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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in Reamens' LiveJournal:

Saturday, June 27th, 2009
11:21 am
De Mortuis...
Michael Jackson is one of the greatest cultural icons of a generation.  He has also been involved in some very questionable activities, possibly having sexually molested children.  How should we react to his death?  Some say he's a pervert; good riddance.  On the radio this morning, there was a comment about how 15 year old boys all breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday (*"no, they didn't go there!"*).  On the other hand, some say that MJ's criminal accusers who were just out for a paycheck and made shit up.  We know the jury had a reasonable doubt, but we also know it still looks like he probably did it.  Jesus juice, anyone?

MJ probably engaged in some pretty foul activities, but that doesn't change the fact that he's an icon.  Good or bad, he's an icon.  He played a substantial role in the evolution of American pop culture.  For the most part, we all appreciate culture and music.  Whether or not you personally like the role MJ played, you have to admit that he influenced enough people that the pop industry is different today because of him.  You might not admit it today, but MJ was pretty damn cool 20 years ago.  I remember the kids at school with "the glove."  I remember looking at the little candy and toy machines...a "Michael Jackson Glove" was fifty cents.  Yeah, never went there.

The point is that MJ is an icon.  He did remarkable things, and I have no problem with commemorating his life.  Let the radio stations play their marathons.  Give the icon his due respect.  Let 15 year olds everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.
 


Saturday, October 25th, 2008
12:33 pm
A year and a half
since I last posted.  Why not put something up?  The question is...what?  At the risk / certainty of being boring, I'll talk about politics.

McCain and Obama are both capable of leading. 

It hasn't gotten any attention in the media, but one of the things I'm most concerned about is our world-wide image and perception.  Let's face it--the rest of the world thinks we're overbearing assholes.  Unfortunately, I can't blame them.  This leads them, particulary "terrorists," to  hate us.

I think Obama is the guy to shore up our world wide image.  He is much more likable and shows the world that we can be led by someone else than an old white guy.  He's smart and polished, though I don't think he's quite so polished in ex temp. speaking.  I think the rest of the world will respect him, and I do too.  I respect McCain, but I also think the whole world will be leary of him as just another American politician. 

Next on the list is a tie between foreign policy and economics.  Our primary objective in foreign policy should be to make the rest of the world stop hating us so damn much supra.  If the rest of the world doesn't hate us so much, they'll be more likely to cooperate with us and not want to attack us.  Obama's our guy.

Economics: This isn't Obama vs. McCain.  It's democrat vs. republican.  I think the rich have benefitted exponentially more than the middle class and the poor in wealth.  They have done this by taking advantage of America.  I don't fault them for that, but I believe in giving back what is consistent with what you get.  In a nutshell, tax the hell out of the rich.

I should note that I think that I will pay more taxes under Obama.  I'm not rich by any standards, but I'm a single guy  who makes about 55K a year.  I own my home, and I own my car.  I don't have a lot of expenses.  Because I applied for and received minimal financial aid in college, my student loan payments are very manageable.  It sucked when I was in college, but I'm grateful now.   Because I now make more than I need, I'm okay with giving some of it back for the greater good.  It's a matter of selflessness.  I think that's a shortcoming with many Americans.

Foreign policy: Kudos to McCain for everything he went through as a POW.  I appreciate his sacrifice and thank him for that.  But does his being a captive mean that he's more capable in foreign policy?  I don't think so.  His having been around for longer does, however, give him the edge.  Biden takes that away.  On foreign policy, I think Obama / Biden is stronger than McCain / Palin...which leads me to my next subject...

Palin...are you kidding me!?  Palin is McCain's VP only for appeal, not for substance.  McCain chose Palin, because he thought she would bring in votes from conservatives, soccer moms, and horny men everywhere.  She is not qualified to lead this county, and that is something that she might very well be called to do.  Obama might get assassinated, and McCain might keel over.  I think the odds are about equally likely.  If that happens, who do you want leading our country?  Biden or Palin?  Give me a break.  Before announcing their VPs, McCain could conceivably have won my vote.  Palin ended the question.  The prospect of president Palin is unbearable.

I'm a liberal independent.  I will usually vote for the democrat, but I have no problem going with the republican or whomerver else if he/she is the right person.  The right person in this election is Obama.  Vote for him.  He'll make America better than McCain will.

My two cents.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
4:54 pm
hmm
wow, 69 weeks ago.  Ho hum...
Thursday, February 9th, 2006
7:50 pm
Terrorism
I am sick of the use of the term.

As I grew up, I occassionally heard the word. Terrorism. Terrorism and terrorists. Terrorists were bad people. They tried to hurt us. Terrorists are bad.

By the way, terrorists always had to be foreigners (Iranians always made good terrorists).

The analysis stopped there.

9-11 involved foreigners who had a beef with america and who got a good lick in. So they were terrorists. And it was a terrorist act.

Words like terrorism and terrorist evoke an unquestioned response of hatred against whatever evil things or people they label. The fact that those things or people are evil is not questionable.

The words pack a lot of umph in them.

And now the government is exploiting them. The government pairs those words--terrorism and terrorists--with anything the w. administration does not agree with.

"How dare someone criticize us!? We're trying to spread democracy throughout the world (democracy is apprently inherently good). Anyone who would criticize the spread of democracy (or whatever soapbox they're on at the time) is clearly an enemy of the state and a terrorist."

Dub's administration is making bullshit arguments and hoping to pawn them off on us by throwing in the word terror. Terrorist this, terrorist that, it's terrorist everything we're out to fight (that has nice meter).

This whole phone tap mess is a good example. I don't care what shithead and Gonzo say, wiretapping without a warrant is unconstitutional. It is an invasion on someone's personal affairs. It is a search. A search of a person's personal affairs requires a warrant, but yet Bush wants to say he doesn't need one. Why? Because he's fighting terror. Bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.
Thursday, November 3rd, 2005
1:16 am
God and Leadership
In support of the position that Bush is rightfully the American president, it is argued that we have leaders in their positions, because, as the New Testament (and implicitly, Christianity) tells us, God wants them there. It was argued that Paul was not a leader and had no bias in telling people to submit to authority.

This was the argument: '"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which G-d has established. The authorities that exist have been established by G-d." is Romans 13:1, which was written by Paul, perhaps the furthest thing from a leader in his time. I didn't say any prophet annointed Bush or it (necessarily) made G-d happy that Bush is president, just that God put Bush in office "for such a time as this."'

To begin, I gotta disagree about Paul not being a leader. Look at the context of the quote--it's a letter he was writing to one of many groups of people he was leading in the establishment of the Christian Church. We're talking about convincing the world, or as much as he could of the world, that the Messiah had just checked in to tell everyone how the Big Guy operates--how he wants you to live your lives and the principles by which he wants it done. We're talking about the Messiah here. This was huge, and Paul is often the first name that comes to peoples' minds when they think about prominent figures in the rise of the early Christian Church. Perhaps Paul was meek in person, but he didn't have to be in person to lead. He led through his teachings, the greatest record of which we have available to us thanks only the preservation of the letters like the one to which you quote.

So yeah, Paul was a leader. People even submitted to his authority. They gave so much credence to his teachings that they decided to use his writings, his letters to them, as a foundation in their religion. His teachings governed their beliefs, their behavior, and their identity as people. What greater governance can you have?

Paul had authority. He governed. He told people to submit to governing authorities. C'mon, you gotta admit that there's a little bit of self-serving bias present in what he's telling people to believe.

But okay, forget about the bias issue and think about Paul's credibility. I'm not saying that Paul was a bad guy and should get no credit. I'm just not sure that the words of Paul deserve to be memorialized as THE WAY IT IS. Paul's mere proclamation of a belief does not make it so. He was not the Messiah. Jesus was.

But then, you might say, Jesus himself said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (Mark 12:17). In this, the argument goes, Jesus is saying to submit to authority. Pay your taxes and all that good stuff--submit to the government.

I think it is taking it way too far to say that people in positions of leadership are there because God wants them there. All Jesus was really saying was this--"People, you gotta pay your taxes. Caesar says you gotta do it. You're gonna be screwed if you don't."

Now back in Caesar's day, if a person doesn't pay his taxes, his ass was grass (not that it's that much different now). These words were Jesus' reply when a bunch of guys who didn't like him we're trying to get him in trouble. They were hoping that he was so radical that he would say you don't have to pay your taxes. They couldn't wait to let THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES know that this Jesus guy said that the people don't have to do what THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES told them to do. I can see Jesus now, rolling his eyes and sighing as though he were a school boy proclaiming to his mother as he leaves for school, "yes, mother, I'll be good." Boy tells mom what she wants to hear. Because she's mom. If you don't tell mom what she wants to hear, you're gonna get in trouble. Jesus knows better than to say something that would get him in trouble, something that would justify his prosecution by THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES. So yeah, Jesus says, "Yes, guys, you gotta pay your taxes."

What I'm getting at is that Paul was not and is not the Messiah. There is no reason to give his words unquestioned obedience. Just because Paul, just because he played a large role in the establishment of what I think is a good and essential thing, says something, I don't think it should be deemed incontrovertible doctrine. This becomes abundantly clear with the fact that George W. Bush is currently the leader of the world's leading country.

Do you actually think that all leaders of this world, past and present, have been there by the will of God? Can you really dispute that this world has been subjected to the governance of bad people who have done more harm than good? Flat out, there's no way around it. We have had bad leaders, people whom it is entirely illogical to believe that God would want there. Paul's assertion to the contrary does not make sense. I see no reason compelling enough to buy into that conclusion. Absent some proof to the contrary, I will continue to believe that Paul's mere statement of a belief does not make that belief a fact. An argument based on an opinion of Paul will not carry the day with me.

But why stop there on why Paul cannot be given your undying trust. He very clearly says that you should never question the people who govern. Yeah, I'm real sure that God is just enormously pissed off about that whole American Revolution thing. How dare those people not submit to their governing authorities and go on to form THE MOST POWERFUL CHRISTIAN NATION IN THE WORLD (okay, so you can contest whether it's Christian). But yet the forefathers did just that. They gave the Brits a firmly extended middle finger, and now Christianity continues to be a governing force because of it. If the forefathers had bought into all of Paul's teachings, we would not be here today.

In sum, you cannot soundly rely on the words of Paul to justify George W. Bush's presidency. Just because G-Dub is president doesn't mean that God ordains it.
Friday, April 8th, 2005
7:45 pm
Familiar Names on the Radio
I hate driving to work and hearing the names of my clients on the radio. "X and Y were arrested for armed robbery last night...Z was arrested for attempted murder." Damnit, all of you guys were already on probation. *sigh* My job's the best though. At least I get a preview on what my day will entail.
Saturday, November 27th, 2004
10:41 am
deytukrjobs
You're sitting at home, hanging out, doing your thing. All the sudden, eight angry rednecks walk up to your door, each armed with a shotgun, wanting to know why YOU were trespassing on THEIR land.

Hey America, we hate immigrants, right!? Let's see if we can fuck this one by overlooking the fact that eight pissed off good-ol boys came to his home, armed with shotguns. Let's explain away the fact that they were carrying shotguns by just calling them "hunters."

Hunters--I wonder what they hunted. I guess the way to figure out what kind of game a hunter's after is to see what kind of animals they would approach with a shotgun. Hmmm....these guys must have been after...Gooks!

DEYTUKRJOBS!

Let's even try to make these agressors out to be patriots. We'll wear ribbons or something, suggest they were "true Americans.".........


RICE LAKE, Wis. - Orange ribbons are tied around the lamp posts on Main Street. Tiny ones flutter from car antennas. A few are stuck on business signs. The slaying of six hunters has saddened virtually this entire community of 8,500. Already one has been laid to rest. Three more will be buried Saturday, the other two Monday.

"There's nobody that's not touched in town," said Bob Stanonik, who stood on Main Street as 100 to 200 people gathered Friday to remember Mark Roidt, 28.


Chai Vang, of St. Paul, is accused of fatally shooting the hunters when they confronted him about trespassing on land owned by two of the victims. He also faces charges for wounding two others.


Vang, a Hmong immigrant, told authorities the hunters surrounded him and used racial slurs before one fired a shot at him. One of the survivors said Vang started shooting first.


Many of the mourners Friday wore orange ribbons on their coats.


Jodi Anderson knew Roidt because he often ate at the restaurant where she is a cook. She, like others in the community, still can't believe the hunters are gone.


"I'm very angry," Anderson said. "This is so wrong."


Roidt's mother, Karen Roidt, told mourners that her son died doing something he loved, according to family friend Pat Malesa. The funeral was closed to reporters.


The funerals scheduled Saturday are for Al Laski, 43; Robert Crotteau, 42, the owner of the land where the shooting happened; and his son, Joey Crotteau, 20. Jessica Willers, 27, and Denny Drew, 55, will be remembered Monday. Willers' father, Terry Willers, and Lauren Hesebeck were wounded. Both have been released from the hospital.


The deer hunting season, which ends Sunday night, is considered a holiday by many in the area.


"The hunting week up here is called holy week," Stanonik said. "Families get together, father, son, grandson."


Burnell Hanson, who employed Roidt for a few months doing some carpentry work, said the town needs time to heal.


Some hunters didn't return to the woods after the shootings, he said.


Orlen Eidahl of Rice Lake doesn't think the shootings will keep people from the hobby they love.


"We all are saddened, but things will go on," he said.
Thursday, May 6th, 2004
4:06 pm
.08: A necessary evil
This is something I wrote a couple months ago when I was strolling down sesamea street:

It is a deprivation of due process to presume that someone is intoxicated for purposes of DUI when the blood alcohol level is greater than .08 while driving. This deprivation, however, may be justified by gross necessity. The evils of DUI are clear, and DUI laws must be enforced. The problem is that it is so difficult to measure intoxication on a person by person basis. A person by person determination, however, is precisely what is required by due process. But yet gross necessity requires that the state prosecute drunk drivers. Proving intoxication would be very difficult without clear proof to go on. .08 is a guestimate that is not accurate for everyone. For whom is it accurate and how do we know? We don't know. Maybe someday we'll have a better way of determining intoxication and the state won't be forced to rely on an arbitrary indication of intoxication. Until then, the .08 standard (or whatever it is in a particular jurisdiction) is a necessary evil.

I'm all about the DUI cases. Not the ones where some guy was trashed and killed someone, but the ones where somebody got pulled over for a broken taillight and then got arrested for DUI after blowing a .10. I will beat that fucking machine.
3:42 pm
Faith
People often refer to their religion as their "faith." Not I. I prefer to call it my belief. I don't accept my religion because of having faith in it, I accept it because I believe in it.

What is faith though? It's kind of an esoteric term, but, at least for the purpose of this entry, I'll consider it "the acceptance of something for which there is no clear support."

That's why I don't consider my own religion "my faith." My religious dispositions are not based on notions that have no support. They are based on corroborating eye-witness historical accounts and support for my belief.

I think people started to refer to their religion as their faith, because that doesn't make it sound as bad. In our society, faith (in and out of the religious sense) is thought to be a good thing. If you don't have it, there's something wrong with you. As a result, people try to use this term to hide the fact that they can't explain why they feel they way they do.

I think Catholocism necessarily falls in the faith category, because it's all about blindly accepting what someone else has said is the truth. Those someone elses may or may not be right. I think it's foolish to just assume that the person who is in your denomination was right. "Why do you believe X?" "Because that's Catholic Doctrine." "Why is it Catholic Doctrine?" "Because it's the truth." "How do we know its the truth?" "Because our forefathers in the church said so." Bleh. Others in the Church may have thought something different, so how do we know who's right? Well, we have a choice--we can either make our own decision, or we can blindly follow the belief of the person who had the power to excommunicate anyone who disagreed. Is it just me, or is there something really wrong here?

Now I'm not saying Catholicsm is bad or that Catholics are stupid. They may very well be Catholics who are Catholic because they sincerely believe in Catholic doctrine. Unfortunately, the ultimate support for adherence to catholic beliefs is inevitably blind faith. Bah. I'll take belief.
3:25 pm
Raqi Interrogations
Just last week I found myself wondering what they're doing in Iraq to get information from captives. That was about two days before the story of all the abuse broke out. Bush says he's sorry--ha! The only things he's sorry about is those idiot kids who decided to take pictures of what they were doing.

But still, those weren't even from interrogations. What are they doing during interrogations to get the information they want? Don't they have some kind of truth serum stuff to get what they want to know? How much longer is this shit gonna go on?

I hate the Bush administration. I can't really say that I hate G-Dub personally. He's just a face and a mouth. I doubt he even understands half the shit he says anyway. Bush is a moron, and, like the website says, Kerry is indeed a douchebag. I don't know if America would be any better with Kerry at the helm, but I really hate Republicans' preferential treatment of the rich.

My grandmother last week on whom she will vote for president: "I'm voting for Bush. I just don't like that Kerry guy."

"Why's that?"

"I just don't like him."

When I am supreme commander of the world, grandma and hordes of others who have no inkling what their vote will actually do will not be allowed to vote. How do we decide who does get to vote? Hell if I know. I'll tell you know when I rule the world.

Actually, I and just about everybody else would probably be in that non-voting group as well. I stay on top of politics and world events at least as well as the next guy, but yet I still only read hear what the man wants me to believe. We need some kind of non-partisan body for holding politicians accountable. Unfortunately, the media is unable to do this, because they only report on what they think we want to hear. Otherwise, they'd have no audience and would go out of business.

It's too bad communism doesn't work. Alas, "none is righteous. No, not one."
3:22 pm
here you go, known somebody
Law school wasn't this bad, but I thought this was funny. It's from the Alligator a few years ago...

Law school is for those who like torture
Yor Mom
Mark Thomas

I used to be smart. Then I decided to go to law school.

Thanks to the year and a half I have spent at the UF College of Law, I now realize just how stupid I am. Aside from a few very good professors and the free liquor courtesy of the John Marshall Bar Association, my experience at law school has been fairly miserable. I probably would not even recommend law school to Satan.

I am often asked by people who don't know any better, "what is law school like?" I usually pick up some dog excrement, wipe it in their eye and walk away. It's just hard to explain law school with mere words.

However, after literally minutes of soul searching and seconds of deep introspection, I have developed the perfect analogy for the law school experience.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The LSAT and the Admission Process
A group of smiling faces greets you and lead you into a small, dimly lit, damp room. You are stripped of all your clothing and high wattage flood lights are shined into your eyes so you cannot see the people holding hoses standing in front of you.

You are then showered with some strange liquid, which feels refreshing at first. After 30 seconds of being drenched, your eyes and skin start to burn and you feel a very sharp piercing pain in your genitals. You eventually collapse from the pain. The lights are turned off and everyone leaves the room.

Congratulations, you got into law school.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The First Semester
They let you out of the room four months ago. You have regained your strength and you cannot wait to start school.

Again, a group of smiling faces greets you, but this time they take you past that damned room and down a brightly lit hallway. Along the walls are pictures of those who came before you, but the look of remorse in their eyes does nothing to dissuade your enthusiasm because you are convinced you are different.

You walk for what seems like an eternity and begin hearing screams coming from behind closed doors. When you are about to try to leave, you come to an open door and are led inside. The door is quickly shut and locked behind you.

The only thing in the room is a large wooden chair with arm rests. Feeling somewhat tired and nervous, you decide to have a seat. Before you can get comfortable, they are upon you and you find yourself strapped to the chair with synthetic leather wrist, ankle, waist, chest and head restraints.

The flood lights are in your eyes again. You can barely make out the silhouette of someone approaching you. It is your professor and she is asking you questions about some case you have never heard of.

"Mr. Thomas, give us the facts of U.S. vs. N.Y."

"What?"

"Mr. Thomas, `what' ain't no facts I've heard of. Do they speak English in `what?'"

"What?"

"English, do you speak it, Mr. Thomas?"

"Yes!"

"Then tell me the facts of U.S. vs. N.Y."

"What?"

WAACKK! She hits you with a bat she has affectionately named the Socratic method. She leaves and one by one, your other professors enter the room and perform essentially the same operation.

This goes on for about four months. And then, as quickly as it began, it stops.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Law School Finals
During the break, you managed to catch your breath and you can see blurred images through the swollen bruises you used to call your eyes. A group of people enter the room and from the odor, you can tell it's your professors again.

They are instantly upon you and you can feel your skin being slowly scraped away by three or four different razor blades. The pain is too much. You begin to scream until you eventually pass out.

Congratulations, you just finished your first semester of law school.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Second Semester and Beyond
When you awake, you are lying in a pool of your own blood and vomit. The door to the hallway is open. You slowly pull yourself out of the room and down the hallway. After a couple of weeks, you can almost walk upright again and think you are close to getting out.

Just before you get to the exit, the group of smiling faces grabs you and leads you to another empty room. The process from the first semester is repeated and repeated and repeated.

As for Graduation and taking the Bar Exam, I can only rely on rumors and speculation. However, I hear it is very similar to circumcision.

In case you missed it, there is a very simple moral to this column -- DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL! Do something that will help make the world a better place, like selling cellular phone service or making pornographic videos.

I'll be the first to admit I may have used a tiny bit of exaggeration in my analogy, but to the best of my knowledge and beliefs, the preceding fantasy is a truthful representation of an education in law.

Or maybe I am just lying. Maybe this is my own scheme to keep people out of law school so it will be easier for me, with my sub-standard grade point average and irreverent love of sheep, to get a job.

Or maybe not. If you idiots have learned anything during your lives, you should know that you cannot trust lawyers.

Mark Thomas is a second-year UF law student who is worried about passing the ethical requirements of the Florida Bar.
Tuesday, July 8th, 2003
9:15 am
The Iranian Twins
The twins were joined at the head. They died yesterday in Singapore,after having surgery to separate them. They were 29. This clip came from the Reuters Report on it:

"The operation has reawakened the ethical concerns that surround high-risk surgery when a life is not at stake.

Dr Richard Ashcroft, head of medical ethics at London's Imperial College, said last week there would be no controversy if the sisters were at risk of dying without the operation. But they were not.

'It's a genuine moral dilemma,"'he said. 'And where you have a dilemma, people will make different decisions because there is no obvious answer what the right thing to do is.' "


So this unsuccessful surgery has been described as evoking "ethical concerns", and being a "genuine moral dilemma." But they say it would be different if a life had been at stake, necessitating the surgery. This surgery, they suggest, was not necessary.

I disagree. Come on. These girls were JOINED AT THE HEAD. How can you say this wasn't necessary. Is that really a life worth living--to be joined at the head to your brother or sister forever? Seriously, they could only live a faint semblence of the lives their friends and family lived while they were ATTACHED TO ANOTHER PERSON. And they would always wonder...what if we had just gotten the operation? It was successful for other conjoined twins before, but those pairs were always much younger, like under a year old.

Who all faces this dilemma? Basically, I guess, the twins and the doctors working on them. It's absurd to suggest that the twins did something morally wrong by trying to live a normal life. They were fully aware of the possibility that they might die. It was a calculated risk they decided to take. And I don't blame them for taking it. They did nothing morally wrong. Same for the doctors who were only trying to help.


Hmmm....Think about this. Assisted suicide. Kervorkian stuff. That's illegal. What if someone wanted to just die, get the works package from Dr. Kervorkian, but couldn't because of the illegality. Well, just try to get some crazy surgery done to you instead. Get doctors to insert wings into your back or something insane. If it goes wrong, you die. Hey, nothing lost. It's what you wanted in the first place. But then, if it works, dude, you've got wings. Maybe not wings, but hey, you get the point.

I think the surgeries should be allowed and not condemned by people who were all for the surgeries before they didn't work. Sometimes they won't work, but often they do, and it's worth the risk. There is a slippery slope argument to the Kervorkian stuff that's been deemed illegal. I'll find the judicial opinions on Kervorkian's cases and see what kind of analysis the court applies, see how it would apply to having a surgery with a high probability of death, when not necessary to prevent death.

Current Mood: contemplative
Wednesday, June 18th, 2003
2:15 pm
Sex, Religion, and Morality
Sex can be a great thing--ask anyone who's tried it. Religion, however, tends to tell us something different. Religion generally tells us that sex with someone other than your spouse is bad. Why? The best answer, I think, is that it hurts pretty bad when you find out that your significant other has been with another person. There's the whole two people made into one flesh stuff, but I don't buy into that so much. Religion and society looks down at infidelity, because the person cheated on goes through pain because of it.

But why does the person cheated on go through that pain? I've been in that situation more than enough times, but I still don't quite understand it. So what--my girlfriend did something with someone else when I wasn't around--how am I harmed (especially if I never find out about it)? I'm not sure, but it sure does make me feel like shit when I do find out.

I think it's this--an evolutionary, developed response. I don't quite buy into evolution totally accounting for this world as we know it, but I think it has had a great influence--those most fit to survive will survive, and those who can procreate the most effectively will also be more likely to survive. When others are loyal to you, that ensures that they will procreate with you and not others. When they fool around with others, however, that takes away from an opportunity you have to procreate. Those people who don't mind have been wiped off the planet. They didn't care, and so their significant others did go hook it up with others. The result is that those who didn't give a damn didn't procreate as much and were eventually eliminated...leaving the rest of us.

So now everyone is like that--we hate for our significant other to be with another, because (deep in the recesses of our brain we realize that) it effectively becomes less likely for us to survive. This subconscious realization manifests itself in conscious pain.

But yet that same pain isn't felt by the cheater. I understand there may be exceptions, but this is why people in a relationship feel the pain when they're the cheatee and not the cheater. Down there in the recesses of our brain is not just the desire to avoid losing the opportunity to procreate, but gaining the opportunity to procreate as well. Sometimes this opportunity presents itself though someone other than the significant other. When you give into that desire to cheat, you're giving into that same mechanism that makes people hurt when they learn they've been cheated on.

So why does relgion condemn it? Really, there's no realy harm being done. It just shifts the opportunity to procreate from one person to another. I may very well be missing some of it, but I think it basically comes down to this--Men (and women) have certain feelings that we can't always explain. When you can't explain it, blame it on God. That, I think, is how religion gets involved with the issue.

Does this make it okay to cheat? No, it doesn't. When you cheat, it presents an opportunity for someone you care about to be deeply hurt. Whether or not that hurt is rational, it still happens. Don't do it, because it hurts another person for the selfish sake of helping one's self.
1:33 pm
The value of the integrity of your life
What is your life worth? Most people would say priceless. There is no way we can really place a value on any of us. This isn't because we're not worth some value; it's because no value can fully reflect how much we're worth.

But what happens when one person harms another, taking that person's life, or damaging the integrity of that person's life? The person responsible for the harm should be held accountable. While the person responsible may never be able to return that other person's life, the person responsible should be required to do whatever is possible to make the injured person "whole," i.e., compensate for the damage done. It's not possible to do this by returning a life, but instead we are asked to determine some value for what was taken away.

Certainly this is a difficult task, but the alternative is to do nothing to help compensate the person harmed. The person harmed should be compensated however possible.

Should there be a limit on that value? Consider how a person will be affected by the pain and suffering he or she may be forced to endure for the remainder of his or her life. Let's say some accident happened. One driver is clearly at fault. The other driver is seriously injured, and, due to those injuries, will never be able to walk again, will never be able to think with the same clarity again, has lost the ability to smile, to laugh, to enjoy life as he once could. The integrity of that person's life has been forever damaged.

This is the kind of thing people sue over. It goes like this: "You harmed me. Now I want to be made whole for the wrong you did." It's left to a jury to determine the value of the integrity of that person's life, which has been taken away by some wrongdoer. People like you, me, and Joe Blow down the street have to make this determination. We would get the chance to hear arguments from both sides--how the person was harmed and how much that person will suffer as well as arguments about how the person's injuries are not that bad or that the person will not suffer as much as the other side claims. These arguments go to the jury, and the jury makes a decision. Sometimes a jury will determine that a person hasn't really suffered and doesn't deserve anything. Sometimes the jury will decide that the person has been seriously injured, that the person's life has been ruined, and that the person has lost the integrity of his or her life forever--all due to someone else's wrongdoing. Then what does the person deserve?

What if you were in charge of a company that was held to be responsible for the misdeeds of others. When someone does some wrong, you have to pay for it. But you offer to take this role. You tell a person that if he or she messes up, you'll pay the consequences. In return, though, that person will have to make periodic payments to you, regardless of whether or not he or she does some harm. This is insurance.

It often falls to insurance companies to compensate harmed people. The insured did something wrong, and now the insurance company is called upon to pay for it, like it agreed it would.

The insurance companies want to make sure they have to pay out as little as possible. Afterall, they want to make as much profit as possible. How do they do this? One thing to do is to watch over those people being insured. Require certain things to make sure that other people aren't being harmed. That way, the insurance company doesn't have to pay anything--ever. But, of course, it doesn't quite work like that. People still mess up, and insurance companies still have to pay for it. But this isn't to say that insurance companies are going broke over it. They're always pulling in their payments, and sometimes those payments are quite a bit. When they insure someone who is in a position that makes him or her more likely to do harm to another, they charge quite a high fee to insure that person.

Consider doctors. When a doctor goes in and operates on a person, there's that chance that the doctor could seriously screw up and mess up that person's life forever. Sometimes there are mistakes that the doctor had no control over. These kinds of mistakes are treated differently. Skipping over those, we come to the mistakes that the doctors do have control over--mistakes that are basic, that they have no excuse for making, and that have now screwed up another person's life. Shouldn't there be some kind of accountability?

Yes, and there is. Doctors are held accountable for their mistakes, and insurance companies are paid accordingly. Doctors are held to be among the most esteemed in our culture. They're paid like it and they're treated like it. But with great power comes great responsibility, and so doctors are held responsible for their mistakes.

The insurance companies, of course, hate it. Large jury verdicts are handed down, and the insurance company has to foot the bill. Because it happens so frequently that doctors ignore protocol and don't do as they should (not that this includes all doctors. I'm sure there are wonderful responsible doctors out there who do everything they're supposed to and do a good job at it), it is not uncommon for juries to deliver these large verdicts.

Because it's so expensive for insurance companies to cover doctors, they charge high premiums for medical malpractice insurance. This can get pretty expensive for doctors, and it is even making some doctors question whether that is the field they want to be in.

So this is what the doctors and insurance companies have decided to do: They have been lobbying congress to impose a cap on pain and suffering damages that a jury can award. Effectively, the value of the integrity of a person's life is having a cap put on it, specifically, at $250K. I think this is bullshit.

It shows that both doctors and the insurance companies are concerned more about their own pockets than they are about the damage done to other people's lives. Selfish. Irresponsible. Sigh.
Saturday, June 14th, 2003
10:19 pm
gotta starts somewhere
And so here's where I start. I was brought here by Melissa. My roommate is also an addict. As much as anything else, I joined so that I can read Melissa's journal occassionally.
I will make posts, I've just been lazy with it so far.
My posts won't be very journal like though. Rather than talking about myself, I'd much rather talk about things-ideas, concepts, the nature of things. It's what interests me. I used to keep another "journal"--fish out of water on open diary. The journal was erased when I let too much time pass without writing anything. But here I am, beginning again, and there's no way of knowing what will become of this--no way other than time anyway. Yes, time will tell, and so now it is to time that I hand this over.
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