Thursday, February 05, 2004

That's it. I'm done with the NBA. Scumbags all!

Don't even get me started on Michael "I want to drive my kids to school" Jordan. Or Kobe. No more can be said about either. Much more can be said, however, about the current state of morality in the NBA.

Yesterday, the judge in the Jayson Williams murder trial decided that the jury would not hear of another shooting incident attributable to the Nets player. Too inflammatory. I'd have to agree, as the story made me furious:

Williams Executed Pet Rottweiler After Losing a Bet with Fellow NBA Star

That being said, this story is one of the reasons why I hope the NBA dies a slow, miserable death. Granted, foul, reprehensible behavior occurs in other professional sports, but blowing your dog's head off after one of your buddies drags it out of the house by its' hind legs to show you how your supposedly viscious dog is really a softie? How black is your soul? (And to all those who would jump on me as a racist, I'll include the caveat that no pun was intended.)

Why are there no morality clauses in NBA contracts? Why are the owners, in their relentless quest for money, content with this behavior? I'll never drop a dime on this pathetic excuse for a sport ever again.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Can a Policy of Nonviolence Result in Voiolence?

It's hard to cross a public square in Chicago (and many similar places across the country) or surf the web without encountering anti-Bush / anti-Iraq protesters. One of their common slogans is "violence begets violence", and they implore us to seek nonviolent means of adjudicating international crises. But is violence more likely to be brought about through non-violent means than through direct intervention, i.e. war?

In the online magazine TechCentralStation Dr. Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist from Knoxville, Tennessee reviews the new book An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (David Frum & Richard Perle) , and turns a critical eye to much of the criticism some reviewers have heaped on the work. Her premise, that non-confrontational approaches can in fact bring about the results these protesters seek to prevent, is a compelling and all too often overlooked aspect of the peace advocacy movement.

Over-Humanizing the Enemy

Dr. Smith notes that primary criticism of David Frum and Richard Perle's book stems from their dehuminzation of the enemy, their simplistic reduction of Islam to a factor of malevolent "Evil", and their failure to examine the root causes of Islam's hatred of The West. Her metaphor, that of the violent criminal patients she works with, is not a perfect one, but it merits further examination. After all, aren't the violent tendencies one (a terrorist) not dissimilar to another (a violent criminal)?

(S)ome Americans seem to believe that if we can "feel our enemies' pain," then we will be on the path to enlightenment and peace. This belief could not be further from the truth ... for some anxiety-ridden patients who need faith in themselves, the technique of empathy and support works. However, for those patients with serious violent tendencies, just the opposite is true. With those patients, I've found that setting clear boundaries and making judgments about their immoral behavior works like a charm.

Dr. Smith also makes compelling points about how politicians and academics have impotently approached the problem of politicized violence since modern terrorism's inception in the 1970's. Giving terrorists what they want has resulted in further violent acts against those who acquiesce, and last week's suicide bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem bears this out. After all, Israel had already agreed to release hundreds of jailed Palestinian terrorists in exchange for one kidnapped businessman and the bones of a few IDF soldiers.

Surprisingly, Israel released the jailed Palestinians anyway.

Dr. Smith's piece is good food for thought as we approach the November elections. Do we want to continue on this inarguably difficult course with George Bush, or are we more comfortable going back to Clintonian diplomacy with a democrat as President? Read this article before you make that decision.

Monday, February 02, 2004

California, the ADA and Victimology as Self-Image

Jury rejects claim by man in attack on dog by library cat

Why is it that one of the most beautiful of American states is also the most deficient of common sense? Perhaps because liberal democrats encouraged it?

In Escondido, Richard Ramon "Rik" Espinosa sued the local library for $1.5 million after the biblio's feline mascot, L.C. (for Library Cat), attacked his assistance animal, Kimba. His claims were that his civil rights, as well as his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were infringed upon. Sanity, however, won out:

The jury denied Richard Ramon "Rik" Espinosa's claims on all three issues before them: that the city failed to offer him the same right as the general public to use the library; that it failed to offer him equal access; and that it prevented his dog Kimba from acting as an assistance dog.

The city did not dispute that Espinosa has disabilities, that his dog helped him with his disabilities or that the cat, named "L.C." for Library Cat, attacked Kimba the assistance dog shortly after the dog and Espinosa entered the library in November 2000. Both sides also agreed that the attack resulted in a trip to the vet for the dog, a trip to the doctor for Espinosa and about two days' worth of lost wages. Total cost: about $335.

The city offered twice to settle with Espinosa, including one offer of $1,000. Espinosa declined.

Espinosa stressed his own disabilities over the course of the trial, which according to him include "major depressive and panic disorders", and that his civil rights were denied becuase he and Kimba were unable to enter the library. The jury, being uncommonly possessed of wisdom and intelligence, found Espinosa lacking in all areas of claim.

Two questions:

1) Where is Espinosa's concern for Kimba? and

2) For what reason does he have an assistance animal, and what dunderheaded organization gave him this dog?

I give money to assistance dog training organizations, and I can't see any reputable agency giving this a$$hat one of their charges. Secondly, in Espinosa's suit, every single piont of contention concerns himself, not the dog. Espinosa is a classic narcissist, and the inherent victimology espoused in much of the ADA encourages the victicrat mentality (Larry Elder coined the term "victicrat") behind many of the ADA's provisions. No injury was caused to Espinosa, the city had offered him more than three times the actual amount of costs that he had incurred in having Kimba treated (as well as Espinosa's two days lost wages), and yet he was allowed to see his claims through to trial. Only then were his claims called out for what they clearly were: frivolous.

And as for the claim of civil rights violations, one year after the original filing, Espinosa filed an additional claim of being the victim of a "hate crime" because the cat was black, and Espinosa is Latino. Would that I were kidding.

Proof Positive: CBS Top-Brass Approved Jackson Flashing

Jackson's & Timberlake's Moment of Reproof

Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show gave literal interpretation to the term "Boob Tube".

CBS' professed "outrage" at the stunt and Justin Timberlake's laughable "wardrobe malfunction" excuse pushed the boundaries of implausibility, and Drudge proves that it was indeed planned all along. Sorry CBS & MTV, but I never bought the ruse that it was all some dance move gone awry. Janet Jackson's most famous portrait is a breast baring shot with her nipples coyly covered by the hands of her then-boyfriend, who remained artfully hidden behind her torso. Modesty has never been one of Janet's virtues, and the flash effectively ended the media's relentless focus on Michael, which was the reason for her appearance on the 'musical extravaganza' (to use The Sun's expression) in the first place. Supposedly she has an album coming out next month, but the Common Sense Laws of Self Promotion would have her sing new material, not "All For You" (April 2001) and "Rhythm Nation" (August 1989).

Instead, Janet, Justin, CBS and MTV brought tawdry burlesque spectacle to a national audience Sunday night, and did so knowing young children would be watching the game. All things being considered, though, I must thank them for staging such a craptacular musical review, as it seemed to ensure that we'll not have to sit through another lip-synching , over-produced musical fright fest next year. According to published reports, NFL has informed MTV that they will not be invited to stage a halftime show at any time in the forseeable future. Let's hope that extends to other music cable channels, film companies, corporate circuses, and the like.

Get back to the football, already!