Wednesday, February 26, 2014

'No Comment' in Arizona

Compare and contrast Arizona Republicans desperately avoiding comment on that state's bill to legalize religious discrimination (seen here) with New York mobster Frank Costello in front of the Kefauver Committee in 1950.

My first impressions is that the head of the Genovese crime family was more forthcoming than Arizona lawmakers.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Republican Dehumanized Women

Ancient Elamite (Persian) fertility vessel
However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it. ~ Virginia State Sen. Steve Martin (R)
To a lot of religious fanatics, be they Christian or Muslim, women are not so much sub-human as non-human. They are possessions, like a cow or a motorcycle, property that is valued only for the services or recreation they provide. In questions of fertility, women are mere vessels for a man's semen. The resultant pregnancy is merely being stored within the woman's body as one might store chablis in a bottle. The woman has no more rights to what's within her than the bottle does to the wine.

One could applaud Sen. Martin for the honesty with which he dismisses half the human race as unworthy of human compassion. It he clear this is his honestly held belief because he "corrected" the Facebook posting above by replacing "host" with the equally dehumanizing word "bearer."

I can't find any evidence that Sen. Martin is married, which is not at all surprising, although apparently he was able to find a vessel in the past to host a couple of children for him.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Fate of the Ukraine

I suspect that Vlad Putin is only waiting for the Olympics to end before ordering tanks into the Ukraine to "restore order." The former KGB apparatchik in Putin has never accepted the breakup of the Soviet Union and he has used everything short of tanks to keep nations like the Ukraine and Belarus in his soviet orbit.

Putin will probably use the same excuse that Hitler used when he invaded Czechoslovakia before World War II, that he has to act to protect ethnic Russians in Ukrainian territories. Putin will certainly take the Crimea with its valuable Russian Black Sea naval base and probably also the eastern four provinces of the country with significant Russian populations.
The question is whether Putin will be satisfied with only a piece of Ukraine, squeezing the rest with severe economic sanctions. Instead, will he drive his tanks all the way to Kiev and install deposed President Yanukovych as a puppet leader of a Ukraine effectively reabsorbed into a new Union of Putin Republics?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Five Worst Presidents Ever Elected

I hate top ten lists but love bottom fives. I'm requiring my president to have been elected to office to eliminate the "accidental presidents" like Andrew Johnson and Millard Filmore.

1. James Buchanan 
Caused a civil war which is reason enough to top the list. Nominated by Democrats in 1856 as a compromise candidate - a Northerner who sympathized with Southerners. Fought to purge slavery squishes like Steven Douglas from the party. Did not lift a finger to stop the brutal fighting between pro and anti slavery factions in Kansas. By the time his one term was ending the Democratic Party had splintered and ran three candidates for President, leading to the election of Lincoln. Buchanan is rumored to have been the United States' first gay president.

2. Warren Harding
A good old boy who loved to drink whiskey (during Prohibition) and play poker (he once gambled away a set of White House china). Like any good old boy he liked putting his drinking buddies into positions of power and those buddies were all about selling favors and other forms of blatant corruption. Speculation is that Harding was poisoned by his wife because of his continuous whoring around.

3. Richard Nixon
The only president to resign from office. The only president to receive a presidential pardon from his successor. Nixon's Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, was the only vice-president to resign from office and the only vice-president ever convicted (by pleading no contest) of felony charges. Add to that his criminal expansion of the Vietnam War and his general sociopathy and you have one fucked up presidency.

4. George W. Bush
Generally regarded as the dumbest man ever to be elected president (although Warren Harding may disagree). Started the Iraq War mostly as revenge for Saddam Hussein insulting his daddy. His economic policies led to the second worst economic collapse in US history.

5. Calvin Coolidge
Warren Harding's Veep but elected president in his own right in 1924. His laissez faire economic policies led directly to the greatest economic collapse in world history. Rather than learn the lesson of history, modern Republicans embrace Coolidge as an icon (he was Ronald Reagan's favorite president). His anti-union, anti-welfare, anti-tax policies of enhancing the wealthiest at the expense of the middle-class is a cornerstone of Republican philosophy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

Aw, Kansas.
Kansas Pastor Curtis Knapp makes his case for genocide.
You are such a strange place. It is illegal in Topeka to own a bathtub. Topeka is also home to the infamous Westboro Baptist Church so it is probably not surprising that Kansas legislators in the State House passed a bill legalizing discriminating against people as long as they claim they are discriminating because of "sincerely held religious beliefs" and has some vague gender component. According to this law:
  • If a woman enters a convenience store and is not wearing a burka the fundamentalist Muslim owner has the legal right to kick her out.
  • If a black man and his white wife enter a restaurant owned by a Christian Identity believer who is religiously opposed to miscegenation, he can refuse to serve the couple with impunity.
  • A Christian nurse can refuse to treat a Jewish man if she claims it violates her religious beliefs to speak to a male of that faith.
Of course, the law is intended as a kind of gay marriage Nuremberg Law designed to make homosexuals third-class citizens in the state. But, it was written broadly enough to allow for a wide range of prejudices. There is a weird line that requires alternative service be provided but it includes a massive loophole where discriminators need only claim "hardship" to escape any responsibilities.

In other Kansas news, the legislature is considering a bill to make it illegal to teach non-biblical science in public schools.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Random Thoughts on Gay Athletes and Weather

Storms of the Century
I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse. ~ Buffy the Vampire Slayer
How many Storms of the Century can you have in one year before you finally understand that global weather has changed significantly?

-Storm of the Century Hits Britain
-and Israel
-Super Typhoon Haiyan One of the Most Powerful in History
-Storm of the Century Hits Colorado; Great Skiing
-Polar Vortex Causes Two Storms of the Century in One Month
-Historic Drought in California (a non-Storm of the Century)

Bravest Football Player
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.  ~ Mark Twain
When Michael Sam came out as gay before the NFL draft he knew it would affect his draft position and, hence, the money he stood to make. He knew that far more cowardly footballers would freak and that NFL execs and coaches would panic. Yet he did the courageous thing. That is the most impressive thing I've seen in football in many seasons.

Freedom to Be Free
We've gone astray from first principles. We've lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything that we've accomplished. ~ Ronald Reagan
You might think that a system that allows people freedom from being shackled to a job just for the health insurance, a system that allows them the individual freedom to start their own businesses or care for their families, would be be a central tenant of conservatism. You'd be wrong. The current iteration of conservatives believes in wage slavery. Anything that grants individuals freedom is to be opposed with every fiber of their beings.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Coke Ad Is the America I Know

I missed the Superbowl because I had something more important to do - I was playing board games with friends - so it wasn't until today that I saw the famous Coca-Cola ad that has angered conservatives so much. My reaction was that it sounded a lot like everyday life here in Southern California.
San Francisco's Chinatown. (2006)
On a daily basis I will hear spoken English and Spanish. Frequently I hear Arabic or Chaldean Aramaic (I can't tell the difference between them), Vietnamese, Tagalog, Japanese, Hindi, and Chinese spoken by my neighbors in this polyglot community. Tourists add a countless variety of other tongues.
An American patriotic song in Yiddish. (1911)

America has always been this way. New Yorkers heard Italian, Yiddish, and Irish Gaelic to name just three of the many languages to flow out of Ellis Island. Chicago speakers added Italian, German, Polish, and various other Slavic languages to English. In Minnesota, where my father was born, immigrants brought their Scandinavian languages of Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish. Louisiana and Maine residents will hear their neighbors speaking French.
Polish language signs in Chicago. (2013)

I don't speak any of these languages, I have enough trouble with English, but I feel sorry for pitiful people like Allen West and his ilk who cannot appreciate the multicultural wonder that is America. They are such shallow, empty people.

America the Beautiful sung in Cherokee.