Thursday, November 30, 2006

Best quip I could think of

New evidence that Jesus is gay.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's official!

A study by a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University says that the mentally ill were more likely to vote for Bush:
[Christopher] Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse’s study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.

They're also more ignorant:
Knowledge of current issues, government and politics were assessed on a 12-item scale devised by the study authors.

"Bush supporters had significantly less knowledge about current issues, government and politics than those who supported Kerry," the study says.

The reason behind this trend, the author puts forth, is that "psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Lucifer's a dirty hippy

Now we know why Satan has killed so many fewer people than God, adding to my conclusion that he's really a great guy. He's a pacifist!
DENVER (Nov. 27) - A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.

See? The peace sign is a symbol of Satan. I think that's fairly damning evidence.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Will anyone tell Santorum?

The right wing is finally beginning to realize that Stephen Colbert isn't one of them.

The comments in the original piece are amusing, in a mind-numbing sort of way:
The sad thing is I have several college educated liberal friends who think that the Daily Show is good for news. They think that it is REAL news with jokes. They dont realize that they make up most of this stuff out of whole cloth. This is what the left has to do, they have to make up news to keep their consitutents uninformed. The left fears the informed voter.

Yes, they make up the news. And doctor all the video clips they show along with it, I suppose.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Define 'violence'

Former spy Alexander Litvinenko died recently of radiation poisoning from polonium 210. According to a friend, on his death-bed he accused Putin of involvement.

According to Yahoo! Alerts,
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is a tragedy, but he sees no definitive proof it was a "violent death."

Um, no? He just stumbled across polonium-210 then, did he?:
One ton of uranium ore contains only about 100 micrograms (0.0001 grams) of polonium.

Due to its scarcity, polonium is usually produced by bombarding bismuth-209 with neutrons in a nuclear reactor. This forms bismuth-210, which has a half-life of 5 days. Bismuth-210 decays into polonium-210 through beta decay. Milligram amounts of polonium-210 have been produced by this method.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Colored Edition

While I have been discussing coloreds all this time, in Friday Dead Racist Blogging thus far I have only discussed racism against blacks. I have in fact noticed a tendency to equate "racism" with "whites discriminating against blacks"; at least once I have read the phrase "the two races", as though no others existed. So today, I bring you Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau, a very influential dead racist, discussing the three—count them, three—races of the world:

I HAVE shown the unique place in the organic world occupied by the human species, the profound physical, as well as moral, differences separating it from all other kinds of living creatures. Considering it by itself, I have been able to distinguish, on physiological grounds alone, three great and clearly marked types, the black, the yellow, and the white. However uncertain the aims of physiology may be, however meagre its resources, however defective its methods, it can proceed thus far with absolute certainty.

The negroid variety is the lowest, and stands at the foot of the ladder. The animal character, that appears in the shape of the pelvis, is stamped on the negro from birth, and foreshadows his destiny. His intellect will always move within a very narrow circle. He is not however a mere brute, for behind his low receding brow, in the middle of his skull, we can see signs of a powerful energy, however crude its objects. If his mental faculties are dull or even non-existent, he often has an intensity of desire, and so of will, which may be called terrible. Many of his senses, especially taste and smell, are developed to an extent unknown to the other two senses.

The very strength of his sensations is the most striking proof of his inferiority. All food is good in his eyes, nothing disgusts or repels him. What he desires is to eat, to eat furiously, and to excess; no carrion is too revolting to be swallowed by him. It is the same with odours; his inordinate desires are satisfied with all, however coarse or even horrible. To these qualities may be added an instability and capriciousness of feeling, that cannot be tied down to any single object, and which, so far as he is concerned, do away with all distinctions of good and evil. We might even say that the violence with which he pursues the object that has aroused his senses and inflamed his desires is a guarantee of the desires being soon satisfied and the object forgotten. Finally, he is equally careless of his own life and that of others: he kills willingly, for the sake of killing; and this human machine, in whom it is so easy to arouse emotion, shows, in face of suffering, either a monstrous indifference or a cowardice that seeks a voluntary refuge in death.

The yellow race is the exact opposite of this type. The skull points forward, not backward. The forehead is wide and bony, often high and projecting. The shape of the face is triangular, the nose and chin showing none of the coarse protuberances that mark the negro. There is further a general proneness to obesity, which, though not confined to the yellow type, is found there more frequently than in the others. The yellow man has little physical energy, and is inclined to apathy; he commits none of the strange excesses so common among negroes. His desires are feeble, his will-power rather obstinate than violent; his longing for material pleasures, though constant, is kept within bounds. A rare glutton by nature, he shows far more discrimination in his choice of food. He tends to mediocrity in everything; he understands easily enough anything not too deep or sublime. He has a love of utility and a respect for order, and knows the value of a certain amount of freedom. He is practical, in the narrowest sense of the word. He does not dream or theorize; he invents little, but can appreciate and take over what is useful to him. His whole desire is to live in the easiest and most comfortable way possible. The yellow races are thus clearly superior to the black. Every founder of a civilization would wish the backbone of his society, his middle class, to consist of such men. But no civilized society could be created by them; they could not supply its nerve-force, or set in motion the springs of beauty and action.

We come now to the white peoples. These are gifted with reflective energy, or rather with an energetic intelligence. They have a feeling for utility, but in a sense far wider and higher, more courageous and ideal, than the yellow races; a perseverance that takes account of obstacles and ultimately finds a mean of overcoming them; a greater physical power, an extraordinary instinct for order, not merely as a guarantee of peace and tranquility, but as an indispensable means of self-preservation. At the same time, they have a remarkable, and even extreme, love of liberty, and are openly hostile to the formalism under which the Chinese are glad to vegetate, as well as to the strict despotism which is the only way of governing the negro.

The white races are, further, distinguished by an extraordinary attachment to life. They know better how to use it, and so, as it would seem, set a greater price on it; both in their own persons and those of others, they are more sparing of life. When they are cruel, they are very conscious of their cruelty; it is very doubtful whether such a consciousness exists in the negro. At the same time, they have discovered reasons why they should surrender this busy life of theirs, that is so precious to them. The principal motive is honour, which under various names has played an enormous part in the ideas of the race from the beginning. I need hardly add that the word honour, together with all the civilizing influences connoted by it, is unknown to both the yellow and the black man.

On the other hand, the immense superiority of the white peoples in the whole field of the intellect is balanced by an inferiority in the intensity of their sensations. In the world of the senses, the white man is far less gifted than the others, and so is less tempted and less absorbed by considerations of the body, although in physical structure he is far the most vigorous.

Such are the three constituent elements of the human race.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Damn you, harlot! Science and I know what we're doing!"

Morton thought he could discern "the osseous framework of the famous upswept buttocks of the "Hottentot Venus" and hoped he might have an opportunity "to examine this structure more carefully, and report the facts to the Society."

In other words, he was looking for a grant to go trollin' for booty.

Now that's science.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Rotten pears

If you grew up around my step-father, you'll probably have heard that some study showed that people can affect the output of a pseudo-random number generator with their thoughts.

I recently learned about what I believe was the group he was talking about: PEAR, the Princeton Engineering Anomaly Research Center.

As might be expected, their work is a lot of hooey. They basically admit that all their data is statistically insignificant, then cull it to create specific subsets that show "interesting" results.

Science shows the way!

What's more dangerous than Giant Killer Bees from Mars?

Robotic Killer Bees from Israel
Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, according to an Israeli newspaper.

The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet," would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said on Friday.

I suppose if Uncle Frank's proposal ever got off the ground, we'd have Giant Robotic Killer Bees Sent to Mars by a Jew, which would clearly combine the most vicious talents of the other bees.

Sexual hypocrisy isn't limited to closeted Republicans

In 1895, the constitutional convention of South Carolina included as a delegate Robert Smalls, a black man who had been a state Representative and Senator, as well as a federal Representative during Reconstruction. During the convention they considered a portion of law reading "The marriage of white persons with a Negro or a mulatto, or person who shall have one-eighth or more of Negro blood, shall be unlawful and void." Mr. Smalls proposed an amendment that would make illegal not only interracial marriages, but also interracial cohabitation, by appending to the above sentence the phrase "and any white person who lives and cohabits with a Negro, mulatto, or person who shall have one-eighth or more of Negro blood, shall be disqualified from holding any office of emolument or trust in this State, and the offspring of any such living or cohabiting shall bear the name of the father, and shall be entitled to inherit and acquire property the same as if they were legitimate."

He then gave a speech to the delegates, wherein he said:
If a Negro should improperly approach a white woman, his body would be hanging on the nearest tree filled with air holes before daylight the next morning--and perhaps properly so. If the same rule were applied on the other side, and white men who insulted or debauched Negro women were treated likewise, this Convention would have to be adjourned sine die for lack of a quorum.

Hee hee.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

"Do they contain real girl scouts?"

I'm not sure this article could be given a better title: Sausages affected by draconian trade laws
A SPICY sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned the manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.

The sausages will now have to be labelled Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages to avoid any confusion among customers.

Now we know the real reason that Congress renamed their food to "Freedom Fries"--there weren't any real French in them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Someone needs a history lesson.

Via Atrios, I find this perfect example of zombie racism:
For years, it was an open secret at North Dallas' Preston Hollow Elementary School: Even though the school was overwhelmingly Hispanic and black, white parents could get their children into all-white classes. And once placed, the students would have little interaction with the rest of the students.

The result, a federal judge has ruled, was that principal Teresa Parker "was, in effect, operating, at taxpayer's expense, a private school for Anglo children within a public school that was predominantly minority."


The judge also had sharp words for the district's attorneys, who argued that segregation would cause no harm to the minority students because their teachers used the same curriculum as those teaching white students.

"The court is baffled that in this day and age, that [DISD relied] on what is, essentially, a 'separate but equal' argument," the judge wrote.



Well, now I'm even happier that I made that Google Books downloader.

[Edit] Hrm. Some of the scans of Google Books are fairly poor... but I've found a better source.

So now I have to modify my downloader to work with this other site, as well. Sigh.

Ensoulment explained

In Minnesota, a state senate seat was won by incumbent Satveer Chaudhary, a practicing Hindu. His opponent, Rae Hart Anderson, sent a bizarre e-mail after the election that briefly congratulates Anderson in the first paragraph, then spends the next seven trying to convert him to Christianity.

Anderson couldn't be reached to comment, but his former campaign manager had some words on the matter:
Later in the afternoon, Anderson's former campaign manager, Barbara Black, told us Anderson wrote the e-mail because "Chaudhary is not Christian, and he needs to find his soul."

I like to think this means that ensoulment doesn't happen until one accepts Jesus. Would that make abortion okay, then? Or would it only be okay to abort heathen fetuses?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Irony redux

Radio host Dan Savage, homophobic asshole, is at it again. I won't subject you to his noxious screed, except to point out this:
When I said, the other day, for example -- and they went crazy in the media -- they keep bashing me now because I said that the homosexual mafia will not stop until we all bend our knees to the homosexual agenda. They couldn't stop quoting me. All of these guys, who are probably gay themselves, are shocked that somebody would actually say the truth.


I told you to be aware of the homosexual agenda; how powerful the homosexual movement is in this country as witness the fact that you never hear any criticism of them.

So you never hear any criticism of gays, despite the fact that people can't stop quoting Dan Savage doing just that.

Unfortunately, that's about the most logical and inoffensive thing to come out of his mouth.

Does this mean Bush is in league with the terrorists?

This is stunning. Y'all recall how, about a month ago, it was revealed that one of the administration's sources for an Iraq-al Qaeda tie revealed that misinformation after being tortured? Well, a European intelligence agent who infiltrated al Qaeda has claimed that he said this on purpose in order to get the U.S. to invade Iraq:
A senior al-Qaeda operative deliberately planted information to encourage the US to invade Iraq, a double agent who infiltrated the network and spied for western intelligence agencies said.

The claim was made by Omar Nasiri, a pseudonym for a Moroccan who says he spent seven years working for European security and intelligence agencies, including British intelligence (MI5). He said Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who ran training camps in Afghanistan, told his US interrogators that al-Qaeda had been training Iraqis.


Asked whether he thought Libi had deliberately planted information to get the US to fight Iraq, Nasiri said: "Exactly".

Nasiri said Libi "needed the conflict in Iraq because months before I heard him telling us when a question was asked in the mosque after the prayer in the evening, where is the best country to fight the jihad?" Libi said Iraq was chosen because it was the "weakest" Muslim country.


What is new, if Nasiri is to be believed, is that the leading al-Qaeda operative wanted to overthrow Saddam and use Iraq as a jihadist base. Nasiri also says that part of al-Qaeda training was to withstand interrogation and provide false information.

If true, this would mean that basically the entire war was according to al Qaeda's plans. (Would that make the Bush administration guilty of giving aid and comfort to the enemy?) I'm skeptical about whether it's true or not, though. Surely this war was a godsend for al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations--it created a haven for terrorists and undoubtedly a huge boost in recruitment--but it was premeditated by them? I find that a little hard to swallow.

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: "It's Alive!" Edition

I've been seeing a lot of racism recently; I was originally going to characterize it as a resurge of old-time racism, but I really don't know that it is. I suspect that it's been there the whole time and I just wasn't aware of it.

Still, there are people making statements that sound like they could be lifted verbatim from an anti-abolition tract, except that they're less eloquent. Say what you will about 19th-century racists, they could at least turn a phrase. Given that they're rehashing ideas that were dead decades, if not centuries, ago (although some of their ideas are bizarrely novel) I have affectionately dubbed these racists, "zombie racists."

I mentioned it at the time, but a few months ago Pat Buchanan came out with a new book, State of Emergency. Therein he commented on his regret that columnist Sam Francis was fired for expressing what he felt to be obvious:
"The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted by a different people."

Obviously, this is hardly a new idea. In 1899, Gustave LeBon described what he termed the "soul" of a race:
The elements of classification which anatomy, languages, environment, or political organisation are incapable of furnishing are supplied by psychology, which shows that behind the institutions, arts, beliefs, and political upheavals of each people, lie certain moral and intellectual characteristics that determine its evolution. It is the whole of these characteristics that form what may be called the soul of a race.


The moral and intellectual characteristics, whose association forms the soul of a people, represent the synthesis of its entire past, the inheritance of all its ancestors, the motives of its conduct.


This aggregate of psychological elements observable in all the individuals of a race constitutes what may rightly be called the national character.

Now, it's hardly racist to declare that each nation has its own national character, a set of generally-shared or assumed beliefs and/or traits that help mold a nation's culture. According to LeBon and Francis, though, this 'national character' is not cultural but racial, and hence members of other races are unassimilable:
A negro or Japanese may easily take a university degree or become a lawyer; the sort of varnish he thus acquires is however quite superficial, and has no influence on his mental constitution. What no education can give him, because they are created by heredity alone, are the forms of thought, the logic, and above all the character of the Western man. Our negro or our Japanese may accumulate all possible certificates without ever attaining to the level of the average European. It is easy to give him in ten years the culture of a well-educated Englishman. To make a real Englishman of him, that is to say a man acting as an Englishman would act in the different circumstances of life, a thousand years would scarcely be sufficient. It is only in appearance that a people suddenly transforms its language, its constitution, its beliefs, or its arts. For such changes to be really accomplished, it would be necessary that it should be able to transform its soul.

Clinton Stoddard Burr said much the same in his 1922 work, America's Race Heritage:
One of the country's leading nativists, Clinton Stoddard Burr eulogized Nordics and their role in the nation's "racial history." His America's Race Heritage was an effort to demonstrate that Americanism was "actually the racial thought of the Nordic race" and that Nordics alone possessed the "moral fiber, intellectual character and hereditary traits" to perpetuate it.

And as Josiah Nott put it in his letter The Negro Race: Its Ethnology and History:
But what has been the history of the negro race during these thousands of years, while others, even the Chinese, the Hindoos, and Mexicans, were marching on, according to the strength which nature endowed them with respectively? In the language of Dr. Robert Knox, of London, "Human history cannot be a mere chapter of accidents. The fate of a nation cannot be always regulated by chance; its literature, science, art, wealth, religion, language, laws, and morals, cannot surely be the result of mere accidental circumstances."

If it's not the result of circumstances, what else but race?

More recently, Pharyngula excoriated a work on the average IQs of African countries. I haven't read the article itself, and some commenters said that the Guardian summary was a mischaracterization of the work, so I'm not going to comment on that. However, in defense of the work, a commenter, James G, popped up and said in part:
IQ tests are only biased in the sense that they test for a westernized notion of intelligence. But why shouldn't they? After all, "developed nation" today is practically synonymous with "westernized". If African countries want to step out of poverty, it looks like the only path they can take is a western path. And to do that they need western intelligence. Of course it is always possible they could invent some new "African" mode of development that somehow didn't require western intelligence, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.


This guy is observing the differences and trying to come up with an explanation. Do you have a better one? Why couldn't the colder, more rugged climates of Europe and Asia provided more novel challenges that the lush jungles of africa? I certainly would rather have lived in Africa.

The notion that "developed nation" or "civilization" is only Western is an idea that permeates old racist works. In effect, blacks weren't civilized because civilization belongs only to whites. Again, Josiah Nott chimes in:
The Rev. Theodore Parker, who was educated and lived at the "hub of the universe," will certainly be received as good authority on this subject. He says:

"The Caucasian differs from all other races; he is humane, he is civilized, and progresses. He conquers with his head as well as his hand. It is intellect, after all, that conquers—not the strength of a man's arm. The Caucasian has been often master of other races—never their slave. He has carried his religion to other races, but never taken theirs. In history all religions are of Caucasian origin. All the great limited forms of monarchies are Caucasian. Republics are Caucasian. All the great sciences are of Caucasian origin; all inventions are Caucasian; literature and romance come of the same stock; all of the great poets are of Caucasian origin; Moses, Luther, Jesus Christ, Zoroaster, Budha, Pythagoras, were Caucasian. No other race can bring up to the memory such celebrated names as the Caucasian race. The Chinese philosopher, Confucius, is an exception to the rule. To the Caucasian race belong the Arabian, Persian, Hebrew, Egyptian; and all the European nations are descendants of the Caucasian race."

Some people, like Mr. G above, strove to explain the inferiority of other races, especially blacks, rather than just accept them as a given. And similar ideas were repeated—the idyllic plains of Africa were such a paradise that blacks simply never had to develop, unlike Europeans who were challenged by their harsh environment. One example of this is Edward Eggleston, who in The Ultimate Solution of the American Negro Problem described the ancestors of today's races as they ventured out of Africa.
When the race had once established itself in such latitudes as Central Asia and Europe its dietary necessities were greatly changed; more heat-producing animal food and less vegetable matter was necessay. Moreover, it no longer had the variety and abundance of fruits and vegetables that nature so lavishly furnished in its equatorial habitats. In great measure the substitution of flesh for vegetable matter had become necessary and the former could be had only by effort and ingenuity. It could have been no easy matter even in these early times—when the lower animals were much more abundant than at present—for the various tribes of the primitive race to resist the cold, capture their food, and maintain themselves against hostible tribes as they penetrated deeper and deeper into the unknown wilds and frigid regions of both north and south. We trust it has been made sufficiently clear then, that as primitive Man forced his way out from the equator his wits were continually whetted and sharpened by the very nature of his new condition. It should also be apparent that those who went out were, for reasons already mentioned, the select element mentally and physically.

These pilgrims, who braved all sorts of new dangers—thus eliminating all but the fittest—established themselves in various and sundry localities, some more suitable for racial development than others, but all better than his torrid birthplace. Those who continued to dwell in hot climates underwent little change, and all succeeding generations perpetuated this simple life and many primitive race characteristics. This is the very environment that has produced the Negro race. Very slight adaptational changes have occurred in this division of the race, thus he has remained much closer to the original stock than have the higher branches of the race.

Finally, I was reading this post by Glenn Greenwald, describing how certain people on the right are blaming the Iraqi people for the failure of their pet war. But what jumped out to me was this statement by Paul Mirgenoff of Powerline:
The Iraqis, of course, are not the first people to make a very bad decision at the polls. The fact that they did so is not necessarily evidence of some national "genetic" flaw, much less a demonstration that democracy can't work in the Middle East. It just means that the Iraqi people did less than what a difficult situation required, and that we must face up to and deal with the consequences.

It is not necessarily evidence of a "'genetic' flaw"? Who even suggested such a thing except you? This "not necessarily" strikes me as his exerting the least of efforts to hide the fact that he's a zombie racist. The idea that some people are simply genetically incapable of handling democracy is hardly new:
Convinced by such authorities as Frank, Hawk, and Humphrey, William Joseph Simmons, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, felt the Klan's treatment of the Negro to be fully justified. The race's "state of biological evolution," he stated, made Negroes "physically, and hence morally" unfit for democratic responsibilities. "The cause is biological."

And I just now came across this post, which quotes the editor-in-chief of the New Republic as saying:
Give George W. Bush his due. He took down the Taliban. And he also took down the savage Caesar. These are achievements. What he did not grasp--and what, for that matter, Baker and those for whom he speaks also do not grasp--is the sheer and relentless butchery of which both Sunni and Shia are capable. The fiendish barbarism of decapitated heads and mutilated bodies is now a reflex of the warriors and nothing exceptional, a commonplace. Even the bare rudiments of civilization will not soon come back to the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates."

Hm. Savages and barbarians too busy killing themselves to create the bare rudiments of civilization? I don't suppose that aspersion has ever before been applied to a minority.

These four incidents are hardly all of it. The anti-immigration (and anti-Mexican) furor reeks of the 1920s Immigration Act and "Americanism". Some years ago several liberal bloggers were criticizing the Bell Curve for its claims about race and intelligence. Trent Lott, who believes that if only Strom "Sperm" Thurmond had become president we wouldn't have the problems we do today, was just elected minority whip. Going back a bit further, Rush Limbaugh praised Thurmond for his ability to filibuster over 24 hours to prevent the passage of the Civil Rights Act. And so on.


Some tidbits about Russian

I recently learned some interesting facts about Russian.

For one, мир ("Mir") means both "peace" and "world", which leads to the neat phrase МИРУ МИР: "Peace to the World".

Also, the word восток ("vah-stoke") is Russian for "east". A town on the east coast of Russia, Владивосток ("vlah-dee-vah-stoke") is a combination of that and the verb владеть ("vlah-dyet"), which means "to rule". So Владивосток is "ruler of the east".

If you combine these tidbits, you find that the name Владимир ("Vladimir") means "ruler of the world". At least that's according to my textbook; according to Behind the Name, it means "to rule with greatness" or "to rule with peace." But I much prefer my textbook's interpretation.

Also, our teacher gave us an interesting hand-out today--a list of pairs of English words or phrases that non-native speakers often confuse, and a similar list for Russian words and phrases. As an example, on the English side she had such words as "desert"/"dessert", "chemistry"/"cemetery", "surgeon"/"sturgeon", and my favorite, "My name is"/"mayonnaise".

On the list of Russian mistakes, she had "замок"/"замок" (the difference is in which syllable is stressed), which can be the difference between "castle" and "lock". One of the more amusing ones is "мука"/"мука". Again, the difference is in the stress of the syllables--if you stress the second syllable you get "flour", but if you stress the first you get "torment, suffering". Given how negligent most of my classmates have been of properly stressing their words (which has irked me quite a bit) I consider it highly likely that if they continue Russian they will one day ask to borrow a cup of suffering. In fact, she included a Russian poem that seems to make fun of this awkward pairing.

But the absolute best has to be the first item on her list: "Не за что" versus "Ни за что". The first one means "Don't mention it!" or "You're welcome!" The second means "I won't forgive you."

She mentioned that many students do not forgive her when she thanks them.

I'm really not a liar. Not when the truth is so much more amusing.

A few weeks back, I made a claim that I did not provide any evidence for:
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 doubt anyone has been obsessing over this lack of citation, but when tidying up some of my sources I came across a quote saying exactly this:
We admit and deplore the fact that unchastity has poured a broad stream of white blood into black veins; but we deny, and perhaps no one will affirm, that it has poured even the slenderest appreciable rill of Negro blood into the veins of the Whites. We have no excuse whatever to make for these masculine incontinences; we abhor them as disgraceful and almost bestial. But, however degrading and even unnatural, they in nowise, not even in the slightest conceivable degree, defile the Southern Caucasian blood. That blood to-day is absolutely pure; and it is the inflexible resolution of the South to preserve that purity, no matter how dear the cost. We repeat, then, it is not a question of individual morality, nor even of self-respect. He who commerces with a negress debases himself and dishonours his body, the temple of the Spirit; but he does not impair, in anywise, the dignity or integrity of his race; he may sin against himself and others, and even against his God, but not against the germ-plasma of his kind.

--from The Color Line: A Brief in Behalf of the Unborn, by William Benjamin Smith.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good old-fashioned bigotry

Glenn Beck of CNN seems to have serious problems with Muslims.

First he practically accuses Representative Keith Ellison, the first-ever Muslim in Congress, of being in league with the terrorists:
With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, "Let's cut and run." And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.

And then he expresses surprise that a Muslim would criticize Al-Qaeda:
A couple of months ago, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq urged his supporters to each kill at least one American in the next 15 days. It was a shocking statement, but hardly surprising.

Then, just a few days later, I came across a response to that message of hate that was surprising. It said, "You hid in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. You have abandoned God and have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people."

Why do I say that statement, something that many of us agree with, is surprising? Because the man who wrote it is a Muslim. He lives right here in the United States.

He claims that he knows and likes Muslims, but wants a Muslim Congressman to prove he's not working with enemies of the country. And he says that he doesn't "believe that Islam is a religion of evil", that he thinks "it's being hijacked", but expresses surprise that a Muslims criticizes terrorists.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm torn.

As you know, South Africa recently passed a law allowing gay marriages. As best I can determine, they allow true, full-blown gay marriages, and not some marriage-lite substitute like civil unions. Reading through some of the articles, I saw them saying that the bill was being attacked by both sides of the aisle--religious groups I expected, but apparently some gays were saying it didn't go far enough. I really wanted to know what more they wanted.

Well, I finally found out:
The Roman Catholic Church and many traditionalist leaders in South Africa said the measure denigrated the sanctity of marriages between men and women.

To ease some of these concerns, the bill allowed both religious and civil officers to refuse to marry same-sex couples on moral grounds.

Gay-rights groups criticized this "opt-out" clause, saying they should be treated the same as heterosexual couples, but in general, they praised the new measure.

I'm not sure whether to be horridly pissed at this conscience-clause cop-out, or just take this as the major victory it is. Maybe I can do both--work occasional barrages of cursing into whoops of elation.

How can anyone hate the Colonel?

KFC has constructed an 85,000 square-foot image of Colonel Sanders, so that it is visible from space:
The KFC Corp. on Tuesday launched a rebranding campaign with an 87,500 square-foot image of Colonel Sanders in the Nevada desert which the company says makes Kentucky Fried Chicken the world's first brand visible from space.


The logo consists of 65,000 one-foot by one-foot painted tile pieces that were assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Their rationale for this is hilarious:
"If there are extraterrestrials in outer space, KFC wants to become their restaurant of choice," KFC President Gregg Dedrick said in a statement.


"If we hear back from a life form in space today - whether NASA astronauts or a signal from some life form on Mars - we'll send up some Original Recipe Chicken," said Dedrick.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Last December, the highest court of South Africa recognized a same-sex marriage and told Parliament it had a year to recognize same-sex marriages.

With a few months to spare, South Africa has finally done so, according to Yahoo! Breaking News:
South African parliament passes legislation recognizing same-sex marriages, in a first for the continent.

At least they learned something from their absurd marriage laws.

But remember, it's Christians who suffer the real persecution

Killing gay men is OK, says British imam:
Arshad Misbahi of the Manchester Central Mosque confirmed his views in a conversation to John Casson, a local psychotherapist.

Casson said: "I asked him if the execution of gay Muslims in Iran and Iraq was an acceptable punishment in Sharia law, or the result of culture, not religion.

"He told me that in a true Islamic state, such punishments were part of Islam: If the person had had a trial, at which four witnesses testified that they had seen the actual homosexual acts."

"I asked him what would be the British Muslim view? He repeated that in an Islamic state these punishments were justified. They might result in the deaths of thousands but if this deterred millions from having sex, and spreading disease, then it was worthwhile to protect the wider community."

"I checked again that this was not a matter of tradition, culture or local prejudice. 'No,' he said, 'It is part of the central tenets of Islam: that sex outside marriage is forbidden; this is stated in the Koran and the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had stated that these punishments were due to such behaviours.'"


Sunday, November 12, 2006


Well, it took me all of yesterday and several hours of today, but I created a program that will automatically download pages from GoogleBooks to my hard drive. Several hours spent to be able to download three hundred pages in a matter of moments. Well, okay, I only downloaded the 188 pages of The Negro at Home that I didn't download previously, but still.

Although this will just add to the great amounts of books I don't have time to read....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Return of the OTP

My god. Google Books has the full text of The Negro at Home. It's not in a handy PDF format, but now that I've got a copy of Adobe Acrobat, I can download all the pages and make a PDF myself.

Sure, it'll be tedious doing that for nigh-300 pages, but I already did the same for 78 pages when I downloaded Subgenation. A few hours of time versus $2750--I think I know which I'd rather spend.

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Woolly Edition

The negro is not the equal of the white man, much less his master, as your bill makes him; and this I can demonstrate anatomically, physically, and psychologically too, if necessary. Volumes of scientificc authority establish the fact; I might "pile Pelion on Ossa" to demonstrate it, if this were a hall of science for such discussions, or if there were time for such discussions here. All that I have opportunity to do here is in the fewest words possible to set forth scientific facts. The negro man differs more from the white man than a white man from a white woman, and the difference is essential, organic, throughout, from the crown of the head to the very sole of the feet. The negro is a different creature, with a different brain and different structural organization and in every respect inferior to the white governing man.

The very hair which crowns his head is not hair, but it is wool, wool, and wool only. He who will take the trouble to examine it through the microscope, micrometer, and microtome will see that its structure is that of wool and not of hair. The hair of a white man is cylindrical; the section under the the microscope appears perfectly circular, and provided with a medullary canal, while the wool of the negro is flattened, so that its section exhibits an elongated ellipsis, in the axis of which no medullary canal is seen. It is this lateral compression which effects the peculiar frizzling of the hair, owing to its not taking place exactly in the direction of the longitudinal axis of the hair, but ascending in spirals, so that the hair resembles a spiral spring, which always returns to its shape when drawn out. (See M. Pruner Bey, De la Chevelure comme Caracteristique des Races Humaines, Carl Voght, et alios.)

--Representative James Brooks of New York, Congressional Globe, 40th Congress, 2nd Session, appendix, page 70.


Lawmakers recess without voting on constitutional amendment:
State lawmakers yesterday again refused to vote on a proposed ban on same-sex marriages, a move that activists on both sides said effectively killed any chance that the measure would appear on the 2008 statewide ballot.

The House and Senate, meeting in a special joint session, voted to recess before taking up a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would limit the legal definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman. Lawmakers voted to adjourn the session until Jan. 2, the last official day of the session.

And Governor Romney's reaction?
"My options are limited," Romney said. "But we will explore any other alternatives that may exist to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens."

Good for you, Romney! Protect the constitutional rights of all your citizens to marry, regardless of the sex of their partner!
Shortly after the vote, Romney called a press conference and blasted the 109 lawmakers who voted to recess, saying "we have witnessed the triumph of arrogance over democracy."

"Today, by effectively avoiding the constitutionally required vote on same-sex marriage, 109 legislators disgraced their oath of office," Romney said, adding that it was clear the intent was to kill the measure altogether.

Mineau urged Romney to take legal action to force a vote, but the governor acknowledged that because the Legislature had recessed instead of adjourning, he was probably powerless to do anything about it.


I guess gay people aren't citizens.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Education at work

You think allowing ebonics as a language in the classroom is bad? Well, New Zealand is allowing 'text-speak' in exams:
New Zealand's Qualifications Authority said that it still strongly discourages students from using anything other than full English, but that credit will be given if the answer "clearly shows the required understanding," even if it contains text-speak.

The authority's deputy chief executive for qualifications, Bali Haque, said students should aim to make their answers as clear as possible.

Confident that those grading papers would understand answers written in text-speak, Haque stressed that in some exams, including English - where good language use is specifically required - text abbreviations would be penalized.

There are two notable responses to this development. One I loathe...
"I think text messaging is one of the most exciting things that has happened in a long time. It is another development in that wonderful thing we call the English language," [High School principal Denis Pyatt] said.

And one I love....
The minor United Future Party said in a statement: "Untd Futr is cncernd bout da xeptnce of txt spk 2 b allwd in ritn xams 4 NCEA (United Future is concerned about the acceptance of text speak to be allowed in written exams for NCEA)."

"Skoolz r ther 2 educ8 + raze litracy 2 certn standrds (Schools are there to educate and raise literacy to certain standards)," the statement quoted United Future legislator Judy Turner as saying. "NCEA shudnt let da standrd b decidd by informl pop cultr of da time."


It was only a matter of time

Gay marriage opponent sets sights on no-fault divorce:
A leading supporter of the gay marriage ban approved by voters this week says it's just the first step in an effort to build a "culture of marriage" in Wisconsin.

Family Research Institute executive director Julaine Appling says the next step is "stopping the bleeding of no fault divorce."

Apparently gays aren't "the enemy"--anyone who thinks their relationship is their business and not someone else's is the enemy.

Didn't see it like that.

Bob Harris tells us why this election was really more of a victory than is being popularly considered, despite everything else:
If the numbers stay as they are, here’s the final scoreboard, assuming I haven’t missed something:

  • Not one Democratic incumbent lost in the Senate.
  • Not one Democratic incumbent lost in the House of Representatives.
  • Not one Democratic incumbent lost in any state Governorship.

I checked the results--he's right. In the Senate, six incumbents lost (in Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia), and they were all Republicans. In the House, the incumbents of the following districts lost:
  • Arizona 5
  • California 11
  • Connecticut 2
  • Connecticut 5
  • Florida 22
  • Indiana 2
  • Indiana 8
  • Indiana 9
  • Iowa 2
  • Kansas 2
  • Kentucky 3
  • Minnesota 1
  • New Hampshire 1
  • New Hampshire 2
  • New Mexico 1
  • New York 19
  • New York 20
  • North Carolina 11
  • Pennsylvania 4
  • Pennsylvania 7
  • Pennsylvania 8
  • Pennsylvania 10

All of them were Republicans.

And as for Governors, only the incumbent from Maryland lost, and he was a Republican.

Further, it appeared to be a great day for diversity (see Mr. Harris's post for links):
First female Speaker of the House.

First Muslim in the U.S. Congress.

More gay candidates taking office in state elections than ever before.

First black state governor in Massachusetts history (and only the second in American history).

So... not bad. Still only a start, though. But it's still worth it just to see the fundies flip.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

I'll give you a cauliflower ear!

Democrats have majority in both houses?
– Democrats completed an improbable double-barreled election sweep of Congress on Wednesday, taking control of the Senate with a victory in Virginia as they padded their day-old majority in the House.

Jim Webb's victory over Sen. George Allen in Virginia assured Democrats of 51 seats when the Senate convenes in January. That marked a gain of six in midterm elections in which the war in Iraq and President Bush were major issues.

Earlier, State Sen. Jon Tester triumphed over Republican Sen. Conrad Burns in a long, late count in Montana.

I believe this '51' includes the two Independents of the Senate, one of whom is Lieberman.

I was tickled by Bush's response, though:
"It was a thumping," Bush conceded at the White House. "It's clear the Democrat Party had a good night."

I don't know why, but I like that he used the word 'thumping'.

Didn't see that coming

Uh, wow. The Democrats win, and already we're seeing some changes:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, architect of an unpopular war in Iraq, intends to resign after six stormy years as secretary of defense, Republican officials said today.

Officials said Robert Gates, former head of the CIA, would replace Rumsfeld.


Well, it's a start redux

Kentucky kicked out Northup and replaced her with the Elder God Yarmuth.

Pennsylvania kicked out Santorum.

Connecticut, unfortunately, re-elected Lieberman, and California re-elected Schwarzenegger.

South Dakota shot down its insane abortion ban, but seven of eight homophobic marriage amendments passed. And it seems that an amendment allowing for the impeachment of judges also went down.

Democrats have control of the House and a tie, if not a paper-thin majority, in the Senate.

Now we'll see if they have the balls to do something with it. Given how often they rolled over in the past six years, I'm not terribly optimistic.

Then again....

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Tempting fate.

I have just posted this comic on my door.

Since I don't have tape, I had to cut adhesive strips from post-it notes, so I've no idea how long it might stay up there, even if someone doesn't rip it down.

[Edit] And at 6:55, less than two hours later, it's gone.

Common enemies bringing us together

Back when I still visited Zionist blogs, it was common of people to claim that Islam was a violent, horrid religion and that you'd never see good old Christian or Jewish people involved in terrorism.

At least, not until the gays visit (but they were totally asking for it):
In a Holy City fissured by faith, finding a consensus on anything among Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics is a near-miraculous occurrence. Yet Jerusalem's rabbis, priests and imams have united, however briefly, to stop the city's Gay Pride parade.

For some of their followers, the issue is worth spilling blood over: An unknown extremist Jewish group pasted up signs announcing a $500 "reward" for every gay man or woman killed during the parade, which is scheduled for Nov. 10. Several ultra-orthodox rabbis have vowed to mobilize more than 100,000 protesters to shut down Jerusalem on the day of the parade, and police warn that some groups plan to pelt the marchers with apples jagged with razor blades.

Meanwhile, in a rare display of solidarity with Jewish extremists, an influential Islamic cleric is urging Muslims to stage a simultaneous protest inside the old walled city to draw away Israeli police who would otherwise be shielding the gay parade from harm. "Not only should these homosexuals be banned from holding their parade," says one Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan, who preaches at a mosque near Damascus Gate, "but they should be punished and sent to an isolated place." Hatred, it seems, can be a bridge to inter-faith harmony.

Gay pride marches have, in fact, been held in Jerusalem for the past five years, prompting only grumbling among the city's conservatives. Then, last year, an ultra-Orthodox youth waded into the crowd of revelers and slashed three people with a knife.

Isn't it wonderful to know that victims of oppression have learned so much from their experiences, that they're now applying it to other groups?

Monday, November 6, 2006

Bloom County explains miscegenation



I was going through my Bloom County archives, and with all the nuclear proliferation (Iran's trying to get one, North Korea already tested one, we put documents on-line telling people how to make one), this seemed newly relevant:


The administration's terror track record

Study: More terror cases go nowhere
Of international-terrorist case referrals from the FBI between October 2005 and June 2006, prosecutors declined to bring charges in 131 of 150 cases, or 87 percent, according to the report. The study was based on the most recent data available from the Justice Department's executive office for U.S. attorneys.

That percentage marks the peak of a generally steady increase from the 2001 budget year, when prosecutors rejected 33 percent of such cases from the FBI, according to the report.


A Justice Department spokesman disputed the data highlighted by the Syracuse researchers, noting that terrorist hoax cases that were quickly dismissed may have been included in the government data.

Additionally, some cases are referred to prosecutors to obtain subpoenas or other legal orders in investigations that ultimately don't result in criminal charges, spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said. He said prosecutors rejected 67 percent of FBI international-terrorist cases in the nine-month period — not 87 percent.

Of course, even if we accept the spokesman's explanation, that only mitigates, but doesn't explain, the problem raised:
"So with more special agents, many more intelligence analysts, and many fewer prosecutions, the question must be asked: What is the FBI doing?" the report said.


Sunday, November 5, 2006

Truth at last, truth at last!

We're standing for the truth that Negroes can change (warning: PDF)

Now, should I print copies of this and distribute them around campus? I wonder who would beat me up first, evangelical Christians or blacks.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Google Books + Skemono = OTP

I officially love Google Books.

I was reading my current book, Jim Crow's Defense, over dinner, and found a citation that I absolutely had to look up. So just now I hopped onto Google Books to see if they had it, and got to download the entire book as a PDF--very handy, given the libraries close at 5 pm on Saturdays (which has irritated me any number of times). So now I can tell you that, according to one Robert Wilson Shufeldt, a Dr. William Lee Howard had the following to say about "the negro's sensuality":
With the oncoming of puberty, the negro shows his genesic instincts to be the controlling factor in his life. In little negro girls, lust is demonstrated to an extent scarcely possible of belief by those who have not been brought into contact with them in hospitals or otherwise. I have never seen a negro virgin over ten years of age, and never heard of one from my colleagues.


Friday, November 3, 2006

It's not just the right that doesn't get science

Martina Navratilova, apparently a tennis star or some such thing, recently fired off a letter to the presidents of Oregon State University and Oregon Health and Science Universities because one of their professors dares to research gay sheep:
Tennis icon Martina Navratilova has condemned hormone-altering experiments on "gay sheep" at Oregon State University and Oregon Health and Science University.

The research seeks to manipulate the sheep's sexual preferences and make them heterosexual. The tests are funded by taxpayers through the year 2008.

In letters faxed to the presidents of both universities, Navratilova writes:

"How can it be that, in the year 2006, a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments? . . . I respectfully ask that you pull the plug on this appalling and misguided research.

"Surely you can find a way to redirect the millions of public tax dollars that are being wasted on these experiments to a more fruitful venture -- perhaps by funding a gay and lesbian community center to foster dialogue and acceptance for people of all sexual preferences?"

It's not clear, but the article intimates that she's getting her information from PETA, who two months ago started attacking Charles Roselli of Oregon Health and Science University, claiming that "these experimenters believe that homosexuality is a defect that needs to be fixed, and they’re cutting open and killing gay sheep to do it. These experiments also carry the insidious implication that homosexuality in humans needs to be 'cured.' "

Which is utter nonsense, and was when PETA first brought it up.
But, like I said, I didn't know Dr. Roselli -- so I asked him. I wrote, "Do you think homosexuality is something that can or should be 'cured'?" His reply: "No," he said. "And I find it appalling and offensive that PETA has suggested that I and my collaborators do."


A funny thing happened on my way here today....

In math class this morning, someone was discussing a dream she had with another classmate. I wasn't paying much attention, but I noticed that she was talking about a helicopter, because she kept pronouncing it (or I kept hearing it as) 'holocopter'.

Which made me think of a neo-Nazi theme park ride: the Holocoaster.

I'm going to hell.*

*According to Ted Haggard.

Neo Culpa

Vanity Fair has a new article about several people who were huge fans of the Iraq War, but now claim that if they knew then what they know now, they wouldn't have supported it.

But not because it was a monumentally stupid idea based on lies and deceit. No, they're fine with all that; they still think it was a great idea, but the execution--which always was the responsibility of other people, of course--was horribly flawed.
Perle goes so far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not have advocated an invasion of Iraq: "I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' … I don't say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."


And if he, too, had his time over, Adelman says, "I would write an article that would be skeptical over whether there would be a performance that would be good enough to implement our policy. The policy can be absolutely right, and noble, beneficial, but if you can't execute it, it's useless, just useless. I guess that's what I would have said: that Bush's arguments are absolutely right, but you know what, you just have to put them in the drawer marked CAN'T DO. And that's very different from LET'S GO."

Right. So these people still believe that Saddam had WMDs, which he was going to supply to his good buddies in al Qaeda, and that Bush's policy was "absolutely right, and noble, beneficial", his arguments "absolutely right". How much more deluded can they get?

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Family Edition

That the African negro is an inferior variety of the human race, is, I think, now generally admitted, and his distinguishing characteristics are such as peculiarly mark him out for the situation which he occupies among us; and those are no less marked in their original country than as we have daily occasion to observe them. The most remarkable is their indifference to personal liberty. In this they have followed their instincts, since we have any knowledge of their continent, by enslaving each other; but, contrary to the experience of every other race, the possession of slaves has no material effect in raising the character, and promoting the civilization, of the master. Another trait is the want of domestic affections, and insensibility to the ties of kindred. In the travels of the Landers, after speaking of a single exception, in the person of a woman who betrayed some transient emotion in passing by the country from which she had been torn as a slave, the author adds:—" that Africans, generally speaking, betray the most perfect indifference on losing their liberty and being deprived of their relatives, while love of country is equally a stranger to their breasts, as social tenderness or domestic affection." " Marriage is celebrated by the natives as unconcernedly as possible; a man thinks as little of taking a wife as of cutting an ear of corn; affection is altogether out of the question."

--From "Chancellor Harper's Memoir on Slavery, Part 2," De Bow's Review, IX (November, 1850), pg. 618.

"Oh my god, it's true!"

There's a common canard that homophobes are just closeted, self-hating homosexuals--there's even a scintilla of evidence for it.

And with Ted Haggard, a Christian fundie who claims Gandhi's in Hell, being accused of having sex with a male prostitute, one of his defenders released more evidence to this effect:
Having said all that, I have to say this: No Christian should be surprised that Haggard may have given in to his perverted thoughts and turned them into perverted actions. It’s a temptation we all face.

All Christians are tempted to have gay sex, you say? How interesting....

By the way, the answer is 'yes'

In an article annoyingly entitled 'Is Gay Marriage Like Civil Rights?', we get the following gem of a quote:
But the Rev. William Owens - who favors the ban - has a different opinion of gays and lesbians who say they are fighting for justice.

"They haven't hung from any trees," he said. "They can get a job anywhere they want to. They can get an education. They've always had the right. Marriage is the issue. So it's not a civil rights issue. I marched for civil rights."

Of course, Mr. Owens. Everyone knows that when the Declaration of Independence talks about "unalienable rights", it means that a person's rights are only commensurate with the amount of suffering that whatever group he's a member of had to endure in the past. And it's not like gays ever had any hardships, no sir!

He was for transparency before he was against it. Or maybe in-between.

You've probably heard by now that the Bush administration had put on-line several thousand boxes of intelligence documents taken from Iraq--documents that hadn't been vetted, or even translated--in order to let "the power of the 'net" (in the words of Congressman Peter Hoekstra) comb through them and find the evidence that Iraq had WMDs that obviously had to be in there somewhere. Anyways, Attytood has a lengthy post detailing how hard-core conservatives were the ones pushing for this move: bloggers like Instapundit, LGF, and Michelle Malkin, but also people like Hoekstra and Santorum (the same duo who recently said that finding some left-over relics of Saddam's stockpile from the first Gulf War was proof that he had WMDs). Which means that they are indirectly responsible for putting on-line documents (in Arabic) detailing how to create a nuclear weapon.

Well, reading through that post, I noticed a quote that seemed just as headache-inducingly ironic:
Bush replied that he wanted the documents released. He turned to Hadley and asked for an update. Hadley explained that John Negroponte, Bush's Director of National Intelligence, "owns the documents" and that DNI lawyers were deciding how they might be handled.

Bush extended his arms in exasperation and worried aloud that people who see the documents in 10 years will wonder why they weren't released sooner. "If I knew then what I know now," Bush said in the voice of a war skeptic, "I would have been more supportive of the war."

Bush told Hadley to expedite the release of the Iraq documents. "This stuff ought to be out. Put this stuff out."

Because Bush has always been about transparency, openness, and the people's right to know.


Thursday, November 2, 2006

Any day now

Some day, I will have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot read every racist book ever written.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

How counter-intuitive

A new study, published in Lancet, seems to show that people aren't actually having sex at younger ages, promiscuity doesn't necessarily cause sexually transmitted diseases, and in fact married women may be at higher risk than unmarried:
Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines and her colleagues analysed data from 59 countries worldwide.


"We did have some of our preconceptions dashed," she said, explaining that they had expected to find the most promiscuous behaviour in regions like Africa with the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases. That was not the case, as multiple partners were more commonly reported in industrialised countries where the incidence of such diseases were relatively low.

"There's a misperception that there's a great deal of promiscuity in Africa, which is one of the potential reasons for HIV/AIDS spreading so rapidly," said Dr. Paul van Look, director of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organisation, who was unconnected to the study. "But that view is not supported by the evidence."

Wellings says that implies that promiscuity may be less important than factors such as poverty and education - especially in the encouragement of condom use - in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

So... even if teaching people to use condoms did promote promiscuity, that doesn't necessarily mean it would increase the rates of STDs? That would seem to be another crutch knocked out from the abstinence-only plan of sex education.
The study also found that contrary to popular belief, sexual activity is not starting any earlier than previously believed. Nearly everywhere, men and women have their first sexual experiences in their late teens (aged 15-19 years), with younger ages for women than for men.

I kind of wonder how accurate this information is, though. I especially wonder how this breaks down by country--even if the trend is not for children to be having sex earlier, might it be true for, say, the United States?
In some instances, married women may be at more risk than single women.

"A single woman is more able to negotiate safe sex in certain circumstances than a married woman," says van Look, who points out that married women in Africa and Asia are often threatened by unfaithful husbands who frequent prostitutes.


It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Uh... wow.
BOSTON (Reuters) - A Maine attorney who released information in 2000 about President George W. Bush's drunken driving conviction was arrested on Tuesday after he dressed up as al Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden and waved a fake gun at traffic.

Police in South Portland, Maine, arrested Thomas Connolly, 49, of Scarborough, Maine, and charged him with criminal threatening. He was released on bail, local officials said.

Lt. Todd Bernard said the police department received calls about a man wearing Middle Eastern garb and a bin Laden mask and carrying fake dynamite standing along an interstate highway. When police arrived, they saw Connolly holding a gun.

The gun was also fake; the article continues to say that Connolly was "trying to protest a planned change in local tax rules."
"I didn't expect to be arrested," he said. "Obviously I touched a post-9/11 nerve."

What? In what world could this possibly have been a good idea? Even pre-9/11, when nobody had ever heard of Osama bin Laden, I should think carrying fake dynamite and waving a gun at traffic would be a stupid thing to do.