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Archive for June, 2006

June 27th, 2006

Rowan Joins The Pogrom

It looks tonight, as though the Archbishop of Canterbury is going to embrace the pogrom of the American right wing billionaires who have been financing the upheaval in his church over the ordination of gays and women…

The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined proposals that are expected to lead to the exclusion of The Episcopal Church of the United States from the Anglican Church as a consequence of consecrating a gay bishop.

The US branch of Anglicanism faces losing its status of full membership of the Anglican Church in the wake of its consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, an act which has propelled the worldwide church to the brink of schism.

The final straw came when The Episcopal Church failed to "repent" of its action at its General Convention in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, and failed to vote through a moratorium on any more gay consecrations.

Dr Williams is proposing a two-track Anglican Communion, with orthodox churches being accorded full, "constituent" membership and the rebel, pro-gay liberals being consigned to "associate" membership.

All provinces will be offered the chance to sign up to a "covenant" which will set out the traditional, biblical standards on which all full members of the Anglican church can agree.

But it is highly unlikely that churches such as The Episcopal Church in the US, the Anglican churches in Canada and New Zealand and even the Scottish Episcopal Church would be able to commit themselves fully to such a document.

These churches and any others that refused to sign up could opt to cut ties to Canterbury altogether, or could choose to remain in associate status.

This is not simply a victory for bigotry…it’s a milepost along a highway of blood.  Homosexuals will die, never doubt this, as a result of the religious passions Williams is now pouring gasoline on.  After the holocaust you’d think they’d know better, but it seems that lesson was only Lets lay off the Jews for a while and bash the homosexuals instead.  Once upon a time the Catholic church, and then the Protestants, insisted that Jews were Christ killers who deserved what they got.  You can argue that lead directly to the Ovens, but in fact the killing had been going on for centuries.  By the reckoning of normal population growth statistics, and starting from the count of the number of Jews in the holy lands at the time of Jesus (the Roman occupiers kept meticulous records in the manner of all totalitarian states…), I’m told there should be about 240 million Jews walking this earth, right now, right this moment.  In fact there are about 18 million.  Hitler didn’t do all that…

We shall see how defenders of the Church take pains to distinguish between "anti-Judaism" and "antisemitism"; between Christian Jew-hatred as a "necessary but insufficient" cause of the Holocaust; between the "sins of the children" and the sinlessness of the Church as such.  These distinctions become meaningless before the core truth of this history: Because the hatred of Jews had been made holy, it became lethal.
-James Carroll, "Constantine’s Sword"

The holocaust made antisemitism something you’re not supposed to preach from the pulpit…at least not while outsiders are looking.  But on the other hand Leviticus gives a free pass to people who kill homosexuals in the name of God, and judging from the reaction in some quarters already to Williams’ decision to expel everyone who doesn’t think homosexuals are unclean, the mob is ready for a little Leviticus action…

And get it they will.  I strongly doubt it is any coincidence, that the rise in gay bashings and killings worldwide has come at a time when Catholic and Protestant church leaders, in America and in the third world, are busy calling homosexuals a threat to everything from children and marriage and family to the existence of civilization itself.  Rowan Williams has not only signed onto this pogrom, whatever his future protestations that he means gay people no harm, by throwing his church into schism because some churches weren’t treating gays as the unclean god condemned sinners they are, he’s now poured gasoline onto it.  The Gays Split The Church, isn’t quite as good as The Jews Killed Christ, but it will do nicely.

No Dr. Williams…our blood is not upon us.  It is upon you.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Rowan Joins The Pogrom


Updating The Cartoon Page

I’ve a new cartoon up…finally.  I’m so sorry for the cartoon page downtime, but I have to admit it’s been gratifying to get so scolded for it.  I’m just amazed that my political cartoons have so many fans, particularly since I don’t advertise, and the couple small community papers that had been carrying it dropped out at the beginning of the year without explanation.

Yes…this one’s old news.  It had been on the drawing board for weeks now.  I have another few like that in various stages of readiness, so the next week will be catching up.  Then hopefully we’ll be back to normal.

Oh…and there Will be a new episode of A Coming Out Story up late Saturday.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

June 26th, 2006

Well I Guess I Don’t Have To Worry About Drought This Summer…

Just so family and friends know…Casa del Garrett is holding up just fine under the onslaught of rain here in central Maryland.  My street dead ends in a grassy field, beyond which is a sharp drop down about sixty feet or so to an area of warehouses, and from there down about thirty feet or so more to the Jones Falls river (which is more of a very large creek most days).  I am well above the hundred-year flood plain around Jones Falls.  In addition my neighborhood is on a slight, but pronounced grade, such that if I walk three blocks east or two blocks north, I am standing at the same height as my roof.  Rain water, even from the last hurricane runs off pretty quickly around here, and people keep the storm gutters clear.

Last night, during a torrent of rain, I stood under the aluminum roof over my back deck and watched the water cascading down the alley.  The flat roofs of our rowhouses all tilt toward the back yards, and most all of us have gutter extensions that drain the runoff into the alley.  It was a mad river back there for a while, but because of the grade the water was rushing down the alley as fast as it was coming down out of the sky.  There was no danger of it overflowing into our yards or our basements.  At the end of the alley is a big storm gutter, but also the drop down to the Jones Falls, which would have to rise about a hundred feet to put my neighborhood at risk of flooding out.

I’d had it in mind to get the roof inspected this summer, as it’s about two-thirds into it’s ten year life expectancy.  But so far there are no leaks.  My little brick rowhouse is staying water tight, even under the basement door.  The bad news is that they’re calling for rain through the rest of the week for Washington and Baltimore, so a lot of places around here are going to flood.  I haven’t seen any downed trees yet, but I’m sure I will before the week’s over.  So far the power has flickered from time to time, but hasn’t gone out yet.  I’ve seen the power company trucks rolling around though, so I reckon downed trees have been giving them trouble elsewhere.

At the moment we’re under another torrent again.  They come and go.  Sometimes there is no rain at all.  It’s very much like what you get from rain bands from a tropical storm…nothing, then light drizzle, then rain, then a torrent of rain, then back to a drizzle or nothing for a while…only from what I see on the Weather Channel it’s just a stalled front pumping rain up the coast. 

So I’m fine for now, and I am not at any great risk of flooding.  It’s going to leave its mark elsewhere in the state though.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

June 25th, 2006

For Those Of You Worried About Hubble’s Camera…

Yes…the Advanced Camera for Surveys went into safe mode last Monday, after an anomaly was detected in the the CCD Electronics  Box.  Basically so I’m told, the voltages went above their high limits.  So the camera went into safe mode.

We have a redundant power supply circuit we can switch to, and I understand preparations are being made to activate it.  But they want to fully understand what happened to cause the safe mode first.  They’re going to do this slowly and methodically, look at all the data, run a few tests, look at the data some more, one step at a time until they are satisfied they understand what happened.  I’m told there is no cause for alarm, and we’ll probably get back to doing science with it by the end of the month.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


Just So You Know I’ve Been Doing Some Work Around Here…

I’m starting to get scolded now for not keeping my cartoon page up to date, and I won’t have this week’s political cartoon(s) ready until late Monday.  So just so you know that I’ve actually been somewhat busy in my art room these past few days, here’s a peek at the next installment of A Coming Out Story

Click on the image for the full size version, if you like.  I have four more sets of panels like this one to finish, but I’m close.  I expect to have the next installment up this Saturday.  I think I’m getting my steam back.  The story gets a little fun-er now.  I have two political cartoons on the drawing boards that I’m almost done with too.  I should have them up late tomorrow.  I also have another Mark and Josh cartoon…two in a series actually…in the works.

Old friends of mine can hopefully see now why I’m being coy about names and faces.  I am as much a product of the 60s/70s as any other boomer child and I decided when I set out to do this story that I wouldn’t censor the pot smoking (among other things) that went on back then.  So the names, and a few faces, have been changed to protect the not quite so innocent.  And if my old friends want further inoculation, they can simply point to my introduction to the series, in which I plainly state that the story I am telling is one-third things that really happened to me, one-third artistic license, and one-third pure fantasy. 

I think I’m getting my steam back here.  I should be a bit more productive in the coming weeks.  Hopefully I can get back into some kind of rythm on my Coming Out Story.  I have something like fifity episodes scripted already  (and there are more I need to work out) and I don’t want to be doing this thing for the rest of my life, so I need to figure out ways I can get these things made faster.  Part of my slowness in getting this installment out has been in experimenting with new ways of working, both on the drafting table and in Photoshop.  I’d like to get myself to a place where I can turn out a new episode every two weeks.  Otherwise I’ll be decades finishing this thing.

[Majorly Edited…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Just So You Know I’ve Been Doing Some Work Around Here…


Notes From My Quote File…

Just to while away the time…

A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes.
-Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"
-Howard Ikemoto

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
-John W. Gardner

No stream rises higher than its source.
-Frank Lloyd Wright

I’m sure many people will ask, ‘how could anyone do such a horrible thing?’  My only answer is, it isn’t easy,and was done only after much thought.
-John List, in a letter explaining why he killed his wife and children
                       
That we can do such as this, and still remain moral men, is what makes us great.
-Heinrich Himmler, to his troops after a mass execution of Jews in Poland

When heterosexuals come to terms with their sexuality, they call it adolescence.  When gay people do the same, they call it "coming out."
-The Columbus Dispatch, "Coming out"

Most of us survive our first loves.  But imagine what it must be like when your first love is not only a test of your commitment to your partner, but also of your parents’ to you?
-Desiree Cooper "Mother’s love is not a worry for gay teen", The Detroit Free Press

America is Satanic. America is so Satanic that even hamburgers should be considered evil, because they come from America.
-Sun Myung Moon

For best results: wash in cold water separately,
hang dry and iron with warm iron. For not so good
results: drag behind car through puddles, blow-dry
on roofrack.
-Laundry instructions on a shirt made by HEET (Korea)

It’s not like I never want to bite people…I just know it’s wrong.
-Satchel Pooch (Mrs. Pastor)

I smoke because it keeps me from killing people.
-Sarah Deere (Eschaton blog reader)

Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops.
-H.L. Mencken, Minority Report

What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school… It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don’t understand it. You see my physics students don’t understand it… That is because I don’t understand it. Nobody does.
-Richard Feynman

Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached.
-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Herrera v. Collins

A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world and the responsibilities of your life. Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away. Be good natured and untidy in your exuberance. In the glare of your mind, be modest, and beholden to what is tactile and thrilling.
-Mary Oliver

Some people are settling, some people are settling down and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.
-Carrie – Sex And The City
 

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Notes From My Quote File…

June 24th, 2006

Top Three Gay Films

Logo (the gay cable channel that seldom has anything on it I want to watch) has its viewers’ picks for the top 50 LGBT films, and  Pam’s House Blend is running a top 3 thread in response.  Every time one of these Pick Your Favorite GLBT Films things comes up it only serves to remind me how little same sex Romance there is out there.  But I think I can actually pick a top three…

Stipulating that I have not seen Brokeback Mountain…which seems to be on everyones favorites list nowadays (and it seems, rightfully so…)  These three have all the right ingredients, the stuff of every heterosexual romance you’ve ever seen or read, but finally gay couples get a chance to play too.

  • Latter Days – Excruciatingly hard to watch in spots (like the excommunication scenes), but this is the kind of true hearted same sex romance I have long waited to see on film.  L.A. party boy discovers a group of young Mormon missionaries has moved into the apartment across from his, and takes a bet that he can seduce one of them.  Of course they fall in love.  It could easily have belly flopped into the trite pool, but like all good romances, the lovers drive each other to reach beyond themselves.  The Mormon boy challenges the party boy’s superficiality and the party boy coaxes the Mormon boy out of his suffocating shell. 
  • You I Love – A sexy sweet rollercoaster of a love story.  Young successful, trendy Moscow urbanite with young successful and trendy girlfriend falls head over heels in love with young Russian male from deep in the Asian side of the country.  I almost threw a chair through the TV set when I thought the film was going to end with the lover’s being separated…but they didn’t do that to me.  Some have suggested that the film cops out by having the lovers taking refuge in a bisexual triangle at the end (with the urbanite’s girlfriend).  Given the vehement social prejudices on display in the film (and in real life in Moscow lately), I can forgive the filmmakers for this.  You do not doubt for a moment the love the two guys have for each other throughout this film and it is very touching.
  • Lan Yu – Successful single businessman, preoccupied with business and cynical about love, has a tryst with a younger man that turns into a longtime on again – off again affair.  Businessman showers younger man with gifts, including an expensive house to live in, but keeps him at arm’s length because he doesn’t believe in love.  Then businessman is then caught up in the shady dealings of his company, arrested and put on trial.  Younger man sells all the gifts the businessman bought for him to pay bribes to corrupt local officials and get his lover out of jail.  Businessman learns that love is really more important then business after all.  If they’d only ended it there this film would be my all time favorite.  But then they had to go and gratuitously kill the younger lover off at the very end of the film in a random construction accident, leaving the businessman alone and grieving.  I suppose this was supposed to drive home the lesson about not wasting your chances for love, but they didn’t have to do that to make the point.

Now for three guilty pleasures…

  • Gravitation and Earthian – Neither of these anime were nearly as good as the manga they were based on, but…damn!  Beautiful long haired (and I mean Long Haired) guys.   Oh yes…
  • Harry and Son – Robbie Benson in a pair of cut-offs.  And the story is pretty good too…
  • Happy Together – My anti-romance, for when I’m in a cynical mood.  Lovers who cannot stand each other, yet cannot keep their hands off each other, end up stranded in Buenos Aires, doing menial work to make ends meet while taking the occasional roll in the sack that they just can’t seem to avoid.  Something about the idea that Buenos Aries is the place where all failed romances end up appeals to me.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Top Three Gay Films


Why Is This Not Surprising…

From our Department Of Unsurprising Things…  Via The Register…did you know that the Tribulation Forces are monitoring your keystrokes…?

Watchers of right-wing Christian groups in the States say a new apocalyptic videogame released by cultish Revelations-based fiction series Left Behind is riddled with spyware.

Developers have incorporated software from an Israeli firm called Double Fusion. It incorporates video advertising and product placement into the game, and reportedly records players’ behaviour, location, and other data to be uploaded to Left Behind’s Bible-powered marketing machine.

Nice.  But the righteous have nothing to fear.  If this sort of thing bothers you, you’re probably an agent of Satan anyway.  Or a UN Peacekeeper.

In an interview on the series’ website Greg Bauman of Left Behind Games explains: "Left Behind: Eternal Forces will help readers get a sense of the conflict and chaos of the time period portrayed in Left Behind and live out how they would defend themselves and their faith from the Antichrist and his Global Peace Keeping Forces." The United Nations, already organ of satanic machinations for many on the Christian far-right, features strongly in the game. Goat-footed demons reportedly emerge from UN peacekeeping humvees.

Which reminds me of something I was watching unfold in tired resignation the other day…(via Steve Gilliard)

Gun owners accuse UN of July 4 conspiracy

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Americans mistakenly worried the United Nations is plotting to take away their guns on July 4 — U.S. Independence Day — are flooding the world body with angry letters and postcards, the chairman of a U.N. conference on the illegal small arms trade said on Wednesday.

"I myself have received over 100,000 letters from the U.S. public, criticizing me personally, saying, ‘You are having this conference on the 4th of July, you are not going to get our guns on that day,"’ said Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka’s U.N. ambassador.

"That is a total misconception as far as we are concerned," Kariyawasam told reporters ahead of the two-week meeting opening on Monday.

For one, July 4 is a holiday at U.N. headquarters and the world body’s staff will be watching a fireworks display from the U.N. lawn rather than attending any meetings, he said.

For another, the U.N. conference will look only at illegal arms and "does not in any way address legal possession," a matter left to national governments to regulate rather than the United Nations, he added.

The campaign is largely the work of the U.S. National Rifle Association, whose executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, warns on an NRA Web site (http://www.stopungunban.org/) of a July 4 plot "to finalize a U.N. treaty that would strip all citizens of all nations of their right to self-protection."

Notice how the rank and file just ate it up.  Lookout!  Lookout!  The UN is coming to take your guns away on the forth of July…!  And you wonder why some people reflexively associate guns with mentally unstable lunatics.  This is exactly why I am not a member of the NRA.  That, and their knee jerk support for any gutter crawling bigot running for office who happens to have the right position on gun ownership.  And you know what…I’ll bet at least two-thirds of the membership of Pink Pistols bought into this crap too.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why Is This Not Surprising…

June 23rd, 2006

While Probing The Fabric Of The Universe, Wear Your Safety Goggles

Something else from Cosmic Variance that caught my eye…  Physicists are eagerly awaiting the first collisions from the new Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle accelerator which will probe deeper into matter than ever before. Due to switch on in 2007, it will ultimately collide beams of protons at an energy of 14 TeV . Beams of lead nuclei will be also accelerated, smashing together with a collision energy of 1150 TeV. 

But they need to be a tad careful in turning it on… 

Now for the reality check, as presented last week by the LHC project manager Lyn Evans (insert drumroll here): The machine will be closed in August 2007 and first collisions will occur in November 2007 at center of mass energy 1.8 TeV. The same energy as the previous run (known as Run I) at the Tevatron! It seems that this decision is very prudent. In 2007, only a couple sectors of the LHC will be fully commissioned to handle 7 TeV proton beams. The remaining sectors will not be commissioned until early 2008.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Commissioning (starting) new colliders is frought with numerous unintentional aborts of the beam. And when a beam is aborted, it has to go somewhere (it’s called dumping the beam). Hopefully it aborts as planned, otherwise….much energy is dumped somewhere it should not be! At full throttle (7 TeV beams), the energy stored in the LHC beam is 700 MegaJoules, or 10 TeraWatts. How big is that? Well, 10 TeraWatts is about half of the world’s total energy output. No wonder the accelerator folks are a bit jittery! They don’t want to dump 10 TeraWatts of beam just anywhere…

Here’s a picture (courtesy of Tom LeCompte) to illustrate this point. The kinetic energy of battleship guns is 300 Megajoules, or just less than half that of the full LHC beam. Now we understand why the machine folks want to be a bit cautious…

Yeah…I think I’d be careful with that too.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)


Swear To God. I Am Going To Start A Separate Science Blog Roll

Daily Kos diarist Darksyde give me a link to another good one, Cosmic Variance.  Jo Ann blogs on the topic of who owns the data, and should it be made public

…Tao Han brought up a push-your-buttons topic during his presentation: he proposed that the LHC data should be made available to the community as maximal openess would only benefit the physics. He admitted that while us non-LHC experimenters could not comprehend the raw data, he proposed that LHC- experimenters store their data in ASCII and make it available to the public. First a gasp and then audible silence swept the audience as this has been a controversial topic for years.

Han’s public data proposal completely dominated the lively and sometimes heated discussion afterwards. Joe Lykken called Maria Spiropulu up to the podium to defend the bastion of the secret data experimental world, noting that the astrophysics community does make its data public (although I could not find a site while looking tonight – anybody know a URL?). Maria stood silent for a minute, then turned directly towards Tao and said a single word: “ASCII?” It brought the house down. Then she started on the usual diatribe on how their data would be useless as us theorists don’t understand the detectors, their data format, blah blah blah. Frankly, I think she (and experimenters in general) misunderstand the point and underestimate us. Tao Han did not ask for raw data – nobody without the proper background or code can comprehend that – he asked for the 4-vectors (the energy and momentum read-outs) in ASCII. In other words, he asked for the data after it had been processed and sifted, and churned into a useable format. It is the form of data that us particle theorists deal with in our Monte Carlo codes and is what the experimenter works with in the end. It is a reasonable request, but not likely to happen.

So, just who “owns” this data anyway? The experimenters feel that they worked hard and suffered to build the detector (and they have indeed), so the data and any discoveries are theirs. But, who came up with the theories that are being tested? Who did the calculations to see what type of machine should be built? Who convinced the politicians to build the machine? And last, but by no means least, who footed the bill to pay for the machine? So who really owns this data and why is it kept under lock and key?

Even better then the data being made public would be making public the process of arguing and debating what the data means.  When scientists hide their work behind closed doors, they shouldn’t be surprised when the general public becomes suspicious that they don’t really know anything, and begin to embrace superstitious claptrap like Intelligent Design.  Why does it matter if they do?  Well

MJ: How did we get to this point, where science is so blatantly abused for political purposes?

CM: Well, I think it’s part of the history of the modern conservative movement, and you see it coming to fruition recently with that movement’s total control of the Republican Party and of the government. Here you have a movement anchored in, among other things, a distrust of big government. And of course a lot of science is funded by government, and a lot of science takes place in government agencies. This is also a movement that has plausibly been accused of having anti-intellectual tendencies, that thinks big universities and the academic elites are biased against ordinary folks.

But most importantly you have raw politics, or catering to your constituents. With the conservatives, you have industry, which is coming up against science all the time, and religious conservatives, who come out against science any time [it conflicts with] their moral view of the world.

So, you combine all of those things—not liking government, distrusting universities, catering to your base—and then you get control of the government and I think what you get is exactly what you’d predict.

MJ: How far back do you have to go to see this coming together?

CM: There are good indications that these tensions were mounting [in the 1950s] for instance, when William F. Buckley attacked Yale, or when Barry Goldwater ran for President in 1964 and was attacked by the nation’s scientists for his anti-intellectual tendencies. Of course, they were fighting over different issues then, particularly arms control, but I think that the tension was clearly present.

But I think it really becomes a political phenomenon with Reagan. He was the [conservative] movement’s president and so of course he did a lot of this pro-industry and pro-religious stuff. He spoke favorably of creationism as well. So I think that’s when it really hit the political mainstream.

That’s an excerpt of the Mother Jones interview with Chris Moony, author of The Republican War On Science

What blogging is doing for the political dialog, it can do for science.  Science can speak for itself directly to the world.  It doesn’t have to have it’s voice filtered through the corporate republican friendly news media. It should.  It must.  What Jacob Bronowski wrote back in 1956 is so terribly true today:

The world today is made, it is powered by science; and for any man to abdicate an interest in science is to walk with open eyes toward slavery. 

I have now in my browser’s bookmarks list about a half dozen or so good science blogs that I visit often.  I’m going to create a separate blogroll list for them, and add to it as I happen across new ones.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Swear To God. I Am Going To Start A Separate Science Blog Roll


Things That Will Make You Homosexual

Just so you know.  Via Pam’s House Blend…  Linda Harvey of Mission America lists the ways we are made queer .  I’m linking to her so you can see for yourself that I’m not making this shit up…

The Creation of New Homosexuals

These warnings beg a very serious question: can people, children in this case, become homosexuals by exposure to certain ideas and behavior? In other words, can a person who would not otherwise become homosexual, start the behavior, come to prefer it and continue it?

Can a society create more homosexuals? The answer quite clearly is yes. That is how current homosexuals, in fact, came to be. There is no evidence–none– for a genetic origin for homosexuality. That may come as a surprise to many people, but it’s true. It’s even more astonishing when one realizes how many influential groups and people now accept homosexuality as inborn for some, but when you look behind the rhetoric, you find that there is nothing but wishful thinking. For an excellent paper debunking this myth, see Culture and Family Institute’s article at http://www.cwfa.org/images/content/bornorbred.pdf .

In view of this, the promotion of this behavior to our children has incredibly destructive potential, yet this unprecedented trend is occurring with few objections by parents.

People, especially the young, can be seduced into homosexual behavior and have their identity molded around the homosexual lifestyle, through a combination of persuasion and circumstances which may include the following:

• Being convinced homosexuality is acceptable;
• Reading or viewing explicit homosexual pornography;
• A close relationship with a peer who is practicing homosexuality;
• Admiring an older teacher or mentor who is homosexual;
• Attending homosexual social venues (a “gay” club, bar, church youth group);
• Being homosexually molested;
• Having parents who espouse liberal values;
• No strong ties to a conservative church, and hostility toward traditional views.

And in that spirit, I would like to offer my own tips on how to make people homosexual.  I should know, right, because I am one.  Trust me, this stuff really works.  The Gay Mafia could have me silenced for telling you people this stuff…

  • Vote democratic.
  • Stand too close to a homosexual on the bus or in the subway.  Five minutes might be enough.
  • Breath in a homosexual’s second hand smoke.
  • Enter a restaurant where a homosexual is eating.
  • Call your senator or congressman and ask them to support extending the Voting Rights Act.
  • If you are a woman, applying for a job outside the home will make you a lesbian.
  • If you are a man, disrespecting your boss will make you gay.
  • If you are a woman, enjoying sex will make you a lesbian.
  • If you are a man, caring that your wife enjoys having sex with you will turn you gay.
  • Enjoying sex with her will also make you gay.
  • Yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic makes men gay.  Real men don’t yield, they penetrate.
  • Oppose repealing the Estate Tax
  • Oppose the war in Iraq.
  • Question George Bush’s leadership.  This one will turn you gay in a heartbeat.
If none of these work, use the following brute force methods.  These are guaranteed to work.
  • Learn something new every day.
  • Read a book.
  • Question authority.
  • Think.
This wicked world is chock full of ways to turn people gay.  In point of fact, everything can make you gay.  Except when it doesn’t.  You have been warned.
 
 
by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Things That Will Make You Homosexual

June 22nd, 2006

Hey Faggot…Hey Faggot…

Via Atrios, via Digby, who links to Tristram Shandy, after beginning thusly

I’ve told this story before, but those of you who’ve heard it will just have to bear up. In the 1992 election when I was making volunteer calls for Clinton, Mary Matalin made a major gaffe she had to apologize for quite publicly. (Doesn’t matter what it was.) I was riding down in the elevator with a high level political consultant (who didn’t know me from Adam, of course) and I smugly mentioned that Matalin had really stepped in it. He looked at me like I was a moron and said, "she got it out there, didn’t she?"

Here’s another little pointer on wingnut gossip mongering and dirty politics. As you sling the shit with the biggest megaphone you can find, be sure to primly assert that you don’t believe a word of it and chastize those who are doing it on the victim’s behalf. It makes you look like a good guy even though your purpose is to spread the gossip far and wide.

In this case it doesn’t matter much because the "gossip" is irrelevant to normal people and would make no difference if it were true. This gossip is aimed solely at the wingnut doughboy losers who couldn’t manage to get laid at the Bunny Ranch with 5k in their pockets. Still, it’s nice of one of the leading voices in the blogosphere to spread it around, (while being above it all, of course.) It’s good practice for serious swift-boating.

Digby is referring to a post Instapundit (who is not a moderate libertarian-republican, but only plays one for effect) made concerning Markos, of Daily KOS who, running one of the biggest of the liberal-progressive blogs, now finds himself the target of the republican propaganda machine.  One simply cannot challenge the establishment party line and expect to get away with it.  Reynolds happliy plays his role, goosing a rumor that Markos is…wait for it…gay.

And as an aside, I see some blog-commenters are speculating that Kos is gay. Why that should matter, I don’t know, but I remember — back when the blogosphere was younger and people were nicer — commiserating with Kos over his wife’s miscarriage (my wife and I had several) and assuring him that it didn’t preclude successful pregnancies later on, which I believe his wife has since had. So try to keep things at something better than a seventh-grade level. 

…to which Tristram responds

If it doesn’t matter, Glenn, why mention it? From the looks of it, the genial professor did so only to further cement his rep as a "gentleman" — the "civility" thing, you know? Why he had to use rumors about Kos’ sexuality and a rehashing of a miscarriage to do so is beyond this page’s comprehension.

Because he’s a gutter crawling Bush republican thug is why.  What else about him did you need to know?   Why else would speculation about his sexual orientation matter?  Digby’s right…this is about pumping up the bigot base, and practice for some serious swift boating later on as election day draws near.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Hey Faggot…Hey Faggot…


Snakes

Via Raw Story…  On the Colbert Report the other day, the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, Dan Henninger, said, no shit, that same sex marriage would lead to people marrying snakes

HENNINGER: This is a footnote to our gay marriage discussion: A woman in India last week married a snake. I would like to ask the proponents of gay marriage–which violates, after all, traditions going back through all of human history–to now absolutely, positively guarantee that the next movement is not going to be allowing people to marry their pet horse, dog or cat. And you know What? Given the "anything goes" culture we live in, I don’t think they can deliver that guarantee.

Well you’d think that if people could marry snakes, Henninger would be delighted to know it, since that would mean he’d finally be able to marry an equal.  But…look at this.  This isn’t a babbling street lunatic, it’s the fucking editor of the editorial page of the goddamned Wall Street Journal.  What drooling moron gave that man a job?

Ironically enough (and you need a high tolerance for irony in this struggle),  these are usually the same kook pew bigots who complain that the black civil rights movement has been co-opted by the homos.  Fine.  If that movement is not responsible for ours, then ours is not responsible for whoever comes next.  You judge each movement on the merits of its claims to justice, not on the merits of every possible other case.

By the way…here’s how the story of the woman who married a snake was reported by the AFP (via Yahoo news)… 

Villagers welcomed the wedding in the belief it would bring good fortune and laid on a feast for the big day.

Snakes and particularly the King Cobra are venerated in India as religious symbols worn by Lord Shiva, the god of destruction.

Das, from a lower caste, converted to the animal-loving vegetarian Vaishnav sect whose local elders gave her permission to marry the cobra, the world’s largest venomous snake that can grow up to five metres.

"I am happy," said her mother Dyuti Bhoi, who has two other daughters and two sons to marry off.

"Bimbala was ill," Bhoi told local OTV channel. "We had no money to treat her. Then she started offering milk to the snake … she was cured. That made her fall in love."

Das has moved into a hut built close to the ant hill since the wedding.

Earlier this year, a tribal girl was married off to a dog on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.

If this story proves anything it’s that for sure marriage means different things to different people in different cultures.  Note the association of the snake with their deity.  If you want to talk about traditions going back through all of human history, there aren’t any much older then associating animals with deities and using them in one way or another to express religious veneration. Yes that seems very odd to the modern western sensibility, but we’re not exactly free of all that earth god essentialism ourselves.  Considering that Henninger is probably part of one of the many mainstream American religious sects that practice a symbolic form of ritual cannibalism (this is my body…), I don’t think he should sniff too loudly at the religious practices of others.  And what is this redemption by the blood thing (the blood of the lamb as they like to say), if not an echo to a distant past that was chock full of dead sacrificial animals…and humans?  In my theological moods, I like to think this is why we’re warned against idolatry: by venerating the physical, we loose sight of the spiritual.  But the fact is that we in the west are not so far away from that tribal earth god past as we might like to believe.  A little more respect for other cultures, walking their own walk from the human past into the human future, wouldn’t kill us.

Marriage to animals is not our way in the west.  Marriage as a union of two adult human beings is.  To love honor and cherish.  In sickness and in health.  For richer or for poorer.  ‘Til death do us part.  That is our way.  Same sex marriage changes that not one iota. 

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

June 21st, 2006

Just So You Know…You Need To Be Aware Of Your Surroundings In Parking Lots

It’s a subject I’m reluctant to talk about, for fear of being labeled a paranoid, but there are places where I’m always watchful, and none more so then parking lots.  I’ve heard way too many stories of random violence happening to people in parking lots.  Stories like this

Video shows man’s abduction by Aryan Brotherhood

A Baytown Wal-Mart security camera caught the kidnapping of a Baytown man who was later found murdered. According to police, in the low-resolution video Robert McCartney, 49, pulls into a parking spot in his white pick-up. It is highlighted in red on the left. A dark colored pick-up pulls in behind McCartney. Its highlighted in red on the right. Before McCartney can exit his truck, a man can be seen exiting the passenger side of the dark truck and walking to the drivers-side door of McCartney’s truck where he appears to get behind the wheel and then follows the darker truck out of the frame.
       
A surveillance camera video taken in the Wal-Mart parking lot and obtained on Thursday by the Enterprise shows what police say is Robert McCartney’s abduction by members of the Aryan Brotherhood.

McCartney is seen pulling into the parking lot in a 1988 white Chevy pickup truck, parking and quickly being approached by a man who just got out of another vehicle. The man gets into McCartney’s truck and drives away as the other vehicle follows them.

Three members of the Aryan Brotherhood are facing capital murder charges in the brutal stabbing death of the 49-year-old Baytown man.

McCartney’s body was found near County Road 611 in Eastgate on Friday morning, according to Capt. Philip Fairchild of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department.

Police said the killing was not a sex crime and that the men targeted McCartney’s because they wanted his truck. One of the men arrested had fallen into disfavor with an Aryan Brotherhood leader and apparently thought the truck parts could restore his good standing, said Capt. Roger Clifford of the Baytown Police Department.

Both the killers and the victim were white, in case you were thinking that white supremacists are only dangerous to people of color. 

I’m certainly not going to say here that Mr. McCartney wasn’t being watchful enough.  He could easily have been just as perpetually wary as I am, and for just that one moment got caught off guard.  It could happen to any of us.  The random, out of the blue nature of the crime is what is so frightening.  A couple gutter crawling thugs decide they want parts for a certain kind of car and just kidnap and murder someone they happen across with that kind of car.  Last year a man was shot to death in a local shopping mall parking garage during an armed robbery, after the robber decided he wasn’t getting enough respect from his victim.  Just a few months ago a group of thugs tried to kill a man in a shopping center parking lot just down the street from me.  Remarkably (because getting a carry permit out of the state of Maryland is like squeezing water from a rock) the victim was armed and able to fight off his attackers.  Probably the most heartbreaking story of this kind I ever heard concerns Robert Alton Harris and his brother Daniel Marcus Harris who kidnapped 16 year olds John Mayeski and Michael Baker from a fast food restaurant as they were eating, forced them to drive to an isolated area and then killed them.  Then he finished eating their burgers.  Then he and his brother drove off.  Harris merely wanted a getaway car for a bank robbery he’d planned.  For that he killed two 16 year old boys as if murdering kids was just part of his day, nothing to get all excited about.

I think criminals like parking lots because most of the time people in them have their minds elsewhere.  And the patterns of car and foot traffic in them are chaotic.  It’s hard to pay attention to everything going on around you.  Alas, you need to. 

A couple weeks ago in Memphis, me and a couple friends were standing by my car in the parking lot of the motel I was staying at.  It was just nightfall and my room was in a section of the motel just a bit away from the main building.  A couple guys pull up in an old beat up car, see us, the driver checks out my license plate (out of state), stops, backs in to a parking space just across from mine, and his passenger gets out…and between their backing in (for a quick getaway maybe), and the looks of this guy walking toward us I just started getting all kinds of bad vibes.  What I did may have freaked my companions a tad, but the two guys in the beat up car left the scene pretty quickly.  My thinking is that if someone tries to take me in a parking lot, I am not going to go quietly.  So the best thing is to be aware of my surroundings, and avoid becoming prey in the first place.  Whether you are armed, or skilled enough or strong enough to fight back, or prefer more peaceable means of confronting violence, that is the best thing anyway.  They say a good landing is one you can walk away from, but a good fight for your life is one that never even happens.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)


Tales From George Bush’s America…(continued)

…or Dick Cheney’s America to read Ron Suskind’s new book, The One Percent DoctrineVia Brad DeLong, comes this snippet of Barton Gellman’s review .  Fair warning, it will either make you heartsick or sick to your stomach, or both…

The Shadow War, In a Surprising New Light: By Barton Gellman: THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 By Ron Suskind: This is an important book, filled with the surest sign of great reporting: the unexpected. It enriches our understanding of even familiar episodes from the Bush administration’s war on terror and tells some jaw-dropping stories we haven’t heard before.

One example out of many comes in Ron Suskind’s gripping narrative of what the White House has celebrated as one of the war’s major victories: the capture of Abu Zubaydah…. Described as al-Qaeda’s chief of operations… shipped to a secret prison abroad. Suskind shatters the official story line here. Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill… nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be… appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda’s go-to guy for minor logistics — travel for wives and children and the like.

That judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President," Suskind writes. And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States." And over the months to come, under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques.

How could this have happened? Why are we learning about it only now? Those questions form the spine of Suskind’s impressively reported book….

[T]he intelligence and counterterrorism professionals whose point of view dominates this book… came to believe, Suskind reports, that "their jobs were not to help shape policy, but to affirm it." (Some of them nicknamed Cheney "Edgar," as in Edgar Bergen — casting the president as the ventriloquist’s dummy.)…

Tenet and his loyalists also settle a few scores with the White House here. The book’s opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush’s Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president’s attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: "All right. You’ve covered your ass, now."…

Tora Bora… Henry A. Crumpton… was blunt: The surrogate forces were "definitely not" up to the job, and "we’re going to lose our prey if we’re not careful."…

Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each… target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."

So…to recap…   We tortured a man we knew to be mentally ill and of low importance, and then sent our police forces scrambling to quell every delusional plot this mentally ill man raved under torture about to his captors…so that President smirking richboy jackass wouldn’t loose face.  Or as Matthew Yglesias bullets it over at TPM Cafe

  • Al-Qaedist Abu Zubaydah was captured in March 2002.
  • Zubaydah’s captors discovered he was mentally ill and charged with minor logistical matters, such as arranging travel for wives and children.
  • The President was informed of that judgment by the CIA.
  • Two weeks later, the President described Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States."
  • Later, Bush told George Tenet, "I said he was important. You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" and asked Tenet if "some of these harsh methods really work?"
  • The methods — torture — were applied.
  • Then, according to Gellman, "Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty."
  • At which point, according to Suskind, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target."

All together now…My country ’tis, of thee…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Tales From George Bush’s America…(continued)

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