International House of Dan: Dan Lives!!!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Dan Lives!!!

Work has been extremely hectic, and my wi-fi has been extremely unreliable, so I have been extremely absent from here. As a result, I have missed the opportunity to comment on a good number of recent events... big stories, things about which I have much to share. What follows is a quick flurry of mini-posts, just a few sentences, on some of those recent stories about which I would have liked to have written, but wasn't able to.

Karol Wojtyla, better known as His Holiness Pope John Paul II, passed away last weekend and was buried yesterday. Born in May of 1920, he lived through Nazi occupation, Communist rule, an assassination attempt, and severe illness late in life. As a young man in Poland he was deeply involved in his faith, as well as sports, academics and theater. I am saddened, and a bit angered at the way some in the Right have attempted to politicize the life and work of this incredible human being, using the "culture of life" spin to further their own political agendas. Having said that, I must quote Mr. Bush's speechwriting staff, as I feel they did a good job with the President's statement on John Paul II's passing:
"The Catholic Church has lost its shepherd, the world has lost a champion of
human freedom, and a good and faithful servant of God has been called home. Pope
John Paul II left the throne of St. Peter in the same way he ascended to it -- as a witness to the dignity of human life ... We will always remember the humble, wise and fearless priest who became one of history's great moral leaders. We're grateful to God for sending such a man, a son of Poland, who became the Bishop of Rome, and a hero for the ages."
The Sovereign Prince of Monaco died as well, His Serene Highness Rainier Grimaldi III passed away on Wednesday. Because of constitutional restrictions, Monaco does not have a king, but the Crown Prince still carried out the role of monarch with an aplomb and dignity we do not often see in modern statesmen. I saw a special on his U.S. educated son, Crown Prince Albert, a few months ago, and I remember thinking that he might be gay, though he denies it. I suppose the speculation comes from the fact that despite dating many models and actresses, he has never married. That, and the fact that he was in the Glee Club while at Amherst. In any event, he appeared to be very intelligent and capable, he appears to have learned much from his father, and I am confident he will make a good, strong leader.

Baseball got underway without a hitch, the Yankees were unfortunately unable to sweep the BoSox, but we still put a good hurt on them, look for them to sweep them in Fenway starting Monday. No comment on Kansas City until the countdown to 100 losses picks up the pace.

The North Carolina win over Illinois in the NCAA basketball tourney finally disproved my "blue state vs. red state" theory of sports. My Chicago friends will be sad to note that I had my money on the Tar Heels.

A roving gang of idiots calling themselves the Minutemen have descended on the deserts of Arizona. These racist, gun-toting morons claim to be doing their part to fight illegal immigration for the sake of national security. Call me skeptical, but I have a nagging suspicion that these people were talking about doing something like this long before 9/11. There need to be clearer boundaries in the debate over immigration reform so that the need for legitimate scrutiny to prevent entry by terrorists cannot be used for political gain by the proponents of reforms that are objectively more anti-immigrant than anti-terrorist.

It has just become more dangerous for men of color to live in Florida. A bunch of idiots in Tallahassee have legalized the use of deadly force anywhere, by anyone who "reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another" (S.B. 436, Section 776.012(a)). Republican Dennis Baxley and the NRA strongly support the measure, though at least one of the two claimed to believe in "a culture of life" when it came to Terri Schiavo. We've all heard of people walking to the opposite side of the street to avoid some "scary-looking black kids" coming their way, and while some argue that this is a very racist thing to do I think it beats the alternative of opening fire against the kids. I will be taking bets on how long it will be before a jury of Floridians decides otherwise.

There were many other developments in the world last week, Sino-Taiwanese tensions grew, the Kansas City Wizards started the season off with a win, Tony Blair will seek another term, the ICC has begun investigating Darfur at the Security Council's request (though with immunity for contributing non-State Parties) and is investigating the situation in Colombia; also, the Bolton nomination process has gotten interesting. I cannot delve into all of these, as well as other topics at this time, but I imagine that at some point, I will have spare time in which to do so.


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