Monday, August 30, 2010

People Not Worth The Price Of The Gunpowder Needed To Blow Them To Hell Aug 10 Edition

August of 2010 has been a month to remember, for all the wrong reasons. I begin with least offensive or most offensive? So hard, they are all so very, very offensive. I can't decide, so they will simply be as they come to me.

1. Morrissey: What the Hell? Everyone agrees that Chinese law allows horrible abuse of animals, he's got a point, but to then suddenly draw this Nazi-like conclusion that the Chinese are some sort of subspecies of human because of this?

Morrissey, you are a racist dumbass. These sort of hyperbolic, nasty remarks set your cause back. People instinctively run away from even good causes when they are championed by kooks.

Oh, and Morrissey, as the son of Irish Catholic immigrants to England, you should be doubly ashamed.

"They use their fields mostly for pasture. Little is cultivated and even less is sown. The problem here is not the quality of the soil but rather the lack of industry on the part of those who should cultivate it. This laziness means that the different types of minerals with which hidden veins of the earth are full are neither mined nor exploited in any way. They do not devote themselves to the manufacture of flax or wool, nor to the practice of any mechanical or mercantile act. Dedicated only to leisure and laziness, this is a truly barbarous people. They depend on their livelihood for animals and they live like animals."

Written by Gerard Of Wales, a chronicler who visited Ireland with Prince John. You know, Richard the Lionheart's brother who became king in 1199? The English have had some kind of theory about YOUR people's genetic inferiority for a very, very long time.

2. Glenn Beck: You are not oppressed. You are not Martin Luther King. What you are doing is your damnedest to fleece your audience of the ignorant, the racist, the terrified into a 21st century Beer Hall Putsch. You are a deluded, dishonest, and dangerous man.

3. Pastor Terry Jones: Pastor of the Dove Outreach Church in Florida. Author of Islam Is Of The Devil. Organizer of the Quran burning scheduled for 9/11. Watch him in action while I go throw up.

4. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer: Racial profiling as law. Beheadings in the desert?? Lying about her own father's death? Privatized prisons that hold killers in medium security so they can easily escape?

5. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: There are so many reasons, but the latest, and worst so far is wanting to change the 14th Amendment so children of illegal immigrants are not citizens. And just how would we do this, Mitch? Will you ask for the parents papers as the mother is in the delivery room? What if one parent is legal and one is not? What is the baby then? Would all children someday have to earn their citizenship like in Starship Troopers?

6. All Kentuckians voting for Rand Paul.

7. Sharron Angle.

8. All Nevadans voting for Sharron Angle.

9. Jorhan Van Der Sloot: Not only did he kill a second girl in Peru, he extorted money out of Natalee Holloway's grieving family who hoped he could lead them to her body. He gave them a bogus spot and kept the money.

"I wanted to get back at Natalee's family – her parents have been making my life tough for five years," the paper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. "When they offered to pay for the girl's location, I thought: 'Why not'?"

10. Those fools driving a missile around Ground Zero in opposition to the Park51 center.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Riding Those Dinosaurs

Back when I was a college freshman, I learned something important that was not in my actual curriculum, but a life lesson. This life lesson learned came from watching my fellow students struggle through classes that covered topics I had learned freshman year in high school, and were often discussed at the dinner table in my home. The American Education system is not simply greatly unequal in terms of quality between rich and poor districts, but also influenced, and run by people who haven't the slightest idea of what produces adults who fully comprehend the world they will someday control.

It was glaringly obvious in our World History classes, some people had never had anything other than an American History class. They didn't know who Hannibal was, other than the character from the A-Team, thought China was always communist, had never heard of the Ottoman Empire, and were shocked that democracy was not begun in the United States. All good things come only from the USA, you know.

I am still uncertain what shocked me the most, that they didn't know these simple facts or that many didn't want to know. It was boring. It had no bearing on their life today. It wouldn't help them get a job, so why bother? The sad, sad fact is that at some point in the last, maybe thirty years, American universities, and high schools, as well, became a factory line for cranking out drones. Go to high school, get a job. Go to college, get a better job.

The entire track is training, not educating. Our schools, don't teach civics, hell, they barely teach art and music, and many places there is a shortage of gym teachers. The pretty much long gone, and sexist home ec. at least used to give lessons on how to manage a household. Depictions of it on television seemed to concentrate on cooking classes, but that is misleading. Yes, they taught them, but also nutrition, child development, sewing, and most importantly, managing your money.

We no longer think it important to teach children how to manage their money.

Once upon a time, we taught high schoolers something called civics! A class that taught them about types of government, and the rights and duties of citizens! Personally, I never had such a class it was a dinosaur by the time I was in high school-I got these lessons at home. Don't even start me on the subject of sex education.

So are we reaping the whirlwind of our short-sightedness, and anti-intellectualism today? The overall ignorance isn't openly insane like the Creationists who think the Earth is 10,000 years old, and Jesus rode dinosaurs. They are kooks, but what is worse is what has been done by sane school boards, and administrators. That is, the whittling away of classes that teach you how to live, and critically think, not simply work for some corporate overlord, is dangerous.

An angry, threatened, population that does not comprehend how it fell into economic hard times, or who is to blame, always seems to lash out, looking for a scapegoat. And things such as this happen.

And if you know your history...what does this scene bring to mind?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Single Bullet Got Ya, Arlen?

I imagine that was the expression on the faces of many of the MSM, especially those who work inside the Beltway.

Incumbents losing?!! Being forced into a runoff??!! Isn't the Tea Party signaling a Rightward tilt to our politics??

Maybe it was this...progressives, while not so vocal as the Tea Party stunads, who seem to have been dying to yell "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" since the first time they saw Network, Progressives are mad too.

Progressives are mad at Blue Dogs, and Fake Democrats, and useless status-quo beltway types. The crazy populists wear tea bags on their hats, and spit on congressmen, and rant about scary Mexicans. The Progressives? They very quietly, voted.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More People Not Worth The Price Of The Gunpowder To Blow Them to Hell

I haven't done this in a while. The title for these posts is a quote from my late father, and he didn't say it often. To make the Gunpowder List you have to be really quite despicable. Like say...

Newt Gingrich. Stop using 9/11 to try to score political points! You don't even know the facts of the terrorism cases you are using to criticize Obama anyway. Obama is treating these cases the same way Bush did, a rare instance when he did something right, by trying these crimes in civilian courts.

Why are you so scared of Miranda Rights anyway? And Newt, terrorists are criminals. They are international organized crime syndicates working in concert with Colombian drug cartels, the Russian mob, and other similar groups. Do we send the army after the mob? Nutley, NJ has yet to be attacked by the military. All Newt and others like him really want to do is grease the Military Industrial Complex and play general.

John Edwards. Eww. The most sordid distasteful love life since Rudy Guiliani began dating. We all make some poor choices, do things we regret, but John Edwards is a combination of Newt, Rudy, and Erica Kane. If she were real, and a man. The Democratic Party dodged a cannonball, not simply a bullet when this guy lost the primaries. Real men face their mistakes, John.

Sarah Palin. Everything she does and says: but I'll go with the latest one, using that poor baby's disability to bring attention to herself as the suffering mother of a special needs child. She does not care about the use of retard, or she would not attack Rahm Emmanuel for something he said privately, and defend Rush Limbaugh for something he says publically on a constant basis.

John Mayer. Mayer and his white-supremacist penis can each get a keg of powder. He needs a team of psychiatrists working round the clock. I always had the impression he was an unpleasant man who had issues with women and intimacy, but didn't think him vile, creepy, and disturbed. I was wrong. Fake apology not accepted, John.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wisewomen, Witches, Midwives, and The Age of Ignorance

Yesterday, I lost my temper. I know, I know big news, alert the press, and all that . There was a legitimate reason for anger, I will tell you why if you're patient.

I saw the latest report on women's health. The latest fertility reports. The University Of Edinburgh, and The University of St. Andrews have put out a report that states women lose 90% of their eggs by age 30. Really? Only 10% strength by then? That means I shouldn't exist. Or my mom. Or her mom, and dad. Or my great-grandparents for that matter either. At least 3/4s of my family should not exist. I am so sick of these breathless headlines every few years.

These stats from Sheffield University say that between age 40-44 you have a 36% chance of getting pregnant after trying for an entire year. From 30-34 it's 63%. Some sources say a woman's peak fertility is 20, some 27, some say the decline does not start until after 35. I recall an article from about five years ago saying the peak was 29, then one last year putting it at 23.

Let me tell you a secret, kids...they don't fucking know. Notice how the findings keep changing? There are too many variables to make any sweeping statements. And there are several rather important things nobody is telling.

1. Fertility testing is done on people who are having a problem. Blood tests are taken, hormone levels gauged, and from that it is surmised how many eggs a woman has left. No one schedules an egg count like a teeth cleaning. It's not a part of a normal gynecological exam. One of the MDs in the Daily Mail article recommends going in for a blood test, and ultrasound just to know.

Does that sound like drumming up more business to you?

2. Heredity. Heredity. Heredity. All women, and men too are not born equal when it comes to fertility.

This bit of straight talk from Dr Marie Savard, GMA's medical contributor: "Women who have more pregnancies are fertile for longer, and some women are born with more eggs than others, she said. The more eggs with which a woman is born, the longer she will be fertile and more time she will have until the onset of menopause."

Know your family history, if like me, you come from several lines of fertile myrtles who have popped out healthy offspring at 46 there's a good chance you're one too.

3. It's not something that can be accurately measured. There are no ways of tracking fertility from birth to menopause. The Apgar score of a newborn does not include any reproductive tests. They would notice if you were born with something missing or extra, but as of now there is no tricorder to wave over your body and give Dr. McCoy a complete picture of how everything's working inside.

If they don't truly know how many eggs you start out with how would they know you've lost 90% by 30?

4. It's MEANT to scare you. Meant to scare you so much you run out and get pregnant while you still can. Meant to terrify just-past-college age women into getting married and knocked up at an age when they want to build careers and find themselves.

A scare from Dr. Savard, "Women lose eggs a lot faster than we thought," she said. As you get older, conceiving is "much more difficult. ...Even all those assisted reproductive techniques are challenges."

"That biological clock does tick," she said, adding that her advice to women who want kids is, "the sooner the better."

5. Women's health care has never been the same since men took it over.

The norms used in research and assessing health are all masculine in nature.

Once upon a time, pregnancy, childbirth, contraception and abortion were managed by other women. Wisewomen, witches, midwives. For most of Human history, they were considered female physicians. Many were herbalists of great skill, holding on to the traditions and knowledge of the distant matriarchal past. In Medieval Europe, the Church regulated and licensed them, making them swear an oath to the local bishop not to use magic during labor and childbirth.

Women are magical creatures. They fear our magic.

By the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, male surgeons had tired of the Hippie Chicks keeping all that lucrative birthing business away from them, thus began the witch hunts and the gradual outlawing of the participation of women in medicine. The birth rate shot up, and so did the mortality rates for both mothers and infants.

This, from Wikipedia: German social scientists Gunnar Heinsohn and Otto Steiger have put forward the theory that midwifery became a target of persecution and repression by public authorities because midwives not only possessed highly specialized knowledge and skills regarding assisting birth, but also regarding contraception and abortion.[11] According to Heinsohn and Steiger's theory, the modern state persecuted the midwives as witches in an effort to repopulate the European continent which had suffered severe loss of manpower as a result of the bubonic plague (also known as the black death) which had swept over the continent in waves, starting in 1348.

They thus interpret the witch hunts as attacking midwifery and knowledge about birth control with a demographic goal in mind. Indeed, after the witch hunts, the number of children per mother rose sharply, giving rise to what has been called the "European population explosion" of modern times, producing an enormous youth bulge that enabled Europe to colonize large parts of the rest of the world.

While historians specializing in the history of the witch hunts have generally
remained critical of this macroeconomic approach and continue to favor micro level perspectives and explanations, prominent historian of birth control John M. Riddle has expressed agreement.

This dark age of women's medicine was also the germination of the abortion debate. The Catholic Church didn't give two shits about abortion before the end of the 18th century, when the secret doings of women became a very big deal, and they wanted to make sure there was a population explosion.

After teens, the largest group getting accidentally knocked up is women in their 40's. They listen to their doctors, and read articles like the ABC report and think they don't have to be careful, it won't happen. I know at least 5 people this has happened to, all thinking they were challenged or infertile because of age. This conventional wisdom has huge consequences. Read this.

If you google accidental pregnancies over 40, you'll be shocked at what you find. These women also have a 65% abortion rate because they often have had a family and can't handle one more child. So that skews the live birth stats too.

The truth is no one really knows. Eat healthy, don't smoke, don't drink too much, breed with a younger man, his age and health matters too, And "illegitimi non carborundum". (Don't let the bastards grind you down.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lunatic Fringe Frays

The recent statements by Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, and Glenn Beck in regards to the tragedy in Haiti are so vile, disgusting and especially in Robertson's case outright loony, that I don't care to repeat any of them. One can take comfort in the hope that they are losing all but their most rabid followers as they race each other to the edge. When even George W. Bush won't defend them...

Friday, January 1, 2010

I've Been Searching...

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” --Neil Gaiman

I've been searching for a quote that spoke to me, on a very difficult day. And thanks to my friend, The Mad Voter, I've found one.

Usually, I don't do things like this, I find them maudlin, and self-pitying. I don't want anyone else feeling sorry for me-why I avoid certain gatherings back home-so I try to discourage myself from throwing any pity parties. But with the turn of the decade, one that she has missed, I can't help thinking about my mother.

She was born slightly after midnight January 1st 1937 and died January 8th, 2001, a mere seven months after my father. She was a massive science fiction fan who claimed I was conceived to Star Trek. A woman who dragged her young child to every now iconic SF film the first week it opened.

As I watched Avatar, I thought how much she would have loved this.

I'm sure I'll add to this later, but for now, Happy Birthday, Mommy.

Addendum: I've surprised myself quite a lot since she died...

First New Year Surprise! I Agree with Something Written By David Brooks!

David Brooks' column today discusses something I have been attempting to ignore: the reaction to the Underpants Bomber. I was in the air on the way to Miami the day the Shoe Bomber struck, and was outraged that I had to walk barefoot across the airport, and that others who were not wearing sandals like myself, had their shoes cut open by the screeners. (I wasn't exactly quiet about my distaste for this practice. I'm probably lucky they didn't root through my luggage and slash up every bit of footwear I carried in revenge.)

Both articles-of-clothing-bombers are clearly not right in the head. And by that I don't mean simply the sort of evil craziness of a suicide bomber, but the extreme level stupidity-madness that would lead someone to think he could create his own James Bond gadget in his kitchen and that it would be able to take down a plane. People this ridiculously insane always surprise the authorities because no one even approaching intelligent or sane would think up such things. This is Darwin Awards level stupidity with a horrifically evil twist.

Ultimately, focusing on Darwin Awards terrorist is a waste of time and energy. We are spending time worrying about the bizarre and unlikely, and not doing the mundane, but difficult, like securing our ports, and rail system. The truly crazy portion of the population should not cause this much angst. They have always been here, and always will.