Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No tolerance for intolerance

I disagree with Andrew Sullivan:
The critique of her seeming preoccupation with her heritage nonetheless seems valid to me, but it's also a little - how does one say this? - 1995. The underlying arguments about affirmative action are still relevant, of course, but their salience seems less potent now. I'm not sure why - perhaps the war and the recession and the debt make the intensity of those fights seem like a luxury of a time of peace and prosperity and fiscal sanity. Perhaps Obama has made racial diversity less threatening to some.
I think the racist views that Sotomayor appears to hold could be very damaging for her. There seems to be something about my generation, especially those of us who have invested a lot of time and energy into our education, that drives us to have a deep dislike of racist views, regardless of the race of the person holding them.
I certainly have zero tolerance for racism and, off the top of my head, I can think of many friends of mine, of a wide spectrum of political views, who share my lack of tolerance.

I'm very interested in hearing what other people have to say about this. Does Sotomayor potentially holding racist views and allowing those to influence her judicial decisions bother you? Do you think there is something unique about our generation (the edge of Gen X and Gen Y) that causes us to feel especially disdainful towards public figures holding racist views?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not Impressed but Not Surprised

As most must know by now, President Obama has announced he will be nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the supreme court.  At this point I find myself agreeing with the assessment of this nomination over at The Volokh Conspiracy 

My general sense is that she is very liberal, and thus likely to take what I consider to be mistaken positions on many major constitutional law issues. I am also not favorably impressed with her notorious statement that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Not only is it objectionable in and of itself, it also suggests that Sotomayor is a committed believer in the identity politics school of left-wing thought. Worse, it implies that she believes that it is legitimate for judges to base decisions in part based on their ethnic or racial origins.
The more I think about it, the more this nomination bothers me. In particular, I'm having trouble getting past Judge Sotomayor's statement that, " ...I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

That statement strikes 
me as rather racist on her part and, had a white male judge said something equivalent, I have to believe the left would be throwing a fit about it this morning.

It also brings up the issue that my ideal justice would work to suppress their personal experiences when ruling on the constitutionality of a law. Justices are meant to decide cases based on the text of the law and the way in which it was meant to be applied, not in the way in which they personally think it should be applied.

Time will tell but I believe that this is going to end up being just one more thing on the growing list of moves by President Obama which disappoint me but don't surprise me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Horror in the Congo

The brutality and tragedy of what is going on in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo is stunning and absolutely heartbreaking.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the situation and Mishlai does a far better job of summing it up than I could right now.

What's going on over there can't really be properly called rape. The term applies, but it isn't a strong enough word, and that's really saying something. What Congolese women are enduring is the intentional, systematic destruction of their bodies, their families, and their society. Think firing a bullet into her vagina. Think bayonettes. Understand that this is rape-as-a-weapon and not rape for it's usual motives.

I highly recommend clicking the link above and reading his full blog entry.  Be warned though, the details of what is currently happening in the DRC are extremely graphic and disturbing.  He also has a number of links to news articles from people on the ground there and the official reports submitted to various subcommittees of congress.

I'm not sure what the proper response is to this madness, only that a way to stop in needs to be found, and quickly.  The one suggestion I've seen so far, that everyone can help out with, is donating to the International Medical Corps, a group that is doing everything they can to help the civilians caught in the middle of this.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Can't find the words

I'm having trouble finding the words to express how I feel about this article I just read over at

An Afghan court has sentenced Ghows Zalmay to 20 years in prison for blasphemy. His crime? He translated the Quran into Dari. Religious experts testified it was an accurate translation, but it didn't include the original Arabic text, and the court found that blasphemous.

A feeling of great sadness is the best I've been able to come up with so far but that doesn't begin to express the depth of sorrow that I feel for this man.

As I'm typing this out I find myself wondering why this act of cruelty, among the millions people do to each other every day, seems to strike me on such a deep and personal level?  Is it because it touches on my feelings towards religion in general?  Or perhaps because it reminds me of exactly how little the human race has changed as a whole since the times of Martin Luther?  Perhaps it is because this feels like a victory of close mindedness over open mindedness?

I'm not sure, maybe it is a combination of those reasons or something else entirely.  Regardless, if I did believe in a God, I would be praying for Dr. Zalmay this evening.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Why hello, Square One, how are you today?

Well it's been a bit of a tumultuous time since my last post.  I'm single once more after a year and a few months of a relationship that I thought, for quite a while, might be "the one".  I now find myself living in a rather expensive two bedroom apartment with my dog and the ex-girlfriend's cat, thinking to myself, "Damn it, this place was just starting to feel like "home" and now it's back to square one".  At this point I'm fairly certain that the part of my brain that is suppose to supply intuition as to what might and what might not be a good, long lasting relationship is seriously damaged.

I also find myself trying to decide where I want to go from here.  I'll probably stick around the Peoria area for the moment, if for no other reason than I've already signed up for the last of the college classes I need to finish my degree.  After I get done with that though, I may start looking very seriously at job opportunities on the west coast.  I have a couple of good friends out there and I don't especially like living in the Midwest.  Of course, that would mean a big move again and, after living in something like eight different places in ten years, the idea of moving again is not a pleasant thought.

On the plus side, Jess and I just decided that we are going to Live at the Five Spot tonight.  So when all else fails there is still good music, yummy booze, amazing food, and great company to get me though it.