Letters to Holly

Tuesday, June 2

I'm Going to Make With the Blah-Blah.

Your Sis worked late last night, and I killed time by running another three miles. And now I am sore incarnate. My Monday time was four minutes slower than the college run Sunday, and I blame the hills. A new 5k was announced for August, one that intrigues me with its claim as "the flattest mountain run you'll ever see." The July 4 5k may be out of my hands if the theatre goes ahead with its multiple performances that day. They'll need all hands on deck.

In the News
The rhetoric surrounding the murder of Pat Tiller runs the gamut. The local radio preacher skimmed over the matter, stating only his conviction that Christians will be blamed for it. Syndicated radio evangelist Albert Mohler spent much time comparing the shooter to those who plotted to kill Hitler. Randall Terry, the chief of Operation Rescue, said Tiller got what he deserved.

On the other hand, the left-wing outlets are accusing Bill O'Reilly of directly influencing the shooter, citing his many references to Tiller's clinic as a "death mill" and calling the man "Tiller the Baby Killer." Three years ago, someone using the same name as the shooter posted on anti-choice sites to ask about O'Reilly's involvement in protest coverage. There seems to be some influence. This shooting would then be similar to the Unitarian Church shootings last July when a gunman later said he was lashing out at the left at the behest of right-wing author Bernard Goldberg.

A few months back, new Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano signed off on a report called "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." It noted concern for those easily swayed into violence by wild-eyed, mass-market rhetoric. The report was booed by many pundits and commentators who saw the report as an attack on them. Napolitano apologized for the report's accusations. Then Sunday happened, and the report appears spot on.

It's not a first-amendment speech issue. All the idiots who stand behind a microphone and rouse their rabble into aggression are free to do so. But they also must be held responsible for the results of their comments. Freedom of speech is not a freedom from accountability.

As that article you posted yesterday on Facebook says, this is domestic terrorism. This was a specific, targeted shooting sparked by a fundamentalist fatwa. There's no difference between this and dumb-fuck yahoos tossing acid on women in Afghanistan. Yes, the attackers and directly responsible and should be launched into the sun, but light must be shined upon those who direct them to action.

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Another political shooting happened yesterday when a recent Muslim convert shot two Army recruiters in Arkansas. One died.

The AP says this:

A prosecutor said Muhammad admitted shooting Long and another soldier "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past."

Long and soldier Quinton Ezeagwula had recently completed basic training and had never seen combat.

Police Chief Stuart Thomas said Muhammad was a convert to Islam and not part of a broader scheme to attack the American military.

We'll see.

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The AP also reports this:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday he supports gays being able to marry but believes states, not the federal government, should make the decision.

"I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said in a speech at the National Press Club. "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."

Cheney, who has a gay daughter, said marriage has always been a state issue.

"And I think that's the way it ought to be handled today, that is, on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don't have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that," he said.

Again, responses are mixed. Some point out that this puts Cheney left of Obama, and others aren't happy to hear Cheney supporting gay marriage in any context, with any conditions. It is very interesting to hear one of the Republican's most prominent speakers saying something that runs counter to the fundamentalists with whom the party hopes to establish momentum for the midterm elections. This is a moderate stance for Cheney to proclaim, and I wonder if this suggests a tilting to the middle ground to make the party more attractive.

Flash Link of the Day
Just in case you wanted an animation that shows how large a blue whale is in 1:1 scale.

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