Incarcerated murderer Bobby Ray Gilbert claims he did the deed.
Do I know whether this is true: Another inmate's confession halts execution -- of course not. I read this, "State Attorney General Troy King called the stay a serious setback for the prosecution," and see that blood thirsty Troy King is interested in a quick killing, not long justice.
Death be not proud.
King is the one bound, and not free. He longs too much to kill a man, even a man he might legitimately believe is guilty.
While condemned man, Thomas Arthur, is not exactly free, it is King who seems to long to kill him, bound by vengeance.
If Arthur is guilty, why is King so afraid he'll live? Maybe because of his own insecurity. Maybe if Arthur goes free, after exoneration through testimony and evidence, King will know the guilt bourne by encouraging his death. There is no freedom in guilt. None.
If Arthur is innocent, King, if he is at all a decent man, be forced to rethink every case.
He's not free. Arthur is held captive by, if not his own guilt, by another man's shame.
Ironically, Judy Wicker, the woman who hired someone to murder Troy Wicker merely received only a life sentence. What if her claim, "I hired and paid money to Thomas Arthur, not Bobby Gilbert, to kill Troy Wicker," turns out to be a lie? If so, should she receive death because she was willing to let a free man die? No, execution is still murder.
Sure, few free men have likely died in the last 10 years by the State's hand, but the mistake cannot happen, no matter how eager the prosecutor.
Chew on the poem below. It has more going on than State Attorney General Troy King's hunger for a state-sponsored death party.
Death Be Not Proud
by John Donne
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Will legs tuned for running survive? Can my keister tuned for cushy chairs manage? Will there be lemonade?
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
March 23, 1775
By Patrick Henry
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at the truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?
Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlement assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.
There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
New Yorker Barack Obama Cover: Satire: To Laugh or Not to Laugh (just be careful if you laugh so hard you pee)
As a Christian, I am not at all thrilled with shock art that insults my faith. Call it satire, call it art, call it kitsch for the gullible rebel, I do not like it. Andres Serrano's federally funded ($15,000) Piss Christ might be the best known of this, and, for me, it is offensive (in theory, not in reality). However, suspecting it only appeals to those already converted to Serrano's snickering perspective, it is no big deal. It could be even argued it makes a statement about how easily we distort who the true Christ is/was. It exists, I will not buy it, and it is, outside of this kind of discussion, forgotten.
Serrano's sort is free to speak out this way, and I want that freedom to remain. My faith was not shaken. Burn an American flag, pee on a plastic crucifix, throw a Bible or Koran in the toilet, wrap Obama in a turban or draw Mohammad as the Pope.
This is America; let freedom ring. Such freedom is increasingly rare in the world. If we do not live freely, we are not living at all.
My God, my faith in God is stronger than any picture, no matter how much I dislike it.
The Obama cover was not funded by the government, but by a magazine funded by subscribers and advertisers. The cover makes a misunderstood statement that, like John Lennon's famous "We're more popular than Jesus now," quote. It could be that the fear of it being misunderstood is bigger than the misunderstanding's reality. All the same, as Obama is coming of this with more support. He is leading, yet is enjoying underdog support.
I hold the concurrent view that he knowingly produced something offensive (with or without artistic merit), while expressing what I cheer him on to do: his opinion. Some of Serrano's work is pleasant and innocuous, while some of it is not accidentally controversial. KKK members, new and decaying corpses, semen, blood (regular and menstrual), sexual themes.
Do I believe he snickered when he made these? Who knows? I do not believe he naively thought, "Hey, I have an idea I think everyone will like." I think he actively looked for ways to shock. My opinion.
He hit some hot topics with a bludgeon: sex, race, death and religion. As I see it, he went the cheap way to make a deep point, but, like when Wes Craven makes a horror movie, he draws in a crowd to listen.
That is freedom used strategically to accomplish a message the best way he thought he could do.
Whether I am convinced the Obama cover was or was not satirical is not the issue to me. The issue is the freedom for the New Yorker to do so.
Obama's stand in the polls will not be hurt. If anything, he is getting the defended victim's bounce. If this was planned, the New Yorker has brilliantly executed great support of their candidate, and will probably sell a few extra copies of a magazine subscribed by less than 1 million people, got people talking about Obama positively, "Hey, he's a Christian, not a Muslim," even by atheists, or, "He's antiwar, not prowar," and forced John McCain, who had nothing to do with this, to defend Obama.
As for Serrano, I realize I have just touch the surface here, but, really, do either of us know his intent? Mind-reading has never been my speciality.
I am only guessing based on his subject matter. I have read some of his defenses of his work, but, if I let his art speak for itself, it is my opinion that he willfully has gone the way of Howard Stern while wearing the fur of an artist. Is he skilled? Very. Are there artistic points? I think so. Did he go out of his way to be shocking? Looks that way to me. Am I offended? Well, not really. I mean, sure -- in a theoretical sense, as he decided to pee on a symbol of my faith, but deep down, no. He's not that good. It is just a photo of a crucifix in yellow water that, outside of hallowed artistic walls and discussion board posts about satire, stopped mattering in the 1990s.
Who is reading "Howl" these days without also reading the note connected to the asterisk? I know, some of you English majors are smugly nodding you've read it. Some you even remember who wrote the famous preface, and why there is an asterisk. Asterisks aren't "all that." Just ask Barry Bonds.
Regarding the Obama cover, there is nothing there of significance. Nothing in the message that has not been done. The New Yorker has better press people, that's all.
It is much ado about nothing.
Bush gets his share, from Satan to Osama to Jesus to Dracula.
The New Yorker's audience is not Joe Sixpack, but well-paid, well-educated liberal-leaning readers. Those Joe Sixpacks who think Obama is Muslim are no more likely to vote for McCain now that they have seen a New Yorker cover, are they? If a magazine reinforces an image, it is hard to see that they would be dissuaded from supporting McCain (or Ron Paul).
I wonder how insulted people were when reading Gulliver's Travels.
Is there a chance in the world that any pro-Obama New Yorker reader will change their vote? No. Was Obama himself insulted? No. Will the New Yorker's offices be bombed by Muslim terrorists? No.
The rest of the huffing and puffing is academic, with pundits on both sides looking for an audience.
Bad satire? Good satire? Debatable academically, but, if part of satire's intent is to intrigue a reader to understand the sides of an issue, the New Yorker is forcing this with strength. How often does a liberal-leaning magazine get its perspective argued on the dinner tables and blogs of conservative readers? Too often, people preach to themselves, and nothing changes. The New Yorker found a way to get their politics in the face of people who would otherwise ignore them. Bad satire? Maybe so, but brilliant either way.
A recent report indicates that there were 996,000 subscribers in 2004. The total number of subscribers has been increasing at about a 3% annual pace over the last several years. Despite the magazine's New York focus, its subscription base is expanding geographically; in 2003 there were more subscribers in California (167,000) than in New York (166,000) for the first time in the magazine's history. The average age of subscribers rose from 46.8 in 2004 to 48.4 in 2005, compared with a rise of 43.8 to 44.0 for the nation, and a rise from 45.4 to 46.3 for news magazine subscribers. The average household income of a New Yorker subscriber was $80,957 in 2005, while the average income for a U.S. household with a subscription to a news magazine was $67,003, and the U.S. average household income was $51,466.
If people misunderstand it, so what? Too bad for the New Yorker, too bad for Obama. Does this matter? Not really. If someone sees it, and decides not to vote for Barack "Osama" Obama, how is this different than someone who sees a picture of George "Adolf" Bush? This is a risk of political discourse.
An interesting piece:
Chitown's offering are somewhat date-dependent. Ravinia is a favorite, but it depends who is playing, just north of the city. As you might know, it is a beautiful park with outside seated and lawn concerts from the CSO to rock. Listeners bring food, wine, candles.
Same thing with Grant Park/Millenium Park Festivals. Blues, Gospel, Jazz.
Long walks up Michigan Ave, window shopping, always choice.
For books, Hyde Park.
On the expensive end, options are endless, but out of my league. For pure romance and a gorgeous look at the city, there is the Signature Room on the 95th Floor of the Hancock Building. Best view in the city.
Two boys -- one baby, one little boy, sitting together in a chair. Baby Charlie bites Harry, the older boy, playfully. Then Harry sticks his finger in Charlie's mouth again, and gets it chomped. Quite cute, funny. Worth watching a dozen times.
(more funny videos)
"Declare Independence" opened for her a controversy I happen to agree with. She has named some countries, particularly Tibet. China, naturally, cannot tolerate opposing speech, and has blocked much of Björk's work.
She says, "“When I said "Tibet, Tibet", I whispered it three times. There was no fuss in the room. It happened afterwards on websites. It shows more than anything that China has become the next superpower in the world. And the issue is: how are they going to deal with Western moral issues like freedom of speech? China said, ‘It's obvious Björk planned a trip to China with the purpose of political propaganda gathering… and I was like, no! It's not true! It's a question of [them] sensationalising it.”"
I wondered what it would be like for the fearful, inhibited, encumbered Christian, the one who is free already, but lives like they are not?
Raise the flag, Christian. Don't them do this to you.
As for China, watch out. Freedom's coming.
Björk - Declare Independence
Today -- this morning -- is the last Sunday service for my church after 75+ years in one location. We have built a new locale, and will be there next Sunday.
It occurred to me, "What if our church was closing entirely?" and "What if the world was expected to blow up, what would be the last sermon, the last hymn sung?"
Eventually, something like this will be true. No, no, this is not a lesson in eschatology.
Amazing Grace? Or, some other hymn? Some new thing by the most modern of musicians, or something more Jewish, one closer to the sound Jesus Christ Himself may have sung?
Whatever song, whatever sermon, the penultimate phrase would be "Amen." The last phrase on Earth would be, "Hi Jesus, I am so glad to see you. I've been waiting."
No, that's not me playing carpenter. Far from it. No, no. Instead, I am helping set things up for the wedding of an old friend, David Weichelt, and Julie Creagor. That's Matteo Palitto keeping his hands warm as I monitor the view from a pergola.
Where? La Vida Loca Winery in Indianola, Iowa.
I have known David for years, and know it was time for him to meet someone, and get married. Easier said than done.
Adam Clark officiated the celebration, and showed himself to be a man of many talents, including serving as a photographer with his father-in-law.
It was a simple country wedding, in the setting of a vineyard in Iowa. My job was to walk these two lovely ladies down the aisle ("One Tooth" Allison and "Two Teeth" Madison) who are far less blurry in real life.
I'm on the end, far right, below.
An exciting trip home found me getting my first speeding ticket in 15 years (68 in a 55), and lost for two extra hours. Bugs came on the windshield hard and fast, sounding like a gentle rain.
The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
25 Pages of Interesting Ideas, But 103 Pages Too Long (review: No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog)
I blog a lot, on everything from running to Hungarian recipes, as well as my thoughts on life. Arguably, my blogs are like 99% of the ones which are out there. Except, rarely is my lunch discussed. I tossed my lunch, if you will.
The audience is the new blogger who is not a writer by trade. My friend who is chronicling his weight loss adventure in a blog, brand-new to blogging in general, might find this modestly useful before he quickly graduates into veteran status.
Was there anything I could learn?
Yes. Two things. One: I'm on the right track. Two: Anything, but lunch, goes. Pardon me. 2.5 things. The point five is that there is not much here for experienced writers and bloggers.
Anything goes? Which parts of anything? All of them.
* Hobbies (that would be my running blog, but could be your praying mantis kit).
* Food (that's my Hungarian recipe blog, but could be your ice cream tasting blog)
* Books (my personal blog does a lot of this, with reviews just like this one, but could be about bookbinding too)
Where the book runs aground is its self-indulgence. 128 pages? Why not 25? It is laid out like a bathroom book, with more white space than is needed. I read it in two hours. I was lucky enough to borrow my copy from a library, and recommend you do likewise.
The veteran blogger will gain a thing or two from reading other blogs, and richer books like Blogging For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)). Not here.