Wednesday, November 30, 2005

maybe torture would be appropriate...

Under certain circumstances. For instance, I'd support using torture on every member of the current Administration when we finally start really looking into things. How many people wouldnt experience a little frisson at the thought of Dick Cheney on the rack... s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g.
Imagine what he might confess to, finally. I'll bet he would even clear ol' Bill Clinton, given enough "persuasion". ("Yes, yes, I'll confess, it was me, I stained the dress").
Where does this thought come from? Why from Republicans, of course. Well, not directly, but they seem to think so much of the technique for gathering information, how could they possibly object if it was used on them. So much simpler, so much faster. Isnt that a common Conservative gripe, the "coddling of criminals"?

Listen to this:
Sen. John McCain is leading the charge against so-called "torture" techniques allegedly used by U.S. interrogators, insisting that practices like sleep deprivation and withholding medical attention are not only brutal - they simply don't work to persuade terrorist suspects to give accurate information.

Nearly forty years ago, however - when McCain was held captive in a North Vietnamese prison camp - some of the same techniques were used on him. And - as McCain has publicly admitted at least twice - the torture worked!
What further proof could one have of the effectiveness of torture, especially on Republicans?

Okay, okay, not really. Oh, the above quote is real, coming from I got this from Rude Pundit, and he seemed pretty incensed by it, but maybe it was just a joke. I confess to not being familiar with the blog, and there were a lot of ads about fighting, viagra, and picking up women.
Personally speaking though, I figure Torture to be an evil "highlight" for BushCo, on a long list of very bad things. Still, I might be less averse to it if, perhaps, an amendment was attached to any Pro-torture bill which said that all those who voted in favor of the bill would themselves assent to torture should they be suspected of criminal activity.
It's too bad someone didnt think of this years ago, when the go-ahead for torture was first given. This whole Tom DeLay thing, for instance, would have been a lot less messy (well, except for in whatever room Tom's twitching corpse {oops, too much} lay). Talk about your deterent.

I'm going to have to send this idea to someone in the Legislature. Kennedy, maybe. If he's grateful enough, maybe he'll finally give me my rovin'-eye Jesus.

news brief

The homepage for my SBC/Yahoo account shows "news" items for the day. Here's today's "top" stories:
  1. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie will be doing a new "Simple Life" show, but wont actually be having any contact with each other.
  2. Jerry Falwell, and friends, are upset about Boston changing the name of their Christmas Tree to "Holiday Tree". "There's been a concerted effort to steal Christmas," Falwell told Fox Television.
  3. Bush maps out new strategy in Iraq War: "These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington."
  4. Possible Miniature Solar System Discovered: scientists observed a brown dwarf (a failed star less than one hundredth the mass of the sun) that appears to be undergoing a planet-forming process that could one day yield a solar system.
This is news? Let's look at CNN's top four:
  1. Bush: "America will not run"
  2. Supreme Court hears abortion notification case
  3. Alito argued in memo for state laws 'mitigating' Roe
  4. CNN/Money: Will judge's ruling shut down your BlackBerry?
  1. "It was a beautiful little community" (NOLA")
  2. Garage Music Barrage (not actually news, but musical VW ad)
  3. "10 Food mistakes people make"
  4. Bush: Iraq victory "will take time"
Google News
  1. George Bush, Meet Reality
  2. Israeli [foriegn minister] vows to rehabilitate Likud party
  3. Pacifist group experienced in war zones
  4. Supreme Court seeks Middle Ground in Abortion Case
hmmm. Who would I choose for my news? Who would you choose?

    cool toys

    Step 2 racer bike
    Really, only someone with kids can probably understand this, and then only if you're a guy, but still I just had to share this, because it's just plain cool.

    I think most electronic toys are crap, but kids today got it made, big, plastic toy-wise.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    classify my soul

    Help. I need help. Yes, you knew that already, but this is a more specific help, and, as you see, my initial help has no exclaimation mark, so it's not like it's urgent or anything. Here's the deal: A week or two ago, Coturnix, at Science and Politics, was putting me in his Blogroll. He asked, "Where should I put you?".
    Catagorize myself? O Lord, that's never been something I've ever been very good at. I finally stuck myself in the Skeptic catagory, which was later combined with Atheists. But I dont know. At the risk of getting on poor Coturnix's nerves by asking to be moved into a different catagory, how would you, my half-dozen or so readers, classify what I do here? Feel free to make up new catagories...

    Oh wait, maybe I shouldnt have said that.

    This I believe

    I've been inspired by NPR's essay series "This I Believe" to sit down and write my own.
    There were, I figured, two ways to write this essay. One, boil everything down to the absolute basic underpinning, the one thing that I can relate to nearly everything I believe in. Or, two, a laundry list.

    I went with the laundry list.

    I know, it's the easy way out, but I've got a lot on my plate these days, what with the Holiday season and all... okay, that's not true, the Holidays have nothing to do with it. I'm just plain busy, and that's a convienient excuse. Someday, I'll boil this laundry list down, and write something worthy of NPR. For now though, it's enough for me just to figure out and get down in words just what it is that I do believe. More or less.

    For now.
    • Because the first thing I believe is that if you cant change your mind about anything, you might as well be dead.

    • Love is easy. Compatibility is hard. Too many people think that because they "love each other" that's all they'll ever need, and it's just not true. You need to remember that you will be sharing your life with the person you marry for decades. Neo-Cons and fundamentalists blame the high divorce rate of this era on decadence (or gay people). A far more reasonable explanation is that one hundred years ago odds were pretty good that one of you would die before you got sick of each other.

    • Electronic voting will prove, eventually, to be No Good. Anything that can be tampered with during the voting process, will be, given the chance. When one member from each party both keep an eye on a physical ballot box, it is hard to tamper with it. But who watches electronic voting boxes? I predict Electronic Voting Fraud will be one of the Great Scandals of the 21st Century.

    • I believe in some form of Higher Intelligence, but what it might be I'm not arrogant enough to say that "I know". I personally suspect that Intelligence arises out of Complexity. Thus, the idea of an "Earth Mother" may not be too far off (the Earth is certainly a complex place), and as for the Universe, I wouldnt exactly call it simple, would you? Man is such a parochial creature, to stuff God into such a tiny box as his "likeness".

    • I believe Station Wagons, the best vehicular form for the pragmatic person, never went away. Millions of men and women who swore they'd rejected the old Family Wagon, just called it different name. Dont believe me? Go take a good look at that Tahoe in your driveway: Four doors, covered and windowed cargo area behind the backseat, A-pillar, B-pillar, C-pillar, D. Yep!, all there, Hello! It's a tall station wagon, Family Man (or Woman)!

    • I believe half of what is today refered to in America as "racism" is, in fact, Culturism. When you say someone is a certain way because of their Skin Color, that's Racism. If you think someone is a certain way because they behave in a certain style, such as the gangster-rap derived "thugging", then that is Culturism, and a whole different arguement (and you'd still be guilty of Prejudice, which can operate outside of Race). To reject a Culture is not to reject a Race, and vice-versa. I reject Paleo-Conservative culture, but this doesnt mean I dont like White people ( just nasty, greedy, hard-hearted, narrow-minded, tight-sphinctered, bible-clubbing apocalyptocrats of any color). Those who use the term "racism" to describe what is actually culturism dilute outrage over real rascism by way of "the boy who cried wolf" syndrome. (This is the shakiest one in the bunch, so I'm not quite sure of the details of my beliefs here, dont hold me too tight to them.)

    • I believe that Profitting from Sick People is Immoral. I'm not talking about Doctors making a living, or even about Doctors making a very good living. Nor am I talking about for-profit hospital chains (although, to an extent, I could). I'm talking about two massive corporate organizations that make billions of dollars a year from the Business of Illness: Pharmaceuticals and Insurance. Drug Companies spend as much money on Marketting as they do on Research, yet when blame for high prices is assigned they mention only the cost of Research, or "lost" patents. Insurance Companies take in billions of dollars a year from people in the good faith that when those clients get sick, their health care will be paid for; a faith too often abused either through outright denial of service, or impentrable rules, regulations, forms and permission requirements.

    • I believe that the Government should not be involved in any for-profit scheme unless all the profit goes back to the government.

    • I believe Elvis is dead. If Lisa Marie marrying Michael Jackson didnt bring him out, he cant possibly be alive.

    • I believe Michael Jackson did do it, and will do it again.

    • I believe Fundamentalist Governments have nothing to do with Faith, and everything to do with Power. Want a simple test? Ask this question: Will the person who observes religious law faithfully for their whole life, as dictated by secular law, but doesnt believe recieve the same reward when he dies as the person who observed religious law his whole life because he believed? If not, then what is the point of making Religious Law into Secular Law? To mitigate Temptation? Isnt that a Test from God, so to thwart that test is to attempt to thwart God? Religious Power, like any other, Corrupts, and Man, however Holy he may be, is still Man. I believe most who would see Religious Law made into secular law are people of weak Faith, who require that others be forced to act and "believe" as they do in order to re-enforce their own shaky beliefs.

    • I believe Black and White photography is superior to Color.

    • I believe that the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are being held illegally, and that the "Enemy Combatants" policy will come back to bite us on the ass very, very hard. Our current treatment of prisoners in the "War" on Terror most likely qualifies as a War Crime. The BushCorp should be held accountable, but we are all complicit in this. This goes double for torture, triple even.

    • I believe that other people's sex lives are none of anyone's damn business except for the people involved, and if people want to get married, then let 'em!

    • I believe the Death Penalty is OK. I dont like it, but I dont like a lot of things. Those convicted and sentenced knew the rules going into the crime, and Death (ought to be) reserved for the most heinous of killings. BUT, when an innocent person is "proven" guilty by deceit, inneptitude, rascism, or laziness, then the Prosecutors should be held liable for (attempted) Murder or Manslaughter.

    • I believe most Modern Art is a Con Game, a three-card monty with Arists, Dealers and Investors. The only real losers are the public, who generally show their contempt through their absence.

    • I believe the "pre-emptive strike" in Iraq was about as Un-American thing as has been done in this country since the WWII internment of the Japanese. It was the moral equivalent of instructing traffic cops to stop drivers at random and hand out tickets for speeding, running stop signs, failure to yield, and parking violations because "we know you're going to do it someday". Innocent Until Proven Guilty, that's supposed to be the American Way. Only Bullies and Dark Lords strike first, A Gentleman waits until he is attacked, but then George W. Bush is No Gentleman.

    • I believe that the Press is not only biased, but that it's not a liberal bias. We need more newspapers, and more diverse ownership of media outlets. I believe the primary effect of narrowing ownership of media outlets will not be control of people's opinions, but the destruction of the legitimacy of those outlets. I hope that David Brin's theory of the Age of Amateurs comes true and includes an amateur press (blogs, for instance, he says smugly).

    • I believe if Unions ever want to regain any kind of effectiveness then they need to return to their grass roots. It's time to do some serious slashing and burning at the administrative levels, and give more power to the locals. National level administration should be more about co-ordination than control.

    • I believe people who commit suicide simply arent paying attention. It's a big wonderful incredible fabulous world filled with more cool stuff than you can shake a stick at (including the notion of wanting to shake a stick at something!). We live in the most mobile society ever in the history of the world. If you hate your life, Change it! You can, you know. It wont be easy, but it wont be death either. And, as the saying goes, you can always jump tomorrow.

    • I believe it is Evil to treat People like Commodities. If you simply want to be an asshole, that's your business, but dont try to make it sound like you're doing nothing wrong.

    • I believe that no one should be made a leader who cannot articulate a detailed vision of the future at least twice the length of his maximum term in power. Too much American leadership is done by Accounting, unable to see anything beyond the next fiscal period or two.

    • I believe that America's messed-up priorities are evident in it's choice for heroes - actors, musicians and sports stars - in other words, entertainers. Where are the people like Thomas Jefferson, Jonas Salk, George Washington Carver, Eli Whitney, Henry Ford, Franklin Roosevelt, Francis Bacon, Johann Gutenberg, Thomas Edison? Hell, even Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? Why do we choose, not people who made our lives better, but people who merely made our afternoons better? Heroes should be people who inspire you to go out and improve, not just your game, but the world's.
    I could probably come up with more stuff if I thought about it for another week or two, but then I could probably come up with more stuff, and change other stuff, or tear it up and start all over, or any number of things, if I thought about it long enough. So I'll throw it out there as is, right now.

    There. Comment on it in fury or agreement. Ignore it in embarassement. Roll your eyes. Such is life.

    That I believe also.

    Monday, November 28, 2005


    Well, I'm back.

    Samwise said that, and settled down to his life. I say that, and then stare at the screen for a while...


    Man, remind me not to take anytime off for Christmas. Or to just not worry about Billy Bob if he has another episode.

    Whoops! time to get the little one from school!

    Friday, November 25, 2005

    so sorry

    I just read the review I wrote yesterday, and I'm terribly sorry.

    I completely missed teling the whole point of the book, which was how the brain can make split-second decisions about things (especially things you could be considered "expert" in). These quick thoughts can be useful or harmful. Useful, because they can bypass the uncertainty that can come with too much information and cerebrating about something. Harmful, because they are often based on unconscious stereotypes.

    So read it anyway, despite my inept reviewing skills.

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    dont miss it

    I just finished this book last night, and heartily recommend it. It discusses the "adaptive unconscious", and its ability to make nearly instaneous decisions on very little information (what most of us might call "instinct"). There's a lot of fascinating stuff in here.
    It discusses things as seemingly diverse as the New Coke Debacle, high-speed chases (they're not dangerous soley because of the speeds involved), mind-reading (sort of), autism, an over-looked musician named Kenna, military wargames, why doctors are sued for malpractice, sub-conscious racism, antique fakery and why experts "just know".

    Try this on for size:
    The psychologists Claude Steel and Joshua Aronson created an even more extreme version of [a test that studied the effects of pre-test thought patterns and their effect on testing], using black college students and twenty questions taken from the Graduate Record Examination, the standardized test used for entry into graduate school. When the students were asked to identify their race on a pre-test questionaire, that simple act was sufficient to prime them all with negative stereotypes associated with African Americans and academic achievement - and the number of items they got right was cut in half
    Then there's a story (in two parts) about a massive wargame that was conducted in 2000 called "the Millenium Challenge". In it, the Massed Forces of the U.S. Military staged a "war" against a "rogue" military commander in the Persian Gulf. That "rogue" commander was Paul Van Riper, a heavily decorated Marine commander. Van Riper had standard third-world weaponry, and a command style based on on-site real-time decision-making. The U.S. had massive infrastructure, intelligence and state-of-the-art-weapons, combined with lots of strategy-planning meetings. Guess who won? So the timetable was backed up, and the exercise resumed. Sort of.
    The day after the attack, I walked into the command room and saw the gentleman who was my number two giving my team a completely different set of instructions... I said, "What the hell's going on in here?" He said, "Sir I've been given guidance by the program director to give completely different directions." The second round was all scripted, and if they didnt get what they liked, they would just run it again.
    Naturally, this time the U.S. forces won.

    Anyway, read the book. I've never been any good at book reviews.

    to God, or not to God

    I'm late with this, but I want to talk about it anyway.

    Last Monday on NPR's "This I Believe" series, it was Penn Jillette's turn to tell us what he believes. These beliefs were based upon his atheism. But a funny thing occurred to me as I lsitened to him. You didnt have to be an atheist to agree with what he was saying.
    Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up..."
    Atheist, Believer, either way, all you have to do is let go of the idea that your beliefs are the only right beliefs. Understand that human suffering is caused (or at least left unrelieved) by human choices (including the choice to make no choice). And to realize that a few cherry-picked lines from an ancient book do not give you the right to cause others pain.

    So go, dont listen to me, I'm not nearly as eloquent. Listen to Jillette say his own words in his own voice. Forget his level of belief in God, and concentrate on his belief in his words. They're good words, and worthy of belief.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Rev your engine


    I had this post almost ready to go. I'd worked on it off and on for hours while at work, a sentence here and a sentence there. Then, just before posting, I go back to see what kind of comments have been posted since last I looked, and every comment by the Rev is gone except one cryptic message saying "names are missing".

    Apparently, things have not yet settled down at Less People, Less Idiots.

    I'm going to run it anyway. Maybe it will be meaningless tomorrow, I dont know. I hope not, but it's a funny ol' world and most of the time I cant really keep up with it.

    Today's post I would like to dedicate to the Good Reverend Billy Bob Gisher. The Rev is girding himself for battle, and taking on a foe of biblical proportions: us.

    That's right, all of us. Not because he doesnt like us, not because we're bad people (well, some of us). Because he envisions a future where the air is clean, the planet is sound, his great-grandchilden are healthy and free, and wars are fought no more. It is a noble battle, and most of us are on the wrong side.
    This weekend, the Reverend had a crisis of faith. Everyone has them from time to time, although not usually so public. Things were said, things were not said, advice, condolence and comfort was offered. Finally, peace was re-established. The Reverend will preach on.

    And there was much rejoicing!

    Now, the good Reverend is on a mission. He wants the world to change, and he's doing what he can to change it. He invites you to join him.
    Read his blog. Laugh out loud. Learn his lesson. Then link to him, and spread the word.


    Announcer mode takes it out of me.

    Really, though,
    go read the Rev. He manages to impart a true lesson while making you laugh, and that's definitely worth something. I came across the Reverend one night while trolling the "next blog" button. I think he had a week or two worth of archives and four or five links. I read everything he had, then linked him then and there so I could find him easily the next day. One day he stalked me home, and asked me if I wanted to link swap (I was the first, what was it?... "pinhead liberal", on his new blogroll).

    Anyway, Think of him as Jonathan Swift with a pompadour and a cheap suit and you'll have a general idea of what to expect (well, except for the baby eating thing, I dont think he'll advocate that).

    Social commentary, a call to action, and comedy. What more could one ask for?
    I dont know what's going on there any more, or what's going to happen. I'll keep going to check every day though, 'cause the Rev's a great read. But dont ask me what's going on. Sometimes I suspect (the Reverend dealing in parody as he does) that it's all an elaborate set-up of some sort, but it really doesnt feel that way. Hopefully it wont all implode.

    Monday, November 21, 2005


    This is my "blogroll". It is purely temporary, more or less, a trial space in which to try out blogs I've found but am not quite sure of yet. The best may end up in "daily reads". Things come, things go, nothing much here is terribly stable.
    These were all interesting enough to make a note of, and I'm keeping an eye on them, but I aint gonna guarantee nothin'.

    such is life.

    politics and science and other people stuff:
    Today in Iraq
    the paradigm clutch *
    Anthonares *
    Welcome to the Now
    The Rare Sixth Sense
    Action is Eloquence
    Forward with Ford
    Bitch, ph.d.
    Heritic Fig
    Boing Boing
    Blog For America
    The Phantom Professor

    young punks:
    We've got better hair. *
    The Worst Hour in Radio History

    Dont Mess With Cupcake
    The Twinkie Experiment is probably having technical difficulties

    The Cornell Society for a Good Time
    Thoughts on Life and Faith
    Zen Filter
    Bible Mysteries Revealed!
    Preston thinks

    comedy, more or less:
    Newsricks the news in limerick form (really, I swear).
    Dont Floss with Tinsel
    Angry Chimp
    What now, Little Man?
    Dear Leader's Daily Thought

    just plain cool:

    just plain wierd:
    post-apocalyptica w/ Subhuman_risen *
    squash + madness w/ Collegiate Squash
    motellage w/ Motor Inn
    acharit ha yamin

    just plain folks:
    Sweet and Somber Fairy Tale
    The Redundant Report *
    I'd Rather Be Happy Than Right
    Psuedochasid, this guy in Isreal going through a divorce *
    Christananda, or "who am I?"
    Chocolate cake is a nice surprise, _________is not
    World Scott
    Milan's Daily

    art and music:
    Eyes Wide Apart
    Lightning Studio
    On An Overgrown Path
    Xquisite-India Chirayu Photography
    Observations on the Arts Today

    artsy, but not art:

    individual posts of interest:
    find the man among the beans!
    check out this Ferrari wreck!
    beer prayer
    poem from Bush Quotes
    a wonderful post about getting a perm. really!
    "Golden Rules"
    a night of televangelist-lackey-baiting

    Other cool stuff:
    Internet Public Library
    TPM cafe

    By the way, dont read anything into the order that any of this stuff is in, 'cause HTML is too much trouble for me to get all anal about some kind of "order".

    These are my "mutual" links:

    Sympathetic Stupid
    Dave's Evil Twin
    Reverend Billy Bob Gisher
    Polanco Consulting
    Science and Politics
    Library Bitch
    Omnipotent Poobah
    Elvira, Mistress of the Blog

    These are, more or less, my daily reads. Fortunately, not everyone posts everyday, or I'd never get anything done. And, no, they're not in any particular order:
    Tree Story
    Contrary Brin
    Ran Prieur
    Rude Pundit
    Stinkhorn Rodeo
    Raed in the Middle
    Preston thinks
    Suburban Turmoil
    Falafel Sex

    Sunday, November 20, 2005

    just an ordinary post

    I work with this Russian guy. I frequently complain about the management, often trying to put it into the larger context of unfairness to workers in general. He says to me, "What can you do? It has always been this way?"
    What can I do?! I can do lots of things.
    I can complain, loudly, bitching, moaning, swearing, ranting. I can do the same thing on a blog. I can vote for the lesser of two evils. I can support others who've been wronged by the system. These are little things, but my slights are little slights. My protests are generally ignored, on the whole. But I'll still make 'em.
    The Russian is a naturalized citizen. He has grabbed capitalism with both hands, and is happily jacking it around, waiting for his Reward. But he seems to have missed the greatest thing about Americans: They dont take shit lying down.
    The BushCorp would like people to just stop complaining about the War. But complaining is the American Birthright, and it's entered our souls, and if we ever stop doing it, then we're no longer Americans.

    Maybe what distracts people from American hard-headed pragmatism is our, for lack of a better word, "reasonableness". We like to think we're a reasonable people, and over all I'd guess we are (this is not to say that we're not also a bunch of arrogant, self-centered, self-satisfied bastards. We are). So we think that everyone else will be reasonable, too. And we sit back, and we wait for everyone else to be reasonable, too. Eventually, if we figure out that others are not going to be reasonable, we stand up, and try to sort it all out. The Republicans, as we enter yet another round of stealing from the poor, and giving to the rich, may soon have their noses rubbed in this also.

    Do you know why people like Harry Potter? It aint 'cause they're crazy about magic. It's because Harry Potter, plain mediocre Harry Potter, wizard ordinaire, does what he has to do against the bad guy. He doesnt care much for it, it tortures him sometimes, but he does it because he has to. Same with Star Wars, same with Lord of the Rings, same with Die Hard, same with John Wayne, same with Jackie Chan (yes, I know he's not American). American Heroes are all ordinary guys. Not Princes, not Kings, not ready-made Champions. Ordinary people.
    Ordinary people like those on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. Here in the U.S. we just went, yeah, heroes, "let's roll", that's right. I have to wonder what Osama thought when he heard that a random plane load of people, when they realised that they werent getting out alive, decided they werent just going to sit there and wait for the end.
    When that changes, then truly, be fearful for the future of America.

    What made me bring all this up was that I was thinking about Iraq, and the call to bring home the soldiers. And, much as I'd like to do that (because all the killing, both us and them, is doing no one any good) I'm not sure we can, and still like ourselves afterwards. We went over there thinking that we were going to kick the Bad Guy's ass. And we did, we most certainly did. But then we discovered that maybe the Bad Guy wasnt as bad as we'd been told. But there we were anyway, in the midst of a huge mess that we had created, surrounded by people who were really starting to hate us. But when you make a mess, what do you do as a respondsible adult? You clean it up.
    The biggest problem? Iraq is a country filled with ordinary people who are starting do whatever they think it takes to get rid of us. But it's not reasonable to leave this mess. And we're surrounded by bad guys... they are bad guys, right? It cant be us, because we're not that way... are we? Plus, so far, we've done a really, really bad job of cleaning up. One sometimes is forced to wonder if those in charge are even interested in cleaning up.

    Someone, it may have been Rude Pundit, said that Americans like things to be concrete. That's why we went to Iraq: we were shown a concrete danger, and we went in and got rid of it. Except now it may not have been so dangerous after all. And the Iraqi arent acting like they're very grateful to have been delivered from it. And there's been so much death and destruction by us and against us, and no one is quite sure why any more.
    So now we seek something concrete: A day that we leave, a day when we dust off our hands and say, "there we go, it's a bit tatty, but I think she'll hold", then go back home to the wife and kids.

    The last time we had a mess like this was during that favorite bug-a-boo of both sides, the Viet Nam War. A lot of bad decisions were made then, some by soldiers, but most by Leaders. A lot of bad decisions are being made now, most by Leaders, and some by soldiers. But the thing to remember about the soldiers is that any bad decision they might make is done under a level of stress that few of us safe in our homes in America can imagine, while the bad decisions made by our leaders are made under a pressure no greater than "how am I going to dodge those reporters on the way to dinner?"

    During the Viet Nam War, soldiers were famously spit at, and jeered as "baby killers". This time, instead of harrassing a bunch of ordinary guys just trying to do what's right (even if they fuck it up sometimes), lets send some spittle in the proper direction: towards the Leaders whose only extraordinariness was in their failure.

    Saturday, November 19, 2005

    quick, before it moves down the page!

    I love Rude Pundit, he's one of my daily reads, but he does not have each post individually archived, so you have to do a bit of searching (or scrolling) with any link over a day old. So go quick and read the Words of the "coward" Jack Murtha from 2002, before we got into this damned war.
    If it's after Nov.19 when you read this, you may have to scroll a bit.

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    I'm free, I'm free, I'm free at last!

    Today is a Friday at the end of a very long week.

    So many things to choose from, so many missed opportunities... eenie meenie minnie moe.

    The winner is... Scientist says "Men more intelligent than Women"!

    Wow, where to start. Let's begin with how dumb some guy would have to be just to say something like this, at least in the Western Hemisphere.

    The study looks at IQ scores. As intelligence scores among the study group rose, Paul Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn say they found a widening gap between the sexes. Sez Lynn:
    My work on intelligence and brain size led me to consider the problem that women have smaller brains than men even when allowance is made for their smaller bodies. This implies that men should have higher average IQs than women, but it has been universally asserted that men and women have equal average IQs. In 1994 I proposed that the solution to this problem is that girls mature faster than boys and this compensates for their lower IQs, which only appear at the age of 16 onwards. Among adults men have higher average IQs than women by about 4 IQ points. This advantage consists largely of higher spatial abilities but is also present in non-verbal reasoning.
    How many times must we go through this "testing = truth" thing? Anyone recall the spat over SAT tests being unfair to inner-city kids? True or not, anyone who's known a few "smart" people will tell you that in many ways they're dumber than most, sometimes. A test only tells you how well someone scores on what you test them on, but who says that what's on the test is what it is that makes you smart? Ask almost any teacher who now must deal with the testing involved in "No Child Left Behind", and you wont hear them say that the tests show the smartest kids.
    I've seen good evidence that mens and womens brains are different, but not that one is any less intelligent than the other.

    (Here's a thought of my own that'll probably get in big trouble with the Mrs: an IQ test has a lot of problem solving in it. It's my personal experience that men are more interested in problem-solving than women are. If the IQ test had a section on problem commiserating, men would probably be soundly beaten) (and now, most likely, so will I).

    If you want to discredit Lynn, though, you dont have to rely on the man/woman/brain thing, just keep reading his own ideas:
    In 1991 I extended my work on race differences in intelligence to other races. I concluded that the average IQ of blacks in sub-Saharan Africa is approximately 70. It has long been known that the average IQ of blacks in the United States is approximately 85. The explanation for the higher IQ of American blacks is that they have about 25 per cent of Caucasian genes and a better environment.
    And lo! the return of the theory of the inferiority of the black man! Somebody set this dude up with William Bennett. They can both go to Louisiana, join forces with David Duke, and Bennett can get some gambling in to boot. And if we're really very lucky, another hurricane will show up next summer, and wash them and the glorified strip mall that will be New Orleans into the gulf, and we wont be bothered by any of them again.

    For a much better explaination of differences in "intelligence" world-wide, I'd like to turn to a different source, and do a bit of extrapolating. The source is an article by Burkhard Bilger in the New Yorker called "The Height Gap". In it, Bilger discusses how everyone on the planet has the potential to reach the 6' mark (statistically anyway, except the Pygmies, who have a genetic thing going on). The deciding factor is not one of "race". The Chinese are no more prone to be small than the Swedes are, except for the effect of diet on growth. There's no reason to think that diet doesnt affect intelligence much the same.

    What's my point, you say?
    What is my point... um, I'm very tired, that's my point. I apologize right now for any rambling that may occur/have occurred during the course of this post.

    To be honest, I've just wanted to share that height article since I read it. And now I have.

    Good night.

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    ToY story

    Okay, I used to think Mark Davis, the Opinion Columnist, was a horse's ass. But now, I know that he's actually the horse's asshole. Every year the Dallas Whoring News runs a little thing they call the Texan of the Year (which they actually refer to as "ToY". really).
    To give you an idea of how absurd this paper is, last year the winner was... ready?... Karl Rove.
    That's right, the award is yet another misnamed thing in the country that outdoes even the former Soviet Union in doublespeak. Unless, of course, a true Texan is an ethically challenged Texan.

    Now, back to Mark Davis. Guess who his choice for this years Toy is? Tom Delay.

    No really, read the article.

    Apparently, Mark's defense for Tom Delay (who, to be convicted or not, is a Boss-Hog rat-bastard with a lot of ethically-if-not-legally suspect activity behind him, and no doubt in front of him too) is that he's bold. Yep, that's what it takes to impress Mark Davis: boldness. At least in public "servents", that's what impresses him. Not leadership, but arm-twisting. Not fairness, but dominance. Not ethics, but technicalities. Well, if you're looking for boldness, Tom Delay's got cast iron balls the size of babies' heads, and he's not afraid to use 'em.

    So what the hell!

    Besides, Rove got the "award" last year, and look what happened to him. We can all hope, cant we.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    still here...

    In case you're wondering at the spate of posts, my daughter is refusing to nap. Normally we'd both be asleep right now.

    So instead, I get to read this great answer from a veteran to Dubya's Vet day speech.
    Gleaned from guerilla news network.

    war profiteer

    I get this from crooks and liars:

    Rush Limbaugh, one of the prime boosters of the current fine mess that the Republicans have gotten us into, is oh so generously offering a discount to anyone willing to adopt a soldier. And what does said adoptee get? Why a subscription to Rush's newsletter, and membership in Rush 24/7 online. All for only $49.95 (not tax deductable, by the way, Rush aint no charity).

    What's that, you want them to get a t-shirt? Why, they have uniforms, dont they? A care package of some sort?! Hey, we're trying to make a profit here, do you mind! Sheez!

    fair is fair

    Well, well, well. My darling Tree_Story has put me in my place. Yes, Texas has Dubya and Delay, but I had completely forgotten about Barbara Jordan. I had also, unforgiveably, forgotten about Willie (and Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Rosie Flores, Tish Hinojosa, James McMurtry, and whole tabernacle choir's worth of others). I cant even indulge in my usual bellyaching about the intolerable, seemingly unending Texas heat, because it's finally Fall, and so very very pleasant.

    So, forgive me, Texas.

    Of course, she may feel less nationalistic this time next year. Right now we have hope that perhaps we'll get us a new governor, and avoid another four years of family-values-spewing-while-business-whoring, Rent-boy Rick Perry (who sometimes makes me nostalgic for Governor Bush). It's only a small hope, but a hope nonetheless.

    A kind of Kinky hope.

    Ha. Governor Bush. Talk about reaching the limit of your incompetence.

    Saturday, November 12, 2005


    this "public reaction" from the Onion to rioting in France:
    "This is the most exciting thing to happen in France since that red balloon got loose."
    How's that for a time stamp?


    If you could ask God one Question, what would it be?

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    more brief

    These are Dubya's actual words at a Veteran's Day speech today in Pennsylvania:
    "The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges"
    Did this ever stop BushCo before? Or does he mean that "false charges" are too important to national security to get rid of them? I'm confused.

    Well, not really. He's a lying bastard, and the country is finally waking up to that idea.

    If you crap in your bed, you must lay in it

    Okay, now anyone who thinks that Texas has been a reasonable place up until now, hasnt been playing much attention. George Bush is from here. Tom Delay is from here, need I say more? Just a few years back, in East Texas, a black man was dragged to death behind a pickup truck for fun by a couple of white supremacist assholes. Texas still had effective blue laws up until the mid-80's, and you could still legally sip on a beer while driving until not long after that. Texas has a little union-busting law called "right-to-work" (i.e. the right to work for whatever the Man wants to pay you, or you can go work somewhere else, you useless cog). In fact Texas had, and has, a lot of really stupid laws.

    So now, the religious and moral busybodies in Texas have helped out God by keeping marriage "safe" from the obvious social virus of Homosexuality (more dangerous than Bird Flu). One might think that now they would then be content to go home and raise little future heterosexual family makers. Yes, one might think that, if one were a fool. People who pay attention know that those who legislate their religious views off onto a whole society are less interested in spiritual salvation than they are in temporal power. They must have their views be everyone's views, or they are somehow made less whole. So, having defeated the Gay crowd, the next scourge to destroy is the no-fault divorce. After all, Marriage must be saved!
    For the Children!
    Because God Wants It!

    Here in Texas (okay, to be fair, everywhere), if Jane and Bob want to get married, even though the only thing they have in common is four weeks of great sex and a mutual love of jet ski's, hair bands, wine coolers and sodomy, then they will have no problem doing so. But if John and Bob want to be married for the exact same reasons, they cannot.
    On the plus side, if the Wingnuts get their way here in Texas (and, again to be fair, everywhere), John and Bob will not have to wade through a protracted (and doubtlessly expensive) divorce procedure after they discover that it takes more than water sports and lame Heavy Metal to make a marriage.

    But Jane and Bob will.

    So maybe that's fair after all.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005


    no tidy-whities here...

    Texas is now officially in first place in the race for the Small Mind Award. Yesterday, a constitutional (state) amendment banning gay marriage (and, potentially, all legal arrangements not between one man and one woman) was passed by somewhere around 75%.
    The ongoing ID debate in Kansas is pretty stupid, but at least there they've got the welfare of their kids ultimately in mind (well, sort of, at least they are thinking of education, however wrong they're getting it).
    Here in Texas, the "Godly" folk seem to think that Gay people are some sort of viral infection that must be stamped out before it turns all of Texas into a Hell-bound cesspool, just waiting for a big Hurricane to deliver it from Evil.
    Dover, Pennsylvania has dropped out of the running for the prize, having booted all 8 ID-spewing Republicans from the School Board who were up for re-election. We shall miss their antics.

    Moving on to other, less depressing stuff, this quote from the Smirking Chimp by way of Omnipotent Poobah:
    Watching the zeppelin of the neoconservative movement burst into flames, tethered to the mooring mast of George W. Bush's presidency, I experience a shiver of such undiluted schadenfreude it's like to blew my earlobes off. What joy to see these scheming, lubricious barghests come undone, sinking beneath the hubris of their utter assurance that they alone are blessed with the vision to fulfill mankind's destiny: to shovel money into their pockets, regardless of the cost to life, love, or the future of the world.
    Yow! Wish I'd said that.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    one last thing...

    Okay, this is probably it for me, before I start another week of overwork (unless I'm lucky)(which I'm not).
    This from a trial in Pennsylvania, which I somehow completely missed, involving the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in public schools. The lawyers for the anti-Darwin side said intelligent design is a "legitimate educational objective", and described it as "the next great paradigm shift in science".
    Duh. Not a good shift, though.
    The shift of the leaders of technology from the West to the East is a paradigm shift in science, but I wouldnt crow abot it. Where is most of the major reseach on genetics being done these days? Not here in the U.S. We could so kick Korea's ass research-wise, but for one tiny little problem: We're mired in religious ludditism, and so freaking undereducated that it's a wonder we can balance a checkbook... (how many declarations of bankruptcy in the U.S.? Our budget deficit is what?) ...OK, make that we can barely find the Middle East on a world map, let alone find Afghanistan.

    things I missed these last days

    I'm getting ready for yet another busy week at work, complete with long hours and short sleep. Before all that though, I've got a bit of time to "relax", and so I'll catch up a bit on a few things I wasnt priviledged to comment on while they were still fresh...

    Harriet Miers withdraws : I started something on this once, but didnt have time to finish. The only point I had to make that felt original to me was that the Right Wing feared Harriet Miers for the same reason the Left Wing had a secret hope for her. That is, she was such a toadying little suck-up to Dubya (or had a crush on him, which doesnt bear thinking about) that once she was in her own position of relatively untouchable power, she would suddenly discover that she had her own opinions on things, opinions not tied to those who (formerly) had power over her. From there, who knows where she might go, perhaps she might even start thinking.

    Scooter Libby indicted (and Karl Rove not)(yet) : Did anyone really think that Karl Rove would go down? Sacrifices had to be made, but Rove wont be one of them. When he goes, he'll be kicking and screaming and calling in favors from every quarter. But most of all, imagine all the dirt he's got to have on all sorts of Personages. No, Karl wont go down unless they all go down.

    2000 dead soldiers in Iraq : I've asked this question before, but havent kept my own vow to ask it every day, so here it is again: Do You Feel Safer Today Than You Did Four Years Ago? No? Well, neither do I. You couldnt pay me to live in New York or Los Angeles. Meanwhile, we have a Tragedy that might have been farcical if it didnt involve the death of over 100,000 Iraqis. As for U.S. dead, the number 2000 only counts soldiers, not other personnel, such as security and contractors, nor does it take into account the 8:1 ratio of wounded to dead. Neo-Cons, who stand to loose the most power in this fiasco, tried to dismiss the number 2000 as arbitrary, and of no more significance than any other number (Michelle Malkin sez: "Why 2,000? Was the 2nd or 555th or 1,678th death not as worth mourning as any other death with nice round numbers?") . Well, I'll admit that attributing import to nice, round numbers does seem silly. Let's pick another number to get riled up about. How about 2987*? Bet me, when we hit that number, somebody will say "it's not even 3000".

    Senate closed session : My wife called me at work, "Did you hear the news?" Alas, once again I was either busy or asleep in bed as significant things occurred in Washington. My real interest here is to wonder what kind of deals are going down in the backrooms of the Senate these days. Was this all an elaborate ploy to allow Senate Republicans to distance themselves from the BushCorp administration ("sorry Karl, They maaade us investigate you!"), or is it really just good old-fashioned parliamentary gamesmanship.

    The Administration and torture : If you ever wanted any proof that BushCo wants to turn the U.S. into just another Banana Republic (that is, proof beyond strong-arm tactics, slander of your rivals, Soviet-style propaganda, and tightly control "public" appearances, and election-rigging), look no further than the Administrations insistance on the use of torture. Joseph Mengeles might have been proud, but I am appalled. It will take decades for America to regain its international reputation after this Administration's damage (unless maybe we hand them over for some War Crimes Trials, and I think a convincing arguement could be made for that). Meanwhile, write to your Congressman, especially if he is a Republican, and tell him in no uncertain terms that the only person who deserves torture is him if he doesnt vote in favor of the Anti-Torture Bill sent to the House from the Senate. Then read Johnny Rawhide's take on torture, which is much better than mine. Then read Riverbend's (Nov.6, 2005) unfiltered description of Iraqi opinion, and bear in mind the unspoken spectre of Abu Ghraib.

    Food For Oil Corruption : When I first heard talk of this on the radio, the reports kept saying that "30% of the firms involved were Russian Oil Companies", but no mention was made of how many of the companies were American, just that some were"involved".

    Pakistani Earthquake : Like so many of us in the Blogosphere, I've said nothing about the disaster in Pakistan. To be fair, much of what was said by everyone had little to do with the actual disaster and much to do with the inept response to it. But with a death toll of over 70,000 (having originally thought to be around 10,000), this seems a Tragedy worth a few lines, especially after Katrina, where the death Toll turned out to be less than the estimate (around 1300, versus the feared 10,000).

    BushCorp's numbers : Dubya's polling numbers are down, and staying down. This isnt really all that significant, everyone has been down at his level at some point, often at that lame duck stage. Still, considering the uncompromisingness of this Administration, things arent as likely to get much better for BushCo. New Orleans is still largely a ghost town, and it's refugees will be popping up in the public awareness for years. Soldiers still die in Iraq. The deficit keeps climbing, as do interest rates and the cost of nearly everything. Randi Rhodes on Air America spoke of a Zogby poll which showed 51% of Americans thought the President should face impeachment, though sadly I could find no evidence of this (I dont think I dreamed it) Still, you can check out the latest numbers from Zogby, and remember: It's only a Red State 'cause it voted for Bush.

    *the number of dead from 9/11

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    God comes to Texas

    Okay, this'll teach me to keep my big mouth shut.

    I was sitting in the local Cheapo Pizza, having lunch with my four-year old daughter. She likes pizza, I like pizza, it's fairly inexpensive, what could be better. I was putting my third slice of pepperoni in my mouth when my brother walked up, and so I sat there stupidly for a few seconds with my mouth open, pizza hovering between my teeth.
    I was doing this because, while it's not impossible for my brother to be there in Cheapo's, or anywhere in Texas for that matter, it was very unlikely at this time. I tried to recover my casual demeanor by saying (casually), "hey Bro', whacha doin here?"
    Grinning at me with a grin my Brother does not possess, He said to me, "Dave, I'm not your Brother, I'm God."
    "Right, pull the other one, it's got bells on."
    "No really, I'm not." He looked at my daughter. "Am I your Uncle, sweetie?"
    "Oh, no." she said, "You're God."
    He looked at me smugly, "they always know. I designed 'em that way."
    "So the Intelligent Design people are right?" I asked.
    "No, people believe stuff like ID because they just cant grasp the numbers involved with Evolution. You wouldnt believe the number of failures that lead up to one success. Still, every once in a while I like to throw in a patch."
    "You still think it's an elaborate set-up, dont you?"
    "I dont think it requires omniscience to guess that one. Show me a miracle."
    "Why do people always ask that? Do you have any idea how bored I get from that question?"
    "Show me."
    He sighed, then pointed at my daughter. I awaited the miracle. I waited a bit longer. "Oh, I get it, duh, very clever. You get that out of Family Circus?"
    His eyes narrowed a bit. "I like Family Circus." For the first time I was slightly taken aback, because my Brother hates Family Circus (except the ones where you follow Billy's trail around). Then He said, "especially the ones where you follow Billy's trail around."
    "Okay," I responded, "I'll play along. You're God."
    "You dont really belive it when you say it though."
    "For the purposes of our discussion, does it really matter?"
    He shrugged. "No, ultimately, I suppose not."
    "So... God... what can I do for You?"
    "Oh, nothing, really. I read your blog yesterday, thought I'd drop by, and say hello."
    "So you really do talk to people still? I was wrong?"
    "Dont take it personal, Dave. Everybody's wrong. So narrow, so limited. I gave you all a big ol' brain and logic, and you just waste it. Sometimes it really gets up My shorts."He sighed. "Still, you didnt do too bad. That bit about people stuffing Me into a box of their own making, I liked that. Keep thinking about it, Okay?"
    "So, is the Bible wrong?" I asked.
    "No, it's just not the whole story." He said. "It's just one little book, after all, no matter how thin the pages, and I am... well, I Am." Then He whistled a little jig.
    "So the other Holy Books?", I asked.
    He sighs again. "Dave, you weary Me. Were you not paying attention? Books, small. Me, big. Got it?"
    "Yes. Sorry."
    I looked around to cover my embarrassment, and noticed my daughter looking at Him, head cocked slightly, first one eye closed, then the other. "What are you doing?" I ask her. She giggles. "He's bigger than he is." She closed both eyes, then stared at Him intently (eyes still closed), giggled again, said, "He's lots of people", then stuck her tongue out at Him. Opening her eyes, she said to Him, "You make funny faces."
    He smiled beatifically. Perhaps this wasnt my brother.
    "Are you ready to take that picture?" He asked.
    "No video?"
    "Do you have video?"
    "You know I dont."
    "That's right, I do know. It doesnt matter anyway, you know. No one will believe it's Me."
    "That's Okay," I said. "I'll know."
    We left Cheapo's, and went out to my car, where He shook his head. "You could have ridden your bike, you know, it's much cleaner and it'd only be a few blocks. I swear you're like a bunch of kids!"
    Once we were in the car, I said to Him (rather guiltily), "You probably dont care much for abortion, do You?"
    "No," He said, looking in the back seat at my daughter, "I prefer miracles. That said, I also dont care much for pre-emptive warfare, factory chicken farms, SUVs, torture, or CEO salaries either, so dont feel too bad."
    We arrived at the house, and went in. The cats hissed ("They always do that, the ungrateful little bastards."), the dog wagged his tail, and a young man dressed all in white holding a camera stood up from the kitchen table and said "Hello."
    My daughter narrowed her eyes at him. "My cat's name is Gabriel."
    "Yes, he told me", the young man said.
    "Show me your wings!" she demanded.
    "Please." he replied.
    "Show me your wings, please."
    "Later", he said, "I've got work to do right now."
    God said, "Let's make it a goofy one, then I gotta go."
    We made it a goofy one, and the young man handed me a blank picture.
    "Polaroid?" I asked.
    He shrugged. "I'm old fashioned." Then He was gone.
    The young man winked at my daughter, and he was gone too, as the picture in my hand slowly developed out of nothingness.

    Dave and the Lord (taking the form of his brother) making it A Goofy One

    from The Gospel of Dave, chapter 3, verses 1-26

    1. And so it came to pass that in the year 2005 of our Savior Jesus of Nazareth, Dave did create a post. 2. and the post did take exception to the treatment of homosexuals by modern-day Sadducees. 3. And Dave declared them to be naughty in his sight, 4. but gave himself claim to naught but speculation on the Will of God. 5. And to those who would claim that the Lord had spoken unto them, Dave also gave dispute. 6. declaring such claims suspect, and raising the Spectre of Koresh.

    7. and the Lord appeared unto Dave in the form of his own brother,
    and joined him in pizza, and lo, the child knew Him.
    8. and the Lord said, I have seen your blog, and it is Good. 9. Let Me know if you actually do make some t-shirts, 10. For I wear an extra-large.

    11. Then the Lord caused an angel to appear, holding a camera.
    12. Then the angel of the Lord pusheth the button and much whirring occurred, and
    13. Behold! A blank white square appeared from the Camera of the Lord.
    14. Then the Lord did move on, saying
    15. One miracle, coming up!

    16. And Dave did watch the Polariod, and an image appeared, and Dave said,
    17. Oh, grey-scale image, very funny, ha-ha.
    18. Then Dave did smite his own forehead 19. For the Lord looked just like his own Brother! 20. then Dave did say, None shall believe me when I tell them!
    21. Then did Dave notice the Miracle, 22. for upon the faces of Dave and the Lord there had appeared clown noses, 23. And upon the heads of Dave and the Lord there appeared pointy hats, 24. when Dave knew in fact that they had not donned such a devices upon themselves.
    25. and Dave did laugh, praising God and saying
    26. Hee hee, good one.

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    You are not God!

    I'm sick of people waving their Bibles around and telling me it's the Absolute Truth. You believe it is, and that's called Faith. But whatever wisdom the Bible may contain (and it certainly does contain some) was written by Man, edited (repeatedly) by men, and translated (repeatedly) by men. Then, ultimately, when you hold it in your hand, and you read the words that are in it, the Bible is interpretted by a man (or a woman), that is, by YOU.
    Do you have God sitting next to you, literally, not figuretively, pointing at passages and telling you his opinions on them? No? Then you dont really know. Faith. Faith faith faith. Dont tell me God inspires you, because it's no the same thing. What you have is Faith, not Fact.

    Faith is hard. You must believe something to be true, without having any proof (not, as so many seem to believe, in the face of contrary proof). Facts are (supposed to be) easy to believe. It's there in front of you. Even with things like the existence of atoms, there's not too much faith involved, somebody has seen proof of atoms, if not the atom itself. But really, who has seen God? Really seen Him, not "felt his presence", or been inspired by his "divine guidance". Have you got a reciept? If not, then however powerful an event of Faith it may have been, dont ask me to believe that your brush with God was a Fact. Before I believe you spoke with God, I want to see a photo of you and The Bearded Guy with your arms on each others shoulders (God making bunny ears would be a nice touch).
    Adam and Eve spoke to God, but then they were basically his kids (and he eventually chucked them out of the house and told'em to get a job). Moses spoke to God, who gave him a laundry list of Good Behaviors. Abraham spoke to God, but only when He came to stop Abe from doing something really stupid (he's apparently since given that up as a bad job). In Modern Times there've been a lot of claims by people to have spoken with God, but most of these were rather suspect (David Koresh, for instance, or Oral Roberts thatGod was holding him hostage for more money for his University).

    This rant comes after yet another day of listening to "Christians" vilify gays in there relentless quest for temporal power (this time in the form of Proposition 2 in Texas) . Apparently God has been telling these people His Plan for the World without telling the rest of us, and a very narrow, petty plan it is indeed.
    One of my "favorite" arguements for marriage being only between one man and one woman is that Adam and Eve were the first married couple, so that's how God wanted it to be forever. They seem to have missed the extremely crucial point that Adam and Eve didnt really have much choice who to marry (except perhaps for Lilith). Suppose God had created 100 people rather than only two? Statistically, 5 of those Adams and 5 of those Eves would have turned to another one of their own sex (leaving one of each out in the cold, poor things). Would God have said, "Oops! Well, we'll just pretend that didnt happen shall we... And It Didnt".

    The saddest thing about the very vocal, very visible, Fundamentalist Christian movement is that it's all about not doing things. Dont show your love for another Human Being by making a lifetime committment, unless you are one man and one woman. Dont even think about sex, except within the confines of marriage, between one man and one woman. Dont read the Bible any way but our way. Do only this, so only that. God, who is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient, ought to be able to encompass many attitudes, beliefs, and creeds. Fundamentalists would attempt to stuff God into a box of their own making, thereby limiting God. If someone else having a different opinion is a threat to your faith, then how strong is your Faith, really?

    Finally, if you're tired of Republicans who seem to think that they have a lock on Christian morality, then check out Jimmy Carter talking to Terry Gross on Fresh Air. This may be the only other place where I can recall someone taking BushCo to task, not only for the Iraq war, but for the un-American and immoral idea that a "pre-emptive strike" was good policy.