Who Watches the Executioners?

syringe-from-vial

Yesterday, a federal judge rejected Marcus Wellons's plea for a stay of execution.  If no other intervention is forthcoming, Wellons will be executed this evening.  Wellons's argued that his death should be postponed until the state of Georgia was forced to disclose exactly which drugs they would be using to kill him.After the botched execution earlier this year in Ohio, courts have had to consider whether experimental executions constitute cruel and unusual punishment -- a sentence worse tha … [Read more...]

The Merry Merchant and the Sad Antonio

Photo courtesy of Allison Stock Photography

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing the closing night performance of The Merchant of Venice, staged by The Shakespeare Forum.  It was a delightful production, and the cast did a great job making all the jokes (and there are many) land effectively, without undercutting the heartbreaking trial scene (I cried).  The humor of the background characters set apart the two antagonists, Shylock and Antonio, who are some of the only characters who never laughed joyfully.What struck me most about t … [Read more...]

The School Where Bullies Ask for Help

Bombaloo-angry-picture

The American Prospect has a beautiful feature on a high school that started trying out restorative justice, instead of defaulting to suspensions.  Here's the basic approach: The cornerstone of KCAPA’s program is the “restorative circle.” Drawing inspiration from the American Indian practice of the talking circle, in which a totem is passed around to signal the opportunity to speak, these meetings are convened for all kinds of reasons, from gauging students’ moods to addressing acts of serious mi … [Read more...]

The Loneliness of Lying

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The Toast is in the middle of an ongoing, very funny series of reimagining the Harry Potter books as written by Ayn Rand.  I chortled my way through their take on Sorcerer's Stone (I think this was my favorite line): “Malfoy bought the whole team brand-new Nimbus Cleansweeps!” Ron said, like a poor person. “That’s not fair!”“Everything that is possible is fair,” Harry reminded him gently. “If he is able to purchase better equipment, that is his right as an individual. How is Draco’s superior … [Read more...]

In the Moral Landscape, There Still Be Dragons

Transcranial magnetic stimulation isn't a hypothetical

Sam Harris has announced the winning entry in his contest for critiques of The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values.  The winner (from a philosophy M.A. and blogger at Point of Controversy) is the obvious complaint, which seems just.  Here's an excerpt: First, your analogy between epistemic axioms and moral axioms fails. The former merely motivate scientific inquiry and frame its development, whereas the latter predetermine your science of morality’s most basic findings. Epis … [Read more...]

“Love Unconcerned with Being Returned”

kolbe

So far, when I've used Jen Fulwiler's Saint Generator to pick a saint to learn about and from for the month, I've mostly pulled saints I hadn't heard of before, from times and places that are very far from me.  Today, when I visited her randomizer, it spun up a saint I already love very much: Saint Maximilian Kolbe.I think the first time I heard of him was in RCIA (people in the class were supposed to pick out and present lives of various saints at each class), and I had the same kind of … [Read more...]

Fear of the Friendzone, Wire Monkeys, and Communion

paro-o

Why do people have so much contempt for "the Friendzone"?  Part of the problem is that we've defined romantic love as the highest form of emotional and physical intimacy, so missing out on dating feels like missing out on communion.  At The American Conservative, I'm talking a little about this problem in "Our Starved for Touch Culture." In the wake of the Santa Barbara shootings, the unpleasant underbelly of the pickup artist community (PUA), involuntary celibates (incels), and other unhealthy … [Read more...]


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