Monday, November 9, 2009

Two Important Upcoming Pennsylvania Bills

While I wish I was in New Hampshire, there are two positive pieces of legislation coming up in my current (and so far lifelong) home of Pennsylvania. I would urge all of my fellow Pennsylvanians to support them:

Via NRA-ILA - House Bill 40 - “Castle Doctrine”  Self-Defense Bill:

HB40, sponsored by State Representative Scott Perry (R-92), would permit law-abiding citizens to use force, including deadly force, against an attacker in their homes and any places outside of their home where they have a legal right to be. Read More.

Via The False Rape Society  - Finally, a chance to reduce false rape claims:

We frequently talk here about how the crime of making a false report of rape is treated so cavalierly. Finally, as shown by the article below, some state legislators are looking to do something about it. Read more.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Winners and Losers

Now more than ever, I wish I would have written a post last year congratulating Major League Baseball's Philadelphia  Phillies for winning the World Series. I kind of wish I would have written one congratulating them when they won the National League Pennant this year, though at least this way I can't be accused of jinxing them. Anyway, while it was disappointing to see them lose this year's  Series, it was a joy to see them go two years in a row. They are still winners in my book and should hold their heads high. I will certainly miss being near them when I move to New Hampshire.

As for the "Losers" referred to in the title of this post, no, I don't mean the New York Yankees fans, as obnoxious as many of them are. This is their moment and I don't begrudge them their celebrations. Well, not too much, anyway. No, the losers I'm talking about are more along the lines of the usual suspects.

First, there are the piece of shit Bensalem cops who arrested Susan Finkelstein for allegedly trying to trade sex for World Series tickets. How did these brave modern day Sherlock Holmeses discover this dangerous criminal? From an ad she posted on Craigslist. Aside from the ridiculousness of anti-prostitution laws in general, there are dozens of ads on Craigslist that are more explicitly offering prostitution than this:
DESPERATE BLONDE NEEDS WS TIX (Philadelphia) Diehard Phillies fan--gorgeous tall buxom blonde-- in desperate need of two World Series Tickets. Price negotiable--- I'm the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!

The Barney Fife KGB wannabes who responded to this ad were obviously more concerned with getting publicity for their little department than doing anything that would actually protect the public. I guess they wanted to make it appear that they are good for something other than writing parking tickets or harassing honest, law-abiding gun owners. Maybe also they were motivated by the idea that sports are supposed to be pure and wholesome and not to be tainted by anything the sanctimonious mavens of morality arbitrarily decide is wrong. Same mentality that allows officials of all of the professional sports leagues and the NCAA to swoon from scandalized outrage at the thought of expanding legalized gambling on their sacred rituals, while never missing a crass opportunity to gouge their fans for extra bucks. Also the same mentality that causes league officials suspend and sternly scold the players catch with marijuana, while these same pompous preachers don't think twice about accepting ads for beer and boner pills  (Not that I have anything against beer or hard-on pills, I enjoy beer quite a bit and am glad that there are pills to help me get an erection should I ever need them - it's just that it is the height of hypocrisy to accept money to promote drugs which do have considerable, if worthwhile, risks while condemning users of what overwhelming evidence shows to be the safest drug humanity has ever known).

And that brings me to the other losers I have in mind, two pieces of garbage from across the pond named Alan Johnson and Neil McKeganey. I usually don't get involved in the internal affaires of other nations (though I have severely criticized Harriet Harman on this was because she tried to make a United States governor submit to her will in her desperate crusade to subjugate her fellow British citizens). Anyway, Johnson and McKeganey are two nanny state extremists who are demanding that Professor David Nutt resign his position as chairman of Britain's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) because he was brazen enough to commit the ultimate crime - telling the truth. Specifically, for saying that "alcohol and cigarettes are more harmful than cannabis," a position that no serious researcher would object to, except on ideological grounds. McKeganey, himself, even admitted “In terms of health harm there is no doubt that cigarettes and alcohol are both more harmful than many currently illegal drugs,” he added. “They are associated with many more deaths and with much wider rates of illness," but despite such an acknowledgment of common sense, he was perfectly able to adapt his authority worshiping doublethink to pretend to believe such obvious bullshit as this:

If you are the key person offering advice to the government you cannot then simultaneously, in public, criticize the government for the decisions it takes. David was going so far beyond his remit to raise fundamental questions about the direction of UK drugs policy in relation to cannabis and in relation to seeking to combine alcohol and tobacco with illegal drugs — in the process muddying the distinction between illegal drugs and legal drugs.

No, God forbid someone advising the government should disagree with them. Everyone should know that "advising" the government means confirming the fact that the almighty politicians and bureaucrats are always right. And yes, how dare Nutt  [muddy] the distinction between illegal drugs and legal drugs. He has no right to do that just because this distinction is based on anti-scientific, superstitious arbitrary moralism. Obviously, if drug laws were based on public health instead of manufactured prejudices alcohol would be of greater concern to authorities than cannabis, and tobacco would be of much greater concern than cocaine, heroin, or any other so-called "hard drug."

Don't get me wrong - I don't think any of them should be illegal. Even tobacco which is much deadlier than alcohol, cocaine, and heroin, to say nothing of the safer-than-aspirin drug cannabis, has been responsible for far fewer deaths than meddling authoritarian governments. But putting things into perspective, "muddying the distinction between illegal drugs and legal drugs" is a logical response to the arbitrary bullshit of morally bankrupt government drug policies. Well when my friend e-mailed me this story under the subject line: "Refuse to support Nutt's sacking!‏" and beginning with the line "It looks like Johnson is supporting Nutt's sacking", I said "What a couple of Johnsons Johnson and McKeganey are. They are not fit to lick Nutt's sack." I think that pretty well sums it up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just When You Thought the Talk About "Privilege" Couldn't Get Any More Stupid...

Along comes this:

So Richard Leader thinks that taking a courageous stand against an unjust law is an act of "white male privilege":

The stunt has white-male written all over it. I should know: I’m a white male myself. You can see it in his straight-faced claim that he didn’t do it for attention. You can see it in his imagination that a simple school project made him a true actor in the political process.
Well, for one thing, I can say that Ian Barry is a hero and a patriot much like one of my long-time heroes who is of African Descent: Ed Forchion, aka N.J. Weedman.

But, maybe the author of Adonis Mirror, Leader, does have a point. After all, the white people who participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott knew that they would not face penalties as severe as those whose rights they were demanding be respected. Same with those white folks who marched in various Civil Rights marches throughout the 60's. Or those men who dared to stand up for feminism back when it was about equal rights and not female supremacy, like today (Of course the men, would only face lesser penalties in terms of social sanctions; women then, as now and always, got treated with kid gloves by the legal system). When I, as a disabled teenager was being bullied by non-disabled, or less disabled teenagers, I would have been grateful for a non-disabled teenager to use his or her "able-bodied/able-minded" privilege to stand up for my rights. I did not think that the people who did or would have done these things were arrogant assholes rubbing everyone else's noses in their massive privilege, but then I obviously don't know as much about "oppression-privilege" politics as the all-knowing Leader (pun not intended -see comment).

I seem to remember reading somewhere that one of the obligations of privilege is to fight for the rights of those do not have it and cannot stand up for themselves. I didn't think that standing up for the rights of the less privileged was a bad thing if you did it in a non-patronizing way that showed solidarity with the oppressed. Well, thank Cthulhu that we have people like Richard Leader to tell us how wrong those notions are.

Edit: I decided to edit out the instances where I made fun of Richard Leader's name as this distracts from the seriousness of the issue. Besides, while he is an arrogant know-it-all who thinks he can tell everyone else how to run our lives, Leader did not deserve to be personally attacked. For that I apologize.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sorry Anti-Male Bigots, Misandry Exists and You're Proof of It

Via Danny, I was introduced to "factcheckme", a man-hating feminist who ridicules the term used for hatred of men for no other reason than being men. Well not just the term but the concept itself. Her argument seems to be since the word "misandry" was coined without enough intellectual rigor to satisfy her standards, then the concept it represents must not exist. Or if it does exist who cares: "and whether misandry even exists is entirely beside the point, isnt it?" Of course, she never explains why it "is entirely beside the point", we just have to trust the fact that what she, in her superior wisdom, says must be true.

Well, whether or not the term "misandry" can pass the legitimacy test of high brow intellectuals, it is clear that anti-male bigotry is a widespread and dangerous virulent phenomenon. If Andrea Dworkin, Catherine Mackinnon, Mary Daly and their online groupies (including factcheckme) are not enough to convince you consider Valerie Solanas. Naturally, though, we can't expect most of them to act violently themselves since that might alienate the politicians, police, and bureaucrats who currently support them (through laws such as VAWA, under which domestically abused men are arrested for defending themselves, and proposed laws making rape suspects presumed guilty until proven innocent). If the men in government were to see these women as the real threat they are, the alliance that they have with them to subjugate their fellow men would be in jeopardy. So the smart ones will hold off on their wanton random acts of violence toward men until and unless they have consolidated power to the point where their male stooges are disposable.

Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe these are just a bunch of ugly hags who, despite the real or pretend lesbianism that some of them proclaim, are just bitter that they can't use their feminine wiles to seduce men and wrap them around their little fingers the way most women do, and are simply using hyperbole to vent their frustration (of course this does not include Solanas who was a violent criminal and a terrorist by any definition). Be that as it may, I would like to offer this analysis of the garbage from factcheckme's blog both before and after Danny called her on it:

In one comment factcheckme states that she doesn't hate men. However, just a few comments down she agrees with Undercover Punk that "even if Real, [misandry is] an ENTIRELY RATIONAL RESPONSE to the tragic statistics on sexual assault, generalized violence, emotional abuse, abandonment (see single motherhood), and social domination perpetrated BY men AGAINST women?" So bigotry against men doesn't exist, but if it did it would be justified to hate all men based on what a small percentage of men do. Never mind the fact that none of these things are exclusively done by men. Never mind the very likely possibility that she believes in bogus statistics like the lie that "1 in 4 women are raped", or that she ignores the statistics showing domestic abuse to be roughly equal between the sexes, or that women (including those with children) initiate most divorces. Forget all of that and just consider this what would the reaction be to someone who said, "even if real, anti-black racism is an ENTIRELY RATIONAL RESPONSE to the tragic statistics on armed robbery, murder, rioting, arson, and looting"? Or how about "even if real, anti-Semitism is an ENTIRELY RATIONAL RESPONSE to frivolous lawsuits brought by Jewish lawyers, fraudulent financial dealings by Jewish bankers and investment advisers, and Israeli oppression of Palestinians (which, of course, is totally unprovoked and unconditionally supported by Jews worldwide)"? Or try this "even if real, misogyny is an ENTIRELY RATIONAL RESPONSE to false rape claims, divorce settlements where the man loses everything he has despite the woman being at fault, women demanding child support from men whom they know are not the fathers, women demanding child support for children that they don't allow fathers to see, gold digging in general, and abusing men then calling the police when they defend themselves." Draw what conclusions you will. Anyone without ideological blinders can see that these statements are equivalent to the one made by Undercover Punk.

Finally, after discovering Danny's blog, factcheckme and Undercover Punk rate it an "Epic Fail." No surprise there, but I am amused by the fact that factcheckme says "thats after correcting for my obvious bias." I am certain that she's as capable of correcting for her bias as a newspaper editor in North Korea. Undercover Punk also informs us that she is a "lesbian separatist with no interest whatsoever in playing nice with men," and that she "gave up on caring about men after approximately 20 years of being consistently treated as less-than by them." Less-than what? Most likely less than the entitled princess that she thinks she is, though I'm sure some men did try to cater to her but it was never good enough.

There's much more crap spewed by factcheckme, Undercover Punk and other members of factcheckme's echo chamber, though it mostly speaks for itself. The only things of note are Undercover Punk's reaction to the fact that -despite her overblown fear of sexual assault, which is somewhat more likely to happen to women than men- men are much more likely to be murdered and her conclusion that "this is not a joke." In the first case she says, in response to a point on Danny's post "I assume what he means here is that men prefer to murder their equals rather than to sexually assault them..." Yes because sexual assault is so much worse than murder, and men who are murdered, by other men or by women, feel better about it knowing that their murderers consider them equals. I wonder if the family members and close friends left behind by murdered men are also reassured by this respectful attitude the killers have. Finally, there is the one thing UP said that I can at least partially agree with: "If misogyny ain’t a joke, and it’s not–it’s a fucking EPEDEMIC–then this analysis of misandry ain’t a joke neither!" While I disagree that misogyny is an epidemic, it is true, this analysis of misandry is not a joke. And neither is misandry itself.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Debate on Culture continued from Ren's Place

This is the continuation from an ongoing debate at Renegade Evolution's blog.

Anthony Kennerson: Still having that racist moment, are you??

"Racist moment"? This baseless ad hom is no different than the accusations of being sexist radfems hurl at you for your defense of sex work. You can do better than that.

AK: And you didn't even bother to answer my question: how is our "Western culture" -- you know, the one who slaughtered Native Americans, enslaved Black Africans, stole Hispanic and Native American land, and dropped nuclear weapons on Asians -- any more qualified to judge anyone else on who's "superior"??

As VirtueAndVice admitted Anglo-American culture has "its faults" just as every culture throughout history has had. But if no cultures were superior to one another there would be no asylum seekers or refugees. Immigrants, yes, but not people looking to escape from the places where they were born. The greatest tragedy of at least the more extreme forms of multiculturalism is that it encourages people coming from dangerous, oppressive places to re-create the dysfunctional situations from which they came. When my ancestors came from Ireland and Italy, they brought some of their traditions with them but they did not pretend for a minute that things were better back home, or demand the right to continue traditions that would undermine the foundations of American liberty.

AK: First off, like most conservative critics of "multiculturalism', they are so desperate to take an isolated act of cruelty and make it representative of a whole culture or race or "civilization", and therefore declare their favored "Anglo-American" (read that to mean "White Western Christian civilization") to be not only superior to all but to be imposed on all others

These would be isolated acts of cruelty, except that the people engaging in them are using "culture" as an excuse. And some (not all but too many) western leftists are backing up these excuses. As for "be[ing] imposed on all others" V&V said (and I agree), "That's not to say that we should go out and bomb other countries when they don't see things our way."

AK: But I wonder, VaV...would you have gone into such histronics if the perpetrators had been fundamentalist White American Christians?? After all, it's not as if they haven't done such things themselves. Oh, wait...

Who is defending the preacher in that article? Probably not even most of his fellow Evangelicals. Certainly not any groups that have the numbers of the multi-culti defenders of similar behavior by so called victim groups.

AK: Secondly...I'm not much of a fan of the Nation of Islam for many reasons...but to compare them to the KKK is sheer madness. Not even Louis Farrakhan, for all his alleged anti-Semitic smack and belief in numerology, has ever burned a cross in a White neighborhood, or lynched a White man, or intimidated a single White person out of voting.

Farrakhan is too smart to get his own hands dirty by personally participating in acts of violence. Same with most Klan wizards (when was the last time David Duke was arrested). It doesn't mean that Farrakhan's rhetoric is any less responsible for black-on-white violence than the identical rhetoric in reverse by Klan leaders is for white-on-black violence. Similarly, as far as we know, Mary Daly has never directly committed an act of violence against a man (or a boy). It does not mean that her anti-male views are any less hateful than the Nazi's anti-Semitic views, just that she apparently has not yet had a chance to act on them.

SnowdropExplodes: The term "rape culture" has a real meaning in describing Western European cultures - so the culture isn't all that great towards women (whatever the law tries to do about it).

Rape culture is mostly a feminist invention. To the extent that it exists, it refers to a very small subset of western men. Like V&V, "I was 17 once, and 0% of the guys I knew were talking about planning violent sexual assaults."

Cassandra: VirtueandVice - I don't think you understand what multiculturalism is. It can be what you're describing in the hands of a few fools, but that is not in principle what the idea is all about, nor how it's commonly expressed.

Multiculturalism may be all sweetness and light in principle, but not in practice. All to often it is exactly as V&V described. Those fools aren't so few.

Cassandra: OK, reading VirtueandVice again further're not even making a real argument, you're just a zenophobic racist. Never mind, not worth the time.

I see no evidence of racism or xenophobia on the part of V&V. If anyone is acting like a closed-minded bigot it is you. So maybe V&V's opinions (and mine) are not worth your time. Fine if you want to only associate with people who already agree with you 95% of the time. But these opinions are held by a large number of people throughout the western world - close to a majority, if not an outright majority. Furthermore, they are gaining wider acceptance in some places, particularly those - such as The Netherlands - where the damage from extreme multiculturalism has been most obvious. Given that, if you really believe we are wrong you should at least try to make a convincing argument why.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just a Random Thought...

Gun rights activists often say "Better tried by twelve than carried by six." I'm not sure that's true. However, having a gun makes it more likely that if you are carried by six it will be on your own terms and if you go down fighting maybe you can take some of the scumbags with you. Or better yet, leave them with permanent injuries. Especially in the case of breaking an unjust law that is enforced with severe penalties, it may be better to fight to the death than let government hired goons cart you off to prison. I'm not saying that I would - when push comes to shove I probably wouldn't have the courage. But I'd like to think that it would at least be possible.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Do Whatever You Want with Your Own Body but...

With Obama's speech to and honorary degree from Notre Dame bringing abortion back into the news, I have decided to put my thoughts on the issue into words. This is as much a matter of clarifying my position to myself as it is of creating a post for others to read. While on most issues my opinion is definite and unconflicted, abortion does bring up many mixed feelings and opposing thoughts that I can't quite reconcile.

When I was an undergraduate in college, I was a member of the campus pro-life group. I was also a practicing Catholic then, which I no longer am (I still believe in God, but do not see any particular religion that I know of as having most of the answers). Still, even then I was mostly libertarian, though I didn't feel strongly enough about my libertarian position on social issues to vote for Libertarians instead of Republicans. I did then, as I do now, see abortion as different from issues such as drugs, pornography, and prostitution. Using recreational drugs (including but certainly not limited to alcohol and tobacco), using and acting in or be photographed in pornography, engaging in prostitution - whether as the prostitute or the john, not to mention riding in a car without using a seat belt or riding a motorcycle without a helmet are all examples of choosing what to do with your own body. (Note: the last two are things I would never do as there are less painful ways to commit suicide than car and motorcycle crashes, but I support other people's rights to fly through windshields anid split their heads when they land after being thrown off a motorbike). I support both women and men doing whatever they want with their own bodies. But a fetus is not part of a woman's body, it is a separate being with its own DNA, and within two months, its own blood type, heartbeat, and brain. To call it a parasite might be accurate depending on your definition, though it is no more a biological parasite than minor children are economic parasites. While it may cause temporary symptoms of illness, it is not really detrimental the woman's health, as would be a virus or a tapeworm. It is not an invader but rather something the woman's body is designed to host. Abortion is not a matter of doing what she wants with her own body but a matter of her having control over the life and death of a distinct individual that just so happens to live within her body.

To put it another way, drugs, prostitution, and most other so-called vices are victimless in and of themselves. Victimization may occur as an unintended consequence but it is not intrinsic to the products or services themselves. And most of these victimizations - drug dealers shooting rivals over "turf", drug users stealing to support their habits, pimps and johns beating prostitutes, prostitutes robbing johns, pimps taking all of the money prostitutes earn instead of a reasonable cut, etc. - are direct results of the fact that these things are illegal. Take away the black market and allow the prices to be determined by a free market, and you take away a lot of the motivation for criminal behavior around these otherwise peaceful activities. And the few criminals left as vendors or customers of these businesses could be reported by the honest people who no longer had a reason to fear the police. In any case, these unfortunate consequences are by no means the purpose of drugs and prostitution, any more than air pollution is the purpose of a car. With abortion killing something, whether or not you consider it human, is the very definition of the act.

I also think that the death penalty, while not without its problems is much more justifiable than abortion. It is true that a an innocent person could be killed, and. since this sentence is irreversable, that is a reason why I have some misgivings about the death penalty. Still, there is no question in mind that some people deserve to die (anyone who kills innocent people for pleasure, or one who kills in the act of committing another crime i.e. felony murder). So while the death penalty targets those who have met a fairly high standard to be proven guilty of terrible crimes, abortion targets those who are known to be innocent. Similarly, in a just war where only combatants and the ruling party (or leaders of the insurgency) are targeted but civilians get caught in the crossfire, this is quite different from intentionally ending the life of an innocent being. As for deliberately targeting innocents to bring a swift end to the war and save millions of other lives - as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki - this is problematic, though I view it somewhat like using abortion to save the life of the mother (which is the one case where I do unequivocally support abortion during any stage of pregnancy).

There is one thing that I do support, which I can't help noticing is similar to abortion - animal slaughter. I have stated my postion on killing animals for food before. I am not sure about killing animals just for their skins (or furs), though I'm defienitely not opposed to using skin when it is left over from an animal that's been used for meat (as with leather). I do have a problem with killing for pure recreation or trophy hunting, but I support the rights of hunters who eat the animals they harvest.

Meat is a natural part of the human diet, as it is for the diet of chimpanzees, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. I don't doubt that some people can be healthy on a vegetarian or vegan diet, but different people have different dietary needs. For example the Dali Lama was a vegetarian, but began eating meat when his doctors told him he needed it. I also dont' see the difference between people eating cattle, pigs ,sheep,and chickens, and mountain lions or wolves doing the same. Or fish eating other fish, lions eating zebras, or any of thousands (millions?) of other predator species doing what they do in the natural world. Well, there is one difference, people, at least sometimes make efforts to minmize or even eliminate the suffering of their prey. (cf. Temple Grandin and the Animal Welfare Institute).

This all leaves me with the question: should human fetuses have more rights than animals? This is something that I feel should be a yes, but at this time I cannot come up with a logical reason why. And, while I consider abortion immoral and drug use perfectly moral, I do see an attempt to enforce abortion laws as having the potential to cause the police state environment that has grown from the War on Drugs and the War on Terror to become even more repressive. So for now at least, I won't be fighting to change the laws on abortion or basing my vote for a candidate on this issue (regardless of which side he or she stands on).

Still, I would ask that those who are considering abortion because of a birth defect or disability, as well as those who are minorities to consider the genocidal implications. In any case, its fair to say that not all pro-lifers fit the sterotype of prudish right-wing religious fanatics. Some might say it is hypocritical to acknowledge that while calling anti-porn, anti-prostitution, anti-BDSM feminists "anti-sex", but based on the total of all that I've read that the radfems have written and their treatment of people who disagree with them about sexual matters, I think it's a fair assessment.

PS Happy Memorial Day all veterans, those currently serving in the armed forces, and their families.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Foreign Aid Petition

I received an e-mail asking to sign a petition to "Reform U.S. Foreign Aid." I had to think about this a little while. Normally, I don't think it is a good idea to try to "improve" something that, for the most part, I'd like to see eliminated. But, after looking at the text of the bill, as well as various commentaries on it, I decided that its calls for accountability, transparency, and streamlining bureaucracy are positive enough to outweigh any problems it might have. So, I signed the petition, while attaching this message:
I would prefer to see all foreign aid eventually phased out. I would like to see assistance to allied governments come in the form of loans or favors that can be reciprocated rather than grants. Charity, where it is needed, should come from voluntary private donations, not taxpayer money. But, seeing as how foreign aid is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, this does seem like a step in the right direction.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Let the Tea Bagging Continue

KIA, in responding to Becky C.'s post put it best:
If you were like me and real-world committments prevented you from attending the tea parties live, you can send an electronic teabag here:

Nevermind the hypocrisy of the GOP now, go ahead and teabag the current leadership. It's never too late to try to make a difference.
I couldn't agree more. I know that the Republicans under Bush outdid what the Democrats had done in wasteful spending up until that time. I know that the Republicans under McCain would likely do the same. And I'm far from convinced that GOP politicians have learned anything from last election.

If the GOP is giving us a forum, though, to express outrage about taxes and spending I am not against using it. Just as if the Dems gave a forum to protest loss of civil liberties under a Republican administration, I'd use that, even though Dems are not much better, and arguably worse than the Repubs on that score.

I don't care who Fox News praises and the other networks ridicule or vice-versa. It's about the message, not the messengers. So I sent my postcard and you can too. It's a little late for tax day of this year but really, really early for next year! (And it would be great if the spirit of protest could be maintained year round).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Amazons Rankings are Rank

Say it ain't so, Jeff Bezos! has been one of my favorite places to shop for a long time. Especially during the Christmas season when I try to avoid the malls like the plague. So I hope that this "glitch," or whatever it is, with Amazon Rankings is fixed soon.

Sure, there are plenty of other online stores to shop on, but I already have my name, address, credit card info., etc. on Amazon. I don't like to enter all that information in more places than I have to. So hopefully they'll fix whatever's wrong and issue a substantial apology to the injured parties, before I have to experience the pain of boycotting them.

As an interesting aside I was once sent an e-mail by Amazon telling me of several gay-themed books and movies that I "might be interested in" because I purchased a DVD of Airplane! Go figure.

Update: April 30, 2009 - I see that the "glitch" has been fixed. While it is regrettable that this happened in the first place, it is good to see that Amazon did respond when it's customers made their feelings known. With Mother's Day and my brother's birthday coming soon, I am glad I don't have to boycott them!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We Need More Eighteenth Century Men

Thomas Frank in his column this week in The Wall Street Journal Eighteenth-Century Man made a good point about the ridiculousness of fat-cat politicians who pretend to be down-home folks while they spew faux-populist rhetoric. However, he failed to prove that the main subject of this column, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, fit this category. In fact, he conceded that "Mr. Sanford's democratic idealism may be for real, but ... with ideals this bad, you don't need hypocrisy to go wrong." And what are those horrible, horrible ideals? Opposing deficit spending, seeking better ways for people to invest their Social Security money, and above all, refusing federal government handouts.

Now, I know that in times like these deficits "don't matter." We are all Keynesians, socialists, or whatever term will fly to justify the "temporary" increase in government spending to get us out of the latest emergency. Fine. Let's get all we need from "the rich," and who cares if those labeled rich for the purpose of soaking them at tax time may be anything but. Is there really no way to cut a $3.55 trillion budget? Is raising concerns about deficit spending really such a bad thing? I thought that one of the causes of the current economic crisis was people spending beyond their means - whether they were private individuals, corporate executives, or even those most virtuous of virtuous people - government officials.

How about Mr. Frank's take on Social Security? Well he does score some cheap points by saying:

Business, on the other hand, is an institution with almost magical powers of beneficence: were we to entrust our retirement savings to "conventional investments" instead of government, Mr. Sanford wrote in 2000, we could expect returns of 8% a year. (And that's why the Dow stands well above 20,000 today.)

Very good, except that an investment purely in the stock market has historically yielded close to 10% per year since 1926. So the 8% return implies a balance between stocks, bonds, and money market instruments as financial advisers have always recommended. With such a combination there will be fewer years with a loss and those years that do have a loss will be less severe. Even taking into account the really bad years like 1931 and 2008, long term investments in the markets almost always beat the below 3% returns offered by Social Security. Plus, markets do tend to go up shortly after their worst crashes (one of the best years in the market was 1933). After Social Security collapses we can look forward to the government printing more worthless bills. Of course, I can't blame anyone who can't trust the markets. But I can say that the money you send to the government for Social Security would be much better invested in gold coins, canned goods, bottled water (or water purification tablets), farmland, livestock, guns, ammo, etc. than to finance government waste.

Finally, there is Mr. Frank's smug dismissal of Mr. Sanford's refusal to be a welfare queen:

Worst of all, his stand against the stimulus, while self-denying in the Sanford tradition, was taken against the loud protests of less Spartan citizens. Mr. Sanford's desire to strike his bold moral pose took priority over his state's need for relief.
Loud protests of less Spartan citizens? How many citizens protested against the stimulus package in the first place? Quite a few I know protested against the first round of Federal Bailouts (with letters to congresspeople - those protests were not very loud, I guess that's the problem). The point is, there will almost always be loud protesters on all sides of a controversial issue and if government officials never did anything because there were protesters opposed to it governments would never get anything done (which would be a good thing, but only officials of all ideological stripes paid heed to their protesters equally). In any case, in this era when it seems that every public figure, whether in government or private industry, has an outstretched hand saying "gimme, gimme, gimme!' does it not seem right to condemn the one who says "I don't need your charity." After all his "less Spartan citizens" can move to any of at least a dozen other states whose governors are begging Uncle Sam for bailouts like dogs begging their masters for treats, and whose legislators have already spent twice the bailout they hope to get.

It is true, Mark Sanford may not be the responsible citizen legislator he pretends to be. But it almost seems that Thomas Frank wishes he wasn't. Mr. Frank and his ilk can accept sleazy, lying politicians. What they can't accept is principled opposition to big and ever-expanding government.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Even the most reasonable radfem....

I learned of a challenge to find feminist porn from Nine Deuce at "Rage Against the Manchine." Though the challenge was initiated by another radical (read anti-sex) feminist, Nine Deuce was offering to bet anyone $100 to anyone who could win the challenge. I did not take the bet, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone with a passing familiarity with radical feminism (and if it's not obvious read on and it will become so).

Nine Deuce is one of the few radfems who will occasionally let people who don't kiss her ass comment on her blog, and even more occasionally she will post opinions of people who disagree with her, if only so she can personally attack them. So, I thought I might have a chance of getting my comment posted. WRONG! Why I do not know, but I suspect it is because of its mildly sarcastic tone. I should have known that 92 reserves sarcasm for herself and her groupies (of course their sarcasm is anything but mild and usually quite personal). Just goes to show that even the most reasonable radfem can be very arbitrary and unreasonable, and will impose double-standards at the drop of a hat when her fragile little feelings are hurt by someone attacking her worldview.

Anyway, here is the oh-so-offensive posting:
This seems like a rigged contest to me. When has an anti-porn feminist ever considered anything even slightly erotic to be feminist?

Photos of nude or scantily clad men for women's consumption? Male exotic dancers? They're not fulfilling women's real sexual fantasies, just the women's desire to be like men so they're ...MISOGYNISTIC! Women playing a dominant role in BDSM? Everyone knows that no woman really wants to participate in BDSM in any role; they only do it to please their male partners therefore it is ...MISOGYNISTIC! Lesbian porn? Always someone playing a male role and someone playing female role and playing the female role is always degrading. (Incidentally the exact same thing can be said about gay male porn). Now, I, personally, don't know what evidence there is to support the idea of all lesbian and gay porn having people playing opposite sex roles, or the reason that the female role is inherently degrading. But the high priestesses of radical feminism all agree among these points so they must be true. Therefore, of course all same sex porn is ...MISOGYNISTIC!

In fact all sex is misogynistic. All male masturbation is, too, because masturbating males are fantasizing about having sex with (and therefore violating) a woman, or fantasizing about having sex with someone they plan to treat like a woman. I don't know if female masturbation is misogynistic but I'm sure researchers in Women's Studies labs are working hard to determine that.

PS Congratulations to the Villanova men's basketball team on making it to the Final Four for the first time in 24 years! Thanks to you not all of the money I left in Vegas 2 weeks will stay in Vegas (and even less if you win the overall tournament). But whatever happens from now on, thanks for a great season.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

MMM... Suicide!

It's hard to believe it's been almost three months since my last entry here. Largely it's been a combination of procrastination and having more pressing things to do. But also, there was the fact that while there have been many news items that piqued my interest I have had a hard time lately finding something to put a unique spin on. In matters from the stimulus plans to the War on Drugs, time and again Becky C. has said what I would have said had I thought of it first and had her eloquence. On the subject of the Octomom, Becky made some good points as well, though I think she glosses over extreme irresponsibility of both Ms. Suleman and her doctor to implant the 8 (EIGHT!) embryoes in the first place. Still, she's far from the only irresponsible parent, or the only person being rewarded for irresponsibility with taxpayer funded handouts. And while I think its in the best interest of all 14 of her children to be placed with people who don't see parenthood as a game, taking away someone's children should never be easy for the state.

But anyway, what finally brought me back to blogging was the discovery of a blog called Suicide Food. (I don't want to publicize the blog that led me to this, but you'll find if you look up anti-sex spinster cunt aunt). As a dedicated omnivore, I find the SuFoo site enjoyable in a way the author probably doesn't intend. See, while I understand that while creatures wanting to be eaten do not reflect the reality of today, I do hope that genetecists can make that happy vision a reality some time in the future. Interestingly enough, SuFoo's author, Ben is, like me, not only aware of but also a fan of the Ameglian Major cow from Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. While it does seem that Mr. Adams created the Ameglian cow mainly for satirical purposes, it is obviously more moral to eat a creature that clearly wants to be eaten than a vegetable or fungus that we assume has no feelings. Broccoli and mushrooms don't appear to have feelings but neither do clams and mussels (two of the few animal species I have harvested with my own hands).

This does, of course, present a dilemma, sure the Ameglian cow could scold Arthur Dent, and the rest of us, for eating a salad against the wishes of the vegetables but what did he eat (yes the creature was male and was called a "cow", not a bull or a head of cattle; Douglas Adams wrote that not me - so deal!) Even assuming that the cow ate other animals somewhere down the food chain something had to eat something that got its energy from photosynthesis. And, I would find an all an meat diet almost as unappealing as a vegan one. So I hope that someday some bioengineer will come up with plants that can express their wish to be eaten. And they should be able to express joy for having their embroyes eaten unless we never eat peas, corn, nuts or any kind of beans, including the vegan favorite soy beans (is it too much to ask for biotechnology to create plant embroyoes that could express their own desire to be eaten, obviously not all should have that desire since some we will want to grow into the next generation of plants). Otherwise eating seeds, or eating fruit containing seeds that one throws away, is just as immoral as eating eggs. Incidentally, the issue of eggs raises one of the biggest questions I have about the animal rights movement: There are people who are against eating meat and people against abortion. There are people who are against both. Generally I can respect all of their opinions, and can understand why people in the third category would be against eating eggs. But there are also people, from what I can tell a very large percentage of self-proclaimed vegans, who believe there should be no restriction on aborting human fetuses, but consider it immoral to eat the eggs of a chicken. Am I missing something, or am I justified in my desire to feed the people in this last category to the lions?

Well, since these ethical dilemmas have no solution in the foreseeable future, I guess the best that I can do is try to make sure whatever species my food comes from is treated as ethically as possible. To that end, I have decided to link to the Animal Welfare Institute (as for why I am so emphatic about making sure that people know I am not supporting PETA, the reasons are many, though here is a good place to start). I have also decided to link to the site of Temple Grandin. In addition to being one of the best self-help advisers for her fellow autistic people, Dr. Grandin has probably done more to improve the lives of farm animals than all of the people who have tresapassed on farms or broken into labs to "liberate" animals combined.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On the bandwagon

No not Obama's; my feelings about him haven't changed since the election. I'm talking about the Philadelphia Eagles. I use that title because I am not usually that much of a sports fan, my main interest in spectator sports comes from betting on them. My top 5 favorite athletes of all time are horses: Seabiscuit, Secretariat , Smarty Jones, Curlin, and Cigar (and I'll be damned if I can name their jockeys without looking them up, though I do remember that Seabiscuit's jockey was played by Tobey Maguire in the movie!)

Still as a lifelong resident of Montgomery County Pennsylvania it is hard not to get caught up in the excitement. It was similar when the Phillies won the World Series three months ago; an event that I wanted to mention here but never got around to at the time. True, the Eagles still have two playoff rounds to go before getting to the Superbowl never mind winning it, but I have followed the Eagles at least slightly both this season and in the past whereas I hardly knew the Phillies existed in recent years. The point is in both cases there is/was celebration in the air, a good cure for both post-holiday blues and the grimness of other events dominating the news of the day.

I do wonder if I'll still root for Philadelphia area teams when I move to New Hampshire, something I plan to do as soon as financial and job market conditions permit. Of course, in college sports I will still support my undergrad alma matter Villanova - I usually follow basketball there, especially close to and during NCAA tournament time, football not so much, though it is interesting to note that a school with a division I basketball team and a division I AA football team, should see its most successful graduate athlete be a professional football player (I mean no disrespect to Kerry Kittles by suggesting that Brian Westbrook has been a more successful pro-athlete than him, and I would certainly be willing to listen to someone who wanted to argue otherwise). As for my MBA college Drexel, its basketball team has occasionally been a contender and I would probably take pride if any of its teams did gain the national spotlight, though, I have not generally been inspired to root for those teams. I have had other fleeting loyalties to college teams but I'll save that for another post.

Getting back to New Hampshire, I do believe there are some college teams the locals root for but I don't know the details. There are the "New England" Patriots but honestly they are mostly a Boston team, a team that despite their name represents a place that is the antithesis of everything I love about New Hampshire. Anyway, while I do feel more of a sense of identification with the members of the Free State Project than the people who I share a location with by accident of birth in Southeastern Pennsylvania, my fellow FSPers to the extent that they are sports fans are just as likely to be fans of teams from the areas from which they originated as fans of NH area teams. Still, I have a dream of bringing pro-sports teams to New Hampshire in stadiums that are entirely funded by private money. Of course, this would require welfare queen team owners to agree to terms that might allow them to profit immensely but without ripping off the taxpayers which they believe is their birthright. One possibility would be to allow gambling within the stadiums and allowing private stadium owners and team owners to share that revenue. Of course, the sanctimonious pro-sports leagues would no doubt oppose that on empty moralistic grounds (officials in the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL are, after all, in the pockets of organized crime, much like the politicians who make the laws regarding gambling, prostitution, drugs, etc., making sure those activities are kept underground where gangsters can take their cut; as for NCAA well, again, it will take another post to deal with the scum who run that vile organization).

Anyway "Go Eagles!", if for no other reason than I would like to see if Andy Reid can manage to grow a decent beard by Superbowl Sunday! (I do sympathize, I've grown beards twice before in my life, and when its in that scruffy state the itching it causes would most definitely constitute torture if it was not self-imposed).

PS This post like my last one was at least partially inspired by Renegade Evolution. As such, I have decided to add what appears to be her pet organization - Sex Workers' Outreach Project to my (so far very small) list of links on this blog. I will also be sending them a donation. I know it's not a whole lot but I figure it's a start, and I am giving SWOP priority over other causes I support besides the Free State Project, for now.

By the way, now that football has (or at least had) become a topic of blogging again, I wonder if this will bring any new blog entries from Jill Brenneman. I see she did comment on Ren's post on the subject. It is always good to hear from her. I once exchanged comments with her when she was known as Jill Leighton and was running a radical feminist site known as Even then she seemed very nice and was able to disagree quite agreeably. Of course, a much more hardline antisex radfem chimed in and behaved the way that you would expect a hardline antisex radfem to behave. But Jill while not outright condemning or distancing herself from her vicious colleague made it clear that she did not speak for her. I was pleased, but not surprised when I learned that Jill had left the dogmatic world of antisex feminism behind her.