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April 18, 2014 8:14 AM

For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier….I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.

  • Steven Wright

Today is my 54th birthday. I raise this only to forewarn y’all in case you detect any of my annual existential crisis. I’m not a huge birthday person, though like anyone else, I enjoy having people celebrate me, even if for only a day. It’s taken me a good long time to acknowledge that I’m worth celebrating, and it’s still feels a bit odd, but (finally) seeing myself in a positive light is something I’m learning to like. That doesn’t mean my annual “OHMIGAWD, What have I done with my life” existential crisis isn’t going to have its annual 2-3 day run. For your sake (and mine), I’ll try to keep it to a minimum

I can look back at my life and see that I’m an incredibly fortunate person. No, the ride hasn’t always been smooth, but that’s life, eh? If your road hasn’t been at least a bit bumpy, can you even say you’ve lived? Have you risked anything? Have you tried, failed, gotten up, and rushed headlong into the fray all over again? I’ve known a LOT of failure in my time, but most of it I can look back and recognize that I was fortunate for those experiences. I’ve learned and grown from all the screw-ups and disasters, and over the past 54 years those things have helped to make me who I am. Life isn’t perfect…but it’s not meant to be.

There are things I wish I could have done differently, bridges I wished I hadn’t burned, pain I wish I wasn’t responsible for causing. It’s taken a good long time, but I think I’ve finally found the wherewithal to forgive myself…because I know I’m going to screw up again and in ways I can’t begin to imagine. I can hardly wait.

That’s the extent of my reflections, because it’s time for me to look to the future instead of beating myself up over my past. I’ve got a pretty good life, and someone pretty awesome to share it with. There’s nothing to obsess over or complain about, and I’m learning to like that. I’m a very, very fortunate person.

I’ve got a pretty good life…and not only because it beats the alternative.

Happy Friday, y’all!

April 18, 2014 8:04 AM

April 18, 2014 7:47 AM

Dennis McGuire struggled, choked, and gasped for air before he finally died, as his adult children watched on in horror. The state of Ohio used a never-before-used mix of drugs to kill him, and he appeared to slowly suffocate to death. Witnesses said the process took about 25 minutes, making it the longest execution since the state reinstituted capital punishment 15 years ago. When Kelsey Kauffman, a retired Indiana resident and progressive activist, saw the headlines about McGuire — whose death sparked widespread outrage about the nature of lethal injections in the United States — she wanted to do something in response. So Kaufmann started a petition through SumOfUs, a group that allows citizens to organize to advance social justice causes.

“An eye for an eye” has been an article of faith among those who support the death penalty for as long as society has meted out the ultimate punishment. As experience bears out, though, executing another human being within the bounds of the law isn’t nearly as simple or straightforward as death penalty supporters would have us believe. To begin with, there’s the question of how to execute someone. That question breaks down into several other questions, all having a bearing on the moral rectitude of exterminating a life…for whatever reason.

What’s the best method? Shooting? Hanging? Gas? Lethal injection? Being ripped apart by wild dogs? Do we wish to employ the most “humane” method as possible? Is minimizing pain and suffering of the person to be executed important? And what of the mental and moral state of the executioner(s)? How are we to care for their emotional wellbeing given they’re being asked to take the life of another human being?

IS the death penalty truly retribution for the commission of a heinous crime- “an eye for an eye”- or is it merely state-sanctioned murder? Does “an eye for an eye” bring us down to the level of the person being executed? How can killing be justified, even with the power of the state behind it?

April 18, 2014 7:24 AM

April 18, 2014 7:15 AM

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes is outraged by the president of Western Washington University’s deliberately provocative comment, which he has made at each of the school’s past six opening convocations, that “if we are as white in ten years as we are today, Western will have failed as a university.”

The president, Bruce Shepard, was referring to the fact that even though Western is a public university, its student body is disproportionately white compared to Washington state’s racial and ethnic composition and that diversity will improve students’ educational experience.

In his daily radio bulletin yesterday, Starnes said that Shepard’s statement is in fact a sign the university is embarking on an “ethnic cleansing” of white people.

April 18, 2014 7:08 AM

April 17, 2014 7:56 AM

April 17, 2014 7:31 AM

A great deal of the discussion about the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada has focused on the legal questions — the litigation between Mr. Bundy and the BLM, his eccentric (i.e., batzoid) legal rationales, etc. But as Rich Lowry and others have argued, this is best understood not as a legal proceeding but as an act of civil disobedience. John Hinderaker and Rich both are correct that as a legal question Mr. Bundy is legless. But that is largely beside the point. Of course the law is against Cliven Bundy. How could it be otherwise? The law was against Mohandas Gandhi, too, when he was tried for sedition…. Henry David Thoreau was happy to spend his time in jail, knowing that the law was against him, whatever side justice was on.

Let me see if I have this straight…. Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher and anti-government wackjob of little note, has for years grazed his cattle for nothing on BLM range land. Despite frequent legal setbacks, Bundy has continued grazing his cattle on Federal property. Now that the feds are coming down on him, Bundy is fighting for “freedom” in the same way that Gandhi did. And of course, Conservatives and every virtually every bat$#!t crazy Tea Party lunatic has seized on Bundy’s plight as evidence of the federal government persecuting those who dare to stand up to it. Evidently, the rule of law is only consider applicable when you can bend it to your advantage.

I find it interesting that those who would decry the idea of getting something for nothing- if we were talking about a poor single mother trying to obtain birth control- seem to have no problem at all with Bundy’s freeloading. Bundy is in fact getting something for nothing from the government, but because he’s a Conservative who’s been fighting the government, he’s a patriot standing up for liberty. As opposed to the single mother, who’s just looking to suck at the teat of Big Government, whom she’s dependent upon for her slut pills.

April 17, 2014 6:39 AM

April 17, 2014 6:32 AM

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday afternoon, with top honors going to The Guardian and The Washington Post for their coverage of the Edward Snowden NSA revelations. That news was largely lost on users of Twitter, however, as they all were looking at pictures of a model airplane with its cockpit inserted into a lady’s boarding gate that was accidentally tweeted by U.S. Airways’ corporate account. Instead of finding out about how the Post and the Guardian blew the lid off the National Security Agency’s far-reaching domestic surveillance program, most Twitter users were instead grabbing screencaps of the bizarre image, which stayed on the airline’s Twitter page for nearly an hour. To protect your continued employment, we have covered up the tweet with an appropriate censorship item; the full, very NSFW image is at Deadspin (NSFW) and all over the freaking place. Pretty sure that someone has lost their corporate social-media job over this one[.]

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