Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The new meaning of "economic stimulus"

Just when I think the crazy can't get any more crazy, we reach new lows. And, not surprisingly, it's from the state in which I was born and raised: Oklahoma (no jokes please).

Sally Kern, the anti-everything that's not white, straight, and christian Representative nut job from OK, has decided that the current economic woes in the US are due to our "greater moral crisis". Because we promote "abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery" and Obama didn't recognize National Prayer Day, it's everyone else's fault that the countries economy is in the toilet. I guess all that fornicating is what has led us to this point.

I guess it doesn't matter that republicans are the ones lately being caught with their pants down. Nor does it matter that the current economic problems began under the leader of the compassionate conservative movement, GW Bush.

You can read much more about it on Jonathan Turley's blog. It's really sad that as the conservative movement melts down due to their actions, they continue to look for anyone other than themselves to blame for their failed policies. Sally Kern is a walking joke and it's really pathetic that she's in such a position of power.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heterosexual privilege

A group of straight identified students at Earlham College put together a list of what they see as straight privilege in their daily lives. In other words, as straight men and women go through their day, what things do they take for granted that gay men and women cannot assume to happen, or ever count on happening? The list is based on an article written by Peggy McIntosh regarding white privilege. It's an interesting list, seeing things straight people can simply take for granted but gay men and women may not ever enjoy in their lifetime.

I won't re-type the entire list but to give an idea, the first three items are:

  • I can be pretty sure that my roomate, hallmates and classmates will be comfortable with my sexual orientation.
  • If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented.
  • When I talk about my heterosexuality (such as in a joke or talking about my relationships), I will not be accused of pushing my sexual orientation onto others.
  • You can see the entire list here.

    I would suggest that homophobes who scream about gays getting equal rights means that they get special rights should sit down and read through that list. Of course none will because it helps destroy their argument.

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Gay marriage debate flow chart

    That about sums it up. Click the image for the full-size version.

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    Radioactive Kitty

    We had a little scare recently with our oldest cat, Truman. He's about 12 years old, which isn't really ancient in cat terms. He's been losing weight over the last several months and we just assumed it was old age. But, he kept getting skinnier and skinnier, and then we found a lump on his shoulder. So, I schlepped him to the vet worried that he had a big problem.

    As it turns out, the lump was nothing other than a little spot under his skin. But, the weight loss was a concern. The vet was able to visibly diagnose hyperthyroidism and then confirmed the diagnosis with blood work. She was pretty convinced we had caught it in time and that with treatment Truman would be OK.

    The treatment is what turned Truman into radioactive kitty. As in humans, the treatment is an injection with 131I, a radioactive iodine isotope. We dropped him off on Thursday and they had to keep him until Saturday, when his radiation levels fell below a state-mandated level. In reality the amount of radiation is not enough to harm anyone, but they want to limit the lifetime exposure in humans and don't want to add to the total too much.

    In any event, the iodine is supposed to shrink the malformed tissue in his thyroid which means the good tissue can take over the function again. According to our vet and the vet who did the treatment, he should respond well. They both seemed to think that he was a great candidate. If/when responds he should put back on some weight and have a lot more energy. I'm hopeful that he'll respond. We should see some changes pretty quickly.

    As for the radioactivity, we have to make sure we flush his litter for the next two weeks, or store it for 80 days. We're definitely going to flush it since I have no desire to keep a collection of kitty roca for 80 days until we can safely dispose of it. We're also not supposed to spend more than an hour a day of physical contact with him for the next two weeks. I've not checked yet to see if he glows in the dark. That would be a nice bonus if he did...

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    < Rant>

    Several weeks ago, back in May to be more specific, I opened a support case with a software maker asking about an issue with product we use here for scientific work. Hell, why am I being coy: the software is Reference Manager 12 made by Thomson Reuters. Here at work we recently bought a volume license, and spent a good deal of money on their product (to the tune of several thousand dollars a year to maintain the license).

    So, long story short, I opened a case for something that didn't work in the software. The guy who was assigned the ticket sent me one very short reply pointing me to a Microsoft KB article. The "solution" in the KB didn't fix the problem so I wrote back saying so. After hearing nothing for 18 days I finally got an e-mail saying that the case had been closed.

    Now, here's what's funny (and the only reason I'm writing this): when the tech - Peter Travis is his name - closed the case I was automatically sent an invitation to fill out a customer satisfaction survey regarding my experience. Um, major fail to blow off a customer and then send a survey to the person asking to rate his satisfaction level. Needless to say I wasn't shy about sharing my opinions in the survey. It's one thing to blow off a customer needing support (happens all the time) but at least be smart about it and not ask me for my opinion on it after the fact.

    < /rant>

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Defining atheism

    There was a good diary on Daily Kos today about what an atheist is and isn't. I've suppose I've not really thought about in terms of applying a label, but I would definitely have to categorize myself as an atheist. Someone in one of the comments on the DK diary mentioned that an atheist can be thought of as non-theist, and that would definitely describe me. As the diarists mentions, I'm not opposed to there being a god (making me a "soft atheist" or agnostic) but I just don't believe that there is one.

    I could probably blame being taken to southern baptist churches when I was growing up as the cause for being atheist. In reality, that just contributed to me being anti-religious, not atheist. I've thought since I was a small child, even while attending church, that all the dogma and pageantry of organized religion was just a lot of nothing. Even as a child it seemed to me that religion was all about keeping people interested enough to attend the church services and of course give money. I don't won't to turn this into a long diatribe about the evils of organized religion since we're about to go to breakfast and I don't have all day to type, so I'll stop this tack at this point.

    Oddly I do believe that many religions have things to teach, but I also believe that it's not necessary to religions in order to have those thing taught (or to learn them for that matter). I also don't believe that we have to worship an unseen god in order for our lives to be meaningful and fulfilling. It just doesn't work for me.

    In any event, here's the original diary for your reading pleasure.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Sex With Ducks

    This has made the rounds pretty much everywhere already, including CNN, so I'm not on the cutting edge here. But, I've been meaning to post this for days and I'm just now getting around to it. The video is in response to comments made by Pat Robertson regarding the federal hate crimes bill. He's not known for saying things that are...sane...so these girls took his insanity and made a catchy little song out of it.

    As an added bonus, Pat Robertson, who just can't keep the crazy to himself, gives really bad advice to someone who wrote into his show. He has somehow (through detailed and extensive scientific research I'm sure) determined that many gay men are gay because they were abused by a coach or guidance counselor when they were young. I don't remember that happening, so I must be one of the few with biological issues. He doesn't give us any advice for how lesbians got that way.

    What's interesting is that the person who wrote in mentions that the christian bible says to love one's neighbor as you love yourself. Robertson completely side-stepped that by saying that if it's someone like a son and he's on the path the hell you let him go. But apparently you do that out of love. So I'm not sure how you love your son by forcing him to be something he's not so he won't go to hell, but you love your neighbor by apparently letting them stay on a path to hell. This christianity thing is so confusing. it's also full of irony: Robertson and his kind are very interested in changing their neighbors' behavior if it doesn't correspond to what they approve of. So that loving one's neighbors only goes so far apparently.

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    More christian values at work

    Growing up in the 70's and 80's I was taught in school that all the bad guys were overseas: Brezhnev was in the USSR, Castro was down in Cuba, the Vietnamese were in, well, Vietnam. Anyone in my own country was an American-loving patriot and everything was kittens and daisies, so long as you were American.

    However, since I've grown up it seems that the worst people are here in this country. Instead of it being communists, it's christian extremists. And, apparently they all use their christian god not only as a cosmic cash machine, but as a tool in their fight against politicians they don't agree with. What kind of "good christian" prays for the death of any other human? Have these people even read their own bible? I just don't understand that concept of "God hates people who kill and I hate people who kill, so I'm going to kill you." What kind of mental back flips are required to live that kind of cognitive dissonance, and convince yourself that it's not just OK but divinely inspired?

    One thing I've never understood about christian prayer (which seems usually to be asking their god for a favor, rather than seeking enlightenment or knowledge) is that the one praying automatically assumes that god is on his side. What happens if two people are praying to their god but asking for opposite results? They each claim to have their god's ear and therefore their god's loyalty. How does their god resolve these conflicts of interest? This horrible baptist preacher is praying for Obama's death, but what if someone else who worships the same god is praying for Obama to live a long time in order to serve the country as its leader? Which one wins?

    I don't even need to go into the problem with a religious leader preaching politics, but I do wonder where the IRS is and why they aren't questioning his church's tax exempt status.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    America's best christian explains marriage

    If you've not seen Betty Bowers' web site it's worth checking out. She is the self-proclaimed America's Best Christian and her site is hilarious.

    She has done a new video explaining traditional marriage for all of us, so that we don't have to read the christian bible ourselves and put it all together.