3 rounds of five clean and jerks, EMOTM
3 minute rounds with 1 minute rest in between. Rest five minutes at the end and repeat. Score is AMRAP reps.
- 25 kettlebell swings, 15 burpees, AMRAP kettlebell snatches [35#]
- 25 kettlebell swings, 15 burpees, AMRAP kettlebell clean and jerks [35#]
- 25 kettlebell swings, 15 burpees, AMRAP kettlebell goblet squats [35#]
Reps 20, 12
His Share of Glory:
The Complete Short Science Fiction of C. M. Kornbluth
NESFA Press 1997
$27.00; 670 pages
I picked up this volume because I had read the [almost] titular short story "That Share of Glory" in Jerry Pournelle's Imperial Stars: The Stars at War. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked just about every story contained within. I suppose I shouldn't be. Jerry Pournelle remains among my all time favorite writers, and I trust his judgment about other interesting authors.
This book comes in at 670 pages, and it only represents the scfi short fiction of Kornbluth. Not his novels, and not short fiction in any other genre. That is an impressive corpus of writing for a man who only lived to be 34. As Tom Lehrer almost said, by the time Kornbluth was my age he was dead.
Some of Kornbluth's short stories are famous. "That Share of Glory", "The Little Black Bag", and "The Marching Morons" are his best, and best known works. Another in this collection that I especially liked was "Gomez", the tale of an unlikely nuclear physicist who finds and then loses great power. The stories I didn't like as much, I still liked a lot. I even liked the stories the in back, set in a smaller font, that came with a warning that they were early works written quickly to fill space in pulp magazines. You have to be damn good to write stories that way that anyone wants to read 75 years later, and Kornbluth was.
While most of these stories are scifi, there were a couple that reminded me a bit of Lovecraft and Howard: uncanny and disturbing. Judging by their frequency, this wasn't his specialty, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. His speciality seemed to be journalism. Stories like "The Silly Season" and "Make Mine Mars" show marks of Kornbluth's time as a wire-service reporter in Chicago. This is important, since I'm always interested in what makes a given author's work "hard" scifi.
While Kornbluth wrote some space opera featuring technology nigh unto magic, most of the works in this volume focused on reasonable extrapolations from Kornbluth's encyclopedic knowledge. I mean that literally, since Kornbluth acquired his facts by reading an encyclopedia front to back. However, it isn't really the technology that makes this hard scifi. Kornbluth displayed a keen insight into human motivations, combined with a reporter's cynicism for the tawdriness of ordinary life. Sometimes scifi can be rightly castigated for incomplete or wooden characterization. This is not true of Kornbluth; he understood the human condition, and wrote about it with the authority of a jaded confessor.
Kornbluth was taken from us too soon; he might have been a yet more remarkable author had he lived longer. What might have been is a fit subject for another story. In the meanwhile, you just need to read Kornbluth. This is what the golden age of science fiction is all about.
Partly as a matter of personality, and partly as a matter of profession, I care very much about the letter of the law. Thus I find myself very sympathetic to John's legal reading of the Rome Statue that governs the International Criminal Court. Since I am not a lawyer, I have no opinion on the technical merits of his argument.
As an interested amateur, I find this a very fascinating subject, and I wish I knew more. I do find John's characterization of the UN General Assembly convincing: most of the countries in the world owe their existence to how tiresome their more powerful neighbors found it to govern them, than any kind of natural right. If the most powerful countries leave behind ethnic nationhood for universal states, you can expect this to become less true.
I read the Rome Statute that governs the Court, and that went into effect on July 1. It's the damnedest thing. The Court is its own little legal universe. It not only has its own criminal statutes (for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the still to be defined crime of "aggression"), but its own rules of statutory construction, plus the the Court's structure and sources of funding. At 29,000 words in the English version, the Rome Statute is almost three times the length of the US federal Constitution, but then the US Constitution is notoriously short. Besides, the US Constitution does not cover as much ground.
The International Criminal Court is tricameral. With just 18 judges to start with, one chamber in effect operates as a grand jury, another as a trial court, and a third as a court of appeals. The Court is supposed to be funded by assessments on the states adhering to the treaty. Those states are also supposed to volunteer prison facilities for persons convicted and sentenced by the Court. The Statute seems to imply that the host country, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will pick up the institutional expenses if no one else will. Moreover, the Statute specifically allows for donations from private persons and organizations, and even for volunteer staff. It is possible to imagine that the Court could be freed of budgetary constraints by foundations and NGOs.
The Court's Prosecutor can initiate proceedings himself, or complaints can be made by a state that is a party to the treaty, or by the UN Security Council. The key to jurisdiction is that the acts alleged to fall within the Court's purview must have happened within a party state, or the actions in question must have happened to the citizens of a paty state. The defendants can be anybody, anywhere. There are no enforcement mechanisms of any kind, but the party states are required to comply in the matter of extradition and service of process.
The parties to the Statute constitute the Assembly that oversees the court. Sixty signatories were necessary to bring the Statute into effect. Among the current signers, many of the world's middle-sized countries are represented, principally from Europe, plus Australia and New Zealand. However, none of the world's large countries have ratified the Statute, except for Brazil and Nigeria. We should remember that the count of sovereign entities in the early 21st century runs to nearly 200. Most of them have populations smaller than that of a middle-sized Asian city. In other words, most of the members of the Assembly represent "rotten boroughs."
The UN Secretary General has some administrative functions with regard to the Court. The Statute contemplates that the Assembly can meet at the UN Headquarters in New York, annually or more often if necessary. The drafters apparently contemplated that the Assembly of the Court would eventually become coincident with the UN General Assembly. (Israel has ratified the Statute, by the way, perhaps in the hope that its membership in the Court's Assembly will redress its second-class status in the UN.)
Most important changes to the Statute, including modification of its criminal law and the Court's structure, require a two-thirds majority in the Court's Assembly. In effect, the Assembly is a parliament empowered to legislate some features of international law. This would be new, if anyone takes it seriously
As for the law and the procedure of the Court, there are few points that would strike a Common Law jurist as extraordinary. In fact, with its attention to questions like burden of proof and self-incrimination, the Statute seems designed to mollify Anglo-Saxon misgivings. There are some eccentricities. For instance, double jeopardy seems to apply in full force only to decisions of the Court itself. Judgments by national courts can be reviewed by the International Court, to see whether international law was applied adequately. Moreover, the Court's Prosecutor can appeal an acquittal from the Court's trial division to its appellate division, even on matters of fact. This is only to be expected in a system without jury trials; judges in Common Law countries are far more willing to second guess other judges than they are juries.
From what I know of the subject, the Statute gives a reasonable statement of the principles of international law in the areas within its purview. To the extent there is any innovation, the Statute is fair about it; the Court's jurisdiction covers only acts committed after the Statue came into effect at the beginning of this month. Of course, as I have noted, the Statute does put international law up for grabs in a novel way.
Reading the Statute does not answer the question: what is this? The idea of a criminal court without a police force is ludicrous. The Statute makes ordinary statecraft impossible. Although the Prosecutor has some discretion about whether to bring a case or not, his discretion is defined with regard for the personal situations of the victims and the alleged perpetrators. The Statute revokes the traditional principle of sovereign immunity, but nowhere did the drafters make the tiniest acknowledgment that prosecuting heads of state and military personnel is unlike prosecuting domestic defendants. There is a provision allowing the Security Council to order the Prosecutor to defer a trial or investigation for a year, but that does not remedy the basic problem. One simply does not arrest a head of state, one negotiates with him. Failing that, one makes war on him. For the Court to do any good, it must be subordinate to some executive body capable of conducting politics and diplomacy.
The UN Security Council would serve nicely as the responsible executive, and in fact that is what the United States has been insisting on all along. Without some such mechanism, international law will be set at odds with international order. The Court and its Statute as currently constituted should be ignored to death.
John talks a lot of sense here. It is pretty easy to get wrapped around the axle on issues of religious freedom, but the most important take-away here is that First Amendment law as applied to the states is a very recent invention, and the overt purpose of it was to keep Catholic primary and secondary schools from getting public money. Some of the states were actually ahead of the courts on this, the Arizona constitution forbids the use of public money to support parochial schools. Clever legislators have managed to find a way around this that has been challenged all the way to the State and United States Supreme Courts and survived.
This was perhaps the biggest favor the Federal government has ever done to the Catholic Church in America. If you look at the schools in European countries that are supported by tax dollars, you find Catholic schools that are not notably Catholic, or well-attended. One might also note that the behavior of most Catholic universities in the United States can probably be explained by the exception in this First Amendment jurisprudence that allowed public money to flow to post-secondary institutions. They have behaved accordingly.
Few federal appellate court decisions have been repudiated as widely and swiftly as Newdow v. U.S. Congress. In that decision, a panel of the 9th Circuit held last week that the phrase "under God," inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, was unconstitutional. The panel also held that it was unconstitutional for a local school board to require that the Pledge be recited at the beginning of each school day, even if students who did not wish to join the recitation were not required to do so.
This decision is something of a practical joke. The Supreme Court has repeatedly used the amended Pledge as an example of a constitutional use of theism. The suit itself is an odd duck, one of those badly pled public-interest suits that no court hears unless it has an ax to grind. The plaintiff, a doctor who is also a member of the California bar, is an irate atheist and parent who represented himself. He named the "U.S. Congress" as a defendant, under the misapprehension that the courts could order Congress to amend the text of the Pledge. The district court did in fact just throw the complaint out, but the panel resurrected it. Judges can be shockingly whimsical.
There is not really a lot of doubt that the opinion will be over turned, either by the full 9th Circuit or by the US Supreme Court. The question is on what grounds the decision will be reversed. The First Amenment really does say, in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." On the face of it, there does seem to be some problem with Congress creating a Pledge that says the US is "one nation, under God." The fact is that courts that have allowed official allusions to God to stand, such as the motto "In God We Trust" on currency, have usually fudged the matter. Conservatives have appealed to tradition, and liberals to the somewhat insulting theory that these evocations of the Almighty are too trivial to outlaw.
At the risk of spoiling the fun, I should point out that references to God are not necessarily to a supernatural entity. In Kant's philosophy, the concept of God is posited as a necessity of practical reason, in rather the way that cartographers have to posit a point of 90 degrees latitude in each hemisphere. God in that sense is an objective standard against which the morality of behavior may be judged. Kantians would argue that the attributes of this God are not merely conventional, but fixed by necessity, like the attributes of a mathematical theorem. Phrases like "In God We Trust" could then be interpreted along the lines of Mr. Spock's paeans to logic. Such a God could not be an object of worship, and so would not fall under the ban of the First Amendment. This God might be adopted as the referent of America's famous "ceremonial Deism." Since this God is really an idol, however, it's probably just as well that the possibility has been overlooked.
Back on Earth, there is a principled argument for the use of the Pledge in public schools. As we have seen, the constitutional text refers only to what Congress can't do. The Bill of Rights, of which the First Amendment is a part, was written and adopted to apply only to the federal government. The Bill of Rights was applied to the states after the Civil War, by the 14th Amendment. Even then, the application was piecemeal, and always with the recognition that the provisons of the Bill of Rights had to be customized when applied to the states. The Supreme Court did not "incorporate" all the provisions of the First Amendment in this fashion until well into the 20th century. First Amendment law regarding religion is actually almost wholly a creature of the last fifty years. It was invented chiefly to keep public money out of the hands of Catholic schools below the college level. It really is as simple as that.
At the time the First Amendment was adopted, several states had established churches, or otherwise gave preference to some kind of belief. The religion clauses of the First Amendment were intended to prevent the federal government from disturbing these arrangements. Even at the federal level, the First Amendment was not taken to mean much more than that Congress could not establish a church: the early federal government granted a charter to a Jesuit institution in the District of Columbia, Georgetown University, and quickly made provision for military chaplains, though under some protest.
There is a great deal to be said for the proposition that, whatever else the religion clauses of the First Amendment are supposed to do, they are not supposed to change the way that people live their everyday lives. They were designed not just to make sure that people are left alone in this regard, but that communities are, too. The religion clauses of the First Amendment are not supposed to direct the way that communities keep festivals, or organize public space, or especially to educate children. Education is intrinsically intrusive.
It is quite possible for parents to want their children educated to be completely secular or anti-theist. There is no doubt some constitutionally minimum requirement of non-coercion. Also, the First Amendment today clearly means that no level of government, federal, state or local, can establish an official church. The religion clauses, however, are probably best regarded as injunctions to the federal courts to leave these matters as untouched as possible.
What I have said here is pretty much what Justice Thomas said in his concurrence to Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, also decided last week, which held that the states could fund student vouchers that can go to private religious schools as well as to public and private secular ones. The problem with concurrences, however, is that they sometimes highlight what the majority opinion did not say. In this case, Chief Justice Rehnquist's majority opinion took pains to emphasize the continuity of Zelman with the trend of First Amendment law over the past 20 years, which has in fact been allowing more aid to flow to religious institution, provided the aid is for a secular purpose. What he did not mention was Justice Thomas's historically sensible notion that the states should have more leeway to experiment in this area. Neither did the dissenting opinions. The Supreme Court, perhaps wisely, does not like to talk about incorporation.
Aside from Justice Thomas, the only opinion that tried to address history seriously was Justice Breyer's dissent. He noted correctly that the First Amendment law in this area is just two generations old, and that it was created to manage the growth of a large Catholic minority. He did not, however, quite get a handle on the fact that the "neutrality" the Supreme Court adopted by 1950 was actually a bit Orwellian, with religion becoming almost the only area of human discourse against which public bodies could discriminate. He also seems to have conceived the odd idea that the repressive 20th-century jurisprudence had a pacific effect. The removal of prayer from the public schools in fact persuaded millions of Americans that their government must really be run by Martians. It was one of those progressive policies that contributed to massive alienation from government. Whatever else Zelman may do, it is not going to exacerbate the culture war. Rather the opposite, I should think.
In case you are curious about what changes TR wanted to make to the spelling of English words, here is the list TR sent to his printer; many of the spellings did eventually become standard in American English. Certainly not all, but he seems to have guessed pretty well.
Charles Stillings observed in his directive of September 4, 1906 (see the Letter for bibliographical information) that 153 of the words on the Simplified Spelling Board's proposed list were already preferred by the Government Printing Office. Of the rest, 49 were not preferred but had been used when the authority that ordered the printing requested it. We should note that many of the New Spellings simply canonized American as distinguished from British usage.
Using the spellchecker in the 2003 edition of Word set for American English, the software rejected approximately 106 of the New Spellings. Of these, the largest class were forms like "affixt" and "transgrest." In contrast, the spellchecker rejected 178 of the Old Spellings. Note that, because of the inclusion of variants, there are a few more Old Spellings than New.
practise, v. & n.
scimitar, cimeter, etc
teasel, teasle, teazle
through, thro', thro
Click here for the Letter