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Thursday's HOT MIC

Here is your HOT MIC for the day.

It sucks to be a working stiff in California. It will suck more if this proposal becomes law.

California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws.

Yes. Really.

Ian Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California's lower house, has introduced a bill to stop sit-down restaurants from offering customers straws with their beverages unless they specifically request one. Under Calderon's law, a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

"We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans," Calderon explained in a press release.

This isn't just Calderon's crusade. The California cities of San Luis Obispo and Davis both passed straws-on-request laws last year, and Manhattan Beach maintains a prohibition on all disposable plastics. And up in Seattle, food service businesses won't be allowed to offer plastic straws or utensils as of July.

The Los Angeles Times has gotten behind the movement, endorsing straws-on-request policies in an editorial that also warned that "repetitive sucking may cause or exacerbate wrinkles on the lips or around the mouth." Celebrity astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson (always up for a little chiding) and Entourage star Adrian Grenier have appeared in videos where an octopus slaps them in the face for using a plastic straw.

The actual number of straws being used is unclear.

Clearly then, this is a yuuuuge issue in dire need of thousand-dollar fines and six-month jail terms for sub-minimum wage waiters.

What a shame it is that the Founders didn't provide a constitutional mechanism for ejecting shithole states from the Union.

Just stop already.

"Will and Grace" is back. "Roseanne" is coming back. This week it was announced that "Murphy Brown" is being rebooted. Now this.

Is recycling really broadcast network television's answer the creative boom on cable?

The "Roseanne" reboot has promise because it was always an exceedingly well written show and Roseanne doesn't fit the knee-jerk liberal mode in real life.

But this is getting old. Shonda Rhimes is probably the most successful broadcast network producer of the last decade and even she left for a deal with Netflix.

We'll know they have given up for good when we hear about a reboot of "Cop Rock".

Justice and vengeance.

The Atlantic's Graeme Wood condemned Rosemarie Aquilina, the judge who sentenced former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, for saying she wished he could be raped as many times as he abused young women. I agree that Aquilina's comment was not fitting for a judge about to deliver a sentence, but Wood went further. Here's a snippet from the article:

Subjecting Nassar to a lifetime of rape is not my idea of justice, and fantasizing about it is not my idea of judicial temperament. On social media, civil libertarians have piped up to protest her, and many who followed the trial have expressed outrage at the sympathy for Nassar that this sentiment supposedly reveals. Their outrage is outrageous, and itself reveals twisted sympathies that are, for supposed advocates of victims, unfortunate.

Does Nassar deserve to be raped 150 times? Quite possibly: To be honest, when crimes approach the magnitude of his, I stop trusting my ability to keep tabs on just deserts, except to say that what he deserves is—whether it’s a lifetime in a dark hole, or years-long gang rape—beyond my ability to fathom. But to admit that he deserves inconceivable punishment is not to defend the judge’s remarks. Some crimes are bad enough that no remedy exists for them in civilized society. I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s famous line that some men are indeed fit only to be slaves, but none is fit to be a master.

I don’t know what Nassar’s victims think about the judge’s comments. I have never been subjected to a crime as traumatic as theirs, but it isn’t at all obvious that they would smile on her thirst for violent revenge. Would it be comforting to know that a horrific act of abuse, one whose very mention would nauseate me in any other context, is being done to correct the wrong against me? Or that my testimony provoked people to fantasize about punitive rape? Would it comfort me to know that a judge had shared my pain enough to voice unjudge-like wrath on my behalf?

It seems Wood is right to say Aquilina went beyond her bounds as a judge in suggesting Nassar should be raped 150 times. Even if that moral sentiment is accurate, a judge needs to be impartial, and stating that sentiment is too much.

HOWEVER, Wood went on to quote George Orwell's words about getting revenge on a Nazi.

Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: as soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also. … Who would not have jumped for joy, in 1940, at the thought of seeing S.S. officers kicked and humiliated? But when the thing becomes possible, it is merely pathetic and disgusting.

It is not right for a person to take vengeance, but that does not mean vengeance is wrong. The desire for vengeance does not disappear when the opportunity for vengeance arises, but the desire for vengeance does not make it right for a human being to carry out vengeance.

If someone raped Nassar in vengeance, that person would be committing horrid acts, and those acts would need to be atoned for. Only a perfectly just person could carry out that vengeance, and no human is perfectly just.

St. Paul quoted Deuteronomy in his letter to the Romans, "Vengeance is mine, declares the Lord." Vengeance is not itself a bad thing to desire, but it is a bad thing for any human to attempt to carry it out.

But I've gone on too long. What do you think? Were Aquilina's remarks acceptable? Is vengeance itself a bad thing to desire? Do read all of Wood's article — it's very good.

And now, your Daily Affirmation.

Says it all....