Friday, September 30, 2005

These people are fucking nuts

I've previously blogged (1, 2) about religious leaders blaming gays and other sinners for Hurricane Katrina. It seems to be getting worse. Alabama State Senator Hank Erwin is now saying that "gambling, sin and wickedness" was the cause of Hurricane Katrina and it was God's punishment for all that sin. I don't really understand why he mentions gambling twice. Other than riverboat casinos and the state lottery, gambling is basically illegal in Louisiana. But when did facts ever get in the way of bigotry?

I know this will tag me an an evil, baby-eating liberal (in case you hadn't guessed that already) but conservative Christians are fucking nuts. These whackjob, irrational people hold way too much power in our country.

Look, morons, hurricanes happen occasionally. Regularly, even. When they happen, they tend to hit the Gulf Coast. It's not sin. It's not the queers. It's not even those Jew bankers or the porn on TV. If these things caused natural disasters, Las Vegas and San Francisco would both be smoking craters twenty miles in diameter. Katrina is neither the largest or the most lethal hurricane to hit the US. It just happened to hit a densely populated area that had a lot of poor people, and it was big enough to break the levees. That's it. There's no supernatural or mystical component to that.

The fact that Christians don't seem to be able to grasp these basic facts scares the everloving crap out of me. I've said it before: it really is not a big leap from "God is punishing us for the sin in our midst," to "we must purge the sinners from our midst."

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

When the Moon hits your wallet like a big pizza pie

Bob Park [*] has an editorial in Thursdays NY Times about the unnecessary manned space program to re-land on the Moon. I have to agree. Bush proposed this venture as part of his program to get men on Mars, and utterly pointless endevour. Sure, Big Grand Projects capture the imagination and make us, as a nation, feel big and important and manly. But those Big Grand Projects come with a Bigger, Grander Budget, and if we're going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and almost undoubtedly the lives of a few people to send some astronauts to the Moon and to Mars, there had dammned well better be a better reason than it will be a bold vision for our future.

From Park's editorial:

This week NASA described plans to return astronauts to the Moon in 2018 at a cost of $104 billion. That's nine years after President Bush leaves office. Starting from scratch in 1961, President Kennedy's commitment to put a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth was realized in just eight years. What is going on?...

Two mechanical geologists, Spirit and Opportunity, are doing this even now, by searching for evidence of water on opposite sides of Mars. They don't break for lunch or complain about the cold nights, and they live on sunshine. They've been at it for nearly two years, yet their mission costs less than sending a shuttle to the International Space Station. The brains of Spirit and Opportunity are the brains of geologists back on Earth.

I'm no Luddite saying space exploration is a waste of money that could be better spent here on earth; heck, my first post-college job was working to build the International Space Station. But the ISS is now basically without a science mission, and has scaled back due to the inflating budget and the destruction of the Columbia. What little science it does do doesn't require a permanent manned presence in space. Much, if not all, of it could be done just as well in unmanned probes, or perhaps on the remaining Shuttle.

We need a good reason to go there in person first, then we are justified in spending a lot of money.

[*] If you haven't read Park's weekly newsletter What's New, I strongly suggest that you subscribe. It's pretty much always about science, but is accessible to any reader, and written with a dry wit that just cracks me up.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Puck Fanasonic

I previously blogged about my piece of crap Panasonic CT-27HL14 television. Since I posted my review and description of my problem over at Amazon, no fewer than seven people have added reviews. They all describe the exact same problem I had. I think it's pretty clear by now that that model of TV has either a manufacturing or design defect. If so, why hasn't it been recalled? This whole situation just screams class action lawsuit.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Where the evacuees come sweeping down the plain

My sister was set evacuate Houston for Lubbock (How many times do you think you'll hear that in your life?) as of 3:00 am this morning. From what I've seen on the news, I'm not sure she will have made it out of the city limits by now.

The Houston Chronicle has a really good blog about Hurricane Rita and the evacuation of Houston. They report that AAA members of Texas that are evacuating are having to be placed in hotels in Oklahoma. That's like having to flee Champaign to Columbus, Ohio, and then a good bit farther. Geez.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Um, somthin' ain't right here

I just popped over to eBay for a moment. Their front page lists the "Top 10 video games" they're currently selling. The list is:

  1. Sony PSP
  2. Gran Turisimo 4
  3. Playstation 2
  4. Halo 2
  5. Xbox
  6. Resident Evil 4
  7. Game Boy Advance
  8. GameCube
  9. Nintendo DS
  10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Do you think someone should tell them that six out of the ten things on this list aren't video games?

It's like saying that the top DVD is a 30-inch Sony Trinitron.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Maybe it was too much Southern Comfort?

Now that a number of Christian and Jewish and Muslim conservatives have declared Katrina to be a punishment from God for people who are Not Like Us, it really makes me wonder what sin North Carolinans have committed to be punished with Hurricane Ophelia. Or maybe this hurricane is just a weather pattern caused by warm equatorial waters and wasn't sent from on high?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Must ... resist ...

For some time now, I've been thinking of replacing my current computer. There's nothing really wrong with it, but it's starting to show its age, and isn't quite up to snuff for playing most of the games that are coming out these days. I was thinking about just getting one from one of the custom build shops out there. I was, that is, until Jon, as the current incarnation of the Prince of Darkness, suggested building one.

So that set me off on a bunch of reading and window shopping. A few nerdgasms later, I came up with what I think is a pretty decent system:

MSI K8N Neo4-F motherboard
Athlon 64 3000+
Leadtek GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, PCI-Express video card
Hitachi T7K250 160 GB hard drive
Antec SLK 3800B case (black is so slimming, don't you know?)

The only question is whether or not to buy the motherboard and processor as a combo from some place that would ship it already assembled. Now I just need to work up the courage to drop that much money over at Newegg.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quick reminder

I just wanted to let every one know that The Daily Show is starting their week-long special investigative report, Evolution, Schmevolution tonight. The saddest part is that it will probably be the only media outlet that treats Intelligent Design with the level of respect it deserves.

Update (13 Sept. 05): Naturally, I completely forgot.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Most people come to my blog looking for porn. That's largely because I've blogged about the spambots that plague, and they're searching for one of the domains. I'm used to that.

Nevertheless, this was not the sort of search I usually see in the referrer logs: manya gang bang

Yay, Magic!

Manya asked:

How goes the magicking?
Do you like it when everyone claps when you win?

I finished my league "in the money," which I think is pretty good considering it was my first tournament online or off, and the fact that I haven't played in a few years.

And now I'm about to do it again, with a four-week-long tournament this time. There used to be a theory that Wizards of the Coast put cocaine in the cards, which wore away over time, so you had to keep buying more to get your fix. I don't understand how they do that in the online version, though.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Do not think it can not happen here

Number of Christian groups blaming gays and other sinners for Katrina's devastation: 4

Number of non-wingnut Christian groups calling this shameful: 0

New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion.

-- Rev. Bill Shanks in the American Family Association's AgapePress

"... this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin.

-- Repent America

God judged New Orleans for the sin of shedding innocent blood through abortion.

-- Constitution Party candidate for US Congress Steve Lefemine

America is now experiencing the consequences (curses) of Middle East policies, which have been opposed to God’s Word and to the preservation of His covenant land.

-- Jerusalem Newswire, a Christian website

About three hundred years ago roughly twenty-five people were killed in Salem for being witches. Their trials rested on nothing more than spectral evidence, the notion that the witch's spirit appeared to the tormented Salem girls in a vision.

In the twentieth century, the lynching of blacks in the United States was not uncommon. There were about a hundred and fifty lynchings in the 1930s, and these continued up until a few KKK members lynched a black man in 1981. The witch trials are basically ancient history, but this happened within living memory.

I've now heard two different second hand accounts (about either the coworker or relative of a friend) of people saying how residents of New Orleans are being punished by God and that deserved their fate because they lived in a sinful city. In both cases, the sin that brought on the Wrath of God (now available in chocolate and strawberry) was unnamed, but does it really matter? I've always been under the impression that Christians believed that all people were hell-bound sinners requiring the blood of Jesus Christ to be saved from the terrible fate that awaits the rest of us sinners? I mean, isn't that the central tenet of Christianity? Why are New Orleans sinners so much more despicable than Montana sinners?

Less than a hundred years ago, the rise of a particular political movement in Germany led to the deaths of around ten million "undesirable" people. (You know which one I'm talking about.) The movement is now used in our society as the personification of all things evil. That happened two generations ago, but do not think that can not happen here.

Between 1992 and 1995, about 8000 Bosnian Muslims were killed by agents of their government in an ethnic and religious cleansing. That happened half a world away, but do not think that can not happen here.

In 1994, roughly a million Africans were killed over a period of four months. Mostly by machete. First world nations, fully cognizant of what was going on, stood by and refused to take any action. Again, do not think that can not happen here.

These horrible things did not happen because the people that lived in these places and these times were somehow more genetically predisposed to horrible acts of violence. People are capable of doing the most terrible things to each other given the right philosophical framework in which to do them. Do not think that these things can not or will not ever happen here because we live in a more "civilized" society. Do not think that the people that live around you are incapable of doing them.

I am stressing this so much for a very good reason. Take a look at the quotes above, all made by Christian organizations in the past few days. These people are blaming queers and other sinners not like them for the freakin' weather. Is that really so much different than blaming the witch down the street for your child's mysterious illness? Is that really so much different from blaming the bank's foreclosure on your property on the Jew banker* that lives a few blocks away?

There is a very real and very great danger of an avian flu pandemic breaking out in the next few decades. This is not the coughs and sniffles we're talking about, but a disease that has a 50% fatality rate. Katrina has probably killed a few thousand people, largely concentrated in one geographical area. The CDC says that just a medium-scale flu pandemic in the U.S. may kill upwards of 200,000 people, all over the country.

What do you think the right-wing Christian wingnuts will be saying then?

How long do you think it will be before "God is punishing our country because of all the sinners in our midst" becomes "God wants us to purge our country of the sinner in our midst"?

Do not think it can not happen here.

* "The 'Feed the Jew Banker' way of housing purchase is not the only way to buy a house." From: Not linked for obvious reasons.

Just a thought on Roberts

I'd like to point out that Bush has just nominated John Roberts for Chief Justice after the death of Rehnquist. Although he's been a lawyer (possibly a "trial lawyer?") for a while and has argued in front of the Supreme Court, Roberts has had a grand total of two years of experience as a judge.

Are there really no judges in the country that have a more appropriate background for being the head of the most powerful court in the nation? Then again, they probably don't have such strong political ties to the Bush family.

I guess we're lucky that he didn't nominate Justice "Oh, but the state governments can impose a religion on their citizens" Scalia for Chief.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bush does not want your $1

This is from over at Eschaton. I think it's from today's Meet the Press, but I'm not sure.

The guy who runs this building I'm in. Emergency management. He's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said. Are you coming. Son? Is somebody coming? And he said yeah. Mama. Somebody's coming to get you.. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday. And she drowned Friday night.

If that doesn't just break your heart, you must be a compassionate conservative.

Mr. President, no matter how many times you pat the head of FEMA on the back and tell him how great a job he's doing, someone somewhere in your administration has cocked up on a level never before seen in American history. You tell us that you care for the people killed, hurt, and made homeless by this catastrophe. But we know that you were on vacation when it was clear this hurricane was going to be devastating, and you stayed there after the devestation. You tell us that no one could have predicted the collapse of the levies. But we know that that very situation was predicted by the very people in charge of them. And then you praise the man on whose watch so many people have unnecessarily died.

Tell us President Bush, where exactly does the buck stop in your administration?

Friday, September 02, 2005

A bit of a pickle

I've been sitting on the horns of an ethical dilemma (a horny dilemma?). Hurricane Katrina's devastation has been unimaginable, and the need of all those people is both heartbreaking and overwhelming. I've been wanting to do at least a little something to help, and looked into ways of doing so. I have no applicable skills, and am a long way away, so that bascially means sending money. But who to send money to?

The biggest agency that seems to be involved is, of course, the American Red Cross. However, I have a strict, "If my blood is too queer for you, my money is too queer for you" policy. Untill the RC drops their blanket, ineffective, and irrational policy against blood donation by gay men, they're not getting one red drop of my cash. I don't think it's a malicious policy, just that it's boneheaded and stupid.

Looking at the FEMA site, they listed basically the Red Cross and a bunch of religions organizations. That includes Pat "Bring me the Head of Hugo Chavez" Robinson's Operation Blessing at #2. (Note: Since I first looked at it, they've moved Blessing down to #3, and added some non-religious groups.) So I was left with a bit of a conundrum. Give money and abandon my ethical priciples, or harden my heart and do nothing?

Fortunately, the Rainbow World Fund is calling for the GLBT community to give to America's Second Harvest, a food bank network . It seems to be a good charity, and only 2% of their revenue goes to anything other than their programs. So they are the ones getting my donation.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It's sucking me in...

I was bored one day and discovered that there is an online version of Magic: The Gathering. This I did not need to know. I got sucked into that game back in college, and am surprised to find it's still going strong, albeit with lots of cards and expansions I don't know about. The online version is exactly like the real-life version, just played with virtual cards you buy and trade online. I'm trying to restrain myself from jumping in, buying a playable deck, and starting this madness again.

Update (2 Sept 05): Too late, it's got me. Bought my cards, and I'm waiting to take part in my first tournament, even.