Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Praise the Lord and Pass the Condoms

Here are some of the things I haven't written about lately but would have if actually practicing law hadn't got in the way.
  • Steven Hayes wants Connecticut to kill him now.
  • Despite the best efforts of the good people in Florida, they didn't get to kill the Prince of God last night.
  • Executions at a comparative snail's pace this year, despite strides in Oklahoma (4), Arizona (5), and Mississippi (6).  Texas has only managed to commit 10 murders this year.  Nationally, we're sitting at 32.  Of course, Texas has one planned for tonight, and there are more around the country to come.
  • The Oregon Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Governor Kitzhaber has the right to put off the execution of Gary Haugen even though Haugen doesn't want him to.  A lower court gave Haugen a grudging win on that issue a couple of months ago.
  • It's not just a shame that scientists don't know when and where the next major earthquake will strike.  it's a crime.
  • There may be fewer bayonets now than there were in 1917, but there's still a hell of a lot of them.
As I say, though, I've been busy practicing law.

But this is election season. The lies and half-lies, the misrepresentations. The I-stand-foresquare-and-permanently-for-whatever-position-today's-audience-favors The refusal of any major party candidate actually to address matters of civil liberties and criminal justice, of constitutional rights, of the Rule of Law or the Law of Rule.

So the death sentence and ensuing trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad.  (Yes, it is Wonderland‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first — verdict afterwards.')  It will be scrupulously fair, and we want the world to know it.  Which is why there are buttons in the courtroom that will turn off the microphones to prevent anyone from hearing evidence or argument the government wants to keep secret even if it's already been published in the press.  And why the defendant is prohibited from testifying about how he was tortured by the government.  And why the government will (I'm confident about this, though as with all prediction, it's at least theoretically possible I'll be proved wrong) absolutely reject the defense request to televise the trial live and worldwide.

And then there's rape and the Republican candidates for Senator.

First, Todd Akin who believes that legitimate rape victims have a secret something preventing pregnancy.  Even if he used the wrong word. Of course, maybe it's because doctors don't know about that secret legitimate-rape-contraceptive that they keep performing abortions on women who aren't pregnant.  (Which you might think wouldn't bother the anti-abortion crowd so much since, after all, what''s the harm in aborting a fetus that doesn't exist?)

Then there's Tom Smith who thinks getting pregnant without benefit of clergy is just like getting pregnant from a rape (although, of course, the latter may be gynecologically impossible).

Now, racing hard to catch up to his fellow senatorial the candidates from Missouri and Pennsylvania, comes Indiana's Richard Mourdock who explained last night that when a rape victim get's pregnant, it's a gift from God.  (He didn't say whether that's because only God can override the secret legitimate-rape-contraceptive.)  And, of course, since God's given her that pregnancy via rape, it follows that she should be grateful for the rape.  OK, Mourdock didn't say that last part.  And he says he opposes rape. But really, when it leads to the joy of being the mother of a rapist's baby - truly a special gift from God.  How could she not give thanks for being raped?

My friend Bob W. directed my attention to this (found at Turley)  from the Rev. Phil Snider of Brentwood Christian Church on providing protection for the LGBT community under Springfield, Missouri's anti-discrimination ordinance.  (Please, watch all the way to the end.)

Which gives me the excuse to reproduce Soggy Sweat's brilliant Whiskey Speech.  Soggy was serving his single term in the Mississippi legislature at the time (April 1952), and a hot topic was whether the Magnolia State should repeal prohibition.  Soggy took the question on at a banquet.
My friends,

I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.


If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

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