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Monday, 26 September 2011

Senator Lugar's death throes

Counter I wrote earlier about Senator Lugar seeing the writing on the wall. Well, it appears that he has--and is trying to erase it. Like his ex-fellow Hoosier senator Bayh, he's spending the last 2 years of his term sending out an increasing number of very conservative-sounding constituent emails.

UPDATE July 2016: Senator Bayh is now running to get his old seat back from Senator Coats, who got it back from him. Indiana politics is certainly interesting.

Can Albino Parents Have a Black Child?

96885 In this post, I addressed the question of whether a black father can produce an albino child. This is fast becoming my #2 most-visited post of all time, second only to the one on Arthur Blessit's divorce, which continues to pull in hits just about every day, 2 years after I posted it.

Today, for the benefit of my new readers, I address another question which pulls viewers to my blog:

Can albino parents have a black child?

This possibility is an interesting one. An albino woman can actually have an all-white or an all-black child, or several of both. There's a fifty-fifty chance that a black man with one albino gene and a "black" woman with two albino genes (i.e., an albino woman) will have one a child like the mother, or one like the father. Although I'm not aware of any specific cases, this is probably not all that uncommon in Tanzania, where the "black" albino population is greater than anywhere else and many albino women have "black" (half-albino) children.

But even stranger things are possible. A white albino, for example, can marry a black albino, and have all albino children. These in turn will all carry the information for black skin, however unexpressed, and can themselves have brown children, even if their mates are white.

I'm really not all that interested in this myself. Albinism is a genetic defect I wouldn't wish on anyone, but it's a fact of life that is never likely to be eradicated--nor to I encourage anyone to try it.  But as long as the question continues to draw people to my blog, I though I'd give them the information they're obviously seeking.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The NIV in Philippians 1:1--an inclusive translation?

Counter I earlier wrote a post on the O/NNIV's flipflop on women and children in Acts 21:5. My readers might have caught this (according to Blogspot, that post had 16 of them), but the CBT may well be right now after all (meaning they were wrong earlier). The Greek phrase is πάντων σὺν γυναιξὶ καὶ τέκνοις, "all with women/wives and children," which the TNIV now interprets as "all of them, including wives and children." While I do have a quibble with the English phrasing--I would speak rather of "women and children" (as in Matthew 14:21 O/NNIV)-- "including" is their translation of  σὺν (sun or syn) here.

But let's draw our attention to another place where the CBT translated σὺν. It turns out that the O/NNIV in Philippians 1:1 translates "πᾶσιν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Φιλίπποις σὺν ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις" as "all the saints/God's holy people . . .together with the overseers and deacons." NASB has "including the overseers and deacons." O/NKJV has "with the bishops and deacons."

Obviously, the overseers and ministers at Philippi were a subset of "all the saints" there. So "including" would be the most logical word to use to translate syn. And the example had already been set by the NASB. So why did the CBT retain "together with" in Philippians, but change "and" to "including" in Acts?

I might add that the NNIV, without explicitly recognizing the church leaders of Philippi as "God's holy people," explicitly turns the brethren of Rome into men and women preachers in vv. 14-17.

UPDATE 2015: see earlier post.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Priscillian and Leo on the Johannine Comma

Counter I have written earlier on the Johannine Comma, without mentioning Priscillian, who is thought by many to have been its author around 380. Leaving aside such speculation, I bring in Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome in the mid-fifth century. A great foe of Priscillianism, he quoted directly from 1 John 5:6-8 in his tenth epistle, and headed up the Council of Chalcedon which released a quotation of it in both Greek and Latin. It would be instructive to see how these read.

Priscillian (or a protégé of his in Liber Apologeticus):
 Sicut Johannes ait: Tria sunt quae testimonium dicunt in terra: aqua caro et sanguis; et haec tria in unum sunt. Et tria sunt quae testimonium dicunt in coelo: pater, verbum et spiritus; et haec tria unum sunt in Christo Jesu.

Pope Leo the Great:
 Et spiritus est qui testificatur quoniam Spiritus est veritas. Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant spiritus et aqua et sanguis et hi tres unum sunt.

Council of Chalcedon:
 Et spiritus est qui testificator quoniam Christus est veritas. Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant spiritus aqua et sanguis et hi tres unum sunt.

Chalcedon Greek version:
. . .τρεις γαρ εισίν οι μαρτυρούντες, το πνεύμα και το ύδωρ και το αίμα, και οι τρεις εις το εν εισί.

The Greek version is significant, and differs from the publication of the Council, in retaining the reading in v. 6 as "the spirit is truth" rather than the Latin version, which typically reads "Christ is Truth." Thus it can be seen that both of these official reports followed the version current in their respective languages. The text, without the Comma, is exactly as it is in the majority of Greek copies--and the minority of Latin copes, respectively--that are extant today. The Comma appears to have either been unknown to Leo, or, at best, known but rejected as an intrusion of Priscillianism.

Furthermore, the Comma in Liber Apologeticus is significantly different than the version that eventually ended up in most Vulgate manuscripts--assuming that there even is a majority reading of the Comma. Note the variant caro (flesh) instead of spirit: this reading is also found in the earliest known copy of the Vulgate to contain the Heavenly Witnesses before the Earthly ones, the 11th century Paris Bibl. Maz. Lat. 7:
Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, pater verbum, et spiritus. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, caro, sanguis et aqua; et hic tres in nobis unum sunt.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

More action in the Timothy Miller kidnapping case

Man charged in custody battle wants VT trial moved
LISA RATHKE, Associated Press Updated 01:17 p.m., Monday, September 12, 2011
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Nicaraguan missionary charged with helping a woman involved in a custody dispute with her former lesbian partner flee the United States with the child wants his trial moved from Vermont to Virginia. In a motion filed Thursday in federal court in Rutland, Vt., a lawyer for Timothy David "Timo" Miller also wants statements made to investigators in April dismissed, claiming that his client was not read his Miranda rights.
Miller, who is free on $25,000 bond and is awaiting trial, is accused of providing Lisa Miller and her 9-year-old daughter with travel assistance and a place to live outside the U.S. He pleaded not guilty to abetting an international parental kidnapping. Timothy Miller and Lisa Miller are not related. Lisa Miller and her child disappeared in September 2009 in the midst of a long-running custody dispute with her former partner, Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven, Vt., after a Vermont judge awarded Jenkins custody. The two women were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2000 with Miller giving birth to Isabella two years later. But the couple split up the next year. Miller then renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian. She was granted custody of the child; Jenkins had visitation rights. But Miller, who once lived in Forest, Va., has repeatedly failed to obey court orders and in November of 2009 a Vermont judge ordered her to surrender custody to Jenkins.
Miller failed to show up with the child on Jan. 1, 2010, and a federal warrant was issued for her arrest. A lawyer for Timothy Miller says the Christian pastor who was living in Managua, Nicaragua, was stopped April 18 by U.S. marshals and an FBI agent when he arrived at Reagan National Airport with his wife and four children to attend a wedding in Virginia. Miller was interviewed at the airport police department office, where he told investigators he had been contacted by another man to purchase airplane tickets for Lisa Miller, and used his mother-in-law's credit card to do so, according to the motion filed by Pennsylvania attorney Jeffrey A. Conrad.
Miller, who is described by the FBI as an Amish-Mennonite pastor from Tennessee, was arrested at the end of the interview, charged with international parental kidnapping. But Conrad argues the incriminating statements should be thrown out because Miller was the subject of an interrogation and was detained without having his rights read. He also says that the most appropriate place for the trial is in the Western District of Virginia. The alleged actions that constitute international parental kidnapping took place there and the defendant was in Nicaragua when the alleged crime occurred and has never traveled to Vermont or had contact with anyone in the state, Conrad said in the motion.
I'm not thrilled with this development at all. As much as I believe Timo Miller to be innocent of the charge of kidnapping, I'm disappointed that he's moved to suppress evidence that he himself provided.There is already sufficient evidence to convict him, even without his confession. And I'm not happy  with the attempt to throw it out on Miranda grounds. For one thing, I think police officers ought to be able to question suspects, and information freely offered in such an interrogation should be admissible. Moreover, if his confession was true, what purpose is served by suppressing it, other than suppressing the truth? This case has to be won or lost on constitutional grounds, not slick legal tricks.

That said, it should be clear that the Vermont court has no jurisdiction in this case, Timo Miller never having set foot in the state prior to his arrest. Any jurisdiction they may have had over Lisa Miller's custody arrangement is of no consequence: it is Timo Miller who is on trial for deeds he is alleged to have done, none of which occurred in Vermont.

I only wish that the two motions had been made separately, or, better yet, that the first would have been dropped as an option before it was ever made. I hope it's overturned.

Lastly, this alleged wedding, originally located in Pennsylvania and now in Virginia, actually took place in Indiana.

And if any of the agents reading this post would like more information, I'll be willing to provide it once they publish the real name of Lisa Miller's husband.

UPDATE October 2nd: the U.S. Attorney responded to a motion to suppress statements made by Timothy Miller before his Miranda rights were read to him. In his response, Coffin said prosecutors didn’t plan to use the statements Conrad wanted to exclude.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

When in doubt (or not), just call it "suicide"

CounterThis article reports on the deaths of the son and girlfriend of a millionaire in his mansion. Coroners have ruled the deaths accidental and suicidal, respectively. I don't buy it; I say that in both cases, somebody is getting away with murder. One does not establish suicide by "DNA evidence," but by looking for a means, motive, and opportunity as with all homicides, and then ruling out everyone but the victim as a suspect in the killing.

Let the record show that the White Man had the opportunity to commit suicide in 1978, and chose not to. I will never take any action solely intended to end my life. It goes against my deepest beliefs. So if I ever turn up dead, count on it that it wasn't suicide.

There are two ways of looking at suicide. Those who consider it an option will, sooner or later, try it. Those who don't consider it an option never will. And there's a huge difference between saying "I just wish I could die" or 'I feel like ending it all" and actually planning a suicide. The former only speak that way when frustrated; the latter do so in the calmest frame of mind. If someone is distraught, but makes no mention of ending it all, and doesn't do anything in the way of saying goodbye, and is then found killed a few hours later, don't even suspect suicide. Make no mistake, it was a professional hit job. And depending on how highly placed was the person ordering the hit, you can count on the authorities to have already ruled it suicide before they even start the investigation.

There will come a time when the most recent post on this blog is three months old. When it does, don't expect any more--I don't go garver. It probably means I'm dead. And I can assure you, it won't be because I killed myself.

Friday, 2 September 2011

The uselessness of a post facto alibi when weighed against a proven character of deceit

As reported in this blog, several people have come forward to testify, however informally, as having had direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Barack Hussein Obama II's birth. Inasmuch as no two of these stories agree, however, we are not constrained to believe a single one of them. The closest we can come to finding two or three witnesses is the clear evidence that within four days of August 2, 1961, the local birth* of Barack Hussein Obama II was reported in two different Hawaiian newspapers. But where the birth actually took place: three different versions. And who actually delivered the baby: three different versions.

Clearly, it's an easy thing to get someone to claim that they were present at any given time and place, in which they witnessed a particular event. Take, for example, the multiple testimonies that Caryl Chessman amassed proving that he was somewhere else when the Red Light Bandit struck his victims:

Chessman called a woman named Winona Phillips, who testified that on January 13, at the time Rose Howell's 1946 Ford was being stolen in Pasadena, that Chessman was at her home "helping her edit" a novel she was writing. A good alibi, but Leavy punctured it easily enough. When he asked the witness when she first recalled the visit, she replied that Caryl had reminded her about it the previous evening when she had visited him in the county jail.

Harold Ostran, Chessman's parole officer, testified that Chessman had made an in-person report to him that same day, and that he noticed nothing unusual in the parolee's demeanor.

Harold Doty, who repaired radios as a part-time sideline, testified that at two significant times when Red Light crimes were being committed, he was at the home of Serl and Hallie Chessman, picking up or delivering a radio that needed repairing, and had observed Chessman there helping his father lay linoleum and sitting with his mother.

It was a dreadful scene when poor Hallie Chessman was brought into court on a portable hospital bed. Hallie was an ill reed of a woman by now, having been an invalid since her back was broken in the automobile accident 17 years earlier. For some time she had also suffered from cancer of the spine, which was spreading slowly but unabated throughout her paralyzed back. When she testified -- answering questions put to her by Al Matthews, because Chessman explained to Judge Fricke that he "could not bear to do it" -- Hallie's voice was soft but impassioned. This was her son, her only child, and she would do her best for him.

Hallie alibied Caryl for several Red Light crime time frames that had not been covered. He was home with her, or she had sent him on an errand, or she could hear him talking in the back yard, or she had spoken to a friend on the telephone and Caryl was there with the friend. Hallie was certain of the dates, days, times. Leavy asked her several token questions on cross, but quickly saw that he would not be able to shake her resolve to help her very troubled son -- nor did he have the inclination to torment the poor woman that way -- so he let her go. The stricken woman seemed on the verge of exhaustion when she was wheeled out of the courtroom.

Helen Denny, a friend of Chessman's, testified that he was with her in Bradley's Bar on Hollywood Boulevard at the exact time that one of the Red Light Bandit crimes was being committed. Another friend, Ollie Treon, substantiated the story, saying she had seen them there. William Callahan, a garage owner, testified that Chessman had brought in a 1946 Ford on January 21 to have a collapsed front spring fixed. He had left the car there overnight.

Lucille Green, a friend of Hallie's, said she saw Chessman at home during one of the questionable times, when she came over to get a chair that Hallie was giving her.

The last witness for the defense was the defendant himself, who stated his name as "Caryl W. Chessman." In preliminary questioning by Al Matthews, he gave his age as 26, height six feet, weight 190, and marital status as divorced. Then, very methodically, Chessman gave his own version of where he had been when each and every Red Light Bandit crime had been committed.

At various times, he testified, he had been at the Hall of Records, checking on some real estate ownership; at Sears Roebuck buying new curtains for his mother's room; with Winona Phillips at her home, "helping her write a book"; working in the back yard of his parents' home; in Hollywood seeing a movie called "The Swordsman"; at Bradley's Bar drinking with various friends at various times; sitting up all night with his invalid mother -- and so on. He had a clearly remembered alibi for every Red Light Bandit crime time frame.
And yet, the jury weighed all this testimony against the known and conceded fact that Chessman had been an habitual criminal ever since he was old enough to get behind the wheel of someone else's unattended car and drive off, and overruled every last alibi as a condemned man's desperate attempts to save his neck. Instead, they believed the victims, every one of whom positively identified him as The Bandit. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to death. Interestingly, the Red Light Bandit Crimes, which began shortly after he had been released on parole, ended with his arrest.

The problem for Caryl Chessman is that none of these alibis had been brought up until after he was arrested. That so many people could remember so many details of seeing and interacting with him was amazing, that long after the fact. The key, brought out under cross-examination, was that "Caryl had reminded her about it the previous evening." Thus the power of suggestion: beginning with a vague memory involving a specific person in a specific place, the skilled interviewer was able to consolidate that memory around a specific time--which always coincided with one of the Bandit's attacks. Simply put, alibis that emerge during the investigation of a crime are not reliable, and wise jurors will take that into consideration.

What about a priori alibis, however? I was once arrested for a crime and there was no need to come up with an alibi; the officer who pressed the charges was fully aware that I was nowhere around the scene of the crime. Without any witness to my presence at the crime, there was no need to claim I had been elsewhere. I know of another case, in which cell phone records were produced at a trial to prove that the defendant could not have been at the scene of the crime; the testimony that placed him there was thrown out, and he was acquitted. The prosecutor was the laughingstock of the bar for trying a case in which his only witness could be proved a liar before the case even went to trial; the cell phone records pre-existed the arrest of the defendant, who had only to bring them out to show the futility of the charges.

Now we come to the case of the Obama Birth Certificates. There are three of them, and they all appear to have been based on the same original document. The only concrete differences are the place of birth and attending physician:

1. Kenyan archives hard copy: Coast Province General Hospital, Mombasa by James C. W. Ang'awa. Only reliable testimony (after the fact): His grandmother Sarah Obama, as translated.
2. White House electronic image: Kapiolani Maternity Hospital, Hawaii by David A. Sinclair. NO ONE has come forward, either before or after it became an issue, to offer personal knowledge as to the veracity of this account. Last digit of ID# 151 61 10641 is clearly falsified.
3. electronic image: Brief information derived from #2. "Negro African" shortened to "African." ID# 151 1961 010641, originally blacked out, later released.

Now, the testimony of witness #1 is contradicted by Obama I's INS record, which states that II was born in Hawaii; the testimony of #2 is contradicted both by published reports that Barack was born at a different hospital, and by published hearsay that he was delivered by a different doctor; both published after Obama became a national figure, but before the release of any of the above 3 certificates.
Witness #3, inasmuch as it provides no independent testimony, can be disregarded as being of any use to the defense.

Let's review the facts: There has been no legal testimony whatsoever as to Barack Obama's actual time, place, and manner of birth. He apparently has never been arrested, never undergone a security background check, never been the subject of a federal investigation. He has suppressed all sources that may shed light on his past. He appears on the scene in 1989, as if out of nowhere, a prominent and upcoming African-American politician. Facing Republican opponents in five consecutive elections, he wins every time. The only election he ever loses is a primary, while on two different ballots anyway.

And now for some speculation: Around 2004-2006 he decides to run for President. Having gotten away with everything so far, there's no reason to assume he will be caught now. But to continue the charade will require an extensive conspiracy:

- on the part of the Hawaiian Department of Health, to suppress release of any information regarding his original birth certificate until an altered copy could be come up with;
- on the part of the Secret Service, to ''lose' the original copy of his draft registration;
- on the part of the National Democratic Party (after the Party in his own home state refused to go along with the charade), to lock step behind the legitimacy of his candidacy;
- on the part of the Supreme Court, to refuse to hear any challenges to it.

Caryl Chessman was a career criminal. He never held a job outside of reform school, prison, and his father's business. He was also an ideal prisoner. His behavior inside prison walls was as exemplary as his life outside them was abhorrent. In other words, while free he lived to steal as much as he could before he was caught again. While imprisoned, he behaved as well as possible so as to get back to his life of crime more quickly. He always told prison officers whatever he thought would get him released the fastest.

It would be expected, given his criminal profile, that Caryl Chessman would plead innocent to a crime he knew to be possibly capital. It would be expected that, once arrested, he would maintain his innocence to the end. He was that rare combination of career thief and brilliant strategist who, acting in his own defense, could win nine stays of execution and stretch out his time on Death Row to an incredible (for the time--routine now) twelve years. He was even able to convince thousands, perhaps millions, of his innocence (not of being a career criminal, of course--just of being a violent rapist). But looking at his profile, we expect all this of Caryl Chessman; it's how he worked--the man didn't have an honest bone in his body. It was only due to the waning morals of the day that he was even able to carry out his fight so long--and no American since him has ever been even accused, much less found guilty, of capital rape. The law was abolished before he was even executed.

What do we know about Barack Obama's criminal profile? Precious little, really. About all we can pin on him is that he fraudulently swore on his 1991 bar application that he had no aliases. Why would he say this, when there were years of documentation of him as Barry Soetoro? It points to a deliberate pattern of hiding his past in hopes that it would never be found out. Or that if it was, it wouldn't matter. Note that unlike Liar-in-Chief Bill Clinton, he hasn't been held to account for this perjury. Yet.

*UPDATE September 2012: It turns out that in 1961, Hawaiian newspapers didn't receive birth reports from the local hospitals. Instead, they received birth registration records from the Hawaiian government. So the two or three witnesses only testify that one Barack Obama II was registered sometime around August 10th, 1961 as having been recently born to two Hawaiian residents. The address stated in the reports was actually that of Ann's parents. It's quite certain that Barack I and Ann did not live together there at that time--or at any other.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

MEN at war

"The Government of India have caused this tablet to be erected to the memory of the twenty one non-commissioned officers and men of the 36 Sikh Regiment of the Bengal Infantry whose names are engraved below as a perpetual record of the heroism shown by these gallant soldiers who died at their posts in the defence of the fort of Saragarhi, on the 12 September 1897, fighting against overwhelming numbers, thus proving their loyalty and devotion to their sovereign, the Queen Empress of India, and gloriously maintaining the reputation of the Sikhs for unflinching courage on the field of battle."
Thus reads the inscription commemorating The Battle of Saragarhi.

Notice that in 1897, the word "men" in a military context carried a very specific meaning. It was a subset of enlisted soldiers--those who were not of non-commissioned rank--just simple infantrymen.

There's that word again--"MEN." It just keeps coming up whenever people talk about soldiers, for the simple reason that soldiers historically were men. Thus we have infantryMEN in the Army, airMEN in the Air Force, seaMEN in the Navy, and just plain MEN in the Marines.

The push for inclusion of females in all branches of the Armed Forces, and eventually all MOSs, is making people increasingly uncomfortable with these labels.

There's one thing women have never done, though--other than go to the moon, which at least one of them most assuredly will do before men once again step foot thereupon--they have never made a last stand.