Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Redefining Carriage

Here at the start of the twentieth century, our country faces a change that threatens to destroy the very fabric of our society.  The menace to our people is so great as to call for prompt legislative action.  The cost of this change is far beyond the financial capacity of private industry, in addition to which this new development will wreck our agriculture.

I am speaking of course of the so-called “horseless carriage”.  The very phrase is an oxymoron.  For thousands of years, carriage has been defined as a vehicle and its horse or horses.  Yet the modern Liberal is so overwhelmed by his imagined future that he proposes to redefine the very meaning of the term.  We must act now to stop this gross debasement of God’s will.  As the self-proclaimed leader of the National Organization for Carriage, I urge you to memorize and blindly repeat the following:

  • Carriage is between a vehicle and horse. The people of [this state] do not want carriage to be anything but that. We do not want government or judges changing that definition for us today or our children tomorrow.
  • We need a carriage amendment to settle the horseless carriage issue once and for all, so we don’t have it in our face every day for the next ten years.
  • Carriage is about bringing together horses and vehicles so children can have transport and learn the value of caring for animals.
  • Do we want to teach the next generation that horses are dispensable, unimportant? Children are confused enough right now about the meaning of responsibility. Let’s not confuse them further.
  • Automobile drivers have a right to live as they choose; they don’t have a right to redefine carriage for the rest of us.

Hi, Road!

Hello, my name is Kevin.  I have SIWOTI syndrome.

Over Facebook way, I find this:

‎…And then there’s the Left’s especially vitriolic and hateful war on conservative women. Also, the Left’s silence regarding the treatment of women under Islam/Shariah speaks volumes.

with a link to the WorldNutDaily-wannabe, PajamasMedia, about how awful “the left” is to women.  I’m going to go ahead and reply, even though I can pretty much guarantee I will be accused of (1) changing the subject and (2) supporting violence against women.

Really?  You’re going to claim the high road here?  Okay, you have two points. I’ll address them both.

First, the left has an especially vitriolic and hateful war on conservative women.  I’m sorry, calling Sarah Palin an idiot is not a war on women, it’s a war on idiots.  The article you link to is all about Monica Lewinsky and Mary Jo Kopechne.  Individual cases from 15 and 43 years ago.  And those were crimes against specific women; the republican war on women is coordinated attempts to strip rights from all women.  See the difference?

Second, “the Left’s silence regarding the treatment of women under Islam/Shariah speaks volumes”.

(A) It’s a remarkably loud silence.  I found a half dozen articles about it on HuffPo with 10 seconds of Google searching, and I regularly get emails from liberal groups like MoveOn and Avaaz asking to sign petitions to the governments of Islamic countries urging them to stop various egregious acts, almost all against women.

(B) Answering criticism of your own actions by claiming the other side isn’t talking about what you want to talk about is misdirection. People talk about the republican war on women because it’s happening here, and our votes and our letters and our commentary makes a difference.  Complaining that “the left” (as if there’s some unified group of that name) is ignoring violence overseas while the people you support are attempting to reach the exact same conclusion right here at home is distraction.  There’s no longer even an attempt to pretend it’s about saving fetuses; the laws being proposed (and passed) now are directly aimed at eliminating birth control, and then shaming and punishing women when they get pregnant as a result.  Texas just dropped $40 million worth of health care for poor women (not men) rather than give any money to Planned Parenthood.  Plenty of people on the religious right are quite open about wanting women out of the workforce, at home and pregnant.  So go ahead and keep wringing your hands that “the left” isn’t hating on Islam enough, if it makes you feel better about supporting the theocrats rolling back women’s rights at home.

Whatever Happened to Facts?

Y’know, I read the Catholic Bishops’ statements and have to wonder what world they’re living in when they claim martyrdom for not being allowed to prohibit other people from having no-copay contraception.  “If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate.”  Surely nobody with a brain thinks that’s reasonable?

And then I see the comments on Facebook.  Not from my friends, but from a horrifically large number of their friends.  “It’s not about contraception, it’s about religious freedom!” they shriek.  Well didn’t you just drink that bandwagon hook, line, and sinker.  Only, somehow, it’s only about the kind of religious freedom that involves telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.  It’s not, apparently, about

  • Allowing employers to opt out of providing insurance that covers blood transfusions because they might be Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Allowing employers to opt out of providing coverage for mental health because they might be Scientologists
  • Allowing employers to opt out of insurance entirely because they might be Christian Scientists

Nope, it turns out religious freedom means working to make sure their employees, regardless of faith, get pregnant even when they don’t want to. Yes, that’s clearly their goal.  They’re not paying extra for the coverage, the insurers are saving money by providing it so premiums won’t be raised to cover it, and they already have an exemption for religious employees.  Yet they demand that all employers be allowed to not offer contraceptive coverage for all their employees.  See full discussion at Camels With Hammers.

Or is it just another case of “Obama did it, so it must be bad.”  I mean, if the Pope’s pronouncements are supposed to have such sway over US law, why aren’t the bishops (and the Santora, and the Gingrinches) screaming to get universal health care enacted?  Obama got us closer than we’ve ever been, against huge opposition, and now he is the one waging war on Christianity?

Could we go back to a time when you at least had to pretend to have facts on your side?

I Promise… If…

“I promise not to smack you if you cut up your credit cards”.

“I promise not to kill you if you give me your wallet.”

“I promise to let all the passengers go if you give me $200,000 and a parachute.”

“I promise not to destroy the country if you keep paying for the things I bought last decade and take the money out of the poor, elderly, and middle class.”

Someone remind me why there was ever any debate about who was responsible for nearly bringing about default.

Wakening the Kraken

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

A significant release of methane due to melting of the vast deposits trapped by permafrost and clathrate in the Arctic would result in massive loss of oxygen, particularly in the Arctic ocean but also in the atmosphere. Resulting hypoxic conditions would cause large extinctions, especially of water breathing animals, which is what we find at the PETM.
Skeptical Science

Is it “alarmism” to yell fire in a crowded theatre if the building is in fact on fire? And you’ve come to realize the basement is full of gasoline tanks?

(I) Commit a Rudeness

Dear Entire Country of Japan,

I know you had that whole earthquake thing, with the shaking and the breaking and the aftershocks and the tsunami and the entire towns washed away and the 13000 dead and all. And also that thing where a quarter of your power is missing and there’s radioactive iodine visiting places it really shouldn’t, and your electricity is turned off a few hours every day and will continue to be so for the forseeable future. And I do realize this was a natural disaster of a size unseen in over a century.

And sure, through it all you are keeping your international space projects on schedule, to the point of continuing meetings the moment the shaking stopped, and moving work from Tokyo to Komaki where there’s power all the time, and promising to repair your test facilities in time for the planned tests with our hardware.

Yes yes, I know all that, but it turns out that people in our country are using contraception. This is unacceptable, and as a result we are unable to continue working on our portion of your space projects.


Happy Loving Day. Not.

And I was so enjoying waving happily at Air Force One when it flew overhead.  Looks like I’m gonna have to go back to flipping it off.

Hope?  Nope.  Change?  Strange, looks like just another cheesy breezy politician blowin’ in the wind.  Creeping up as close to that center line as he can get.

Obama defends DOMA in federal court. Says banning gay marriage is good for the federal budget. Invokes incest and marrying children.


Virginia is for Loving

This Friday will mark 42 years since everyone in the U.S. got the right to marry whomever they want.  Well.  Not quite everyone.  Not quite yet.  Still, it was a massive social change, brought about by a zealous court.  Talk about your judicial activism!  Overturning the clearly expressed and massively supported will of the people, without any such right being explicitly spelled out in the constitution.  If the constitution doesn’t grant the right, how can you overturn democratically enacted laws based on some nebulous concept of “civil rights”?  (Hint:  What part of the 9th amendment don’t you understand?)

Loving v. Virginia.  Was there ever a better-named court case?  This here’s a couple years old, but it still makes me smile:

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007, The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

Yeah.  What she said.

It’s the Little Things you do Together

Oh, check this out!

Look what website validates as legal HTML!

Look what website validates as legal HTML!

Sure, it’s a tiny thing, but it’s the kind of thing that happens when you hire, y’know, experts.  Who, y’know, give a damn.

Better stop it, Mr. Obama, you’re getting my hopes up.

Warren just bought some

Lotsa buzz about this Rick Warren dude giving the invocation at Obama’s inauguration.  Much as I dislike evangelicals, mega-churches, and gay-bashers, I’m not so sure this isn’t a clever move on Obama’s part.  Here’s what I wrote over at Ed Brayton’s place (edited some for here):

Who presents the stupid invocation just doesn’t matter.  If Obama continues to invite Warren to the White House regularly, I’ll be a lot more worried. If he starts taking advice from Warren, I’ll be pissed. But this is a meaningless gesture.

I’m not understanding the concern about pissing off the LGBT community. What’s the downside? Obama is officially in favor of everything we want short of marriage, and my reading of his text is that he’s really just holding back on that as a political convenience. Okay, found it. Here’s his official statement.

Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as married couples, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency as well as equal health insurance, employment benefits, and property and adoption rights.

So, why not just call it marriage? Well, I would prefer that, and I will be surprised if we don’t end up there. But to get there from here we needed Obama to beat McCain as step one. (Okay, to get there as quickly as possible.) And I think omitting the word “marriage” was a good choice in a pragmatic sense. I see a pretty big nod and wink in those words.

Okay, so my point is his plan involves some pretty major, and pretty contentious legislation, with some big changes for a lot of people. (Remember when the entire state of Massachusetts exploded from teh Gay? Oh. Okay then, big-seeming changes.) He already has the support of the LGBT and friends community; what he needs is the support of the religious middle. I think Warren can help him with that.

And here’s a thought: what if it works the other way? From what I’ve read, Warren has been a little iffy on some of his anti-gay stances. What if he does get to know Obama a little, and Obama influences him? It could happen. There’s a word for that, what is it now…? I haven’t heard it in a long time, it’s kinda fuzzy. Oh yes, “leadership”. Not too likely, I know, but if I were going to try to bring some evangelicals back from the dark side, Warren would be on my list. Hey, I can hope.

And now I return to my usual cynicism.