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Rhetoric

A common thought is that argument is easy, and anyone can make an effective argument just by shouting louder than the other person. On the news, the Internet, and even in person arguments have dissolved into attacks on a person’s character, and screaming at one another. People engaged in arguments often build up straw men just to tear them down and feel superior. The idea of civil discussion and debate seems like it’s a long past relic of an ancient age.

 

A well constructed argument depends on some rhetorical concepts to be valid and effective. One of those major concepts is the idea of ethos – or credibility. It harms the speaker’s credibility when they decide to just screech wild emotions into the void; nobody can take a speaker seriously when they don’t have knowledge about the subject they are speaking on. In all honesty, rhetoric is a subject that should be introduced in High School as part of a well rounded, liberal arts education program. Stop teaching to the test and forcing students to learn subjects that aren’t going to benefit them in the future, and instead equip them with the ability to think critically and make their own educated decisions. Raise a generation of thinkers and I think that society will see a drastic change back to sanity and civility.

The Law

There’s a lot of talk in the United States today about “changing the law,” or that “we need more laws and regulations.” Essentially, there’s a large number of people who believe that the law should be prescriptive – that is, tell us what some parts of society wishes to prohibit and allow – rather than descriptive – that is, follow what a vast majority of society has already decided to prohibit and allow before the law comes in to play. People who are, or aspire to be, public figures show a shocking ignorance of how the law works and so want to introduce or change laws to fit their flawed understanding of the legal system, why civil law is the way it is, and how to utilize it for the problems of today.

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XMPP Chat

So a new feature has been rolled out to the services offered here at lithorien.net – an IM-style chat service, coupled with an IRC-style group chat and audio/visual conferencing! This service offers encrypted chat (OTR), and multi-server connectivity (federation), which means that you can use this service to talk to your friends on other XMPP servers!

 

Check out the registration instructions here, and we hope to talk with you soon!

“Better to let the guilty go…

…than to punish the innocent.” This maxim may be more commonly interpreted and known, at least in the United States, as “innocent until proven guilty.” It is a foundation of law in the United States, and for a very good reason.

More and more, though, it seems like people have lost a fundamental understanding of why that maxim exists. When I see articles such as this, or this lovely article, with quotes such as, “How often are we manipulated into prioritizing the abuser over the abused?” I am reminded that, by and large, most people do not understand the nature of the judicial system or due process in the United States. The judicial system is one in the US that is known as “adversarial,” that is, the court pits the accuser against the accused to judge the evidence and credibility of those involved in the alleged incident. As part of this, courts and law makers have devised rules and standards for court conduct. One of those standards, in fact, one so important that it is covered twice in the United States Constitution, is the right to due process.

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Justice

Justice is blind. That’s one of the first things that I ever learned about how the legal system was supposed to work. Law protects everyone equally, judges are impartial, and facts are the only things that matter to the case. The ideal system that I’m sure every first-year law student (not that I’ve gone to law school – yet) hears and believes. I know I have for a long time, though the belief was starting to crumble a little bit. Still, I thought that the exceptions were just that – exceptions – and that the majority of the justice system was functioning as it should. I had a lot of faith in lawyers and judges to “make it right” when people were harmed.

I don’t know that I feel that way anymore.

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Meatloaf

The meatloaf came out of the oven just now from tonight’s meatloaf, salad, and potatoes stream. It actually tastes really good, for all that I hadn’t cooked meatloaf in nearly seven years. I think that I would like to do this more often, because it’s pretty fantastic – especially with the fresh herbs and the cooked garlic and onion all giving it wonderful flavor. If I had to say, I would guess that I will be making this recipe a lot more – a good source of iron, tasty, and something I really enjoyed doing!

My Open Letter to Congress

I am writing to you today about the bill being proposed by Rep. Wagner entitled “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017“.

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YouTube

Not a whole lot to say here. I’ve been thinking about writing a post now that I’m out of the Navy and am on terminal leave, but I will leave that for another time. I’m honestly still digesting how that whole time period of my life went, and, well… it’s hard.

But anyway.

The meat of this post is as follows: I am starting up my Let’s Play series again on YouTube. It’s not going to be a daily thing, honestly. I’m hoping for twice a week, though I will try to post at minimum once a week. It’s going to be one main LP and one “side project” that’s generally just going to be some kind of fun little casual game or side thing I’m interested in. May not even be a game at all – at least for the side LP – it may be things like ‘Let’s Teach’ or ‘Let’s Cook’, where I delve into tutorials about software applications, or record myself cooking and walk through the process.

At any rate, if you want to come watch, the URI is right here and I would be happy to have you come by and check out my videos. Let’s do something great!

Community College

It’s interesting to me. I’ve been doing some research on both sides of the debate about if a CC/Associates is worth the time and money. Almost universally I am disgusted by the people who say no. I don’t think I’m an academic elitist, but I can’t agree with or really even understand the people who go, “There are no hot chicks there, bruh,” or, “I got a degree in basket weaving and can’t find a job – it’s the CC’s fault.”

I have always been under the impression that you go to college – no matter what level – in order to advance an education in a field that is either something you love or something you think is beneficial. So when I read arguments about the quality of girls, or a “useless” degree, or even people with higher degrees saying that a lower degree is a “waste of time,” it doesn’t make sense to me.

Am I just off the wall stupid, or do the people who say negative things about community colleges not really know their ass from a hole in the ground?

Accounting

All I have to say with this entry is: Why do certain professions (law, accounting, etc.) have to say simple things in an overly-complicated and stupid way? Seriously. Present value is a concept that is made way too hard by making it sound ridiculous. It’s as simple as, “The current value of a certain amount of future money.” Or, stated easily, “What is $100 a year from now worth at the current time?”

Why do they make things so difficult? Is this just a perverse and sick pleasure from the people who advance the field? Or just a cruel trick to play on accounting students before they graduate?