One L(ove)

August 15, 2009

So True. So, so true.

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 11:04 pm

I’m back! Sorry for not having posted anything in quite a while. Just have been extremely busy. But promise to post more regularly. So stay tuned!

Currently listening to: Grizzly Bear – Yellow House

Currently reading: Thomas Pynchon – Inherent Vice

Recently watched: John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence; Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

December 27, 2008

More than 200 people lost their lives today in Palestine…

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 12:52 pm
Tags: ,

…and no one seems to be morally outraged.

Currently listening to: Sleater Kinney – All Hands on the Bad One

November 30, 2008

Some Thoughts on the Mumbai Attacks

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 12:32 am
Tags: , , ,

Before I start off writing on what I have been thinking about lately, I would like to send my deepest condolences and solidarity with those who have been affected by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. My thoughts are with you.

While we gathered with our family and friends over the Thanksgiving break, I’m sure the attacks in Mumbai gave some of us a great sense of discomfort. The thought of innocent people walking in the streets, doing their jobs, looking forward to seeing their families, vacationing, searching for the meaning of life, just fulfilling other daily callings of life, losing their lives definitely has the power to make one feel incredible sadness. There’s that great feeling of human empathy that softens our hearts when we see images of our fellow humans suffering around the world thanks to the fast-paced and intra-connected world of ours. While watching the news coverage on television and reading articles on the attacks, here are some of the thoughts I have been thinking:

1. Tribal Mentality. What motivated these individuals to commit acts of terror against innocent people? This question has been on the minds of everyone since the attacks first began. Right now, all we can do is speculate since it’s always hard to see when the dust hasn’t settled yet. There are many reasons for modern terrorism. We used to think that it was a tool that was employed by an oppressed group, that those who had nothing used it because they had nothing to lose (in a realm of discomfort). It was a tactic used to frighten those who the terrorists believed stole something from them. The terrorists believed that those who built a world of comfort did so only on their expense. And the only way to shaken that foundation of the “comfortable” is to frighten them, to make them feel “discomfort,” to give them a sense of that they have something to lose. What I have in mind is the terrorist tactics used by the Algerians against the colonial French occupation of their land. Viewing terrorism as an expression of politics of discomfort does not seem fitting any longer in contemporary times. One cannot view the complexity of human violence and the motives behind it through black and white lens. While politics of discomfort might explain some uses of terrorism in some parts of the world, it cannot explain all the motives behind why people employ it for whatever their political ends may be. Certainly, the reasons why terrorist groups employ terrorism may vary from region to region, from cause to cause, from circumstances to circumstances. And even within  a terrorist movement, its members may be motivated to join for various of reasons. Each case varies and one cannot employ one paradigm to explain the complexity of human violence, and human behavior in general for that matter. People might join terrorist organization for various of reasons. The common explanation is always that a person becomes a terrorist because he or she is motivated by a desire to escape oppression, poverty, and lack of opportunities that they feel a particular group (towards whom the acts of terror are targeted) has imposed upon them. However, we have seen in the modern trend that some of the terrorists are well-educated, well-off financially, and a whole life full of opportunities to look forward to. Other explanations include that the person joins a terrorist group because he or she is bored (very scary!), has a sociopathic personality, and with the rise of religiously-motivated terror, may be motivated by religion itself. Even though each person in a terrorist group may have joined for different reasons than a fellow member, there is no doubt the role group dynamics plays within the organization. If it is a tightly knit group, it’ll be easier for the terrorists to have a monolithic view of reality. In other words, failing to see the richness of the world and its complexity, they might bifurcate reality (i.e. see the world in terms of black and white, good and evil, etc.). This distorted sence of reality will facilitate them to carry out attacks against others they view as “things,” “objects,” or “beings inferior to them.” This brings me to my main point: the terrorists were motivated by a sort of tribal mentality. Since it is unclear what motivated the terrorists (although the Indian government believes that “elements” from Pakistan have influenced the terrorists to carry out the attacks), we can speculate by viewing the words of the terrorists themselves. The unknown group Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sky News reported that one of the terrorists called Indian TV and justified the attacks by saying: “Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir? Are you aware how your army has killed Muslims? Are you aware how many of them have been killed in Kashmir this week?” Taking this and the possibility of the group being trained by the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (an organization that holds an irredentist view of Kashmir), one can postulate that the terrorist attacks were motivated because of the crisis in Kashmir. Of course the Indian army has been responsible for some great injustices in Kashmir, but does this justify attacking innocent people who happen to be citizens of a country whose policies have either directly or indirectly contributed to some dispute on the international level of which they have no involvement in? Isn’t this type of logic worrisome? The logic of: “If you attack my innocent, then I will attack your innocent.” Isn’t that frightening? That your country’s government may be involved in a campain on the international stage of which you have no involvement or say with and you end up being attacked because of it? This type of logic reminds me of tribal mentality. What I mean by tribal mentality is that there is a sense of belonging to a particular tribe and one is wholly devoted and loyal to this tribe. Any direct harm to a member of a tribe is a direct harm to another. In the old days, we are aware of tribal feuds (actually, they still are very much alive in different parts of the world today), where one person from a tribe does a wrong against another, a war breaks out between them. While one individual member of a particular tribe may have wronged another tribe, all members of the former tribe will be targetted by the members of the latter one. I think this is very much true with fanatics today. National fanatics believe that a wrong done against one’s national group by a foreigner makes the fellow members of that foreigner also susceptible to violent attacks. It’s an all-or-nothing approach. Similarly, religious fanatics believe that any wrong done by a group of a different religion against a few within the former group, makes all the members of the latter religious group susceptible to violent attacks. Than an affront to a member of one’s national group is an affront to one’s nation; and, similarly, that an affront to a member of one’s religious group is an affront to the religion itself.  Therefore, all members of the offending group, in the mind of the fanatic, become targets for the offense that “they have” caused. It makes it easier to see the members of the targeted group as being devoid of humanness, (i.e., that they are nonhuman in nature). So there is this elevation of tribal mentality to the national and religious realms. I think that statement made by the terrorist to the Indian TV fits this description. He believes that an attack on innocent Indians is justified because of the deaths of numerous innocent Kashmiri Muslims in the disputed area of Kashmir. How to counter such a justification and view held by fanatics is a million dollar question.

2. Aesthetics of Terror. Terrorism is a sort of political theater. Besides trying to frighten the opponent in and using it as a mean to achieving political ends, terrorism is used to attract the world’s attention to a group’s political cause. Terrorists use bizarre tactics to make the world its stage by attracting the world’s media, they become participants and also make others of an opposing group fellow participants (although these are unwilling, of course) by either hijacking, taking hostages, etc. They want the world media to focus on them and forcibly make the world their audience. One example would be the Chechen terrorists taking Russian school children as hostages in 2004. This made the world stop and focus on what the Chechens wanted. Similarly in India, the Deccan Mujahideen took over a prestigious hotel which was a pride of both Mumbai and, on the national level, India. They knew that if they took over a well-known building and also foreign hostages, this would attract the world’s attention. And it did. Terrorism then creates its own sense of twisted art: to be as creative as possible in order to attract the world’s attention and disturb its conscious. This art of terror wants to instill in us Edmund Burke’s “the sublime,” where we feel a sense of impending doom when we view an artwork. Only, they take a step further by not making us feel the relief that comes after having a “sublime” feeling (i.e. that we will walk away with our lives), but that they want to make us feel uncomfortable, that this might happen to us, that we have something to lose. Ah, the politics of discomfort pops up again. The question is, since there is an aesthetic of terror, how do we resist it? I am reminded of Walter Benjamin’s influential and brilliant essay called “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. In the epilogue section, Benjamin claims that there is an aesthetic of fascism. It tries to make war beautiful in order to maintain the traditional property system. He quotes Filippo Tommaso Marinetti as saying:

For twenty-seven years we Futurists have rebelled against the branding of war as antiaesthetic …. Accordingly we state:… War is beautiful because it establishes man’s dominion over the subjugated machinery by means of gas masks, terrifying megaphones, flame throwers, and small tanks. War is beautiful because it initiates the dream — of metalization of the human body. War is beautiful because it enriches a flowering meadow with the fiery orchids of machine guns. War is beautiful because it combines the gunfire, the cannonades, the cease-fire, the scents, and the sFuturism! … remember these principles of an aesthetics of war so that your struggle for a new literature and a new graphic art… may be illumined by them!tench of putrefaction into a symphony. War is beautiful because it creates new architecture, like that of the big tanks, the geometrical formation flights, the smoke spirals from burning villages, and many others …. Poets and artists of Futurism! … remember these principles of an aesthetics of war so that your struggle for a new literature and a new graphic art… may be illumined by them!

Benjamin believed that communism’s goal (Benjamin was a Marxist theorist) was to respond back to this aesthetic of fascism. Today, there has been a development of an aesthetic of terror. Terrorists use the world as its stage, come up with creative ways to shock and capture the world’s attention, use symbolic imageries dear to people (national or religious), poetic explanations, etc., to justify their attacks and attract recruits. Due to the rapid development in technology and globalization, terrorists display videos with religious or national music in the background, link causes to religious or national causes and battles of the past, display their “martyred” comrades in a good light by describing their efforts in a poetical way by using national or religious imageries. Certainly, there has been a drive by terrorists to romanticize their cause by creating an aesthetic of terror. Benjamin believed that the dangerous aesthetic of fascism could be dealt with, is there a possibility that we can also counter and resist the aesthetic of terror?  

3. Humans and Violence. After the attacks, I have been thinking about our species’ propensity for violence. Some believe that humans are inherently violent and others believe that violence has been a phenomena for our species for the past 5000 years. Are we by nature violent or do we only respond with violence in reaction to the circumstances that we are placed in? Or is it a combination of both? To further go along this theme, do modern institutions make us more violent or do they make us “nobler”? Studies show that the incidents of violence is declining among humans. A short yet fascinating essay by the incredible Steven Pinker entitled “A History of Violence” states that modern institutions in fact make us nobler. If violence among humans is on the decline and modern institutions make us peaceful, does it mean that terrorism is a manifestation of those who have been either been purposefully excluded by them or is it a reaction against modern institutions? Once again we arrive at motives. We’re back to square one.

Once again, I would like to send my deepest condolences to those who have been affected by the attacks. A loss of even one innocent life is tragic enough.

Currently listening to: The Replacements – Let It Be

November 18, 2008

Racism on Long Island

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 10:33 pm
Tags: , ,

Steve Levy, the County Executive of Suffolk County (the better half of Long Island), gave an address on television today about the murder of Marcelo Lucero. Lucero, a native of Ecuador, was stabbed to death by a group of teenagers near the LIRR train station in Patchogue on the 8th. What was the motive behind the killing? According to the police, the teenagers killed Lucero because he was Hispanic. This has caused a public furor on the Island, especially from the immigrant and religious communities. Ever since the recent murder, I bet every single Suffolk County resident is asking the crucial question: “What the fuck is going on?” How come racism is so rampant in our area? How come our youth are driven to carry out race-based violence against others? What or who leads them to believe that they should carry out a hate crime? These are difficult questions to answer and I give props to Levy for going on television to address these questions head on. Although I do think he has played some role in pouring gasoline, rather than water, on the fire of racial tension. I’ll discuss this later on in this piece.

The Island is one of the most segregated places in the country. Is it because of the way we define our space that greatly determines our interactions with other people? I live in Farmingville, the ground zero of hate crimes on the Island. It has gained a national reputation of being the principal place of hate on the Island. That saddens me greatly. We’ve got a lot of day laborers in our town, which has ignited racial tension and has truly divided Farmingville. There was a documentary film made on the town, discussing the racial tension within it. This film is also called “Farmingville”. One of the incidents of hate in this town include the brutal beating of a day laborer by a white supremacist disguised as a contractor. The supremacist drove up to the day laborer, told him that he’ll give him work and money, and took him to an abandoned place. In that place, the supremacist beat the laborer and left him for dead. Gratefully, the laborer survived and the supremacist was arrested. However, on a more personal level, a kid from my high school firebombed a Mexican family’s home which is just a couple of minutes walking distance from my house. This took place around 2 a.m. on  July 4th, 2004. I remember being awake at that time but heard absolutely nothing. What happened was that the kid, along with some others, drove past the house in which a Mexican family lived, firebombed it, then drove away. Fortunately, the family wasn’t harmed. When the kids were arrested, the cops found KKK literature in one of their wallets. Whenever the school bus (I was a high school senior at that time) drove past the house, everyone just stared at the gutted wound to its structure – a wound to the town’s innocence.

There is no doubt that racism is prevalent on the Island. Local television programs have dedicated hours to it and with the death of Lucero, I think every resident of Suffolk County is reflecting on why these fatal attitudes still affect our community’s social life. There has been a sense of soul searching, I sense, within the County after the murder. Although we can never say, “Well, here’s the root of it all,” since humans are such complex creatures and there are always countless reasons why something is the way it is (human relationships are never black and white when it comes to social issues), I think there are some deducible things we can say are causes (though not primary) that effect negative consequences. Here are just my thoughts:

1. Local rhetoric. A kid on my bus, when I was in high school, used to yell out and make racial slurs against Hispanic day laborers. I’ve always wondered what caused this asshole to lower the window and yell and spit at day laborers who stood on the sidewalk. Certainly it could be something he learned at home. However, I believe that the local organization, Sachem Quality of Life (SQL from hereon), plays a great role. SQL wants to promote a healthy, beautiful, and peaceful environment in the town. They believe that the day laborers are enemies bent on ruining those values. But I do think they, in fact, are the ones who compromise those values. They stand on the sidewalk with signs saying “Honk, if you want them deported,” “Invasion!”, “Deport the Illegals,” “Save Our Town,” etc. I believe these actions only complicate the situation further by portraying an “Us versus Them” image. Their rhetoric only treats the day laborers as if they are objects, people not to be trusted, unclean, and dangerous. This type of rhetoric only serves to dehumanize a group of people. I think some young people, sadly, are influenced by this group and feel that they want to take more substantive steps than merely stand on the sidewalk holding signs. In other words, I think they get convinced that the day laborers are truly the sole reason for the social ills in the community and that these kids should then take the matter into their own hands to actually do something about it, rather than just standing on the sidewalk all day holding signs.

2. Levy’s rhetoric. Although I commend Levy for getting on television today to address the residents of Suffolk about Lucero’s murder, hate crimes and racism in the County, I do think Levy, just like the SQL, creates a dangerous atmosphere with his policies. Levy contends that the murder and his anti-illegal-immigration policies were not related – that there’s no nexus between them. Some immigration and human rights activists have recently stated that he has “blood on his hands.” That although his policies did not serve to be a proximate cause in Lucero’s death, they did however enrage racial tensions even more. I think Levy’s staunch anti-illegal-immigration stance does play a role in that it might convince some people that since he’s spending so much time in trying to fight against illegal immigration, the day laborers must then truly be the real cause of social ills in the County. Insensitive remarks such as Lucero’s death being a “one-day story” (although I should flag that Levy did apologize for this remark) add absolutely nothing to a reasonable public dialogue. Levy, in his address, also told Hispanic immigrants not to be afraid of the police. He promised that the law enforcement will protect everyone – regardless if they have an identity card or not. This of course acknowledges the immigrants’ distrust of the law enforcement since they feel that the cops and the law are biased against them and there’s no protection for them at all. A very intelligent immigrant from Ecuador called a show on News 12 tonight and said that the immigrants are frightened of the law enforcement as they feel that the cops do not serve to protect them – only to harass them and deprive them of that essential human right of security for one’s personal protection. Levy must certainly work hard to regain the trust of immigrants and assure them that the law’s protection won’t abandon them – that they should enjoy the same protection as their fellow residents who happen to be non-immigrants. To do this, Levy must soften his hardcore stance and policies, stop worrying about how he appears before the camera (which is eternally on), and work to ensure racial equality in Suffolk by educating the young about the harmful effects of hate crimes upon the community as a whole. I hope he’ll wise up and carry out sound policies. But I guess, it’s always true, that it ultimately is our responsibility, the residents of Suffolk, when it comes down to determining in what direction we take the County.

Currently listening to: Cream – Disraeli Gears

November 13, 2008

Trichotomy of Globalization?

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 3:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Exactly a month ago, I was privileged to attend a lecture by Harold Koh, the current dean of Yale Law School and also a preeminent scholar on international law. What brought him to Hofstra was a lecture series that was held by the law school in honor of the last presidential debate (which took place at the university). Dean Koh, who was one of the professors of Dean Nora, gave such an intellectually stimulating talk. He talked about how international law should play a great role in our governmental policies, how we should respect that field of law, and give it more credit than we usually do. He talked about the landmark case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and also proposed a plan of closing down Gitmo and how to deal with the prisoners there.

But what I found really interesting about his talk was the subject of globalization. He divided globalization into three:

Globlalization of Governance

Globalization of Freedom

Globalization of Terror

Dean Koh said that the first two types of globalization should unite in order to defeat the last. The United States should lead the governance aspect and should work on to regain its moral stature in the world. He pointed out that thirty years ago, when he worked in the government, there were few democratic countries as compared with non-democratic ones. But now, there are more democracies in the world than there are authoritarian ones. This makes me hopeful that if the trend continues, my children and their children will be living in a world full of democracies. This sounds highly idealistic but I do believe it is a near possibility. Now that the globalization of terror is a new threat to the globalization of freedom, the United States (through the globalization of governance) should promote the globalization of freedom by working to eradicate the globalization of terror. This seems like a neat formula but I, personally, do think that it’s too simplistic. I think it overlooks the root causes of a globalization of terror and doesn’t take into consideration the complexity of globalization as a whole. What about neoliberal governance of globalization? (Check out Pierre Bourdieu’s influential article “The Essence of Neoliberalism” in Le Monde Diplomatique) What about the waning influence of labor around the world? The ILO? While I think Dean Koh was providing a model for a political globalization, I think we still cannot ignore the impact of the model of socioeconomic globalization upon the political aspect since there is a fine line (sometimes, no line) between the social and the political. Whenever social relationships are established, they are bound to turn political. The factors of socioeconomic globalization highly impact the factors in globalization of terror. There’s evidence that some aspect of the globalization of terror stands in response to the neoliberal governance of globalization while at the same time standing against what is perceived as the Western governance of globalization. What my point is that globalization, as a whole, is nest made of webs – any attempt to simplify it with a nice little formula will only make a person lost within a prison of sticky threads.

P.S. Great news!: No more reading for Torts!

Currently listening to: Beck – Guero

November 12, 2008

Thoughts on Proposition 8

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 12:34 pm
Tags: , ,

As I walk through the halls of school, I hear a lot of conversations centered around Proposition 8. It’s not only a hot topic of debate within the walls of the law school, but also without it. Political pundits, community organizers, lawyers, academics, religious leaders, television and radio shows, and editorial sections of newspapers across the country are discussing about the approval of Proposition 8 by Californians in last week’s elections.

I first learned about the proposition the day before the elections when a friend from school, who is from California, said that Californians were voting whether gay marriage should be allowed in their state. Proposition 8 (its ballot title was Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couple to Marry), seeks to overturn the California Supreme Court’s recent decision of recognizing same-sex marriage as a fundamental right. The proposition will amend the Californian Constitution in defining marriage solely between a woman and man. Californians (shockingly) approved the proposition (52% yes, 48% no). This has caused a public furor from the LGBT community in California and, I bet, from the LGBT communities around the whole country.

One of the things I truly admire in a person is his or her ability to make sound logical statements – that their flow of thought succeeds in a logical fashion. I believe public policy should be based on sound logical reasoning, although I do think the application of logical reasoning should be curtailed in some instances (I suggest you read Arthur Koestler’s classic book Darkness at Noon to know what I mean). In this instance, that of gay marriage, I do personally believe that policy should be determined by sound logical reasoning. Of some of the arguments that I have personally heard that are put forth to justify the passing of Proposition 8, I can’t help but think how weak they are. It’s scary to see these types of arguments put forth to justify limiting the rights of a significant portion of our society:

1. “I believe homosexuality is natural and also the right of homosexuals to marry but Proposition 8 should be passed because I don’t want my kids to learn about homosexuality in sex ed.”  Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I have personally heard this argument proposed in support of Proposition 8. What would be the logical consequences of such an argument? Wouldn’t passing Proposition 8 just so homosexuality cannot be taught in sex ed only negate the first half of the argument, i.e. homosexuality is natural and that gay marriage is also natural? Doesn’t the second half of the argument belie the first part? There’s an apparent contradiction underneath the surface. The things that are taught in sex ed only communicate to the children what is natural in society. If only sexual relationship between a man and woman are taught in sex ed and the child learns this to be the only natural type of sexual relationship between humans, isn’t it possible that when a child gets out of the classroom and sees other types of sexual relationships that he’ll or she’ll deem them to be “unnatural”? Surely, it’s plausible that the child would come to the conclusion: “Well, I didn’t learn that in school. This is an unnatural type of sexual relationship.” This will only give children an idea that homosexuality is unnatural and a deviant sort of relationship, since it is distinguishable from that which has been taught at school. Therefore, a logical consequence of this argument would only perpetuate that homosexuality is unnatural, something to be feared and hated. I’m sure that no matter what position you take on this issue (whether homosexuality is natural or unnatural), you can defintely see (I hope) that how such an argument only contradicts itself. I don’t know how a person can believe homosexuality is natural while putting forth this argument. What about a teen who feels “different” from the rest? That he or she feels differently from a person his or her gender is supposed to feel (remember gender is different from sex, the former is a social construction and the latter is biological). Certainly, there’s a lot of confusion. I personally think that such an argument proposed above would only serve to confuse such a person more.

2. “The right of gays to marry is natural but I don’t want them to show it in public.”  Yep, I first heard of this argument after the elections. What does it mean? Marriage is a social invention and a powerful institution in our society. It provides benefits that are denied to unmarried couples and single people. It carries with it a powerful status and a great sense of security. Certainly, in the eyes of the law, there are definitely more privileges and benefits conferred to those who are married than those who are not. But what does it mean when such a person would say, “I don’t want them to show their marriage in public”? How do a heterosexual married couple display their marriage in society? I don’t know. The only thing I could think of is a wedding. That’s how you know when someone is a married couple. Then arguing that gay marriage is natural but it shouldn’t be displayed in public (i.e. wedding) is only an inherent contradiction. Does it send out the message: “Both homosexuals and heterosexuals have the equal right to marry but heterosexual marriages are more equal than homosexual ones”? But does the person mean kissing, hugging, and holding hands? These are displays of affection that couples (whether married or not) generally do. These activities go on and will go on no matter if a couple (gay or straight) are married or not. Stopping these displays will only needlessly infringe upon the rights of people to do so.

3. “Allowing gay marriage will lead to a slippery slope.” Ah! The slippery slope argument. This type of argument is drilled inside the heads of every first-year law students to reflect upon what would be sound public policy. What the slippery slope is that if you basically allow something to happen, it’ll only open doors for (socially) less favorable activities to take place. Such an argument when applied to the issue of gay marriage (I’ve heard Bill O’Reilly make this argument a lot) seeks to show that allowing gay marriage will pave the way for other types of marriages such as between a human and an animal. I think this type of argument is unfair and would surely be offensive and hurtful to homosexual couples. Think about it. How can the relationship between two consenting adults who happen to be of the same sex be analagous to a relationship between a man and, let’s say, a goat (I like goats)? It must be insulting for homosexual couples, indeed. There’s such difference between a relationship between two consenting human adults of the same sex and that of a human and goat (although goats are incredibly cute, I seriously doubt they can consent, lawfully speaking, to marriage with humans). I think it’s reasonable for fair-minded proponents and opponents of gay marriage alike to see that the slippery slope argument does not logically hold.

Some things to think about:

1. An example from criminal law. Judges often tell juries to think if a person, who happens to be white, shoots and kills some black teenagers which the former thought were threatening, would the switching of the race of the killer and victims matter? If it does change, what does it mean to you? That means race and our attitude towards people of a certain race does matter in our decisions. Ask yourself: What if the elimination of the right to marriage between heterosexual couples should be taken away, does it matter? If it does, what does it say about your attitude toward sexual minorities? Do you believe that those who identify themselves differently when it comes to sexuality are more privileged than those who identify themselves totally the opposite? Is this fair and just? If not, should it be the basis of public policy? Something to think about.

2. The problematic title of Proposition 8. Rachel Maddow, a person I truly admire and who happens to be a gay American, said on election night after President-elect Obama was announced to have won the presidential election, that the ballot title of Proposition 8 is extremely problematic: “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.” In its wording, she says that the proposition realizes that there is a right of gay Californians to marry, as the Supreme Court of that state held. The aim of the proposition is to take that right away. Isn’t the wording of the proposition disturbing? Something to think about.

I do think people have a right to believe and opine about whatever they want to believe and opine about – no matter how reasonable or unreasoable those beliefs and opinions are. However, when it comes to public policy, especially when it affects the lives of a significant portion of people in our society, our public conscience needs to be free of illogical and unreasonable defects in the rails of our train of thought.

Currently listening to: Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff

November 4, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 3:08 pm

Woke up at 5 a.m. today so I can cast my vote at 6 a.m. when the polls opened. My father, who is a first-time voter, was so excited that he got ready by 4 a.m. I’m really happy for him. Although I want to sit glued to the television set all night to see what’s going on, I can’t. There’s so much reading to do. I love it how professors bombard you with reading due after one of the most historic election days in our country’s history.

A co-worker sent me this video and needless to say, it scared me to death!:

You don’t want this to happen to you so go out and vote if you haven’t already!

A random yet related thought: I really really really hope that Elizabeth Dole and Michele Bachmann lose! BUT I do hope my Contracts professor Roy Simon wins a seat in the New York State Senate. You can his campaign’s web site here: 

Here’s a video of him on YouTube:

(You can see him playing his harmonica in the video, which he regularly does in class.)

Currently listening to: TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain

October 27, 2008

Battered Woman Syndrome & the Bush Doctrine

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 12:28 am
Tags: , ,

The traditional view of the self-defense doctrine states that there is an imminence requirement before one can use deadly force. That is, a person is entitled to use deadly force when the threat of death or great bodily harm is imminent to that person. However, as the casebook Cases and Materials on Criminal Law (4th Ed.), edited by Joshua Dressler, points out on page 535 (believe it or not, I just turned around to see if my Legal Writing professor was standing behind me, ready to shout: “You didn’t Bluebook, you filthy s.o.b.!”) that some are seeking to abandon this requirement in both domestic and international law:  

Should the imminence requirement be abandoned in battered woman cases? President George Bush declared in 2002 that the United States “must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist client before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction***.” The National Security Strategy of the United States, http://www/nytimes/com/2002/ 09/20/politics/20STEXT_FULL.html. If so-called “preemptive self-defense” is being conducted at the international level, is there any reason to deny the right to battered women to kill their “rogue” and “terrorist” partners before they are able to use deadly force?

Professor Jane Moriarty, while rejecting the Bush Doctrine as too extreme, defends so-called “anticipatory self-defense” (ASD). She writes that “[t]hose who favor ASD in international law do not restrict the doctrine to the moment when the missile is in the air.” Thus, for example “[p]ursuant to international law, ASD may be legitimately invoked if a targeted country has been victimized by prior attacks and learns more attacks are planned. When a prior aggressor threatens to commit future violence, international law treats the threat as real. So should domestic criminal law.” Jane Campbell Moriarty, “While Dangers Gather”: The Bush Preemption Doctrine, Battered Women, Imminence, and Anticipatory Self-Defense, 30 N.Y.U. Rev. Law & Soc. Change 1, 15, 25 (2005).

Referring to this passage, my professor calls upon one student to explain what “The Bush Doctrine” is. The kid explains it in a sentence or two. Then the professor asks him, “According to the doctrine, when should it be employed?” He answers: “Umm…whenever President Bush wants it to be.” At the time it struck me so funny and wise that I had a strong urge to run across the room (that can fit up to 200 people) in order to give him a huge bear hug. I decided against it, however, lest he interprets my approaching as either a threat or, God forbid, an imminent infliction of deadly force…

Currently listening to: Nico – Chelsea Girl

Create a free website or blog at