flewellyn: (Default)
As many of you already know, Amazon.com has decided to "show consideration" for their "entire customer base" by delisting the sales rankings of GLBT-friendly books. They have not seen fit to do the same with anti-GLBT books, however, and as a result, Searching for "homosexuality" links to a series of homophobic books by right-wing fundamentalists.

In light of this, I sent this letter to Amazon.com moments ago:

I wish my account closed, effective immediately, in protest of your policies against GLBT content. I object in the strongest possible terms to this discriminatory behavior, and refuse to do any further business with you until such time as you cease such promotion of bigotry.

Sincerely,
[my name]


I would encourage all of you who read me, and have not already done so, to do the same.
flewellyn: (Default)
In response to President Obama's budget plan, the Republicans in Congress have up to now mostly sniped and griped, not offering any sort of alternative.

Today, however, that changed. House Minority Leader John Bohner (R-Bizarro World) and other House Republicans today called a press conference to announce their budget proposal. The details? Well, there really weren't any, except for one thing. Guess what that thing was?

If you said "A massive tax cut for the wealthy!", you win a gallon of dog shampoo!

That's right, folks: the GOP's idea for how to fix the economy broken by years of deregulation and favoritism towards the wealthy is to favor the wealthy even more!

Under the Republican plan, the top marginal tax rate would be slashed from 35 to 25 percent, facilitating a dramatic transfer of wealth up the economic scale. Anyone making more than a $100,000 would pay the top rate; those under would pay 10 percent.

Which is such a good idea in a depression sorry, recession.

And get this: the proposal had absolutely nothing else in it. Even the Washington press corps, renowned for being both lazy and solicitous of conservatives, called Bohner (is it pronounced "boner"? It so should be) on this problem.

From the link:

"Are you going to have any further details on this today?" the first [reporter] asked.

"On what?" asked Boehner.

"There's no detail in here," noted the reporter.

Answered Boehner: "This is a blueprint for where we're going. Are you asking about some other document?"

A second reporter followed up: "What about some numbers? What about the out-year deficit? What about balancing the budget? How are you going to do it?"

"We'll have the alternative budget details next week," promised Boehner.

They called a press conference to announce a "detailed road-to-recovery plan" in which none of the details had actually been worked out. They didn't even have numbers to put to the budget basics. Their entire plan, as presented to the press and the country, is "give the rich more money".

He also called a budget "just a bunch of numbers", and said that it "really is a one-page document" in general practice. What a SMRT guy they've got leading the GOP in the House, nu? I really want someone proposing our national budget who refers to it as "just a bunch of numbers" and thinks one page is enough detail to describe how the entire federal government will spend its money for a year!

While I laugh, though, I am still filled with rage. These idiots who have enabled the idiots on Wall Street to wreck our economy, have decided that the best way to fix the problems they created is...keep doing what they did that created the problems.

Where is Madame Guillotine now that the people need her?
flewellyn: (Default)
So, a friend of mine on Facebook, who I always figured was an intelligent and thoughtful guy, posted a note which was, in my humble opinion, composed entirely of 100% pure, uncut, hand-picked, dry-roasted Columbian fail. In it, this friend, who is a Lutheran pastor, lambasted President Obama and the Democratic Congress for daring to go after AIG's misuse of bailout funds to pay bonuses to their executives.

Yeah, I know.

Here, for those of you who would be interested in a sampling of such high-test fail, and for context purposes, is the letter he wrote. I have taken the liberty of redacting his actual name (Facebook being what it is, everyone's real name shows), and replaced it with initials.

Cut for those who wish to skip )
I'm not sure on what planet he's been preaching for the last eight years. It sure as hell wasn't Earth.

Obviously, such a posting spawned a comment thread. That thread proved to be, for the most part, a generous helping of farm-fresh failcream to add to the initial dose. I could not decide what part to post, so I posted all of it here.

Again, I have changed all names but mine to initials, and replaced my actual name with "Flewellyn" and "Flew" as appropriate.

Cut to spare your friends page )

This was, on the whole, such a wonderous serving of fail that I felt a duty to preserve it for posterity. Or perhaps posterior. I'm still ruminating on the events recorded herein, so I may post some thoughts later.
flewellyn: (Default)
I keep seeing posts on the blagosphere, and hearing in the news, about people who are absolutely infuriated at the mere idea of using any bailout money to help people with failing mortgages directly. Give it to the wealthy corporations who leveraged those bad mortgages into oblivion and wrecked the economy? Sure, no problem. But give money to people who might otherwise lose their homes? Gasp, no! We can't have that! Those people were stupid and didn't do their homework! We can't be going around rewarding stupidity and failure! They should have KNOWN that this would happen!

Really?

Well, let's have a look at this clip from the Daily Show, which once again proves that the best news reporting in America is coming from comedians, of all places:



So, really...who was stupid? Who was a loser? Who failed?
flewellyn: (Default)
Not even a week in office, and already Obama has the Republicans throwing conniption fits. Bush's former speechwriter, Marc Thiessen, today called Obama "the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office".

For some reason, that made me imagine this:

"Until this fascism is fully operational we are vulnerable! The Obama is too well equipped. He's more dangerous than you realize."

"Dangerous to your party, Thiessen. Not to this country!"
flewellyn: (Default)
I was just thinking about the apparent passage of Proposition 8 in California, which re-bans same-sex marriage by amending the state constitution.

Now, that same state constitution guarantees equality before the law to all citizens. This amendment clearly violates that principle.

Absent a successful legal challenge based on that conflict (several have already been filed), it seems to me that there is only one way to resolve it: while Prop 8 remains in effect, the state of California must refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone.

It's not likely that this would happen, especially considering that the legal challenges to Prop 8's passage have a good chance of succeeding...but wouldn't it be awesome, in an odd way, to see? It would certainly stick in the craws of the fundies who pushed so hard for this discriminatory measure to succeed.
flewellyn: (Default)
It's November 5th. Election Day, the day I'd been anticipating and dreading for nearly a year, has finally come and gone. And by and large, the good guys won.

It's an odd feeling, honestly; I've gotten so used to that sense of impending electoral catastrophe, that having it over and done with, and mostly positive results at that, is hard to process. It's like having a leg I'd been sitting on coming back online after going to sleep.

Not all good news, though: Michele Bachmann, the neoMcCarthyist idiot fundie godbag representative from Minnesota's most conservative district, has apparently won reelection, and will continue to spew stupidity for some time. And the Franken-Coleman race is still uncalled, and will likely be recounted. And, worst of all, the anti-gay measures in California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, and Florida all passed (well, CA is still not 100% certain, but it looks likely). It wasn't an absolute victory by any means, and there's still much fighting to do.

Anyhoo...now comes the hard part. Obama may not have been my first choice, or my second choice for that matter, but he was, at the end, my choice. And he was America's choice. It still feels strange to hope...but I have the audacity to hope that he was the right choice.
flewellyn: (Default)
But I'll be honest with you. I don't think McCain has a chance in hell of winning.

Why do I say that?

Because of this:

"White people are faced with either a negro or a total nutter who happens to have a pale face. Personally I’d prefer the negro." Rocky Suhayda, Chairman, American Nazi Party

That's right, folks...McCain can't get the Nazi vote against a black candidate.
flewellyn: (Default)
I got linked to this by [livejournal.com profile] neintales. It's from [livejournal.com profile] dark_christian: "Block African witchcraft curses against McCain and Palin NOW!"

According to this post, Muslim Kenyan relatives of Obama are using witchcraft to curse McCain and Palin, "weaving lazy 8's around McCain's mind to make him look confused and like an idiot".

My favorite comment in the community: "I'm a witch, and trust me, wasting effort casting spells to make water flow downhill and ice be cold is not what we do."

Never mind the fact that no self-respecting Muslim would EVER use anything akin to "witchcraft" or ritual magic. Hell, in some Muslim countries, they still execute people for it!
flewellyn: (Default)
I was browsing through the Onion's archives, looking for an old article that I wanted to reread, when I came across this little story:

Study: 38 Percent Of People Not Actually Entitled To Their Opinion

I won't quote it all here, mostly for reasons of copyright and fair use; the critical quote is this: "On topics from evolution to the environment to gay marriage to immigration reform, we found that many of the opinions expressed were so off-base and ill-informed that they actually hurt society by being voiced".

Funny? Sure it is. But it's the kind of thing you laugh at uncomfortably, because it's a truth many of us don't want to admit.

Now, as a progressive, liberal type, I do believe in the principle that everyone should have the right to express their informed, considered opinions. But I think the key words there are "informed" and "considered". Too many people today (it might even be as large as 38%, I have no idea) think that they can just spout off on whatever, without actually knowing anything about it. Not incidentally, many of them are Bush voters, but I'm certain we've all seen them on all sides of the political arena.

And in the press, of course. $DEITY help us, the press, especially the cable news media and the Washington press corps, are FULL of these sorts of people, who feel no compunction about substituting their whims for facts, or polling themselves and their pundit friends and calling that the will of the people. I think that's the part that frightens me the most about this age, not that there are so many ignorant people out there, but that the ignorant and vapid are in charge.

We're faced with a system in which the news media, charged with the most important task in a democratic republic, finding out the truth about the world, has absolutely no interest in doing that job. They would rather manufacture stories than seek them out, rather opine from their mountaintop than actually figure out what's really important to the rest of the country or the world.

How did this happen? Well, others have written more cogently, and at great length, about how the Republican party and its corporate backers have spent the last 30 years taking over the national media and consolidating it into a sanitized machine for expressing their will rather than the truth; I'm not going to repeat all that here, I wouldn't do it any justice. But I think, to some extent, we progressives allowed this to happen, by not fighting it when we saw it.

We adopted, for the best of reasons and out of the purest intentions, the principle that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and everyone's entitled to a voice, and if someone says something which is not just objectionable, but factually incorrect, we should challenge what they say, but not their right to say it. If someone habitually speaks falsely, or just spouts outright gibberish, we should refute it, but not tell them to shut up or refuse to listen to them. It's a great principle, and in many cases it's workable. But it only works as long as the forum in which we do this discussion and refutation is not under hostile control.

That's not the case anymore. For various reasons, we didn't recognize the neoconservative movement for what it was, didn't realize that they were not just presenting alternative ideas but trying to rewrite the national discourse to suit themselves. We didn't understand that they had no interest in a genuine meeting of the minds, coming to some kind of consensus, but sought our destruction, and that any concessions they made were not compromise, but temporary retreat. In the face of the wholesale takeover of the media by regressive and reactionary forces, the government's near-total takeover by the far right, and the near-total dismantling of the progressive institutions and protections we once spent over a century to build, we must reexamine the idea that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Certainly, the Onion is being satirical, but I think they're expressing a truth that progressives need to own, and need to present to the world: a person is not entitled to an uninformed, ignorant opinion. In order to be worth listening to, that person needs to demonstrate that he or she actually knows something about the subject, and has considered the issue sufficiently. And if we're confronted with people who are not just misguided, or misinformed, but unwilling to learn and hellbent on spreading harmful memes, we must be willing to do more than simply refute what they say. We must challenge their qualifications to say it, and refuse to allow them to dominate the discourse.

I'm not advocating government censorship here; what I call for is both safer and more effective. What we must do is socially censor these fools, by making it clear that they are fools, and that we won't suffer them gladly. We have to be willing to say, not just "I disagree", but "You are wrong, you are speaking falsely". We need not tolerate intolerance, and we need not grapple logically with illogic. Sometimes, we need to do the only thing these people deserve: we need to say "Shut up and sit down."
flewellyn: (Default)
So, being facetious, I asked my sister this question earlier tonight: "Just to make sure, you're not voting for McCain, are you?"

Her response: "I think I'm going to fly out to Fargo, walk to your house, (picking up a frozen halibut on the way over) and promptly shove it up your ass, yank it out, and then slap you in the face with it for even needing to ask that question."

Yep...she's my sister, alright.
flewellyn: (Default)

GlaDOS/Companion Cube 2008!


They do what they must, because they can. For the good of all of us, except the ones who are dead.
flewellyn: (Default)
Over at [livejournal.com profile] ginmar's, during a discussion of the Republican convention, [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse described Sarah Palin as "the very model of a modern-day Republican".

Well, this is a dangerous thing to say around a filking type like me; I was immediately brought to recall the Gilbert and Sullivan song "Modern Major General" from The Pirates of Penzance, and...well, here is the final result.

Imagine it sung by Palin, with a group of young Republicans as her chorus.

Modern-Day Conservative

I am the very model of a modern-day conservative
In governance and policy my thoughts are quite derivative
Suppress dissent and crush the poor, at base these comprise my intent
My hatred for democracy and freedom is self-evident

For poverty and hardship I have nothing but the highest praise
And social inequalities fill me with joy for many days
If you be anything but white, a man, and rich and powerful
I'll gladly screw you over and I ne'er will feel sorrowful

She'll gladly screw you over and she ne'er will feel sorrowful
She'll gladly screw you over and she ne'er will feel sorrowful
She'll gladly screw you over and she ne'er will feel sorrowful


I always ensure profit from misusing my authority,
As any fascist would, I make my welfare a priority
For liberty and freedom my rule shall not be preservative
I am the very model of a modern-day conservative

For liberty and freedom her rule shall not be preservative
She is the very model of a modern-day conservative


I have no care for principles, unless they be tyrannical
My ethics are a bandit's and my mores puritanical
For dignity of humankind I neither care nor understand
My only loyalties are what the new plutocracy demand

About the war, I proudly say that I would take no action
For endless war is beneficial to my ruling faction
To keep our wealth we must ensure American hegemony
It doesn't matter who objects, dissention is our enemy

It doesn't matter who objects, dissention is our enemy
It doesn't matter who objects, dissention is our enemy
It doesn't matter who objects, dissention is our enemy


It's plain to see that medicine is meant to be a privilege
If you can't pay for treatment, you can rot like mouldy foliage
For obviously only wealthy people have a right to live
I am the very model of a modern-day conservative

For obviously only wealthy people have a right to live
She is the very model of a modern-day conservative


I advocate small government, at least until I'm running it
Pay no attention to the fact that I left my small town in debt
The government can do no right, this is the truth that I assert
And if it does it shortly won't, from effort that I shall exert

It's obvious that women have quite clearly overstepped their place
To keep them down is critical, in order to appease my base
You can't trust women with a choice, they lack sufficient intellects
(Ignore that I'm a woman, just oppress all others of my sex)

Ignore that she's a woman, just oppress all others of her sex
Ignore that she's a woman, just oppress all others of her sex
Ignore that she's a woman, just oppress all others of her sex


And naturally I favor solely teaching children abstinence
Ignoring that its efficacy rests solely on providence
For fundie law must dominate, no matter how absurd it is
I am the very model of a modern-day conservative

For fundie law must dominate, no matter how absurd it is
She is the very model of a modern-day conservative


Edit: I've discovered that some people have reproduced this elsewhere on the net, giving me credit. I don't have a problem with this, though I would have liked notification. But, just to clear up any legal worries, I hearby license this post (though not its comments!) under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 license.

Again, this does not apply to the text of any comments to this post: those are copyright their respective authors, and may not be reproduced.

Linking to (as opposed to reproducing) this post is allowed in any context.
flewellyn: (Default)
So, McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who has been governor for 18 months over a state with a smaller population than Chicago, as his Vice Presidential running mate. It's a transparently obvious attempt to garner the votes of women, under the assumption that women are stupid, interchangeable, and will vote for anyone with a vagina, issues and policies be damned. Yet, for all of that, McCain and Palin have been talking about "breaking the glass ceiling" and touting this as a feminist choice.

Such a strange campaign. The Democrats are busy trying to pretend to be Republicans, so the Republicans, in retaliation, try to pretend to be Democrats.
flewellyn: (Default)
Someone on Shakesville referred to the upcoming Republican National Convention, and the array of choices McCain has for a running mate, as "The Repub Horror Picture Show".

Well, this sprang to my mind in response:

It's just a jump to the right...AND A STEP FURTHER RIIIIGHT!
With your hands on the button! AND REIN THE PRESS IN TIIIIIGHT!
But it's the fascist thruuust! THAT REALLY DRIVES YOU INSAAAAANE!
LET'S SCREW THE COUNTRY AGAAAAIN!
LET'S SCREW THE COUNTRY AGAAAAAAAAAIN!


Should I be scared of my subconscious? Or grateful to it?
flewellyn: (Default)
MIght be of interest to others. Quixote, a contributor to Shakesville, wrote a post back in February called Less heat, more light: solving the energy crisis, which does a great job of describing what our real options are, long term, for future energy sources. Not just in terms of sustainability and environmental impact, but technological complexity, cost, and the total energy yield possible for each source.

Guess which one wins on all counts? Hint: it's definitely not nuclear...
flewellyn: (Default)
Melissa McEwan and Maureen McCluskey of Shakesville have written a wonderful essay about the demonization of Hillary Clinton in this past primary, and the disturbing facts revealed about the left in America.

Excerpt:

In 1998, as six years of a national campaign to demonize First Lady Hillary Clinton — funded by conservatives and rooted in profound anti-feminism — was reaching a fevered crescendo, then-conservative David Brock (now of Media Matters) penned a book called The Seduction of Hillary Rodham. The publisher's note for the tome says of its subject: "No public figure in contemporary life has elicited more polarized reactions than Hillary Rodham Clinton. The first presidential spouse who pursued a major policymaking role, the beleaguered first lady has been a heroine and role model to her feminist allies - and a malevolent, power-mad shrew to her conservative foes."

Sometime in the last decade, her liberal foes evidently decided that whole "malevolent, power-mad shrew" thing sounded pretty good, too.

Throughout the course of the Democratic primary, it was neatly repackaged as "wildly ambitious person who will do anything in her voracious quest to win including destroying the Democratic Party while cackling monstrously and whose womanness totally doesn't matter we swear." The classic misogynist charge once used against Clinton by the vast right-wing conspiracy became the rallying cry of large swaths of the erstwhile reality-based community.

Without a hint of irony.


Full essay is here. Worth a read, I think.
flewellyn: (Default)
Following the primaries, I'm still very much undecided whether I want to support Obama or not. Both my first choice (Edwards) and my second (Clinton) have come out in support of him, and that says a lot to me.

But then I hear about stuff like this, in which protestors and dissenters at an Obama rally were systematically excluded and dismissed by his campaign's operatives. And it makes me wonder...isn't this Bush stuff? If Obama means to unify the party, how come his campaign's actions seem geared toward unity through purge?

Very discomfitting. If Obama turns out to be Bush Lite, then my choices at the ballot box will be Bush Lite or Bush Redux. Not much of a choice, is it?
flewellyn: (Default)
Habitat for Humanity happens to be one of my favorite charities, right up there with Heifer International, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the United Jewish Philanthropies. I really respect what they do, and why they do it; to me, they represent the true meaning of Christian charity. So, when I heard that anti-abortion groups bullied Habitat for Humanity into refusing the donation of three plots of land from Planned Parenthood, well, I was more than a bit disappointed in them. So I wrote them a letter.


Regarding the Sarasota, FL donation of land from Planned Parenthood, and your organization's subsequent refusal of this donation due to pressure by anti-abortion groups:

I have been a longtime admirer and supporter of your cause, as I believe you do holy work. Your courage and dedication in upholding the true spirit of Christian charity is uplifting and ennobling to people of all faiths.

I am therefor very disappointed to discover that you have chosen to cave to the wishes of the domestic fundamentalist terrorists who call themselves the American Life League, Operation Rescue, and the like, and refuse a needed gift from Planned Parenthood.

There is no moral justification for refusing this donation, and doing so only emboldens these people who blaspheme God's name by attributing their evil intent to divine will. I urge you therefor to reconsider.


I don't often use the word "blasphemy". My belief, as a liberal Jew, is that there really is only one way to truly blaspheme: to attribute evil intent to God's will. Dressing up evil as "what God wants" is the only thing that truly makes me scream "NO! WRONG! BAD religion!"

Still, perhaps I was too harsh?

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