Thursday, June 30, 2005

Well, the beach bender weekend is only a day away, so I thought I best get my affairs in order in case I don't make it back. Seriously. Write this down.
I hereby bequeath all of my music equipment, crappy and otherwise, to Eric Gottula because he's one hell of a rocker and he's never met a piece of music equipment that he couldn't find a use for (I would leave some stuff to Weedo, but he'd never learn to play it and it would just die a slow, dusty death in the back room of his house). I leave Cassidy to my brother because he loves dogs more than he loves people and I know Cassidy would do a fine job of getting Mel and Lucy whipped into shape. I leave Hobbs to Heather Shaw because she's the only person I know who loves animals enough and has a big enough heart to take in a geriatric ferret. My house is mostly owned by the bank, but I'd leave it to Jennifer Kraber, if she wants to take it over. Having grown up in New York City with no back yard, but knowing that she loves the gardening and plants and whatnot, I think she'd appreciate a place to plant some things and watch them grow. I'd leave my CDs, DVDs, records, books, and liquor to Wilson, because that's the kind of guy he is, and to Weedo I leave.... uh, well, Weedo knows what he's getting from the Steanso estate. Keep your head down, keep moving, and never let 'em take you alive, Weedo.
That's about it. Don't much care who gets the rest of the stuff. Andy probably needs some furniture, but then again, Kraber might need it for the new house.
The most important thing to remember is that Steanso is leaving a strict DO NOT RESUSCITATE order in the case of brain death by way of alcohol and/or sun poisoning or drowning, which means I want the plug pulled, unless one of my friends can find some way to force the state to keep me on life support indefinitely at goverment expense. If that's the case, I want to be kept on life support and keep racking up expensive medical bills to be charged to the government for as long as possible. That's to get back at Uncle Sam for screwing me on my taxes this past year. Bastards.
In world news, this can't be good:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/30/iran.president/index.html
So while we're busy waging war in Iraq, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man accused of being a terrorist who held 52 people captive for over a year, has ascended to the role of president in Iran. Wow. Talk about dropping the ball in the whole "war on terrorism" thing. There now appears to be a possible middle eastern leader who actually does "hate our freedom" and "hate our democracy" and the White House and U.S. intelligence services were so effective that they not only missed the fact that the man had reappeared on the global radar, but also the fact that he was rising to the role of president in a country which not only has a very strong anti-American bias, but which may also be developing nuclear weapon capabilities.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/06/15/iran.nuclear.reut/index.html
Golly, George. Here's a country which may have all the makings of a genuine terrorist nation state (i.e., a country which seems willing and able to carry out state-sponsored terrorist strikes), and all of our troops are wandering around Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction and securing democracy for the Iraqi people so that they can vote their favorite radical clerics into power.
Yeesh. Is it time for vacation yet?

And one last item sent to me by Jim "Toots" Gillespie, which I found particularly disturbing:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4632087.stm
Floating POW camps for disappeared prisoners? I really, really hope this isn't true, because if the U.S. feels the need to be this secretive about these detention centers, God only knows what our forces are doing to these prisoners. Thanks for the link, Jim.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hey, guys. Steanso remains busy at work, but also committed to his faithful readers (which may exist only in his own mind, but I gotta justify this thing somehow).
I went and saw Romero's new flick, Land of the Dead, last night, and it was a lot of fun. Kind of schlocky, like a good zombie movie should be, but it had a few gross-out/horrifying moments that did a good job of paying homage to Romero's zombie movie tradition. The biggest problem with the movie wasn't the movie itself, but some apparent problem with the sound system at the Drafthouse that made parts of the movie sound like they had been filmed underwater. Oh well, the food and beer were good (as always) and it was a good time. Thanks to Jeff and Jackbart for accompanying me.
Here's a newsflash for you:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/29/bush.intl/index.html
Apparently Democrats have begun to come to the conclusion that President Bush may have (and hold onto your seats for this one) exploited the September 11th attacks in his efforts to advance his own political agenda and to garner support for the war in Iraq. Wow. The Democrats have really made a bold call on this one. And how astute? It only took several years of war and 1700 American casualties (and untold Iraqi casualties) for someone to realize that there was no link between the Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Saddam Hussein. Bush continues to bandy about rhetoric that describes pre-invasion Iraq as a hotbed of terrorist activity, when most all of the commentators that I've seen on T.V. have said that there was very little terrorist activity at all in pre-war Iraq (not because Saddam was a nice guy who wanted to protect the world, but because he ruled his country with a Stalin-like iron fist and would not tolerate dissident political groups operating unsupervised within his country- as for state-sponsored terrorism, there simply has never been any evidence that the Iraqi government engaged in any such activity outside its own borders, and to the contrary, most accounts depict a deluded Hussein as seeing himself as an annointed leader of heavenly armies, deeming the desperate acts of most Middle Eastern terrorist groups as demeaning and beneath him).
Anyhooo, the Democrats are finally clicking to the fact that the Bush administration has been governing through fear-mongering for years (they've used 9-11 to justify everything from the stalled economy to the Iraq war to opening the arctic wildlife refuges to oil drilling) , but is it too little too late? The Democrats seemed initially afraid to call the Republicans out for exploiting the 9-11 attacks for political gain, but I think that was a mistake. Any time that there is a national catastrophe on the scale of 9-11, of course people are going to be afraid, but allowing the Republicans to manipulate that fear by invoking the specter of terrorist attack every time they want to pass a bill or take executive action is a position that the Democrats should have never allowed the Republicans to take. Shoving bills like the Patriot Act down our throats before the public has a chance to understand its ramifications (e.g., warrantless searches and wiretaps- increased surveillance of what we read on the internet or send in our email) shows a level of opportunism that even shocks me. I just don't believe that America just is so delicate that we need to leap to such radical solutions so quickly, and given that presumption, it seems that the flames of fear were fanned by individuals and groups who believe that it would be easier to govern our country without all of these pesky constitutional rights that our citizens are afforded. Some changes needed to be implemented following 9-11, but I'm not sure that gutting our constitutional protections as American citizens should have been the first action item on the agenda. After all, for an administration which was so concerned about terrorists operating within our country, the current administration has done almost nothing to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing into our country on a daily basis (of which, any number could be terrorists) or to boost funding to our country's immigration and naturalization services so that illegal aliens in our country might be tracked more readily.
Particularly in times of relative chaos and crisis, I think that it's important to keep a close eye on our leadership in order to make sure that they aren't leading the nation down paths that are not in keeping with our consitution and founding principles. What's the point of protecting our nation if we give up the only rights that make it worthwhile to be an American in the process?
Gotta go work. Another rant that got away from me...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Howdy. Steanso still has some difficulties in the work department, but he's battening down the hatches and weathering out the storm.
Steanso had a nice weekend with D.K. and Liz. We went down to Houston to see the Astros lose to the Rangers on Saturday (which made DK and Liz happy) at Minutemaid Field. The Houston baseball stadium is awfully nice, and Steanso probably drank one too many beers while alternately cursing and cheering for the Astros. When the game was over, we went back to Ma and Pa Steanso's house (where we stayed, although they were out of town), and we drank beer and barbecued and floated in the pool. I had a really good time, and I hope DK and Liz did, too. Also, thanks to Mom and Pop, who let us use their house to play in while they were away. I hope that their respective trips were fun as well.
Happy belated birthday to Jennifer "Killer" Kraber, who had her birthday on Saturday. Many happy returns, Jennifer, and I hope this upcoming year brings some really happy surprises for you. Happy birthday to Rosa, too, although her birthday was all the way back on last Thursday. Rosa was out of town on her birthday, so now I'm sending out belated b-day wishes for her as well.
OK, that's it for the thank yous and birthday wishes.
I really didn't read the paper or watch the news this weekend, either, b/c I was too busy drinking beer, eating barbecue, and watching baseball (which probably puts me at the same level of awareness that most Bush supporters are operating on), so I really don't have anything to rant about, either. I'm getting a little tired of the search for that girl in Aruba- not because I wish her ill, but just because I'm not sure why it's a national news story. I hope this doesn't come across as too sexist, but it's probably not a good idea for teenage girls to go out and get drunk and then wander off with strangers in any location. The national news has grabbed on to this story because Natalee Holloway was cute and white and an American in a foreign country. From what I understand, Aruba has a lower crime rate than most of the U.S., but now the press is making it seem like some kind of treacherous hive of crime. Funny how it doesn't make the press nearly as much when foreign nationals come to visit the U.S. and get mugged, robbed, raped, or killed.
My only point is, Americans tend to check their common sense along with their luggage when they go on vacation, and anyone who's gone to Cancun can tell you that Americans get more drunk and do more stupid things on vacation overseas than they would ever consider doing here. To be honest, I'm almost a little surprised that more crimes aren't committed against drunk, wealthy Americans at international party/vacation spots. They just make easy targets. If Americans would stick to using at least the same common sense that they use when they're in this country when they go out on the town, it would be a lot more difficult to take advantage of them. That said, I really wish they would find Natalee o.k. (I'm not out here saying that people who party deserve to get hurt, I'm just saying I wish they'd be more careful), but my hope for a happy ending is definitely fading, and I hate to see the entire nation of Aruba take a P.R. hit over an event that undoubtedly involved only a few individuals.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Steanso is having what can only be characterized (without exaggeration) as a very bad day. Therefore, there will be very little blogging.
I did want to briefly highlight this, though:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/24/rove.speech.ap/index.html
Big surprise. Carl Rove isn't going to apologize for calling the Democrats soft on terrorism. And the White House is fine with that. Now that they didn't get their apology, I would guess that the Democrats will mostly stand around looking hurt.
What they need to do is point out that they're not soft on terrorism, they're just smarter about dealing with it. But in order to do that, they need a plan. And they don't have one.

Ok, it's a little later. For a slightly different perspective on the Carl Rove comments and a much more eloquent diatribe (I concede that honor for today only), check out my brother's blog:

http://melbotis.blogspot.com/

It's a weird, wacky place that you guys should be visiting, anyway.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Howdy.
Quick morning in court today.
Word of warning. It's been a few days, so I got some pent up ranting to do. If you don't want it, skip to the end or just leave off here.
Here's some further evidence of the insanity of the federal government:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/23/scotus.property.ap/index.html
So now local governments can take away private property from homeowners if they see such seizures as being "in the best interest of government", which apparently includes private development. To rephrase, local governments can take away your house in order to sell your land to private developers, as long as the local government can show that the community would benefit from such a seizure (i.e., if either the local government was going to make a whole lot of money off of selling the property or if the local government decided that their community needed another strip mall). The law used to only allow these types of seizures in cases where the seized property was going to be used for some specific public purpose (such as roadways or public parks or something). Now, some fat cat land developer is going to be able to call in some favors with one of his old fraternity brothers from the city council and force some low-income homeowner out of the house that his family has lived in for three generations so that the fat cats can put in a shopping center. I haven't read the actual decision, but this case seems to set a terrible precedent. Although homeowners are promised "fair market value" for their homes, it's safe to say that developers wouldn't be seeking the property in the first place unless they were going to make a lot more than "fair market value" through the seizure of the land (and/or homes). Poor people are just gonna get screwed by this. They aren't going to get anywhere near what their land is worth (because they won't be able to hire expensive lawyers or real estate agents), and developers who have connections that are powerful enough to set the wheels of goverment seizure proceedings in motion are going to have a windfall.
This is America, damnit. People shouldn't be able to take away your freakin' house just because somebody else thought of a way to make more money off of it than you have (or because they're more well connected than you are). Somehow I'm landing with the conservatives on this one (Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist joined O'Connor's dissent in saying, "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.") I think, however, that private property rights should be pretty nearly inviolable, and I definitely believe that they should only be infringed upon when there is a clearly defined public necessity for interference with them. Taking private property from one individual in order to give it to another private individual is scary stuff.
And also this:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/23/rove.speech.ap/index.html
Apparently Carl Rove said that the Democrats were too passive and weak following the 9/11 attacks, specifically that they wanted therapy and indictments for our enemies. Now the Democrats want a public apology.
I'm so tired of politicians demanding apologies from one another. Who cares? Aren't politicians supposed to air their grievances and demand answers from one another in the attempt to run an honest, effective government?
Dick Durbin, a senior senator from Illinois, apologized earlier this week for making comments about Guantanamo Bay that compared it to Nazi or Soviet prison camps.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/21/guantanamo.durbin/index.html
Who cares? The guy was either insincere when he made the first remark, insincere when he made the apology, or he's a flake who's constantly sincere, but changes his ideology from one moment to the next. Of course, there's that scary fourth option in which he was just cowed into apologizing because of fear of reprisal, but that just kind of makes him a coward or self centered or both. None of these possibilities strike me as particularly good. The truth is, Guantanamo Bay DOES suck, and everyone knows it, and no one really is blaming the men and women in the armed forces for what goes on there, because everyone knows that the policy makers are the ones responsible for the whole mess. Maybe Durbin overstated things a bit, but he got the country's attention, and I think he ruined his own credibility when he apologized for his comments, not because they weren't essentially correct, but because of a poor choice of words. Even if he was misguided, he sounded passionate. Now he just sounds like a flunky. (if the Republicans are willing to commit acts which constitute violations of human rights and international law, I don't think Democrats should really be worried about the wording that they use when they challenge those actions- stopping the torture of some potentially innocent people is a little more important than worrying about the delicate sensibilites of the Republicans).
As for Carl Rove, unfortunately I think his comments hit a nerve with Democrats, not because they were necessarily true, but because they've managed to highlight the fact that the Democrats never really seemed to take ANY strong position regarding the war on terror following 9/11 (in the same way that the Democrats were so painfully wishy washy on many things during that time). Rove's comments, which mocked the international judicial process by making light of indictments as a means of addressing terrorism, could have been turned around on him by contrasting the need for a policy of global justice and law enforcement against the Bush administration's knee jerk reaction to the attacks- a reaction to 9/11 which landed us in a war in Iraq that had nothing to do with September 11th or the people who committed that atrocity. (right after 9/11 happened, I remember having a conversation with my father in which he said that the 9/11 attacks seemed more like a terrible crime than an act of war, and that America would be better served by hunting down Bin Laden and his lieutenants as high profile international criminals than by launching a war in which thousands of people would be killed, but Bin Laden would slip away. My Pops predicted that Bin Laden just wanted to lure America into a stupid war that would do further damage to America's image in the Arab world, and I think Pops was right).
Anyway, the Democrats kind of seemed like deer caught in the headlights after 9/11, while the Republicans launched into unthinking, ridiculous action, moving forward under the rubric that even the wrong plan of action was better than standing still. If the Democrats had managed to formulate some kind of alternate plan to promote (say, strengthening relations with Pakistan so that we could go into that country and get Bin Laden rather than just beating up on Iraq ), then maybe now they wouldn't be caught in the position of defending their inaction after 9/11.
Oh well. My point is, I would rather see some people take a stand than continue to see this pattern of attack and retreat-through-apology in which none of our political leaders seem to truly hold any passionate beliefs (or at least none which exist outside of political expediency).
Well, it's been a few days and I had a lot to get off my chest.
Hi Rami! Rami sent me some kind of email today about a guy who got stuck sitting next to the toilet stall on an airplane. Rami is a strange, funny, little elf. When we go to the beach in a couple of weeks, I will have to strongly encourage her to entertain me once again with an interpretive dance. Also, maybe we can construct a sand castle big enough for tiny Rami to live in.
That's all for the moment. I need to do some work.

I'm back. This is just too rich:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/23/rumsfeld.iraq.ap/index.html
Even the generals are openly disagreeing with the White House's assessment of the war. Who would have guessed that it's a bad idea to occupy a country in the Middle East? (uh, didn't the Russians mention something about this after getting their asses kicked in Afghanistan for like 10 years?) And the funniest part of this article? When Edward Kennedy once again called for Rumsfeld's resignation, Rumsfeld's response wasn't to tell the guy to go to hell or to call him to task for not offering any alternate solutions to the Iraq problem-instead, Rummy basically responded that the president wouldn't let him resign even though he'd tried to resign twice. Jeez. I bet that if Rumsfeld was the president's cook and he had given the president food poisoning, the president would have let him go without thinking twice. But then again, the country doesn't reexamine your entire foreign policy if they found out you've been eating dinners prepared by an incompetent chef...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Well, I may actually get to leave work a moment or two early today, so I'm not really gonna post a blog.

I need to take Cassidy for a walk tonight to make up for being mean and yelling at her this morning (she kept waking me up, but I think it's because she didn't feel well).

Stupid, stupid Spurs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hey, kids.
Here's something for you guys to work on if you're bored.
http://www.aclutx.org/action_alert.html
Senate Bill 1195 would require police officers to notify drivers that they have a right to refuse to have their car searched, and it would additionally require officers to record a suspect's consent to search in writing or on videotape before searching a vehicle.
From a personal standpoint, I think this is a good law because it cuts down on all of the debate that occurs in court between officers and defendants about whether or not the defendant gave the officer consent to a vehicle search. Mostly, though, I just like this because it adds another layer of accountability for the cops. If the bill passes, cops won't be able to turn consent searches into swearing matches (which the cops typically win, in Texas, because law enforcement officers are generally seen as somehow more trustworthy than the populace at large).
Anyway, whether you've got anything to hide in your car or not, I think it's a good idea to hold the police to a high standard of care on these consent searches, because outside of your home, your car is probably the most private place that you possess, and it just bugs me to know how easy it is for the cops to intrude on your privacy just because of one of their "hunches" (which are always somehow less prophetic in real life than they are on T.V.).

No real lunch today, but I grabbed a sandwich at Bistroli's with Jennifer. It was nice. Hi Jennifer.

Had Crack practice last night. It was really fun, but it has made Steanso quite weary today. Who decided that Taco Cabana at 11:00 was a good idea? Uggggh.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hey. Well, it's past five o'clock and I just got back from court after doing discovery and covering the dockets all day. Needless to say, this is gonna be a short one.
The weekend was ok. Had drinks on Friday with the Wilson, Sensat, Reid team, and a heron showed up in the middle of our late night drinking and tried to get some fish out of the Wilson pond. We shooed that heron away, but I bet he'll be back. Dive deep, little fishies. Dive deep.
Saturday I saw Batman Begins again with Weedo and Griegor, and it was equally good the second time around. Sunday I had band practice with the Mono E, and we rocked pretty hard, covering Communication Breakdown by Zep as well as a Cream song or two and the obligatory AC/DC cover. Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there, and I hope my own pops is having a good one. I only got to talk to him briefly yesterday b/c we were both busy, but I'll call and talk to him later in the week.
And in a truly mini rant (I know I always say they'll be short and they never are):
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/20/goss.bin.laden/index.html
The CIA maintains that it knows where Bin Laden is, but that it can't get to him because there are "weak links in the war on terror", presumably meaning that there are countires that don't want to let the U.S. within their borders to hunt down terrorists. My bet is that this quasi-mysterious reference is to Pakistan, but whatever the country, wouldn't it be easier to get help in hunting down terrorists if we hadn't lied to the entire Arab world about weapons of mass destruction as our justification for invading Iraq before invading and then taking over one of their most notorious prisons and then using it to torture Iraqi troops? (of course, Guantanamo ain't helping much, either) Anyway, just a mini rant. When it comes to the Bush team and foreign policy, you reap what you sow...
Hey. Well, it's past five o'clock and I just got back from court after doing discovery and covering the dockets all day. Needless to say, this is gonna be a short one.
The weekend was ok. Had drinks on Friday with the Wilson, Sensat, Reid team, and a heron showed up in the middle of our late night drinking and tried to get some fish out of the Wilson pond. We shooed that heron away, but I bet he'll be back. Dive deep, little fishies. Dive deep.
Saturday I saw Batman Begins again with Weedo and Griegor, and it was equally good the second time around. Sunday I had band practice with the Mono E, and we rocked pretty hard, covering Communication Breakdown by Zep as well as a Cream song or two and the obligatory AC/DC cover. Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there, and I hope my own pops is having a good one. I only got to talk to him briefly yesterday b/c we were both busy, but I'll call and talk to him later in the week.
And in a truly mini rant (I know I always say they'll be short and they never are):
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/20/goss.bin.laden/index.html
The CIA maintains that it knows where Bin Laden is, but that it can't get to him because there are "weak links in the war on terror", presumably meaning that there are countires that don't want to let the U.S. within their borders to hunt down terrorists. My bet is that this quasi-mysterious reference is to Pakistan, but whatever the country, wouldn't it be easier to get help in hunting down terrorists if we hadn't lied to the entire Arab world about weapons of mass destruction as our justification for invading Iraq before invading and then taking over one of their most notorious prisons and then using it to torture Iraqi troops? (of course, Guantanamo ain't helping much, either) Anyway, just a mini rant. When it comes to the Bush team and foreign policy, you reap what you sow...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Friday!
Had a good lunch with Kim, Jennifer, and Amy at Opal Divine's.
I still owe Crackbass money for a bunch of stuff, and since he's probably still a little sore about my recounting of "The Great Steak Tradgedy", I'll refrain from an outright accusation of Wilson torpedoing another Crack practice (although I hope you feel guilty, you Crack-hating sonofabitch).
My friend, Ray, showed up unexpectedly at my house last night with his wife, Lysette (sp?), after moving away to Conroe a couple of years ago. Ray is now teaching fourth grade after a somewhat extensive "unemployment career", during which time he did things like travelling around Mexico trading beads and whiskey with the Mexican locals for folk art, bringing the art back to Texas, and then selling it to the white man at prices that lend themselves to concepts like "exploitation".
Anyhoo, Ray came by last night and we drank beer and watched the Spurs get the snot beat out of them by the Pistons. Stupid Spurs. Crackbass also stopped by to watch the end of the game and to meet Ray.
Just this little political rant today.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/17/schiavo.governor.ap/index.html
The Bush's threw themselves behind the Terry Schiavo cause, supporting the Schiavo family in claiming that it would be immoral and inhumane to take Terri off of her feeding tube, theoretically because she might still be conscious, despite outward signs, and because her family (who were in my, in my mind, way too emotional to apply any kind of objective, rational logic to the situation) claimed that they had been interacting with her and could see clear signs of cognition and coherence in her eyes. Plus, according to Bush doctrine, Jesus doesn't want brain dead people to die in peace. He wants them to suffer on without dignity or grace so that their families can continue to suffer in grief-stricken turmoil, clinging to the impossible belief that their loved one will make a miraculously recovery, even when such an event is, in fact, medically impossible. According to Bush, only God can decide when it's time for someone to die. Problem was, for Terri, that God had decided it was time for her to die years ago, but a bunch of well-intentioned and bereaved humans had overruled his decision and really screwed the whole situation up.
So the courts ruled and Bush threatened to try to intervene (but ultimately did not) and in the end, for better or worse, the feeding tube was removed and Terri died. Terri's husband, who had been the proponent of removing his wife's feeding tube from the outset, said that he was content in the belief that his wife had died in peace. The rest of Terri's family gnashed their teeth and cried because their daughter, whom they claimed to have been communicating with for years, had finally left them.
Then the autopsy results came back. Schiavo's brain had been shrunken to half of its normal size before her death, with her vision and critical thinking areas completely destroyed. The woman was, in medical terms, a complete vegetable with no chance for a recovery. She could move her eyes and make some motions, but she definitely had no sense of vision, and in all likelihood was not capable of forming a coherent thought.
But the Bush's won't let this defeat go unavenged. Now it must have been Terri's husband's fault that she slipped into a coma in the first place. And instead of admitting that there was no way this woman could have recovered and it was time to let her go, the Bush clan is going to do it's old "switch the issue" trick and claim that they were only trying to stop Terri's husband from murdering her all along. (by the way, remember when the Bush's used the ol' "switch the issue" trick before? we thought we were looking for weapons of mass destruction and protecting America, but it turns out that we were just interested in freedom for the people of Iraq- we're real noble like that)
Anyhoo, Jeb Bush needs to just quit pandering to his conservative Christian constituents and let the whole thing go. Judging by the autopsy results, it looks like Terri's husband was right to let her die in peace.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

'Ello, mates.

Just another hot day of lawyerin'.

I went and saw Batman Begins last night at the Alamo Drafthouse with the Wilsons (who graciously saved me a seat, by the way). It was a really good flick, with a slightly new take on the Batman saga, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not sure it's any better or worse than the original two Tim Burton Batman flicks, but it's just different (and somehow, a little more believable). I had a few, relatively minor issues with this new Batman movie, but on the whole I thought it was really well done, and definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of action movies.

It looks like the Democrats are trying to go on the attack.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/16/downingst.memo.ap/index.html
The problem is, Democrats are typically pretty bad at taking the offensive against their rivals. Even now, as Rep. John Conyers tries to put the heat on the Bush White House and force a response to the allegations raised in the Downing Street Memo (which states that pre-war meetings with the Bush administration led to the conclusion that intelligence was being fixed around claims of WMD in order to lend support to the decision to invade Iraq), the Democrats seem ineffectual- their outrage belated and insignificant in light of the fact that, obviously, it's now common knowledge that no weapons of mass destruction were to be found in Iraq. I understand the impulse to want to raise the ire of the public following Bush's deception (especially after suffering the persecution of the Republicans during such fun filled and meaningless events as the Whitewater investigation and the Lewinsky/Clinton impeachment fiasco), but the sad truth is, I think most Americans knew or suspected that Bush had manipulated intelligence information before going to war in Iraq even before the last presidential election, but America re-elected Bush, anyway.
Because America sees all Middle Easterners as one people (and as a group, they should collectively suffer for the sins of their brothers). And because America was still pissed off that we didn't get Saddam in the last gulf war. And because America was frustrated that we hadn't caught Osama Bin Laden. Some of those damn Arabs was gonna pay for 911, damnit (even if it wasn't one of the Arab peoples who actually attacked us).
For all of these reasons, America supported Bush's march toward war.
But the Democrats still have one hope- if Americans are better at anything than being prejudiced and jumping to conclusions, that one thing would be hypocrisy. Once Americans realize that they have made a mistake, they're always eager to find a scapegoat to blame their moral or intellectual failings upon. If the Democrats can truly convince the nation that the decision to invade Iraq was a bad decision both on a practical and moral level, the American people will be looking for someone to blame for this decision other than themselves. This could create the kind of backlash against the current leadership that the Democrats have been pining for. But I'm not sure that the Democrats have anoyone in their camp who is aggressive and charismatic enough to pull this off. The Democrats not only need to be able to show that the current administration is engaged in bad acts, but they need to be able to convince the population that there is a better way to deal with the war on terror, and that the Democrats have the skills and abilities to implement such a plan. Inspiring this kind of confidence in the public is asking the Democrats to go a long way from the snivelling, subservient position which they hold now (where they seem powerless to block the nomination of even a single Bush appointee, no matter how bad a candidate that person may be).

Yikes. I've been typing this while my secretary is supposedly translating for one of my clients here in my office (going over his contract with him). I've got no idea what I've been writing because I'm listening to their Spanish and broken English as I write this (and divided attention tasks may not really be my thing). I'm gonna publish anyway.

Sorry I made fun of the "Great Steak Disaster", Crackbass.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hello.
I still don't have a lot to report on today. I've been really busy at work, and everything else seems to be slipping through the cracks (including blogging).
I need to have repair work done on the roof of my house, and so far no fewer than 3 different roofing companies have promised to come by, look at the roof, and give me an estimate, but then have failed to appear. It's a hell of a way to run a business, and I'm getting a little frustrated. I think that maybe the patchwork that needs to be done on my roof just isn't a big enough job to really get their attention (talk about a mixed blessing).
Not too much even going on in politics today. The Senate is still fighting over whether or not John Bolton deserves a vote for ambassador to the U.N., with the Republicans accusing the Democrats of stalling, and the Democrats accusing the Republicans of refusing to hand over documents that prove Bolton has previously manipulated intelligence data in order to serve his own agenda. I don't care if the Republicans think we're stalling or not, of course. The point is, Bolton is just the most recent in a long line of crappy Bush appointees to be shoved down our throats, and given his previous job history (of bullying, oppression, and abrasiveness) and his outspoken criticism of the U.N., Bolton simply is not the man for the job (especially at a time when U.S. relations are particularly strained with the U.N. because the Bush administration sent them a pack of lies about weapons of mass destruction in its attmept to justify the Iraq War).
But all of this has been said before.
It feels like the doldrums of summer are already upon us, and it's only mid June. Blech. It's hot, and everyone seems grouchy and bored. We all need vacations and some trips to Barton Springs.
Eat a popsicle for Steanso. We gotta be about to turn a corner, soon, kids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hey. Steanso had to go to Williamson County today to work on a case, so you guys are probably gonna get the short end of the blogging stick today.

I had a lovely lunch with Kim Bloom, D.K., and Liz today. D.K., Liz, and I are supposed to go to a baseball game next weekend down in Houston, so I'm trying to get that squared away with them while still leaving enough time for me to go to the McCrimmon party.

Man, I'm sorry, but the phone keeps ringing for me and the work keeps piling up. If Steanso wants to get out of here at a respectable hour, he's gonna have to cut this short.

Via con dios, mi amigos!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Howdy, guys. Steanso did very little with his weekend. Cassidy got to go to the dog park, and Chris Griego rolled down to South Austin from Round Rock to watch a couple of movies and drink some beer. Last night I had a steak dinner with the Wilsons, and despite a somewhat catastrophic blaze on the Wilson's new grill, dinner was yummy and enjoyed by all.

Having watched the Michael Keaton movie, White Noise, Steanso was reminded of the fact that his own house, the infamous Hop-a-Long Lounge, has been rumored to be haunted by the ghost of the previous owner's grandmother, who died in the house. Well, I'm not sure if the ghost left with the prior owners or if she's just been quiet of late, but Steanso has seen very little in the way of any real haunting since moving in (admittedly, somewhat to Steanso's disappointment). Instead, the Hop-a-Long Lounge remains a fairly happy, sunny place where people stop by to have beers, relax, play with the three-legged wondermutt, and hide from the world for awhile. If you're ever in the neighborhood, drop on by for a visit. The door is always open and you're welcome to whatever beer is in the fridge. I've got some good albums on vinyl, and I'm always up for shootin the shit.

Well, our governor has been busy.
http://www.news8austin.com/content/legislature_2005/stories/?ArID=139268&SecID=480
Apparently Rick Perry is so desperate to develop a political base that he's lending his signature and endorsement to a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions, even though the proposed amendment in no way requires his signature or approval at this juncture. When asked a question about gay veterans who might want to marry upon returning from Iraq, Perry responded that, "If there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas, then maybe that's a better place for them to live.”
The real truth behind these statements is that Perry is attempting to shore up his political base amongst the conservative, Christian right in the face of the increasing popularity of Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican U.S. Senator and possible candidate for Texas governor in the next election.
The whole thing is ridiculous. To be honest, working at the Travis County courthouse, I have worked with and around a number of people (lawyers and otherwise) who have worked at the state capitol, and rumors have persisted for years that Rick Perry, in fact, is a homosexual and that his marriage to his wife was nothing more than a sham to create political deniability for the governor. I'm not saying that these rumors are true, but what better way to convince the Christian right that the rumors of Perry's alleged homosexuality are unfounded than to come out swinging against the homosexual population of Texas by endorsing an anti-gay constitutional amendment?
And speaking of which, do we really need to amend our state constitution just to single out and punish people because of their sexual orientation? And as for telling homosexuals that they need to find a more lenient place to live, I think Perry needs to just screw off. I'm sure he'd be happy if every liberal or every person who shared a different viewpoint than his biggoted, fascist mindset left Texas, but there are still a few good people here, Ricky, and we ain't handing the state over without a fight. I'd rather live in a neighborhood full of conscientious gay people than have to call a single prejudiced, right-wing bigot my neighbor. Man, I'm not even gay, and this stuff still gets me so fired up that I could punch this idiot in the nose. Any time a politician is willing to sell out the human rights and dignity of other people just to meet his own personal and political agenda, I think it's time to send him packing.
Anyway, I've said it a million times, but it's about time that we got back to making the Democratic Party the populist, labor-oriented party that it was always meant to be, and take control away from the big-money corporate fat cats who hold power and continually try to drive divisions between us and shovel shit down our throats under the guise of "self reliance" (while the "self reliant" wealthy reap the benefits of capital gains taxes, the abolition of estate taxes, the refusal to raise minimum wage, and the refusal to impose penalties for the outsourcing of American jobs overseas).

Oooops. Tempus fugit. I gots to get out of here.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hey, there. I just got back from court, it's 4:00 p.m. on Friday, and I'm hot and tired. I had a nice lunch today with Rosa and Kim which involved a lot of talk about movies, the remaking of old movies, and the various ways in which Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can manifest itself. I've been suggesting to Jennifer Kraber that we should go itno business on a drive-in movie theater (preferably one with a beer and liquor license in a cool, Austin setting and with big fans that can cool people if they want to sit outside their cars on the lawn on warm summer nights). We are now accepting investment capital from those of you who are ready to become silent partners and retire into a life of luxury after reaping the rewards of our vision.
In other news, my boss, Travis, apparently spent most of his night last night at the scene of an officer involved shooting which has already made the news in the local paper.
http://www.statesman.com/metrostate/content/metro/stories/06/11shooting.html
Our firm is affiliated with CLEAT, which is basically a law enforcement union that represents, among many other organizations, the Austin Police Department. When any kind of death occurs as a result of an Austin police officer taking action in the line of duty, an internal affairs investigation is immediately launched to look into the incident and CLEAT calls us (or one of a handful of preselected lawyers) to the scene to provide representation for the police officers who were involved in the incident. Anyway, this shooting looks to be confusing and messy, but it'll probably be interesting and provide a bit of a diversion form our usual criminal defense activities. I can't really talk about any details of these cases as they are going on, but go ahead and think of our office when you see follow up stories about this case on the news, ok?

Well, Crackbass has cancelled Crack practice for tonight for little or no discernible reason, kids. Kim Bloom (K.B. for short), wife of Crack's trombone player Sigmund "Rusty" Bloom and an inside member of the Crack entourage's inner circle, has speculated that Crackbass may, in fact, be losing interest in performing with Crack altogether. Could this be true? Could the demise of America's newest and greatest performance art band already be looming on the horizon? Say it ain't so, Crackbass!! Crack fans around the world wait with bated breath for news of the band's fate...

There will be no political rant today because Steanso is too tired, and doesn't feel like getting himself all wound up just beofre the weekend. Instead, given how hot it is outside, Steanso will soon seek out a strawberry daquiri.

Be good, guys.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hey, guys.
Long, long morning in court. The stupid D.A.'s office wants to put one of my court-appointed, mentally disabled clients in prison for 3 years because he thought it would be funny to sell a pebble to an undercover cop for $20 under the premise that it was crack cocaine. My guy has been in a lot of legal trouble in the past, and, admittedly, screwing around with undercover cops is a bad idea, but my guy has HIV and he's mentally retarded (which doesn't exactly help with his decision making processes). Anyway, I think I talked the judge into dumping my guy's sentence down to 6 months, but my guy is still pretty confused about how he can get jail time for selling a pebble, and I'm not much help because I think it's completely insane, myself (techincally, it's indicted as Distribution of a Simulated Controlled Substance). We could probably win a trial on the issue of whether or not my guy truly represented to these cops that the pebble was real crack, but if we lose (say, if the jury just doesn't like the fact that my guy was jacking with cops), my guy could get habitualized and face a minimum of 25 years in prison. Ugggh. Like I said- long morning.
Karen "The Karebear" Steans wrapped up her stay at my house this morning, so life will slowly return to normal at the Hop-a-Long Lounge.
I don't really feel up to a big rant today, but, of course, I'm annoyed that Bush is making such a big push to renew the Patriot Act.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/09/bush.patriot.ap/index.html
The Patriot Act allows the government to do such fun-filled activities as raiding our homes and tapping our communications lines without giving us notice and without many of the traditional safeguards against invasion of privacy such as the need to get a warrant by way of a showing of probable cause in front of a judge. Bush claims the Patriot Act needs to be renewed in order to keep America safe, but meanwhile, he refuses to provide additional funding to protect our borders or to more aggressively pursue illegal aliens who have crossed into our country and who are living here without documentation. At the very least, if the Patriot Act is renewed (and, sadly, I think it will be), I think its name should be changed to "The Nation of Fear Act" or "The Big Brother Act", in order to more accurately reflect its true purpose.
What else? Not much. I thought I was coming down with a cold yesterday and last night, but Karebear got me some Zicam and orange juice, and I feel much better today (although I was looking up how to spell Zicam just now on the net, and it appears that there are lawsuits pending against Zicam, supposedly for causing loss of smelling ability- oh well, I can't smell much anyway with all of my blasted allergies).
I also watched The Daily Show last night, and Colin Powell was on, being interviewed by John Stewart. Why, oh why couldn't the Republicans have run Powell for president instead of that village idiot who's in office now. I may not agree with all of the Powell's politics, but at least he's a smart, well-spoken man who has some common sense and is able to articulate his positions in a way that makes you want to try to understand his point of view instead of wanting to stab him in the eye with a fork. I think putting someone like Powell in office could have gone a long way toward uniting the country, because, even though he's Republican, I genuinely believe that he actually has the country's best interests at heart (in contrast to Bush, who seems primarily motivated by protecting only the interests of America's wealthiest upper class). Also, Powell seems to recognize that there may be some value in maintaining relationships with the global community, an idea which Bush almost scoffs at.
OK, I gots to get back to work. Peace out, ya'll!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What's up? My brother is in Vegas and I'm still sitting at this stupid computer in my office.
Erin Stewart has had a birthday recently (she told me she was going to celebrate, but she didn't tell me what day her birthday actually fell upon), so let's all wish her a good one. Many happy returns, Erin!

Mom is staying with me for a few days so she can visit with my uncle, Donald. Uncle Donald is from the upper peninsula of Michigan, and he's a classic Yooper (see, they call the top portion of Michigan the U.P., for Upper Peninsula, and then the locals are called Yoopers, in some kind of bizarre, phonetical derivation of a nickname from U.P.). Anyway, when I say Uncle Donald is a classic Yooper, it means that he just shares a lot of the classic traits that a lot of these extemely backwoods northerners seem to share- he's super friendly and will talk your ear off, he loves to hunt and fish and enjoys all kinds of sports, he really loves a cold beer, he can keep any kind of vehicle running with some duct tape and a wrench, he's a good cook (including his recipes for pasties and cudighi, which are Upper Peninsula favorites), and despite his sort of no-nonsense, practical view of life, he's much more well-read and insightful than you would expect to find in someone from the forest mining towns of Upper Michigan. Like most Yoopers, he also talks with a funny, northern accent (think Fargo- "Oh yah, I got to take da boat to da lake.") Anyway, like the rest of the country, I think the U.P. is becoming more and more homogenized (they have cable T.V., the internet, and Wal-Mart there now, after all), so Uncle Donald is one of a rare, dying breed of Yooper, and I feel kind of lucky to have him in the family (although, like I said, he WILL talk your ear off).
And now for our travesty of the day,
http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/06/08/climate.us.official.reut/index.html
The White House has actually been trying to avoid discussions on global warming and pollution emissions by trying to edit reports in a way that downplays the correlation between global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. They're actually manipulating data so that American pollution will look less harmful. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is just SO FREAKING TYPICAL. This is yet another example of the Republicans literally believing that they can rewrite reality to make it more accomodating to their anti-enviromental political beliefs. I guess they figure that if they bury their heads in the sand about global warming long enough to line their pockets (with kickback money from pollution-producing big business), they'll be able to afford mansions that float on pontoons so they can just drift away when the polar ice caps melt. The whole argument that global warming hasn't been proven to be linked to greenhouse emissions is beginning to take on the same tone that the tobacco companies had in the eighties and nineties when they argued that smoking had never been proven to cause cancer. While we gathered additional proof for cigarette litigation, millions more people got cancer, and now, while we gather additional proof about global warming for people who have no interest in examining that proof, anyway, the atmosphere of our planet is getting screwed up. Do they really think that the scientists of the world have come up with this model of global warming just to hurt the profits of American big business? I don't get it. Tell George W. that I hope his grandkids have flippers, cause they're gonna need 'em.

p.s.- Remember all of my bitching about Guantanamo Bay? At least I'm in good company...
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/06/08/carter.guantanamo.ap/index.html
Carter may have been a mediocre president, but his work in supporting human rights has been exemplary in his post-presidency career. And, ok, maybe Amnesty went a little far when its spokesperson referred to Gauntanamo as a "gulag", but the righteous indignation of the Republicans at hearing such a comparison does nothing to diminish the fact that the place totally sucks ass (the Amnesty guy might have gotten carried away by calling it a gulag, but torture and the absence of legal due process don't exactly invite comparisons to Disney World). I'll throw in with Carter any day before lifting a finger to support Bush....

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hey. Steanso is a bit tired today, and his moms, Karen "The Karebear" Steans will be in town to visit her brother in law, my uncle, who is in town visiting my cousin, Susan. Got all that? Well, it doesn't really matter, except to say that I'm tired, and now I may have to entertain tonight.

Last night Steanso had a delicious hamburger dinner with the Wilsons, and then we started to watch Hidalgo, but then I had to leave before it was over to go pick up the casa for the aforementioned visit from Karebear.

I also watched Samurai Jack last night.
http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/tv_shows/samuraijack/
I've probably mentioned it before, but Samurai Jack, for those not in the know, is an animated show on the Cartoon Network which has really cool stories, beautiful (although stylized) animation, and lots of action. It involves the story of Jack, a samurai warrior, who's father and homeland were enslaved by the evil demon, Aku. Jack nearly defeated Aku in his quest for revenge, but at the last moment, Aku cast a spell which threw Jack into the future, in a time when Aku rules the world and oppresses humanity through his army of countless evil robots. Trapped, Jack quests to return to his own time when he might defeat Aku once more and prevent the demon from taking over the entire world with his evil power.
Watching Samurai Jack is kind of like watching a really colorful fairy tale come to life. The show does an incredible job of telling stories in pictures, often using very little dialogue or narration, and the imaginations of the narrators run wild in coming up with both allies and enemies for Jack to encounter (everything from talking dogs to robot hit men to blind, zen archers have appeared on the first few episodes of the show).
So all of you adults go out and rent (or buy) Samurai Jack. It's cool, and it's funny, and it's not just for kids (although it's gotta be a pretty darn good show to watch with your kids if you have them).

Congrats to Reasonable Rosa on becoming court chief! Well done, Rosa. Hopefully this will go to your head so we can all chuckle along as you begin to mercilessly deride Trey Collins in front of defense attorneys, and slowly develop the other sorts of weird habits that court chiefs are prone to (napping in the office and talking on the phone while a room full of attorneys are waiting on you come to mind as favorites).

I think that's all for today. I'm busy and tired and feeling a wee bit uncreative.

"We were talking 'bout Fripp, Belew and Bowie,
And how in song strange things collide...."

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hey, groovers!

Hope everyone's weekend was good.
It was good to see a good sized handful of the courthouse kids at Freddie's watching San Saba on Friday. San Saba played a good set, throwing in a few Wilco tunes and even a Willie Nelson song or two. Freddie's was a little hot out there by the stage, but they had cold, tasty ritas, and I think everyone had fun.
Saturday I went and saw the latest Star Wars movie, Episode 3. It was pretty good. I call it "pretty good" with the understanding that I'm rating it primarily against the other Star Wars movies, and not, say, Apocalypse Now or The Godfather. At any rate, it had some pretty amazing special effects, and most importantly, now it's over, having granted us all of the stuff we needed to see (i.e., Luke and Leia being born, the creation of Darth Vader, etc.), even if not always in the way that we had hoped to see these events unfold (the Jedi were all killed by being shot in the back by a bunch of crappy clone troopers?).
Sunday I rocked with the Mono Ensemble, and we sounded pretty good. Hopefully we'll have a CD out sometime soon to share with everyone.

And for a teensy little rant, I go with this:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/06/scotus.medical.marijuana/index.html
I'm not going to sit here and argue about whether or not marijuana should be legalized (although I believe that it should be), and I'm not going to argue about whether or not there is a legitimate need for the use of medical marijuana which can't be addressed by the use of other drugs (incidentally, I'm not sure that this is a convincing argument for legalizing marijuana, given the availability of alternative remedies- even as a person who defends marijuana legalization, this always sounded like a weak way to try to backdoor pot legalization to me). I am, annoyed, however, by the federal government's increasing extension of it's own powers by abusing and manipulating the Commerce Clause.
The Commerce Clause, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, holds that Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce, including all activities which might have an impact on this interstate commerce. The federal government has long used this clause to regulate activities which were originally left to the regulation of the individual states. All sorts of statutes, from laws against racial segregation in local restaurants to a wide variety of federal criminal laws have been enacted under the judicial fiction that these activities play a substantial role in interstate commerce.
I'm here today to bitch about that issue- the federal government using the damn Commerce Clause to intrude on every conceivable area of our lives. Although sometimes noble intentions have been behind the use of the Commerce Clause to trump state laws (as in the case of preventing local businesses from practicing racial discrimination in the course of their business), I think that more recent history has shown us that the federal govenrment is willing to use the Commerce Clause to infringe upon any area of state decision making that the federal government sees fit.
I don't know about you kids, but I'd rather live in a country where the local government gets to decide what rules the local people have to abide by (within limits, of course, which should be designed to protect state or local goverments from robbing citizens of their civil liberties). I like the idea that different states actually represent different peoples and different ways of doing things, with different ideas, customs, and practices. I don't like the idea of some group of people a thousand miles away telling me how to live. (I don't hate the idea as much as Timothy McVeigh did, maybe, but I find the idea distasteful, just the same). I respect the need for the federal government to step in when people's individual liberties are threatened, but when the feds are stepping in merely to enforce the uniformity of a set of laws that the people of some states don't agree with (as evidenced by the fact that these states have already passed medical marijuana laws) and where there is no clear case of any individual rights or liberties being threatened, I feel like the federal goverment is gravely overstepping its bounds. In the given case, the federal goverment is saying that a plant which can be grown, cultivated, and consumed all in the same house is somehow a threat to interstate commerce. It is entirely possible to punish people who try to transport marijuana across state lines without having to prosecute people who cultivate and possess the plant for personal use.
Anyway, I'm just saying that we don't have to all be identical people across this far flung country of ours. It's bad enough that corporate America wants every city in the country to have a McDonald's and a Wal-Mart and identical shopping malls. Now the feds want all of our local laws to be identical as well, and this includes cases where the differences in the laws don't seem to hurt anyone (like these medical marijuana laws). They want to impose a uniform morality upon the entire country, and their laws are apparently not meant to merely be a means of protecting the American people.
OK, now I have a client with a screaming kid in here, so I gots to go....

Keep on keepin' on.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday. Kickass. Now if I can just get my tree guy to come and take that tree off my roof.

The Wilsons have set sail for New Orleans again, this time for a wedding, so Crack practice has been delayed yet again. I'm afraid that with these long delays between Crack practices that our band might lose its highly polished, extremely tight playing style.

Sean Slack, John Saba, and those other two dudes will be playing with San Saba County tonight at Freddie's on South 1st at 6:00. I imagine they'll be playing on the stage outside, so I hope it doesn't rain. I know I've said this before, but I swear that I'm going to make it out to see them tonight. Their music just makes me want to drink cheap beer and grin like an idiot at pretty girls. Anyway, they're fun and Freddie's is a pretty decent place, so everyone come out and see them.

And I don't really have a rant to go along with this, and it's not the kind of article Steanso normally links to, but nonetheless:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/03/science/03cell.html?oref=login
Apparently scientists have linked sexual orientation to a specific gene in fruit flies. The implications of this are that human sexual orientation may also be linked to genetic formation, although it's too early to say from just this single study. The broader implications are that homosexuality may, at some point, be shown to be a predetermined genetic predilection rather than a simple choice, as some have contended. I'm certainly no expert in the area, but from conversations that I've had with a few of my friends who are gay, this study seems to be in keeping with their own feelings about their sexual orientation (I don't think I know any gay people who would say that they just chose to be gay). Will this make homosexuality less of a sin in the eyes of conservatives? I doubt it, since the homophobia of conservatives seems to be at the heart of their branding homosexuality as a sin in the first place (i.e., the fear that conservatives have of homosexuality won't go away just because the cause of homosexuality is shown to have changed- I can see conservatives arguing that homosexuality is a genetic flaw which creates impulses that are sinful and should be resisted- an argument which seems ridiculous in the homosexuality context, but perhaps not as ridiculous in the case of, perhaps, pedophilia, which may also one day be shown to have a genetic component that alters sexual orientation).
At any rate, sexual orientation, be it gay or straight, is beginning to look more and more like something which arises in the course of nature, and not as a simple choice. Which raises the theological/cosmological question- if God disapproves of homosexuals, then why did he make people that way?
I find the whole issue, the combination of genetics, biology, sexual identity, and ethics to be pretty interesting, and on a personal level, I think society needs to come to a better understanding of this issue so it can sort out its laws on things like gay marriage and/or adoption. Of course, an easier option would be just to let people be people, and let them marry and raise children however they want (as long as it's not hurting anyone), but until there is more of a consensus on this issue, I'm not sure that's going to happen.

OK, Christian is here and he needs my 'puter to play Ninja Turtles. I must defer to his authority.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wow. Terrible day. Virtually no time for blogging. Given some recent posts, I do want to reiterate, as I said to Rami in the comments section, that I hope that everyone keeps in mind that the Adventures of Steanso are just for stupid fun, and any teasing that goes on here is meant to be taken in that spirit. When Steanso likes people he teases them. When he doesn't like people, he pretty much just ignores them. So join the Steanso extended family and relax- all of this smartass sound and fury is just meant to entertain us on this little dirt ball, rolling 'round the sun....
By the way, any negative comments about George Bush are not meant to be taken as teasing, and are instead meant to demean him with whatever little bit of might that Steanso can muster.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Apparently all of the curses that were put upon Steanso by the unhappy readers of his blog came to fruition last night in the form of a big ass storm that not only knocked out Steanso's power, but also knocked a rather large tree onto Steanso's roof. Exploding transformers, two trees down, and possible roof damage. Who knew that Rami had such powerful voodoo forces at her command? Steanso is chagrined by these latest developments, to say the least, but he shall perservere.

Oh, the humanity!

Here's something else Steanso is thrilled about today:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/31/bush.newsconference.ap/index.html
Bush still just doesn't get it. Anyone who doesn't stand by his policy of human rights abuses must hate America, right? No, George, we just hate you, you arrogant, self-righteous idiot. At this point, I just want to put George in a few "stress positions" or let him spend some time in Guantanamo's "sensory modification" sessions so he can see how his "freedom" and "democracy" feel to people who are on the losing end of his agenda. To hear Bush continually justify his abuses of power with the words "freedom" and "democracy" demeans the very concepts that those words represent. I mean, for God's sake, these people in Guantanamo haven't even had trials! (and if the military/federal goverment is so certain that all of its "detainees" from Guantanamo are terrorists, why not open up the whole prisoner review process to public inspection? Personally, I think most of the guys in their are probably just soldiers who were fighting to defend their country against foreign invaders). I just can't believe this man is our president. Every time he opens his mouth I feel like I'm in some kind of a bad dream that I can't wake up from. It would all be so absurd as to be amusing if only George weren't hurting and killing people. As things stand, I truly think Bush should be held accountable for committing war crimes, in violation of the Geneva Convention. I'm not saying this just to bitch about Republicans, either- I'm saying it because Bush has totally given up America's moral high ground within the international community, and now every one of our enemies is going to feel entirely justified in torturing American troops when they are captured. If Bush had ever actually had to serve in the military in any capacity that actually put him at risk (or if he had even been in a position where he faced the risk of being drafted into a dangerous military assignment instead of resting easy with the confidence that his rich, well-connected family could protect him), he might at least give this viewpoint some consideration....