Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
To all of you politicians thinking about how great it would be to overturn Roe v. Wade, since you're so "pro-life"...
Wait - side track - I've put "pro-life" in quotes because I still have such huge problems with the idea that someone can fight for the rights of a child who has not yet lived, but thinks it's just dandy to send soldiers off to their deaths because it's patriotic. Ugh.
OK, back to my uncalled for exposition. Let's just remember, boys and girls, that if abortion becomes illegal, that means illegal for everyone. And it means that any indiscretions that result in accidental pregnancies will then have to be resolved by sending the enceinte person away for a goodly amount of time, always worrying about the possibility of discovery during the lying-in, or by tricking someone other than the socially-improper person to admit to fatherhood, if possible, also risking discovery, or perhaps the ever-popular illegal abortion, once again, risking that pesky discovery.
Sure, sure, with a legal abortion you still risk discovery, but with a process that's so tied up with rules about privacy, you stand a much better chance of covering these things up. And lets face it, a legal abortion is way, way, way less expensive than the methods of cover-up I've mentioned above. At the very least, there's fewer people that you'd have to pay off to keep it quiet!
Face a fact - no matter how much or how often people talk about morals or family values, most of these self-same people are really hypocritical and will continue immoral sexual practices and conduct extra/pre-marital affairs. We're people, we just do. For every person preaching morals that actually practices those self-same morals, I'd guess that there are 3 that preach without the practicing part.
To sum up - no more Roe v. Wade means money out of your pockets, Mr. or Mrs. Politician Person. Don't forget that, and don't screw it up for the rest of us.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Cell phone batteries can explode. I never really thought about it. I mean, I guess I should have known that, any kind of battery can explode, so why not those? It just didn't occur to me. This article talks about people who've had problems, offering the following information:
Over the past two years, federal safety officials have received 83 reports of cell phones exploding or catching fire, usually because of incompatible, faulty or counterfeit batteries or chargers. Burns to the face, neck, leg and hip are among the dozens of injury reports the agency has received.Of course, the article also says that there are 170 million cell phones in this country. That makes the odds kind of low.
So I finsihed the article, and I was wondering if I'd wasted my time, because I already know to be carfeul with batteries, and the statistics seem in my favor, and then I saw it. On the bottom of the page is an advertisement - for cell phones.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
And thank goodness that it's scaled back. As a person with a very large music and video library, I like to make digital copies of some of my collection. I have some movies copied to hard drives as convenient backups, should the originals get damaged or destroyed somehow, and I rip almost all of my music to mp3 format for use on my iPod or to play over my TiVo (home media option).
I can't say that I've never shared music - I have. I don't do it any longer, but it seems to me that the punishment proposed in the copyright bill was way too harsh. 3 years jail time? For a "crime" that's roughly equivalent to speeding, on the morality scale? Heck, speeding can cause physical harm, and song sharing doesn't even do that.
I understand that making unauthorized copies of music and movies to sell is illegal. In many cases, I feel that it cheats the fans, because the quality suffers so much. Punishment for stealing something with the intent of making a profit is reasonable, it's expected, it's the way things are supposed to work in an ordered society, even - but sharing music for free? An even exchange of entertainment? It's just not the same kind of thing, and I'm glad that the sections of the bill that dealt with punishing file-sharing users were dropped.
Also dropped was a section that would have made it illegal to edit out commercials. *That* was just silly. Companies pay for the advertising, but there is no way on earth that they can make sure that I watch it. Even if it were not edited out, even if my excellent, excellent TiVo (I love that thing more than you can imagine) didn't have a fast-forward button, that would still be the time when I chatted with other people in the room, or went to the bathroom, or flipped through my mail. As it is now, if I see a commercial that looks interesting when I'm fast-forwarding past, I'll stop and watch it. That wouldn't happen if I was out of the room, now, would it? Making it illegal to edit out commercials would have made me frustrated with regular TV, and I would have started watching less and less of it, and I suspect that so would a lot of other people. How much would that help advertisers? Not at all; right in one!
I'll quote the article for the last bit I want to mention:
The bill also shields "family friendly" services like ClearPlay that strip violent or sexually explicit scenes from movies. Hollywood groups say such services violate their copyrighted works by altering them without permission.Once again, silly. If people want to see movies watered down, let them. I actually think this is a great compromise between people who want their art as real as possible, and people who still want art, but find reality much too messy and imposing. You'd love to show your child a movie like "Saving Private Ryan" in order to demonstrate great patriotism and courage, but you don't want him hearing the naughty words from a program you sanctioned? Use ClearPlay and go, my sheltered friend, and do so with my blessing!
Monday, November 22, 2004
The incident happened after Bush and his wife, Laura, had just posed for pictures on a red carpet with the host of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife, Luisa Duran.Suddenly it occurred to me that their Americanized nicknames could be "Ricky" and "Lucy".
Friday, November 19, 2004
In a statement issued late on Thursday after Congress gave its final approval to increase the limit to a new $8.184 trillion ceiling, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the legislation "was important to protect the full faith and credit of the United States."We now owe so much money, and from what I can tell, to ourselves, that failure to increase our debt ceiling will result in us defaulting on securities. That is so not good. Throw in the fact that the dollar is NOT doing well, value-wise, and I wonder just how "strong" our economy is. Never mind, by the way, that the article I've linked seems to be implying that the only reason that the dollar is falling is because Greenspan said depressing things. Greenspan simply pointed out that we have an enormous deficit, and that should, logically, put investors off. It's just the ugly truth. And now, rather than admit that we can't pay our debts, we're going to extend our own credit limit. It's dizzying.
So, as it stands, we have this enormous debt. What are we going to do to stop this scary trend? When are we going to pay this money back? Am I foolish to be worrying about funding for educational programs when there's just no money to be had, period? I try to find something, anything that shows me how we're going to stop bleeding money and start trying to tighten belts and balance a budget, but nobody says anything about it, at all. The attitude seems to be that since we're at war, we can just keep the downward spiral going. Where are the Republican values of "smaller government" and the concept of "paying your own way"? Yes, program funding is being cut, but not to a level where it actually helps. Perhaps the fear is that if average Americans lost privileges, they might not be so quick to support the war effort?
We cannot continue to enjoy a standard of living that we cannot afford. At least, in theory, that should be true. But we are, and we do, and as far as I can tell, the only reason we get away with it is because no one in the world is powerful enough yet to be the repo man. Will they be someday? Guess we'll find out.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
The Magnet Magnet
I am encouraged to see that a man named Dwain Gullion thought up the ribbons as a way to raise funds for worthy organizations. Now, of course, I've seen a million knock-offs of these things everywhere from the gas station to the grocery store. Still, it's very nice to know that when the idea was born, it was born out of a concern for one's fellow man.
"It was a tough contest and it turned out some 527 organizations got involved, including Barnyard Animals for Truth. There was a scurrilous film that came out, "Fahrenheit 375 Degrees At 10 Minutes Per Pound," he said.375 at 10 minutes per pound? That's never going to make a juicy turkey! I never roast a turkey at more than 350, myself. And, then, at 350, I'm going at about 20 minutes per pound. Who told him 10?
Giving out such blatantly wrong information strikes me as irresponsible. There are children listening to him! Children who may have to live with undercooked turkey.
Tallulah: Wow. Some REALLY scary articles on Fark today. Example:
Tami: I knew about this and I don't get one thing - why couldn't they bleep the profanity? Is that against some contract? "The film could not be edited for artistic reasons"? What the hell is that about? They couldn't beep swear words? Are there just too, too many to be able to do it?
I have never seen this movie, since getting massively upset about death and war doesn't seem like my idea of entertainment, so maybe I just don't get it.
Tallulah: I only have one question:
IS THE CHANNEL CHANGER BROKEN?
A movie about war WILL have swearing. And that seems like the LEAST of your problems. Honestly, it's as if these people have never left the house.
Tami: It's true. And, it's the old "you can't use the TV as a babysitter if you're any kind of a thinking parent" argument. Check on what your children are watching. If you're just offended for yourself, go on over to Nick at Nite and shut the hell up.
Tallulah: Why does no one say this to their faces? BLOG, TAMI, BLOG!
So, I did.
Does your country have military troops that have nothing to do? Do you have neat uniforms that you're not getting to show off to anyone but your own countrymen? Are you avoiding Iraq like the plague because you don't want your civilian contractors getting kidnapped causing all kinds of national controversy?
Consider Sudan! They need real help. We'd do it ourselves, but we're supposedly not overextended with our own military actions right now.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I don't know about you, but I'm not going to sit in judgment on these guys. Many
of them are on stop-loss orders, they haven't a clue why they're there or what
on earth they're supposed to be doing. They're told that they're liberating the
very people that they're told to kill; but that everyone they come across is
See, I would have said someting a lot like that.
It's being reported that Margaret Hassan, the kidnapped charity aid worker, has been killed. What kind of person kidnaps a charity aid worker? They risk their lives just by being in a war zone, but they go anyway, and they do their best to try and help people whose lives are being torn apart. They bring food and medical supplies, and are nothing but good for everyone on the planet. And as a reward for her efforts that are nothing short of angelic, in my eyes, some insurgent group kidnapped her, by all accounts tortured her, and has now killed her. That's more shameful than anything else I can think of, today.
Never mind the ribbon guy, he's not hurting anyone.
Well, I'm wondering about those yellow ribbon magnets you see on cars everywhere nowadays. They're everywhere. Do I think how great it is that people support the troops, and that it's fantastic that some cunning businessperson has provided the American people a convenient, visible way to express that support? Or do I, instead, go all bleeding-heart sensitive and think that it might be kind of disgusting, exploiting people's support of the military to make your own fortune. Let's face it, whoever sells those things has got to be raking it in, they're hotter than the Lance Armstrong "Live Strong" bracelets. And unlike the "Live Strong" bracelets, I don't see anything anywhere about the sales of the ribbon magnets going to actually support our troops.
So, what should I think? Clever patriot providing people an easy way to express themselves, or exploitative sleazy businessman making a profit on the people's need to express their desire for unity? Comment away, I'm torn.
Monday, November 15, 2004
I was driving out to Western Pennsylvania in August, and as I was passed by a car from Ohio, I saw them holding a sign up in the window. Fearing that it said something like "Your muffler is falling off" or "You're getting a flat", I pulled up to read the sign. It said, simply, "Your governor is gay". I nearly had to pull off the road I was laughing so hard. No big essay today, just some quotes and my comments on today's NJ news about our governor retiring.
"Outgoing governors usually make appointments, and I think we should judge each of these appointments based on the merits of the individuals," said Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon), the Senate's minority leader. "I want to review the list based on the merits of the individuals."That's so sane, it's almost... crazy.
The ceremony was deliberately low-key in deference to the circumstances surrounding McGreevey's resignation. "This is not necessarily a time for a big celebration," Codey said.Classy, I think. He didn't win anything to become governor, so no victory party. Makes sense to me.
Few groups have been more closely associated with Codey than the racing industry, which has donated more than $176,000 to him.As a true "Jersey Girl", I find this information somehow comforting.
He has sponsored 21 racing-related bills over the past decade, and currently is exploring the possibility of putting thousands of video slot machines at the Meadowlands racetrack to boost revenues to the state and the industry. For nine years, he was part-owner of several thoroughbreds, and his brother, Donald, is general manager of Freehold Raceway.
"He has been perhaps the greatest ally that horse racing has had in Trenton," said Anthony Parenti, president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey.
"In Jersey anything's legal as long as you don't get caught"
from "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" by the Travelling Wilburys.
Friday, November 12, 2004
From The Guardian Unlimited:
George Bush said tonight that he thought it was possible that a "truly free" Palestinian state could evolve within the four years of his second term as US president.
"Pass the peas, please, Laura. Bird? What bird?"
The bird is called JERUSALEM, bright-guy. A free Palestinian state can not evolve at all unless they give up the idea that they're going to drive the Jews into the sea. The Palestinians want the Muslim and Arab shrines in Jerusalem to be under Palestinian control, and the Israelis are going to let that happen as soon as the sky turns into cotton candy and the dolphins come out of the Red Sea to explain to us how we can all live in peace and harmony, even when we have to eat our neighbors.
There is a stalemate, here. Arafat refused offers of lands for Palestine that didn't include holy ground, and the Jews in the region feel that the holy ground has been granted to them by the will of God, and is not up for negotiation. No one will move on this - they can't. Sadat tried to broker an agreement without Jerusalem involved, and for his ground-breaking initiatives, he was gunned down by Islamic extremists. They felt that his trying to broker an independent peace instead of showing a united Arab front undermined their power, so they undermined his.
There are people out there with very specific, very radical beliefs, and they're so committed to them that they are willing to kill whomever they have to in order to make their vision of the world come true. Their vision is *not* something acceptable to anyone who would ever be involved in a series of peace talks. Until this is no longer true (sad, but...), no Palestinian state can evolve itself into existence. People are not yet ready.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
The man was a fallen tree across the road to living peacefully. While I don't think that it's necessarily a road that's ever going to be finished, at least it's good that God freed up the lanes for the traffic to move where they could.Personally, I don't think that Arafat's death changes anything that's going on.
- In the 70's, he was a dangerous terrorist who murdered innocent people.
- In the 80's, he was a leader recognized by the world, determined to hold out for the one thing he would never get.
- In the 90's, he became a figurehead, not actually influencing any of the actions of those around him - someone to mention if you were mentioning someone distasteful.
- In the 21st century, he faded into leadership obscurity. With no power to stop any terrorist activities even if he wanted to, there were no teeth left in his public image. Negotiating with him was a completely pointless exercise, as he could never actually deliver anything he promised.
This is my own opinion, so I don't have any sources to quote. I've based this on my observation of events over the past few years, only. So, take it as you will.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
OK, so what this article is saying is that Fallujah (no matter how you spell it) has been a hot bed of insurgents. People kidnapped by these insurgents were being held in inhuman, torturous conditions. There were records kept about who the hostages were.
So, the same as before we invaded, right? Only maybe on a slightly larger scale because of the car bombs?
I fail to see how this war is helping the Iraqis. Their country is less safe now than it was under a terrible dictator. We can invade Fallujah, but the insurgents will just flee to another location. We cannot possibly think to have enough troops to occupy all of Iraq, and even the thought of that is more terrifying than the thought of a Saddam still in power.
I was trying to think how to wrap this entry up, how to come up with some sort of spin of what I think we should do in order to make things better, but I don't have one. I honestly believe that all we can do is get our butts the heck out of that country and leave the Iraqis with a broken nation in more upheaval than they really thought possible. Maybe I'm not giving the other side a fair shake - maybe staying in Iraq and chasing insurgents from city to city, from stronghold to stronghold is the way to go. I suppose that we could view it as our responsibility to be the de-facto police force, since we were the ones who dismantled the police force that they had in the first place. So we stay, and we police, just as reviled as the brute force we've replaced.
There's no way out of this that I can see, nor can I see that the people we claim to be liberating are any better off. Where's a plan that makes sense, where's the progress?
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
But then, I went on to read the whole article at http://www.prevention.com/article/0,5778,s1-1-93-35-4130-2,00.html, and I got to this part:
Anti-Pill doctors and pharmacists base their stand on the fact that the Pill isn't perfect: Although it is designed to suppress ovulation and prevent fertilization, both can--and do--occur in rare cases. About 1 woman in every 1,000 who takes the Pill exactly as directed becomes pregnant in a given year. But while mainstream experts say ovulation happens only 2 to 3 percent of the time and fertilization is rare, anti-Pill groups claim both happen frequently. They say most of these fertilized eggs--in their view, nascent human lives--are unable to attach to the hormonally altered uterine lining. Instead of implanting and growing, they slough off. This theoretical action, which scientists can't confirm, is called the post-fertilization effect.Scientists can't confirm. Didn't I just write a whole novel about why basing your decisions on what can't be proven is just wallowing in your own ignorance? It will come back to bite you in the ass, people, I promise you!
OK, let's talk about faith, and science and theories and what a difference that PROOF makes. And the fact that seeing this article makes me dizzy with upset: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6433295/
How many fossils do we have, how many dug-up skeletons do we have, that indicate that modern man "grew up" from a less advanced form? A Google search finds pictures, right away! Here's a nice site: Calico Early Man Site. Ooh - or here's a nice web page from Yale: WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT EARLY MAN AND HOW CAN WE PROVE IT?.
So, evidence, usually is the deciding factor between theory and fact. I went looking for a definition of "theory" and I found:
"an always tentative explanation of phenomena that we observe; never proven;That's my favorite from my Google definition search. It reminds me of the gods of ancient Greece and Rome. It was certainly plausible to say that thunder and lightning happen because a god was angered when you didn't know any better, but science came along and showed how the sun can evaporate water, and how cold air and hot air move around, and what happens when that cold air and hot air butt up against each other. No one imagines "gods living high on a mountain top" during a rain storm, anymore.
representative of the most logical explanation based on currently available
evidence; becomes stronger as more supporting evidence is gathered; provides a
context for predictions."
My take on it has always been this: We don't know how it all got started. We weren't there, we can't find any evidence of "first life", nor, in my opinion, is that possible. We have to just put forth theories about how life started. Fine. Lightning strike, hand wave by some anthropomorphic deity, whatever. But the fact that humans existed in a more rudimentary form in our planet's past history? We've got the bones all dug up, people? We have evidence that we can see & touch. This is why evolution, in my mind, is not just a theory.
Why, though, does creationism have to be the opposite of evolution? Do people really hold that tightly to the literal interpretation of the Bible, that the earth was truly created in 7 days? It's not possible that the reporting on the time there was off by maybe, thousands and thousands of years? Couldn't life have been started by... um... God... (it's SO hard for me to say that!), with the whole evolution thing as part of the plan? You know, like putting all the ingredients for a cake in the oven and expecting the chemical reactions taking place in the heat to change the goopy batter into structured dessert item over the course of a certain amount of time? Who's to say if a lightning strike isn't ultimately caused by the hand of God? Deconstruct something down enough levels and eventually you get to a place where you can't explain what started it. Why does creationism focus so strongly on the lack of evolution?
I went looking for a creationist web site that I could actually read through and hope to find some sort of coherent argument. I found Scientific Evidence that God created Life, which doesn't seem to say anything that makes my hybrid theory sound impossible. I looked for something else, but I can't find a single argument that doesn't talk exclusively about what science *doesn't* prove. Well guess what, people, it doesn't prove your point, either.
Evolution is the "theory" that we have hard evidence of. Denying that evidence is such a childish idea that I won't even talk about why it's not legitimate.
At this stage in our evolution as human beings (yes, I did that on purpose), we simply can not in good conscience teach children in public schools something that we have no proof of whatsoever. I can't teach a child that all dodo birds liked the taste of rain based on the fact that we can't prove that it isn't true. I can't teach a child about how life on earth started because I don't have those facts. I can teach a child that evolution exists based on archaeological findings and scientific studies about mitchondrial DNA. We have hard facts for this part. Putting a sticker on a book that says we don't is an abomination of the very concept of educating our children.
Thursday, November 4, 2004
And I'm quite sure that America's founded on the idea that if you don't worship the same way as your neighbor, then there ought to be something done about you. No, I'm not talking about Lutherans turning in Baptists - it's those other people, you know, the ones who don't go to church at all or even temple or something! How can someone be moral when they don't go somewhere to show us that they mean it?
Marriage, in my opinion, is a traditionally religious institution, but here in the U.S. we have established the institution of civil marriage. A civil marriage is recognized from state to state, carries all of the things you think of when you think "marriage", like inheritance rights, and the right to file as married on your taxes, etc. All in all, it's a positive thing for those who wish to marry but don't wish to involve religion in it. Maybe they're not the same religion, or maybe they're divorced Catholics, and their church doesn't recognize that they have the right to marry anyone else (funny, you don't' see many people in the news making a fuss about that). Either way, you can be married in a civil ceremony, and the whole country - nay - the whole world recognizes that you are a couple, a family. A legal kinship is established. We're in a very small club with this option, many countries that don't have this kind of separation of church and state do not allow this. It's the kind of thing that people emigrate to America for. Funny, huh?
Civil union, on the other hand, isn't recognized anywhere except for the state that it's performed in. You can't, for example, establish a domestic partnership in NJ and then move to Ohio and expect to still be allowed to make medical decisions for your partner. Notice I say "partner", and not "spouse". Because in a civil union, you don't get to really be a spouse. You get some of the benefits, and don't think I'm knocking them, because progress is progress, but you don't get the thing I'm striving to emphasize, here, legal kinship. A civil union isn't a marriage, and you're not classified as a family. So, by that definition, it's not eroding these so-called "family values" that so many people seem to be spouting off about these days.
I'm stunned that so many people are afraid of homosexuality. And I don't see how if two people who aren't your family want to be declared a family of their own, HOW does it harm anyone? How does it "degrade" anyone else's institutions? Is mom-dad-son-daughter somehow less valid if it's dad-dad-daughter? Or mom-mom-son-daughter? Or even just wife-wife? It's not in your house, people, it's not your business.
It all comes down to this: our country is founded on the principals that you should be allowed to live differently from your neighbor without fear of persecution because of your beliefs. No, we cannot take each other's property, or do each other bodily harm. But why is it even an issue that person A loves person B and wants them to be their family? Why?
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Four more years of scientific decisions being made by people who believe in aThe story:
ghost in the clouds.
One day I was at lunch with a group of coworkers. One of them, I'll call him "John", and the rest of the group and I were discussing the TV show "Mythbusters". Somehow or other, we got to talking about consipracy theories. John informed us that he didn't believe that Man had ever made it into space, that it was all a government hoax. Well, we had a fine laugh over that one, and then... I realized John was serious.
T: You don't believe that man has ever made it in to space?
J: No, I don't.
T: But, there's proof. I mean, you can go to the Smithsonian, you can see - you can touch space ships. You know that we can fly in airplanes, but you don't believe that we can break through the atmosphere?
J: No, I don't.
T: John, you believe in God!
Butler and Montgomery County, Ohio, I blame you.
What were you thinking?
*Note from the editor - now that all the numbers are officially in, it seems that Montgomery County went to Kerry in the end. Montgomery County, I apologize.
Yes, it seems that this is what America has chosen. Now, personally, I felt that if Bush was reelected that more Americans would die in a war that has no clear end, that taxes would be raised to begin to pay for all the things that we've spent so many billions of dollars on, that health care prices would continue to spiral upwards, beyond the reach of most of us, and that freedom of individual expression would be degraded in matters of sexual preference and faith, should you dare to wish to be a homosexual or a non-Christian.
This is what I have feared is the future of our nation. Please, please, Mr. Bush, prove me wrong.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
I'm spending masses of time popping over to http://www.electoral-vote.com, even though the numbers aren't updated frequently. They were really favorable for Kerry this morning, but the latest update shows an almost even split. What happens again if neither candidate gets 270 electoral votes? The House decides? Sweet mother of mercy, grant me patience. And luck.
I'm planning on serenely accepting whatever the outcome is, but good gravy, the waiting is KILLING ME!
Monday, November 1, 2004
One of the longest days of Kerry's general election campaign began at St. John's church in Orlando -- where the practicing Roman Catholic marked All Saints Day -- and was to wind up about 21 hours later in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in the upper Midwest.Also, from http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=584&e=2&u=/nm/20041101/pl_nm/election_bush_dc:
It was the first stop on a 16-hour sweep through the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico. He was ending up late on Monday in Dallas.Holy cow, would a schedule like that make me tired! Are people really going to make up their minds based on a visit the day before the election? Really? The way people behave stuns me.
I still plan on voting for Kerry. I personally feel that the country is worse off than it was 4 years ago, and that a great deal of it is because of the policies and actions of our current administration. OK, that's my position. And I see people who don't agree, and I'm stymied. Are we more peaceful? More popular amongst other countries of the world? More economically stable? More tolerant? Does government interfere less in our lives, so that we can put the money we would have spent there to a better use? Does the country have more money, in general? Is the USA a better place to live today than it was in 1999?
So, those of you who were planning on making up your minds based on what color tie the candidates wore today, maybe you should ask yourselves these questions, instead.