Nomadic thoughts of dubious importance.

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The author is an ex-submariner, questioner of authority, cigar smoking fly-fishing fanatic who wants to live to be 103.

Improved Clinch

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Word Up - Expand Your Mind

It is only through the exercise of the greatest freedom that the greatest growth is achieved - or even possible.
If all you are doing is following someone else's rules, then you have not grown, you have obeyed.
Contrary to your constructions, obedience is not what I want from you. Obedience is not growth, and growth is what I desire.

- God

Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God
An Uncommon Dialogue
book 2
pg. 98

John Venlet - 6:04:00 PM | Permalink

Saturday, August 23, 2003

What's The Message?

Have you seen the new television ad bring run by Smirnoff? If you haven't, click here and scroll down and you can take a look. The ad features NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth on his way to a party, carrying, of course, a six pack of Smirnoff's malt beverage product. Yuck. Anyway, Matt pulls up to the party in his NASCAR vehicle, grabs his six pack and starts heading towards the house. After he takes a couple steps towards the house, a pit crew jumps from the bushes, quickly strips the car of tires and steering wheel before running off and leaving the car setting on floor jacks. Matt smiles at this development, points a remote towards the car and beep, the doors are locked and he can party. The ad ends with the words "Drink Intelligently" splashed across the screen.

What message is Smirnoff trying to sell us here? Beyond the fact that a six pack of malt beverage may get you drunk. My take on the ad was, evidently Matt Kenseth isn't going to be drinking intelligently. If he needs to rely on his pit crew to disable his car so he can't drive, after downing his six pack of Smirnoff, he's not only not drinking intelligently, he's not being responsible for his own behavior. Or was the ad's message that Matt Kenseth is a lightweight when it comes to holding his liquor? I'm not quite sure.

John Venlet - 8:14:00 AM | Permalink

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Much Ado About Nothing

Down in Montgomery, Alabama the battle over a small monument displaying the ten commandments continues. The State Attorney General, Bill Pryor is vowing to remove the monument and the Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Roy Moore is vowing to keep the monument in place. This little fiasco is all the result of three Alabama lawyers who seemingly are offended by the display. Poor lawyers.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in their infinite wisdom, has ruled that the monument needs be removed because it violates the separation of church and state. As if a mute, inanimate object with scrawlings inscribed on it is proclaiming the will of the state. They can't be serious, but they are.

Well I want to offer up a possible solution. The state of Alabama should commission a reproduction of the Code of Hammurabi, which as represented in this stele, would provide a handsome addition to Alabama Judicial Building's monument collection. Additionally, the state should consider a reproduction of the Code of Lipit-Ishtar, the Code of Eshnunna and any other ancient codification of laws which have been brought to light via archaelogical digs. I think people then may find that laws have always been laws, codified and written down by men, displayed and meant as a justification for others to use force to get you to do something.

John Venlet - 8:56:00 AM | Permalink

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Damn Sorry

I've been on a binge. Two weeks long. Damn. Not an alcoholic one, books. Philosophy, Inuit culture, science fiction, adventure, novels. Twelve books in 14 days. Sorry I haven't written. I'm shifting to a higher gear.

John Venlet - 7:08:00 PM | Permalink

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

"Facts Don't Matter," But Why

When I first read this story, detailing the use of terrorism laws to crush a meth cooker, last night, linked by Billy Beck, I wanted to impetously post on it it was so outraegous. I decided to wait though and this afternoon I've been looking around for additional commentary on the story. Working backwards from Beck's link, my first stop was at The Volokh Conspiracy. Eugene Volokh quotes from the article, but his strongest condemnation of this outraegousness is as follows,

"I generally support many of the recent anti-terrorism laws, but one serious argument against them has always been that they won't be limited to terrorism, but will apply in situations whether the extra penalties or lowered protections that the anti-terrorism law provides are unjustified. This seems like an excellent example of this tendency; and it should also remind us more generally to be cautious when we hear assurances (even sincere assurances) that some broadly written law won't really be interpreted literally:..."

An assuredly measured response from a respected law professor. Eugene credits his awareness of the story to a post at Bob, of Unfogged, provides a more direct response to the incident,

"A judge needs to squash this, forcefully."


"That is the logic of law enforcement. It tends toward control, not liberty."

Bob credits his awareness of the story to Yuri Guri who posts at Phaedo. Yuri posts only a couple quotes from the story itself, with no personal comments on the matter, though he does insinuate by titling the post "MMD's: Morons of Mass Destruction."

Working backwards from Phaedo, credit is given to Bill Maher who asks,

"My question is, what’s this guy been smoking? And when did they pass that law that anything and everything we don’t like or disagree with, in any realm, situation or context, can now be considered a form of “terrorism”?"

which in and of itself is a good question, but there the link train ends. The story doesn't seem to have any legs, as evidenced by this statement from the end of Eugene's post,

" LEXIS search reveals (to my surprise) that this story hasn't yet made its way outside the local Southeastern papers, except to the Village Voice."

Reading The Village Voice story, I find they only mention the story in the context of another story, "Power Over the People," which was linked through's posting.

When I googled the story, I found a link to Duck Soup, written by Cecil Bothwell, who noticed the story on July 16th and posted some comments on the story in The Soupletter titled "#380 Do you feel safer?" (scroll down to read) where Cecil states,

"If this prosecutor’s charges aren’t thrown out of the first courtroom they reach, we should all tremble."

Cecil also provides this quote,

"We are today in the most literal sense a lawless society, for our law has ceased to be law and become instead its opposite — mere force at the disposal of whoever is at the controls."

— Charles A. Reich

which rings with validity also.

Additional google links can be found here.

Though there are people astute enough to recognize the foolishness and dangerousness of allowing the state to bend terrorism laws to uses of their own designs, why don't the facts seem to matter in this case? I believe it is because the state has so conditioned people to the villification of drug dealers that no one who serves the state dares to stand up and point to the travesty taking place here. They are afraid they'll be labeled as drug dealer friends.

John Venlet - 2:23:00 PM | Permalink

"I had had enough..."

Surprisingly, Charleston police have not charged William Gates (not this Bill Gates) with any crime after he takes his shotgun to dueling drug dealers on his front lawn, even though he previously told police to bring body bags the next time they must come by his house.

The cynical side of me wonders if the outcome would be different if William Gates were white.

Via Gabriel Syme at Samizdata.

John Venlet - 10:20:00 AM | Permalink

Choose Wisely

The Jewish World Review has posted an article by Marianne M. Jennings titled "On the Sponge Bob Male and mandatory supervision." In the article Jennings shows no sympathy, to either men or women, as she shines a spotlight on the issue of sexual harrassment and the choices involved prior to an incident becoming a sexual harrassment fiasco. Jennings ends her article by looking backwards to the custom of chaperoning as a possible solution to the foolish choices made when men and women mingle. While I appreciate Jenning's idea, I think Karen De Coster's post, which pointed to Jenning's article, sums up the choice, for men, quite pointedly,

"The choice comes before ejaculation into a woman with whom they have no trusted, valued relationship. The choice to be wise was passed on in favor of the excitement of the moment, an uncontrollable urge, a goodtime roll-in-the-hay."

John Venlet - 9:33:00 AM | Permalink


"The NBA is like the ghetto gone rich. Same problems, only put to good economic use."

David Yeagley in a post regarding Kobe Bryant.

John Venlet - 7:51:00 AM | Permalink

Monday, August 04, 2003

Qutb Revisited

Back in April I linked to a piece on Syed Qutb (but I used another writers spelling of Qutb) which hypothesised that Qutb was "The Philospher of Islamic Terror." Today, The Brookings Institute, in an article written by Muqtedar Khan, provides a new outlook on Qutb, the article is titled "Syed Qutb - John Locke of the Islamic World."

Those darn labels again. Both articles are interesting reading.

Via Alina at Totalitarianism Today.

John Venlet - 10:10:00 PM | Permalink

Friday, August 01, 2003


"A lot of writers, I am told, write in order to speak and to be heard; I write in order to think (or, more accurately, to know what I am thinking). Don DeLillo, in an interview a few years back, still says it best (I carry this on a piece of paper in my wallet): "Every sentence has a truth waiting at the end of it and the writer knows when he finally gets there. On one level the truth is the swing of the sentence, the beat and the poise, but down deeper it's the integrity of the writer as he matches with the language.""

From an article by Lily Tuck, published in the Washington Post on July 20, titled "The Writing Life.

John Venlet - 11:45:00 AM | Permalink

Sound Parental Advice

"Here's a clue that she would not grasp: kids who live in their parents' homes should behave as their parents say or haul their narrow little asses out into the world where they can do what they want on their own. And that includes the "gulag" trip that she's moaning about, which is utter horseshit, precisely because of the freedom to walk right out Mommy & Daddy's front door."

And if they don't walk out, kick them out. My parents did. Living in a 1973 AMC Javelin for 3 weeks wasn't much fun, but it did wise my "narrow little ass" up.

Billy Beck educating a "Waterheaded Brat."

John Venlet - 8:58:00 AM | Permalink

Dubious Birthright

"After all the effort exerted to convince the world that AIDS is not a gay disease, we now have a generation embracing AIDS as its gay birthright."

Harvey Fierstein in The New York Times. The article is titled "The Culture of Disease."

Via Sasha & Andrew's Roundtable.

John Venlet - 8:40:00 AM | Permalink

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