Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Andrews' beef with Haneef

I just can't get over the recently imploded Australian case against Mohammed Haneef, who was alleged to have "recklessly supported" the failed car bomb attacks in the UK.

Two major errors in the case against Haneef are described here: first, it was claimed that a cell phone SIM card connected with Haneef had been found in the burning car sent into the airport in Glasgow, but in reality had been found in Liverpool; second, it was claimed that he had offered no explanation for why he'd purchased a one-way plane ticket to India, when in fact he had explained to police that he'd planned to fly out to see his wife and recently born child.

These are not, I think, plausibly attributed to innocent mistakes. Somewhere along the line from the police collecting the evidence to the lawyer prosecuting the case, someone lied, knowingly and willfully.

So, OK, this is nothing new. Police and prosecutors develop firm suspicions against someone, and maintain certainty of the person's guilt in spite of a lack of evidence, and go on to twist evidence to support their case--after all, if you're sure the suspect is guilty, you don't want minor points of evidence to get in the way. It happens. Distribute slaps on the wrist all around (that's all you can expect, because after all they just wanted to protect citizens from terrorists, and you can hardly blame them for being a little overenthusiastic about the job), and let's call it a day.

In addition to that, though, I'm mystified by the antics of Kevin Andrews, the immigration minister, who's generally making an ass of himself in various ways. Here's one example. After the charges were dropped, Haneef decided to go on and take off to India, which prompted this response:
Mr Andrews said on Sunday [the 29th] that he still harboured suspicions against the Indian doctor.

The fact that Dr Haneef decided to leave the country "actually heightens rather than lessens my suspicion", he said.
If we are to assume that Andrews was honestly speaking his mind here, then we must conclude that he was entertaining the following thought at the time: "Well, if this Haneef fellow is so innocent, then why in the world is he so committed to leaving the country to see his wife and recently born child? This is terribly suspicious."

But, what's more, in a press release from the 28th, the day before making the above statement, Andrews commented:
After taking advice, including from the Australian Federal Police, I have indicated that the Commonwealth has no objection to Dr Haneef departing Australia.

Indeed the effect of Dr Haneef's visa cancellation is that he should depart Australia.
Incidentally, that visa cancellation is something which Andrews personally stepped in to bring about. So, with this in mind, here's a fuller version of what Andrews was apparently thinking to himself when he made the statement on the 29th: "Well, if he's so innocent, then why in the world is he so committed to leaving the country--something which I personally made it legally necessary for him to do--in order to see his wife and recently born child? This is so terribly suspicious."

Now maybe this is in fact what he had in mind. It might just be the case that Australia has a psychotic immigration minister. Or maybe (keeping in mind that it's an election year) he's hoping that the racist asshole vote carries more weight in his constituency than the reasonable citizen vote. In any case, notwithstanding the fact that I know nothing else about the man, I'm going to go ahead and conclude that he's not a good person, and should lose his job as of yesterday.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Obligatory pet post

I received a request for pictures of our new pet. And, really, what in the world is the point of having a personal blog if you're not going to post pictures of your pet?

So, the other day we had Beezus on the bookshelf, which she enjoyed immensely, as is plain to see.

Here we see Beezus digging into some Simone Weil.

Beezus hides from the gay science, then reaches beyond good and evil.

Here we see Beezus in an action shot, turning away from the Nietzschean shadows to reconsider the divine light of Plato.

And, finally, Beezus investigating this weird device I keep waving at her.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"This is a serious issue"

The article's headline is "Devil in the details for cabbie No. 666", and it comes accompanied by the following picture:

So you pretty much have to read it.

(via SoMA)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Homeland has it all

So, the "Key Judgments" of the public domain version of the recent National Intelligence Estimate on terrorist threats to the US, which takes up all of two pages, uses the word "Homeland" 11 times--4 times in the first 3 sentences--capitalized. Is it just me, or is this not just fucking creepy?

(Via some Wired link I'm too lazy to look up again right now.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Personal Update

Yesterday we bought a pet rat. We have decided to name her Beatrice, Beezus for short. So far, she has proven to be very shy, and very willing to poop at inconvenient times. But love is patient and so on and so forth.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kierkegaard on femininity

From The Sickness unto Death:
However much more tender and sensitive woman may be than man, she has neither the egotistical concept of the self nor, in a decisive sense, intellectuality. But the feminine nature is devotedness, givingness, and it is unfeminine if it is not that. Strange to say, no one can be as coy (and this is a word coined especially for women), so almost cruelly hard to please as a woman--and yet by nature she is devotedness, and (this is precisely the wonder of it) all this actually expresses that her nature is devotedness. For precisely because she carries in her being this total feminine devotedness, nature has affectionately equipped her with an instinct so sensitive that by comparison the most superior masculine reflection is nothing. ...blindfolded, she instinctively sees what she should admire, that to which she should give herself.
So, women lack a concept of the self, and are devoid of intellectual reflection, but are instead endowed with a blind instinct for devotion. It's always such a joy when philosophers talk about women.

But there's more:
In the relationship to God, where the distinction of man-woman vanishes, it holds for men as well as for women that devotion is the self and that in the giving of oneself the self is gained. This holds equally for man and woman, although it is probaby true that in most cases the woman actually relates to God only through the man.
This is a little crazy. Kierkegaard had a individualistic conception of religion which pretty much entirely ruled out the very idea of anyone relating to God "only through" some other person: the relationship with God is a direct relation between God and the single individual, and no other person can have anything to do with it.

But he needed to find some way for women to be weak even in relating to God. So he fudged a little.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Stewie Hitchens

This idea is sweet.