23 December 2010

Have a fabulous holiday.

Please to enjoy.

16 December 2010

Fashion statement.

I promised Beloved that I would prove that there was, in fact, such a thing as a penis gourd.

Penis_Gourd.jpg

And yes, dear, they are indeed 'nesians. Melanesians, specifically. The penis gourd is sported (and I'm positive that's the appropriate verb) by the indigenous highlander tribes of the island of New Guinea.



Maintain eye contact, cheerfully pretend not to notice the other dude's giant penis gourd....



I suspect this is the midlife crisis model.

03 December 2010

I plotzed.

Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving is the brilliant illustrated tale of a cross-country move of a couple and their dogs.
...as harrowing as the move was for us, it was nothing compared to the confusion and insecurity our two dogs had to endure. Our first dog is — to put it delicately — simple-minded. Our other dog is a neurotic German shepherd mix with agonizingly low self-esteem who has taken on the role of "helper dog" for our simple dog. Neither dog is well-equipped with coping mechanisms of any kind.



Please to enjoy.

02 December 2010

On the most recent "DADT Study."

I'm not a fan of this legislative "repeal" of the military's gay ban, because the new law is just discriminatory bullshit, repackaged.

Despite President Obama's pious speechifying that the military's gay ban is unjust, he meanwhile chooses to dispatch government lawyers to argue in court in favor of retaining the ban, and when they lose, he has them argue that “immediate harm” and “irreparable injury” to the military would ensue if they can't keep kicking out teh gheys. Despite the fact that the government lost their case in Log Cabin Republicans v United States utterly, the Ninth Circuit assumed the government's position anyway and granted their emergency stay (and this decision was essentially ratified by SCOTUS).

Meanwhile, for the eight days there was no gay ban in place while they haggled over the injunction, there were no problems with gays in the military. None. Now the "study" the administration commissioned regarding integration in the military has been released, and it (like all the other studies over the years) concludes that neither the gay ban nor closeted service is necessary for the armed services to continue to function effectively, as first reported in No Shit magazine.

Thus, the administration's own study proves its legal claims were completely false and baseless.

Had the Obama Administration chosen not to appeal their loss in LCR v US, or to insist on that emergency stay, they could have used this study to vindicate their decision not to appeal as empirically justifiable. That decision would have finally put the administration on the right side of this civil rights debate. They chose instead to stay their course of being tone-deaf bigots and hypocrites.

Besides eroding the administration's legal position, the study Obama demanded accomplished the following: it delayed the "repeal" vote until after the midterms when Democrats were sure to lose seats, and pushed the vote on the Defense Authorization Act of 2011 until essentially the last legislative minute, thereby creating a legitimate political justification for stripping the "repeal" amendment from the bill. One might be forgiven for assuming the administration's insistence on the study's December release was a poison pill by design.

If the amendment is stripped, the next move will be the Ninth Circuit's, around February or March of 2011. At that point, the Obama Administration is going to be forced to argue that the appeals court should ignore the evidence from the study and overrule the district court's finding that the gay ban is unconstitutional. Of course, given that this is a gay rights case, I make room for the real possibility that the court will happily ignore the evidence and perform all manner of legal and logical gymnastics to keep the discriminatory laws intact.

They usually do.

26 November 2010

The Profit & Loss District.

Saw this chart from localfirst.com over at Sully's blog. It quite nicely expresses why corporate welfare districts like Kansas City's Power & Light District are not merely bad economic policy, they're actually counterproductive in terms of building the local economy and enhancing the local taxbase.

Local-Business-Chart-493x300

buy local restaurant image

As a preliminary matter, former mayor Kay Barnes and the nitwits in charge of Kansas City politics bought into Chicago-based C.H. Johnson Consulting Inc.'s fantastically rosy and spectacularly incorrect financial forecast, and with cartoon dollarsigns in their eyes and delusions of adequacy, decided to put the local taxpayers on the hook for $295 million to construct a mall-like "main street" designed to appeal to suburbanites and tourists. They also agreed to keep the taxpayers on the hook until 2033 to fill any revenue gap created by the consultant's over-sell and corporate underperformance.

It is difficult to overstate just how wrong C.H. Johnson was, so here's the numbers: for 2009, they projected sales of $240.7 million, but actual sales were $65.2 million. C.H. Johnson's epic failure has so far cost taxpayers an additional $16 million — and that's probably going to be the case every year for another generation.

Honestly, if you'd have just pulled a number from your ass you'd have probably gotten closer then these "experts."

But C.H. Johnson's incompetence absolutely pales in comparison to the gaggle of lackwits who comprise Kansas City Council. They actually — and no, I am not kidding — re-hired these same dumbshits and awarded them another $130,000 contract to study proposals for a new convention center hotel. 

Yes, a new taxpayer-subsidized hotel, even though 38% of the city's existing hotel rooms sit vacant. A new taxpayer-subsidized hotel to directly compete against several existing taxpayer-subsidized hotels.

The city has already spent a half-million dollars over the past decade trying to polish this turd of an idea, and there's a fair chance that the city earnings tax is going to be eliminated in the very near future meaning residential property taxes will skyrocket while property values freefall, driving more folks to the suburbs and eroding the tax base to something frighteningly Detroit-esque.

But I digress.

Besides thrill-seeking suburbanites boldly braving the mean streets of Kansas City, the true beneficiary of the P&L district is the Maryland-based Cordish Corporation, a privately owned, multibillion-dollar retail and casino development and operations conglomerate. Cordish touts the P&L District as having "more than 50 unique and captivating shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues" in a 9-block "neighborhood."

By "unique" they mean "almost exclusively out-of-town corporate chains," including 801 Steak & Chop House (Des Moines), Bice Bistro (New York, abandoned P&L site), Chipotle Mexican Grill (Denver), Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que (Minnesota, leaving P&L site), Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (Dallas/Ft. Worth), Fran's Restaurant (Toronto), The Fudgery (Georgia), GNC (Pittsburgh), Genghis Grill (Dallas), Gordon Biersch Brewing Company (Chattanooga), Hilton President (Virginia), Jos. A. Bank (Maryland), Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Virginia), McFadden’s Sports Saloon (New York), Standard Parking (Chicago), Ted's Montana Grill (Atlanta, leaving P&L site), and T-Mobile (Germany). Although it's difficult to establish precisely, it seems that Cordish itself owns and operates several of the P&L District venues and chains, including Angel's Rock Bar, Fuego, Howl at the Moon Piano Bar, Lucky Strike Lanes, Maker's Mark Restaurant, Mosaic Lounge, Pizza Bar, PBR Big Sky, Raglan Road, Shark Bar, and Tengo Sed Cantina.

Yes, these marketing whizkids thought folks would drive into the urban core of Kansas City for...Atlanta steaks and Minnesota barbecue.

Way to have your finger on the local pulse, Cordish. Very impressive.

As a privately held company, Cordish is free to keep its finances and operations secret, and it certainly does. Although I don't have the financial breakdown of which company is making how much money, just by way of comparison, if you take the pie-chart figures above against the actual 2009 sales figures, you can see how dramatic the difference can be: if all tenants were non-local: 57% of $65.2 million = $37.164 million goes elsewhere, keeping $28.036 million in KC; however, if all tenants were local: 32% of $65.2 million = $20.864 million goes elsewhere, keeping $44.336 million in KC.

Ultimately, the city government is forcing taxpayers to subsidize a wealthy private out-of state company to operate for its own benefit and other mostly out-of-state companies, meaning 57% of those receipts go somewhere besides Kansas City.

We're not just hemorrhaging cash, we're paying somebody to keep stabbing us.

19 November 2010

Travel advisory.

The United Nations recently contemplated a resolution against extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.

Should be a no-brainer, right? Nope.

The resolution included executions "committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation." Naturally, an amendment was presented to remove those last three words from the resolution, which passed; 79 for, 70 against, 17 abstained. So, here's the list of UN member countries who, as a matter of public policy, have no problem with the arbitrary, state-sanctioned murder of people for the crime of being gay.
Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, North Korea, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam
Central America/Caribbean: Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & Grenadines
Europe: Russian Federation
Middle East: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
South America: Guyana
I know Jamaica is supposed to be the most homophobic place on Earth (a distinction that Uganda desperately wants, given how it's on the cusp of enacting a national gay extermination law) but the rest of the Central America/Caribbean group surprises me. Really, I had no idea. Evidently, the general rule is former French and Dutch colonies are gay-friendly, the Spanish ones aren't, and the former British colonies are outright hostile.

I had no idea they meant murderously hostile. Jesus.

16 November 2010

Diagnosis: Excess gall.

Glenn Thrush reports on Politico
A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan from the government takes a month to kick in. 
Republican Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist who defeated freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, reacted incredulously when informed that federal law mandated that his government-subsidized health care policy would take effect on Feb. 1 – 28 days after his Jan. 3rd swearing-in.
“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange.


Yeah and while you wait 28 days, 40 million Americans are doing without healthcare for the foreseeable future, while financing your cadillac policy, you senseless, soulless sack of shit.

Go right ahead Dr. Congressman. Take your principled stand against "socialist" government healthcare. Purchase an unsubsidized policy for your family on the open market. Better yet, just do without. Consider it policy research.

Monsieur Guillotine, some days you are sorely missed.

13 November 2010

Watch this. Seriously.

12 November 2010

Who's the maverick now? (UPDATED)



"Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future...that they can't serve our country openly...our government treats the LGBT community like they're second-class citizens — why shouldn't [schoolyard bullys]?"
— Cindy McCain

Not only are you absolutely right, Mrs. McCain, but you're evidently the last good decision your husband made.

Your marriage is your business, but you definitely deserve better representation in the Senate.
                                                                          

UPDATE: Evidently, Mrs. McCain wishes to clarify that she endorses her husband's homophobia, but not other people's.

I fully support the NOH8 campaign and all it stands for and am proud to be a part of it. But I stand by my husband's stance on DADT.

07 November 2010

I'd like to join the proofreader's union.

I didn't have a phone on me, so you'll just have to take my word for it, but today I saw a bumper sticker that read:

Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School Related Personnel

It struck me funny because "school-related" is a compound modifier of the word "personnel," and thus should be hyphenated.

Perhaps the union doesn't include English teachers.

06 November 2010

MSNBC asserts its droit de seigneur.

When did our employers achieve the right to dictate what we do off-the-clock?

I understand that a company that depends on the public goodwill and trust of certain "face of the organization" employees might reasonably expect such employees to comport themselves lawfully and even within certain moral boundaries at all times. However, a contractual provision that purports to require any employee to obtain their employer's approval to exercise their First Amendment right to political expression could by extension evolve into a contractual provision that requires employees to obtain approval to vote in a certain way, or even to vote at all.

Contractual provisions are ultimately void and unenforceable if a judge refuses to allow the state to enforce them.* It's utterly irrelevant that every party knowingly and enthusiastically agreed with the specific terms at signing. Enforcing MSNBC's contract would compel the government to infringe on Mr. Olberman's First Amendment rights, and this it cannot do.

Honestly, I hope Olberman sues the living shit out of MSNBC.

I would.

(* In Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948), SCOTUS held that a provision in real estate contract that purported to exclude any buyer "of the negro or mongolian race" was not in itself unconstitutional because it was a private agreement and there was no state action; however, it would be unconstitutional for the state to enforce such provisions because enforcement would be state action that violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. For all I know, a racially restrictive covenant may still cling to that deed, but it does so without legal effect.)

Wow. It works!

Long ago, in a fit of pique, I posted a sign on the front of the ol' crapshack that reads:

NO SALESMEN, SOLICITORS OR PREACHING. THANKS.

I just watched a complement of Jehovah's Witnesses come up my stairs and turn back around. Awesome.

If only it worked that well on those goddam magazine peddlers.

03 November 2010

On politicizing the judiciary.

"Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual." 
-Thomas Jefferson, 1819

If the people can vote for you, it's a political office.

It strikes me as self-evident that in the interest of promoting judicial neutrality, judges certainly shouldn't be politicians, and probably politicians shouldn't become judges.

It also strikes me as self-evident that no politician should attack any judge on the basis that a judge's decisions somehow failed to advance the politician's personal agenda. When it happens, it shouldn't be tolerated, much less encouraged.

However, yesterday Iowa's voters — for the first time in history — were persuaded to kick their state supreme court justices off the bench for having the temerity to find that all Iowans share an equal right to marry. In other words, three judges were targeted and expelled on the political basis of the outcome of one single case — not on the basis any were corrupt, intemperate, prejudiced, or legally incompetent.

This astonishing outcome was accomplished by an unholy confederacy of out-of-state Christian political organizations (Faith & Freedom Coalition, Campaign for Working Families, National Organization for Marriage, Family Research Council, American Family Association, and the Alliance Defense Fund) led by Iowa's own failed 'bagger gubernatorial primary candidate, motivational speaker, and professional homophobe Bob Vander Plaats.

The failure here ultimately resides in a voting public who evidently has no idea how a tripartite government is designed to function for the protection of the entire public, who has no idea what they need to do to ensure that a neutral judiciary continues to work effectively to protect all people generally, and who has no idea of what the Constitution actually says or what those words mean.

Further, Americans generally seem not to have learned history's lessons that wherever the state is encouraged to wield its power against one minority, that power will inevitably be used against another one, and another, and another, until the law eventually exists solely for the protection of a political elite. When this happens, at best the people end up furtively trying avoid the attention of sociopaths in jackboots, and at worst the people end up in the Dark Ages as the short-lived farm animals of some bishop or baron.

Ultimately, like California's Prop 8 vote, Iowa's vote should be seen as evidence of a failure of an education system that cannot, or will not, meaningfully teach history and civics, and the triumph of Christians promoting the belief that their particular dogma should be the whole of the law. Because strong belief easily defeats weak wit, we have reached the deplorable point where voters have come to believe that the loudest voice is somehow evidence that it's the most correct, rather than evidence it's probably only the most extreme.

The guiding principle of America has ever been striding toward more equality, not less. To destroy the independent judiciary to ensure that "you people shall never be our equal" is to cheerfully goose-step toward fascism.

23 September 2010

This about sums it up.

Pop quiz.

17 September 2010

Freebie Friday.

For 24 hours only, Trent Reznor has made available a free 5-song sampler from his soundtrack to The Social Network at this site.

Please to enjoy.

15 September 2010

Madness?

caution-this-is-sparta.jpg

13 September 2010

Making the appeal unappealing.

On Thursday, September 9, 2010, a federal judge presiding over Log Cabin Republicans v. U.S. & Gates held the military's gay ban violated the Constitution two distinct ways.

If the ruling stands, the federal law is unconstitutional, utterly void and without effect, unenforceable in any jurisdiction, and the ban on gay Americans serving in the U.S. military becomes an ugly part of American history.

Why President Obama had — on multiple occasions in addition to this case — dispatched squads of US attorneys to defend a law he'd often denounced and insisted he wanted repealed has never been clear. It's been "explained" vaguely as some "traditional" obligation to defend all U.S. laws. However, there is no actual legal obligation on the part of the executive to defend any particular law. Indeed, it would be a violation of his oath of office if he defended any law he believed to be unconstitutional. As a professor of Constitutional law, Obama certainly has personal knowledge of all of this.

Regardless of why Obama defended the law, his lawyers failed to carry their burden of proof, and he lost his case. Now, the only way this outrageously discriminatory dead law could be revived is if President Obama decides to appeal. Again, he bears no legal obligation to do so; any decision to appeal would be 100% discretionary.

If President Obama decides to use the power of his office to singlehandedly revive a dead, unconstitutional, discriminatory federal law via an unnecessary appeal, it is the same kind of gratuitous fascist homophobic bullshit we could get from any Republican or theocrat. It cannot be viewed in any other way.

Moreover, he is choosing to frag the LGBT community right before midterm elections.



Democrats, "you better think about the consequences of your actions."

12 September 2010

Not to be shocked by animal attack.

Beloved's friend sends along these instructions from a rice cooker purchased at Korean Market in Springfield. Please to enjoy.
The following must be observed to use the product safely and correctly to prevent accident and dangerous situations.
'Warning' and 'Caution' are different as follows. This means that the action it describes may result in death or severe injury. This means that the action it describes may result in injury or property damage.
This sign is for reminding something may cause problems under the certain situation. Please read and follow the instruction to avoid any harmful situation.
Please use it clearly; If it is used with any alien material being held there will be happened any case of boiled rice not being made well or boiled rice being burned. Please use it (them) always clearly by wiping out by sponge scrubber for the around the pan after soak in water, by sandpaper for the heater or sensor.
Please use it at a secured place; Please avoid using it at a insecure place easy to be fallen down, or near hot thing such as stove or gas stove or on carpet or cushion, etc.
Please pay careful attention against water; Please surely not wash out the body of this rice cooker by water which may be a cause of electric shock or firing.
Use a single socket with the rated current above 15A. Using several lines in one. Socket can cause overheating resulting in fire. Use the extension cord with the rated current above 15A. 
Be caful both plug and power cord not to be shocked by animal attack or sharp metal materials. Damages by impact can cause an electric shock or fire.
Being hot! When cooking boiled rice there is coming out hot steam from the hole of the steam and please not come your face or hand near it.
Please pay careful attention against its deforming If you put anything such as dishcloth, etc. on the cover when cooking boiled rice or in the course of warming which may be a cause of deforming or decoloring the cover.
It is avoidable to use it for other use If you boil water or use for any other use, which may give rice cooker excess and be a cause of disorder.
When there is not boiled rice in inner pot. when there is not anything in pan, please surely pull out plug. Otherwise it may be heated and cause a risk.
When warming boiled rice and cold boiled rice together, which may be a cause of bad smell.
Handling With care If you fall rice cooker down or and strong impact, which may be a cause of disorder.
With the rice scoop indicated If you use a metallic rice scoop which may be a cause of the boiled rice being scorched because of peeling off coated film of inner pot.

07 September 2010

The fresh hotness: election fraud.

Locally we saw Jackson County Legislator Henry Rizzo put Diane K. "Crystal" Williams in the primary to siphon off votes from the Crystal Williams running for his seat.

Of course, Rizzo denies that he was involved, making him a liar on top of perpetrating election fraud. His scheme backfired bigtime, and the real Ms Williams won.

Then there was Alvin Greene, the unemployed crackpot who somehow managed to produce a $10,400 filing fee (despite previously claiming to be indigent to secure a public defender to represent him in his pending felony indecency trial) to run as a Democrat against incumbent South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint.

Today I read that Log Cabin (read: "self-loathing gay") Republican Steve May, a former two-term Arizona legislator and returning candidate for the legislature, went down to his local skid row to collect accommodating bums to run as Green Party candidates to siphon off votes from his competition.

May — unlike Rizzo — admits to the fraud, even while pretending it's somehow not a dirty trick.

“Did I recruit candidates? Yes. Are they fake candidates? No way. Are you fake, Benjamin? Are you fake, Thomas? Are you fake, Grandpa?"

Christ, what an asshole.

The article mentions that other Arizona Republicans also recruited sham candidates (to divide and conquer the dirty liberals).

What they are doing is not substantially different than hacking into electronic voting machines to manipulate data. These assholes ought to be in jail right now, and barred not only from ever seeking any public office, but also from working in any capacity (including advisory or consulting jobs) for any government or political candidate.

But apparently, this shit is not even illegal.

This country is circling the drain.

17 August 2010

Well played, Mr. Herrera.

As you've almost certainly heard, Federal District Judge Walker held Proposition 8 (California's most recent attempt a enacting a same-sex marriage ban) all kinds of unconstitutional. Since the attorney general of California won't appeal the verdict, the citizen-bigots who brought Prop 8 are demanding an emergency stay on the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and insisting they have legal standing to bring an appeal.

You may have even heard that since the citizen-bigots can't demonstrate how they'd be individually harmed by the issuance of such marriage licenses, they're not likely to have a legal basis for their emergency stay or appeal.

Dennis Herrera, the city attorney of San Francisco, separately filed an opposition to the request for an emergency stay, noting there's yet another reason why the citizen-bigots (herein, "Appellants") lack standing to appeal:
In light of Supreme Court's decision in AOE, and in light of the fact that California law is no different from Arizona's, Appellants presumably could have included a provision in Proposition 8 that would have authorized them to represent the interests of the State in any litigation involving the measure. Indeed, another initiative measure on the very same ballot contained an analogous provision. The measure created a legislative redistricting commission, and gave the commission, rather than the Attorney General, sole authority to defend any action...Proposition 8's sponsors, having failed to include a similar provision in their initiative, cannot now complain about their lack of Article III standing.
One hopes Mr. Herrera's point will be the requisite coup de grĂ¢ce

It will probably turn out that most of these initiatives didn't include the provision allowing the various citizen-bigot organizations to stand in the shoes of the various attorneys general for the purpose of appeal — which might be helpful where a particular attorney general understands the concepts of "equal protection," "due process," and "fundamental rights."

Anyway, it just gets interestinger and interestinger.

15 August 2010

Cf.



08 August 2010

The conservative that gets it.

Ted Olsen schools Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.



Beautiful.

27 July 2010

Clever.

The single best thing I've read about the current vampire craze is this post titled I Know Why the Vampire Sparkles.

Please to enjoy.

26 July 2010

Surprising news.

Today, a U.S. President who faces contentious elections in three months ignored overwhelming public opinion against and signed an executive order desegregating the military just because he thought equality as a principle was important enough to actually do something about it.

It was today, 62 years ago. The president was Harry Truman. He informed Congress he had, “instructed the secretary of defense to take steps to have the remaining instances of discrimination in the armed services eliminated as rapidly as possible.” Of course, then as now the glorious leadership of our armed forces thought "rapidly" meant 15 goddam years.

Today, there is overwhelming public support for removing the institutional discrimination against gay soldiers. It polls at 78%. Seriously, nothing polls at 78%.

However, the "Homosexual Conduct" law has not yet been repealed and there continues to be zero movement to enact any kind of federal antidiscrimination law to protect gay citizens within or without the military. In fact, the momentum seems to be to continue to heap increasingly more legal disabilities on top of existing discrimination — y'know "state's rights," and all. Viva Jim Crow!

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Daniel Choi was officially discharged two days ago, and the Obama Administration is currently in federal court defending the military's gay ban as rational, reasonable, and necessary in Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States of America.

Nice work, Democrats.

President Truman once offered your party some valuable advice you persistently ignore: "If you give the people a choice between a watered-down Republican and a Republican, they will choose the real thing every time."

Probably too late now.

±$1,150,000,000,000.00

That's how much our post-9/11 wars have cost...so far.

If you took hundred-dollar bills and stacked them, the stack would be over 780 miles high. If you built that stack in Kansas City, and it tipped over, the top would land in Pittsburgh.

We haven't even started paying for either war, because neither was funded. We just put them on the credit card. Seriously.

Military spending currently represents 54% of the federal budget. Adjusted for inflation, we are currently spending more on the military today than we spent when we were fighting in World War II — which, for us, only lasted four years. And that enemy had submarines, ships, tanks and aircraft. The current enemy has...donkey-bombs.

I have reached the inescapable conclusion that despite being provided nearly infinite resources and a highly trained, willing corps, either our military leaders cannot win these wars, or they will not.

I don't know which is worse.

24 July 2010

Goddamit so much.

Kenneth Feinburg was appointed "pay czar" by the Obama administration for the purpose of investigating the outlandish compensation the bailed-out banks persisted in paying their executives.

He has completed his report. His conclusion: do nothing.

That's right. Nothing.

From Wapo:
The report declined to name individual executives whose pay was deemed excessive. Feinberg said he didn't want his findings to trigger a round of private lawsuits and congressional hearings.
"I think it's sufficient they voluntarily accept this [pay contract] break position, that we all move forward with lessons learned and that we put this sad chapter behind us and look forward," said Feinberg, who will soon shift his attention to overseeing the $20 billion BP oil spill compensation fund.
Emphasis added because holymotherfuckingshit...are you kidding me?

Image

Honestly, it's like GWB never left.

20 July 2010

She won!

Remember Constance McMillen, the Mississippi high school student who got tricked by school administrators into going to a fake prom because she had the temerity to be a lesbian?

She won.

CBS reports:
the Itawamba County School District to pay $35,000, plus attorney's fees. As part of the agreement, the school district also said it would follow a policy not to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity in any educational or extracurricular activities...
"I hope this means that in the future students at my school will be treated fairly," McMillen said.

Given the Itawamba County School District seems disproportionately populated with liars and bigots, I doubt that'll happen.

But hey — by settling and adopting a nondiscrimination policy, they conceded that Ms McMillen was right.

Good job, kiddo.

Thanks, ACLU.

16 July 2010

Congrats to Argentina.

I'm thrilled Argentina passed marriage equality, but it's pretty depressing at the same time.

When I was an undergrad, South Africa was a racist hellpit and Argentina was a creepy semifascist state where people got snatched off the streets by plainclothes government agents.

I never would have believed that only a couple of decades later gay citizens of South Africa and Argentina would have more rights than I have as a citizen.

Some people in this country aren't going to be happy until they prove Margaret Atwood right.

Christ, I need a drink.

12 July 2010

Money talks.

Send a message to the do-nothing politician in your life.

Please to download and enjoy.

Those lesbian mice are FucM knockouts.

Molecular geneticists Dongkyu Park, Dongwook Choi, Junghoon Lee, Dae-sik Lim, and Chankyu Park from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology published an article on July 7, 2010 in BMC Genetics 2010 claiming they could create lesbian mice through genetic manipulation.

They created a strain of mutant female mice lacking one particular gene (FucM) that produces a particular enzyme, and these mice are called the "FucM knockouts."

"The FucM knockout mice displayed an abnormal sexual receptivity...although the animals were fertile." In other words, the FucM knockouts weren't interested in smelling the urine of, or having sex with male mice, but were totally down with the ladies. Fertility was established among some of the FucM knockouts by...well, rape. (In case you were curious, the scientific term for rape is "forced intromission.")

The researchers also discovered that the brain structure of the FucM knockouts was atypical among females, but resembled the brain-development of ordinary male mice.

While the research is certainly interesting, as this article points out, it's important to note that the enzyme doesn't function exactly the same way for gender development in humans. Stanford University's Dr. Simon LeVey, says "Nevertheless, it is probably only a matter of time before molecular geneticists identify genes that influence sexual orientation in humans."

06 July 2010

I care about your safety.

Lifehacker published this very excellent article about how to protect yourself from malicious dickweeds who exploit public wi-fi networks.
Just because most wireless routers have a firewall to protect you from the internet doesn't mean you're protected from others connected to the same network. Lots of wireless hotspots these days are completely unencrypted...this leaves you unprotected against malicious users in the same coffee shop, so there are a few settings you should always make sure to tweak when you're connected to a public network. We're going to show you which settings are the most important ones, as well as how to automatically change your settings to the appropriate level of security every time you connect to a public network.
The article contemplates both Mac and Windows users and it's nicely illustrated.

Please to enjoy.

30 June 2010

Dismantling homeopathy.

If you've ever wondered what "homeopathy" is all about, read this brief and brilliant illustrated history from the blog Darryl Cunningham Investigates.

In short, faith-healing remains faith-healing, even when the faith is veneered by bogus "science."

Read it. Now.

29 June 2010

Like Jackie Robinson was an "activist" ballplayer.

I have only this to say regarding the conservative senator's invitation to Tony Perkins (head of the antigay Christian hate group The Family Research Council) allowing Perkins to interrogate Elena Kagan for her presumed sympathies to gay rights:

It is in no way different from inviting The Aryan Nations to the Senate interrogate to Kagan for her presumed Zionism.

It is, to say the least, a novel interpretation of the "advise and consent" clause to allow some extremist, religiously motivated ideologue the right to confront a judicial candidate for her moral shortcomings with the imprimatur of the United States Senate. Kagan is a candidate for judge, not bishop.

No, the law and your morality are not interchangeable, you sanctimonious dumbasses.

And speaking of sanctimony, this really turned my stomach.


Since he was not there to defend himself, permit me put Justice Thurgood Marshall's quote in context. Every year the judicial clerks of the Supreme Court have a formal lunch with a sitting justice in attendance. One year it was Justice Marshall's turn. When asked by a clerk to define his judicial philosophy, Marshall replied, "You do what you think is right and let the law catch up."

He was correct. Very often the law lags behind the Constitution.

It's probably difficult to notice that when you're a rich white man who's never had a single opportunity foreclosed based on your race, gender, religion or sexuality, and you've never been shackled by an unfair and unreasonable legal disability or received anything but the benefit of any disparate treatment, and never even been slightly harmed by the institutional bigotry of the State.

No, I suppose the legal status quo looks just peachy from where you sit, senator.

It would be absurd and unhinged to believe that Justice Marshall — in his capacity as a Supreme Court Justice, in a statement to the world's most elite law students — meant to say that what he thought was "right" might justifiably be untethered or unharbored to what he thought was Constitutional.

Yet the conservatives are making precisely that specious argument. In fact, that is exactly their definition of "judicial activism," at least to the extent they object to the outcome. 

They have no problem with conservative judges inventing doctrines like "standing" that prevent people from having their day in court, or deciding that corporations have all the benefits of legal "personhood" with few of the liabilities, or carving out new exceptions to the Equal Protection Clause, or discovering some "automobile exception" to the Fourth Amendment, etc.

That's all fine, but when a black judge decides in a way that benefits black people, that's "judicial activism." And such "activism" is precisely the reason conservatives are terrified that Dean Kagan might decide in a way that benefits...softball players.

Ultraconservatives prefer the "originalist" judicial philosophy of Justice Antonin Scalia as followed slavishly by Justice Clarence Thomas. Scalia doesn't do what he thinks is right. Oh, no! He performs some kind of Shirley McClaine-style past-life regression where he grasps the prevailing morality of 18th Century post-colonial America in one hand (as if there was ever one "community standard") and the collective intent of the Founding Fathers (as if they ever unanimously agreed on anything) in the other. Scalia is thus steered by Madison et al, in the same way spirits move a planchette across the Ouija board. 

"Originalism" is law-by-seance, with Nino Scalia as medium. Yet the "judicial activism" of Thurgood Marshall merits...ridicule?

How can any serious person suggest Marshall's positions were "outside the mainstream"? He favored full civil rights for racial minorities, favored a woman's right to make family planning decisions, opposed the death penalty in all cases, and believed the government needed warrants to tap your phone and arrest you in your home. Those may not be your positions, Senator John Kyl, but they're all squarely within the mainstream public debate. Or are you still pissed off by Thurgood Marshall's "outside the mainstream" belief that the Constitution was wrong about slavery, that Dred Scott and Plessy v Ferguson were wrongly decided, and "separate but equal" is not, in fact, equal at all?

Here's a question from Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III:
Does the judge understand that they can’t utilize the power — the lifetime appointment — to redefine the meaning of the Constitution? To have it promote an agenda in an activist way that the American people won’t vote for?
What? No. Actually senator, a first-year law student wouldn't "understand" your absurd construction that makes a mockery of the Separation of Powers generally, and the independent judiciary specifically. In fact, it is most definitely and even explicitly the "power," as well as the competence, and even the obligation of judges to utterly ignore the collective will of any plebiscite that acts in contravention to the letter of the Constitution, its purpose or its principles.

Senator Sessions is himself a failed nominee to the federal bench. Apparently that is what qualifies him to lead the conservative assault on Elena Kagan. It's another thing he will fail at.

Conservatives, seriously — read a fucking book.

28 June 2010

Absolutely badass.

This lady probably makes the toughest hombre you know look like a pussy. Read her story.

A few words on the demise of Robert Byrd.

Senator-for-life Robert Byrd is being tenderly eulogized today in the media, who dutifully reminds us of his early KKK affiliations, then tells a noble tale of redemption by his later virtuous work on behalf of civil rights.

It's all such bullshit.

When Byrd was finally forced to abandon his disgusting racism, he simply refocused his foul bigotry on gay Americans.

Transferring one's bigotry to a different group doesn't redeem a goddam thing.

The world is a fractionally more intelligent, nicer place today.

25 June 2010

Boy Scouts continue to suck.

One day, the Boy Scouts of America decided to rid itself of gays, starting with James Dale — Eagle Scout, assistant scoutmaster, and Hollywood-handsome New Jersy guy.


The Supreme Court of New Jersey said not so fast, BSA. Because you let any boy join, and because of your heavy reliance on public funding and public property, you are indeed a public accommodation. Mr. Dale's presence within the BSA does not affect your organization's ability to accomplish its purpose, and merely having one incidentally gay employee doesn't work as an institutional endorsement of homosexuality. New Jersey's public accommodation law reasonably prohibits discrimination, so you can't kick out Mr. Dale just because he's gay. Un-revoke his membership and give him back his job.

BSA appealed it to SCOTUS, and the ultraconservative Rehnquist Court unsurprisingly and unquestioningly accepted the BSA's revised argument that Scouting is not only a selective private religious membership club, but it is — more importantly — an expressly anti-gay organization. Ergo, the BSA cannot be compelled to include gays (for the same reason than the KKK can't be forced to include blacks.)

The BSA and the conservative justices believed that Mr. Dale's private romantic behavior could somehow be detected by every Scout in the United States, utterly undermining the BSA's own "values" instruction regarding young men's sexuality, which was...nothing. The BSA admitted that it assiduously directed Scoutmasters to avoid the topic of sexuality entirely. They simply insisted they had a double-secret "NO HOMO" policy down at the Texas headquarters, and that ought be good enough for the Court.

It was.

Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas decided that New Jersey's laws intended to promote equal protection under the law (pursuant to the purposes of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments) were ultimately goals less worthy of Constitutional protection than the BSA's First Amendment right to express contempt for gay people generally, and the subsidiary right to hound one particular college kid out of his job (despite the fact that no allegation was made that Mr. Dale behaved in any sexually inappropriate way with any Scout, and without any evidence that Mr. Dale had, or ever intended to discuss his sexuality in his capacity as an assistant scoutmaster.)

Justice Stevens, in dissent, noted that neither the majority nor the BSA bothered to dispute the fact that their bigotry had caused serious harm to gay Americans. Stevens then concluded that the majority's decision had created a "constitutional shield" for antigay bigotry, and that they had fallen into the trap of converting their prejudice into legal principles.

His dissent was prescient.

On Wednesday, a federal jury unanimously decided that Philadelphia's anti-discrimination law barring organizations that discriminate from using publicly funded facilities also unconstitutionally failed to accommodate the BSA's First Amendment right — and avowed institutional purpose — of expressing its contempt for gays. (The BSA lost on two other Constitutional arguments).

"We can't be kicked out of the building or evicted and we don't have to pay any rent," cooed the BSA attorney, William McSwain, who essentially relied on the "constitutional shield" argument.

He's not entirely right. The lease apparently allows the city to evict the Scouts without providing a reason.

While that lease provision might ultimately provide a favorable outcome to the dispute, the perverse outcome of the Dale decision is that the government can put you out for no reason, but it can't evict you for being a hateful gaybashing bigot freeriding on amenities subsidized by the very people you willfully discriminate against.

Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts continue to accomplish their purpose without engaging in  discrimination or bigotry,

09 June 2010

Click this. Seriously.

http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/infographic-tallest-mountain-to-deepest-ocean-trench-0249/

The Banana Republic of California

California election results:

Billionaire Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, spent $81 million to win the Republican primary election for governor, about $70 million from her own account. She received 1,101,528 votes. That's $73.53 per vote. On a California governor's salary, it would take her 463 years to earn $81 million.

Here's Whitman's financial promise: "Cut SPENDING: Meg will ensure that Sacramento spends no more than it takes in...[and] give Californians faith their money is well spent..." Her most serious opponent spent about $20 million, or approximately the amount of money sitting in Whitman's couch cushions.

More than 1 in 4 California Republicans wanted lunatic conspiracy theorist Orly Taitz to be California's next Secretary of State. Jesus tapdancing Christ, people! Really?

Voters approved Proposition 14, which effectively prevents third-party candidates from holding statewide or federal office. It accomplishes this by limiting the general election ballot exclusively to the 2 candidates who got the most votes in the primary election (which will always be 1 Republican and 1 Democrat), and also eliminates "write-in" candidates.

So to the dozens of candidates who ran as Green, Libertarian, American Independent, or Peace and Freedom party candidates, and to the tens of thousands of people who voted for those candidates, here's the message: your neighbors have decided that you have no right to be "unconventional," or to embrace or promote any idea that departs from the mainstream. Not sure how to deal with that? Ask your gay neighbors.

08 June 2010

Well, I'll be damned.

The Supreme Court of New Mexico has decided that the crime of "driving while intoxicated" requires the perpetrator to be driving.

Sleeping it off in a parking lot is no longer considered "driving."

How absolutely...sensible.

06 June 2010

Know the real enemy.

UPDATE: Received the following anonymous email since I originally posted:
I am one of the victims in this case.

a. the JAG did not agree with this deal. 
b. That was a follow up e-mail to notify the victims of the sentence the judge gave. The JAG had already called me to break the bad news about the plea deal. I believe she called the others too, since it said as much in her e-mail. it was clear it was a follow up. Too bad no one printed the whole thing.

This is an outrage, but the anger needs to be focused on the right area...namely, the people who agreed to this deal.
__________________________________

ORIGINAL POST:

Twenty-three different soldiers on two continents had accused the Navy physician of manually raping them during routine medical examinations.

Last month, his victims received the following email from the Judge Advocate General's office after it secured the doctor's guilty plea:
...the judge awarded a sentence of 24 months, a $28,000 fine to be paid right away or else an additional 6 months would be imposed, total forfeitures of pay, and most iportantly [sic], a DISMISSAL from the Navy.
However, the JAG cagily omitted the details of its plea agreement with Lieutenant Commander Anthony L. Velasquez, M.D.

The deal allowed the doctor to avoid both the prison sentence and the fine as long as he can avoid being convicted for raping anyone else within the next 730 days. Twenty-nine counts of sexual misconduct and related charges were dropped in consideration for a guilty plea on 2 counts of wrongful sexual contact and 2 counts of conduct unbecoming an officer. Ultimately Lt. Cmdr. Velasquez served a whopping 7 days in the brig — less than 7 1/2 hours incarceration, per rape. Even the astonishingly misogynistic government of Afghanistan demands that rapists pay a fine.

Had Dr. Velasquez's victims been male soldiers instead of females, I'm sure that would be used as evidence during the upcoming DADT hearings that gay soldiers clearly have no place within our outstanding, honorable military. The homophobic hate group The Family Research Council (co-founded by George "Rentboy" Rekers) has already helpfully invented some statistics regarding homosexual military rape and then released a "study" of their imaginary data. Conclusion: gays rape about 3X as much as straight ones, and repeal of DADT will inevitably turn the military into a homosexual-rape free-for-all.

The reality is, according to 2006 Defense Department study, that 3.5% of male servicemembers experienced military sexual assault, compared to 23% of females, and 1.2% of male servicemembers filed a complaint alleging rape, compared to 11% of females.

Last year, Chair the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence Jane Harman (D-CA), pointed to more recent DOD statics that demonstrate that "Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq." Those more recent statistics include 2,280 solid cases where there was both physical evidence and a victim willing to testify. Only 317 of those cases went to courts-martial, such as the case of Lt. Cmdr. Velasquez. Another 247 received some type of unspecific "nonjudicial" discipline.

There's a pretty serious problem with "unit cohesion" in the armed services that deserves to be confronted.

And it isn't gays.

02 June 2010

Homebrewing with the bastard.

I love me some pineapple, and eat one every week or so. I was butchering one on Friday when Beloved reminded me of my threat to make Tepache, a lightly fermented agua fresca drink also known as Mexican Prison Wine. Mmmm, prison.

Bea says I need to work on my sales pitch.

Okay, um...it's not Mexican Prison Wine, which would be equal parts ridiculous and disgusting. It's...um, tropical hard cider. Yep, that's what it is.

So anyway, I did a little innertoobs research to get a sense of the ingredients and proportions, cobbled together my own recipe inspired by several others, and whipped up a batch over the weekend.

Besides being cheap and easy, it's freaking awesome! Seriously. It's moderately sweet and astringent, and lightly effervescent like a pineapple lime soda with some vague woody, spicy bottom notes. Delightful! I first had to assure Beloved it wasn't like bathtub gin, so blindness was unlikely. After that, tastiness was conceded. However, you, dear reader, homebrew at your own risk.

The only Spanish I know is, "Tu madre tiene mucho pelo en su pinga," so the best I could do was:

Tepache del Bastardo

1 large ripe pineapple, well-rinsed
~ 8 c. water
1 1/3 brown sugar or piloncillo
1 stick canella or cinnamon
4-6 cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Crock Pot Slow Cooker
stock pot
colander
cheesecloth
funnel
bottles sufficient to contain 2 liters, clean with tight-fitting lid/s
Note: Don't scour the fruit with cleaners or boil your water — you'll destroy the microbes you need for fermentation.
Rinse and butcher a ripe pineapple. Compost the leafy top, pack up the edible parts for snacks. Chop the remaining rind and core coarsely, and chuck 'em in the Crock Pot. Dissolve the sugar into warm water, and put enough water in the Crock Pot to cover all the fruit. Add spices. Cover and turn the Crock Pot on LOW for a half-hour, just to mingle the mix so it feels sexy. Keep the Crock Pot somewhere warm, but ferchrissakes — don't leave it turned on. 

On Day 2, remove the lid, give it a stir, replace the lid. Don't panic if you think it's too sweet — the yeasts will eat most of that sugar up during fermentation. On Day 3, stir and recover again. You should be seeing the frothy evidence of fermentation. It's still going to be a bit sweet — don't flip. Put the stockpot in the sink and the colander in the stockpot. Dump the Crock Pot into the colander. Wrap the fruit inside the cheesecloth and wring out as much juice as you can, compost what's left.

Using a funnel, bottle your Tepache, leaving some headspace in each bottle, like a beer. Don't screw the lids on yet! Leave the bottles on the countertop with the bottle's mouth covered by a kitchen towel. On Day 4, cap and refrigerate. There's going to be some bottle fermentation happening (like champagne), so open the bottles sloooooowly over a sink. Apparently, if you don't drink Tepache fairly promptly, it turns into gourmet pineapple vinegar.

Heh, I reckon there's very little danger of that at Chez Bastard.

28 May 2010

DADT repeal? No, it is neither.

Passage of the "Liberman Amendment" currently in the news does not repeal DADT, does not allow gays to serve openly in the military, and furthermore, it doesn't even require the replacement policy to be nondiscriminatory.

Like Obama's "extending benefits to LGBT federal employees," it's another cynical "Look at me, I'm doing the right thing!" performance piece for the benefit of the Democrat base, bereft of any actual benefit to the LGBT community.

1. It isn't DADT.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a policy directive, not federal law; thus, it is not subject to Congressional repeal.

DADT is the nickname for Department of Defense Directive 1304.26, issued by President Bill Clinton late in 1993. DADT was intended to ameliorate the effect of the very extreme "Homosexual Exclusion" law (10 U.S.C. §654) hastily passed by Congress earlier that year. The law Congress is currently considering repealing is this Homosexual Exclusion law.

Like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton campaigned on the promise of enacting a military nondiscrimination policy, and he was elected. Congress, then as now, sensibly responded, ZOMFG! TEH GHEYZ R N UR BOIZ BATHROOMZ!!11! EVRYBDY PANCKE!!! and House Armed Services Chairman Ron Dellums (D-CA) hastily inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (10 U.S.C. § 654) which he'd cribbed from Ronald Reagan's Department of Defense Directive 1332.14, itself an absolute bar on gays serving in the military, period.

The Defense Authorization Act with Dellums' Amendment passed Congress with veto-proof bipartisan majorities about six months after Clinton's election, and only four months after Dellums proposed the language — proving that when they need to do something really important (like keeping gays in their place) Congress can act with terrifying speed. Clinton signed it, enacting bigotry into federal law and breaking his campaign promise.

Late that year, President Clinton issued Defense Directive 1304.26 (Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Harass, Don't Pursue) as a "compromise" to allow deeply closeted gay people to join and serve as long as their sexual identity was neither disclosed by themselves nor disclosed by others.

DADT wasn't a policy that directly discriminated against all gays, only the honest ones. Openly gay people continued to be excluded from joining and discharged if already serving. While DADT might have been intended to stop witch-hunts, as a practical matter it didn't. DADT also discriminated against the unfortunate. Vengeful comrades or former partners routinely rat out gay servicemembers, who are discharged on such "evidence."

Meanwhile, a military desperately hungry for fresh meat issued thousands of waivers to applicants with inadequate aptitude scores, health problems, and criminal convictions beginning in 2003 and lasting until the recent financial depression helpfully created mass unemployment. Even as the military welcomed violent armed robbers, it discharged more than 13,500 otherwise qualified soldiers for their insufficient fascination with penis-in-vagina sex.

2. It isn't repeal.

The Lieberman Amendment merely provides a mechanism for possible repeal, leaving the status quo in place while the Defense Department (1) completes its year-long "comprehensive review" (by prior agreement with POTUS, due in December), and (2) promulgates new rules (no deadline provided). Discrimination and discharges will continue to be the rule for the foreseeable future.

The amendment also allows that if either the president, secretary of defense, or chairman of the joint chiefs of staff refuses to "certify" those new DOD rules as being, in his opinion, inconsistent with "military standards," the repeal mechanism isn't triggered and it dies, leaving the law as is.

Ultimately, the Lieberman Amendment grants the DOD the power to both conceive the replacement policy and obtain its late-term abortion. That's not repeal, it's a scheme for the possibility of repeal at the unanimous discretion of a three-party body, two of whom are unelected and military.

3. It doesn't end discrimination.

It is significant that nothing in the Lieberman Amendment requires the DOD's new rules and policies to be nondiscriminatory. I fully expect military discrimination to continue in fresh new ways, (even as I fully expect President Obama to hold his "certification" hostage until after his election in 2012, to guarantee the LGBT vote).

It's also noteworthy that Congress didn't require any supporting study or formal review to enact an extreme antigay law, but repealing that law necessitates a year-long "comprehensive review," followed by another unspecified period for the top brass to careful study that review.

This somehow critically important "comprehensive review" is indeed comprehensive to the extent that it that includes the input of everyone except gay servicemembers and their families. In thoroughly kafkaesque fashion, if a servicemember volunteers how antigay policy actually affects or might affect them as a gay person, that's a sufficient "tell" to initiate discharge proceedings under DADT. Seriously, could that be more fucked up?

Even if everything goes optimally, reasonable new policies are enacted and the Homosexual Exclusion law is repealed, the Uniform Code of Military Justice's Article 125 consensual sodomy ban (unaffected by the Lieberman Amendment) will almost certainly continue to be applied with virtual exclusivity against only the gay practitioners of oral or anal sex, as civilian sodomy laws were until 2003's Lawrence v Texas. There's no way bigots are going to permit the foreclosure of every legal process to rid themselves of unwanted gays.

Here's the Lieberman Amendment in full if you want to check my work. It's a pretty easy read, so I guess it's got that going for it. For extra credit, compare that sack of crap it to the vastly superior Murphy/Tauscher bill.

Here's the bigoted company we keep.

27 May 2010

Kill some time today.

Jam Band Fan or Taliban?

Guess whether the bearded idiot is into weed or jihad!


See? It's harder than you think.

Please to enjoy.

20 May 2010

Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along.

Apparently the US Coast Guard — a branch of the US military — is now under the command of BP executives, having been tasked with enforcing BP's corporate policy against the media.

(It is not noted in this excerpt that South Pass is the very tip of the Louisiana bayou in Plaquemines Parish.)



Had you still harbored a shred of belief that this country is not actually run by corporations, I hope that clip has disabused you of that notion.

Waterways are inherently public and public use is always paramount; so said the Supreme Court in Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois (1892) (blocking the state legislature's attempt to grant title to most of Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline to the corporation).

I'm not sure why BP imagines it has a right to bar the public from public waterways. I'm also unclear as to why Coast Guard officers have chosen to enforce corporate policy rather than a law they really should be familiar with.

I also wonder why the CBS reporter didn't tell them, "I'm national broadcast media, you idiots. So please, PRETTY PLEASE, arrest me right here, right now, on camera. While you're at it, be sure to arraign me in a BP Corporation court and sentence me to a BP Corporation prison, too. Seriously, are you people insane?"

18 May 2010

If only, Reverend. If only.

My circle of friends is surpassingly fussy about the language. It's the source of a number of inside jokes.

For example, recently Beloved and I were relishing someone's hilariously inapt use of the word "literally," when I decided that I was going to start using the term wrong purposefully. Bea got in on the joke and promptly became the past master.

Bastard. He does everything better than me.

Anyway, I got my biggest laugh of the day from Reverend Jeremiah Wright. He was quoted thus in an article, Ex-Obama Pastor: 'Obama Threw Me Under the Bus'
"No one in the Obama administration will respond to me, listen to me, talk to me or read anything that I write to them. I am 'toxic' in terms of the Obama administration," Wright wrote the president of Africa 6000 International earlier this year.
"I am 'radioactive,' Sir. When Obama threw me under the bus, he threw me under the bus literally!
[emphasis added]
funny animated gif

Oh lordy, that was glorious.

16 May 2010

Porn as SexEd

CAUTION: Not Safe for Work.

Cindy Gallop (http://makelovenotporn.com) makes the case that the ubiquity of hardcore internet porn has, by default, become the sex education standard for young people, and this has happened because intelligent adults have ceded this vitally important aspect of personal development to the lowest common denominator: religion.

It's a brief and interesting presentation from a woman who is not, in fact, anti-porn.

12 May 2010

Rocking the Sixth Grade Festival.

On YouTube, the following video is captioned thus:
greyson97 — April 28, 2010 — Me performing "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga at Edmond's Sixth Grade Festival. I own no rights to this song.
Maybe not, but you totally PWND.

Jupiter removes belt.

Before:
The band was present in June 2009 (Image: Anthony Wesley)
Image by Anthony Wesley
After:
Image by Anthony Wesley
The missing line is called the Southern Equatorial Belt.
In astrophysical terms, removal of the belt means an ass-whupping is imminent.

11 May 2010

Schadenfreudelicious.

Watching Christofascist George Rekers' Rentboy Scandal unfold has been providing me chemotherapy level doses of schadenfreude.
Reverend Rekers made his first appearance here at the crustybastard waaaay back in November of 2008. It was a post about the absolute lunacy of the expert testimony used in Florida's defense of its ban on gay adoption.
Florida's Attorney General (and fellow Christofascist) Bill McCollum now has some regrets about that.
I think our team’s done what it should do. We’ve been defending the constitution of the state and we’ve been representing the Department of Children and Families, who hired him and paid him and needed expert witnesses and he was available and credentialed.
I wouldn’t do it again if I knew what I know today but I didn't know that then and neither did anybody else.
Here's his revised statement.
As hired counsel for the Florida Department of Children and Families, our office is committed to providing our client with the best possible legal representation in this matter.
Dr. Rekers, a professor emeritus from University of South Carolina and a neuropsychologist with a degree from UCLA, came to our attention by recommendation from another academic after an exhaustive search for potential expert witnesses who were willing to testify. Dr. Rekers had exceptional credentials and he had provided testimony in similar cases on two separate occasions, one of which was a Florida case in Federal Court.
The contract was executed at the direction of the Department of Children and Families, and the ACLU did not object to his position as an expert at the hearing. He has completed his testimony and is no longer involved in this case.
McCollum — ever the piece of shit — blames on the FDCF for Rekers. The department was indeed the state organ who wrote Rekers a check for more than $120,000 for his testimony, but McCollum neglects to mention that he was the one who insisted the department hire Rekers and negotiated his payment.
I love how McCollum is standing by Rekers' "exceptional credentials." Heh. Judge Cindy Lederman, presiding over the Florida Adoption Ban trial, wasn't quite so impressed:
Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.
So George "exceptional credentials" Rekers was recommended to McCollum by "another academic," was he? Hm. I wonder if the other "academic" was Walter Schumm, who also served as one of McCollum's "expert" witnesses at the Florida trial?
What does Judge Lederman have to say about Schumm?
The Department also tendered Dr. Walter Schumm, Associate Professor of Family Studies, Kansas State University, as an expert in family child development, empirical and theoretical family studies and research methodology. Dr. Schumm also integrates his religious and ideological beliefs into his research. In an article he published in the Journal of Psychology and Theology* he wrote, “With respect to the integration of faith and research, I have been trying to use statistics to highlight the truth of the Scripture.”
In another paper that he co-authored with Dr. Rekers concerning the authors' disagreement with homosexual practices, he wrote: 'Within the limitations imposed by context, errors in translation and errors of individual interpretation, we prefer to accept the authority of the Bible as the best guide for sexual decision making...after reasoned study, we make the assumption that [Scripture] contain[s] the wisdom of the Creator...'
Dr. Schumm is not a psychologist...He suggests that his re-analyses, mostly unpublished, should be accepted over the analyses of well respected researchers in peer reviewed journals. Dr. Schumm admitted that he applies statistical standards that depart from conventions in the field.
In fact, Dr. Cochran and Dr. Lamb testified that Dr. Schumm's statistical re-analyses contained a number of fundamental errors. [emphasis mine]
Besides being admired by Attorney General McCollum for their great "expertise" on the all matters regarding teh gheys, Rekers and Schumm are both fans and colleagues of each other as well as discredited sex researcher and homophobic junk scientist Paul Cameron, Ph D.
Rekers and Schumm both cite Cameron's junk science approvingly in their articles and testimony, and Schumm is also a board member of the Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Behavior — which claims to be a "peer-reviewed journal" but is actually Paul Cameron's pay-to-publish website ($500 and up.) There's only one article available at the junk science Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Behavior. It's by — surprise! — Paul Cameron.
It's probably adequate to say that Cameron has actually advocated exterminating gays. Really.
So after an "exhaustive search" for anti-gay expert witnesses, the attorney general of Florida apparently couldn't find anyone who doesn't rely on Paul Cameron's "research"? And A.G. McCollum still won't distance himself from the junk science, but only from one junk scientist because he got busted with a gay hooker?
Well, I am Jack's total lack of surprise.
McCollum is the leading candidate for governor. Florida, seriously — you bring it on yourselves.
______________________
* The Journal of Psychology and Theology is a publication of Biola University, a private self-styled "Biblically Centered Education" institution.

Good show.

10 May 2010

Chivalry in action.

I dub thee Sir Antonio "Lil' 'Ton" Collins, Knight Errant and Lord High Protector of the Realms of Waldo and Brookside.
Arise Sir Antonio, and regale us with thy tale most valiant:*
I'm sitting [in lockup] looking at the dude and asking him what he in here for. He acting like he don't want to tell me. I said "What are you in here for?" He said just a little bit of nothing.
A news report about the Waldo Rapist came on the TV. I'm looking at the picture and I look down at him and he got this little eerie little smirk on his face like he's happy about what's going on the news, all the attention he's getting.
I got very angry. "You raping people, you ain't about to be in here. I'm going to knock you." I covered up a camera and he swung on me, you know what I'm saying? I tried to kick the snot out of that boy's face. BOP! got him with one, you know what I'm saying?
I had him picked up on the bars, you know what I'm saying? I gave him a couple of something. He was saying something before the guards came. I have gave him a little head butt. Then he's sitting over saying "C.O., help! C.O.!" he yelling for help.
I'm like, "What are you screaming for help now for?" He had a little knot.
I made him scream just like he made them women scream. I think they would feel pretty good about what I did, I think they feel like a little bit more justice is done. I mean, he going to get it when he gets to the pen anyway.
I got no regrets. Like I told the detectives, put me in there with him a little more I'll get y'all a confession.
Verily, I decree that you, good sir, shall never buy a drink in Waldo or Brookside again!
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* Stitched together from various local news sources.

29 April 2010

More FOX than FOX.

Today on NPR they did a story on Catholic child rapers, which concluded with the "expert" cheering what a great job Ratzinger has done (ignoring that Ratzinger was instrumental in the coverups) and how Ratzinger's (homophobic) "reforms" have been really helpful.
There was a story on Arizona's "Papers Please" immigration law, where they allowed Professor Kris Kobach, (who wrote the law on behalf of an overtly racist organization, a small fact they didn't bother to mention), to defend it against callers who mostly supported it. One caller who objected to the law was clearly insane.
There was also a segment on the Tea Party movement, explaining why it's not really quite as racist as it is because they found a black guy in the movement, and the black guy didn't think it was racist.
Finally, there was a segment that gave some asshole from Goldman Sachs the opportunity to say what great things Goldman has done for the community.
Okay, did I mention this was on NPR?
Holy shit.