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Friday, January 30, 2004

Just a Good 'Ole Boy, Never Meanin' No Harm


In Germany, you get 8 1/2 years in prison for killing and consuming another human being.

8 1/2 years.

KASSEL, Germany (AP) - A German was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison Friday for killing, dismembering and eating another man who allegedly agreed to the arrangement over the Internet.

Armin Meiwes, a 42-year-old computer expert, had no "base motives" in the crime, a state court ruled, sparing him a murder conviction. Explaining the verdict, the presiding judge said Meiwes' intention was not evil but "the fulfillment of his fantasy."

His primary motive was "the wish to make another man part of himself," Judge Volker Muetze said. "Meiwes reached this bonding experience through the consumption of the flesh."

That the Judge said "Meiwes' intention was not evil" is a slap in the face of every victim of violent crime. There is nothing, NOTHING, non-evil about killing another person in order to "fullfill a fantasy". There is nothing, NOTHING, non-evil about eating another person's flesh without some necessity of doing so.

This is the kind of story you see more and more of from a society that continues to lack respect for human life and lacks any sense of theology regarding the physical body. Yesterday it was people in Sweeden having sex with animals, today it is Germans eating people they meet on the internet, tomorrow it is a child deciding that Grandma is no longer "useful" and should be killed. What is happening in Europe will soon be happening here, as well.

Look at our future. How pathetic.

Brandes traveled from Berlin in reply to an Internet advertisement seeking a young man for "slaughter and consumption." Meiwes testified that Brandes wanted to be stabbed to death after drinking a bottle of cold medicine to lose consciousness.

"Bernd came to me of his own free will to end his life," Meiwes said in his closing statement in court Monday. "For him, it was a nice death."

Still, he said he regretted the killing.

"I had my big kick and I don't need to do it again," he said. "I regret it all very much, but I can't undo it."

A video he made of the act was shown to the court during a closed session.

Ah, the concept of a "nice" death, drinking a bottle of cold medicine, popping 20 sleeping pills, drinking some booze, then having some nut-job slice you up with a knife...isn't that just the most natural, peaceful way you could imagine to die?

In 8 1/2 years (probably sooner) this guy will be out of prison again. Who knows, by then, it may be fasionable to take a "consenting" adult with you to a nice retreat resort where you can murder them and eat them in style, AND have full use of the tennis courts, pool, and steam room...

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I'm Worried About My Sanity

Ok, so I'm posting twice in a row, and about a TV journalist no less...

John Stossel has several great articles listed here:


And one in particular that addressed another pet peve of mine here:


I've been the "beneficiary" of three class action suits that I know of. One was settled a few weeks ago. A former credit card company had done something unethical in either charging interest or making unauthorized charges or something. It happened 7 or 8 years ago, and I had none of the records any more, but I did remember being "charged" for something that I didn't order, and it was in the magnitude of $50 to $100. I paid whatever, after not getting any answer from the company as to WHAT it was, cancelled my credit, and left them behind. The suit was "won" and I recieved a check a couple weeks ago. For 39 cents. I was informed that if I didn't cash the check within 60 days, that money would be donated to charity. I hope my 39 cents did some good.

Another class action suit was the CD price-fixing suit recently settled. I'm supposed to get like 12 bucks for that, I think, but I haven't seen a check yet. At least that one will be something substancial...

Stossel actually writes about the other class action I've been "in"...

"[Judge] Bono was the judge in a big class action suit filed against the phone company Ameritech. The lawyers claimed Ameritech charged a fee for a warranty on people's phone lines without first making sure people wanted it. It's impossible to judge who's right ; the company settled, they say, just to avoid time consuming litigation. Bono approved the settlement.

How much did the settlement award the lawyers?

He said, "The lawyers got $16 million — I believe the settlement had a $200 million value; $27 million cash, and other benefits."

But the customers didn't get checks for a million dollars.

Some got checks for small amounts. More got credits, discounts to rewire their house, and phone cards that gave them a maximum of $15 in calls — calls that had to be made at Ameritech's pay phones."

That's what I got: a calling card that allowed me to make $15 in pay phone calls from Ameritch pay phones. And, if memory serves, they had to be made within 30 days of "activating" the card. This, combined with terrible customer service and price gouging has led me to change my local and long distance telephone provider on over 20 business and residential lines (as well as 2 high speed internet connections) that I have influence over. I may have been shafted with a "settlement" that did no one any good, but I've enacted my revenge by depriving SBC/Ameritech of nearly $2000 per month of business.

Sweet Vindication!

John Stossel (ABCNews) has an article about the "Top Ten Myths" or "Things We Believe Are True, But Aren't" here:


Number 9 is an echo of what I wrote below about the "lack" of free time we have as a people.

Lots of Americans say they have no free time. We all seem to be rushing everywhere.

Sherri Kowalski is busy. She's a working mom, who's in a constant struggle to get everything done.

She has two kids, and a husband who helps. But there's a lot to do: laundry, cooking, cleaning, helping kids with their schoolwork. When we visited her home, she was so busy she didn't even sit down to eat her meals.

Everyone we interviewed said they were pressed for time.

It made me want to seek out some real data on this. I talked with sociologist John Robinson of the University of Maryland, who's been trying to measure how much time we have for several decades. Since 1965, Robinson has had people keep time diaries, so he could calculate how much free time people really have.

I assumed that we've lost free time since 1965, but Robinson said that's not the case. Surprisingly, since 1965 we've gained almost an hour more free time every day.

"There is a discrepancy between what people say and what they report when they keep a time diary," he said.

Sure enough, when Sherri Kowalski and some of the other people we met at the mall kept Robinson's time diaries, what they wrote down didn't always match what they'd said.

Sherri had twice as much free time as she'd estimated. She finds time to exercise every day, and she often goes to a tanning salon. Kowalski also watches some TV; that's the No. 1 free time activity in America.

We have more free time now, say the experts, because we're working less, marrying later, having fewer children, and retiring earlier.

If we're so stressed for free time, it's hard to explain how 36 million people can find time to golf, and 65 million go camping, and hundreds of millions go to the beach, the movies, and sports events.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Freedom of Speech, If You Say What I Want You To Say


January 27, 2004 -- EXETER, N.H. - Wise-cracking funnyman Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground after the man tried to shout down Gov. Howard Dean.

That Al Franken is sooooo freakin funny. Can you stop laughing at this visual? I can't. I imagine him in a Stuart Smally fuzy tan sweater, and that kinda whacked-out, fright-wig, blond hair...body slamming this poor schlep..."I'm good enough" *slam* "I'm smart enough" *slam* "and doggoneit" *slam**slap* "people like me! *kick*

Franken said he's not backing Dean but merely wanted to protect the right of people to speak freely. "I would have done it if he was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally," he said.

I find the best way to protect free speech is to tell people to shut up (Howard Dean: "Sit down! You've had your say, now it's my turn") or body slam them into submission (Franken).

Franken emerged from the crowd and charged one male protester, grabbing him with a bear hug from behind and slamming him onto the floor.

Now, Franken could have handled this differently, don't you think? Perhaps the Dean campaign could have imposed sanctions on the individual, you know, like asking him to leave or quiet down, or running a blockade to make sure he didn't get any refreshments? And, really, they should have appealed to the other campaigns to come up with a unilateral stance against heckling, then waited to see if the heckler complied with their rubric of what he could or couldn't say. If all else failed, they could then utilize security forces to remove the heckler. But, under the "Democrat Way", they would have had to have the agreement of every single Democrat Presidential candidate, ever, in order to impose security measures. Oh, and they would also need the approval of people that don't like them, like maybe President Bush or Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh. Unless EVERYONE agrees, you can't just act unilaterally, you know...

Plus, to follow the Democrat Way, Franken should have asked himself, "Why does this man hate Howard Dean?" then, after careful study (perhaps even after taking the guy out to dinner every night for a few years, buying his medicine, and sending people in to fix his house and car) he could have suggested some ways that Dean could change in order to be more "likeable" to the protestor. Then, the use of force wouldn't have been necessary on any level, because every rally would be a Nirvana of Political Bliss.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Bird Brains


What starts out as a nice little story about a parrot with a 900 word vocabulary suddenly swerves off into the whacky with this line:

"N'kisi's remarkable abilities, which are said to include telepathy, feature in the latest BBC Wildlife Magazine."

Really? Telepathy, huh? Couldn't you have just left well enough alone by writing a nice article about a bird that has a larger vocabulary and better sense of context than most American 6th graders?

You had to mention telepathy...

Friday, January 23, 2004

Parting the Red Sea of Loneliness

There's a report out today (http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040121-080423-3978r.htm) giving scientific "proof" that a Biblical miracle is "possible".

I have a mixed reaction to this. On one hand it is kind of cool to imagine Moses and the entire nation of Israel, crossing amid a 60 mile an hour wind pushing the water back to reveal the reef over which they crossed.

On the other hand, isn't the definition of a miracle "something that can't be explained through natural phenomenon." I mean, its reassuring on one hand, but I don't know that I want every miracle "explained away". It cheapens the concept of a powerful creator who operates beyond our understanding. The most depressing thought is the idea that man has the ability to understand and "know" all things. (I mean, that "need to know" is what got MAN in trouble in the first place, you know?) There are somethings that are bigger than us. If there weren't...well, how depressing to think that we are the summit of all there is? We can't keep our own lives in any reasonable semblance of order...so, we try to cheapen the miraculous. How sad is it that some in our society feel compeled to cling to the idea that if it isn't scientifically explainable, it isn't worthy of our time and energy? Post-modern Science has become the State Religion...

And, that's where loneliness sets in, when we stop looking for that "something bigger" and begin to wallow in what we really are. Because, frankly, what we really are is pretty depressing, if you get down to it. This post-modern era is incredibly discouraging, unless you can find something bigger to hold on to, because, really, in the end, regardless of what we've bought, who we've slept with, what ever power and influence we've accumulated, and what ever degree of public acclamation we've enjoyed, we're still dead. Our bodies still decompose and revert back to the basic elements that made us who we are. That's one reason why the belief in something that is eternal is so important, and, frankly, is the only way any of this makes sense.

Now, I know there are those to whom the idea of "making sense" of all of this is foreign and even unattractive....we'll leave those fine folks for another entry...