If I thought that all theists were credulous fools who should have their beliefs battered out of them for their own good and the good of mankind, I wouldn't be meeting up with them once a month or more to practice their religion with them.
Now that I have made that little disclaimer, everybody shut the fuck up and go yell at atheists who actually assume you're a moron. Because--newsflash--I don't like being treated like I must automatically be an anti-religion asshole just because of my position on this any more than you like being treated like a brainwashed nitwit because of yours.
Seriously. You people give me a fucking migraine sometimes.
Thanks a ton,
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
If I have to hear one more time about how "atheism" is a religion, I'm going to start throwing tires at people's faces.
Seriously. Atheism is simply the absence of theism. An atheist is someone who is stating that theism is not part of their worldview. People who claim that atheism is some kind of coherent doctrine piss me off, because if pressed they can never seem to actually name what that doctrine is. At least, not consistently.
Of all the dumb goddamned things. I have a religion, you stupid motherfuckers. And it isn't atheism. I'm religiously Neo-Pagan, and my practice is non-theist. So the fuck what. Just because you can't imagine having opinions without them being fed to you through a dogma G-tube doesn't mean that other people can't have worldviews arrived at through different means.
I don't care how many times people use this example, because clearly some folk need to hear it one more time. If atheism is a religion, then "not collecting stamps" is a hobby.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
People who believe that their God will cause horrible suffering to anybody who doesn't worship Him properly really are under a moral obligation to save as many people as they can from Him.
I don't have to like it, I can point out that there is no respectful evangelism because there is no evangelism that does not seek to wipe out diversity and every other tradition that is not itself, but the fact is that from within... if you (and I'm using the collective you here) honestly believed that your deity was so ruthless and merciless that he would obliterate people for no other reason than that they're different? You do have a moral obligation to save them from the implications of that difference, to try to avert the brutality of your own deity.
So really. Stop yelling at people for evangelizing. If you shared their assumptions (that there was a vicious and petty magic man in the sky who would throw your soul in a lake of fire if you dared to be different), let's hope you'd also have the decency to aggressively assimilate as many people as possible to save them from your God.
Iran's clerics consider removing Supreme leader and President Ahmadinejad.
Anyone know anything else? This was just posted; saw it on Twitter almost immediately. Confirmation?
Friday, June 19, 2009
I don’t think any regime has put down a mass nonviolent revolt of this size, not in recent history anyway. It seems hard to imagine the regime using the kind of force it would take to get hundreds of thousands of people off the streets of several major Iranian cities. That’s not to say it’s not possible. Or perhaps the regime can wait out the protests until the crowd sizes shrink, and then targeted violence may work. But I have a hunch that’s not what’s going to happen. It hasn’t worked that way anywhere in the world in the past 23 years, since the People Power revolution in the Philippines. Instead, what has happened is that once huge masses of the populace lose the fear that has kept them atomized and prevented them from engaging in politics, that fear is gone for good, and the security forces ultimately wilt.Ayatollah Khamenei's threat.
Maybe I’m wrong, and certainly the ideology of theocratic Islam could provide the kind of motivation one would need to discipline security forces into killing large numbers of their own countrymen. But if I had to bet, right now, I’d bet Ahmadinejad is going to be forced to resign.
Mike Pence (sadly, from my state) is a complete fool, and is going about this the wrong way. Somehow he has missed the fact that associating the American government with this in a formal way is going to hurt this movement because the last thing the Ayatollah needs is more fuel from us to say that this is about America and not the Iranian people. Sadly, despite the short-sightedness and transparency of this as an effort to use this revolution to build political credit for legislators... everybody knows they can't be seen voting against it. Some shit just shouldn't be allowed to the floor.
If there's something that you want to do to enable Iranian people in their revolution, all they need are the means to speak for themselves. This isn't our fight, this isn't our government and neither will whatever government comes out of this. This belongs to Iranians. If you want to help, open things up for their voices.
Information on how to set up BADLY NEEDED proxies for Iranians trying to get around the bans. Windows. Mac.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Please take a moment to sign Sen. Bernie Sanders' petition for single-payer health care:
Whereas:Sign, and if you would re-post in your own journal, that would be super.• 46 million Americans are currently without health insurance;And, whereas:
• 60 million Americans, both insured and uninsured, have inadequate access to primary care due to a shortage of physicians and other health service providers in their community;
• 100 million Americans have no insurance to cover dental needs;
• 116 million adults, nearly two-thirds of all non-seniors, struggled to pay medical bills, went without needed care because of cost, were uninsured for a time, or were underinsured in the last year;
• The United States spends $2.3 trillion each year on health care, 16 percent of its Gross Domestic Product;
• Americans spend $7,129 per person on health care, 50 percent more than other industrialized countries, including those with universal care;
• The U.S. does not get what it pays for. We rank among the lowest in the health outcome rankings of developed countries, and on several major indices rank below some third-world nations;
• The number of health insurance industry bureaucrats has grown at 25 times the growth of physicians in the past 30 years;
• In 2006, the six largest insurance companies made $11 billion in profits even after paying for direct health care costs, administrative costs and marketing costs.• Medicare has administrative costs far lower than any private health insurance plan;Now, therefore:
• The potential savings on health insurance paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, is enough to provide comprehensive coverage to every uninsured American;
• Only a single-payer Medicare-for-all plan can realize these enormous savings and provide comprehensive and affordable health care to every citizen.• We, the undersigned, urge the United States Congress to pass a single-payer Medicare-for-all program which will provide quality, comprehensive health care for all Americans.
(via matrexius and jblaque and ms_daisy_cutter)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
People are asking me why I haven't put something up about Iran yet. I've been concentrating on Twitter (check the #IranElection tag) and Facebook, but I need to get my blog, too.
Dowlat-eh Koodeta, Estefa, Estefa!
Sad to say, I found out about this when it tricked through to my LJ friends page and on the news (which I can now watch on TV). This means I was days behind, because all the news was on Twitter. The Iranian election results--a wide margin of victory for the incumbent, with every geographic region voting in the identical proportions--are shady as fuck.
Iranians are not. Fucking. Happy.
There is a really excellent account over here, for those of you who haven't heard this from the news or Neil Gaiman's Twitter page.
In short: Once people started getting upset, the Iranian government began shutting down communication infrastructure. They blocked cell phone service, they blocked major websites, removed protest videos from Youtube, and lauched DDoS attacks on protesting websites to shut them up. The Iranians are getting around it, and doing their best to make themselves heard.
Yesterday there were proxies being circulated to help Iranians get around government bans, and hackers were launching DDoS attacks of their own on pro-Ahmadinejad sites so that the protesters could control the flow of information. They seem to have done a decent job of keeping Ahmadinejad's propaganda to the outside at a minimum, and Obama has made a statement that while the USA respects Iranian sovereignty and their right to choose their own leaders, he is disturbed by the violence he's seen and supports the right of the Iranian people to have their voices heard.
This is being called a revolution, and it isn't ours; it isn't even about us. Making it about us is the worst thing we can possibly do. The best thing we can do is make it clear that these people are heard, that efforts at silencing them are not going to work. It's far too late.
It's a little thing to do, and I don't know if it helps. But it makes me feel good, so I'll be doing it. People are wearing green as a show of solidarity with the revolutionaries, as a simple acknowledgment that we heard them and we know they're there. I don't get out much, so I don't think anyone will even see me. But someone might see you.
And in case there was any confusion, How to Tell Who the Good Guys Are.
What can I say? rake_blackguard is right.
First he, a black man just one goddamned generation removed from Brown v. The Board of Education daring to use the phrase "separate but equal" in reference to gay marriage, then his pussying out on clapping Bush in irons and pillorying him in front of the White House, and now this.
And I have to turn to DICK FUCKING CHENEY for some governmental recognition, as unofficial and possibly coerced as it was, that the love I practice isn't a great sin against The United States of Jesus. Dick Cheney makes Richard Nixon look like Rob Blagojevich in comparison and I hear more affirming things out of him, the goddamned devil himself, perpetually snarling like the Beast that Revelation's Whore rides, war profiteer and waster of men's lives, than a goddamned black president.
Is the warranty on this black president still good? At this point I think I'd suffer that paranoid little gnome Ron Paul better than this one.
Hey, Obama, how about a compromise? How about we just say that gay marriage is worth 3/5s of what a straight marriage is worth!
I can't help but think that if I'd been in a relationship with a woman for nearly five years she would agree with me. Note that I am careful not to say "she would understand." My mother isn't big on understanding things. She hates and mistrusts anyone who uses bigger words than she does, assuming that because they could talk circles around her that they are and that therefore anybody with an IQ over 85 is not to be trusted (because apparently it's far easier to exercise restraint and responsibly use a firearm than one's own intellect).
She still wouldn't get it. But she's one of those monstrous people who is quite comfortable declaring as irrelevant anything that does not impact them in some obvious and immediate way. "If it doesn't affect me, I don't worry about it." I'm sure she loved that logic from other people when her husband was beating the shit out of her.
But she lacks the self-awareness and critical thinking ability to even check for hypocrisy like that. It doesn't occur to her. She believes whatever her husband and his Fox-News-inundated military buddies say she should, and has told me explicitly that she always votes but hates thinking about politics. That's right. My mother is one of those people who thinks it's important to vote, but not to think before doing so.
If I were with a woman and I explained all of the things that were important to me that'd be denied me, she'd begin to care because it would affect her. No, not because it would affect me. That only matters incidentally. It would impact her vision of herself as a woman who protects her kids. In order to protect that flattering view of herself, she'd believe whatever she thought she should. It just goes to show that it's possible to change people's unfounded and unexamined opinions without actually changing the terrible and stupid means by which they are arrived at.
I'm still considering telling her I'm bi. It's as true as it is not (though since I prefer men, I still consider my sexual preference to be hetersexual), and maybe then she'd understand what I mean when I say that I'm not marrying a man in a state where I couldn't marry a woman. She'll understand that I mean, "I'm not signing a contract in a state where my right to do so is contingent on the genital arrangement of the other signatory to the thing."
She actually said to me, "Well, you have to respect the people who hold something as very important, and don't want something they think is wrong held up as an equal to what they believe is right."
"...Actually, I don't have to respect anybody who thinks their rights lose meaning if other people have them, too. I don't need to respect that at all."
She and my stepfather are the kinds of people who have "lots of gay friends." I was actually under some pressure growing up to be with women, hilariously enough. She seemed certain I was moving that direction and she wanted me to know that it was not only okay but that she'd understand. She's also a huge proponent of gay adoption, because "a loving home is a loving home."
So she clearly doesn't mind the idea that gay people are people like everyone else. And she has "lots of gay friends." Thing is... if it hurts me to hear her talk this way, I can only imagine how they feel. No wonder all her friendships halt at the most superficial possible level. Any deeper than that and she starts telling people they're subhuman because she doesn't care enough to think of a way not to.
This memo from the DoJ? This is a case of them not caring enough to think about how badly it damages American citizens to compare those who are fighting for equal contractual rights to child rapists. I mean, it doesn't really take a lot of thought. But they didn't do it.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
"The president feels that having a 'public option' side by side -- same playing field, same rules -- will give Americans choice and will help lower costs for everybody. And that's a good thing," Sebelius told CNN.
"The president does not want to dismantle privately owned plans. He doesn't want the 180 million people who have employer coverage to lose that coverage. He wants to strengthen the marketplace," Sebelius added.
Healthcare costs undermine the competitiveness of U.S. companies, drive many families into bankruptcy and eat up a growing portion of state and federal spending.
Versions of healthcare legislation unveiled by senior Democrats in the House and Senate include a new government insurance program. But Republicans are adamantly opposed to the idea, saying it could harm private insurers, and some of Obama's fellow Democrats are against it, too.
Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said there is not enough support in Congress for the "public option" even though proponents offer "very good arguments" for it.
"You've got to attract some Republicans as well as holding virtually all of the Democrats together. And that, I don't believe, is possible with the pure 'public option.' I don't think the votes are there," Conrad said on CNN.
You heard it here. You won't get Republican votes if you're putting their constituents ahead of the interests of private insurance companies. Who is voting for these people again?
Friday, June 12, 2009
Link is here, but you know what they say. People who aren't basing their decisions on facts can't be dissuaded with facts.
However, I still thought this was a good article. This is the trope I always hear from people who care less about numbers and facts than they do about adhering with all proper fanaticism to their superstitious devotion to the unregulated market.
Myth: Canada's government decides who gets health care and when they get it.
While HMOs and other private medical insurers in the U.S. do indeed make such decisions, the only people in Canada to do so are physicians. In Canada, the government has absolutely no say in who gets care or how they get it. Medical decisions are left entirely up to doctors, as they should be.
There are no requirements for pre-authorization whatsoever. If your family doctor says you need an MRI, you get one. In the U.S., if an insurance administrator says you are not getting an MRI, you don't get one no matter what your doctor thinks - unless, of course, you have the money to cover the cost.
And you know what? Here's why private health insurance companies are scared of what it will mean to be competing with a government health care plan (because you can bet they're not opposing it for your benefit):
The last thing private insurance companies want is for our health care system to look like Canada's. And do you know why? Because it'll put them out of business. Because they don't love "free market" competition as much as they persuade their prostrate worshipers to love it.
Myth: Canada's health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.
The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn't when everybody is covered.
But that seems to be how it goes. That's where blind faith in the "invisible hand" of the "free market" gets you. It gets you working your ass off to help people screw you over, all the while congratulating them on managing to be so much more worthy of your money (or your rights, in many cases) than you are.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
They apologized. Details here.
Rob Williams Statement:
UPDATED JUNE 7TH, 2009, 11:50AM
TO OUR LOYAL ROB, ARNIE AND DAWN FOLLOWERS,
WE HAVE FAILED YOU. AS A SHOW, AS PEOPLE, AS BROADCASTERS, WE HAVE SIMPLY FAILED ON ALMOST EVERY LEVEL.
WE PRESENTED OUR OPINIONS ON A VERY SENSITIVE SUBJECT IN A HATEFUL, CHILDISH AND CRUDE FASHION; AND THEN, GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETRACT THOSE REMARKS, WE DEFENDED THEM.
SINCE THEN, YOU, OUR LOYAL LISTENERS, HAVE MADE IT CLEAR TO US THAT WE WENT TOO FAR. THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING. NONE OF YOU SAID THAT WE COULDN’T HAVE OPINIONS, YET SO MANY OF YOU SAID THAT THE WAY WE GAVE THEM CROSSED THE LINE. FURTHER, YOU SAID THAT OUR ATTEMPT TO MASK OUR COMMENTS AS “JOKES THAT WOULD BE UNDERSTOOD BY OUR AUDIENCE,” WAS UNACCEPTABLE. I WOULD SAY NOW THAT IT WAS WORSE THAN THAT, IT WAS COWARDLY. YOU HAVE MADE THAT CLEAR.
WE HAVE REACHED OUT TO VARIOUS GROUPS AND ASKED FOR A CHANCE TO MAKE THIS RIGHT; TO RESPOND, WITH THEIR PARTICIPATION, TO THE EDUCATION THAT OUR AUDIENCE HAS PROVIDED US. THAT OPPORTUNITY HAS BEEN GRACIOUSLY GRANTED THIS THURSDAY MORNING, JUNE 11TH. AT 7:30 A.M.
THE WORD APOLOGY APPEARS NO WHERE IN THIS LETTER FOR A REASON. WE ALREADY HID FROM DOING THE RIGHT THING ONCE AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN. APOLOGIZING IN A WRITTEN, POSTED STATEMENT IS A FORM OF COWARDICE. WE WILL SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID THIS THURSDAY.
ON A FINAL, PERSONAL NOTE, AS THE LEADER AND OWNER OF THE SHOW, I HAVE MADE THE DECISION THAT WE NEED TO REFRAIN FROM BROADCASTING NEW EPISODES UNTIL WE CAN ADDRESS THIS ON THURSDAY . WE WILL RETURN TO THE AIR AT 7:30 A.M. JUNE 11TH.
ROB, ARNIE AND DAWN
Thursday, June 4, 2009
First off, trigger warning. That said. A California radio station is offering physical violence and verbal abuse as a "cure" for transgendered children. Yeah! That's right! If your little boy wants to wear heels, beat him with a pair until the urge passes. If your little girl isn't feminine enough, berating her about it every day will fix that right quick.
No, I'm not kidding. Evidently it's okay to enable child abusers on air (as if they needed MORE enablers). Details in the article and comment thread here.
Here are the emails for their sponsors. Just send something to all of them to let them know what KRXQ is using their money to say about them.
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
I left a nasty review on their Yelp page, but I don't think that'll do as much good as contacting their sponsors will. Their sponsors may not have the power to stop KRXQ from endorsing violence against children, but they sure as hell don't need to be paying money for it.
Please send an email. KRXQ is saying terrible things, but people are starting to get angry at the ones who're effectively signing their paychecks. Maybe the sponsors need to be made aware of that, eh?
As another note. Snapple has already emailed me back to let me know that they're pulling their ads on this station. Greg Artkop assures me that they found the segment offensive as well. If you have the time, please also send them an email thanking and supporting them for their decision.
It's not an easy choice to give up an advertising venue, but Snapple is doing it because they know what we're talking about. They deserve some assurance that this speaks far more loudly and positively to their customer base than any ad on KRXQ.
Edit: SONIC informs me they've withdrawn their advertising, and I hear Chipotle has done the same. This is working, guys. Keep it up.
Take that, CIC.
The "free credit report" advertised non-stop on cable television, it bears repeating, isn't free at all. The law calls for the Federal Trade Commission to issue new rules that will force free credit report advertisers to inform consumers that the only place for a free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com.
Television and radio ads will also be required to include a pretty deflating statement: "This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law."
Call me crazy, but "forced feminization" roleplaying boards like The D+X Institute strike me as super duper transphobic. I mean, sure, they're effectively fantasizing about being trans. But I don't think that's quite the same as respecting trans people as actual human beings the way cis people are "actual" human beings.
Overall, I'm not totally comfortable with the way transgendered people and gender dysphoria tends to get hypersexualized. The whole "it's all about chicks with dicks and how naughty and forbidden that is," because it wouldn't be naughty or forbidden if--deep down--people weren't still really attached to the transphobic idea that all of this is deliciously threatening. If trans people were just normal people, there would be nothing racy or titillating about becoming one.
There's also the fact that "forced feminization" seems to carry the same overtones as rape fantasies. "I want this, but I'm not allowed to want it because it's naughty and bad. Therefore I think it'd be swell if the choice wasn't mine and I wasn't accountable for it." Lots of women enjoy a good rape fantasy without actually having the conscious opinion that sex is bad, just as I'm sure lots of people on this board get off on forced feminization without having the conscious opinion that trans people are bad. More likely they're actually congratulating themselves on how cosmopolitan they are for creating a scenario where "but for the grace of God," go they themselves.
But y'know... just as there are implications that rape fantasies are reflective of anti-sex pressures on the people who have them (even if the people who have them wouldn't classify themselves as anti-sex), I get a real vibe that this whole thing is reflective of anti-trans pressures on the people playing there.
Maybe I'm prattling on about something totally obvious, but I'm trying to articulate this in a sensible way and I don't know if I'm succeeding.
I understand that the people on this board are--more likely than not--here to get their rocks off and not to explore the sociocultural implications of how the media (including erotica) portrays trans people. The hypersexualization is, whenever it happens, quite dehumanizing in the end.
Considering how rough trans people have it even now... I think they've been dehumanized enough. So this board bothers me.
But again. Fantasy is fantasy. People can fantasize about non-consensual sex without thinking it's right. I'm just not sure people can fantasize about being forced into a trans lifestyle without recycling a lot of old transphobic tropes. I think I'd be too worried about the cultural forces I was strengthening to truly enjoy a board like d-and-x.org.
That's the only drawback to being a progressive social scientist. Certain things become less fun once I start considering who is or might be harmed by them. Because, whatever people may say about me behind my back, I don't actually like people being hurt. The fact that I'd even have to sit and think about whether this is feeding into something nasty kills any potential fun... even if I were to decide in the end that I'm overreacting and being paranoid and nobody cares but me.
How do people feel about this? Trans issues get neglected a lot, and I don't want to do that to them. I don't want to miss a huge chunk of the injustices people perpetrate on each other, but I must admit that I'm not very good at considering these issues (or at least, I don't feel like I'm on steady footing here). Feedback?