Tuesday, June 30, 2009

President Obama is a Geek

This totally cracked me up:

John Hodgman at Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner

Quote highlights:
"Speaking of Supreme Court Nominees, strict constructionists, [are] jocks. Anyone who believes that they know the original intent of the framers of the Constitution are obviously jocks, because a.) they hate hippies, and b.) they neglect the fact that the Constitution is perhaps the most geeky document of all time. It is essentially the Frequently Asked Questions list of the United States that was written by monied, sickly, bookish, bi-focal wearing nerds who believed that God was a distant, uncaring Dungeon Master."
"It is an exciting time to be a nerd... at this very moment the fate of Iran is strangely entwined with the sleep schedules of the geeks who maintain the servers at Twitter and Youtube."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Conservatism Fails the United States

As in EPIC FAIL. For eight years we had a conservative Republican administration. The conservatives controlled the House and the Senate for most of that time. Their ideology says that they want less taxes and less government. I'm sure that there are some rather thick people out there who think that this sounds like a good thing, until they think, if they have the capacity to reason that is, about all of the things that we have that are provided by our government. You know, the schools, the roads, the public services like trash pick up and water.

In fact if you listened to the Republicans enough you would think that what they really want is to go back to some sort of medieval style serfdom, where the poor have no chance of an education and are held in servitude to a lord, or in this case, a corporation. The mark of a free and democratic society is how educated it's people are. Without public education, nay, without good public education, you wind up with a society that is only fit to serve it's masters. I believe that the founders would be appalled at this.

And California is a microcosm of the bigger problem we have here in this country. There is an article in Time, that I read this morning, that really sums the entire problem up for us.

The financial crisis in California grew worse this week as State Controller John Chiang warned that if legislators and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fail to come up with a budget-balancing package, he would begin paying California's bills with IOUs on July 2. The last time the state did this was during the Great Depression...

And at the root of California's misery lies Proposition 13, the antitax measure that ignited the Reagan Revolution and the conservative era...

Before Prop 13, in the 1950s and '60s, California was a liberal showcase. Governors Earl Warren and Pat Brown responded to the population growth of the postwar boom with a massive program of public infrastructure — the nation's finest public college system, the freeway system and the state aqueduct that carries water from the well-watered north to the parched south...

The conservative mindset has, yet again, thrust us into what I'm sure historians will decide some decades from now, is another Great Depression. They got us into the first one as well, as I wrote about some months ago. You cannot provide the things that are the mark of a free and democratic society in a modern country, things such as water and public education without taxing people. You have to pay taxes if you want these things that make our lives comfortable and free. It's really quite simple. Sure, the government, at both the federal and local level, could stand to trim fat, you know, like the two wars we're fighting for no reason, politicians who use public money to go and see mistresses in Argentina, allowing no-bid contracts to certain corporations in quid-pro-quo deals, but that's not what the Republicans want cut. That's what they want to spend money on! Meanwhile they seek to destroy public education, government assisted funding for college and anything else that serves the public good. And the Democrats are no better. They need to grow some cojones and put a stop to this shit.

When we stop funneling money and resources into killing people and into corruption, we should have all the money we need for our crumbling schools and decaying roadways.

Or we can just be stupid and let the government continue to cut funding to important things so they'll have all the money they need for the military, so that they can run off and fight unnecessary wars with our tax dollars. We can submit to this and be little more than serfs, we can throw away all of the sacrifices that our ancestors gave so that we could be free and educated, and instead live in servitude to corporations.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Forces of Darkness

War is Peace,

Freedom is Slavery,

Ignorance is Strength.

I don't think that any of these Republicans who are clamoring for their own little totalitarian theocracy have ever read 1984. Because if they had read it, they'd realize that what they're doing is straight out of Big Brother's propaganda machine. These are all from ThinkProgress and all from this evening.

The Democrats are just as bad as the North Korean and Iranian regimes.
Phil Gingrey (R. Ga): "Americans are watching as from Iran to North Korea, the forces of darkness are attempting to silence the forces of democracy and freedom. The irony is on this day, the Democratic process and the nation’s economic freedom are under threat not by some rogue state, but in this very chamber in which we stand."
Pelosi has created an autocracy in the House.
John McCain (R. Az): "And I guarantee you we are using every parliamentary possibility we have and I have great sympathy for my friends in the House because it’s almost under an autocracy now with Speaker Pelosi."
Obama is an Colonial African Despot.
Rush Limbaugh: "We’ve elected somebody who’s more African in his roots than he is American…and is behaving like an African colonial despot."
Because, G.W. Bush wiping his ass with the Constitution of the United States, getting us into two wars we had no business being in, and sending our economy down the fucking drain, promoting theocracy in this country, and being an overall dipshit that the whole world hated, didn't cause these asshats any sort of bother at all. They didn't wake up in the middle of the night, wondering if maybe they should be doing something to save this country.

Now that the democrats are trying to save it, perhaps slowly and perhaps ineffectively, all they can do is scream about how the democrats are really despots and tyrants. Oh please. They wouldn't know a tyrant if they were arrested by them, thrown into prison without trial, and taken out behind a woodshed and summarily executed. Why? Because they don't have any cognizant thought or reason in their heads. Nor do they have any empathy. All they have is a singular idea that god tells them they're special and deserve to have absolute power over everyone else, and because they're rich, they don't have to bother with the lesser classes who should know their place.

Forces of darkness? The only forces of darkness I see are McCain, Limbaugh and the rest of their hangers-on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Anonymous Fails Christianity 101

Oh, of all the things I could write about, oh, this one struck me as the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. I got a bunch of comments from some "Anonymous" on my last post. Anonymous is someone I'm sure who's too afraid to post with an ID, mainly because they have no valid argument to counter mine, and they know it.

While talking about Sanford's humanity, and his failure to live up to his own moral code, I said and I quote,
Instead, I'm sure Mr. Ensign and Mr. Sanford are blaming Satan, the scapegoat for everything, for their failings. That's the problem with religions like Christianity. They promote the belief that one is not responsible for their actions, that bad things are done by the devil (or by people influenced by the devil) and that if they only put aside their reason, that Jesus will make it all better by a simple thought in their head that he's a god and came to earth to save them, like some kind of superhero.
To which Anonymous responded,

Wrong, again. Do you just make this stuff up while you tap away in Starbucks? When you include a statement like that it just collapses the reader's belief that you have any capacity to reason.

First of all, I hate Starbucks. They burn their coffee. Quite frankly, the coffee at our local bookstore is much better and they roast the beans fresh every day. But I digress. You see, Anonymous fails Christianity 101. The main tenet of Christianity is that it doesn't matter what you do, what actions you perform, bad or good, all that matters is that you think in your head that Jesus has "saved" you. If you have murdered a million people and then "accept the Lord Jesus" into your heart, you're going to heaven because Jesus absolves all sins no matter how bad. But if you don't believe in Jesus, you're going to burn in the lake of fire for all eternity, no matter how good of a life you've lived or how many charitable acts you've done. Now, the more moderate Christians tend to gloss this over, especially Unitarians, who try to be inclusive. But the doctrine is still there, they just don't harp on it, like say, the Southern Baptists.

I can't make this shit up. I've lived among too many Christian Fundamentalists for that. I know verbatim what they say. I know all of their arguments, and all of their weak refutations which always go back to a belief in Jesus. And if Anonymous thinks that one can be saved without a simple belief in Jesus, I don't know what religion he or she thinks they're talking about, but it isn't Christianity.

Finally, with the reference to Starbucks, I'm sure Anonymous thinks I'm a "latte sipping liberal" and that's a red flag that he or she gets their news from Faux and listens to Rush daily. What he or she doesn't realize, is that I hate both the Republicans and the Democrats. I don't believe the left or the right. I despise them all equally because I think they're all fucked up. I don't take anyone's side, save my own, and that of the impoverished and the oppressed. I don't need to take sides with politicians who are lying rats and who are born with a silver spoon up their ass. It's really too bad that all these people who claim to be Christian, don't bother to read one iota of what Jesus actually said, and then actually *gasp* go do it. You know, about taking care of the poor, social justice and all that. About going into your closet to pray, instead of standing on the street corner like hypocrites. Oh, but that would mean that they'd have actually had to read the Bible and comprehend it and think about it, instead of listening to people like Rush, Coulter and Malkin telling them what to think.

And I don't sip lattes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford: Another One Bites the Dust

And here we have, in a mere one week, another shamed Republican presidential 2012 hopeful. Laid low by the strict moral view espoused by their twisted interpretation of ancient manuscripts, they fail to see the irony that is their life. While insisting that everyone else live up to a certain moral, they themselves fail the proverbial hypocrite test, of failing to practice what one preaches.

Personally, I don't give a damn if he had an affair with someone. IMHO, that's between him and his wife. The problem is, these politicians scream for morality, and then when they don't practice what they preach, it's because they're "just human." Well yes, they are just human, which is why they fuck up. So why can't that be a lesson to politicians, that we're not interested in your morality. Just do your damned job of representing the people, and don't worry about how I live my life and I won't worry about how you live yours. So long as no laws are broken, who cares? Instead, I'm sure Mr. Ensign and Mr. Sanford are blaming Satan, the scapegoat for everything, for their failings. That's the problem with religions like Christianity. They promote the belief that one is not responsible for their actions, that bad things are done by the devil (or by people influenced by the devil) and that if they only put aside their reason, that Jesus will make it all better by a simple thought in their head that he's a god and came to earth to save them, like some kind of superhero.

The 2012 election is going to be interesting. When your most likable (as in likable by those who have no thoughts in their head) is a dumb bitch from Alaska, you have problems. You see, the GOP has been the party of anti-intellectualism for the last three plus decades, and the lack of viable candidates that have half a thought in their head, shows us that this strategy has finally come home to roost for them. So not only do they now have a bunch of followers who are unthinking hypocrites, the core of their leadership is made up of much the same.

Monday, June 22, 2009

English Only Conferenece [sic]

From think progress
Yeah. I couldn't help myself. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Why? Why do we still have racist bastards in the 21st century? The guy on the right is Peter Brimelow, the editor of a white nationalist website. You see, these people try to tie up the immigration debate in the package that it's about jobs or national security. But it isn't. That's what they want you to think. It's really about racism. These people are like the Nazis. Yes, yes, I know, Godwin's Law. But it's true in this case. They're conservative, fascist bastards who think the white race is somehow better than any other race. They miss the fact that race is a socially contrived thing, and genetically there is little difference between the so called races, and that skin color is a very late adaptation, perhaps arising as late as 10,000 years ago. But whatever, you can't argue with stupid.

PAT BUCHANAN: Judge Sotomayor is up there at school in New York, she gets a scholarship to Princeton, she’s graduated with all these big honors and awards they said she never won. What’s she doing there in the summer? They said her adviser told her to read children’s classics so she can learn English better. How do you graduate number one in Princeton if you’re in the summer and you’re reading Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White?
Seriously? You're kidding right? I bet you anything these ignorant morons haven't read a classic in their lives, children's or otherwise. Huckleberry Finn is a children's classic. So is Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. All worthy of being read if you haven't done so. But I digress, because what he has said is a lie. First of all, she was born in New York City. She's American, you can't say she doesn't speak English. What he has said has a kernel of truth to it, which is the most powerful kind of lie. When she went to college, she lacked a knowledge of the classics, perhaps children's or otherwise. Had nothing to do with her ability to speak English, but these clowns couldn't understand that. And I might add, that we only call a lot of books children's classics because most read them when they're in public school. Quite frankly, I think a good many of them have themes and situations that are over most children's heads, and should be re-read later in life. But I digress.

You know, this pisses me off a lot. Sotomayor was born in poverty and pulled herself out of it, and these rich, priveledged white men, who have never had to do a day's manual labor in their lives mock her for not being as educated upon entering Princeton as her white classmates were. What a bunch of fucking pricks. I'm sure there's some more nuanced way to put it, but that right there is how I'm feeling about them right now.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Neda: The Revolution will be on Youtube

A government that attacks it's own people isn't fit to govern them. Perhaps in a time not long ago, governments could sweep the terrible things that they do under the rug, but not any more. Not with cell phones with cameras and the internet. And youtube. There are a ton of videos on there that people have uploaded showing the horrific, and pointless violence. All these people wanted was a say in their government, and the freedom to live as they see fit, and to be free from fear of being arrested for mere words. But the Iranian government couldn't abide by their people being able to have a voice.

And people are dying because of it. And there are videos on youtube showing these people's last moments, with their friends and family members screaming in agony, wondering why their child, their brother, their father, or mother or their friend had to die. So, the government of Iran can't sweep it under the rug. There is a video of a girl whom they are calling Neda, which in Persian means "voice", who is shot in the chest and dies moments later. All caught on camera. I warn you if you click the link that is in her name that it is graphic. It is death. But you get to watch it safe at home, on your computer screen. These people are living with this day and night. With the police shooting at them for merely assembling and demanding their human rights. The government can't silence Neda. She may be dead, but she's all over everyone's computer screens right now. They may kill the people who are on their roof tops shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great), and thereby silence them, but they can't silence them. They're also on youtube. The harder the Iranian government cracks down, the more the voices of the disenfranchised Iranians will be heard across the world. And it will never go away. Their voices will ring out forever, as long as the internet lasts, demanding their right to be free from tyranny and fear.

"Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof." --V. from V for Vendetta

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Republican Senator John Ensign had an affair!

Surprise, surprise.

What is it with these self righteous conservatives who think everyone else needs to follow their version of "morality" but then don't bother to apply it to themselves? Bloody hypocrites.

Sen. Ensign quits GOP post after admitting affair

...The Nevada lawmaker is a member of the Christian ministry Promise Keepers and has championed causes pushed by the GOP's conservative religious base while seeking to raise his political profile for a possible presidential campaign...

The disclosure resurrected questions about a two-week period in 2002, when Ensign abruptly dropped from public view. A person familiar with that episode, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Tuesday the senator told a close associate the absence followed an earlier affair...
And of course it's not his first affair. He's apparently had others. This from a man who is vehemently against two people of the same sex getting married and being faithful to one another. If you're going to be a lying, hypocritical bastard, the least you can do is not expect everyone else to follow your supposed "moral" code. I personally don't give a damn what you do. If he wanted to cheat on his wife, whatever, ain't none of my business. However, it is my business when he wants to tell me how to live my life. He can take his "morals" and shove them where the sun doesn't shine.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Racism and the Grand Old Party

Okay, so not all Republicans are racist obviously. But for some strange reason, racists seem to flock to the party like geese to Canada in the summer. So it really comes as no surprise to me that a long time Republican activist, Rusty DePass of South Carolina, made the comment a few days ago that an escaped gorilla was one of Michelle Obama's ancestors. He then tried to cover his ass by saying that the First Lady had said herself that we were all descended from apes. Remember they hate evolution too. No one has found where the First Lady said this either, and I doubt that she said anything like it. And at any rate, in this case, this has nothing to do with evolution, but rather with a long standing tradition that black people are just one step above being a monkey, and are obviously not human.

This isn't the first time that rude, racist comments have been said, if you recall former Senator George Allen of Virginia, called a democrat volunteer of Indian descent "macaca" a clearly racist pejorative. He claimed he didn't know what it meant. Yeah right. At any rate, it destroyed his political career on the national stage. In the end he lost his seat, but not because he's a racist. Indeed, he was narrowly defeated by Webb who held a mere one third of one percent (0.3%) more votes than Allen. All of those people who voted for Allen didn't care that he was a racist, probably because most of them were racist as well.

Many people act like racism isn't a problem any more, that it's something that was a problem a long time ago but isn't now. Usually this view is espoused by the ones who are racist. They don't want a spotlight shown on their beliefs, so it serves them well if most people think that it really isn't a problem. Where I grew up in the south out in the countryside, there are still Klan. I knew plenty of people in high school who were virulently racist, and would say terrible things, like "the only good n____ is a dead n____." And they'd get away with saying things like that because the administration was probably racist too. I also recall a kid on the bus who told this other kid that there were probably black people in his family tree, and I remember the other kid getting really angry, and saying that there "ain't no n____ in my family!". He threatened to beat the kid up if he didn't take back the statement that he could have ancestors that were black. That was in the 90s, it hasn't been that long ago. These are things that I saw and heard first hand, so I know good and well the reality of it. And those people are still there, most of them have had a few children now, and are passing their hate on to them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I take it the Iranians are tired of Theocracy

Elections were held in Iran yesterday. Anyone who dares think for a moment that they were anything like fair is living in a fantasy world. It's a dictatorship run by a bunch of priests. To paraphrase Stalin, "It isn't who votes or how that is important, what is important is who counts the votes and how."

So of course the elections aren't fair. They don't have a free press, or any sort of oversight over what their government does. And if you've seen the pictures, some people are obviously pretty fed up with it. I dare say, a whole lot of Iranians are pissed. People are the same everywhere and tend to want the same things. The Iranian people want to be free to live without interference from their government, without fear of being "disappeared" in the middle of the night, without fear of being executed as a traitor for merely speaking their mind. These are the same things that everyone wants. Very few want to live in a theocratic dictatorship. The ones who wind up doing so, do so against their will and tolerate it out of fear. Out of fear of punishment from "god" and/or fear of what the earthly leaders of their country might do to them. The only people who want to live in such a place, are those who are in power, who benefit from it, the dictator and maybe his close comrades.

The question of where this civil unrest will lead depends on whether or not the Iranians who are so furious, are willing to die to free themselves. That's what it boils down to. If they're not willing to go to jail, if they're not willing to risk being tortured and killed, if they just go home, then they will continue to live in a theocracy. Because what they face if they refuse to go home and shut up, is death. It also depends on how cohesive the movement is. The Revolutionary Guard has said it will put down any uprising, and indeed I hope that Mousavi goes somewhere safe because he's in grave danger. The government will probably accuse him of fostering this whole thing and we know where that kind of stuff leads in situations like this.

It's really too bad that Iran's government is so backwards. I've always been fascinated by the place. One of the greatest empires in history was there, the Persian Empire. I love archaeology and would love to see Persepolis. I think it would be a great place to visit, but I'm not likely to set foot there so long as things remain the way they are. I'm sure the people are lovely, but I don't go for theocracies.

Same shit, different day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Right-Wing Extremists a danger? Really?

What was that a few months back, when the Justice Department caught hell for warning about right wing wackos? What was that? Oh yeah, looks like they were correct in their reasoning, obviously, as anyone with half a brain would realize. I wonder who was pissed about that assessment? Could it be the right-wing wackos who seem to always be ranting at the top of their lungs? Quite a few people owe Janet Napolitano an apology.

Alleged gunman charged in museum shooting


Security Guard Dies After DC Museum Shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An 88-year-old white supremacist has been charged with murder for killing the security guard who had opened the door to let him into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum, officials said Thursday...

In his car, officers found a notebook with a handwritten note saying, "You want my weapons - this is how you'll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews," according to a court affidavit...
This guy, James von Brunn, who murdered the guard, he was also ranting online about how Obama wasn't born here, following the usual right-wing diatribe bullshit. You know, just like what Faux News was saying. Same shit. I know where he gets his news from.

By the way, Stephen T. Johns and the other guards who stopped this ignorant, poor excuse for a human being, are heroes. If it hadn't been for them, countless other innocent people would have died.

Oh, and James von Brunn isn't alone. Just look at the white supremacist forums if you dare. I came across one by accident in a Google search of his name. They're lauding him as a hero. I don't know how such sorry excuses for life can sleep at night. They obviously have no empathy and no conscience. That's the mark of a serial killer, the mark of a despot. People who would kill other human beings and not feel any remorse whatsoever, I don't even have any words for that sorta crap.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm Back Stateside

So I'm back from my walkabout in Europe. Let me just say it was awesome, amazing and way cooler than I had ever imagined. I thank you all for your comments and well wishes.

To answer the question about whether or not Europeans hate Americans, etc., the answer is definitely no. They think our government is quite mad, but most of them think their own governments are quite mad too. There's the rub, most governments are corrupt bastards, but the people are nice. They think sometimes that we're a bit obnoxious, but they think the French are more obnoxious, except of course the French, who think everyone else is inferior.

Actually, that's not true. The French are actually pretty nice, or at least the ones that I met were. Even in Paris where I had been warned that everyone was rude and hated Americans, I failed to come across a single rude person. And for a city that size, I was shocked. I've met more rude people in London. And I butchered French, I only speak a little, and most people if they knew English would just start speaking English to me when they realized that I wasn't fluent. Which is a bit infuriating if you're trying to learn their language. Most of the French in Paris speak English by the way, I suppose it's because they're so close to England, only a little over two hours away by Eurostar train. You know attitude is a lot of it. I wonder how many people who complain about others being rude to them, are really the cause of their own problems.

Now the French in the south, they don't speak much English, but they're as nice as can be. We got by with my terrible French and waving our hands about a lot. Check my blog on the Albigensian Crusade, because I'm going to update it and include a few photos that I took.