Saturday, February 26, 2011

Entitlements

In the debate over whether we should call Social Security, Medicare, and the like "entitlements," I notice one thing missing. We call such things entitlements, and yet we speak of economically productive activity as a privilege for which we must kowtow to someone in city hall or even pay something back to society. In short, generating wealth is a privilege, while simply having it redistributed to one is an entitlement.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quote of the week

"While Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asserts that antigay discrimination is obviously unconstitutional, it is deeply cynical to pretend that he and the president just noticed that." — David Tallman, in a letter to the editor of The New York Times

Thursday, February 24, 2011

All I need to know about life, I learned from the media.


  • In 2154, it will be 2009.
  • Rationalists are ultimately proved wrong. Believers in woo are ultimately proved right.
  • Christianity is Catholicism.
  • ...except insofar as Christianity is backwoods, snake-handling, beyond-Westboro Protestantism.
  • But that doesn't matter, since there are no significant theological differences among Catholicism, the various Protestant denominations, and even Mormonism.
  • Eastern Orthodoxy? What's that?
  • Jews are all Ashkenazim, and their religion is Yiddishkeit rather than Judaism.
  • Adherents of all religions except Judaism and Christianity wear really cool turbans and speak in new-age babble.
  • Whenever something important happens in the United States, it happens in New York.
  • ...which is rather odd, since the entire country is California.
  • If a city has a defining landmark, like the Eiffel Tower or the Washington Monument, everyone's balcony or front porch will have a smashing view of that landmark.
  • Maryland consists only of Baltimore.
  • ...unless we're talking about the need to cut the budget, in which case Baltimore doesn't exist.
  • The person who saves the day will be an "other" (e.g., female, of color, or disabled).
  • If it is a white man, he will be an average slob among rich people or geniuses.
  • If a group of persons save the day, that group will observe a ticket-punching version of diversity.
  • Still, the person or persons who save the day are heterosexual and really hot.
  • Villains are all white and work for a huge, evil corporation.
  • Unlike heroes, villains are diverse in terms of sexual orientation and degree of hotness.
  • When two white men go head to head, the less intelligent or less rich one will win.
  • If a visitor from Mars observed our culture, that visitor would reach conclusions that all agree with the author's prejudices.
  • A line of the Baltimore Metro subway Washington Metrorail serves both Georgetown and the Old Post Office Pavilion.
  • In shows about lesbians, all lesbians are Quinn Morgendorffer.
  • In shows about gay men, all gay men are Quinn Morgendorffer.
  • In shows not specifically about gay men, all gay men are cross-dressing chicken hawks.
  • Men are allowed out only every three days. When a man goes back into seclusion, he immediately shaves. That is why all men whom you see have three-day beards.
  • With one or two narrowly drawn exceptions, the government is always right.
  • The military and the government are distinct. How that works is something that you will have to figure out for yourself.
  • All sheriffs speak with Southern accents, even in states like Wisconsin.
  • People of good will who have the facts invariably agree with the author on everything.
  • All high-school students are in their early thirties.
  • Their parents are in their late thirties.
  • You can always find a parking space right in front of the downtown building where you need to be.
  • In 2267, it will be 1967.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The WaPo's non-diverse view of diversity

In this article, The Washington Post compares Internet usage among Hispanic, black, and white people. What happened to Asians, Native Americans, and others who fall outside of the "Choose one and one only: white, black, Hispanic" paradigm?

Rome's weirdly selective sexual morality

According to this:
ALBANY — A consultant to the Vatican’s highest court is calling for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to be denied holy communion because he lives with his girlfriend without being married to her.
Is this the same church that has done so much to shield priests who prey on children? Whenever the Catholic Church makes a pronouncement on sexual morality, I preface it with "Pedophilia is okay, but ..." to see whether it still makes as much sense.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote of the week

"To be a fully functioning moral agent one cannot passively accept moral principles handed down by fiat. Moral principles require moral reasoning." — Michael Shermer

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Public spending on education

As you may have guessed from my previous blog post, I am not a huge fan of Governor Rick Perry. Still, in fairness, articles like this grossly overestimate the role of school funding in school quality. If the link were what it is popularly supposed to be, America's schools would be at or near the top among the OECD countries, and the District of Columbia (an example that advocates of throwing money at the problem love to hate) would be at or near the top in America.

Reality is negotiable. Dogma isn't. (2)

From here:
“Abstinence works,” said Governor Perry during a televised interview with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune.

“But we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country,” Smith responded.

“It works,” insisted Perry.

“Can you give me a statistic suggesting it works?” asked Smith.

“I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works,” said Perry, doggedly.
Um, okay.

"Proof" of the harm of marriage equality

From this article:
Also during the panel discussion, Tom Minnery, senior president of government and public policy for CitizenLink, offered statistics that he said demonstrate countries with same-sex marriage are worse off than places that deny marriage rights to gay couples. LGBT advocates have long disputed the statistical accuracy of Minnery’s work.

Minnery said responders to a survey were asked whether married people were happier in countries with varying levels of relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

According to Minnery, in countries with same-sex marriage, 21 percent of responders said married people were happier; in countries with civil unions; 36 percent say married people are happier; in countries with only regional recognition, 42 percent of people said married people were happier; and in countries with no same-sex marriage, the respect for marriage “goes high.”

For another question on whether children need both a mother and a father to be happy, Minnery said 76 percent of responders said “yes” in countries with same-sex marriage; 80 percent of responders said “yes” in nations with regional recognition; and 93.8 percent of responders said “yes” in countries with no same-sex marriage.
In short, in countries where people are more likely to agree with Tom Minnery, people are more likely to agree with Tom Minnery. If that's the argument, he should just give up and learn to cope with all of the nothing that actually will happen.

Another march in 2012? Yippee!

Some activists are calling for another march in 2012. Apparently, marches have to appear every so often, like 17-year cicadas. Since I remember the festivals of self-indulgence that were previous marches, I for one want to hear more specifics on what the march is supposed to accomplish and how the march is supposed to accomplish it.

The article quotes Robin Tyler as saying,
If you think mass actions do not work, look at what is happening in Egypt right now.
If the analysis were that simple, the world's problems would have been solved a long time ago. We need to examine how some mass actions work and others amount to flushing resources down the toilet.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Religious right or P.C. left? Quotes 14 and 15

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

14.
“Transwomen” Are Merely Castrated Men [repeated ad nauseam]
15.
It should be noted that hormone therapy and removing and adding body parts does not change the genetic makeup of an individual. On the genetic level, individuals who started as men are still men no matter what appearance they choose and women who started as women are still women after surgery as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Today's vocabulary word: pansexual

pansexual, adj. heterosexual, but willing to take gay people's money: said of organizations.

Maryland's newspaper, my ass.

I've been following news on both the census and same-sex marriage in The Baltimore Sun, and one crazy-making thing about "Maryland's newspaper" is that so many reporters observe a blackout on news from the D.C. suburbs, which include Maryland's two most populous counties. That blackout renders some of The Sun's reporting surreal, as when the paper reports on student test scores in Maryland without mentioning Montgomery County. The Washington Post, which does not pretend to be a Maryland-wide newspaper, does a much better job of covering the Baltimore area.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Half-Priced-Chocolates Day, everybody!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quote of the week

"[S]tand firm for what you believe in, until and unless logic and experience prove you wrong. Remember, when the emperor looks naked, the emperor is naked. The truth and a lie are not sort of the same thing. And there's no aspect, no facet, no moment in life that can't be improved with pizza." — Daria, Is It College Yet?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Should we emulate the NRA? Here's how not to do so.

This column argues that the LGBT movement should emulate the NRA, and I do not lightly argue with success. Nonetheless, the author suddenly shifts gears and makes the following argument:
Fourth, expand the agenda: Marriage equality, ending workplace discrimination and reducing violence in schools have been identified as priority issues. There are a myriad of other changes that can be made on a state and local level. Aging, foster care reform, homeless issues, public safety, mental health and other concerns and disparities need to be addressed as well and success on these issues will build toward greater equality. The movement should include these and begin to figure out ways to implement the laws that have been passed.
So this is how the NRA does things, is it? Also, if our movement is to succeed, two things that we need to do less, rather than more, are mission creep and calling for ever more government benefits.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Limousine liberals, meet Craigslist conservatives.

We all know about limousine liberals (a/k/a champagne socialists, gauche caviar, and most of my classmates in undergrad). Now, thanks to "Craigslist Congressman" Chris Lee (more fap-worthy picture here), we have a similarly snappy and alliterative term for family-values Republican hypocrites.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When 'phobes are more honest than is good for them (2)

Yet again, the guardians of right-wing political correctness demonstrate that they don't know when to shut up. According to The Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore County Sen. James Brochin found the testimony Tuesday by opponents of gay marriage "troubling," and said this morning that he may support the bill. The Baltimore County Democrat had previously said he was against same-sex marriage.

"The demonization of gay families really bothered me," Brochin said. "Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?"
As Saffy said to Edina, "Your mouth is working for the prosecution."

Today's vocabulary word: devil

devil, n. those parts of human nature that I don't like:
Abbas Hussein, 23, saw this sort of attitude as problematic. Since the influx of satellite television and DVDs, he said, Iraqi women have been getting ideas from the non-Muslim world — and putting men like him at moral risk.

“Yes,” he admitted, “I do look at women when I see them dressed up with tight jeans. That is one of the problems. It means the devil is doing a good job.”
The New York Times

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thank you. I think.

It often seems that stealing the credit is the sincerest form of flattery (and those of you who know me in real life may read "sincere" how you will). It has just come to my attention that, yet again, someone has tried to pass of my writing as his own, although he eventually had to retract. Even worse, he did it in a way that could easily have gotten me blocked from the site in question.

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 13

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

13.
For the [gay] narcissist, the goal is the pursuit of pleasure. A certain segment of the [gay] community expresses narcissism by promoting total and absolute sexual freedom. They advocate anonymous sex and extreme sexual behaviors that may explain the presence of a high degree of promiscuity in this segment of the population.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I want a .sowhat domain name.

According to this article, we may soon see a spate of new Internet top-level domains, including .gay. The introduction of new TLD's strikes me as a solution having no known problem, particularly since the suggested .gay domain names include such clear winners as lawyers.gay, aids.gay, hotels.gay, and communitycenter.gay. Further, the article notes that previous TLD's such as .biz have been duds.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 17. Education

In the blue-collar suburb where I grew up, people regarded an interest in education as an infallible indicator of sexual orientation. Now, however, education is one of the two forbidden topics of conversation among gay men, the other being career. The irony, it burns! Also, gay men, notwithstanding popular opinion to the contrary, are still men, and most seem to want to be the smart one in the relationship, regardless of whether they actually are.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 16. Individual liberty

You'd think that this would be a given, and for a while it was. Then we made a Faustian bargain with the government-worshiping politically correct crowd. Not only did we thereby alienate some of our natural allies, but also, back in the golden age of politically correct silliness, I even heard some LGBT activists downplay or even dismiss the importance of reforming sodomy laws, of all things.

Of course, all of that adoration of big government automatically follows from LGBT liberation. No, you may not ask how; it just does.

My blatant ripoff of Yes Minister

The New York Times is the news source for people who think that they run the country; NPR, for people who think that they ought to run the country; The Washington Post, for the people who actually do run the country; The Washington City Paper, for people who think that in due course they will run the country; The Baltimore Sun, for people who think that the country ought to be run strictly for their benefit; The Wall Street Journal, for the people who own the country; Salon.com, for people who think that the country ought to be run by another country; Fox News, for people who think that it is; The Washington Times, for people who think that what the country needs is a god-emperor; and The Washington Blade, for people who think that what the country needs is a goddess-empress. Readers of Metro Weekly don't care who runs the country, so long as he's really hot.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quote of the week

"[W]hile my faith may teach that marriage is between a man and a woman, our government is not a theocracy. As the state senator from District 9, I represent everyone in my district, regardless of their faith. Therefore, while my spiritual life is extremely important to me, it cannot be the sole basis for my decisions as a state senator." — Maryland State Senator Allan Kittleman (R-Howard and Carroll counties)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 15. Fashion

Your typical bar twink probably thinks that Borrelli is a brand of pasta, and it's not as though he could afford it anyway. Besides, this applies.