Thursday, March 31, 2011


I've decided to go back through all of my posts and add labels; I'm also going to update/correct certain things that I got wrong or were simply stupid things to say.

I'll update this post later with all of the major corrections when I'm done. I'll also create a page to help keep track of these corrections.

I'm also working on finding a better background; I like the coffee beans (obviously) but I think it makes it too difficult to read some of the text.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guilty Conscience Much?

Media Matters has a video of one of those "traditional marriage" quack-experts, by the name of Peter Wolfgang, addressing Connecticut's state congress. His argument is that providing legal protections to trans-gendered individuals will lead to men going into women's bathrooms to sexually assault little girls while the child's (presumably) straight father stands outside.

Mr. Wolfgang literally calls the bill, "The Bathroom Bill".

Stare rep Holder-Winfield responded to the inanity very well (the following transcript is literally copy-pasted from the link above):

REP.HOLDER-WINFIELD: Good afternoon, Mr. Wolfgang.

WOLFGANG:Good afternoon.

REP.HOLDER-WINFIELD: You said if this bill passes, nothing would prevent thesexual predators from taking the actions that you suggest might happen. What prevents themfrom doing that now?

WOLFGANG:Well they’d certainly have more of a reason to do it. And men in general shouldnot be allowed into women’s bathrooms. At issue is the fact that you have anexception for sex but not for gender identity and expression if this billpasses and men can enter women’s bathrooms.

REP.HOLDER-WINFIELD: But my question to you is, whatprevents them from doing it now? Youranswer, while a response, doesn’t actuallyindicate what does that.

WOLFGANG:Well, I mean, you know, there are laws thatprevent crimes, obviously, from taking place in bathrooms in general. But, I mean, why give sexual predators a pretext? Whygive them an excuse to say,Look, I’m transgendered and that’s why I went intothe women’s bathroom.” Obviously it’s you know, there are laws for registeredsex offenders.

REP.HOLDER-WINFIELD: And so those laws would actually exist if the crime wascommitted after entering the bathroom, even if thislaw passed if this bill passed, is that not correct?

Wolfgang and his ilk betray a severe lack of comprehension of the issues at hand when they rattle of the type inanity seen above. I'm honestly proud of Wolfgang for acknowledging that sexual assault is a problem in America; but his single-minded fixation on trans-gendered males, and those who would pose as one, obfuscates and distracts from other possible types of harassment and assault. I'll ignore men and boys as victims, since Wolfgang doesn't seem concerned about them, and point out that by his logic he should be arguing for separate bathrooms for the L and B women of the LGBT communities. IMHO a *more* sensible topic to discuss would be how to offer protections to everyone from everyone else.

The failure of his imagination to think of those possible scenarios makes me wonder; what has Mr. Wolfgang been fantasizing about that makes him so concerned about protecting little girls from straight men?

Or maybe he's just a dumb-ass bigot.

Fun fact: I've always assumed that it was spelled "Conneticut" until I spell-checked this post and discovered "Conne[c]ticut" is the correct version. Also it was only a few weeks ago that I discovered "gover[n]ment" isn't spelled "goverment". Somewhere all of my English and social studies teachers are crying :'(

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Into the Darkness You Go

[update - 07/22/2012: Yeah, no, fuck this.  What the hell was I thinking?]

*Much more important update* This post over at "You Are Not So Smart" is probably relevant and, indirectly, offers a counterpoint of sorts to what I've said above. It deals with the 'sunk cost fallacy'.

I have a lot of respect for Christopher Hitchens*. I found his opinions on the Iraq War (mostly in favor of it) to be very compelling. His conviction that the invasion of Iraq was justified is rooted in the fact the Saddam Hussein deserved to be executed for crimes against humanity. Saddam had used WMDs in the past, had promised to use them in the future, had committed acts of genocide, forced disappearances etc.

What he neglects to mention is that the Bush Administration obviously gave even less of a fuck about the wellbeing of the Iraqis than Saddam did (the fact that the administration was also significantly less directly malicious towards them is irrelevant to this post). I now think that Hitchens is misguided in his defense of the Iraq War. We went to war based off of blatant lies and then did nothing to help the Iraqi people rebuild after we destroyed their nation. Regardless of whether Saddam should have been removed from power, what we have done in Iraq is monstrous. False pretenses aside, once we were committed to military action we had the chance to do something great for the Iraqi people. Instead of even attempting to help them rebuild we ignored all of the problems and Iraqi protests until the nation disintegrated into sectarian violence and civil war (re: exactly like Afghanistan).

Watching Rachel Maddow's discussions with Richard Engel (two people who I also have a great deal of respect for) I noticed something about Engel's reactions to her questions. When Maddow asked why the we aren't stepping in militarily to protect civilians in other nations Engel immediately started talking about how much more atrocious the Gaddafi regime is. Engel also, as part of his 'reporting', seemed to be pleading for more direct military support for the rebels, specifically close air support**.

Even though there are many obvious differences between the situations, Engel's response reminds me a lot of Hitchen's support of the Iraq war.

Maybe it's sentimental on both their part and mine, but I think they have the right idea. Regardless of whether we should have intervened in Libya, something I feel very conflicted about, we once again have an opportunity to attempt something that will truly help the Libyan people in the long run.

Success certainly isn't guaranteed; but let's at least try this time.

*update*: Just to make it explicit that I'm a deranged left-wing liberal (or so my conservative relatives claim) -
  • Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are de facto traitors because of their roles in privatizing our military.
  • The military-industrial complex is as close to Pure Fucking Evil as our species can get.
  • I'm extremely distressed (and disgusted) that Obama hasn't managed to get Guantanamo closed, hasn't stopped drone-strikes in Yemen, Somalia, etc.
  • et cetera.
  • et cetera.
Consider those bullet points to be part of my growing list of "Things I intend to write a post about. Maybe."

*link is to a semi-official youtube channel
** link to wikipedia article on the subject

Friday, March 18, 2011

Aesthetic Conservatism

Have you ever tried talking about the French with a social conservative? My experience is that they nearly always respond with dismissive contempt and a sneer whenever that nationality comes up in conversation. Same thing with academia, environmentalism, secularism and anything else that wouldn't get a tip of that hat on Fox News.

This video of Rand Paul is one of the most perfect specimens of this phenomenon I've seen in a long time. How are you supposed to have a productive conversation with a person like that?

I find Libertarians to be especially adorable. For far too many of them their socio-political 'philosophy' is rooted more in a gut feeling for what the world should be than by any type of analytical thought. The fundamental flaw of Fox News Libertarianism is that it's ultimate goal is "Freedom". Freedom is by nature an impossible ideal; in order to grant one person the freedom to do as they want you must deny another person the freedom to stop them.

For example; if you gut the EPA and allow coal companies the right to mine the Appalachian Mountains however they please, how are the people living downstream from those mines going to enforce their right to drinkable water? By not buying coal? Not paying for goods or services that consume that coal?

Give me a fucking break.

American conservative thought, of all types, has become the realm of fuzzy tabloid-inspired doublespeak. The noxious mixture of religion, corporate interests, and insipid Sarah Palin folksiness has resulted in a culture of conservative thought that is as intellectually bankrupt as it is hypocritical.

But that's okay.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bordering on Literal Fascism

(Updated 02/08/2012: I'm proud to say that I've since come to my senses somewhat, and have partially recovered from this particular bout of stupidity)

Disclaimer: When I say that some of these events are bordering in being literally fascist I want you to keep in mind that borders are important things.

Michigan moves towards totalitarianism (centralized and dictatorial: relating to or operating a centralized government system in which a single party without opposition rules over political, economic, social, and cultural life)

*Mini-update to a mini-post*: Just wondering if anyone has thoughts on my classification of those events, and particularly the latter one, as near-fascist/totalitarian (fascism being a particular type of totalitarianism).
Also; updated the 'Michigan' link to what I had originally intended instead of also pointing to the Wisconsin story. My bad!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Another Twitter-esque micopost.

There's a good reason why my posts are so short and I never follow-up on things I say I will! Really, I swear!

Too much Minecraft* and not enough sleep ;)

So just as a teaser: here are some quick reviews that I intend to expand into full posts sometime within the next month.

  • Scott Walker - More dis-likable with every passing day.
  • Dawn of War 2: Retribution - Extremely fun and I haven't even tried anything besides Last Stand (co-op survival) mode yet.
  • Deicide's new album "To Hell With God" - The least ambitious of all the albums they've released since 2001. Also one of the most enjoyable. Just no-frills no-bullshit brutal satanic Death Metal. I'll let you decide if that's a good thing.
  • Internet Exploring 9 - Doesn't have any true adblock = not worth my time.
  • The Feminine Mystique - Enthralling yet intellectually challenging book. I found it enlightening and highly recommend it if you haven't read it.
So.... yeah. That's it for tonight. Vaya con el Diablo mis amigas.

*Sorry, couldn't help myself :P