Friday, May 09, 2008

Empathy is not Justice

David Harsanyi notes Obama's take on how justices should be appointed:

After a recent Supreme Court death penalty case, Obama said he would nominate justices who shared "one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy."

Relying on such extraordinarily subjective views undercuts the idea of blind justice. It implies that justices should be free to follow their own broader perspectives rather than the law.

Empathy is defined as "Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives." Empathy might be important when one is a therapist, but one is to be impartial when in the role of a forensic psychologist where the goal is to be objective and follow the rule of law. Shouldn't justices be held to an even higher standard, given the responsibility they have and the oath that they take?

Update: Protein Wisdom: But then, what’s the use of being a Messiah if you can’t rewrite the metaphysics of meaning, right?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ask Dr. Helen: Do Husbands Owe Wives Post-Childbirth ‘Push Presents?’

My PJM column is up:

A recent survey found 55% of pregnant mothers expected a 'push present' from their husband. Is it appropriate and what does it say about a woman who insists on getting such a gift?

Go read the column and let me know your opinion.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

When Men are Stabbed, it's Apparently Funny

Glenn Sacks points out what happens when a man gets stabbed in a domestic dispute:

Apparently the filming of the new James Bond movie Quantum of Solace is being plagued with problems. While listening to McIntyre In The Morning on KABC in Los Angeles this morning, I was dismayed when KABC entertainment reporter Debra Mark (pictured) lightly and semi-laughingly mentioned that one of the film crew had been "stabbed in a domestic dispute."

I know that people find men being stabbed or hurt funny from first-hand experience. I once told two female friends about the MIT student who was stabbed in a dorm room without mentioning gender. The two women were shocked and dismayed about the case--thinking the victim was female. However, when I told them the student was male, they burst out laughing. When I pointed out the hypocrisy, they argued and didn't even seem to understand what I was talking about. People are so indoctrinated to believe that violence against men is okay, especially if perpetrated by women, that they find the whole thing a joke. How empathetic.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gardening for Dummies

Okay, this is just a post to brag about my gardening skills. I told readers about my Earthbox Garden in a post here where I said that I was going to try growing tomatoes and strawberries. I am proud to say that my black thumb curse may have lifted; the box has worked out great and my plants are growing like weeds. I decided to step my "gardening" up a notch and got this book, Gardening All-in-One for Dummies. The book is quite helpful if you find yourself puzzled about how to take care of various plants, flowers and vegetables. We recently planted some flowers and in the past, I have generally killed them (or maybe they just died from neglect--don't tell the Swiss government on me.) However, with this book, I think I will be able to tackle any issues that come up.

The one volume contains seven books and includes information on Gardening Basics, Garden Design, Roses, Perennials, Annuals, Bulbs, Vegetables, and Herbs. My only disappointment was that it didn't include information on how to grow fruits since I am attempting to grow strawberries but they could only include so much in one book.

You can see in the picture below that my strawberries (on your left) and tomatoes (on your right) are really coming along and I hope very much to make a strawberry/tomato salad at some point. I may get the hang of this gardening thing yet.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Podcast: Fred Thompson on McCain and the Judiciary

fredpic.jpgWe caught up with Fred Thompson for a quick podcast on his thoughts on McCain and his plans for the federal courts. Senator Thompson talks about issues, judicial philosophies, and why McCain's presidency will make a difference. I also ask him if we might be seeing an Attorney General Fred Thompson if there is a McCain administration. Tune in to find out.

You can listen directly -- no downloads needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. You can get a lo-fi version, suitable for dialup, Treos, etc., by going here and selecting "lo-fi." And you can get a free subscription via iTunes right here. Free!

Show archives are at Music is by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere.

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" The question is why we feel no such decency toward men and the children who love them"

Kathleen Parker at National Review (Hat tip: Cory) has a good piece on the "Bad Dad" reality show that Fox is considering:

Of those everyone loves to hate, few can compete with the deadbeat dad for longevity.

How much do we hate him? While we’re counting the ways, Fox TV may try to help America organize its contempt and put a face on this loathsome character.

Bad Dads, redundant in these male-bashing times, is the name of a new reality show Fox is considering. While the network reviews the pilot, outraged fathers’ advocates are trying to nip this bad seed before it buds.

Parker makes some good points about child support stats and points out the hypocrisy of a society that has no problem denigrating fathers:

Clearly, some men are sinners and some women are saints. But sometimes the reverse is true. In fact, noncustodial mothers are 20 percent more likely to default on child support than noncustodial fathers, according to U.S. Census data. But we don’t see a reality show aimed at humiliating moms.

Is this because women, who have had fewer opportunities historically, are viewed as more deserving of the benefit of the doubt?

Or is it because civilized people would strenuously object to the public ridicule of moms whose children may be watching?

It’s preferable to imagine the latter. The question is why we feel no such decency toward men and the children who love them.

Why, indeed?

For Lock Lovers

I recently wrote a post about the book How To Open Locks With Improvised Tools: Practical, Non-Destructive Ways Of Getting Back Into Just About Everything When You Lose Your Keys. Several of you emailed to say the book was out of stock but it is now shipping again from Amazon for those who are interested in such a book.