Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Is that what you think?"

The belief:
Also, to finish out the parts making reference to the military, though homosexuals are not allowed in the military, some are there, and no one has harmed them. One may claim this as untrue, but surely a complaint would have been filed. Hazing is not tolerated in any way, shape, or form toward any race, nationality, or persons of an alternate lifestyle in the United States Armed Forces.

The reality:
While the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibited military personnel to question fellow soldiers about their sexual orientation, Lehmkuhl said it offered little protection for a gay captain hoping to maintain his privacy and his dignity.

"There was definitely an institutionalized acceptance of people being homophobic and telling gay jokes and making homophobic remarks — really, really mean homophobic remarks to the point of, 'Kill gay people,' " he said.

Speculation grew about Lehmkuhl's sexual orientation until one night, when he said he was sent a message. He said he was sexually assaulted by the people he served beside everyday.

"A bag was put over my head," he said. "I was stripped of my clothes. I was forced to do things sexually with two other male cadets."

Lehmkuhl said that night he hit rock bottom and considered ending his life.

And the freepers

I tend to doubt anything that comes out of the mouth of a gay person in the military. I just don't trust them.

Lehmkuhl said it offered little protection for a gay captain hoping to maintain his privacy and his dignity.

Perversion isn't dignified, "captain"

"A bag was put over my head," he said. "I was stripped of my clothes. I was forced to do things sexually with two other male cadets."

Don't they do worse things with each other without the bags over their heads?

If it's his *private* life, why didn't it stay that way? Makes me think it wasn't so private, and that's a big part of the problem; they don't keep it that way. If what they do in private is nobody else's business, don't tell me about it then.

"Don't they do worse things with each other without the bags over their heads?"

He's probably lying/exaggerating for effect.

I think it's much more likely that a guy gay will try to get something going with a straight guy than vice versa. As for putting a bag over his head and all that . . . I don't believe a word of it. Wishful thinking, probably. Gay men seem to have a panting obsession with being raped and abused by other men. Seems to go with the territory.

"Not sure about the credibility here. Surely, if true, he should be naming-names."

He won't name names because it's not true and he knows it. He's a lying piece of crap queer pole smoking faggot.

Ugh. I read a whole page of freeper comments... must purge...!


Well, they were considered the animals nearest to man in intelligence

Elephants may be self-aware:
In a 2005 experiment, Happy faced her reflection in an 8-by-8-foot mirror and repeatedly used her trunk to touch an "X" painted above her eye. The elephant could not have seen the mark except in her reflection. Furthermore, Happy ignored a similar mark, made on the opposite side of her head in paint of an identical smell and texture, that was invisible unless seen under black light.

"It seems to verify for us she definitely recognized herself in the mirror," said Joshua Plotnik, one of the researchers behind the study. Details appear this week on the Web site of the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.

Still, two other zoo elephants, Maxine and Patty, failed to touch either the visible or invisible "X" marks on their heads in two runs of the experiment. But all three adult female elephants at the zoo behaved while in front of the jumbo mirror in ways that suggested they recognized themselves, said Plotnik, a graduate student at Emory University in Atlanta.

Maxine, for instance, used the tip of her trunk to probe the inside of her mouth while facing the mirror. She also used her trunk to slowly pull one ear toward the mirror, as if she were using the reflection to investigate herself. The researchers reported not seeing that type of behavior at any other time.


The three Bronx Zoo elephants did not display any social behavior in front of the mirror, suggesting that each recognized the reflected image as itself and not another elephant. Many other animals mistake their mirror reflections for other creatures.

That divergent species such as elephants and dolphins should share the ability to recognize themselves as distinct from others suggests the characteristic evolved independently, according to the study.

This recognition has so far only been recorded in monkeys, dolphins, and of course humans. But of course, more tests would need to be run to be sure.

Monday, October 30, 2006

But I didn't.

Today in one of my math classes, the professor was defining the division algorithm for polynomials: if f and g are polynomials, then there exist polynomials p and r, with either r = 0 or deg(r) < deg(g), such that f = p*g + r.

He wanted to use the letter q for "quotient" instead of p, but thought that it would get confusing because it would look too similar to g on the chalkboard. But during part of his proof, he started writing down q anyways--he did this several times until he realized his mistake.

I so very much wanted to advise him to "mind his p's and q's."

October Surprise, postponed?

Let's hope so:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A court trying Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity could delay its verdict by a few days, the chief prosecutor said on Sunday, in a move that would shift the announcement until after U.S. midterm elections.

The U.S.-backed court had been due to deliver a verdict on November 5, two days before U.S. elections in which President George W. Bush's Republicans fear they could lose control of Congress.

The chief prosecutor, Jaafar al-Moussawi, said the Iraqi High Tribunal was still working on the judgment. "We will know a day or two before the trial if they are ready to announce the verdict," Moussawi told Reuters.

I should note, of course, that Iraq is saying that the United States had nothing to do with the conviction date:
U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad denied Washington had any say over the timing of the verdict or the court's decisions, saying the American role was limited to logistics and security.

"The United States had nothing to do with the selection of the date and we don't know whether the judges have come to a judgment or not," Khalilzad told CNN in an interview.

Of course, Khalilzad is our ambasaddor, so I'd hardly expect him to say "Yeah, we changed the date so that the news will be inundated with footage of Saddam's conviction and remind voters who took him down in the first place."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Adventures in misreading

Skimming my e-mail, I came across a headline of "President Bush Visits Charleston."

Which I initially read as "President Bush Visits Charlatan." "Is he trying to make up with Chalabi?" I wondered.

Manly gaming

I'm sure y'all are familiar with the brouhaha over Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Well, the company that made the game, Take-Two Interactive Software, is courting some new controversy with boys courting boys:
The video game maker that sparked uproar over a hidden sex scene in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," is courting new controversy with its latest schoolyard title "Bully" -- featuring boys kissing.


"Bully" stars 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, who must navigate cliques, fights and young love at his new boarding school, along the way winning brawls, completing missions and plying girls with candy and flowers in exchange for kisses.

But Jimmy can also use the same approach with boys. When Jimmy approaches a tall, blond boy with some flowers, the boy replies: "I'm hot. You're hot. Let's make out."

The article cites some LGBT people claiming that this is progress--game-makers are allowing for homosexual and/or bisexual romance in a medium that had been dominated by heterosexuality for so long. And it probably is, at that, although I fear those opposed to such a thing could just point to other objectionable content from these game-makers as "proof" that this is some sort of plot to decay society's morals. "This comes from the same people that made a series of games solely devoted to beating people up and stealing their cars! They let you recover hit points by hiring prostitutes! They allowed other people to make a patch for their game that allows players to simulate sex! This is just the latest in their pernicious assault on morals!"

That, however, was not the tactic taken by one person:
"I can't have my kids playing this game. This is morally reprehensible. GTA (Grand Theft Auto) is a real man's game, Bully is a disgrace," wrote a poster using the handle spideRRR on GameSpot.com.

So... letting your kid hire hookers, shoot people, steal cars, blow things up, elude the police... all this is fine, because that's what a "real man" does? Hoo-boy.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Biological Exuberance in Action!

Sent to me by my brother, Gay animals 'come out' in Oslo exhibition:
Breaking what is taboo for some, the Oslo Natural History Museum is currently showing an exhibition on homosexuality in the animal kingdom which organisers say is the first of its kind in the world.

"As homosexual people are often confronted with the argument that their way of living is against the principles of nature, we thought that ... as a scientific institution, we could at least show that this is not true," exhibition organiser Geir Soeli tells AFP.

"You can think whatever you want about homosexuals but you cannot use that argument because it is very natural, it's very common in the animal kingdom," Soeli adds.

From beetles to swans and creatures considered to have a more macho image, such as lions and sperm whales, homosexual behavior has been detected in 1,500 species.

First off, I want to applaud the Oslo Natural History Museum. It's nice to see scientists not cowering from controversy or tripping over themselves not to offend people's religious biases.

But my favorite part of this article is the last paragraph:
A Lutheran priest said he hoped the organisers would "burn in hell," and a Pentecostal priest lashed out at the exhibition saying tax payers' money used for it would have been better spent helping the animals correct "their perversions and deviances."

*snicker* And now I must quote from Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity.
In many ways, the treatment of animal homosexuality in the scientific discourse has largely paralleled the discussion of human homosexuality in society at large. Homosexuality in both animals and people has been considered, at various times, to be a pathological condition; a social aberration; an "immoral," "sinful," or "criminal" perversion; an artificial product of confinement or the unavailability of the opposite sex; a reversal or "inversion" of heterosexual "roles"; a "phase" that younger animals go through on the path to heterosexuality; an imperfect imitation of heterosexuality; an exceptional but unimportant activity; a useless and puzzling curiosity; and a functional behavior that "stimulates" or "contributes to" heterosexuality. In many other respects, however, the outright hostility toward animal homosexuality has transcended all historical trends. One need only look at the litany of derogatory terms, which have remained essentially constant from the late 1800s to the present day, used to describe this behavior: words such as strange, bizarre, perverse, aberrant, deviant, abnormal, anomalous, and unnatural have all been used routinely in "objective" scientific descriptions of the phenomenon and continue to be used (one of the most recent examples is from 1997). In addition, heterosexual behavior is constantly defined in numerous scientific accounts as "normal" in contrast to homosexual activity.

The entire history of ideas about, and attitudes toward, homosexuality is encapsulated in the title of zoological article (or book chapters) on the subject through the ages: "Sexual Perversion in Male Beetles" (1896), "Sexual Inversion in Animals" (1908), "Disturbances of the Sexual Sense [in Baboons]" (1922), "Pseudomale Behavior in a Female Bengalee [a domesticated finch]" (1957), "Aberrant Sexual Behavior in the South African Ostrich" (1972), "Abnormal Sexual Behavior of Confined Female Hemichienus auritus syriacus [Long-eared Hedgehogs]" (1981), "Pseudocopulation in Nature in a Unisexual Whiptail Lizard" (1991). The prize, though, surely has to go to W. J. Tennent, who in 1987 published an article entitled "A Note on the Apparent Lowering of Moral Standards in the Lepidoptera." In this unintentionally revealing report, the author describes the homosexual mating of Mazarine Blue butterflies in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The entomologist's behavioral observations, however, are prefaced with a lament: "It is a sad sign of our times that the National newspapers are all too often packed with the lurid details of declining moral standards and of horrific sexual offences committed by our fellow Homo sapiens; perhaps it is also a sign of the times that the entomological literature appears of late to be heading in a similar direction." Declining moral standards--in butterflies!? Remember, these are descriptions by scientists in respected scholarly publications of phenomena occurring in nature!


We don't torture

Apparently, when Cheney said that dunking people in water is "a no-brainer for me", he wasn't referring to waterboarding.

Honestly, how could anyone think that? It's not like waterboarding has ever been brought up in the context of "terrorist interrogations". Clearly the vice president was referring to the widely-used tactic of giving terrorists sponge baths during their stay at the pleasure spa of Guantanamo.

Sarcasm aside, what galls me more than this is the question the interviewer asked:
Q ... And terrorist interrogations and that debate is another example. And I've had people call and say, please, let the Vice President know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives. Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?


Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

What sycophantic nonsense. The idea that everyone being "dunk[ed] in water" is a terrorist is an absurd delusion on the part of people who think that America can do no wrong--clearly, since they're in Guantanamo, they're guilty of being terrorists. It's not like we're ever mistaken about these things.

And the idea that this can "save lives" is even more absurd. It's based on the fantasy scenario where we know that there's a plot against our lives--usually an imminent plot, where we know the exact time it will be carried out (twenty-four hours seems to be the standard deadline). We know exactly which group is perpetrating this plot. In fact we seem to know everything, except for one crucial piece of information (usually the location of a bomb) that we know with 100% certainty our torture victim has.

Eh, what's a little integrity between partisans?

Rove Protégé Behind Racy Tennessee Ad:
A protégé of White House political guru Karl Rove produced the controversial Republican National Committee ad targeting Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr., that some have called racist, CBS News has learned.

The ad, in which a white woman with blonde hair and bare shoulders looks into the camera and whispers, "Harold, call me," and then winks, was produced by Scott Howell, the former political director for Rove's consulting firm in Texas.

The RNC ad doesn't mention that "Harold" is black, but the NAACP and others have complained the commercial makes an implicit appeal to deep-seated racial fears about black men and white women.

This is also apparently the person responsible for the attack ad against Max Cleland, a veteran who lost three limbs fighting for the country, disparaging his courage:
Howell is no stranger to controversy. He was media consultant for Sen. Saxby Chambliss when his campaign ran an ad showing a picture of then-Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, who lost his legs in the Vietnam War, alongside Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Speaking of things so racist you can't believe someone said them....

A while back I ordered some items from Christian Research, a hate group based on Arkansas to further my research. I had to debate whether or not to provide money to these people, but got the materials in the end.

Because of this, they appear to have subscribed me to their newsletter, Facts for Action. I received a copy in the mail today and read through it about an hour ago. At one point they use the words "War on Celto-Saxon Nationalism", which I thought was the title of some book because the phrase was italicized and they're constantly plugging books they'd like you to buy--the newsletter came with a little order slip you could use to buy books such as "Counterfeit Christianity". However, given the context, it didn't make sense for it to be the name of any book, or article. I had to re-read the sentence a few times before I found out what they meant by it.

That appears to be their euphemism for World War II:
Marriage has been and is under progressive attacks, particularly since the War on Celto-Saxon Nationalism (1939-1945) by powers of One World Government.

Because, as we all know, Hitler was a fan of marriage and allowing every country to remain autonomous and independent.

More evidence torture doesn't work

To justify invading Iraq as a response to being attacked by al Qaeda, the Bush administration and everyone shilling for them had to invent a connection between the two:
Powell claimed in a UN Security Council meeting in February 2003, weeks before a US-led coalition invaded Iraq, that the country under Saddam Hussein had provided weapons training to Al-Qaeda, saying he could "trace the story of a senior terrorist operative"....

The operative who provided that long-since debunked information is allegedly one Iban al Shakh al Libby, who gave up this crucial information after being tortured:
An Al-Qaeda terror suspect captured by the United States, who gave evidence of links between Iraq and the terror network, confessed after being tortured, a journalist told the BBC.

Iban al Shakh al Libby told intelligence agents that he was close to Al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and "understood an awful lot about the inner workings of Al-Qaeda," former FBI agent Jack Clonan told the broadcaster.

Libby was tortured in an Egyptian prison, according to Stephen Grey, the author of the newly-released book "Ghost Plane" who investigated the secret US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisons that housed terror suspects around the world.


"What he claimed most significantly was a connection between ... Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. This intelligence report made it all the way to the top, and was used by (former US secretary of state) Colin Powell as a key piece of justification ... for invading Iraq," [Grey] told the broadcaster.


Friday Dead Racist Blogging: That's New Edition

I've been reading racists and about racists for a couple of years now, so I've seen quite a few statements of truly odious invective. But there have been only a few instances where I can recall reading something so inventive, so thoroughly beyond what anyone else had claimed, that I pause and say to myself "That's new." When I do, it means I have stumbled across someone who is plumbing hitherto-unexplored depths of racism.

Such is what happened to me last Saturday.

The book I was reading, The Black Image in the White Mind, by George Fredrickson, mentioned that white insurance agencies refused to sell policies to blacks. This in itself would not give me pause; many businesses refused to service blacks. This much they told us back in grade school.

But the reasoning behind it... that was very new to me:
Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro became a prized source of information and conclusions for anti-Negro writers for many years to come and also had the practical effect of helping to convince most white insurance companies that they should deny coverage to all Negroes on the grounds that membership in the race by itself constituted an unacceptable actuarial risk.

Emphasis mine.

As evidence, Fredrickson cites The Betrayal of the Negro:
Negro insurance companies evolved from secret fraternal organizations like the Masons, Odd Fellows, St. Luke's, True Reformers and Knights fo Pythias and others which did not have a secret ritual. Their development was made almost imperative by the refusal of most white companies to write policies for Negroes, or to charge them at the same rate as other policyholders. White companies were even less willing to write policies for them after Frederick L. Hoffman, in 1896, published his widely read Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro which sought to prove that Negroes were a poor insurance risk.

This book itself cites The Negro as a Business Man:
This fraternal insurance developed more rapidly, too, after the publication of works presenting the Negroes as poor insurance risks. Chief among these treatises was Frederick L. Hoffman's Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro, published in 1896. The author endeavored to show that because of social diseases, living conditions, and other undesirable circumstances, companies would be unwise to insure Negroes.

I've read the book in question, and I certainly don't think that was the goal of the text, although Hoffman (the author) does say that we need to stop providing aid to blacks and let them fend for themselves. And instead of blaming anything on the environment, he spent several hundred pages explaining how innate race traits make blacks more susceptible to certain diseases, caused them to begin dying off, make them commit crime and lapse into other forms of immorality, etc.* A review of the book is available on-line here.

Hoffman was, however, the chief statistician for the Prudential Insurance Company of America, and in a letter published in The Ultimate Solution of the American Negro Problem, he writes, after detailing how "the physical condition of the race ... has deteriorated":
Our Company has not for a number of years insured Negroes except in cases where we were compelled to do so in compliance with the law. About fifteen years ago, beginning with Massachusetts, a number of Northern States passed anti-discrimination laws, which prohibited companies from charging a higher rate to Negroes than to whites, irrespective of the face of an excessive mortality. The Prudential has not since that time solicited risks among the colored population, but, of course, if such risks offer themselves voluntarily and can pass the required medical examination they are accepted, but such cases are very rare.

In a later work, he wrote of black insurees that "companies cannot be compelled to solicit this class of risks, and very little of this class is now being written."

In retrospect, it doesn't seem so shocking that an insurance agency would not insure a class of people they considered high risk; but still, this struck me as unique.

*Hooffman never explains why he thinks the fact that, for instance, the increase in disease in blacks after the Civil War shows it's an innate race trait of blacks to be susceptible to the disease. You'd think that their innate nature all of a sudden changed after emancipation, rather than their status of living.


The "Liberal" Media

A documentary debuts today in New York and Los Angeles called "Shut Up and Sing", about the Dixie Chicks and the way the country went batshit crazy after one of them said they were ashamed that Bush was from Texas. And the major television networks are refusing to air ads for it, because it portrays the president in a bad light:
NBC responded to a clearance report submitted by the Weinstein Company's media agency saying that the network "cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush."

As Mr. Greenwald says, and this site documents, this is not an isolated incident. There have been several ads that the media has censored because they were in contrast to the administration's message, while at the same time essentially giving free air time to Republican ads.

The ad for "Shut Up and Sing" can be seen here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No gun, no rope, no gas oven...

I guess I'll just have to throw myself in front of a truck to make my head stop hurting. How do you deal with people like this?
Several years ago, I began writing columns questioning the so-called gay rights movement. I prefer to call it the "gay privileges" movement because gays are not presently deprived of anything that is rightfully theirs. A gay man has the same right I have to marry a woman. His waiver of that actual right does not allow him to substitute another "right" he deems more suitable to his needs.

At the time I decided to express such criticism of the gay agenda, I was not fully opposed to gay adoption. Nor was I absolutely opposed to hiring gay grammar school teachers. My criticism of the gay agenda was narrower than it is today and the tone of my criticism was far more subdued. That all changed when the homosexual rights crowd started to circulate some of my early columns.


The job of raising a child is important - as is the job of teaching a child. Both require dealing with emotionally immature beings that require constant supervision and guidance to ensure they will develop into mature adults.

There is nothing wrong with discriminating against a class of people who are afflicted with an emotional or mental illness that is relevant to the completion of a given task – especially if that task is crucial to the well-being of the society at large. That is why I am opposed to the idea of gays adopting or teaching our children.

There are no words. No words to describe the revulsion I feel at reading this, no words to describe the idiocy and complete intellectual vacuity of this opinion, no words to describe the feeling of despair that people like this exist.

And worse, no words to get through to them or show them how wrong they are.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Yeah, I skipped them.

There was a job fair today, so I spent some of last night (technically this morning) looking at the websites of the companies that would be represented. That way I could see who was looking for what, decide which booths to visit and which to avoid, etc.

In the course of my investigation, I looked at the web site of Alliance Group Technologies. It is hideous. The thing looks like something a thirteen year-old might put on their beginner's Geocities account, complete with the same insipid GIFs repeated throughout the page, and blinking text. Here, see for yourself.

That really didn't give me confidence in them as a company. If I had remembered which booth they were, I might have chewed out their representative. Even without the sophomoric images and blinking text that's an ugly layout, but with them it's just painful.

"I don't think he's supposed to be white...." "Of course he's supposed to be white!"

"Color of the Cross" tells a traditional story, focusing on the last 48 hours of Christ's life as told in the Gospels. In this version, though, race contributes to his persecution.

It is the first representation in the history of American cinema of Jesus as a black man.

"It's very important because (the film) is going to provide an image of Jesus for African-Americans that is no longer under the control of whites," says Stephenson Humphries-Brooks, an associate professor of religious studies at New York's Hamilton College and author of "Cinematic Savior: Hollywood's Making of the American Christ."

My brother and I had a conversation about this the last time I was home; both of us find the idea of a black Jesus more idiotic than a white one. There's no reason to believe he's black--whites, at least, have had centuries of indoctrination telling them that he's white. There's no such tradition to back up the claim that he's black. It was made up simply to be contrary.

And this is just plain stupid:
Filmmaker Jean Claude LaMarre set out to change that with "Color of the Cross." LaMarre, who plays Jesus, wrote, directed and financed the film. It will open in 30 theaters in predominantly black neighborhoods.

"Black people in this country are the only race of people who worship a god outside their own image," says LaMarre, 38, adding that showing Christ as a black man is "the most poignant way to deal with the issue of race in this country because it goes to the heart of how we look at the world."

Blacks are the only race who worship a god that's not their race? Please. For starters, what about all those Christians who are neither black, nor white? They've got the same problem of being told Jesus was white, buddy.

Well, it's a start.

Yahoo! Alerts, Breaking News:

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) New Jersey's Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples, but that lawmakers must determine whether the state will honor gay marriage or some other form of civil union.

It's a start. But saying that gays can't get married, that they should be okay with civil unions, isn't giving them the same rights. It's just "equal but separate" all over again.

I don't even watch 24

That's where Jack Bauer is from, right? Well, whoever he is, I found this hilarious:
Everytime you masturbate, Jack Bauer kills a terrorist; not because you masturbated, that's just how often he kills terrorists.

I was laughing for minutes.

I don't really see it.

You know, after all the time I've spent reading rabid frothing against anything that even hints at miscegenation, you'd think I'd be quicker to see it. Apparently some people, including the NAACP, think the latest GOP ad against Harold Ford (Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee, and current Representative) hints at a miscegenetic threat.

After seeing the ad in question, I can't say that I see it. Maybe it's because I'm not familiar with Harold Ford and didn't know he was black before watching this. It's an insipid, vacuous piece of dreck, sure, but anti-miscegenation?

Well, maybe not the ad. But this, surely.

Not that Harold cares much about who gets to marry whom, anyways.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Maybe now he'll be fired.

Rumsfeld says Bush's recent claim of not "staying the course" is nonsense.

Which, of course, it is. But contradicting the president--maybe this will be what finally gets him fired?

A man can dream.

Maybe they've finally shoveled the last of the bullshit?

Bush: "We've never been 'stay the course'".

They're not even trying any more. How contemptuous do you have to be of the American public to expect them to believe that you never were "stay the course", even though you used that exact phrase to describe your actions less than two months ago?

Why do they hate America?

Monday, October 23, 2006

I swear it is.

Apparently Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ.

Makes sense it would be a mulatto.

...that was a joke!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The question answered!

The question of mine that lead to the question of my brother's that lead to this post involved a quote I'd seen in some news article. I cannot find the exact quote now, but it was basically: "Marriage didn't evolve from the belief that women are inferior to men." The context of this was that the speaker was trying to dismiss any claims of equivalence between the state of gay marriage now and interracial marriage some decades ago--the clear implication being that anti-miscegenation laws grew up around the belief that blacks were inferior and whites superior.

And as I detailed in my post, that was surely a large part of it. However, there's more to it than that. The first black servants landed in Virginia in 1619, and the first known punishment of interracial sex occurred a scant 12 years later. The first anti-miscegenation laws were passed before the end of the century--an excellent illustration of this is the interactive map at the official website of Loving Day.

However, beliefs in black inferiority weren't cemented nearly so early. Says George Fredrickson in The Black Image in the White Mind:
In the years immediately before and after 1800, white Americans often revealed by their words and actions that they viewed Negroes as a permanently alien and unassimilable element of the population. Yet articulate whites of that period were characteristically unable, and perhaps even unwilling, to defend their anti-Negro predispositions by presenting anything that resembled a "scientific" or philosophical case for the innate moral and intellectual inferiority of the black race. In the 1780s, Thomas Jefferson, alone among the spokesmen for the American Enlightenment, had moved in this direction by arguing that blacks were probably inferior to whites in certain basic qualities, but he conceded that all the facts were not available and that final judgment on the question ought to be suspended.

"The opinion that they [the blacks] are inferior in the faculties of reason and imagination, must be hazarded with great diffidence," he wrote. No hypothesis could be verified until more scientific investigation of racial differences had been carried out: "I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to whites both in body and mind." In the words of Winthrop Jordan: "Until well into the nineteenth century Jefferson's judgment on that matter, with all its confused tentativeness, stood as the strongest suggestion of inferiority expressed by any native American."

In the 1780s the following states already had anti-miscegenation laws: Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Further, Pennsylvania had one but repealed it in 1780, and New Netherland also had one before it became New York.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Quite a typo, part 2

The pope opened his mouth, so it can't mean good things for gays:

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday urged Italian Catholics to oppose any moves to legalize "weak and deviant" unions in a speech delivered in the Italian city of Verona.

While he did not specifically mention gay marriage, Reuters reports that thousands of listeners at the fairgrounds in Verona's outskirts strongly applauded the two parts of his speech about the family and "other forms of unions".

He urged them to fight "with determination ... the risk of political and legislative decisions that contradict fundamental values and anthropological and ethical principles rooted in human nature," reports Reuters.

The Pope said they had to defend "the family based on matrimony, opposing the introduction of laws on other forms of unions which would only destabilize it and obscure its special character and its social role, which has no substitute."


In another section of his speech, the Pope made another apparent reference to homosexual marriage, stating that the Church had to say "'no' to weak and deviant forms of love," reports Reuters.

Normally I would be shrieking a barrage of obscenities that would make my RA burst into flames, excoriating the pope for being a homophobic imbecile and slandering all gay people and couples.

But I just can't get over the headline: "Pope Attacks Gay Unions, Calling Them 'Weak And Defiant'"

That's an unfortunate typo to make.

At least he's not burning them.

A candidate for Oklahoma State Superintendent of Education, Bill Crozier, is concerned about school shootings--and who wouldn't be?

But you won't believe his proposed solution.

Bill Crozier, a Union City Republican going against incumbent Democrat Sandy Garrett, said he believes old textbooks could be used to stop bullets shot from weapons wielded by school intruders.

If elected, he said he would put thick used textbooks under every desk for students to use in self-defense.

He says he got the idea when, in one school shooting, a student was unharmed because the bullet didn't make it through the books in their backpack. And before you think that he isn't serious about this, he made a 9 1/2 minute video of him and a bunch of friends shooting various stacks of textbooks.

Actually, that is a good question.

Bush: I won't change strategy in Iraq.

(Ironically, this was in my inbox together with pretty much the same news article headlined "Bush to consult on changing Iraq tactics." I assume this means he will consult the generals to make it look like he's doing something, then proceed to ignore all the advice they give him and do whatever wants anyways.)
Bush, at a political fundraiser in Washington for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, railed against Democrats who criticize the war. Calling the Democrats the party of "cut and run," Bush said voters need to ask: "Which political party has a strategy for victory in this war on terror?' "

I don't really know, but I'm guessing that it's not the party that started a war with a country that posed no threat to us, which has only created more terrorists. I'm guessing it's not the party that diverted towards that war tens of thousands of troops and billions of dollars that could have been better spent on counter-terrorism efforts. I'm guessing it's not the party that refuses to end that war. I'm guessing it's not the party that initially refused to create a Department of Homeland Security. I'm guessing it's not the party who alienated all our potential allies in the war on terror. I'm guessing it's not the party that outed our own undercover CIA agents in retaliation for pointing out their lies. I'm guessing it's not the party that insists on torturing innocent people in order to extract false information from them. I'm guessing it's not the party that ignores any and all intelligence that doesn't fit their preconceived plans, but blindly accepts even the most ludicrous and contradicted information that does. I'm guessing it's not the party whose insistence on macho swaggering and refusal to negotiate or use diplomacy allowed North Korea to become a nuclear power. I'm guessing it's not the party who believes we need 100,000 more troops--which we don't have--to go into Iraq, but that we don't need a draft, nor the one that believes the path to victory is "support[ing] our troops and do[ing] what is necessary to achieve victory."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Complex Edition

In the course of formulating an answer to a question of mine, my brother asked me something:

I ask, did genetic inferiority on the part of blacks actually ever come into the Assenting oppinion [sic] in Loveing [sic] V. Virginia? ... Please note, this is straight inferiority, not ability to raise good kids or anything. The charge I mean should be considered akin to beastiality.

The simple answer is "no." The series of lawsuits that ultimately resulted in the decision Loving v. Virginia began in 1963, and the Supreme Court decided the case four years later. By this point, the belief that blacks were inherently inferior to whites was, if not gone, certainly suffering. But further, the main legal contention of the Lovings was that they were being denied equal protection and due process in violation of the 14th amendment--it would have been rather foolish to deny unequal treatment on the basis of race and in the same breath claim one race was inferior to the other.

Mostly the state defended itself by saying that creating legal limits on who may enter into a state of matrimony was a valid power of the state under the 10th amendment, and not one to be encroached on by the federal government. Judge Bazile quoted the Indiana case State v. Gibson approvingly:
If the Federal Government can determine who may marry in a State, there is no limit to its power . . .

Besides which, all prior judicial decisions and the original intention of the framers of the amendment were brought up to show that the 14th amendment did not invalidate anti-miscegenation laws. As Judge Bazile wrote,
Marriage is a subject which belongs to the exclusive control of the States.

In State v. Gibson, 16 Ind. 180, 10 Am. Rep. 42 a statute prohibiting the intermarriage of negroes and white persons was held not to violate any provisions of the 14th Amendment or Civil Rights Laws in the course of a well-reasoned and well-supported discussion of the powers retained by and inherit in the States under the Constitution....

So there was little need or reason to argue that blacks were inherently inferior.

However, the belief in white superiority thoroughly tinges the creation of anti-miscegenation laws, and the common defense, if not the legal one. As the Supreme Court noted in Loving v. Virginia,
In upholding the constitutionality of these provisions in the decision below, the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia referred to its 1955 decision in Naim v. Naim, 197 Va. 80, 87 S. E. 2d 749, as stating the reasons supporting the validity of these laws. In Naim, the state court concluded that the State's legitimate purposes were "to preserve the racial integrity of its citizens," and to prevent "the corruption of blood," "a mongrel breed of citizens," and "the obliteration of racial pride," obviously an endorsement of the doctrine of White Supremacy. Id., at 90, 87 S. E. 2d, at 756.

Even though some made lip service to the notion that these laws would benefit blacks as well, and protect the purity of "both" races, and some probably sincerely believed that, most legislators did not care about the "purity" of any race besides the white--every anti-miscegenation law, with I believe only three exceptions, only prevented members of a non-white race from marrying a member of the white race. In 1924, Virginia passed a law entitled "An Act to Preserve Racial Integrity", which the Supreme Court noted only meant the integrity of the white race.

The need to preserve the white race's integrity stemmed from the belief that the races could all be ranked according to innate characteristics--a hold-over from the belief in the Great Chain of Being. And since whites were the ones doing the judging, naturally they were on top; and blacks, who were opposite of whites, were on the bottom. Sometimes men included the "Hottentots" as below the blacks, but it didn't change the belief that whites were superior to all other races.

It wasn't as radical an idea as it sounds now. The obvious notion that different races had different physical characteristics (which doesn't seem to be so obvious anymore) led to the assumption, and then the dogma, that they have different mental and moral characteristics as well. And if they were different, then one was surely "better" than the other.

There were often discrepancies between various people's rankings of the races. This was due, in some part, to disagreement over how many races there were and who was included among which of them. But it was almost always acknowledged that the white was at the top, and the black at the bottom. The black may not have been physically inferior to the white--some argued he was, some not, and some said he was merely adapted to living in a different terraint--but morally, and especially mentally, he was 'clearly' the white man's inferior.

Probably the pioneer of this was Samuel Morton, whose analysis of his collection of skulls was used to demonstrate that blacks had smaller brains, and hence were less intelligent, than whites. Josiah Nott, for instance, in "The Negro Race: Its Ethnology and History," said:
My lamented friend, the late Dr. S. G. Morton, of Philadelphia, so well known for his great works, Crania Americana and Crania Ægyptiaca, left behind him the largest collection of human skulls in the world, which is still kept in the Academy of Sciences in that city. By numerous measurements of the various races he has established certain facts with regard to the relative sizes of brains that are now admitted by all anatomists, and which have great significance with our subject.
The following table, copied from page 454 of "Nott & Gliddon's Types of Mankind," is based on Dr. Morton's measurements, and shows at a glance the relative size of brains of races in cubic inches:

The critic might here object to an apparent contradiction, viz: The fact that the negro, in these measurements, presents a brain about the size of those of the Chinese and Malay, and larger than that of the Hindoo; although greatly inferior to all in intellect. The same objection might be urged in the measurements of the Taltecan and barbarous tribes of American Indians. But the discrepancy is easily explained. The negro, it is true, in the aggregate, has a brain as capacious as that of the Chinese and Malay, and larger than that of the Hindoo; but in the negro the posterior or animal part of the brain greatly preponderates over the anterior or intellectual lobes. In the other races named the anterior or intellectual lobes of the brain greatly preponderate over the posterior or animal portion. The same facts apply to the semi-civilized and barbarous tribes of Indians.

Not only were the brains smaller in volume, but also in mass, as claimed by William Benjamin Smith in his book, The Color Line: A Brief in Behalf of the Unborn:
From the autopsies of 405 Whites, Blacks, and intermediates, made by Surgeon Ira Russell, the following conclusions have been drawn by Dr. Sanford B. Hunt, surgeon of United States Volunteers in the Civil War: "(1) The standard weight of the negro brain is over five ounces less than that of the white. (2) Slight intermixture of white blood diminishes the negro brain from its normal standard, but when the infusion of white blood amounts to one-half (mulatto), it determines a positive increase in the negro brain, which, in the quadroon, is only three ounces below the white standard. (3) The percentage of exceptionally small brains is largest among negroes having but a small proportion of white blood. Of these 405, there were 141 Blacks, and only twenty-four Whites; the others were mixed. We may omit these latter, and may substitute the results of 278 other autopsies of Whites, and form this table:

Here we observe: Dr. Hunt's (1) does not seem warranted; the number (24) of White brains weighed seems too small. But the weights of the 278 Whites show that the smaller weight of the Negro brain is a fact. More extensive observation shows that the Black average is about four ounces below the white. The absence of very large brains among the Blacks comes out most distinctly. There were no Black brains weighing over fifty-six ounces, only five weighing so much as fifty-five; whereas, eight White brains weighd over sixty ounces, and forty weighed over fifty-five. Likewise of the twenty-four Whites, only one fell under forty-five ounces, but forty-one of the 141 Blacks; also, only forty-seven of the 278 Whites; it is plain, then, that large brains predominate among the Whites and small ones among the Blacks.

There's a lot more out there of people either trying to prove, or simply brazenly asserting, that blacks are inferior to white. But I want to finish this while it's still Friday and you don't want to read all that, so I'll hurry along now.

Connecting this all back to anti-miscegenation laws was the belief that mulattoes would be inferior to whites (it was sometimes argued that they would be inferior to blacks as well, but more often assumed they'd be intermediate). As the children of whites, they stood to inherit white society and the burden of continuing it; but as the inferiors of whites, they weren't up to the task. Among the beliefs of white superiority was that whites, alone, were capable of scientific and cultural advancement--only whites created civilizations. Any other civilization was either mere imitation of whites, a creation of whites that had been inherited, but never improved, by lesser races, or was really no civilization at all. A 1927 letter to the editor in the New York Times, entitled simply "Caucasian Superiority", read:
The colored races have been on the earth thousands of years longer than the Caucasian and have never been able to establish a civilization nor even to maintain one established by the white race. The old civilization of India and China of which the professor speaks, to say nothing of Syria, Babylonia, Persia and Egypt, were founded by the Caucasians and only fell because race integrity could not be maintained.

Go over the map of the world and it will be found that the degree of civilization existing in each is directly proportioned to the amount of white blood in the make-up of the people.

And three years later, a letter was published and titled "The Survival of the White Race", as the author's rebuttal to a review of his work, "Can the White Race Survive?":
If Dr. Stronach had read the highly commendable works of Gregory Mason of the Mason-Spinden-New York Times expedition, of Dr. Thomas Gann and of Dr. Morley, he would not be so ready to doubt my assertion that the builders of ancient American civilizations were whites and disappeared, with their great culture, for no other reason than that of amalgamation with an inferior black slave type, producing the brown-skinned Indian. Many decades ago Short found skulls in pre-Inca ruins with blond and red hair and wondered what became of those old white peoples. It should be a mystery no longer....

I reassert, with full assurance that an unbiased student seeking the hard facts of truth will bear me out, that in every instance where a civilized culture was developed to later fall away from the way of progress the one prevailing cause for such decline was racial deterioration through the amalgamation of the white builders with an intellectually inferior black species, resulting in various world-parts in the so-called "races," which are nothing else than myriad gradations of mixture between the original white and the now non-existent proto-negro.

Interestingly, the author of that letter, declared that "There is absolutely no basis in biology for the assertion that a people of the white race, while remaining pure, have a 'birth, growth, decay and death.'" Apparently he believed that the white race would go on eternally were it not for miscegenation.

This need to protect the infiltration of white blood with black also explains, to a small degree, the sexism involved in miscegenation. Whereas white men could generally get away with sleeping with black women, the reverse was much more readily condemned. I cannot at the moment find any quote to this effect, but the argument was sometimes put forth that white men could sleep with black women because all that did was inject white blood into black. But white women should not sleep with black men because women, as bearers of children, were guardians of the race--a white woman having a mulatto child would have allowed the injection of black blood into the white race.

I have rambled for a long while, I think, but I hope the question has been answered.

[Edit] I found a quote that white men sleeping with black women wasn't as bad as white women sleeping with black men.
[Edit] I discuss the author of the book Can the White Race Survive? a little bit more in this post.


It's time for another "Good Idea / Bad Idea"

Uri Geller is seeking an "heir" on TV:
A reality television show being produced in
Israel, where Geller grew up, will feature 10 contestants vying for the title of "heir" to the world-famous celebrity psychic.

"The format will be something like 'American Idol'. We will keep the performances that are most riveting and amazing," Geller told Reuters Wednesday, adding that viewers with "intuitive powers" will also be invited to call in and compete.

The last paragraph is kind of odd:
"This is not a show where people have to prove to me that they are for real," Geller said, adding that he has no plans to retire. "I just want to be amazed."

So... it doesn't matter whether they're "real" psychics or not, as long as what they do looks impressive? That seems to scream "scam artist" to me.

I just pray that James Randi will be one of the judges!

Oh, and remember the proposed invisibility cloak from May? Well, there's apparently been some success on that front:

U.S. and British scientists said on Thursday they had found a way to hide an object from microwave radiation in a first step towards making a what they hope will be an invisibility cloak.

Such a device could be used to elude radar, but the researchers, like many scientists, are not working with any particular goal in mind but hope its uses will become apparent later.

"It's not quite Harry Potter," said David Smith of Duke University in North Carolina, referring to the child's fictional character who can conceal himself in a magical cloak.

"It's not exactly perfect -- we can do better -- but it demonstrates the mechanism, the way the waves swirl around the centre region where you want to conceal things," he said.

I just have to add that when I was first reading this, I glanced over the phrase "David Smith of Duke University" and read that as "David Duke." I was rather puzzled as to why they interviewed him for this article.

The first cloak was a two-dimensional version and researchers have already started work on a three-dimensional version. They also want to broaden the range of wavelengths that it can block, although making something invisible to the human eye would present a much greater challenge.

"It is very unlikely that we could do it with this technology in the visible (spectrum)," Smith said. It would have to be scaled down to nanotechnology levels, but the metals involved behave differently on that scale, he said.

But this just confuses me:
In a very speculative application, he added, "one could imagine 'cloaking' acoustic waves, so as to shield a region from vibration or seismic activity."

Um, what? This material seems to bend electromagnetic waves around it--how would that help with vibrations?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Too soon?

Steve Irwin was just the beginning:

An 81-year-old man is in critical condition after a bizarre attack by a stingray, which leapt out of the water into a boat and stung him in the chest.

Alternate lead-in: "Oh god! Now they've tasted human flesh!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Infernal paradox

Men are responsible for the existence of the human race, says blowhard:

Time magazine did one of those Evolution updates last week, "How We Became Human," on its cover. There wasn't too much new -- just how little we differ genetically from chimpanzees.

Yet there was one sentence that stood out like a lightning bolt. It has enormous implications for understanding how human societies evolved and why they sometimes find it difficult to get along with each other. Here it is:
[T]he principle of gene-by-gene comparison [between species] remains a powerful one, and just a year ago geneticists got hold of a long-awaited tool for making those comparisons in bulk. Although the news was largely overshadowed by the impact of Hurricane Katrina...the publication of a rough draft of the chimp genome in the journal Nature immediately told scientists several important things. First they learned that overall, the sequences of base pairs that make up both species' [i.e., humans and chimps] genomes differ by 1.23% -- a ringing confirmation of the 1970 estimates -- and that the most striking divergence between them occurs, intriguingly, in the Y chromosome, present only in males.

Did you see that? It deserves much more attention than Time was willing to give it. Basically, the point is that, in crossing the little evolutionary distance that exists between chimps and humans, most of the changes occurred in males. In other words, what differentiates us from our mammalian relatives is changes that have occurred in the male of the species.


What has changed is the role of males. Among chimps, males hang out in groups, form alliances, forage together, and do a lot of bickering over status. They do not participate at all in child rearing. By the time hunting-and-gathering tribes arrive, however, men have been folded into the family. Monogamy predominates and both parents participate in child rearing. The extraordinary innovation is "fatherhood," a role that doesn't really exist elsewhere in nature.


The evolution of human intelligence would have been impossible without the change in male role and the adoption of monogamy. For that reason, it is not at all surprising to find that the key genetic changes have occurred on the male chromosome.

Ignoring his horrid science and complete ignorance of family structures in other species, which Professor Myers eviscerates, his conclusion leads to a headache-inducing conundrum:

So what does all this suggest for the present? First, it says that feminism, in its most obviously primitive forms, is undermining human evolution. Everywhere in the Western world, the emancipation of women has initially led to rising divorce rates and plummeting births.

But if Satan is behind the theory of evolution... and Satan is behind feminism... then is Satan undermining himself?


The Great Leader commands it!

Optimus Prime wants you!


Shut up, Godwin.

Jews are a cancer, and Muslims a virus:
On the October 16 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz declared: "Islam is a virus. It is a deadly virus that is spreading throughout Europe and the Western world," adding that "we're going to wait far too long to develop a vaccine to find a way to fight this." Later in the broadcast, Boortz, who stated that he "would be willing to put money that Spain will be operating under Islamic law within 10 years," predicted "that Europe is doomed, and America's going to have a tough time surviving in anything close to its present form after America falls to Islam -- to the Muslim creeping virus."

Is it fair to compare these people to Nazis yet?

Equal-Opportunity Damnation

I think I've had an epiphany--I finally get Satanists. When you think back on it, Satan has been at the forefront of every civil rights movement:

Satan has warred mightily against this region, and has effectively neutralized it through the influence of principalities of rationalism, humanism, intellectual pride and spiritual arrogance. Massachusetts, as well as all of New England, has become a cemetery of churches, a breeding ground for heretical doctrine, and intellectual furnace energizing attitudes of godlessness, rational arrogance and secularism. It is no coincidence, of course, that something as dramatically distant from the Christian worldview as gay marriage would be originated in this region.

Plus, as you can see, Satan is responsible for the spread of "the influence of .. rationalism, [and] humanism".

Now doesn't he sound like a great guy? And a lot less blood on his hands than God, too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Worst Person in the World

...to borrow Olbermann's schtick, is Bill O'Reilly:

On the October 11 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that it "is never the case" that a "mother's life is in danger" during the course of a pregnancy.


From the October 11 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: ... South Dakota, as you know, has voted to outlaw abortions unless the mother's life is in danger, which is never the case, because you can always have a C-section and do those kinds of things.


Forty-five percent of Americans, according to a new CNN poll -- 45 percent say all abortions should be outlawed unless the mother's going to die -- or catastrophic health consequences, which again, is never the case -- never.

Oh, no, of course not:

JH: An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg comes down the fallopian tube and gets stuck. It grows there, and will, uh, y'know, will not give birth. It will explode. The fallopian tube will burst. And, uh, then you'll have, y'know, a massive internal bleed. When that happens, the mother's life is at serious risk.

[Edit] I called it!

I am a horrible person.

But I laughed for several minutes after reading this.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You've done enough."

British universities encouraged to spy on 'Asian-looking' students

Lecturers and staff at British universities will be asked to spy on "Asian-looking" and Muslim students they suspect of supporting terrorist acts and involvement in Islamic extremism, The Guardian reported.

Citing a document drawn up by the British education ministry, the newspaper said universities had been warned of talent-spotting by terrorists on campuses across the country, and of students being "groomed" for extremism.

The 18-page document, which also acknowledges "concerns about police targeting certain sections of the student population (eg Muslims)", has apparently been sent to official bodies for consultation within the last month.


The Guardian also said that the document encourages universities to proactively report students to the special branches of local police forces that deal with matters to do with national security.

The report also suggests universities make checks on external speakers invited to give lectures by their student Islamic societies, which it says can often be "more radical speakers or preachers".

This alone is bad enough. As the president of the National Union of Students notes, this reeks of McCarthy-era witch-hunts. But what makes this so much worse is this quote:

It identifies Muslim students from "segregated" backgrounds as more likely to support extremist stances than their counterparts who are "integrated into wider society".

So they have noticed that Muslims who are viewed suspiciously--segregated, viewed as foreigners and outsiders--are the ones more likely to become extremists. And the government, in its infinite wisdom, decides the solution is to view them with even more suspicion.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"What does he look like?" "... Bald, with a bone on his head!"

This strikes me as being a mite over-sensitive:

THE immediate future of Israel's ambassador to Canberra hangs in the balance after he reportedly told a newspaper that Australians and Israelis stood out in Asia because "we don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes".

If Naftali Tamir is found to have made "this grave and unacceptable remark", the Israeli Foreign Ministry said, there would be no return to "business as usual".

The Federal Government refused to comment, but Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, said yesterday: "If accurate, these comments are completely unacceptable. We welcome reports that the Israeli Foreign Ministry is dealing with this incident as a matter of top priority."


"We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians," he reportedly said. "We don't have the yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are ... basically the white race."

Perhaps it's because I'm a white devil, but I don't really see this as all that big of a deal. Sure, it was a monumentally stupid way to phrase things, and it's ethnologically ignorant (Indians certainly aren't yellow-skinned, and I don't know if Israelis would be considered "white"), but all he seems to be saying is that Israelis and Australians don't look like, say, Chinese or Thai. Not exactly revelatory, I'd say.

At any rate, he was apparently recalled over this.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: In the Beginning Edition

Atrios has Friday catblogging. Bob Harris has Friday pudublogging. John Aravosis has Friday orchidblogging. Such a concentrated injection of adorableness into the blogosphere surely threatens to destroy it--some of Mr. Harris's posts alone contain fatal doses of cuteness.

So to balance such posts, I introduce Friday Dead Racist Blogging.

As behooves the beginning of Friday Dead Racist Blogging, I'm going to discuss the beginnings of slavery in the United States. One of the tactics used by creationists and intelligent design proponents to discredit evolution is to claim that evolution is somehow responsible for all the world's ills: Hitler, slavery, racism, sexism, socialism, Communism, social Darwinism, all allegedly have their roots in Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Here is one such example, by Hans Zeiger of WorldNetDaily:
Evolutionary biology was the foundation for a theory of race that subordinated blacks to whites; there was much "proof" behind the theory until the common proofs of common humanity prevailed. Evolutionist Thomas Huxley had the "facts" when he asserted that "no rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the average white man." Henry Osborne, professor of biology and zoology at Columbia University a century ago, said, "The standard of intelligence of the average adult Negro is similar to that of the 11-year-old youth of the species Homo sapiens."

Never mind that slavery was in place for centuries before Darwin ever proposed a theory of evolution. Never mind that both quotes offered by Mr. Zeiger were just variations on themes that had been espoused ad infinitum by the time Darwin published. Never mind that there doesn't appear to be any reference to evolution in either of these racist statements. What I want to discuss are some of the beginnings of slavery.

Slavery in the United States in its infancy was not a purely racial institution, but also a religious one--perhaps more so religious than racial in the beginning. I had a notion this might be true for a while, but did not know enough to support such a contention. However, Winthrop Jordan provided some background in his book, White Over Black: American Attitudes Towards the Negro, 1550-1812. He describes that the equivalent of slavery in England had all but disappeared by mid- to late-sixteenth century.
How had it all happened? Among those observers who tried to explain, there was agreement that Christianity was primarily responsible. They thought of villenage as a mitigation of ancient bond slavery and that the continuing trend to liberty was animated, as Sir Thomas Smith said in a famous passage, by the "perswasion . . . of Christians not to make nor keepe his brother in Christ, servile, bond and underling for ever unto him, as a beast rather than as a man."

As Jordan notes among a list of qualities that Englishmen associated with slavery, "Slaves were infidels or heathens." Historically this was also true, Jordan notes: "prior to the discoveries [of Africa] [slavery] was primarily a function of the religious wars against the Moors."

Since blacks were heathens, slavery was that much more permissible. Early slave laws, distinguishing between the colonists and their black servants, often refer to whites as "christian". For example, Virginia's 1662 law "Negro womens children to serve according to the condition of the mother" reads in part:
[I]f any christian shall commit fornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the fines imposed by the former act.

Sometimes the colonists specified English and other Christians in opposition to negroes. The Upper House of the Maryland Assembly said to the Lower House in 1664,
This howse desires to knowe what the lower howse intends shall become of such weomen of the English or other Christian nacons being free that are now allready marryed to negros or other Slaves

In 1681 Maryland passed "An Act concerning Negroes & Slaves", which read in part:
And for as much a diuerse ffreeborne Englishe or Whitewoman ... to the disgrace not only of the English butt allso of many other Christian Nations, doe Intermarry with Negroes & Slaues ....

Of course, this did not last long--slaves were quickly converted to Christianity. Blacks sometimes sued for their freedom on the basis that they were Christian, and hence unable to be slaves, as in the Connecticut case Abda v. Richards. People began to withhold from baptising their slaves out of fear that doing so would free them, so the colonies, contrary to the idea of not holding a "brother in Christ" in bondage, decided that such an action did not free black slaves. Virginia passed "An act declaring that baptisme of slaves doth not exempt them from bondage" in 1667, and 37 years later Maryland passed an "Act relating to Servants and Slaves":
And for as much as many people have neglected to baptize their Negroes or Suffer them to be baptized on a vain Apprehension that Negroes by receiving the Sacrament of Baptism are manumitted and sett free Be it hereby further declared and enacted ... that no Negro or Negroes by receiving the holy Sacrament of Baptisme is hereby manumitted or sett free nor hath any right or title to freedom or Manumission more than he or they had before any law Usage or Custom to the contrary notwithstanding

In fact, in 1706, New York passed "An act to encourage the baptizing of negro, Indian, and mulatto slaves":
Whereas divers of her majesty's good subjects, inhabitants of this colony, now are, and have been willing that such negroe, Indian, and mulatto slaves, who belong to them, and desire the same, should be baptized, but are deterred and hindered therefrom by reason of a groundless opinion that hath spread itself in this colony, that by the baptizing of such negro, Indian, or mulatto slave, they would become free, and ought to be set at liberty. In order therefore to put an end to all such doubts and scruples as have, or hereafter at any time may arise about the same--Be it enacted, ... that the baptizing of a negro, Indian, or mulatto slave shall not be any cause or reason for the setting them or any of them at liberty.

Of course, after it became clear that being a Christian was not sufficient to be free, and being a heathen was not necessary to be a slave, another qualification had to be found for America's slaves. Either that or give them up--which they weren't terribly willing to do.

The text of all statutes was taken from Byron Curti Martyn, Racism in the United States: A History of the Anti-Miscegenation Legislation and Litigation.


Guess California won't give us a repeat of Perez anytime soon

Speed Bump for California Nups

McGuiness, joined in a concurring opinion by Justice Joanne C. Parrilli, found that the right of same-sex couples to marry was not a "fundamental right" for purposes of state constitutional analysis, and that sexual orientation was not a "suspect classification" in weighing the discriminatory effect of maintaining the current law. Accordingly, that law deserves a strong degree of deference and the state need show merely a rational basis in justifying it.

Compare that quote with what the Supreme Court has said:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888).

At the heart of the argument between majority and dissent is the understanding of what is at stake in the case. The majority says that the plaintiffs are seeking judicial recognition of a new constitutional right of same-sex marriage. In sharp contrast, the dissent insists that they are just asking for recognition that they are entitled to be included within the fundamental right to marry already long recognized by the courts.

*tries to write an introductory sentence that doesn't involve swearing*

What, a "new" constitutional right to marry someone of one's choice? I'm sure the courts have never declared something like that exists ever before! Honestly, by denying same-sex couples the opportunity to marry is not an abridgment of a fundamental right, they're saying only that they do not believe gay couples have the same rights as straight ones. Nothing more. Furthermore, even if this involved a "new" right, the rationale behind their denying such a right is simply absurd:

"Courts simply do not have the authority to create new rights, especially when doing so involves changing the definition of so fundamental an institution as marriage," wrote McGuiness. "Judges are not free to rewrite statutes to say what they would like, or what they believe to be better social policy."

Except that courts "create new rights" all the time. The "right" to learn foreign languages, the "right" to marital privacy, the "right" to use contraception, the "right" to send one's child to a private school, the "right" to pester people at home with fliers, and so many others.

McGuiness insisted this was not a situation of "separate but equal" since sexual orientation is not a suspect classification as is race. Kline's telling response was that sexual orientation discrimination should be found to be constitutionally suspect.

Ignoring whether or not sexual orientation should be a suspect class--I think it should be, but I don't believe any court has ruled such, so the point is moot--this logic is horrible. It's okay to treat people unequally as long as they're not a "suspect class"? Could you create schools only for left-handed people, then? Or force blondes to drink from different water fountains than red-heads?

And finally, the article's conclusion:

Ultimately, the majority’s reasoning collapses on itself due to internal inconsistency. At one point, it acknowledges that domestic partnership is not equal to marriage, at the next it insists that there is no discrimination because the law merely reflects a desire to preserve historical institutions, while at another point it concedes that the historical institution of marriage has changed substantially over time.

Which about sums up everything. "We're not treating you equally, but there's no discrimination. And we want to preserve a 'tradition' that's only fifty or so years old."


Thursday, October 12, 2006

U.S. brings first treason case in 50 years:

A California-born convert to Islam, accused of making a series of al Qaeda propaganda videos, became on Wednesday the first American charged with treason since the World War Two era, U.S. Justice Department officials said.

Fugitive Adam Gadahn, 28, who is believed to be in Pakistan, was accused of treason, which carries a maximum punishment of death, and providing material support to al Qaeda, they said.

According to the charges, Gadahn appeared in five videos broadcast between October 2004 and September 11, 2006, giving al Qaeda "aid and comfort ... with the intent to betray the United States."

"Gadahn gave himself to our enemies in al Qaeda for the purpose of being a central part of their propaganda machine," Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told a news conference.

"By making this choice, we believe Gadahn committed treason -- perhaps the most serious offense for which any person can be tried under our Constitution," he said.

McNulty acknowledged that Gadahn appeared to be involved only in propaganda for the Islamic militant group, not in planning any attacks.


Sunday, October 8, 2006

More conscience clause nonsense--this time from Canada:

A proposed Tory bill that would provide protection to officials and churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages underlines a growing conflict between gay rights and religious freedom.

Across the country there are a number of cases in which religious views critical of homosexuality are clashing with the human rights demands of gays and lesbians.

In Manitoba, marriage commissioners who didn't want to marry same-sex couples because of their faith have been forced to resign, and a Catholic men's group came under fire for refusing to rent its hall to lesbians for their wedding.

In Ontario, a printer ran into trouble when he refused to print pro-gay brochures.

This is just "speculation" for now, though.

Oh, and, read this bizarre defense of Foley.

Friday, October 6, 2006

This irks me.

Such pliosaurs are known from remains in countries including Britain and Argentina but no complete skeleton has been found, he said. The skull of the pliosaur -- perhaps a distant relative to Scotland's mythical Loch Ness monster -- was among the biggest on record.

A nice article about the discovery of plesiosaur and ichthyosaur fossils--then a sudden, random injection of "By the way, the Loch Ness monster may be real."

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

In the wake of the Mark Foley scandal, I've seen some reprehensible comments. I've seen people wave this as "proof" that gays are sexual predators and/or pedophiles (never mind that the page was 16; I hardly think that counts as "pedophilia"); I've seen them say this was a Democratic plot. But I think this takes the cake.

Foley recently checked himself into rehab for alcoholism, and is now claiming that he was molested by a priest when he was 15. Which is tragic, but hardly mitigating. But I find what Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said in response abhorrent:

[W]hy didn't you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?

Such vaunted compassion.
Apparently God's new slogan is: "Believe in me or you'll get shot."

Probably more effective than "I sent my own son to a torturous death! How does that not show love and compassion for all mankind? Start sucking up to me!"

Sunday, October 1, 2006

So, it's becoming quite an exciting time for people who despise the Constitution.

First, we have Congress passing a law stripping people of habeas corpus.

Then we had Congress pass a law saying, basically, that if people are violating the establishment clause of the Constitution, they are exempt from a number of legal punishments. One among these is having the loser of a court case pay for the expenses:
So what Bambenek is really saying, though he may not realize it, is that when the government arrests someone for preaching on a public sidewalk, for example, that person should have to pay up to millions of dollars in order to get the government to stop doing that. When a school tells a 6th grader that he can't pass out candy canes with a religious message on them, and thus violates the student's rights, that child's family should have to pay the full cost of making the school stop violating his rights. And if the family can't afford it? Well, that's just too bad.

And now I find out that South Dakota is contemplating teaching creationism in its schools. Not intelligent design, mind--creationism. They're not even playing at subterfuge anymore.
Resolution 16 was approved by the Republican State Convention this year:
Whereas, education on species origin is a vital aspect in the understanding of nature and the purpose of human life; and,
Whereas, evolution is a theory that is taught in public schools as fact and at the exclusion of all other theories; and
Whereas, the South Dakota Republican Party believes there are other plausible theories, including creationism;
Therefore, be it resolved, the South Dakota Republican Party supports efforts to expand beyond evolution the knowledge, scope, and debate in public education on the theories of species origin.

It's not as if these people are unaware of the unconstitutionality of their actions, either:
Gov. Mike Rounds' spokesman, Mark Johnston, also pointed out there would be legal roadblocks, noting that both the state constitution and state law frown on religion in schools. Of course, that didn't stop Rounds from signing the abortion ban, acknowledged by everyone to be counter to U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

See that? They simply don't care about the Supreme Law of the land. They don't care about the separation of powers. The legislative branch thinks they should be able to ignore the judicial branch, and the executive branch thinks they should be able to ignore the legislative and judicial branches.

And guess what? That's not all! No, in South Carolina--not to be outdone by anyone--a city official of Charleston is calling for the sterilization of bad parents:
A City Council member, reacting to a video store holdup believed to have been carried out by children, says parents who can't properly care for their kids should be sterilized.

"We pick up stray animals and spay them," Larry Shirley said in a story published Saturday by The Post and Courier of Charleston. "These mothers need to be spayed if they can't take care of theirs. Once they have a child and it's running the street, to let them continue to have children is totally unacceptable."

Now, of course, this is just one man, as opposed to an entire congress. I don't think he's even proposed any bills towards those ends. But how crazy do you have to be to recommend sterilizing people? What is this, the 1920s?