June 2015 Archives

Reshared post from Reason:

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If, as an adult, your learning environment isn't hostile, maybe you aren't learning enough, or the right things. G+

Original Post from Reason:

“If the curriculum is fucking awful, I might say that it is. I’m not teaching Sunday school.”

I wrote this about gay marriage and equal protection over four years ago.

What matters, and what I have a problem with, is how that symbolic label "civil marriage" is used by government, specifically, in that some rights and privileges between consensual unions of people are reserved only for married couples: not that there is a natural right to have your marriage recognized by government, but that if some people are granted that right, then it's unfair to exclude other people. I do believe it is wrong, and should be fixed (and in Washington, has been fixed). Government shouldn't pick and choose how personal relationships legally stand before government.

My views haven't changed.  Unfortunately, neither have the government's, and we still have government excluding some personal relationships from marriage. G+
By the way ... I've spent some time criticizing Obergefell decision for, in my view, not following the rule of law.  And I've criticized the idea that one should support the decision only because one agrees with the outcome: this is literal ends justifying means.

However, it is also true that many people who oppose this decision do not give a single thought to whether it was decided properly, and only oppose the outcome.  And that is just as wrong, and worse, it's hypocritical, if you claim the judges should follow the law only because you disagree with how they ruled.

So, don't do that.  You can bemoan gay marriage if you oppose gay marriage, but don't criticize the decision legally unless you understand and address the legal basis for the decision.  That just makes you look bad. G+
Rewatched the Matrix triology this week.  It's even better than I remembered.  For all the haters for the sequels ... you're wrong. They're good.

I still think the main problem is that people put the original Matrix film on too high a pedestal.  But if you lower it down to just being a fun sci-fi thriller, that is only moderately philosophically interesting and not some mind-blowing event in cinematic history, then the sequels fit much better.

I also rewatched The Animatrix, in between films 1 and 2.  It's still not very good (some parts are good, some less so). G+
There should be a Breeder Pride Day. G+
Dear Internet,

I am unimpressed with the revamps from Marvel and DC.  Both have introduced many simply incomprehensible series.  Marvel seems to be having manatees write their storylines, and DC is ... well, I can understand wanting "something for everyone," and maybe the problem is that the new stuff is just not for me, but from my perspective they are just ruining established titles and characters by making them silly.  Black Canary as a rock singer?  Meh.  And the artwork is just unappealing ... again, to me.

Maybe I am just an old traditionalist fuddy-duddy.  And by traditionalist, I mean mid-2000s.  I like old comics, but I think we were in a Golden Age (to use an overloaded term) of comics in the 2000s.  And now everything has to be avant garde and hip and different, instead of good.

I don't mind different.  I love The Manhattan Projects and Saga.   Fraction's Hawkeye is fantastic.  There's different because you have talent and vision and creativity, and then there's different because you can be, or you feel you should be.  And that's what the new DC feels like to me. G+
As much as I disagree with the legal decision on gay marriage -- I am for actual equality in regards to marriage, and this is not it -- at least we are now mostly past the issue.  That's the best part of the decision: society can move on.  It's kinda like the best part of Obama's election was that we didn't have to talk about whether a minority cannot be elected.

If the correct legal decision had been handed down, we'd have years more of angsting over this issue.  I think that is a big part of why decisions like this happen, which is a shame.

We still have a ways to go to get actual equality.  Government currently disallows close-relation marriages, not to mention multiple-partner marriages.

And some states still require you to, essentially, have a romantic relationship with your partner (by virtue of requiring causes for divorce, some of which are related to infidelity and so on), which is a clear violation of equality, too: why can't lifelong best friends get the benefits of a "marriage"?  What business does government have in telling us the nature of our relationships?

So there is a ways to go to get marriage equality, which does not exist today, anywhere in the U.S.  But the majority of the issue is done with.  We can move on.

BTW, a modification of the Kennedy's decision:

This dynamic also applies to [sibling] marriage. It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of [sibling] couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality. Here the marriage laws enforced by the respondents are in essence unequal: [sibling] couples are denied all the benefits afforded to [married] couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right. Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to [sibling] couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on [sibling couples] serves to disrespect and subordinate them. G+
Dear Internet,

Please do not claim that the U.S. now legally has "marriage equality."  It is a lie.  If it were true, then any two unmarried consenting adults could marry each other.  But they cannot, due to anti-incest laws in every part of this country.

I am not pro-incest (weird that I should even have to say that), but I am pro-liberty, and I am pro-honesty.  And those who claim we have marriage equality now, are spreading blatant falsehoods.

Rather than provide marriage equality to all, what we really did was give preferred legal status to a favored group, while still maintaining discriminatory policies toward disfavored groups.

So do not say we have marriage equality, and do not say this is about equal protection of the law, because it's very clearly no such thing.

I could go on about how the equal protection claim made in today's ruling doesn't make much legal sense, but you can read the dissents for that.  I only mention it to point out that in every way, this decision was top-down: coming up with the preferred conclusion, and then finding ways to legally justify it.  It's not about rights, it's not about equality, and it's not about the rule of law.  It is solely about simply wanting gay marriage to be recognized.  That's all it is.

And that should be decided by legislatures, not courts.

My view, in case you are unaware, but may glean from the above, is that we should have true equality: any two unmarried consenting adults should be allowed to get the same legal recognition as any other "married" couple.

I further think that governments should cease to use the word "marriage" -- due to the societal baggage and dispute over the term, combined with the fact that social/religious marriage and civil marriage are literally two different institutions with the same name -- and convert all marriages to "civil unions."

And I further believe that this should be done by state legislatures, but that if the Court is going to enforce it on the basis of rights, then it needs to actually be for everyone, not a select group.

So do not paint me as anti-gay-marriage.  I am anti-selectively-choosing-gay-couples-to-recognize-as-married, and I am anti-court-enforcement-of-marriage-definitions.  I am therefore against this decision.  If I had my way, all couples -- including gay couples -- would be 100% equal in the eyes of the law, to all other couples.  But we do not have that. G+

26.06.2015 09:45

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I kinda hate stuff like this.  They say: "Every year a poor child spends in Snohomish County adds about $190 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county."

But it's not true.  What they really mean, at most, is that on average, a child who grew up poor in Snohomish County had, per year there, about $190 more in income at age 26, compared with the national average.

Those are not the same thing.  They say literally say, "a poor child here earns this much more money," but that isn't true.

They have two main problems: first, they are wording it almost as though it is predictive, when it's only descriptive.  Second, they are talking about the children as individuals, instead of averages. G+
Final plea regarding "the flag": whatever your views on banning it etc., please stop treating the person who disagrees with you as a terrible person.  If you do, then you are fostering hate, which is supposedly what we're trying to get past. G+
In attacking hatred, Etsy is actually engaging in hatred.  They are falsely impugning the motives of millions of people who like and fly the flag, but have no hateful motivations in doing so.

Yes, many of those people exist.  Probably millions of them.  You can't wish it away.  Truth is stubborn, and the fact is that when most people I see fly the rebel flag, they have not the tiniest sense of racist or hateful association with that act.  You have that association with their act, but they do not.

If you think that the people who fly the flag are hateful and racist, you are wrong, you are ignorant, and you are incorrectly and irresponsibly fostering hatred against them.

Oh, but maybe it is OK to foster hatred against Southerners.  They are just redneck racist hicks, right?

Feel free to have your own feelings about the flag.  And the people who like the flag should respect your feelings about it, and they usually don't.  But you should respect theirs, and you don't.

All y'all suck. G+
"[Alexander] Hamilton was without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history. ... [Andrew Jackson was] a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president."

My thoughts exactly.  Andrew Jackson is an obvious choice for removal.  So why Hamilton, and not Jackson?  I seriously wonder if it is because Jackson founded, and was the first President representing, the Democratic Party. G+
Dear Internet,

If you lived in the South in the 1860s, and you were not a slave, you probably would have been on the side of the Confederacy.  Even if you weren't white.  And maybe even if you were a slave.

I totally get wanting to diminish symbols of the Confederacy.  But now we are seeing people wanting to get rid of the names of people from the Confederacy, such as Robert E. Lee.  Lee was a great man, and certainly far more worthy of praise than many people who receive similar honor.

San Diego has a lot of schools named after people.  John Adams legally defended the British soldiers who committed the Boston Massacre.  Albert Einstein helped create the atomic bomb.  Alexander Graham Bell dabbled in eugenics.  Daniel Boone killed Native Americans.  Cesar Chavez was a friend of Ferdinand Marcos' regime.

This is only a small alphabetical sampling of the evils behind the names in San Diego schools. G+
+Think Progress claims that there's four big problems with the case against the federal government subsidies to those in "federal exchanges," and accuse the other side of lying.

The funny part is that the first three sentences of the article each contain significant lies.

* The Supreme Court is not making any decision to "take health care away" from anyone.  That is not a part of the decision at all.

* The premise of the argument is not that "most of the text of the Affordable Care Act does not count," but that the government is incorrectly interpreting it.

* They do not "claim [that] a single sentence of the law must be plucked out of context;" again, they claim it should be interpreted differently than the government thinks it should.

ProTip: if you're going to accuse others of lying, don't start off by lying. G+

Reshared post from comiXology:

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About time. G+

Original Post from comiXology:

Dark Horse is now available on comiXology!

Obama says that if Congress had moved on certain actions after the shootings in Newtown, Conn. in December 2013, “We might still have some more Americans with us. We might have stopped one shooter. Some families might still be whole. We all might have to attend fewer funerals. We should be strong enough to acknowledge this.”

And if we legalized drugs and automatic weapons, we might save even more lives.  Or more might die.  Supposition of outcomes makes for terrible public policy.

And let us not forget that if we banned free speech, we might save a lot of lives, too, including perhaps all the lives in the Charleston shooting, since this was mostly about pushing, and enacting, a racist ideology. G+
Dear Internet,

We've gone over this before: symbols have no inherent meaning.  Everyone has their own meaning for a given symbol.

It is true that many well-meaning people view the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism and hatred.

It is also true that many well-meaning people view the Confederate flag as merely a symbol of pride.

If you think that someone necessarily, or even probably, has racist motivations simply because they fly the Confederate flag, you are incorrect.  Fix that.

On the other hand, if you think that your pure motivations for flying the Confederate flag justify the harm that it contributes to -- the hurt feelings, the societal division, and so on -- you are also incorrect.  Fix that.

The blame for the division is really primarily on the people who see the flag as racist, because they are the ones who are incorrectly conflating the symbol with its meanings.  But the people who see the flag as simply about pride, and keep flying it, are also to blame because they can simply give up the symbol and still hold on to the meaning, and they choose to not do that.

I am not in South Carolina, and I have no strong feelings one way or another about the flag.  I recognize the fact that it is the intent of the people, not the symbol itself, that is important.  I could not care less whether they fly the Confederate flag, because I have no reason to think that the people doing so are racist, or intend to send a racist message.

What I do care about is that we learn to live together in peace.  So either the one side needs to learn to look past symbols and see intent, or the other side needs to learn to express themselves with symbols that won't be misunderstood.  Either way is fine with me.  Keep the flag or lose it, but find ways to not hate the people around you.

(I also care about people misrepresenting how symbols work, and saying that any symbol has a universal or necessary or permanent meaning.  It's just not true, and it's the root of much of our misunderstanding and strife.  Also, in fact, the intent of the people who invented the flag has literally no bearing on the intent of the people flying it today.) G+
Obama used "the N word" on Maron's podcast.  ONO!  It's not like it's the first time he's done this, to make a point. G+
LOL @ Linda Hamilton in Defiance, "Come with me if you want to live."

It was right before a commercial break, and one of the commercials in that was for the new Terminator film. G+

Original Post from Phil Vanelli:

The Dood, greatest cosplay ever!

Dear America,

We do not need, and should not want, affirmative action to put a woman on our currency. It cheapens the honor.

Whoa. What was that?

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Reshared post from Top Gear:

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Original Post from Top Gear:

Good news! The all-new, unseen #TopGear episode from Series 22 will air at 8pm, Sunday June 28 in the UK. Check the trailer...

Donald Trump just announced he is running for President.  Not a joke.  I mean, you might think it's a joke, but he is actually running. G+

Reshared post from Reason:

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Original Post from Reason:

It is hard to reconcile Bill Clinton's position that "you can't have people walking around with guns" with the Second Amendment's declaration that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Even when they concede a constitutional right to own a gun, Democrats tend to ignore that second part.

I agree with GE.  The problem is, GE owns MSNBC, which regularly blasts rich people for trying to avoid high taxes. G+


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People are questioning "our priorities" due to the high pay for these athletes.  But it's not like these priorities are being pushed on us: we choose to buy tickets and merchandise and endorsed products.  If you don't like how much they get paid, stop giving them money.  But don't complain that other people make their own choices to give them money, because it's their choice to do so. G+
No.  This is completely wrongheaded.

American Pharoah very well might not run the same kind of race against Secretariat as it did against these other horses.

In any "distance" race (a race where you cannot sprint the entire time), you pace yourself, usually based on who your competition is and what they are doing.

Unless they actually run against each other, you can't know which would've won.

Maybe Secretariat was a faster horse; I have no way of knowing.  But these two results cannot show that. G+
This is why so many of us just dislike President Obama.  He goes overseas and says that the Court should not have even heard the case challenging his very clear violation of very clearly written law.

I am not saying that Obama has no argument for violating the law (although I don't think he does).  I am saying that it is absolutely clear that he is violating the letter of the law, and that alone justifies the Court taking up the case, and to say the Court shouldn't have taken it up is to say that there should be no judicial review of his actions.

And perhaps worse, if you think that the law means what it says, and the result of that is something that Obama dislikes, then you are the one "twisting" the words of the law.  You are a Bad American who hates poor people.  You are a "cynic," and "the ground has shifted beneath" you.  Your "stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."

Or, we just believe in the rule of law, and disagree with you about how to properly interpret it.

Nah.  That couldn't be it.  It has to be an issue of morality and righteousness.  You're with him, or you want poor people to lack health care.

Remember when Obama said that he wanted to bring this country together and set aside false dichotomies?  That was great. G+
Every time some big news story comes up -- something silly like "Deflategate," or serious like a cop killing an unarmed person or tackling a teen outside a pool party, or something really big like an act of war -- I try to not just jump to conclusions.  But sometimes it seems like the only one.  I argue about why they should wait for all the information, but no one seems to care.

So, I'll let two writers say it for me.


"The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him." -- Proverbs 18:17


"You're on the Island of Conclusions."

"But how did we get here?" asked Milo.

"You jumped, of course," explained Canby. "That's the way most everyone gets here. It's really quite simple: every time you decide something without having a good reason, you jump to Conclusions whether you like it or not. It's such an easy trip to make that I've been here hundreds of times."

"But this is such an unpleasant-looking place," Milo remarked.

"Yes, that's true," admitted Canby; "it does look much better from a distance."

-- The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster G+
Stupid Mac OS X (10.10.3) tricks.

AFP from one Mac, to another.  Same OS version.  Three directories on the same volume.  One file, with a hard link (`ln A/foo B/`).  Move the file from one directory to another.  Moving foo from A to C works.  But if moving foo from B to A ... it goes to A, but then C's foo goes to B.

It's magic.  Or something.

Moving the file in the Terminal, or on the local host (instead of via AFP), works fine. G+

Original Post from Alex Ruiz:

The second one happens way more often :-)

Reshared post from Reason:

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"Stewart suggests there should be a line drawn between protections against discrimination and compelled speech."Indeed. G+

Original Post from Reason:

Patrick Stewart delivers a far more subtle analysis of the competing claims at stake in the gay marriage cake debate in a one-minute YouTube clip than the vast majority of commentators on the subject have managed.

“Today Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,” Clinton said in a speech at Texas Southern University. “What part of democracy are they afraid of?”

Of course, it's a lie.  Republicans are not trying to stop any citizens from voting, except for felons who have lost their right to vote.  Period, end of story.  It's a lie.  It's broadly believed, but there's zero truth to it.

What is true is that some campaigns (like Barack Obama's campaign in his run for Congress) do prevent people from voting, but what Clinton is dishonestly referring to are efforts to increase voting integrity.  Requiring ID and prior registration and regular voter roll purges do not prevent any legal voter from voting; they do help decrease the level and likelihood of fraudulent voting, as well as simply clean up the records.

But to the main point veiled beneath her lie: yes, we should not have everyone voting.  So what part of democracy am I "afraid" of?

I'll answer it this way: politicians often decry the apathetic voter who doesn't vote, but in my view, even worse is the ignorant voter who does vote.  Ignorance and apathy are both problems, but at least the apathetic voter isn't trying to force anything on the rest of us.  Every other year we "Rock The Vote" with people who don't even know the difference between expenditures and revenues, who are trying to tell the rest of the country what the government should be spending money on.

I do not favor excluding citizens from voting for ignorance, but I do want people to opt-in to voting, rather than having it be automatic registration, or, worse, mandated.  It shows some basic level of knowledge and engagement.  If you can't be bothered to register, then how much do you really care about voting, or how much do you really know about any of the issues?

So now I answer Hillary Clinton with a question: because it is so easy to vote in this country, what is she so afraid of in keeping voting limited to citizens who simply choose to do it? G+
This World Cup thing is insane to me.  Yes, people who run a private organization were being paid off regarding where to put a private event. How does this make for a major international criminal scandal?  Sure, governments and government officials were paying them off, but that's makes them criminals, not FIFA.

I kinda hate FIFA.  I certainly hate that FIFA puts the World Cup in a ridiculous place like the Arabian peninsula.  But it seems to me more that this "scandal" is out of spite, than out of legitimate government interest in any actual wrongdoing by FIFA officials.

A reporter who has been calling out FIFA corruption for years said "These scum have stolen the people’s sport. They’ve stolen it, the cynical thieving bastards."  And I think that's the real point.  It's not about the law, it's about the fact that they consider soccer, and the World Cup, theirs, and the primary stewards of that sport haven't acted in their interests.

I am not saying FIFA officials didn't commit crimes; I am saying that everything I've heard shouldn't be a crime.  If they want to accept payoffs for where to put their private events, so be it.  People do that all the time.  If you pay me enough, I'll quit my job and come work for you.  How is this different, other than the fact that you don't care where I work, and you do care where the World Cup is held? G+

01.06.2015 17:37

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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