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Archive for October, 2006

October 31st, 2006

The Fifth Hubble Servicing Mission Is Given The ‘Go’

My co-workers and I just watched the presentation at Goddard (we got a remote feed into our auditorium) where NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announced that he’d given SM4 (actually the fifth servicing mission) to the Hubble Space Telescope the go-ahead. 

The main points were that: the shuttle engineers and astronauts had demonstrated they had a workable means of repairing the most likely sorts of damage to the shuttle in-flight, and a second shuttle would be waiting on the launch pad in case it was needed to rescue the first shuttle crew.  That last scenario seems at this point to be a remote need, since the kind of damage that caused the breakup on reentry of Columbia can now it seems, be repaired in space.  But the added safety factor still makes having that second shuttle ready worthwhile.

So (whew!) we’re good to go.  And if the mission is successful, Hubble should be generating good science up to 2013.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Fifth Hubble Servicing Mission Is Given The ‘Go’

October 30th, 2006

Comments…I Get Comments…

A former LIA "client" and now booster takes issue with this post of mine.  Here’s my reply…

—– 

> I, having been a client at LIA (March, 2005), would like to know some of
> Lance’s horrendous experiences caused by his time there. 

A client were you?  Swell.  You know the difference between being a "client" and being an inmate…right?  There’s the beginning of the horror right there buddy, and what’s disturbing right off the bat about your comment is that you seem utterly unable to even notice it.  So you my friend, are part of the horror.

Those kids are not in there by choice.  Most of them had either made peace with their sexual nature, or were at least beginning to, when they were dragged into LIA by parents terrified from the cesspool of anti-gay propaganda that the religious right vomits into the public discourse, much of which John happily repeats.  Joe Stark was on Pat Robertson’s 700 club, mindlessly babbling that gays only live an average of 36 years.  Where the hell did he hear that claptrap, if it wasn’t John?  Even Paul Cameron isn’t claiming 36 years.  But John doesn’t seem to care where he gets his facts on homosexuality, as long as they’re sufficently ugly.

For months at least, if not longer, John was linking his LIA website to a group called The International Organization Of Heterosexual Rights, and using their bogus statistics to paint a picture of homosexuals and homosexuality that was relentlessly perverse and disgusting.  After community activists started pointing out how unChristianly it was to be linking to a hate site, John pulled the link.  But he kept their bogus fact sheet online.  So at least for a time (I haven’t been there recently), people visiting his site were still being given this crap from a hate group…only they weren’t being told who the source of this information was.  Dig it.  John responded to the accusation that he was spreading hate rhetoric, not by taking it down, but by making it harder for people to discover that the facts on his website were coming from a hate group.

I think part of the reason he does it is because he knows that it frightens parents, and that’s his last best source of clients now:  Helpless gay teens who cannot legally refuse his dangerous blend of anti-gay religiosity and junk psychology.  As more and more comes to light about the practices of these ex-gay ministries, and their spectacular rates of failure, fewer and fewer grown adults are checking in.  So the kids, who cannot legally refuse, are his last best source of income, which he needs to keep the operation afloat.  Never mind what it does to kids, to their parents, to the bond between parent and child…John’s on a mission from God, and Gods don’t feel shame.

Imagine a teen who is left handed.  Imagine they’re told that their left-handedness is unnatural, perverse, a God condemned abomination.  Imagine sending that kid to a place that claims to be able to treat left-handedness through prayer and counseling, and establishing a closer relationship to Jesus. They claim that left-handedness is a form of addiction, that using your left hand to do things like writing is no different from people who use their hands to rob, assault, and murder, people and animals.  Imagine that left-handed kid being forced to sit next to grown men who’ve used their hands to do all manner of cruel and perverse things to animals and humans alike, while the staff of this treatment facility is telling him, perhaps not so much in word but sure as hell in deed, that he’s no better then those men.  Someday, his desire to use his left hand instead of the God ordained right hand, will lead him into all manner of brutish, deviant, ugly acts.  

Imagine this kid trying desperately…trying, trying with all his heart and soul to pray away his left handedness.  But he can’t…he’s left handed. And every time he feels the urge to use his left hand, it only serves to remind him that he doesn’t love God enough, that he’s headed for the same life that all those robbers, and murderers live.  He’s going to become just like them one day

What does that sort of thing to to a kid?  Well we all know what it does to an adult because it happened.  Does the name Jack McIntyre ring any bells?  Or has John finally erased all memory of Love In Action’s bloody birth?  McIntyre was one of LIA’s first clients (I say client because he went in of his own accord…a choice of free will that neither Lance nor Zach nor any kid in the horrifically misnamed Refuge "program" are allowed)  A few months ago I finally stumbled on a copy of his suicide note.  You want to know what the horror is my friend?  Well…take a peek into the Pit then…

TO: Those left with the question, why did he do it?

I loved life and all that it had to offer to me each day.

I loved my job and my clients.

I loved my friends and thank God for each one of them.

I loved my little house and would not have wanted to live anywhere else.

All this looks like the perfect life. Yet, I must not let this shadow the problem that I have in my life. At one time, not to long ago, that was all that really mattered in my life. What pleased me and how it affected me. Now that I have turned my life over to the Lord and the changes came one by one, the above statements mean much more to me. I am pleased that I can say those statements with all the truth and honesty that is within me.

However, to make this short, I must confess that there were things in my life that I could not gain control, no matter how much I prayed and tried to avoid the temptation, I continually failed.

It is this constant failure that has made me make the decision to terminate my life here on earth. I do this with the complete understanding that life is not mine to take. I know that it is against the teachings of our Creator. No man is without sin, this I realise. I will cleanse myself of all sin as taught to me by His word. Yet, I must face my Lord with the sin of murder. I believe that Jesus died and paid the price for that sin too. I know that I shall have everlasting life with Him by departing this world now, no matter how much I love it, my friends, my family. If I remain it could possibly allow the devil the opportunity to lead me away from the Lord. I love life, but my love for the Lord is so much greater, the choice is simple.

I am not asking you to sanction my actions. That is not the purpose of my writing this at all. It is for the express purpose of allowing each one who will read this to know how I weighed things in my own mind. I don’t want you to think that, ‘I alone,’ should have been the perfect person, without sin. That would be ridiculous! It is the continuing lack of strength and/or obedience and/or will power to cast aside certain sins. To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.

Please know that I am extremely happy to be going to the Lord. He knows my heart and knows how much I love life and and all that it has to offer. But, He knows that I love Him more. That is why I believe that I will be with Him in Paradise.

I regret if I bring sorrow to those that are left behind. If you get your hearts in tune with the word of God you will be as happy about my ‘transfer’ as I am. I also hope that this answers sufficiently the question, why?

May God Have Mercy On My Soul.

A Brother & A Friend.

No.  May God have mercy on yours, because I don’t have any to spare for the likes of you.  Jack McIntyre killed himself, rather then make one more promise to God he knew he could not keep.  Bad enough John Smid is doing this to grown adults.  Now he’s dragging kids into his little psych room, where he’ll sit them down right next to grown men who have engaged in the most extreme sexual perversions imaginable, and let them know that they’re just like those men are, that their sexual orientation will lead them into all of that and worse.  This is what John is subjecting gay teenagers to.  He takes in kids who are more or less fine with their sexual orientation, or getting there, and puts his crowbar to their self esteem and tries systematically to utterly destroy their deepest sense of their inner selves, to make them see their sexual nature as ugly and perverse and foul, and that only a relationship with Jesus can save them from their homosexuality.  But it won’t.  They’re Gay.  What happens is that they loose their faith, and often enough, loose their family too.  But as long as the checks clear, John doesn’t seem to mind.

> I speak on behalf of LIA, not only because I believe in what they’re doing, but also
> because I care a great deal about John Smid and the LIA staff. 

If you care about any of them then you need to do whatever you can to convince them to stop tormenting gay people, and particularly gay teens who are content with who they are.  John is trying his best to gut their ability to ever feel good about themselves as gay people, and ever experience what it is to love and be loved, body and soul.  He is systematically trying to put as much fear and loathing into teens and adults of their sexual nature so that they’ll never be able to love wholeheartedly without feeling ashamed and dirty.  To assault someones sense of self to the point where they cannot see one of this life’s most wonderful, beautiful, amazing things as anything other then ugly and perverse is a crime against them of absolutely staggering magnitude.  To do that to children is a crime against humanity. 

> Zach Stark’s opinion of "reparative therapy," as it’s being dubbed, variegated a
> great deal after his experience at LIA.  "Love In Action has been misrepresented
> and what I have posted in my blogs has been taken out of perpective and context,"
> as Zach is quoted at 365gay.com on 8-1-05.  My question to Lance is this: What
> specific occurrences at LIA made your experience so horrendous?

As for Zach…I’m a little fuzzy about how you expect a kid who was forced into ex-gay therapy against his will, and who said in an update to that blog post you’re quoting from there that he could only post blogs his father approved of, to speak out publicly against his treatment.  Actually, I’m being sarcastic.  You know damn well he couldn’t.  Since he’s still underage, and cannot speak for himself without suffering whatever consequences his parents (you know…the ones who put him into LIA in the first place) can dictate, it’s unreasonable to expect him to get on a soapbox about his feelings toward LIA.  If I were you though, I would strongly suggest that his silence on the matter since those first couple of posts speaks volumes.

I was with Lance at a protest against reparative therapy in Silver Spring, Maryland.  John Smid was there too, but too cowardly to come out to the line and speak with Lance himself.  One of the other LIA staffers, a new guy, did come out because, as he said, he wanted to hear from Lance himself why he was upset about what LIA did to him.  Lance gave him an earful, the gist of which was that he resented being made to feel horrible about himself simply because he’s gay. 

John likes to boast that he brings families together.  What happened to Lance after he left LIA was horrible, and he finally had to move out because his mom had become so abusive.  The day he moved out, his mom cornered him and started beating the crap out of him.  He’s told this to reporters and gave a more detailed account to Morgan Jon Fox who is doing a documentary on the LIA protests.  Morgan and Lance let me sit in on the interview to take some photographs and Lance’s story nearly brought me to tears and I had to concentrate on what I was doing and I almost couldn’t.  John did nothing, nothing for that family, except tear it apart.  Oh…and he cashed the check.

You care about the LIA staff do you?  Then dig up whatever stunted whithered stump of a conscience any of them still have left in them, and make them see two things they really, really need to see.  First, that they are committing a monstrous assault on the human identity of the people they’re "treating" and their capacity to love and accept love from another.  Second, that John has no brakes, and one of these days he’s going to push a gay kid too far and then they’re be more then Jack McIntyre’s blood on the LIA account books, and if you think the judgment on LIA has been harsh up till now, you haven’t seen anything.  Yet.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Comments…I Get Comments…

October 29th, 2006

Actually, God Clearly Did Intend For Men To Be Fucked

Via Pam’s House Blend…   I see the wingnuts are on again about God’s Grand Design as revealed in our bodies

There are attributes of marriage that same-sex couples will never achieve. But in the minds of radical activists, getting the label and a piece of paper saying so will be close enough.

For instance, a woman who engages in lesbianism will never know the joy of lovemaking that creates within her the product of that union — an actual human life. She will never know the security of a true man protecting her from the dragons of the world and providing for her an environment where she can nurture and give love to that little life once it arrives, or the stamp of approval that God puts on such an experience. And because she and her partner know this, they must defy reason, biology and sexual function to create children and experiences that serve as faulty substitutes for that God-ordained picture.

You have to figure a true man is someone who prefers his women helpless, which somehow doesn’t make any sense but then expecting sense from a brick brained idiot like Kevin McCullough (the author) is a bit like expecting a pig to shit pearls.  McCallough isn’t just pissing on the happy couplehood of lesbians there, but also every heterosexual couple that cannot have children of their own too.  So any children they manage to have must also serve only as faulty substitutes for the God-ordained picture thing. 

You need to notice this: What McCullough is saying there, is that Any Child not naturally brought into a family can only be a faulty substitute for the Real Thing.  Adopted children cannot be loved and cherished like Real Children can.  Children conceived by various medical means likewise cannot be loved and cherished like Real Children.  Their families can never be as loving, as caring, as nurturing as Real Families can…they can only be faulty substitutes for the God Ordained picture thing.  You have to love how, in attacking the households of gay couples, these gutter crawling maggots show just how much they regard themselves as holier then…well…just about everyone else, not just gays.  And if you think they don’t mean their rhetoric to apply equally to childless heterosexual couples too, think again. 

But even when it comes to reason, biology, and sexual function, McCullough doesn’t get it right.

Likewise, a man who seeks his perverse kicks by depositing the seed of life in, shall we say, non-life-giving cavities, may know orgasm, but never complete union, as he uses anatomy in ways for which the Creator did not create it.

It’s called the prostate gland Kevin.  Massaging the prostate gland, which is what happens during a certain kind of male to male sex, can bring a human male to a right dandy orgasm.  Now…I am unaware of any other gland in the human body that will produce such a result when it’s rubbed.  In fact, most of them will probably produce a sharp stab of pain when you do that to them.  But not that particular gland, in that particular location in the male anatomy.  The conclusion is obvious.  God did, in fact, intend for males to be fucked.  It probably helps if they’re gay though.

I keep bringing up the prostate because it’s something worth paying attention to.  It wasn’t lax moral standards that did that.  It wasn’t hedonism.  It wasn’t Godlessness.  It was millions of years of adaptive evolution that gave that to human males, even the ones with absolutely no use for it at all.  Or, if you don’t believe in evolution, fine.  Then God did it.  But there it is.  If you’re going to go on a pulpit thumping rant about God’s design, the fucking take some notice of God’s design willya?  Open your goddamn eyes every now and then and fucking take a look at what God hath wrought…okay?  Just a suggestion.

By coincidence I came across this article in the Economist just prior to reading that Pam’s House Blend post, which seems to do nothing more then idly wonder why homosexuality exists in nature.  It starts off with a pretty good observation though…

WHAT is taught in a country’s schools reveals much about the national psyche. The Norwegian curriculum requires that all 14-year-olds learn about homosexuality. Assisting with this education, the National History Museum at the University of Oslo has just opened an exhibition of gay animals.

“Against Nature?” does not tell zoologists anything new. Homosexuality has been recorded in some 1,500 species so far, and been well documented in about a third of these cases; it has been known since the time of Aristotle, who thought he witnessed two male hyenas having sex with one another. But the exhibition’s purpose is not to educate zoologists. It is to persuade the public that, as there are gay whales and worms, gay humans do not disturb the natural order.

And ends with another…

Taking lessons on sexuality from the birds and the bees itself requires first accepting something not taught ubiquitously outside Norway—that evolution occurs by natural selection.

Ya think?  Well that leaves a large swath of the United States out.  We have crackpots here who can’t even divine God’s will from the evidence of our own bodies, let alone the workings of nature.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


Crimestarters Textbook: When Robbing Fireworks Store, Do Not Discharge Gun

Seriously

LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. (AP) — A man attempting to rob a fireworks shop fired his shotgun, igniting fireworks and starting a blaze that destroyed the business, authorities said.

No injuries were reported at North American Fireworks, the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Saturday. A 20-year-old man was being held in jail after being tracked to a home about 10 miles away.

The owner told deputies a male entered the business Friday wearing a ski mask and armed with a shotgun. He fired indoors, and a shot apparently ignited fireworks, authorities said.

The owner was able to wrestle the shotgun away and remove the man’s ski mask, but the suspect fled on an all-terrain vehicle that had been idling outside, deputies said.

The fireworks began to burn out of control, destroying the rest of the building.

Ever notice that fireworks stores tend to be located well away from…well…everything else around them…? 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Crimestarters Textbook: When Robbing Fireworks Store, Do Not Discharge Gun


The You Need A New Motherboard Blues

[Geek Alert]

There’s a reason why I haven’t posted much lately.  Mowgli, my main workstation at home, the one that uses removable hard drive packs to let me run versions of Windows and Linux, had a motherboard failure last week.  I have other computers here at Casa del Garrett…Bagheera, my art room Mac G5 tower, and Akela, the 12 inch powerbook for example…but getting Mowgli back up and running has been the focus of most of my computer time this past week.  Mowgli is my main machine for working at home, and although I can code and debug the stuff I’m working on for Space Telescope just fine on the Macs (because it’s all Java), I much prefer doing it on Mowgli, usually while its running Linux. 

Mowgli’s motherboard, a Soyo CK8 Dragon Plus, was flaky from the start and I came to regret buying it almost right away.  I forget whose recommendation I took on that purchase but I’ll never do it again.  That board never gave me correct CPU temperature readings, its USB ports would occasionally go comatose on me, and one day I discovered its second COM port had died.  For some reason I could never quite pin down, Firefox running on it would always bog down horribly whenever it had to paint large images on the screen.  I figured it was a DMA issue, but I never resolved it.  IE, which I hate using, never had that problem, so I reckon it’s rendering engine is doing something different.  But viewing something like a Fark.Com Photoshop thread would bog Firefox down to the point where it was almost unusable.  So I figured that motherboard had a lurking DMA problem too.  Replacing it has been on my To Do List for some time now.

Last Monday I switched Mowgli on and it started booting CentOS.  When the kernel came up Mowgli would immediately power off.  Just like that.  Kernel comes up, Mowgli shuts down.  So I pulled out the CentOS drive and put in the Windows XP one.  XP would start to boot, but then hang almost at once.

This is why I have a second physical hard drive in Mowgli, that I keep all my data files on.  I unplugged Mowgli and took its side panel off and removed the data drive and put it into one of those USB conversion kit things and took it down to the art room and booted up Bagheera.  Once Bagheera came up I connected the drive to a free USB port and MacOS instantly recognised and mounted it.  I run the Thunderbird mail client because its multi-platform and here’s one reason why that’s important.  I started Thunderbird on Bagheera, pointed it to the mailbox directories on the data drive out of Mowgli I’d just mounted, and from then on I was able to fetch mail as usual, and I had all my existing mail box files and messages right there.

I put one of my backup USB drives on Bagheera and backed up the drive from Mowgli.  Now my data was safe.  The rest of the next two days were spent looking at motherboards and checking for Linux compatibility.  CentOS mostly, which I’ve been running at Casa del Garret lately.  It’s Redhat binary compatible, and I’ve found it a pure pleasure to use.  But getting hardware compatibility information for it (and for Redhat for that matter) is a real chore.  Redhat doesn’t list individual system components like motherboards anymore, so you have to search around the web to see who’s using what. 

Why do I bother with all this when I could just go out and buy a friggin’ ready-built Intel machine?  Because…I’d rather.  Put it down to that first Heathkit AM radio kit an uncle gave me once for Christmas.  It not only gave me an interest in building my own equipment, it made me realize that I Could, and that if I did, I’d likely end up with something better then mass produced.  I’ve been building my own computers from parts since my first IBM PC-XT compatible.  The only computers here at Casa del Garrett that weren’t hand assembled by yours truly are the Apples…and as long as Steve Jobs keeps making a premium product for the premium price he charges I reckon I’ll keep buying ready-made from him.  But I’d rather just burn my money then buy something from Dell or Gateway…sorry.

I finally decided on an ASUS A8N-E motherboard.  The Asus stuff is reliable, and the only reason I shied away from an ASUS board last time was the last ASUS in Mowgli became extremely noisy over time. One of my goals in the last rebuild was to make Mowgli as quiet as possible.  This time it was reliability.   I’d pretty much had it with the flakiness in the Soyo board.

I bought a new AMD CPU for it, the same Athlon 64 3200+ that I’d put on the Soyo, not being completely sure that the problem was the motherboard and not the CPU (I was bound and determined to replace that board anyway…).  And I bought two more sticks of 512meg DDR-400 memory, again, because I wasn’t completely sure it wasn’t a memory problem either.  I figured I could keep the old CPU for that dedicated file server project I keep putting off, and once I got Mowgli back up and running I could try adding the old memory sticks (also 512 meg DDR-400s) bringing the total on Mowgli up to two gig.  If they were still good. 

The new parts arrived Friday, and I took Mowgli down to my basement work area to remove the old motherboard, and got my first surprise.  Every now and then you have to go inside your computer and blow out the dust.  That’s just a fact of life.  No matter how clean you keep your house, dust will get inside the box.  So I go in from time to time with an air hose and a vacuum and get the dust out.  I do that regularly to Mowgli and always thought I was getting most of it.  But I was missing something critical it turned out.  Once I had Mowgli on its side and open under one of my big work lights I saw that the big Zalmon CPU cooler I’d bought to keep the noise down was caked with it.  Just look at this…

I blew around the Zalmon when I did dust, but obviously not good enough.  I didn’t really see what was going on around the heat fins there, because that large fan sorta hid it from view (and I didn’t have the best lighting while I was doing it).  But…look at that.  I liked the Zalmon because of those huge fins (compare the size of them to those DDR memory slots to the right).  But they’re so close together, particularly around where they join close to the CPU, that it’s easy for dust to close them off completely.  Obviously there was no airflow in those regions.  Whether that contributed to the failure I can’t say…the Soyo was as I said, flaky to start with.  But I’m not so sure I like the Zalmon design anymore.  Those fins are so close down at the base they just have to be more prone to getting clogged like that then other designs.  If you’re running one of these, pay special attention to keeping it dust free.  You should probably dust it more frequently.

AMD screams at you in the instruction booklet that if you use Any Other CPU fan except the ones they package with their CPUs, you are voiding the warranty.  I don’t overclock and all I wanted was something a bit quieter then the factory cooler, but I decided to go with the factory cooler this time.  If it gets to the point I can’t stand the noise, I’ll think about my options.

My next two surprises were also my own fault.  First, I didn’t check to make sure the ASUS motherboard had an AGP slot.  Second, I didn’t check to make sure it took the same power supply as the previous board.  I’d wanted this to be just a straight motherboard swap, and because I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the specs it turned out not to be.  Soon as I opened the box I saw that the graphics card slot was different.  Uh-oh…  I looked though the manual and began kicking myself for assuming things.  What I had now, were three PCI Express slots, one of which was a PCI Express x16, which presumptively was for a graphics card.

So now it was back to Bagheera to do another net search for Linux compatible graphics cards.  The nice thing is that one vendor, nVidia, is really good about supporting Linux (I hear ATI is good nowadays too).  I’m not a gamer, so my needs are simple.  But I settled on a somewhat better then average GeForce 7600GS.  So it was off to the Towson CompUSA.

An hour or so later I’m back and the reassembly of Mowgli is going apace.  I have the new motherboard in, the CPU being already installed because the place I buy this stuff from nowadays, Directron, will for a small service charge test your CPU and motherboard before they ship it to you.  I spend the extra just for the peace of mind knowing even before I begin putting things together that the parts were working when they were mailed to me.  I cleaned off the CPU surface and attached the factory cooler.  Then the new memory sticks.  Then the IDE and floppy drive cables.  Then the other motherboard connections.  My first power on test would be just a simple boot into the BIOS setting panels, make sure the BIOS settings are ok…and then a boot off a floppy to DOS.

Before I throw that switch the first time I double check all my connections.  I ticked off all the items and realized I’d forgotten to connect the power supply to the motherboard.  The plugs were different.  Fuck!  So now I discover that there is a new power supply standard, that this new motherboard was built to, and which my old power supply isn’t.  I needed an ATX 12V 2.0 compliant power supply.  Now I started worrying that the new power supply form factor would be incompatible with my existing case.

So it was back to CompUSA, and back home again with a 500 watt power supply that was, thankfully, the same form factor as the previous one.  What was more, this new power supply had pluggable cabling, and the nice thing about that is that you only have the cables you actually use inside the box.  No more masses of unused cables you have to find a way to tie down somewhere out of the way.  Gives you a much less cluttered space inside the box.

That was the last unpleasant surprise.  The new board powered right up, and checked out fine.  I put the data drive back in, its IDC cable, and booted off the hard drive.  CentOS came up, saw that the hardware had changed and asked me a series of questions about what hardware configurations to remove, and which new ones to add.  Once I got past that, CentOS tried to come up, but couldn’t start the X Server (on a Unix/Linux box, the X Server is what runs the graphical user interface).  It asked me if I wanted to try to reconfigure and I told it to go ahead and it eventually came up on the generic VGA drivers, which I expected.

There was no built-in support for the new graphics card, but nVidia had them on their driver download site and a quick trip there and I had an install and configuration program downloaded to my /tmp directory.  What you have to do then is log in as root on a command line only session, because the x server configuration can’t be updated while its running.  But there was no convenient way to do that on the CentOS login screen, so I figured I could just log in as root and then control-alt-backspace to kill the x-server.  About a dozen times, I kid you not, while I was running that nVidia installer, CentOS kept helpfully trying to bring back up the X Server on me and I had to keep killing it.  But eventually I got the nVidia driver installed and it works wonderfully.

The next step was getting XP back up and I wasn’t looking forward to it.  For one thing, I knew that the anti-piracy branding crap embedded in XP was going to take one look at the new hardware decide it might be a stolen copy and I’d have to go through the whole activation routine again and I was concerned that it might just decide I was a pirate anyway and refuse to run.  And beyond that I had no idea how Windows internal hardware management would react to a whole new environment. 

I shut down Mowgli and inserted the XP drive.  When XP came up, it immediately warned me that “the hardware profile on this machine has changed significantly” (no shit Sherlock, I had a goddamned motherboard failure and had to give it the equivalent of a brain transplant) and that I’d have to “re-activate” Windows in 30 days or it would stop running.  Swell.  Windows then came up into basic VGA mode, and asked if I wanted to activate my copy.  I told it to go ahead and a window partially came up, but the display froze while some furious hard disk activity was taking place.  I assume Microsoft was taking a complete inventory of everything on there.  Then the window finished painting and I saw a dialog asking me how I wanted to activate my copy.  I selected “online” and after a few moments it pronounced my copy good and finished booting.  So that much was out of the way.

When it was done booting I had a basic VGA 640 by 480 desktop.  Then Windows gave me a barrage of “new hardware found” notices.  I canceled through all of them, put the driver CD for the new motherboard in and installed the motherboard drivers.  Then I put the CD that came with the new graphics in and started up the drive install program.  I got a huge warning notice that the video driver I was trying to install had not been verified as XP compliant by Microsoft and that Microsoft STRONGLY recommended that I should under no circumstances install it.  Swell.  So another visit to the nVidia driver download site later and I had a more current driver install kit.  The instructions warned me to turn off the anti-virus software I was using before installing the drivers.  I opened up the ZoneAlarm panel and switched off both the anti-virus and the anti-spyware systems.  This time when I ran the installer I got no warning, and the video drivers installed without a hitch.  I rebooted and XP came up with no complaints.  Then ZoneAlarm asked me if I wanted to turn the anti-virus system on again.  Sure…

ZoneAlarm went nuts for some reason.  Suddenly it was eating up 99 percent of my CPU time, which usually means a program has gone into an infinite loop somewhere and is running wild.  I waited a while but it just kept slamming my CPU so I tried to kill it.  Like Jason it wouldn’t die so I tried shutting down Windows.  That worked which was good because at that stage I really, Really didn’t want to have to hit the power switch.  When Windows came up again ZoneAlarm was running normally.  I’ve no idea what happened, but next time it asks me if I want it to turn anything back on I’ll just tell it no and go in and do it manually. 

Now I had a working XP system again.  So Mowgli was back to normal.

Actually, better then normal.  I hadn’t realized how awful the performance of that Soyo motherboard had become until I’d spent a day working on the new ASUS.  The CPUs I’d installed on both were the same so that can’t be it.  The graphics card is much, much better, so that’s probably contributing to a lot of it.  But disk IO is much, Much faster now.  No more problems with the USB ports either.  

So…Mowgli’s back now, after a wee brain transplant.  This is something like its sixth incarnation…first, ages ago, on a Pentium  motherboard running Windows 95 and NT 4…then later, on various AMD motherboards running NT and Linux.  In Kipling’s Jungle Books (I really hate what Disney did to them), Mowgli was a between worlds character…partly of the jungle and his wolf brethren, but also partly of the human village.  He was always struggling with issues of identity.  So I named my multi-OS workstation after him.  As my household network grew, I kept adding characters from the Jungle Books to it.  Akela, the Lone Wolf, is always my laptop, now a Powerbook.  Akela goes with me to work, and wherever I travel.  Bagheera, the elegant and quick panther, is my art room Mac.  Baloo, the slow, wise old teacher of the jungle law, is my remaining 386 DOS box.  They all peacefully co-exist on the Seeonee workgroup.  At some point I’m going to add a file server to it, but I haven’t decided on a name yet.  Maybe Hathi.  Hathi, the long lived, was the keeper of the jungle stories.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

October 25th, 2006

Says It All

There’s a lot of verbiage out there already on the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage, but candidate for congress Angie Paccione, during an exchange with homophobe and co-author of the Federal Marriage Amendment Marilyn Musgrave (via Pam’s House Blend), said it all, perfectly…

"I think that’s the ideal environment for children to be raised," Musgrave said, of opposite-sex marriage.

The remark got a smattering of applause but Paccione’s response was quick earning her wide clapping and several cheers.

"You want to protect marriage, you know what’s a threat to marriage? Divorce is a threat to marriage," she told the crowd of about 1,000

"You know what else is a threat to marriage? Infidelity is a threat to marriage. Domestic violence is a threat to marriage. Losing your job is a threat to marriage. Marriage is not a threat to marriage. I support equality."

Just so.  But taking the bigots at their word that they’re about defending marriage is for rubes.  They don’t give a shit about marriage.  What they care about is keeping their right to persecute gay people, simply for existing.  What they care about is defending the lie that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.  What they care about is maintaining the cultural perception of homosexuals as something other then human, something grotesque and ugly and no more deserving of human regard then scarecrows or punching bags.  We can’t be the scapegoats for every cheap sin they couldn’t keep themselves from committing, if we can have lives of our own.  The only threats to their marriages are themselves.  That’s why they need someone else to take the blame.  If gay people can enter into marriage, if same sex couples can walk proudly together through life, in trust, in honor, in mutual love and affection, then what does that leave them, except responsibility for their own lives?  What do you do when all the scapegoats are finally gone, and there is no one else to blame, but the face in the mirror?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Says It All

October 22nd, 2006

Why Defeating The GOP And The Religious Right Matters

You can boil it down to watching one good person struggling with a devastating illness that science can finally see a cure for, that the religious right would rather he suffer, until it kills him…

Michael J. Fox asks the voters of Missouri
to support Claire McCaskill
(Click on image to go to website and view)

Digby says "As I look at all these issues that have come to the forefront in the last few years, I’m struck by how dumb it is to let the Republicans claim the mantle of values and morality."  And yet somehow we did.  It’s one thing for people to say they’re "pro-life" and another for those same people to champion war, excuse torture, and turn an indifferent eye to sickness and poverty, and the rape of the environment.  They call themselves "pro-family" and take every chance to put the screws to families all over America, and their elderly parents, for the sake of the profits of billionaires.  They demand the right to set standards of marriage and fidelity and sexual conduct for everyone, that they cannot live by themselves in their own private affairs. They lie through their teeth about gay people, and demand respect for their sincerely held faith.  It’s all bullshit.  It’s long past time for the rest of America to call them on it.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why Defeating The GOP And The Religious Right Matters


Heritage, Not Hate. Well…Okay…Hate Too. Mostly.

A patriot speaks out…

Anti-gay sign goes up in Post Falls

Jim Valentine lumps gay people and pedophiles together. And he doesn’t want any of them living in Idaho.

The Post Falls business owner posted a message in bold letters on his reader board this morning: “Peds queers fags your (sic) in Idaho now…”

That’s what northbound drivers on Pleasantview Road see when they drive past the sign for his landscape supply and horse-boarding business, Dixie Services.

And…guess who’s flag he’s flying…

“People are kind of numb. I think they need to wake up a little bit,” said Valentine, who drives classic cars emblazoned with the Confederate flag. One has a horn that plays “Dixie.”

Yes Jim…people are kind of numb.  And you’re kind of a numbskull.  Well…I hear Idaho has its share of folks who greatly admire the Third Reich and fly the swastika, and never mind that the closest they’ve ever been to Germany is a side order of sauerkraut.  Why not idiots who love the Antebellum south and fly the confederate flag too.  Maybe he’ll take confederate money in exchange for his services.

You have to wonder what southerners think of all this.   Ex governor of Virginia, senate candidate and all around racist prick George Allen grew up in California, yet his college dorm was festooned with  confederate battle flags, and the occasional noose.  He’s as southern as a Hollywood riverboat, but he longs for Dixie just like Jim does.  Like all those northwestern American Slavs, Saxons and Jutes dressing up in their brownshirts and swastikas, fantasizing themselves pure blond-haired Aryan stock and longing for the Vaterland.  And come to think of it, Hitler was an Austrian anyway, not a German.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


We’re Not Bashers…Your Face Just Keeps Getting In The Way Of Our Boots

The architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said "No stream rises higher then its source."  To see how true that is, just read anything in the news concerning  the religious right.  Particularly these days, what with the paladins of morality making excuses for the GOP’s coverup of Mark Foley’s behavior with teenage boys

Your gay and lesbian neighbors have been staring into this sewer for decades now and the only thing that keeps surprising me personally, is how big the lies have to get before anyone in the mainstream news media notices the stench.  But it isn’t the big outrages like Foley you should be paying attention to.  It’s the quick little moments of flinching guile, when even though honesty won’t hurt them, they still can’t own up to anything.  Let me show you one I came across this morning, while reading the news.

Pure.  Think about that word for a moment.  Think about the images it conjures.   Pure.  Edinburgh University’s course on Christian marriage is called, "Pure".  It teaches students Orthodox Christian teaching on relationships and sex.  It teaches chastity before marriage and so on.  Oh, and incidentally, that homosexuality can be cured.  Well…maybe not just incidentally

Students nationwide have expressed their outrage after a Christian course aiming to ‘cure’ homosexuality piloted at Edinburgh University.

Students at the university began protesting the PURE course after it was discovered to recommend homophobic literature, such as What Some of You Were by Christopher Keane, which details the stories of "ex-gays" who have been “cured” of their homosexuality by the power of Christianity, and how "gay relationships are characterized more by promiscuity than by fidelity."

Unaccountably, gay students seem a tad upset about that… 

In response to the course, students at Edinburgh set up a Facebook group called "Stop Pure", which has enlisted 1,400 members within a fortnight. Students from around the country have joined from universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and Kings College London.

Group creator Lucy Chambers said: "We want to use the group to help make students aware of the issues raised by the presence of this course on our campuses and to encourage them to make a stand. Facebook is a great means to contact lots of students up and down the country in the space of a few minutes.

"We have already set in motion a process whereby our students’ association is investigating the course and it is our hope that we will be able to use the group, or perhaps set up a new one, to affect change nationwide."

Which, in their own way, is something the creators of "Pure" also have in mind…

The controversy surrounding the course called Pure, began after pilot courses were held at Edinburgh University. The pilot was deemed a success and the Edinburgh University Student newspaper printed details of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship plans to roll out the courses across Britain.

But just because the Colleges Christian Fellowship is teaching kids that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex, and that they can pray their dirty godless habit away, that doesn’t mean they’re homophobic mind you…

The [University’s Student Representative Council] has already been backed by the university’s chaplain, who said the course can no longer be held at the chapel for fear of upsetting people. But Matthew Tindale, a [Christian Union] staff worker, has denied it is discriminatory against homosexuals.

He said: "This is looking at the orthodox view on marriage, which says there should be no sex before marriage.

"If a heterosexual man came along who sleeps around, I am sure he would find it uncomfortable too.

Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex…

"This is not about discriminating against homosexuals.

"Christian teaching shows that all sin is treated the same way, whether you are homosexual or heterosexual."

Now, look at that for a minute, look at the flinching guile in that statement.  He could have said, "Yes but the bible calls upon us to discriminate."  But he didn’t do that.  Instead he threw out a cheap sophistry.  Now think again about what "pure" means.  Does the word "truth" also come to mind?  As in, Honest?  Genuine.  Real.  Pure.   Here we have a course that is ostensibly about marriage, which is in fact more about spreading ex-gay propaganda then it is about marriage, and it’s called "Pure".  The only thing that’s pure about it is its animus toward gay people.  But the defenders of "pure" cannot even be honest about that much.

If a totalitarian state, like the old Soviet Union, decreed a law forbidding Christian religious worship, could it plausibly argue that the law did not discriminate against Christians, because everyone had to obey it, even the atheists?  Yet here is a man from the Christian Union claiming that their course does not discriminate against homosexuals, because even heterosexuals are forbidden from having homosexual relationships.  A fact which has heterosexuals all over the world crying in their beer I’m sure.  Or…you know…not.

A course on purity in relationships taught by louts like these is a bit like a course on economics as taught by Ken Lay and the board of Enron, or Dick Cheney and Haliburton.  All the lofty concepts of mutual honor and respect and trust and faithfulness between lovers, are merely waved around here like a street gang’s colors, and serve no higher purpose then to ennoble bigotry and make bigots respectable.  And what the students attending this course pay in tuition, is everything fine and noble and decent within themselves, that they could have become.  The reason this course and the people teaching it should be thrown off campus isn’t so much that it’s anti-gay, but that it degrades the very thing it purports to elevate and preserve, and thereby every trusting kid who sits through it, gay or straight. 

No stream rises higher then its source…  "Pure" makes the sacred a slave to the profane.  But it had to.  Look at the sort of people who created it.  Now look at every other thing this sort has ever done in the name of Values and Morality.  If you’re still wondering how the figureheads of the religious right, James Dobson and his like, could instinctively jump to the GOP’s defense in the matter of Mark Foley, you must still think that they really believe the things they say about morals and values and righteousness.  No.  They only wear those things, so you won’t see them for the gutter crawling scum that they are.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on We’re Not Bashers…Your Face Just Keeps Getting In The Way Of Our Boots

October 21st, 2006

The Camel’s Bible

From the Netherlands (of course) comes the bible the religious right has long been waiting for…

Controversial new Bible cuts out difficult gospel passages

A new Bible translation is causing controversy after it cut out difficult parts surrounding economic justice, possessions and money.

The new bible version, released by the Western Bible Foundation in the Netherlands, has created a storm by trying to make the Christian gospel more palatable.

According to Chairman Mr. De Rijke the foundation has reacted to a growing wish of many churches to be market-oriented and more attractive. "Jesus was very inspiring for our inner health, but we don’t need to take his naïve remarks about money seriously. He didn’t study economics, obviously."

Oh obviously.  And we can ditch all that love thy neighbor crap too apparently.  But I reckon we already knew that.

This is a joke btw…

Hundreds of Western Bibles have been sold in the first few weeks, whilst anxious Christians filled newspapers and web logs with their doubts.

Sometimes Christians seem to have more anger than humour, however. The names of the board, ‘De Rijke’ (meaning ‘the rich’) and ‘Fortuijn’ (meaning ‘fortune’), as well as the holes in the pages of the Western Bible hint to the truth: the Western Bible is a joke. 

…but you want to bet that in a couple years folks will be reading devotedly it in the pews of mega churches from one end of America to the other? 

I wonder how many American Baptists realize their faith originated with the Dutch.  There’s an old joke about how one Dutchman is a belief, two Dutchmen are a church, and three Dutchmen are a schism.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Camel’s Bible


Tales From George Bush’s America…(continued)

We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone…

We refuse to work for homosexuals

It’s hard to imagine that when Sabrina Farber sent out an e-mail Wednesday she had any idea what kind of firestorm it would set off.

At 9:08 a.m. Farber, who together with her husband, Todd, owns Garden Guy Inc., a landscaping company on Hillcroft, hit "send" on a message that delivered a painful blow with the verbal equivalent of a smiley face.

"Subject: Cancel Appt – Garden Guy

"Dear Mr. Lord,

"I am appreciative of your time on the phone today and glad you contacted us. I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals.

"Best of luck in finding someone else to fill your landscaping needs.

"All my best,

"Sabrina"

‘Marriage is under attack’

Michael Lord, who is building a house in the Heights with his partner, told me he had found the company through an Internet search. He liked the "before and after" photos on the company Web site.

He said he didn’t notice, at the bottom of one of the pages, under a photo of the Farbers and their four children, this:

"The God-ordained institution of marriage is under attack in courts across the nation, and your help is needed.

"Go to: www.nogaymarriage.com to take action."

Lord said he filled out a form on the Farbers’ Web site and received a return e-mail expressing enthusiasm for the project. He called the company Wednesday morning to set up an appointment.

"Mrs. Farber kept referring to me and my wife," said Lord. "I told her it was actually my partner."

One-word message: WOW

He said she didn’t say anything about that on the phone, but five minutes after they agreed to a Sunday appointment and hung up, he received the e-mail quoted above.

At 9:17 a.m. Lord forwarded the message to his partner, Gary Lackey, with a one-word message: "WOW."

We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone our employer would serve…  

Driver Wins Right To Refuse Work On Bus With Gay Ads

(Minneapolis, Minnesota) A bus driver who says homosexuality is against her religion will be allowed to refuse to get behind the wheel of vehicles displaying gay ads.

Minneapolis-St Paul Metro Transit agreed to the demand by driver despite objections from her union according to an internal transit authority memo obtained by the Star Tribune newspaper.

The controversy arose after the authority accepted an ad from local LGBT magazine Lavender. The ad shows a photo of a young man and carries the slogan  "Unleash Your Inner Gay."

The ad runs on about 50 city buses.

When the driver objected the companied issued a memo to dispatchers instructing them not to assign the driver, identified only by her employee number, to any of the buses running the ad "under any circumstances" the Star Tribune reports.

"The decision has nothing to do with the content of the advertisement," he said. "It has everything to do with the employee’s religious beliefs," Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons told the paper.

Whoops…never mind…

Bus Company Admits Mistake On Gay Ad Dispute

Minneapolis-St Paul Metro Transit says it made a mistake in the way it handled the case of a driver who refused to operate a bus as long as it had an ad for a local gay publication.

Metro Transit says it was trying to do the "right thing" by the diver based on her religious beliefs, but in doing so sent the "wrong message" to the gay community.

"We are not persuaded that advertising, per se, infringes on religious practices and would be reluctant to make similar accommodations in the future," Gibbons said in a statement.

"We deeply regret any impressions of intolerance … Metro Transit employs and serves a diverse population, and we do our best to be respectful of all views."

"We deeply regret…"  Right.  Notice what’s missing?  Any hint that the driver in question won’t be allowed to refuse to operate a bus with an ad for a gay publication again in the future.  Kinda reminds me of Macy’s pusillanimous "apology" for yanking a Pride Week display from the window of its Boston store during Pride Week there, at the behest of local bigots.  Sure enough afterward came the "We deeply regret…"s but nothing changed.  Doesn’t look like it has in Minneapolis either.  I was a loyal Hecht Company customer until Macy’s bought it out. 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

October 20th, 2006

Loving The Sinner…(continued)

So I see the U.S. Catholic Bishops want to "clarify" their church’s stance on homosexuality…

WASHINGTON, October 19, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In their semi-annual meeting held in Baltimore in November of this year, the American bishops will be voting on a new document meant to help clarify the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality and "those with the homosexual inclination." The document is entitled "Ministry to Persons With a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care"

Catholic News Service reports that the document condemns homosexual activity of any sort but is careful to reinforce the necessity of treating those individuals with a homosexual inclination with "respect, compassion and sensitivity."…

Hahahahaha!  Respect, compassion and sensitivity anyone…? 

Catholic school fires gay guard

Church teaching cited; petition seeks an apology

A gay-rights advocacy organization is denouncing the firing of a campus safety officer at Marian High School, saying she was dismissed because she publicized that she’s a lesbian.

"It’s a horrible lesson to the young women at that school," said Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation in Detroit.

The officer, Charlene Genther, 55, was in her sixth year at the Catholic, college-preparatory school for girls. A former Detroit police officer, she has a daughter who graduated from the Bloomfield Township school in 2001.

Her firing has prompted Marian alumnae to action. A petition at www.petitionspot.com/petitions/genther that seeks an apology for Genther and the gay and lesbian community had gathered 136 signatures by Wednesday.

Genther said Wednesday that she has been in a committed relationship for 28 years and that it was no surprise to anyone at the school that she is a lesbian. She and her partner often attended school events, chaperoned dances and went to parent-teacher conferences.

But last week, when she began publicizing her autobiography, "Badge 3483: A True Story," which addresses the relationship, she was fired.

Genther said Sister Lenore Pochelski, the school’s president, gave her the news Friday, two hours after a local newspaper reporter interviewed her about the book. She said Pochelski said she wouldn’t have gotten fired if she hadn’t gone public with the book.

"She was very clear," Genther said. "She said it was because my lifestyle does not coincide with the teachings of the Catholic Church. I personally felt she was having a hard time firing me. …

"But she was firm that she had to go along with the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Pochelski confirmed that Genther was terminated, but said she would not comment on her termination out of respect for personnel and confidentiality issues.

"She was a great employee," Pochelski said. "We’re grateful for her generous service."

Their gratitude is worth its weight in gold.  But it isn’t just gay people who need to be beaten over the head every now and then with all the respect, compassion and sensitivity the catholic church can muster.  Anyone who dares regard the homosexual as their neighbor, as fellow citizens, clearly needs a little respect, compassion and sensitivity too. 

Cardinal advocates denying communion to defiant politicians

CORNWALL, Ont. – The altar rail is no place for confrontation between Catholic politicians and the clergy who want them to fall into line, Washington’s archbishop emeritus said Tuesday.

But if a politician consistently and publicly defies the church, he should be denied communion, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick told the Conference of Canadian Catholic Bishops meeting here this week.

”You have no choice in the matter. That person should not partake of communion. Sometimes you just have to do it.”

In Canada, some priests threatened to bar MPs from communion and church activities over their stance on abortion and same-sex marriage.

In the last U.S. election, McCarrick was caught between hard-right Catholics and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a Catholic who supported access to abortion and gay rights.

Hardliners said bishops who gave communion to pro-choice candidates were spineless and not ”real Catholics.” Others were horrified that something as sacred as the eucharist could be withheld as a punishment and used as a political weapon.

Respect.  Compassion.  Sensitivity.  What these things actually mean, depends on your point of view.  Is the homosexual your neighbor, or an inferior being of some kind…an emotional cripple with an intrinsically disordered sexuality at best, if not a willing tool of Satan, part of a new ideology of evil, whose struggle for equality is a threat to the existence of civilization itself?  How you answer that question, defines the meaning of respect, compassion, and sensitivity with regard to gay people.  Which makes these occasional avowals of respect, compassion, sensitivity, and so on from the Catholic church far less important, then that consistent and immovable affirmation of dogma, that homosexual relationships are against god’s plan. 

Against that standard of measure, respect, compassion, and sensitivity simply cannot mean the same thing when extended to gay people, that it does when extended to everyone else.  And if you think that the staggering mountain of evidence that the love of same sex couples is as meaningful, as essential, as life affirming for them as the love between opposite sex couples, might one day convince the Catholic hierarchy that god’s plan is a tad bigger then their dogmas, then you are a moral relativist.  The Bishops here in Baltimore have something to say about that too…

The document addresses the fact that America is suffering from "moral relativism in our society" and a "widespread tendency toward hedonism" which makes the Church’s teaching on homosexuality difficult for some to hear.

A Catholic man I met on the job once, told me that it isn’t so much access to God that the church provides, as Truth.  That’s important to understand.  What "the church" provides, is Truth.  When the Catholic hierarchy talks about "moral relativism", what it means is "seeking Truth from a source other then the church".  That’s not the same meaning most people get from that phrase.  When you think "moral relativism" you generally think of a kind of subjectivism, where every belief is held to be equally valid.  But that’s not what the Catholic hierarchy means.  As far as they are concerned, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, James Dobson, Fred Phelps, Dr. Laura…everyone…who thinks Truth can possibly be anything but what the Catholic church tells them it is, are all moral relativists. 

To let the facts guide you is moral relativism.  To judge a thing based on the evidence at hand is moral relativism.  To let nature speak for itself is moral relativism.  To believe what you see with your own two eyes is moral relativism.  Truth is what the church says it is, because only the church Has Truth.  If you believe anything else, you are a moral relativist.  And if you’re wondering how an institution that not only turned its back on the victims of child abuse, but actively protected the abusers can even think of itself as embodying Truth, then consider that it is precisely because they believe it that those abuses, of the children, of the trust of the faithful, could happen in the first place.

It isn’t the quest for Truth that turns people into gutter crawling thugs, it’s the belief that they and they alone embody it.

There are two parts to the human dilemma.  One is the belief that the end justifies the means.  That push-button philosophy, that deliberate deafness to suffering, has become the monster in the war machine.  The other is the betrayal of the human spirit: the assertion of dogma that closes the mind, and turns a nation, a civilization, into a regiment of ghosts – obedient ghosts, or tortured ghosts.

It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false.  Look for yourself.  This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz.  This is where people were turned into numbers.  Into this pond were flushed the ashes of four million people.  And that was not done by gas.  It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma.  it was done by ignorance.  When people believe they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

Science is a very human form of knowledge.  We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped.  Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error, and is personal.  Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible.  In the end the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken".

…We have to cure ourselves of the itch of absolute knowledge and power.  We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act.  We have to touch people.

-Jacob Bronowski "The The Ascent Of Man "

 
It is precisely the same callow vanity that feels no qualms whatever in firing "a great employee", in demanding politicians ultimately heel to their will as a condition of grace, in turning the joy and happiness of same sex couples into ash, that imposed itself on helpless children, over and over again, and then demanded they and their parents suffer in silence.  Truth.  What does it mean to extend respect, compassion, and sensitivity to the homosexual?  What does it mean to extend them to an altar boy?  To his parents?  To the faithful?  It isn’t power that corrupts absolutely.  It’s arrogance. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Loving The Sinner…(continued)

October 19th, 2006

The Values Party

Via Atrios…

GOP refuses to pull its TV ads that call Brown a tax deadbeat

Washington – The Republican Party last night refused to cancel commercials that claim Sherrod Brown was a longtime tax scofflaw – even though the state of Ohio says the ad’s claim is untrue.

Brown, the Democrat running against incumbent Mike DeWine, paid the tax bill years ago, soon after receiving a tax lien, according to newly released records from the Brown campaign and authenticated by the state.

But the Republican National Committee, supporting DeWine’s reelection bid, is running commercials saying that Brown "didn’t pay his unemployment taxes for 13 years."

DeWine ran his own commercial all day Wednesday with a DeWine family friend saying that Brown didn’t pay "an outstanding tax bill for 12 years."

Hours after Brown campaign lawyers complained, DeWine spokesman Brian Seitchik said last night that the campaign would change its ad "as soon as possible," but that it still would reflect the fact that Brown "failed to pay a delinquent tax bill."

The RNC, however, said last night that it had no plans to change its ad.

Ninth commandment?  What ninth commandment?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Values Party


Tales From George Bush’s America…(continued)

A few items seen among the news headlines on 365Gay.Com recently…

FBI: Gays Third Largest Hate Crimes Victim Group

Washington) New statistics show that hate crimes against gays and lesbians accounted for the third largest number of bias crimes in the country last year sparking a new push from LGBT rights groups for federal hate laws. 

Overall the number of reported hate crimes was down by six percent. Crimes against people based on their race accounted for more than half of the incidents.  Crimes based on religious bias were reported in 17 percent of the cases and attacks on members of the LGBT community came in third at 14.2 percent according to the FBI statistics.

The numbers are considered by many LGBT rights groups as low because not all gay victims report attacks on them for fearing of being outed publicly and because not all areas of the country track LGBT bias crimes.

In fact, whenever the issue of tracking these kinds of crimes comes up in the legislatures, it is reliably attacked by republicans and their religious right rubes as a prelude to an attack on their religious freedoms.  You know…like the god given right to walk up to a gay teenager and just punch them right in the face while they’re sitting peacefully on a trolley…

Good Samaritan Knifed Trying To Stop Gay Attack

(San Diego, California) A 50 year old man who came to the aid of a teenager being gay bashed on a San Diego Trolley was slashed with a knife.

Police say that the Trolley was traveling ;through the Encanto neighborhood when a man in his mid 30’s began making homophobic remarks to the teen.  The man then punched the young man in the face.

…not to mention that god given right to take a knife to anyone who interferes… 

When the older passenger attempted to intervene and prevent the teenager from further attack the assailant pulled a knife and slashed the 50 year old.

The attacker escaped when the Trolley made its next stop.

…or that god given right to prowl the gay ghettos looking for gay men to beat the crap out of, then rob, then rape.

SF Police To Step Up Patrols Following Homophobic Attacks In The Castro

San Francisco, California) A meeting Monday night between police and residents of San Francisco’s mostly LGBT Castro neighborhood brought a commitment that street patrols would be stepped up following a series of attacks.

About 100 residents attended the meeting, several telling personal stories.

Mark Welsh said he was attacked as he walked from work to his car 

"I was attacked from behind and hit in the back, neck and shoulder, which knocked me to the ground … As I fell to the ground, they proceeded to kick and punch throughout most of my body."

Throughout the beating and robbery Welsh said his attackers "kept calling me a faggot, many a time."

When they finished robbing him they sexually assaulted him.

Two other attacks fit the same pattern – beatings, robberies and then rapes.

And who but a satanist would want to deny the faithful and righteous the right to chase gay men into oncoming traffic and to their death…?

Murder Charges Laid In NYC Gay Attack

(New York City) The charges against two of the men accused of driving a gay Brooklyn man onto a busy highway where he was struck and killed have been formally upgraded to murder.  A third man is expected to face the same charge.

Police allege that Fox and Shurov posed as gay men, cruising an Internet chat room looking for a mark to rob.  They met Sandy online.

Chat messages between Sandy and the men were reportedly found on his home computer and a printout from his computer showing directions to Plum Beach, a popular cruising area, were found in his car.

Police allege that Sandy arranged to meet Fox on a street corner in Sheepshead Bay.  The two then drove the short distance to the beach where the other three were waiting.

When the gang began beating him Sandy bolted for the nearby Belt Parkway with his attackers in close pursuit.

They caught up with him in one lane of the highway and as Sandy broke free he was struck by a car, sustaining massive injuries.

The attackers were last seen rifling through Sandy’s pockets before fleeing.

For gay people to stand up and demand a stop to anti-gay violence, is to attack religious freedom.  At least, that’s what the Bush base is claiming.  Hate crime laws they insist, punish thought.  But if that’s the case then so do laws that protect anyone from discrimination on the basis of race or religion, because you can’t say it’s either one if the thinking is irrelevant.  Yes I said I wouldn’t serve them at my lunch counter…yes I’m a racist…but to enact laws against that is to punish me for what I think of people like that and that’s thought control…  No.  The problem isn’t that hate crime laws or anti-discrimination laws punish thought, but that they protect people who bigots believe down in their bones they have every right to beat the living crap out of whenever they damn well please.  It isn’t Who the hell are you to tell me what to think, but Who the hell are you to treat those people as if they’re my equals.

If we don’t bleed, they’re not righteous.  And so, we have to bleed. 

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

October 18th, 2006

Character

Via Atrios…  Did you know that this is National Character Counts Week?  And who better to proclaim National Character Counts Week then the man who just signed into law a republican bill codifying his practice of torture…?

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15 through October 21, 2006, as National Character Counts Week. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, parents, students, and all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

Hey…I have an idea for an appropriate activity during National Character Counts Week…   Let’s have a fundraiser for a fellow republican who cheated on his wife and then tried to choke his mistress…

President Bush’s appearance Oct. 19 in Northeastern Pennsylvania will be for a $350-per-person fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood at Keystone College, LaPlume Township.

Keystone spokesman Fran Calpin confirmed Mr. Bush’s appearance at the college but had no other details. However, a Republican source confirmed the ticket price and said the event will not be open to the public.

The visit will be Mr. Bush’s fifth to the region as president, by far the most of any president. He also visited once as Republican presidential nominee in 2000.

Mr. Sherwood, R-Tunkhannock Township, is locked in a tight battle with Democrat Chris Carney, of Dimock Township, for the 10th Congressional District seat.

Via Pam Spaulding over at Pandagon

…In Pennsylvania this week, Representative Don Sherwood, a suddenly endangered Republican, bought time on television to offer an apology in response to allegations that he had abused his mistress. Analysts for both parties said the sweep of outrage over Congressional misbehavior had weakened Mr. Sherwood and forced him to deal directly with the issue.

Recipient of an 84% rating from Christian Coalition, Don Sherwood’s “backrub” was actually a chokehold, according to Cynthia Ore.

Character.  Character. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Character

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