Saturday, December 13, 2008

Light To See By

Here's Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, going head to head with Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the subject of Gay Marriage.

H.T. to Dr. Ralph....

Huckabee argues that marriage has always meant one man and one woman, he argues that marriage is defined "anatomically" as between a man and a woman because of the need to create the next generation. He claims that through 5,000 years of recorded history, that's what it has always meant.

Stewart takes the easiest shot first. Marriage used to mean polygamy. (Think King Solomon, Abraham, etc.)

Stewart then asks if it would be ok to say that Hispanics can't get married.....

Huckabee responds that "there's a big difference in a person being black, and a person practicing a lifestyle and engaging in a marital relationship".

Throughout all of this, the studio audience is cheering Stewart. My question is, where the hell were all these people when California's Proposition 8 was being voted into law????? Huckabee claims that 68% of voters are opposed to gay marriage, but you wouldn't know it from listening to the people in this video. (My best guess is that there's a lot of difference between people in a herd, and individuals in a voting booth.)

Stewart winds things up by asking Governor Huckabee when he chose to not be gay.

The only point I would've added? Here's the Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 7, verse 1: "Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry."

Paul goes on to write about how marriage is no better than a necessary evil, and how he has chosen to remain celibate. In verse 6, he says "I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."

Let's assume that Mike Huckabee is correct, and that Paul was divinely inspired when he wrote those words. It gives some perspective to the self-proclaimed superiority of the "Focus On The Family" people, doesn't it?

(Full Disclosure: I think that most of what Paul wrote was about as divinely inspired as The Daily Kos, or The Huffington Post. Half the time, the man was just blogging. If he'd had any idea that 2,000 years later, people in places he couldn't even imagine would be reading his stuff every Sunday and arguing about the true intent, he would've tightened up his prose a bit.)

Next point.....

Leslie Jordan is an actor, comedian and writer. He is as gay as a Barbra Streisand Film Festival, and has a new book out called "Down The Pink Carpet", which is about growing up not just gay, and not just effeminate (I know, I know, they're not the same thing), but growing up gay, effeminate, and almost freakishly flamboyant in a small town in the deep south. In the Southern Baptist Church. Surrounded by people who thought he'd outgrow it.

It didn't happen. It ain't gonna happen. But Leslie Jordan, in Mike Huckabee's worldview, is merely a confused heterosexual.

What a crock.

At one point in the book, Jordan talks about going to a helpful therapist/counselor to deal with some family issues and resentments, and this therapist explained that Jordan's father "was doing the best he could with the light he had to see by". Jordan Sr's inability to understand his obviously gay son was like the racism (by our standards) found in the words and writing of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln didn't have as much light to see by.

Which gets us back to Mike Huckabee. On the issue of gays and lesbians having a "choice" in their sexual orientation, we now have plenty of "light to see by". It's high noon with a clear sky. We're standing in the middle of the football field with the floodlights on. We're holding flashlights.

Anyone with eyes to see, and an ounce of compassion buried in their creeds, superstitions, and dogmas - anyone can tell that gays and lesbians aren't confused heterosexuals. They didn't choose to be the way they are. Many of them have gone through stages where they would give anything in the world to be just like everyone else.

There came a time when theologians had to give up the idea of a flat earth, the sun rotating around the earth, infant damnation, and the existence of witches. (If you just finished reading that sentence, and thought to yourself that the scriptures in question aren't "wrong", but were just misinterpreted? Get some professional help. Leslie Jordan can recommend a good therapist.)

We now have plenty of light to see by.

And In The Red Corner....

Back in January, I wrote something about an editorial by Joel Stein in which Mr. Stein was making a total mockery of the "Locally Grown" food movement.

It caught the eye of one of my Blogging heroes, Perry DeHavilland of Samizdata, who linked to it and got me somewhere around 30% of my current readership.

In the meantime, wonder of wonders, I started commenting back and forth with a guy called The Red Son. The Red Son is a Marxist revolutionary type with a serious weapons fetish and a hankerin' for revolutionary posters.

Somehow, Red Son found that old post and used it to start a discussion/argument with Perry, and the argument over the virtues of locally grown food has been going on for about two days now. Perry's site, Samizdata, is what inspired me to start typing every day. The Red Son is the only true collectivist I've ever encountered who appeared to have sense enough to feed himself. I'm more than a little proud of providing the battleground for these two.

Both of these guys know a lot about logic, rhetoric, argument, and history. In my opinion, The Red Son is in the difficult position of having to argue from totally false premises.

Go here to read it. I've tried to chime in, but I'm now staying out of their way. You can safely ignore most of the January comments, and skip straight to the December conversation. Interesting stuff.

Caption Contest - "Hawgs Gone Wild" edition

It's time for another caption contest.
Procrustes won the November contest, in spite of a desperate effort by Fembuttx to stuff the ballot box.
This next one one might require some preliminary explanation....
Deer hunters sometimes set up dispensers that will chunk corn all over the ground two or three times a day. (I'm having to explain all this for the Israelis, Australians, and Brits who visit this site.)
The corn feeders are mounted on a tripod to keep the deer from knocking over the vat. Sometimes they'll set up a few motion-activated cameras to record what's going on around the feeder at night.
My friend and co-worker Brent sent me this amazing picture of a wild hog making a late night visit to a corn feeder. Until yesterday, I didn't even know they could stand on their back legs.

I need a caption for this wonderful picture. I'm going into metaphor overload just looking at it.

The competition committee is giving bonus points for any caption referencing the political activity of the last two months.

Any captions making fun of my own eating habits will lose points.

Global Warming, Global Cooling, Global Dimming, and now....

Have you ever eaten a huge platter of Mexican food for lunch, gone home and taken a nap, and as long as you were undisturbed, there were no "inappropriate" side-effects?

Planet earth supposedly did that prior to the last ice age. Sat down and had the bean burritos, the refried beans, and the 3-bean salad, all washed down with Coronas. Then earth curled up and went to sleep for about 800 years.

According to our planet is now awakening from its wintertime digestive slumber. Our friend Mr. Earth is now lying in bed, wondering if he can release some digestive pressure, but keep it contained within the bedsheets and not disturb Mrs. Earth. Or maybe it would be better to just get up and trot down the hall to the restroom? Either way, the consequences could be disastrous for humanity.

If earth asks you to pull its finger? Don't do it.

The picture of "Methane Ice" came from here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Space Shuttle Endeavour, December 11, 2008

I work underneath the flight path of everything that enters or exits the former Carswell Airforce Base in Fort Worth. It's now called the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, but I'm a traditionalist, and we still call it Carswell.
The Endeavour space shuttle has been in town for the previous 24 hours or so, having stopped in at Carswell for an oil change, some more windshield wiper fluid, and, if they have any taste at all, lunch at Kincaid's.

We all went out in the street yesterday to see the shuttle fly overhead, and my friend Derek took these pictures. Do you see it? I don't either, but this one was in with the other pictures.
Here's the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: The space shuttle Endeavour landed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth at 3:10 p.m., its second of two scheduled Texas stops on its way home to Cape Canaveral, Fla.

It marks the first time the jumbo jet transporting the shuttle has landed at the base since 1997.

A large crowd of onlookers watched the landing on the base's 12,000-foot runway from nearby Spur 341.

The Endeavour is on its way back to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will remain at the former Carswell Air Force Base overnight and is scheduled to take off at sunrise Thursday.

The modified 747 with the shuttle riding piggyback landed at midmorning at Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss, near El Paso. The aircraft left Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., this morning.

Depending on the weather along the route, the shuttle will arrive at Cape Canaveral in Florida either Thursday or Friday.

Endeavour was supposed to leave California on Sunday, but a technical delay and bad weather postponed the trip. The shuttle landed at the California backup site on Nov. 30 after storms hit its main Florida landing site. The cross-country ferry is expected to cost more than $1.8 million.

That's all from the Star-Telegram, and that's all of Derek's photos. The rest of these came from a friend of a friend who got to watch the landing at Carswell. (We usually keep Derek chained to his desk, photoshopping pictures for freight claims.)

It took off again this morning sometime around 11:00, heading north instead of south, so no more pictures. Hope you enjoyed these.

Rod Blagojevich and [The President-elect]

I have been called a cynic, an anarchist, a nihilist, and, in the words of one memorable email, someone who "irresponsibly spew(s) vitriol".
But every now and then, someone pulls back the curtain to show me that government really is worse than I have feared.
The National Post has the best summary of the Illinois Governor's indictment so far. The Post is a Canadian outfit, so they at least mention which political party Rod Blagojevich is affiliated with, a fact that's curiously absent from a lot of the U.S. press coverage.
(Hint: This might have been your first guess, but Blagojevich is NOT a Libertarian. So guess again.)

The picture of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, former Senator Barack Obama, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley came from this article in Salon, the last few lines of which might become funnier with age. We'll see.

Back to the National Post:

Reuters reports that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on criminal charges on Tuesday, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama, federal prosecutors said.
Blagojevich was also accused of threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of the Chicago Cubs' baseball home Wrigley Field "to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical" of him.

I'm not going to go off on why The Great State of Illinois needs to provide "substantial state assistance" to The Chicago Tribune in their sale of a ballpark. Especially when The Chicago Tribune is supposed to be a watchdog over the shady goings-on in The Great State of Illinois. But, as my friend Dr. Ralph tells me, they do things differently up there.

The 51-year-old Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were charged in a 76-page federal indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. Both were taken into custody at their homes in Chicago.

The FBI's criminal complaint doesn't give any names of the senatorial candidates under discussion, but refers to them as [Senate Candidate #1] through [Senate Candidate #5]. To protect the privacy of the individual who vacated the Senate seat that was for sale on Ebay, the FBI omits his name and calls him [the President-elect].

Here's an example, from an intercepted conference call. This has people all over Chicago trying to guess who's who:

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “****** ******** **** **** **** [the President-elect] his senator.

**** him.

For nothing? **** him.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give ****ng [Senate Candidate 1] a ****ing Senate seat and I don’t get anything.”

I'm not condemning the profanity on these calls. At my workplace, we have to say worse than that to get one box on a UPS truck. I merely wanted to illustrate that the Illinois governor wasn't going to simply appoint the best person for the job and not even get an ambassadorship out of it. Here's the Chicago Tribune:

....Blagojevich is quoted in the affidavit as frequently speaking of the president-elect with profanity and scorn. But there is an overlap among some of their top political confidants.

Axelrod ran Blagojevich's successful 1996 campaign for a Northwest Side U.S. House seat, though the two later had a falling-out. When Blagojevich was elected governor in 2002, his replacement in Congress was Rahm Emanuel, now Obama's designee as chief of staff. Emanuel and Blagojevich have since worked closely on several initiatives.

This is a link to the entire FBI complaint. If you have time, skim the first few pages, then flip to page 60, and read to the end.

Good Lord in heaven. These people are urban Snopeses. (Also, you might not be familiar with the SEIU, a group frequently mentioned in the complaint. SEIU stands for the "Service Employees International Union". They spent more than 16 million dollars getting [the President-elect] elected.)

Until January 21st, or until further complaints are filed by the FBI, I intend to refer to the individual who vacated this controversial senate seat as [the President-elect].

Monday, December 8, 2008

Credit Derivative Monopoly

Thanks to my online friend Jay at Soob, I've discovered this guy: TDAXP.

TDAXP's posts are good, but what's really interesting is this explanation, buried deep in the comment fields, of a variation of the Monopoly board game called "Credit Derivative Monopoly". Here's an excerpt:

Credit Derivative Monopoly uses financial engineering, however, to create Housing-Backed Securities. Say a player owns Boardwalk and Park Place, but does not have any cash left.

Likewise, another player has no monopolies, but perhaps $400 in extra cash. Credit Derivative Monopoly allows transfer that extra capital in exchange for the asset of, say, half the rental income on those two houses. So if a third player lands on Boardwalk, half goes to the property owner and half goes to the player who purchased those housing-backed securities.

.....In our two games of play, the instruments got increasingly complex. In one, the price for purchasing 8 houses was half the rent, plus forgiveness on all rent owed by the purchasing player to the selling player for the next three landings, plus the rent owed by the purchasing player to a named third-payer player for three landings.

My head hurts just thinking about it.

Mortgage meltdown picture from Ocean.flynn Cool photostream there, BTW.

Thomas Sowell on what The Road To Hell Is Paved With

Brothers and Sisters, we will begin our services today with a brief reading from National Socialist Radio , and a few words from Henry Waxman about the Wall Street Bailout legislation.

"I wish we would have made the language tighter. I was aware at the time that it wasn't as clear and direct as I would have liked it," says Rep. Henry Waxman (Mommy Party - CA). "And to find now that it might be used for extravagant pensions or bonuses or dividends or any other purpose is inconsistent with what Congress intended."

Please add Brother Henry Waxman to your prayer lists, as we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Now please stand for this month's reading from the Gospel According to Saint Thomas, in which we gather here to read words by, or about economist Thomas Sowell, who is the smartest man in the world now that Milton Friedman is dead:

"Economics is a study of incentives and their consequences, not intentions and their goals."

"What counts in assessing a social or economic policy is not the stated intentions of promoters, but the incentives created and the actual end results produced"

"Economics is a study of cause and effect, not intentions and hopes."

I invite the congregation, during our moment of quiet time, to compare and contrast the statements of Brother Waxman and Saint Thomas.

You may be seated.

At the close of our services, after you have repented of your addiction to bailouts, subsidies, quotas, and giveaways, after you have dropped your opposition to NAFTA and stopped supporting rent control, and basically gotten right with God, I invite you to cautiously visit this site, at . If you have speakers on your computer, turn them up.

Please remember that Saint Thomas is not divine. He is, of course, saintly but not godlike. We violate the First and Second Commandments when we set up online shrines and altars to someone who is, according to rumors, human.

Next week our guest speakers will be a group of missionaries who are trying to put a copy of Saint Thomas's "Basic Economics-3rd edition" on the nightstand of every room in every Motel 6 in the United States.

You are dismissed.

This is a little harsh....

....but funny.

H.T. to this site.

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson !! - The Twin Towers Died For Your Sins !!

Here are Reverend Jerry Falwell and Reverend Pat Robertson, recorded shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

They neglect to mention that we also allow women to teach men (in violation of 2nd Timothy 2:12), and that a lot of us eat shellfish and pigs (prohibited throughout Leviticus).

I believe I've seen women preachers on Brother Pat's TV show and network. Brother Jerry looks like he's had many a platter of shellfish and pigs.

We also have a banking system that loans out money, expecting repayment with interest (Deuteronomy 23:19), and many of us, including those two clowns, occasionally shave our faces.(See Leviticus 19:27. Shaving is a big No-No.)

And I suspect that both of these heretics are wearing at least one article of clothing made of blended fabrics (surely they've read Deuteronomy 22:22).

If you accept the biblical admonition that committing an "abomination" is worthy of death (see Ezekiel 18:9-14), then we can only conclude that....

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson caused the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How To Interview Nancy Pelosi

A lot of people wailed and moaned at the passing of Tim Russert, since he was supposedly the last "bulldog" TV journalist who would ask THE HARD QUESTIONS, and not stop asking until the question was answered.
That was a bunch of baloney. Russert was a warm, personable guy. He was smart. And he would ask the hard questions. Twice.

Then he would move on. To the next question.

This guy does it properly.
I've had to hit "pause", get up and walk away for a few minutes, then come back to the computer for a few seconds more. This is painful.
Why doesn't he have a Sunday morning show?

He doesn't even get to the really hard questions about Tuna.