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Archive for November, 2010

November 26th, 2010

Some Places Are Better Left Unbuilt Upon

No human eye can isolate the unhappy coincidence of line and place which suggests evil in the face of a house, and yet somehow a maniac juxtaposition, a badly turned angle, some chance meeting of roof and sky, turned Hill House into a place of despair, more frightening because the face of Hill House seemed awake, with a watchfulness from the blank windows

This house, which seemed somehow to have formed itself, flying together into its own powerful pattern under the hands of its builders, fitting itself into its own construction of lines and angles, reared its great head back against the sky without concession to humanity. It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope. Exorcism cannot alter the countenance of a house; Hill House would stay as it was until it was destroyed.

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

I am not a superstitious person, but this abandoned office building has been creeping me out now since I first laid eyes on it last year on one of my trips down here to Disney World.  It’s located right next to the Holiday Inn I’m staying at.  A sign in front of it suggests that it was due to be converted into a resort/spa opening sometime in the spring of 2009. I’m guessing the money ran out and it’s just been sitting here ever since.

Ever notice those lost little spots in the commercial strips..the ones that never seem to make a go of it and repeatedly close, open again under new management, only to close again and repeat the cycle over and over until they’re finally torn down.  Often the new place doesn’t do much better.  It’s as though some earthly places are just bad spots to build on.

This was one of the intriguing concepts in Shirley Jackson’s haunted house story that really captured my imagination so many years ago.  See…Hill House wasn’t a disturbed place because there were ghosts walking in it.  The ghosts were there because the house was disturbed.  The house was, as Jackson wrote, insane. Old Hugh Crain didn’t create an evil house, so much as unwittingly cause an evil house to be built.  Perhaps I wondered, it had just been built on a very wrong spot.  Maybe old Hugh, because he was such a wicked man, had been unwittingly drawn to it.  But as Jackson wrote, the house had formed itself.

I am not a superstitious person, and yet like all of us I sometimes wonder.  I see a house that, as Jackson wrote, is never off guard, always seeming to be watching, and it creeps me out.  I let my imagination give it an appropriately despairing past, and fill its spaces with lonely ghosts to walk inside. I am human…I read a quote somewhere to the effect that ghosts were born the day the first human opened their eyes.  It had never occurred to me before now, that a modern spandrel glass and concrete aggregate office building could give birth to a good ghost story. But there is one here to be written by someone.

It was a quiet out of the way spot on a road just starting to attract the attention of developers and big money financiers.  Hotels were rising, strip shopping centers, discount stores, office parks.  Somehow it had remained untouched in the rush to cash in.  Eventually a particularly slimy developer laid his eyes on the spot and saw a quick fortune to be made.  Financing was hastily arranged via his reliable network of equally slimy bankers.  A magnificent office building was planned and pre-sold to an equally slimy corporation, whose board of directors were even more degenerate then the bankers and developer.  It was dedicated in a glittering grand opening ceremony costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Within weeks of settling into their new office space, the CEO announced a sudden change of plans and moved his company out in a hurry.  Suits and counter suits ensued.  The building was put up for sale.  Nobody who leased it ever occupied it for more then a few days. Turnover in the security guards hired to keep vandalism in check was high.  Reports that vandals broke in at night, stealing some things and wreaking others, could never be verified because nothing ever seemed to be missing the next day. When questioned, former tenants all swore they had never, and would never enter the building at night to take things…or for any other reason.

Somebody needs to write this.  I know a good place to go for inspiration.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Some Places Are Better Left Unbuilt Upon

November 20th, 2010

Hate Does Not Differentiate Between Gay And Transgender

Today is the National Transgender Day Of Remembrance

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality conducted the largest survey of transgender discrimination. Among its findings were one quarter of transgender people lost a job for being transgender and high rates of housing instability and homelessness. The survey also revealed double the rates of poverty for transgender people compared to the general population. The data indicate that transgender people have higher vulnerability to violence. It also found that more than half of transgender and gender non-conforming people who were bullied, harassed or assaulted in school because of their gender identity have attempted suicide.

Gender non-conforming people… A lot of people fall into that category who might mistakenly assume that violence toward transgendered persons isn’t any of their concern. But the gay man casually holding the hand of the man he loves, the uppity straight woman, the insufficiently masculine and aggressive boy, all are regarded as fair prey by thugs, and for exactly the same reason.

“I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings. On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary. It is a mistake for various interfering, ignorant, and biased busybodies to try to “counsel” the other children into accepting the abnormal. It is very healthy to be able to draw the line between what is healthy and what is sick.”
-Joseph Berger, NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee

Many people who read that when it first hit the blogstream were appalled.  What kind of man actually advocates bullying a child?  But it is a vanishingly short distance between aggression toward adults perceived as weak, and children who are by nature vulnerable. The mindset of the adult who would excuse the one, is unlikely to shrink from the other, or even understand that it is wrong.

There are two parts to the gay rights struggle.  There is the freedom to love and be loved in return.  There is the freedom from the closet, to live our lives openly, honestly, as the persons we actually are.  No decent society denies these to its own.  Our struggle then, and those of our transgendered neighbors, are one and the same.  Against gender conformity.  Against hatred of difference.  But understand also, that the struggle of transgendered people in the broader sense reminds us that the American dream of liberty and justice for all is still very much an unfinished business.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Hate Does Not Differentiate Between Gay And Transgender

November 16th, 2010

Well I’ll Probably Never Fly Again

What do I have to change my name to so I can get on one of those No-Fly lists?  Seriously.

Napolitano defends new screening at airports

Amid criticism over intensified airport screening measures, Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the Department of Homeland Security’s use of full-body scanners and pat-downs as essential to “match the changing threat environment that we inhabit.”

“This is all being done as a process to make sure that the traveling public is safe,” she said, adding that officials would “have an open ear” if adjustments to the new rules needed to be made.

Got an open ear do you?

Good thing I actually like long distance road trips.  But hopefully in my lifetime the great ocean liners can start making a comeback.   Please.  I would still like to see the world someday.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Well I’ll Probably Never Fly Again

November 14th, 2010

Love Thy Neighbor…Unless They’re 12 Years Old And Have The Wrong Name

Via Dan Savage over at SLOG. Tony “why of course bullies don’t go to church” Perkins take note…

Girl Beaten for Having “Boy’s Name”

What’s in a name? A 12-year-old girl at Hernando Middle School in Mississippi was beaten by five fellow students — reportedly because they said her name, Randi, was “a boy name.””They started talking about me like I was a man,” she told local news station WREG. “That I shouldn’t be in this world. And my name was a boy name.” The four girls and a boy surrounded her after a Fellowship of Christian Students meeting, and, she said, kicked her in the rib and leg, hit her in the face, sat on her, pushed her face into the floor, and threw her onto a cafeteria table.

It was caught on tape apparently. However, officials at Hernando Middle School have tastefully agreed to keep the incident hidden from public view, and keep the police out of it.

A school administrator issued a statement, said WREG, that “fighting is not tolerated and that disciplinary action will be taken to the fullest extent of the law.” No charges were filed, however, because the police were not called. Whether the attack was an isolated incident or part of ongoing bullying remains unknown.

As Savage says, this isn’t simply a disciplinary matter, this was a violent attack on a twelve year old girl whose only crime was having the name Randi. By not calling the police, school administrators are abetting a criminal act. I suppose that because they were part of a Fellowship of Christian Students the school administration felt they must have had noble motives. Perhaps they were just trying to save her soul from eternal damnation for having the name her parents gave her.

The girl in question is said not to be gay herself, and that would be beside the point except for the fact that some parents seem to think that only gay kids are at risk for anti-gay bullying. But bullying is a sickness that pervades an entire school, terrorizing anyone who might even be thought to be fair game, and the message from Perkins and others of his kind is that those who are different, merely by their existence, threaten civilization itself. Out of one side of their mouths they say Love The Sinner. Out of the other its Hate The Sin.

Oh, and that were we to simply let them live their lives in peace marriage will be destroyed, the terrorists will win and civilization itself will crumble and fall.

Here’s how that plays out in the lives of children: Four girls and a boy surrounded a twelve year old girl after a Fellowship of Christian Students meeting, kicked her in the rib, kicked her leg, hit her in the face, sat on her, pushed her face into the floor, and then threw her onto a cafeteria table. Perhaps they then went home and read their bibles. See how much we love you Jesus…look what we did to Randi…

Wash, wash your hands before the multitudes Tony.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Love Thy Neighbor…Unless They’re 12 Years Old And Have The Wrong Name


From Our Department Of Sorely Missed Opportunities

What is life without regret? Via Alvin McEwen, here’s one I’ll take to my grave…

Paul Cameron : ‘ Prop 8 trial was lost because supporters were scared to use my work’

In September of this year, [Paul] Cameron posted a long, rambling diatribe on his web page of his organization, The Family Research Institute, entitled Prop 8 Decision — Triumph of ‘Scientifically Proven Sameness’.

Cameron’s theory that Germany didn’t loose World War I it was stabbed in the back by Jews and traitors at home the Proposition 8 defense lost because they didn’t use the good stuff, is one you had to see coming the moment the trial ended. The anti-gay industrial complex lives in its own world, its own mutually self referencing echo chamber, where all their comfortable conceits regarding heterosexual superiority are never allowed to collide with the slightest bit of cold hard reality. The instant they had to come out of that world and explain themselves in a court of law all their cherished fairytales went up in smoke.

Here’s a cartoon I did at the time…

It was a moment gay Americans had been waiting decades for. The sight alone, of so many straight media pundits scratching their heads at how utterly empty the anti-gay position actually is when you look at it closely was intensely satisfying. Oh…did you think they were arguing in good faith…? But if you even tarried momentarily with the thought that this might cause the kook pews to reconsider things a bit, ask themselves an uncomfortable question or two about what they know and how they know it, perhaps even feel a twinge of shame over what they’ve been doing all these years to innocent people, you do not know the breed.

No, they fled right back into the echo chamber at speeds that would have made Einstein’s jaw drop, and started bellyaching that the rest of the world Can’t Handle The Truth…

the_truth_you_cant_handle_it

To be sure, homosexual activists have been building a ‘scientific case’ that homosexuality is irrelevant to marriage or successful child rearing — and also unrelated to child molestation, etc. — by publishing quasi-bogus conclusions appended to empirical studies in the journals of the major psychiatric professions, or by getting these associations to make exculpatory pronouncements. Consistent with Judge Walker’s legal argument, most of these studies purport to ‘prove’ that the outcomes and consequences of homosexuality are no different than the outcomes and consequences of heterosexuality.

Since a trove of such studies exist, then if what ‘science’ is is what gets published in peer-reviewed professional journals or declared by professional associations, the homosexuals ‘win.’ After all, homosexual sympathizers have generated more pro-gay conclusions based on social science studies than conclusions in studies that refute their ‘proof.’

And Guess Who Happens To Possess such a treasure trove of studies that refute their ‘proof’. Go on…guess…

We at Family Research Institute (FRI), of course, have ‘skin in this game.’ As researchers, we have published more extensively on homosexuality in peer-reviewed scientific journals than any one else on ‘our side.’

Peer-reviewed scientific journals like Psychological Reports which is to peer review as due diligence was to banks during the mortgage bubble. Or as Jim Burroway put it

Of the thirty-four articles he’s published since 1986, all but five have appeared in the relatively obscure Psychological Reports. The others appeared in the journals Omega, Adolescence, Journal of Psychology, and the Journal of Biosocial Science. All of these journals rank very poorly among social science journals according to Journal Citation Reports, which measures the importance of a journal according to how often articles in that journal are mentioned in other journals — and thus its “impact” among social scientists. All of these journals rank in the lower half among social science journals. Most of them, including Psychological Reports, rank near the bottom.Psychological Reports claims to be a peer-reviewed journal, although editor Doug Ammons adds that “no reviewer has a veto right.” This is in sharp contrast to other, more respected peer-reviewed journals which will refuse to publish an article if serious objections are raised during the peer-review process.

Psychological Reports also differs from the other more respectable journals in another very important way: it charges its authors a fee $27.50 per page to publish. That’s why most professionals dismiss Psychological Reports as a “vanity journal,” one that will publish just about anything as long as the author is willing to pay the fee.

Let’s hear it for peer review. I mean…what’s more peer then a wad of cold hard cash?

So Cameron’s complaint is that Proposition 8 lost at trial because the defense was too afraid to put him on the witness stand, where he would have stood up for Real Science not fake Social Studies Science and swept everyone off their feet with such scientific brilliance even teh gay would have had to admit He Speaks Truth About Homosexual. I for one, truly regret this. I will go to my grave sorry Paul didn’t get his day in court. Really. Honestly. It would have been so absolutely Wonderful to watch Olson and/or Boies cross examine him. A pair of lions ripping apart a hapless gazelle while Maggie Gallagher watches with a look on her face like she’s about to vomit.

In my dreams I can just picture it happening…starting with “Mr. Cameron, do you recall speaking to a group in Lincoln Nebraska during the time that city was considering adding sexual orientation to their human rights ordinance? Do you recall telling them that a 4 year old boy had his genitals almost severed during a homosexual act in the restroom of the Gateway Mall…?”

“In a court of law you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to support those opinions, you’ve got to stand up under oath and cross-examination. And what we saw at trial is that it’s very easy…to make all sorts of statements and campaign literature, or in debates where they can’t be cross-examined. But when they come into court and they have to support those opinions and they have to defend those opinions under oath and cross-examination, those opinions just melt away. And that’s what happened here. There simply wasn’t any evidence, there weren’t any of those studies. There weren’t any empirical studies. That’s just made up. That’s junk science. It’s easy to say that on television. But a witness stand is a lonely place to lie…” -David Boies

Damn. Life just isn’t fair.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on From Our Department Of Sorely Missed Opportunities

November 3rd, 2010

Our Government

Rand Paul, white heterosexual tea party candidate won his contest last night, and among cheering white heterosexual supporters announced to the world…

I have a message – a message from the people of Kentucky, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We’ve come to take our government back!

Our government.  Our government.  Our government.  This from the man who said it was wrong for government to force businesses to obey civil rights laws because it was a violation of individual liberty, but who also thinks government should be in the business of controlling women’s bodies, dictating what is and what is not marriage and what is and what is not a family.  So when speaks of “the people” and utters the phrase “our government” it’s pretty easy to tell that “the people” are not necessarily his neighbors in this life but merely his own kind.  White.  Heterosexual.  Oh…and rich.  Very very rich.

Thus, the Louisiana Courier Press reported during the campaign…

Along with college and university students, Paul is courting the libertarian-leaning Republicans who got excited about his father. But to win a Kentucky primary, he’ll need social conservatives, and University of Kentucky political scientist Stephen Voss said he must be careful as he tries to appeal to both.

“This is a difficult tightrope to walk,” said Voss, who nonetheless believes Paul may be the front-runner right now. “When he’s talking economics and money, he is philosophically a libertarian. When he talks about social issues, he’s sending guarantees to the right wing that he’s not libertarian.”

Paul says he opposes abortion without exception, not even in cases of rape, incest or the health of the expectant mother. He also opposes marriages between gay and lesbian couples. At the same time, he voices staunch opposition to government intruding in the private lives of citizens.

A Difficult Tightrope To Walk… No, not a tightrope, a deception.   There are two kinds of “libertarian”.  There’s the useful tools who really believe that crap.  I was one of those back in the late 70s and moved around in Libertarian circles, working on campaigns, getting bored shoppers to sign our petitions, and that was where I saw that I was basically just a useful tool for the other sort of Libertarian.  The faux ones.  The rich right wingers and hard core John Birchers who saw libertarian rhetoric as a good way to bamboozle voters, especially young voters.  I first saw it when a vigorous argument broke out in the ranks after the U.S. supreme court decision in Hardwick v. Bowers upheld the state’s sodomy laws.  I was aghast and fully expected my comrades in the movement to be also.  But…no.  It was all about “state’s rights” many of them said.  But, but…says I…surely the states don’t have the right to toss grown adults in jail for simply for having sex either, no matter how strongly others may disapprove.  Individual liberty and all that.  No, no, I was told over and over.  “State’s rights”.  “State’s rights”.  “State’s rights”.

It was a slogan I had come to know well from the fight over race segregation in America, and I knew perfectly well even at a young age just what it was code for, along with that other famous code phrase of the time.  We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.

I got your libertarian America right here…

…and here…

…and here…

…and here…

…and here.

And I got your “libertarian” senator right here…

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

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