30 September 2009

The Vatican in action.

The Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, recently defended the Catholic Church by claiming:
1. The child sex abuse was overwhelmingly perpetrated by homosexuals, not pedophiles.
2. All "available research" demonstrated that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.
Oh really? Allow me to retort.
1. Homosexual men are attracted to men, not children. "Homosexual" and "pedophile" are not interchangeable, however much you wish that was the case.
2. All my research demonstrates that 100% of child-raping priests were Catholic.

24 September 2009

Thunderdome profit?

The Kansas City Star reports that the ultraconservative Anschutz Entertainment Group, the city's choice to manage the Sprint Center, is thrilled by their own performance so far.
This is my favorite line in the story: "[AEG President Tim] Leiweke said the strong, concert-fueled profits at the arena during the fiscal year that ended July 31 means AEG can be more selective about pursuing an NHL or NBA franchise for the facility."
Wow. More selective?
Apparently the problem isn't AEG's absolute failure to attract a tenant. Evidently AEG is swarmed by sports franchises just begging for the opportunity to relocate to the Sprint Center — AEG's only problem is choosing which one is the best fit.
Anyway, after realizing their contractual 16% profit, they split the excess with the city — $1,800,000.
Arena cost: $276,000,000
Profit: - 1,800,000
Remainder $274,200,000 (paid by car rental and hotel room taxes)
That means the city's "profit" averages a whopping $4,931.51 per day. Wow! Awesome work, AEG.
I bet the average McDonalds makes more money.

22 September 2009

Defending marriage by prohibiting divorce.

There are about a million problems with the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
The first is obvious: Congress has no business legislating any individual or class of people out of the Constitution. A sensible Supreme Court would say Congress doesn't even have the power to do that. It's too bad we don't have one.
Here's a very concrete problem — divorce.
If a straight couple from New York gets married in on vacation in France, then years later they move to California, then years later they decide to divorce, there's no problem. They file for a divorce decree from California and they have a legally enforceable property division.
Not for teh gheys.
A same-sex couple from Pennsylvania got married on vacation in Canada, then moved to Indiana where they lived for a few years, then decided to split. An Indiana judge recently held that since the state prohibits gay marriage, then it ipso facto prohibits gay divorce.
Put another way: You must pay for the Indiana justice system, but don't expect to use it, lezbos.
This is all perfectly legal under the Defense of Marriage Act. In fact, this is the very purpose; to carve out an exception to the Constitution that applies exclusively to gay citizens and no others, an exception that serves no legitimate governmental purpose but does politically appease superstitious bigots.
You may be thinking, "Well, it would be inconvenient and expensive, but couldn't the unhappy Indiana couple just file for divorce in a state that has gay marriage?"
Nope. Every state with some form of marriage equality has residency requirements for divorce. The shortest is six months. If those ladies want an enforceable division of assets, they must sell their property, abandon their careers, and decide which one of the handful of state that provide married gay couples legal rights they wish to relocate to.
Some days I cannot fathom why gays are not rioting in the streets.
Anyway, Jerrold Nadler recently introduced a bill in Congress called the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA. It doesn't require any state to perform or recognize same-sex marriage — which is appropriate — but it does allow legally married gay couples equal access to the federal programs and benefits that they've paid for and earned.
Former Congressman Bob Barr, who wrote DOMA, has issued a statement supporting Nadler's bill. Barney Frank won't sign on.
My head asplode.

14 September 2009

The Man Who Fed the World.

Dr. Norman Borlaug died yesterday. He was a truly great man.
If you don't know who he is, take a minute and find out.


And this remains one of the funniest things I've ever seen. My favorite part is where Mike Meyers looks like he swallowed his tongue.

13 September 2009

Sometimes I love this town.

Last night Beloved and I went on a double-date with my parents. Dinner and a show — but not just any dinner and a show. Oh no.
For dinner we went to The R Bar's pig-roast picnic. Ten clams apiece for food and booze? Sweet! The brisket was particularly excellent. The R Bar is not officially launched yet, but I really like where they're going. They're located down in that small strip of restaurants right by the Kemper Arena. The antique saloon interior gives you a pronounced sense of going back in time, but there's just enough modern flair to tip you off that this ain't steak & taters. I'm not really a foie gras fan, but they serve a version there that is so insanely delightful that when it hit my tongue I had to laugh out loud. The very dapper cocktail savant Shawn Moriarty works the bar and he will knock you out a perfect version of your favorite, or help you discover your new favorite cocktail. Do not be afraid to pick his brain. The man really knows his hooch and like any good Irishman, he's a fine talker.
After the pig roast, we were off to the Nelson-Atkins Museum to see an outdoor performance called Surface by a local group called Quixotic. We arrived right before they started and the place was packed! This bodes well. The show was great, and I was totally into the spacey trance music the live band was playing, which surprised me because it's not a genre I typically enjoy. However, the finale left me gobsmacked. Two women suspended on cables descended the outside limestone wall of the museum and did a pas de deux with the museum underfoot. By altering the ordinary visual perspective of a dance performance, it essentially demolished the laws of physics. Totally badass.
Then we all retired to the old crapshack, I shook us up some cappirinhas, and we shot the shit.
Sometimes I love this town.

11 September 2009

The day that changed everything.

My TV automatically switched on at 8 am to NBC's The Today Show. The first plane had already struck the North tower and Katie Couric was reporting it as small plane accident.
Shocked and confused, I telephoned my Dad, a retired airline pilot, waking him. I asked how something like that could happen. Having spent several years based out of New York, he told me that it couldn't happen.
But if it couldn't happen accidentally, that means it could only happen...deliberately?
I watched a second airliner plow into the South tower.
This. Is. Not. Happening.
I called Beloved and told her to turn on the TV, and filled her in as best I could. I told her I thought the attack stank of Osama bin Laden. She asked me who the hell he was.
For me, 9/11 was the day I finally realized that religion is the enemy of reason, and god is mankind's most lethal invention.
The Falling Man, photographed by Richard Drew

UK apologizes for gay persecution.

In response to an online petition drive, Prime Minister Gordon Brown released the following statement yesterday. Read it all.
2009 has been a year of deep reflection— a chance for Britain, as a nation, to commemorate the profound debts we owe to those who came before. A unique combination of anniversaries and events have stirred in us that sense of pride and gratitude which characterise the British experience. Earlier this year I stood with Presidents Sarkozy and Obama to honour the service and the sacrifice of the heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy 65 years ago. And just last week, we marked the 70 years which have passed since the British government declared its willingness to take up arms against Fascism and declared the outbreak of World War Two. So I am both pleased and proud that, thanks to a coalition of computer scientists, historians and LGBT activists, we have this year a chance to mark and celebrate another contribution to Britain’s fight against the darkness of dictatorship; that of code-breaker Alan Turing.
Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ — in effect, tried for being gay. His sentence — and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison — was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own life just two years later.
Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction.
I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT community. This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue.
But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united, democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once the theatre of mankind’s darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in living memory, people could become so consumed by hate — by anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices — that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe’s history and not Europe’s present.
So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.
/s Gordon Brown
Mr. Brown's apology is very moving, but terribly wrong on one issue — that Alan Turing was one of thousands of men persecuted but "those days are gone." Mr. Turing was one of millions of people persecuted by law, and millions more continue to be persecuted, injured, and driven to despair every day.
As an interesting aside, Mr. Turing committed suicide in the country that he saved by taking a bite of a cyanide-laced apple. Apple Computer, Inc. is an homage to him.

10 September 2009

Idiots "Я" Us

[SCENE: Inside Glenn Beck's Head]
Gee, I wonder what should I put on the cover of my new book about how stupid other people are?
Hm...Oh! I know: I'll dress up in a sharp military uniform and relax my uncommonly handsome face into an natural expression of superior disdain. What other image could better underline my message of intellectual independence and laissez-faire government than posing as Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS?
Wow. I'm so awesome.
Now, what should I title my collection of conservative talking-points that is sure be hotly debated within teabagger circles? How about...Arguing With Idiots.
I'll put the badass photo of myself really really huge, right over the word "idiot." And I'll turn the R backwards so my fascist visual metaphor also subtly invokes communism, because they're like practically almost the same thing.
Ha! I'd like to see those smug psuedo-intellectual libtards twist this clever visual metaphor into something unintended.
Thank you, God, for making me the most brilliant and clever man in the world. I really do deserve my celebrity.
[fade to black]
I can't decide whether that doughy fuck looks like he's had a stroke or if he's enjoying the smell of his own farts.

09 September 2009

Barbie, what...? Oh god, NO!

This is so unbelieveably, hilariously wrong.
My degenerate brain is playing tricks. Right after the voiceover says, "Tanner wants a treat!" what does that jingle really say?
Because I'm hearing something that is definitely not safe for Saturday morning TV.

08 September 2009

Winning the healthcare debate in 51 sec.

07 September 2009

How stupid are these people?

In June...this goddam June ferchrissakes, the Supreme Court of the United States told school administrators, "no, you cannot strip-search students on suspicion they possess contraband."
Yet on August 21, five teenage girls were strip-searched on suspicion of stealing $100 from another student at Atlantic High School in Iowa.
The money wasn't found, one discreetly unidentified school administrator was placed on leave, the issue will be discussed at a board meeting today.
"According to our board policy, it was an allowable search," said Dan Crozier, the interim superintendent.
Oh really?
While I'm sure the Board of the Atlantic School District is a highly august body, it doesn't outrank the US Supreme Court. Okay, okay...maybe nobody in the district keeps up with recent SCOTUS developments? That argument won't work either. In 1986, the Iowa Legislature prohibited school strip-searches.
These are public school teachers, counselors, and administrators. We should all feel confident that when the question, "hm, should I demand a student remove their undergarments so I can inspect their private areas?" crosses these people's minds there is never the slightest, remotest possibility "yes, that seems perfectly reasonable" emerges as an option.
Everybody involved needs to be fired and have their teaching licenses revoked.
Fucking morons.

01 September 2009

Congratulations, Vermont.

The good news: as of today, Vermont is the sixth state in the US to allow that every citizen enjoys equal protections under the law.
The bad news: only 14% of the US population lives in a state that recognizes the equality of gay citizens.
The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1: ...No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I really don't think this could be any clearer, and yet, again and again, people find ways to make those words mean that certain types of inequality are okay.
Plessy v. Ferguson was a case about Louisiana's law that required blacks and white to use separate (but equal) railway accommodations. One summer day in 1892, Homer Plessy, 1/8 black decided to sit in the "whites only" car and tell the conductor that although he was legally black, he refused to sit in the "blacks only" cars.
This act of civil disobedience was intended to provoke his own arrest and challenge the law. Mr. Plessy lost the case, but continued to appeal. Ruling against Mr. Plessey, the Supreme Court of Louisiana held:
The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based on color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to the either...If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of voluntary consent of the individuals.
By 1896, the case was finally decided in the Supreme Court of the United States, which held, 7-1:
1. The 14th Amendment only applied to civil rights, not social arrangements.
2. There is no right to ride a particular railway car; segregated railway cars are social arrangements.
3. Since no Constitutional right has been implicated, Louisiana's law only requires a rational basis to be held Constitutional.
4. Louisiana's longstanding tradition of racial segregation is an adequate rational basis.
In summary, Justice Henry Billings Brown wrote:
We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.
The Plessy decision is infamous insofar as "separate but equal" became a valid legal doctrine that persisted another 58 years until Brown v. Board of Education properly held it unconstitutional.
The case is famous for Justice John Marshall Harlan's dissent, where he wrote:
...in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.
Justice Harlan stole the "color-blind" line from Mr. Plessy's attorney, Albion W. Tourgée, a civil rights crusader, soldier, newspaper columnist, novelist, farmer, lawyer, judge, Congressional candidate, carpetbagger, and all-around badass who defended Mr. Plessy pro bono.
So to recap, in analyzing the Equal Protection Clause, conservative judges will decide:
• The majority should decided how much equality minorities deserve.
• When we don't want minorities to have equality, we'll apply "rational basis" and yell about "our traditions!"
• The obvious bigotry in our enforcement of discrimination doesn't mean we're bigots.
As a country, we really don't learn, do we?