Saturday, July 30, 2005

Clariff

To be succinct & precise & honest:

All three of the Abrahamic Religions proclaim that murdering those who don't follow the "Revealed Word Of God" as they understand it IS Holy and Encouraged.

As has been made abundantly clear, the VAST majority of Jews, Christians and Muslims don't personally subscribe to Murder as a Moral Solution to their problems.

But they accept their religions as "The Revealed Word of God."

How can one do both?

I know that many people don't believe everything in their particular religious texts is True and Accurate. I know that many people so and yet claim these proscriptions to murder for obvious culturally motivated reasons of morality are valid.

Why believe any of it then?

Religion is Allegory. Religion is Metaphor. Religion is only as Efficacious and Moral as the Science & Reason behind it.

Love yourself. Love your neighbor(s All of Them.)

Use you Reason, Intelligence, Compassion, Honesty and oh yah, Love & Reason!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Islamic Alarm

When in the course of Human Events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands that have connected them with another, and to assume the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinons of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separtation.

Well it seems to me that quite a disparate, though not unrelated, mass of "mankind" has done just this. Only I don't think they've any desire to associate themselves with
"Nature's God". Rather, the particular mass of which I write, prefer, nay - Demand! - that all adherence be paid to Mohammed's God. This might broadly be interpreted as Abraham's God but that moniker would obviate the "need" for Jihad as seen by so many adherents of Islam and it might possibly unify three of the Earth's major religions. Can you say "Gawd forbid!"?

As a less the expert follower of this cultural phenomenon that is Islam, I can't begin to say which is the majority view; jihadists or moderates. Education is in order!

Jihad Watch is an informative blog** about Islam that today takes on the relevant issue of Moderate Islam as defined by those who espouse it. Reading today's post put me in mind of my own nation's Declaration of Independence, the fundamental sentiments of which I find mirrored in today's martyr brigades. I hope the inclusion of its opening paragraph can be seen for what it is to these jihadists: a statement of their right to kill any and all who disagree with them.

Not exactly what our Founders intended it to be but, then again, Secularism, a Primary Tenet of the US Constitution, is considered anathema to even the most moderate of muslims.

For a fuller understanding of the broad range of Islamic thought on the subject of Terrorism specifically and, more generally, what it means to muslims to be muslim, be sure to augment this site with a weekly (at least) dose of NPR's Eric Westervelt. He has been aknowledged and praised for his coverage of Middle Eastern news for National Public Radio since at least September 11, 2001. His worked is comprehensive and inclusive of points of view from liberal to extreme fundamentalist muslims and I am always impressed by the Reality-based nature of his reporting and especially by the variety of subjects whom he interviews.

There are plenty of other ways to get news about happenings Islamic and they should neither be ignored or dismissed. Together, these two sources provide solid coverage and analysis of the phenomenon that is Islam as well as links to many of the others.


** as is always the case, the blog owner's views are not the only one's expressed. Be assured that you can find vitriolic and apologetic comments in abundant accompaniment to the rational, relevant and oft efficacious dialogue therein.

Culling the Herd


Bruhahahahaha!!! One can hope the EAS doesn't broadcast on CBN either.

Though, come to think about it, I'm sure it does. They gotta know when The Rapture is here eh...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Whatever ;-}

Your Power Color Is Teal

At Your Highest:

You feel accomplished and optimistic about the future.

At Your Lowest:

You feel in a slump and lack creativity.

In Love:

You tend to be many people's ideal partner.

How You're Attractive:

You make people feel confident and accepted.

Your Eternal Question:

"What Impression Am I Giving?"

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Signals in Analog

But what if someone were to try a Reverse Turing Test on us?

That's the the question David Galbraith asks when wondering why the SETI phenomenon has so far come up empty. It refers to the use of Reverse Turing Tests or "captchas" as they're more widely known.

What's a captcha?
The Reverse Turing test or 'captcha', usually contains a noise filled image of a password with warped fonts is used to filter humans from computers, to stop spam. In this instance a very simple digital message is encoded in a very analog way.
Everyone who has ever utilized a free email or payment service on the Internet has experienced these things.

Without dwelling on likely Alien Propensities - hekk! he never even
mentions the word "Aliens"- Galbraith makes an interesting, if somewhat arcane from my POV**, argument that that the current SETI program is looking in the wrong way for singles. It wants them to be clean, unencumbered by static noise and natural disruptions. It is quite possible that an advanced enough civilization would actual utilize this natural chaos as part of the medium of its messages.

Its a cool idea.

** Especially since I thought it was understood as Fact that our brains ARE an analog mechanism... Well, there's always more to learn eh...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

We Have Lift Off!!!

AP - Tue Jul 26,11:24 AM ET
It feels good to have it back on the wings of flame! Beautiful!!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Quotations

I'm always coming across more quotes or even quotes I wanted to save but didnae for whatever reason(s). Here's a sampling (with more to come) on a theme of Self-Responsibility.

The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scales.
Aesop, Fables

He does not believe who does not live according to his belief.
--Thomas Fuller

In the last analysis we must be judged by what we do and not by whatwe believe. We are as we behave - with a very small margin of creditfor our unmanifested vision of how we might behave if we could takethe trouble.
--Geoffrey L. Rudd, The British Vegetarian, September/October 1962

Live truth instead of professing it.
--Elbert Hubbard

It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
--Alfred Adler

Butterflies and Wheels

Possibly the Greatest Reason for attending a Carnival of Blogs is the inevitable discovery of Intelligent Beauty. That is what I've found in Butterflies and Wheels. Masterfully rendered by two staff members of the The Philosopher's Magazine (though presumably not in any association with said periodical,) B&W examines, deciphers and, sometimes, lampoons modern attempts at Reason in print.

A recent post by Ophelia (Jerry is associate ed.) exposes us to a treatise on the importance of Literature as Art via one Howard Jacobson.


After reading her post, I couldn't wait to read Jacobson's essay and then blog it. Here is a small sample of Ophelia's style (her comment first - then its subject:)

Now that is really interesting. 'No comedy, don't forget, it messes up the concentration. Focus on the throbbing genitalia, and leave the wit at home.'

The isolation of comedy from everything else we do is symptomatic of this. We are right to shrink from the very idea of a "funny" book. There should be no such genre. We should expect laughter to be integral to the business of being serious. We are back in a new dark age of the imagination. We read to sleep.
"The dark age of the imagination" indeed!

It is always my style and intention to have a sense of humor in my writing. On even the most severe or horrific topic I believe a modicum of humor must somehow be incorporated in order to alleviate the sterile nature of unattached observation which necessarily takes away the relevance to our personality and/or culture of that which is describe or enumerated.Einstein's Relativity should never be confused with relativism, though it explains the possibility of the propensity to swell unreasonably at times. (Note that I LAUGH vigorously at those who decry alliteration! Ha! LOL!)

One of the harshest and silliest complaints of many a theist about materialism is that it is nihilist and bleak, without hope or meaning. Balderdash! Poppycock!! BullShit!!! LOL! Materialism and Objectivism are both prime and functional suppliers of a realistic and astonishing joi de vive! Whilst the classic Randian version of Objectivism may indeed come out harsh and unconcerned for the welfare of one's society, it nevertheless sets a standard of achievement that, without humor, is not only impossible achieve, but is simply undesirable. Life on this planet, and assuredly where ever our silly but magnificent species may eventually roam, is every shade of gray; every nuance of the spectrum; every possible sensation that can be experienced. It is full and wonderful and to leave out any aspect de riguer is to shortchange one's self and one's audience.

Ophelia's review of Jacobson's essay obviously struck a chord with me and I hope, not only that you've enjoyed my manner of sharing that melody, but that you will enjoy perusing Butterflies and Wheels as well.

Adieu

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The 18th Carnival of the Godless


is going on right now over on St Nates blog!

This will be his last event as he has recently revealed that he's to be takin' an indefinite recess from his blog, so be sure to get your fill of his style before the curtain falls.

Good stuff compadres. Quite good indeed!


Friday, July 22, 2005

I Just Keep Falling - WTF???

As might be inferred from recent posts and a bit o' poetry (forget the quality,) things have been gettin' pretty bad financially speakin' for my silly human household. I've occasionally described myself as a reluctant Capitalist (and a skeptical Socialist) because our Western Civ has merely replaced Nature with Capitalism as the main thing one needs to adapt to in order to survive and thrive.

I'd not rather live in the stone age. But I sometimes think I'd do better there... Of course, then shit would most likely kill me immediately and not slowly drain my resources whilst pointing out how much trouble I have managing my financial resources...

Anyhow, shtuff like the following which my wonderfully worried wife sent me really helps because it's simple and to a point. A point I wish wish Wish I didn't have to learn over and over again.

The Race
by Cara-May Harvey

"Quit, give up, you're beaten"
They shout at you and plead
"There's just too much against you
This time you can't succeed".

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failures face
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene
Or just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being

Childrens race, young boys
Young men, how I remember well
Excitement sure, but also fear
It wasn't hard to tell

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win that race
Or tie for first, or if not that
At least take second place

The fathers watched from off the side
Each cheering for his son
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he could be the one

The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win and be the hero there
Was each young boys desire

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought
"My dad will be so proud"

But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped

Trying hard to catch himself
With hands flew out to brace
And amid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face

But as he fell his dad stood up
And showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said
"Get up and win the race"

He quickly rose, no damage done
Behind a bit that's all
And ran with all his night and mind
To make up for the fall

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win
His mind went faster than his legs
He slipped and fell again

He wised then that he had quit before
With only one disgrace
"I'm hopeless as a runner now
I shouldn't try to race"

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his fathers face
That steady look which said again
"Get up and win the race"

So up he jumped to try again
Ten yards behind the last
If I'm going to gain those yards he though
I've got to move real fast

Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten
But trying hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again

Defeat, he lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
There's no sense running anymore
Three strikes, I'm out, why try?

The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away
So far behind so error prone
A loser all the way

"I've lost, so what", he thought
I'll live with my disgrace
But then he thought about his dad
Whom soon he'd have to face

"Get up" the echo sounded low
"Get up" and take your place
You were not meant for failure here
"Get up", and win the race

With borrowed will "Get up" it said
"You haven't lost at all"
For winning is no more than this
To rise each time you fall

So up he rose to run once more
And with a new commit
He resolved, that win or lose
At least he shouldn't quit

So far behind the others now
The most he'd ever been
Still he'd give it all he had
And run as though to win

Three times he'd fallen, stumbling
Three times he'd rose again
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line first place
Head high and proud and happy
No falling, no disgrace

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line, last place
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race

And even though he came in last
With head bent low, unproud
You would have thought he'd won the race
To listen to the crowd

And to his dad he sadly said
"I didn't do too well"
"To me you won", his father said
"You rose each time you fell"

Since I don't want to get effin' Sued for postin' this shit:
Brought to you by Poems Only ™ © 1998-05 Bella Greetings, Inc. & Licensor's

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Now Playing: 13th Skeptic's Circle

MC Orac has provided quite an entertaining venue for this edition of the Skeptic's Circle; a feast of skeptical blogging and scientific refutation of IDiots, Astrologer's and Pseudo-scientists across the globe.

If you love to read mysteries (especially) and enjoy any story well told, then I'm sure you will appreciate the wonderful and personable dialogue linking to wholesome and nourishing Skeptical Inquiry.

The Inscrutable One held the reigns for the last Circle which I managed to catch and his capacity to entertain whilst elucidatin' is certainly matched by the Respectfully Insolent One!

As rec'd as I can rec it!

Happy Thursday

the sun is behind the planet
she'll move

the clouds hide the moon but
they'll move

there are no cocks crowing
there ain't no wheat growing
no farmer sowing
no nuke plant glowing

just l'il birds and critters
that go where they're going
without really knowing

with thoughts not so deep while
they move

I think too much and too little
and it's showing...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Exposure

Sometimes I don't post to another blog simply because everyone else seems to be doing it! {rollin'eyes} That's just my ol' Rebel not lettin' go of dissin' anything that is popular. This morning, I keep him in check.

Atheist Exposed is a beautiful new blog by a long-time prison guard in Houston TX. She rocks! LOL!

All the reg'lars are there commentin' too (they linked to her blog so many times that I had to go check 'er out. I'm glad I finally did.

She's just a normal person and she write's like she has a great love of people and her life and humanity and and and... LOL!

I just liked it.

---

Oh yah! I was googlin' The God Gene to support a reply I was posting and think the results that came back is worth sharing. Lots a groovin' controversy thar!

Happy (LOL!) Tuesday!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Santa Clause - VS - The Easter Bunny

And though its been said, many times, many ways...

I was just getting my daily fill of the 2 Percent Company when a reader's comment blew me away for its sums-it-all-up-nicely-ness.

The 2 Percenters' post is about the silliness of religious groups' decrying J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe. Grendel (the Skeptomaniac) commented that he(?) perused many altie and Wicca sites and found the whole debate laughable.
The God Squad and the Witches squabble on, sounding very much like people who believe in Santa Claus making fun of people who believe in the Easter Bunny, all the while exercising less common sense than the kids they pretend concern for.
and I just about fell outta my chair laughing! How obvious but so perfectly stated that statement is.

As I've commented elsewhere, I've not read any one of the Potter books but I thoroughly enjoyed one release of the Video game I've played with a friend's son. The first movie I found enthralling (really!) and the second flick I kinda enjoyed on cable but haven't really ever been able to sit through the whole thing at once yet. Regardless... Peter Tosh's Glass Houses keeps going through my head as I read about all the religious folk who just can't tolerate the Magic of Ms. Rowling's creation.

Sheeesh! At least she has NEVER claimed any of it was True!



Friday, July 15, 2005

A Global News Source

There is a new website for those who wonder what people outside of the United States think of this country. It is called Watching America.

I keep the Christian Science Monitor’s daily headlines on My.Yahoo because that paper often supplies otherwise scantily reported information on Culture, Politics and Science. Today’s online issue provides an efficacious and objective look at happenings and ideas throughout the world that the standard fair of the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, etc, seem to find unworthy (read not-already-Profitably-Popular) of their readers’ attention.

The CSM article talks about what this new site can contribute; why its creator’s brought it to life and what its impact on policy might become. One might wonder how much foreign media might care whether or not American's know what they have to say.

Last January, when WatchingAmerica.com started to link to foreign articles and translate them, the founders had no idea how the foreign media would react. But all the news organizations that have been in touch about their content appearing on the site have been "totally delighted," Koerner says, and have begun alerting him to other stories in their publications.
Actually, my reaction to that is "Duh!" LOL!

The CSM story also points out a small problem for such an out of the mainstream project:
To become self-supporting through advertising … the site would need 100,000 hits a day. Right now it gets about 6,000 (says Robin Koerner the site’s co-founder)
Since this concept (actually knowing and understanding what your neighbors' conerns and thoughts are) is of such fundamental importance in existing in the Global Village, I heartily endorse and recommend making reading this site de rigueur for all who, like me, presume to discuss issues of the World at Large.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Share Mode

I've not been feeling very Creative recently.
Emotional distress is a great nuisance which, while I've learned how to manage it A LOT more effectively in recent years**, still manages to take me out of "my game" so to speak. I think tomorrow (tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow...) I may be able to launch something original and meaningful for myself. I've had tons of ideas building up in "draft" mode but I've not felt able or motivated (sigh) to nurture them to Blog Level. For me, this is almost always caused by financial concerns. I'll figure it out.

This, hhhmmm, call to intellectual and civilized arms, as shared by Nanovirus, is what I am able to add to today's electronic canvas. It is powerful and astute and oh so very relevant. As witht he Gaian post earlier, it is not precisely as I would say it. It reverberates nicely within me though.

Please, um, enjoy and realize, if you don't share this skeptics disdain for Beliefs, what I endure by virtue of my acceptance that being homo sapiens - that is Human - is better than believing I'm some kind of creepy, supernatural god-thing's prodigal spawn.

And if you've got another minute, The Retropolitan has taken advantage of awesome new features on Brent Rasmussen's new and improved Unscrewing the Inscrutable (and don't forget DarkSyd!) to share a hideously relevant allegorical tale of the Reason of Religion.



** Thanks to my releasing of the final shreds of desperate hope that some Sky Fairy - God-thing was gonna grant me success for which I'd done nothing more than pray. Extremely and iredeemably irresponsible is that tact. I've found that actually doing something about my problems is much more effective.

Reactionary or Progressive: Our Choice

I've never heard of Technologies of the Frontier (Tecnologie di Frontiera) but I received this from another of my favorite post-ers on Atheists-World. They seem to be Gaian's which, of course, is not a belief I share, though I do enjoy its imagery. The site's mission statement, or STATUTO DI COSTITUZIONE DEL VETTORE , is in French(?), which I cannot read so its hard for me to say what their core beliefs might be. I simply can't find anything to argue against in this short essay's content and frankly find that it quite nicely matches my own position in a general way.

There aren't any detailed response plans laid out. It is the attitude which it connontes and promotes that I share whole-heartedly and would truly like to see displayed more prominently in American (Western) culture.

Even if the goddess Mother Earth won't spank our back-sides if we fail to be obedient to her (less than obvious) instructions. Uh... actually she's quite severe at times, even if she IS just a beautiful metaphor!

PRESS RELEASE

TECHNOLOGIES OF THE FRONTIER ON THE TERRORIST ATTACKS IN LONDON

LET'S PROMOTE LIFE, AND NOT DEATH.

LET'S GIVE BIRTH TO MARVELOUS THINGS, BE ABLE TO SURPRISE THE WORLD WITH POSITIVE ACTIONS.

TDF expresses its pain and solidarity with the victims of the London terrorist attacks of July 7th, to their relatives, loved ones and friends.


Our discouragement is total, in front of those who express a total contempt and carelessness for human life, and who, in their fanaticism, don't hesitate to extinguish or seriously injure hundreds of lives, each of whom had dreams, projects, talents, hopes, and feelings.


In the name of their religious fanaticism, these people don't heed the most ancient commandment, common to many religions, which says "thou shalt not kill".


Our discouragement is great, but it doesn't paralyse us.


After many attacks including those in New York, Madrid, Turkey, Bali and now London, for all those who believe in a future of free and pacific development, it is all the more urgent to aim high, to use our technologies, to concretely demonstrate another way, to get energy and a greater world, for all Earthlings.


In the face of the risk of a spiral of terror and death, and of the tragic inability, shown thus far by the Governments of West , to escape the narrow logic of the use of violence against violence, we believe that our duty, as earthling citizens, is to give our contribution, pointing out some concrete alternatives.


In order to see the alternatives, we need to unmask some current misplaced beliefs:

-

that human science and technology have grown too prominent, while ethics have have lagged behind;

-

that we are ruining our planet due to moral weakness;

-

that we should make an endless war against Terrorism;

-

that we would have no alternative but to compete for scarce remaining oil resources.

All the above claims are false. Things are very different:

-

Our population has reached almost 6.5 billion (our greatest wealth!) in a closed system, and our science and technologies are the only tools that we can use for opening the system, and to obtain a greater world for all Earthlings.

-

Earth is not sick: she's pregnant with a Baby Solar Civilization! The proximity of the birth will provoke social disturbances, climatic and environmental derangements and perhaps even seaquakes and other catastrophes, but if we are able to keep aiming high and to regulate the process, we will be awarded by a joyful event!

-

To answer war with war is only one of the options available to us, and not the best one. Our western Aristotelian (dualistic) philosophy forces us to act with a very narrow range of behaviours: to do what our "enemy" wants or else the exact opposite. Indeed, terrorism is not an open war, it is even more deceitful and cowardly than a conventional war, and it is not possible to defeat it by military means. Furthermore, the use of the military strength provokes endless retaliations, and we cannot hope to be able to indefinitely hold the whole planet under closed military control (even if this was a beautiful perspective, - which it isn't!).

-

We have other options, instead: to use our highest science and technologies, to start using space solar power, space resources, and to open up the worl. Let's relaunch global economic development, giving birth to a true space economy. Let's promote life, and not death. Let's give birth to marvelous things, able to surprise the world positively.

-

Terrorists won't have the means to follow us on such a path, and their young followers will begin to follow us, rather than religious fanaticism.

We believe that this message should reach the greatest possible numbers of people, therefore we ask you to publish this and diffuse it as far as possible.


Aim high!

The editorial staff of Technologies of the Frontier


English version revised by: Michael Martin-Smith and Ben Croxford

[013.ES.TDF.2005 - 12.07.2005]


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Allegory

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."


That's just something I've seen emailed around a few times in the last 7 or 8 years. When my bro emailed it to me this morning, the shit made me freakin' tear-up so I thought I'd share it.

Bastard...

er, I mean, Thanks Leebee!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Deep Impact

Bullseye: Deep Impact Slams Into Comet

The story is the story. Science is Fun kids!!!

Yo! Blogger Dudes y Dudettes!

Whilst roaming the Blogosphere, I came across a coolish link on the Rockstar's Ramblings blog (also recommended for its hilarious deconstruction of Elron's "Celebridiots!")

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

MIT is doing a survey of Bloggers and I naturally joined in the fray!

Go ahead blogger friend. You know you wanna do it... ;-}

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Gonzales on Deck?

Politics is full of second guessing and paranoia. Right now the Republican Spin Machine has got me experiencing both when considering whom W might select as Sandy D's replacement on the SCOTUS.

There is an outcry from Religious Conservatives over Alberto Gonzales' presumed liberality on the abortion issue. The NY Times is reporting that a group of Conservative lawyers, led by former Attorney General Ed Meese, have told the Chimperor that cadidate Gonzalez will not be an easy sell.
... Paul M. Weyrich, a veteran conservative organizer and chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, said he had told administration officials that nominating Mr. Gonzales, whose views on abortion are considered suspect by religious conservatives, would fracture the president's conservative backers.
On the other hand, there is Orrin Hatch of Utah, who says he would be happy to support the current AG. While Hatch is Anti-Abortion, he is also a strong supporter of Stem Cell research, which to me implies that he has a fairly open mind for a Conservative from Utah. Like my own Senator from Ohio, George Voinovich, he does a good job of making the case for why abortion is a tragic option. I've never argued that it is not. But so is Open Heart Surgery. Both Republican Senators seem willing, despite their fundamental disapproval for this very important medical procedure, to allow the SCOTUS to have the final say on the issue's Constitutionality though; which is exactly how it should be.

So this leaves me wondering what might be so bad about Gonzales, a moderate(?) Conservative replacing O'Connor, a moderate conservative.

The obvious objection is the memo he wrote advocating an ignorance of the Geneva Conventions. The guy got really outta whack when he suggested that some sorts of torture could be considered "acceptable" and that these prisoners didn't subscribe to Geneva so didn't necessarily warrant its protections. That kind of thinking is worse than unprofessional. It's downright self-defeating and despicable because it lowers the morality of those who use it to at most the level of those they would use it against.

When I look at what else he said, I think that some of it
(provisions in the conventions like commissary privileges and athletic uniforms were "quaint.") rings true with my own thoughts on domestic treatment of prisoners. As I've posted before, if you get incarcerated, you lose your Liberty. That is by definition! Keeping company with a good qur'an or bible or voodoo doll as part of your religious freedom does not seem any more rational or physiologically necessary to me than having access to 900 numbers, your friends' Poker Nght or Cable TV!

Whether one is imprisoned for murder or terrorism I fail to see the efficacy towards rehabilitation or reprimand that giving esoteric comforts is supposed to represent. They should be free from physical harm. Free from malnutrition and disease. Free from temptation to escape or injure their fellow prisoners. Imprisoned means "you can't do what you want to do!"

The biggest problem with the Gonzales rec's is that they were poorly enumerated and unprofessionally conveyed to an administration that would gleefully take them to their fascist extreme. That is a big error and one for which he should be held accountable if he is to be nominated to the SCOTUS.

But, you know what? After writing this piece, I actually feel a little better about that possibility. I mean, the Chimperor could choose anybody for this post.

Awww crap! Now I'm just about positive Gonzales is out of the running.

We'll see...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Societies Evolve!

Another nation has joined the Evolution of Reason which currently is eluding a majority of the US population. Spain has become one of two more countries to recognize the humanity of homosexual couples.

The conversation resulting from Wednesday's post on Canada's exemplary new law is full and deep and appreciated. My $.02 on the "choice" issue is simply this:

We have NO choice o'er who attracts us sexually.
We look into his/her eyes and, wham!, we want 'em! We can only choose which attractions we will pursue, and, as I'm sure we've all experienced, we frequently don't even get That choice fulfilled if the attractor doesn't share our interest!

Who attracts us is born and bred into our bodies and denying it is, at best, less than helpful. Our tastes certainly change over time thanks to our experiences, but that just means, for example, that we have different specifics of what attracts us: personality becomes more important than physique; blonde hair is more appealing than black; wealth means more than sense of humor (or vice-a-versa!). But if men still smell better to one than women do, why would that one choose physical intimacy with women over men? Because Society approves??? THAT is simply disgusting!

If an adult chooses to pursue their attraction to another adult of the opposite sex, "Society" smiles and approves; unless of course, that society has a caste system in place and the two are of different castes. Then the society has a problem because it has some interest in keeping the agreed upon order of things status quo. I'm not ever going to say that such is a fundamentally bad situation. It is an integral part of our evolution as Social critters. Like our innate sexual attractions, it has value and a point; a reason; an end. But unlike sexual attraction (or blue eyes or freckles or the shape of one's skull) those standards are variables which can be adjusted through rational analysis of the society's needs. They require reason, conversation and compromise.

As so frequently happens when homosexuality is discussed between supporters and detractors, the incest and pedophilia flag was waved, sheesh! Both of those conditions involve one person using another who has limited or no ability to refuse their being used. It is irrelevant whether a child "seems" to enjoy or to "desire" the sexual attention of an adult. Adults have a responsibility to let children mature physically before such choices become necessary! Adult sexuality, whether same sex or opposite, is a mutually agreed upon endeavor.

Research strongly suggests that pedophiles can not help their attraction, but, like any person, they absolutely CAN avoid acting upon it. Any adult can practice abstinence. I'm not even going to call it a disease but it’s definitely an unfortunate condition (a condition which research suggests is as unavoidable as heterosexuality!) whose expression causes harm and psychological damage. It seems inevitable that Medical Science will find a way for people to physically change their orientation. We can already change our gender. But our orientation remains because it is determined in our brains more so than in our gonads.

I hope this medical technique is developed soon. I know how important my own sexuality is to me and I would hate to find myself in the position where the only way I could express and satisfy it would actually cause harm to anyone. When (when!) Med Sci figures out how to change such in the brain, homosexuals can become hetero if they can't stand society's mores. Heterosexuals can become homo for whatever reason. Pedo's can become people who don't need to abuse and misuse innocents in order to be sexually complete!

I see the changes made in Societies over time by viewing History through many different filters. The US Constitution states in the preamble that:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Article 6 assures us that:
no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
This is not limited to either men or women. It is not based upon one's sexual orientation which, at the time of its writing, was not understood to be biologically determined. It applies to All People. The ultimate goal of societies is the same as for any individual species. It is survival. Canada’s move towards the recognition of one segment of its society as Equal to the others is going to make it a stronger, better adapted society. This is an embrace of one of its integral components and it will allow that society to focus its energy on debilitating problems elsewhere.