I just watched the fourth installment of the Torchwood miniseries, Children of Earth. If you haven’t watched it and plan to, don’t read this post. It contains spoilers. If you’ve watched the entire five episodes of the miniseries, don’t spoil the ending for me; I haven’t watched the fifth episode yet.

In the show, alien baddies have come to Earth and world leaders must make a decision. The have two options: They can submit to the alien demands and hand over 10% of the world’s children or they can try to fight the aliens who promise to kill everyone on Earth if the 10% aren’t surrendered. The leaders decide to give up the children, predisposing that the loss of 10% of the Earth’s children is better than losing 100% of everyone. It’s an interesting dilemma to be sure, and I wonder if the percentage Russell T. Davies (the writer/producer of the show) uses is another swing at religion in his mind, but what I find most compelling about the fourth episode, is the fictional UK government’s debate on how to choose the 10%.

Very quickly, an all encompassing lottery is dismissed; none of the decision-makers want to give up their own kids. One practical-minded woman suggests that they choose the 10% of children who are least likely to be useful to society in adulthood. In other words, they will get rid of the kids who likely will be a drain on the UK system. One government guy at the table even suggests that they sell the idea to the public as a public service; his argument is that, with an expected population boom on the horizon, getting rid of the ones who won’t contribute in propping up the government could be seen as an opportunity.

What I find most chilling about the discussion is that I see such a debate happening in the US health care (Obamacare) debate. We already have people joking about certain minority groups getting better service. Hell, we already have promises that Obamacare will not cut services to the elderly because it would be wasteful (I suppose that’s because they won’t be “useful” to Obama in propping up the government in the future). And there’s a new WSJ opinion piece out that lists other groups that will suffer.

Obamacare can’t possibly serve everyone equally, so who gets cut? How do they set that standard? What about government preferred groups? Do they go to the front of the line? “At risk” people seem to be liberal politicians’ most favored recipient of government attention; do they get more service?

The decision-making process is important because they are deciding who lives and who dies. I am most uncomfortable with the idea that it is the government making such decisions about my life.

Alas, we don’t have sexy Captain Jack to save our bacon.

LATER: This post is called “Spock!!!” because the Torchwood episode reminded me of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and the whole “needs of the many > needs of the few” BS.

Happy Independence Day!

No one ever says that. It’s always “Happy July 4th.” It bugs me.

On this day in 1776, the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved. Sure, it was one giant “Go away ye overbearing olde fuckers!” to the British Empire. That part was fabulous in its own right; but further than that, the document itself isn’t just the embryo of the United States. There’s true greatness contained there. And it’s all in one of the most famous sentences ever:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

There’s never been a greater statement of human rights. And it’s right there, in the genesis of our country. We should all be proud of it.

More than a just celebration of our nation’s birthday, July 4th is a celebration of one of the most important documents in history. It’s a celebration of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a celebration of what this country could be, of what awaits us if we look to the past 233 years. And the name “Independence Day” is a reminder of that.

So happy Independence Day! May we all be free as our founding fathers dreamed.

I’m going to go pursue some happiness by flame-scorching some pig then smothering it in a sweet tomato-based sauce.

On with the Finger Pointing!

The gunman was a white supremacist. I am absolutely appalled that a white guy was responsible for this. That he did it because of some loony racist ideals is absolutely reprehensible. And the fact that it happened at the Holocaust museum, when the gunman was likely a Holocaust denier as many white supremacists are, is beyond sad. That this man is an American citizen and a WWII veteran strikes me as that much more of a tragedy. This is the sort of thing that happens in Europe with their rampant anti-Semitism, not in America.

Already, the news is making a stink of it. That’s all well and good; they should. Racism, from anyone, should be exposed wherever possible. And exposing the foolishness of denying the Holocaust is always worthy effort. [Holocaust deniers are right up there with the 9/11 Truthers on the Scale of All Things Dangerously Crazy.]

But I’m angry at how the news (at least Shepard Smith on Fox News) is connecting the shooting to Obama’s election. Smith is saying that Obama’s election triggered the gunman in some way. Perhaps. The gunman has been crazy for a long time; I saw briefly on the news that he was somehow responsible for closing the Federal Reserve in 1981. Practically anything could have triggered him today. It seems to have been building for some time, for at least 28 years.

Smith on Fox News is further connecting this shooting to blogs that oppose Obama. Apparently, the blogs that oppose Obama are so full of hate and vitriol that they (we, I guess) caused this. That’s nonsense. No one on any blog that opposes Obama that I read advocates shooting anyone.

Sure, we write incessantly about keeping the right to bear arms, but no one sane advocates shooting people to insure those rights. Hell, anyone with half a brain understands that tragedies such as this will only hurt our position.

As for a single event causing this, Folks, things like this don’t just happen spontaneously. They stew and simmer and boil for years before exploding. That certainly seems to have been the case today. Perhaps it was Obama, perhaps he read a blog, or perhaps he was incontinent. Who knows? Maybe we will know someday. Maybe we won’t.

The fact that the gunman was a veteran is causing all sorts of knowing nods from the media. After all, they wrote the script about crazy veterans exploding in such ways. Never mind that he hasn’t been in the military for decades. It’s complete nonsense, but it’s nonsense that’s perpetuated in most American entertainment.

We’re going to hear more of this in the coming weeks. Expect the “Gunman = Racist = Obama Opposition = Blogs Against Obama” meme to be repeated ad nauseum. The media is going to bang this drum long and hard to beat any opposition to Obama into submission.

LATER:Tea Partiers better be ready for it this. Anybody who shows up at one will immediately be lumped into the same category as the gunman and the blogs that oppose Obama.

LATER: Smith also talked about how freedom of speech is responsible for the shooting. We’ll see more of this later on, too.

LATER:Some conservatives say Obama may be responsible, but not in the way you think.

UPDATE 5PM: TWOFER! He was a Holocaust denier and a Truther. That’s almost the holy trinity of dangerously crazy. And the news is calling this guy a conservative? Not with those Truther credentials he isn’t.

Prejudice Subordinates Judgement Every Time

Alexis de Tocqueville was a fucking prophet. I’m thinking of starting a religion. Can anyone guess what I’m reading? Here’s a hint:

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.

Well, here’s another:

Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

And finally, here’s the proof of his Divine Gift:

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

A prophet, I tell you. It’s enough to make you believe in the Divine. Well, it’s enough to convince me that Tocqueville was brilliant. [Full Disclosure: I found the quotes above on some website. I didn’t have the sense to write anything down while reading  Democracy in America. So the quotes could come from some other Tocqueville work.] At any rate, go read. It’s scary good.

Oh, and what a coincidence! It seems I’m not the only one with Tocqueville traipsing through the thinker.