Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

April 4, 2005

Rabbinic Eulogies for The Pope

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:31 pm

Rabbi Daniel Lapin ties it all together.

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein also has some excellent comments.

Saying Goodbye for the Year

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:05 pm

Snowdancer deals with leaving for a year on duty in Iraq … that is, her husband leaving for Iraq, and she staying behind and missing him.

As if our troops don’t sacrifice enough already, we still need to add the sacrifice by their families. And that’s even when they come home safe and sound, which thank God most of them do.

If that’s not enough to bring you to tears, remember that this is basically the first war in which soldiers could communicate with their families with anything more immediate than very slow handwritten letters. Now they at least have phones and e-mail.

Flag Flap in France

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:40 pm

Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up. I would have thought this was an April Fools joke, but it’s April 4. I would have thought it was in The Onion, but it’s in Reuters.

French Flag Tribute to Pope Sparks Left-Wing Anger
Mon Apr 4, 2005 7:47 PM BST

By Jon Boyle

PARIS (Reuters) – Politicians in secular France squabbled over whether the government had been right to order flags lowered on public buildings in a sign of respect for Pope John Paul.

Socialist senator Jean-Luc Melenchon and Yves Contassot, a senior Green party member on the Paris City Council, said the government had abused its powers on Monday by ordering the official tribute to the Pope, who died on Saturday.

The Unsa union said the government was guilty of double standards having ordered schools to take part in the tribute to a religious leader after banning Muslim headscarves in state schools in a drive to keep them firmly secular.

“Let the Christians pay tribute to the head of their church, it’s a private matter,” Contassot told France Inter radio.

“Today, we have a government and a head of state who, clearly, for political reasons, are trying to take advantage of an issue that is a private matter,” he said.

Lowering of flags on all state buildings was “totally out of place and at the limit of legality.”

Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin defended the government’s move, saying the lowering of the flag was one of the “Republican customs” when a pope died.

“They have been applied at the occasion of the deaths of Pius XII, John XXIII and John Paul I,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

Millions of French are Roman Catholics, and there has been a public outpouring of grief over the Pope’s death.

“Millions of French” are grieving, but it’s “a private matter.” How can anything involving “millions” be private?

NYTimes gets it right

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:00 am

I regularly dump on the mainstream media, especially the New York Times, for getting things horribly wrong. So, to be fair I am compelled to point out when the get something right, especially on a topic they usually get wrong.

See this article from the NYT: Shootings Fuel a Drive to Ease Gun Laws” by Kate Zernike. (Hat tip: Alphecca.)

The only thing I can add is that all of the recent highly-publicized shooting have all taken place where guns are more or less completely illegal — a courthouse (in Atlanta), a high school (in Minnesota), a church service in Wisconsin, and Chicago. These laws obviously didn’t prevent the shootings. In fact, a study by John R. Lott, Jr. and WIlliam Landes found that is is extremely rare for a multiple-victim public shooting to take place in a state that issues concealed-carry permits; those that do take place in such states tend to occur in locations when carrying guns is illegal (courthouses, schools, churches, etc.).

Big Sibling is Watching You

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:01 am

(Yeah, I know you thought it was Big Brother — but that’s so sexist!)

The city of Bellwood, Illinois — a suburb of Chicago — is planning to put police surveillance cameras everywhere in the city. Well, every street, sidewalk, and alley, at least. No word on whether they’ll put them in bedrooms in private homes, but you’d be advised to keep your shades drawn if you live there. Of course, these days that might be considered probable cause for a search.

The cameras will automatically rotate and zoom to focus in on any source of loud noise; most cameras will not be (intentionally) visible to the observer. Police will be able to monitor the cameras from headquarters, and from laptops in their cars (all wireless of course), and city officials will be able to monitor them on PDAs. (Careful if you date the Mayor’s daughter!)

Details from CrimProf . (Hat tip: InstaPundit.)

Unlike them, I’m not a lawyer, but I think — i.e., I’m afraid — that this is perfectly legal. Courts have held that people have no “expectation of privacy” in a public place. As soon as you step out your front door you are in a public place. And maybe even if you just open your door, they could just aim the camera and zoom in, since a policeman standing in front of your door when you open it could theoretically see in. Somehow, I doubt this is what the Founders had in mind when they wrote the Fourth Amendment, but with all that “living constitution” stuff I guess it doesn’t matter.

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