July 10th, 2005

Inspiration

Do Traffic Lights Count For Pedestrians?

Well, you respond, in Virginia we have specially set up pedestrian traffic lights for walkers like you.

A reasonable position.

But you can only keep it if the pedestrian lights work as the other lights cycle, unless you have buttons designated for that crossing.

And, as it happens, the corner of 15th and Crystal City Drive in Crystal City lacks that minor amenity, and has lights that don't cycle with the other traffic lights.

So I take my cue from other pedestrians: ignore them.

Sure, the state of Virginia wasted its money. But I don't live here, so that's not my problem.
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Moderate Muslims?

Where are they? Do they have the courage of their convictions, or are they only sitting back, hoping to enjoy a quiet life?

The second, as it turns out. Or, of course, they simply don't exist, and all Muslims deserve to be killed on general principles.

Let's hope they decide to speak out before both sides decide, for different reasons, to kill them.

UPDATE:The inimitable Arnold King has another perspective:

In Fools Crow, there are moderate native Americans. However, they, too, are paralyzed. Their failure to restrain a small group of terrorists is what leads to the massacre. Perhaps James Welch, writing from the native American point of view, can offer some insights into the reasons for this paralysis. Here are some ideas that I took away from the novel.



1. The native Americans felt they were in a no-win situation. They saw fighting the white man as futile. However, they saw peace with the white man as being on terms that would make it impossible for native Americans to pursue their traditional way of life. For many of the Blackfeet, this is unacceptable. One character says, "the day will come when our people will decide that they would rather consort with the Napikwans than live in the ways our long-ago fathers thought appropriate. But I, Three Bears, will not see this day. I will die first."



2. Moderate native American chiefs were viewed as weak and unmanly, particularly by younger men.



3. Even though the native Americans viewed Owl's Child (the terrorist leader) as wicked and detrimental to their cause, they could not take the humiliating step of turning one of their blood brothers in to the white soldiers.



4. The native Americans did not have the cultural and institutional foundation with which to cope with the crisis.



"As Fools Crow lay in the shadowy lodge...he felt the impotence that had fallen over his people like snow in the night. Before the coming of the Napikwans, decisions had been made. There was always the arguing, but in the end, the men had made a decision and all had abided by it. Fools Crow's grandfather had told of a much simpler life when the decisions were easier -- when to move camp, when to go to the trading house across the Medicine Line, where the hunting would be best, if it was time to raid the Crow or Snake horses."
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Inspiration

A Hope, and Reality

The optimistic quote:

The American tort system was designed to redress wrongs, not to commit more of them.

The reality:

Overlawyered.com explores an American legal system that too often turns litigation into a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, erodes individual responsibility, rewards sharp practice, enriches its participants at the public's expense, and resists even modest efforts at reform and accountability.

And people wondered why my status is "inactive" as a lawyer. Think of it as "dissociation" and you'll get the idea.
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    disgusted
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Patriotism: Definition

It seems too often forgotten: patriotism has two halves in its definiton.

Adam Smith (no milksop liberal he) gave a typically balanced 18th century definition of patriotism when he wrote, "the love of our country" rests on two principles: a respect for the constitution and a concern for the good and happiness of others. "He is not a citizen who is not disposed to respect the laws and to obey the civil magistrate; and he is certainly not a good citizen who does not wish to promote, by every means in his power, the welfare of the whole society of his fellow-citizens." ["Theory of Moral Sentiments"]

Both halves, please.

Hat tip to Vernon Dent
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