to a consensus was trying to understand each others' viewpoints," Byers said. "And trying to say what's reasonable for me might not be reasonable to somebody else, or vice versa. That was pretty much the dynamic."

Huh? I was under this odd misunderstanding that the purpose of a jury was to listen to the facts of the case as presented and then consider those facts within the context of the law. Apparently the job of a jury is instead to come up with some happy consensus, sort of like a neighborhood association voting on what Christmas decorations are and are not appropriate. Silly fucking me.

BTW- the article mentions Byers went into the trial leaning towards guilty. Nothing in the article other than his empathy for other jurors who were sympathetic to the Worthingtons explains his change of heart. Fuck him for not standing by his convictions or the facts.

Thanks to these geniuses on the jury more Oregon children are going to die for no good reason and more jackasses are going to try and use their faith as a trump card when they do something to harm, through action or inaction, those that they're responsible for protecting.

If I sound angry about this that's because I am. This jury failed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I had a most startling dream. You were trying to to tell me something.

I was gonna write some deeply insightful plea for continued exploration of space on the anniversary of Apollo, but instead let me just lament that I didn't make it to Trek in the Park this weekend and don't look to have the time next weekend as we're off to the coast to go camping.

I've read mostly good reviews for Atomic Theater's live reenactment of the Star Trek episode "Amok Time" with only one dissenting jerk bitching that Portland "tries to hard too be weird." It's not that Portland is trying too hard, it's that the rest of y'alls cities aren't trying hard enough. Put your backs into it guys!

For the record: I'm pro-space. To be more precise I'm pro-manned exploration of space. They're all sorts of reasons for this but mostly it stems from my humanism. I believe that man needs challenges (science/ exploration) or he makes up challenges of his own to occupy his time (war.)

One of the most deeply moving things I've ever read was a piece Carl Sagan wrote in Parade magazine during the height of the cold war. He passionately laid out the case for a joint mission to mars with the then USSR. I would like to see the same industry we apply to fighting wars to feeding the people on this planet, curing all of the horrible diseases that plague us, saving the environment and exploring the unknown instead. That's the dream that makes me smile.

Here are some wonderful stories of where people were on the date we landed on the moon written by famous science fiction writers. What humans imagine they can eventually do. Let's do a little more imagining of a world that looks like Star Trek and a little less blowing shit up.


Also- RIP Walter Cronkite.