Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: The More Things Change Edition

Well, Edna, for a school with no Asian kids, I think we've achieved a grade-A science fair!

Principal Skinner, The Simpsons, "Duffless", episode 4x16

One of the interesting things when reading my dead racists is how stereotypes have changed over time. Today, Asians are stereotyped as the "model minority": studious, industrious, intelligent, successful (see the above quote from 1993). In 2006, Bryant Yang mentioned this in "Seeing Loving in Gay Marriages" (Amerasia, 32:1, pp. 39-40):
Asian Americans have long struggled with the model minority myth since the 1960s. It originated when the New York Times Magazine published a story called "Success Story: Japanese American Style." A few months later U.S. News and World Report published an article called "Success Story of One Minority Group in the United States" on Chinese Americans. The myth portrays Asian Americans as hardworking, intelligent and successful. Many who believe in the myth cites [sic] how Asian Americans have the highest household income of any racial group in the United States.

Yet, as I briefly mentioned last week, a hundred years ago or more Asians were often seen as... impaired, intellectually. They were smarter than Negroes, people would admit, but still below whites. From The Six Species of Men, by John Van Evrie, as reprinted in John David Smith, ed., Anti-Black Thought, 1863-1925 vol. 1, pages 132-33:
This race [Mongolian] is the one nearest to the Caucasian, and has shown a limited intellectual development, but its powers and attainments have been much exaggerated. The Chinese pretend to trace their history back to a period long anterior to our own, but this claim is itself sufficient proof of its own worthlessness. No one will suppose that the individual Chinaman has a larger brain or greater breadth of intellect than the individual Caucasian, and if not, what folly to suppose that the aggregate Chinese mind was capable of doing that which the aggregate Caucasian mind could not do! The truth is, what is supposed to be Chinese history is a mere collection of fables and impossibilities, and it may be doubted if they can trace their annals back even five hundred years with any degree of certainty.


One point seems to be settled in relation to the Mongol race. It cannot advance beyond a given point. It has been stationary for years and years. It can never become an element of modern civilization, and the trade carried on with China is not likely to vary to any considerable extent from what it is now. Its intellectual and moral grasp is limited, and in no exalted sense can the race reach the ideas or virtues of Caucasian civilization.

As you can see, part of this was simply white chauvinism and racism--whites must be better than any other race, and any claim otherwise is absurd prima facie. Similarly, several people decided that any Asian civilization cannot be what it looks like, because they knew that only white people create civilizations. Hence, Charles Carroll wrote in The Tempter of Eve:
When the whites are all destroyed, their country, with its national name, wealth, religion, their knowledge of the arts and sciences, is inherited by their mixed-blooded descendants; when the white blood largely predominates in them, they may, under favorable circumstances, retain more or less of their inherited civilization for an indefinite period, but they add nothing to it; and when they lose an art, or any part of their inherited knowledge, they never regain it; such was the case with the Mexicans, Peruvians, Chinese, Japanese, Hindoos, Greeks, Turks, Egyptians, etc.

Emphasis mine. Whites created the civilization in China and Japan, but now it's deteriorated and they're just clinging on to what was handed down to them--holding on, but never adding on. In fact, in Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro, the author approvingly quotes "The Aryan Race: its Origins and Achievements" to say:
The white race has great physical vigor, capacity and endurance. It has an intensity of will and desire which is controlled by intellectuality. Great things are undertaken, readily but not blindly. It manifests a strong utilitarianism, united with a powerful imagination which elevates, enobles and idealizes its practical ideas. The negro can only imitate, the Chinese only utilize, the work of the white; but the latter is abundantly able to produce new works. He has a keen sense of order as the yellow man, not form love of repose, however, but from the desire to protect and preserve his acquisitions. He has a love of liberty far more intense than exists in the black or yellow races, and clings to life more earnestly. His high sense of honor is a faculty unknown to other races, and springs from an exalted sentiment of which they show no indications. His sensations are less intense than in either black or yellow, but his mentality is far more developed and energetic.

Emphasis mine. So Asians cannot invent anything new, though they are clever enough to use white ideas.

This isn't to say that everyone believed that Asians were buffoons. Some were a bit more fair, respecting their cultural achievements. In fact, the Reverend Theodore Parker (cited in Josiah Nott's The Negro Race: Its Ethnology and History) listed almost every historical achievement as the accomplishment of Caucasians, and his sole exception (that he bothered mentioning, at any rate), was Confucius:
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 mon[pg 15]archies 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.

And then again, there was that chauvinism I spoke of above, which forced John Van Evrie to conclude that, since Confucius was a great man, he must have been white:
There is little doubt that Confucius was a white man; indeed it is known that the leaders of those Mongol hordes which swept over Europe, shortly after the Christian era, were of Caucasian blood.

So much for that. Another stereotype we have today is that of the sexless, emasculated Asian male. Helen Zia wrote in "Where the Queer Zone Meets the Asian Zone", (Amerasia 32:1, p. 4):
Of all the multiple identities that humans possess, the combination of queer and Asian seems especially perplexing to many people. On the one hand, there are the gendered, racial archetypes: ...the demasculinized, buffoonish Long Duk Dong, the Asian man who never gets the girl--or guy.

But before that, Asian men were portrayed as licentious sexual predators, out to ravish all de white wimmin. In February/March 1905, the San Francisco Chronicle blazoned the headline "JAPANESE A MENACE TO AMERICAN WOMEN". And Megumi Osumi wrote in his article "Asians and California's Anti-Miscegenation Laws" of the Chinese:
Another popular attitude which contributed to the passage of the amendment [which outlawed Chinese-white marriages in California] was the prevailing belief that Chinese were sexually promiscuous and perverse. Miller believes that this racist stereotype derives ultimately from early nineteenth century anti-Chinese propaganda from Protestant missionaries. They wanted to exploit China as an example of the evils of paganism and the benefits of Christianity. Thus, their writings especially impressed on the minds of the American public this negative misconception of the Chinese as lascivious and immoral. Missionary Samuel Wells Williams declared that the Chinese were preoccupied with lechery and were "vile and polluted in a shocking degree."

This observation and many other missionary castigations of alleged Chinese licentiousness and perversion prepared the way for later popular acceptance of this negative stereotype. As early as 1856, the New York Tribune accused the Chinese as "lustful and sensual in their dispositions; every female is a prostitute of the basest order." In 1876, various papers stated that the Chinese men attended Sunday school in order to debauch their white, female teachers. In the same year, a writer in Scribner's Monthly warned that "no matter how good a Chinaman may be, ladies never leave their children with them, especially little girls." As we will see later, becoming an article of faith for most Americans, this stereotype was broadened to include other Asian groups.

And indeed, later he writes:
The public's fear of miscegenation expressed itself in two forms. One was Californians' belief in the familiar stereotype, first applied to the Chinese and then the Japanese, of an immoral, sexually aggressive Asiatic. This stereotype was especially exploited in anti-Japanese propaganda seeking school segregation. Dennis Kearney warned that the Japanese students knew "no morals but vice, who sit beside our sons and daughters in our public schools that they may help to debauch, demoralize and teach them the vices which are the customs of the country whence they come." Conservative Republican leader, Governor Johnson, stated before the California Assembly that he was appalled at the sight of white girls "sitting side by side in the schoolroom with matured Japs, with base minds, their lascivious thoughts...." The second manifestation of this fear was hostility against intermarriages between whites and Japanese. The anti-Japanese advocates exploited this sentiment with inflammatory propaganda. The Grizzly Bear, the official paper of the Native Sons, warned that Japanese were "casting furtive glances at our young women. They would like to marry them."

And later yet, he writes of the Filipinos (which he spells "Pilipino"):
Again the racist stereotype of the lascivious, aggressive Asiatic who chased lustfully after white women reared its ugly head, while anti-Pilipino spokesmen and their groups exploited it publicly. In the 1930 Congressional hearings on immigration, Secretary McClatchy testified that "you can realize, with the declared preference of the Pilipino for white women and the willingness on the part of some white females to yield to that preference, the situation which arises." Anti-Pilipino spokesman Judge D. H. Rohrock of North Monterey County engaged in the most reprehensible kind of racist stereotyping when he described the Pilipinos as "little brown men attired like 'Solomon in all his glory' strutting like peacocks and endeavoring to attract the eyes of young American and Mexican girls."

And Leti Volpp writes in "American Mestizo: Filipinos and Antimiscegenation Laws in California":
The President of the University of California testified before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1930 that Filipino problems were "almost entirely based upon sexual passion." While Chinese and Japanese were also considered sexually depraved — and, perhaps, more sexually perverse — Filipinos appeared to be specifically characterized as having an enormous sexual appetite, as more savage, as more primitive, as "one jump from the jungle." Their sexual desires were thought to focus on white women.

Funny how things change.

"Does the sky need a name? Does the river?"

An ape in central Iowa is showing researchers just how smart primates can be.

Panbanisha, a bonobo at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, has given names to two trumpeter swans nesting on the center's 230-acre campus in Des Moines — an achievement researchers say shows how important collaboration is to learning.

"As we bring something into the bonobos' environment that's very different, we need to collaborate with them rather than impose changes on them," said Dr. Karyl Swartz, a scientist involved in the study of memory, problem solving and self-recognition in apes. "It has to do with our philosophy that we collaborate in every way possible — from research to everyday activities."


Motivating the bonobo to name the swans was complex, said researcher Liz Rubert-Pugh. Over the last few months, researchers made references to the swans while communicating with the bonobo — showing the ape they were interested in giving them names. They displayed pictures of the swans, played videos of them and took Panbanisha on a walk to find them.



Iowa's ban on gay marriage has been struck down:
Gay rights advocates won a major victory Thursday when a Polk County District Judge ruled the state's ban on gay marriage violates the Iowa Constitution.

The ruling, which will almost certainly be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, says the law must be rewritten in a gender neutral manner to allow same-sex couples to enter into civil marriage.

"This court has yet to hear any convincing argument as to how excluding same-sex couples from getting married promotes responsible reproduction in general or by different-sex couples in particular. So far as this court can tell (the law) operates only to harm same-sex couples and their children," said the ruling from Judge Robert Hanson.


In his ruling, Hanson rejected the county's arguments about the possible harm of same-sex marriage.

"The defendant has produced no evidence indicating that precluding men from marrying other men and women from marrying other women will promote procreation, will encourage child rearing by mothers and fathers, will promote stability for opposite sex marriages, will conserve resources, or will promote heterosexual marriage," Hanson said.

He said he those kinds of arguments are "specious at best."

Damn straight.

The people in Iowa who argue that same-sex marriage will ruin marriage but apparently can't provide any evidence of this are now clamoring for an amendment to their constitution to get around this ruling. But that apparently isn't going to happen any time soon:
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, issued a statement saying "the prudent approach" is to wait until the case works its way through the court system.

Pam of course already has a reaction to the ruling, from James Dobson. In addition to the standard "activist judge" claptrap, he says this:
"By striking down Iowa's DOMA, Judge Robert Hanson has shown he believes the desires of adults should trump what's best for children. His ruling represents social engineering at its worst."

Yes, of course. Gay marriage hurts children. Why then couldn't they provide any evidence of this in a court of law? Maybe because it's a fantasy concocted by right-wing homophobes like Dobson?

Anywho. Lambda Legal has a PDF of the decision.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm like Nostradamus, only my predictions come true

The moment word hit my inbox about dangerous chemicals being found in one of the U.N. offices, I knew that someone would claim this was "proof" that Iraq had WMD. And I figured there would be more to it, because, if you had chemical weapons, why would you suddenly leave them on the desks of U.N. inspectors?

And... surprise, surprise.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Homophobia: pretending that something applies only to gays

I had forgotten about this. Well, I'd never actually seen this video clip, but I recall Alan Keyes claiming that allowing gays to marry and have children would lead to incest because said children wouldn't know who their siblings are. Which is a perfect example of the above mock-definition.

Anyways, hearing about this "argument" again just put me in mind of this:
It becomes necessary, at this point, to protect your daughter from your own history in the field of race relations. She must never learn that you have been a firm believer in segregation in the streets and integration between the sheets, because your arguments in favor of racial purity might become suspect. The late William E. B. Du Bois once expressed it thus:

The rape which you gentlemen have inflicted on helpless black women in defiance of your own laws is written on the foreheads of two million mulattoes, and written in ineffable blood.

It would be interesting to know what your daughter would think if she realized that a few of the black boys toward whom she now throws flirtatious glances are actually her blood brothers. Here is where I join you in fearing interracial marriage. Such a marriage might be incestuous. Wouldn't you agree?

This was written mostly tongue-in-cheek, I think, as an open letter to all white people who fear that their daughters might marry a Negro, providing them with "tips" on how to avoid such a catastrophe. Published in Clotye Larsson, ed., Marriage Across the Color Line, p. 37.

Does this count as chutzpah?

President Bush apparently plans to ask for $50 billion to fund the continuing surge in Iraq.
The request is being prepared now in the belief that Congress will be unlikely to balk so soon after hearing [David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker] argue that there are promising developments in Iraq but that they need more time to solidify the progress they have made, a congressional aide said.

But as we all know, David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker won't be arguing any such thing--the "Petraeus" report is being written by the White House itself (so it should come as no surprise that they already know what will be in it).

So the White House writes its own report saying that things are going great but they need more money, and then ask for money based on the matter of this report.

Random movie taglines

For a horror movie:
They heard we were hilarious.

They found we were delicious.

And for some kind of team-up between a dentist and a hardcore cop:
One scrapes the scum off of teeth.

The other knocks the teeth out of scum.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Spotlight on Africa

Wow. Gays are so dangerous that you can't even allow a straight person who recognizes that they're people to be allowed into your country:
Leading members of Malawi's Parliament are demanding Britain recall its new ambassador, before he even sets foot in the African nation.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced last week he was appointing Jack McConnell to be the UK's high commissioner to Malawi.

But members of all of Malawi's political parties say McConnell is unsuitable because he has been an ardent supporter of LGBT civil rights - something that Malawi opposes.


"To have a man who supports gay rights to come to Malawi is dangerous for us," Friday Jumbe, presidential candidate for the main opposition party - the United Democratic Front - told the Scotsman newspaper.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Africa, Ethics Minister James Buturo of Uganda tells gays that they need to "change to a normal way of life" or get out of his country:
My view is that of the majority of Ugandans. All people who have participated in this debate are denouncing the act. What else do these gays want? The message has been clear that their acts are not accepted in our society. They are wasting their time to claim that they are advocating for their rights. We shall not allow them to mislead our young generation. Shame on them. Our laws are clear, homosexuality is illegal.

If God is against homosexuality, who are we to legislate for it. We would be bringing a curse on Uganda, God forbid. They have no place in our country. They should change to a normal way of life. They should know that they are not free to do whatever they want. Homosexuality is not part of our values. As government we shall do everything possible to help them change and those who don't want to change would be arrested. We shall not act under pressure. It's nonsense to say that their acts are natural.


There are no rights for gays and lesbians in this country. Let them go anywhere else if they don't want to change to normal life. They have rights as Ugandans and human beings but not the right to be gay or lesbian. We pray that they accept Jesus so that they can discover that they are in the wrong. Either they change or the law catches up with them. If gays are demanding for rights, then rapists, defilers and those who sleep with animals should do the same.

Because, y'know, there are no gay Christians. And consensual same-sex relationships are completely equal with rape, defilement, and bestiality. Not to mention necrophilia.

"Stop hitting yourself!"

David Neiwert, commenting on Sean Hannity's willingness to not only defend Ted Nugent's calls for murdering Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama but to also attack what he sees as instances of hate speech or violent rhetoric by liberals, notes:
Of course, I've pointed out previously that this sort of behavior is part of Republicans' projection strategy: If they accuse liberals loudly enough of a certain kind of behavior, it becomes a permission for them to do so themselves -- though of course, liberals are at worst marginally guilty of this behavior, and the conservative immanation of it is exponentially more egregious.

I think that's part of it, but there's more. In the vein of "the best defense is a good offense", you accuse your opponents of doing what you are actually doing, and you get in there first. That way, if your opponents try to point out reality--"No, you're the ones doing that!"--it makes them seem weak, unimaginative, and childish. It brings to mind the taunt "I know you are, but what am I?" from grade school. So it's an attack on your opponents, which puts them on the defensive, while at the same time removing that same attack from their arsenal to use against you. And then we get back to what Mr. Neiwert says: even if they point out that you're the one actually doing it, it has become permissible for you to do it anyways because "they did it first."

I'm not sure that made any sense, but meh.

Well, yeah, that's what I said, but what I meant was....

Michael Behe--author, hack, and Intelligent Design advocate (but I repeat myself)--once said that in order to prove to him that an "irreducibly complex" system evolved naturally, he would need to be shown not only a complete step-by-step list of mutations,
...but also a detailed account of the selective pressures that would be operating, the difficulties such changes would cause for the organism, the expected time scale over which the changes would be expected to occur, the likely population sizes available in the relevant ancestral species at each step, other potential ways to solve the problem which might interfere, and much more.

Which, of course, is more detail than any other scientific principle, and a hell of a lot more than they require for I.D. About the only person who would require more evidence is Kent Hovind, who offers a phony $250,000 challenge to prove to him that evolution is true. How does one do this? By recreating the Big Bang in a laboratory. And it's a good thing that Behe requires all this information to accept that "irreducibly complex" systems can evolve, or else he'd realize that he himself has already proven that they can do so.

But let's ignore their double standards for now. O happy days, there's a new paper out that actually gives all this information! So, naturally, Behe has dropped all his objections, shut down the Uncomment Descent website, and apologized to all biologists for wasting their time up until now, right?

Of course not. He was given all that evidence and declared that it's proof of intelligent design instead. Ah, well.

Monday, August 27, 2007

That's not even mentioning that terrorism is actually extremely cheap to pull off

One of the common arguments in favor of Bush's taking down Saddam Hussein was that he was financing terrorist groups, and that taking him down removed a large pillar of support from their operations. So we did. And it hasn't seemed to stop them from blowing shit up just fine. So where are they getting their funds from?

Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they’ve extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province.

The payments, in return for the insurgents' allowing supplies to move and construction work to begin, have taken place since the earliest projects in 2003, Iraqi contractors, politicians and interpreters involved with reconstruction efforts said.



The website for the book A Practical Guide to Racism is up now, here.

"But what is this strange book?" you say. It's written by Sam Means, who has written for Saturday Night Live, The Onion and currently The Daily Show. Means writes as the fictional professor C. H. Dalton (played by Dan Bakkedahl), who has his own website here. I'll let Dalton describe his book:
In the grand tradition of Josiah Nott's 1854 Types of Mankind, A Practical Guide to Racism (APGTR) attempts to provide a comprehensive picture of the different races and how they interact. This volume goes one step further, however, by cataloguing the history and practice of racism and racial studies, with the hope of providing a single source for final knowledge on this entire subject.

What can you expect in APGTR? For starters, there is a chapter devoted to each of the nine races: Hispanics, Jews, Whites, Blacks, Asians, Indians (and Injuns), Arabs, Gypsies, and Merpeople. In these chapters, I offer a simple, easy to reference guide to the race, as well as a history of their oppression, and a Mythbustin'™ guide to the stereotypes about them. For example, are Swedish women really able to suck the chrome off of a trailer hitch? No, of course not, but the stereotype is rooted in their extraordinary talent for oral sex.

In addition, I provide a comprehensive glossary of racial epithets, including my own suggestions for additional slurs, based on my research. There is also an appendix on the so-called "sexual races," like Gays and Women, and one on ancient races like Phoenicians and Doozers.

They're just beginning to add content, but you can watch some videos in lieu of lectures by Dalton here, and read an excerpt from the book here.


...but you also need to add that the Free Market will solve everything.

How confirmation become denial?

This may be a little old, but....
Top military lawyers have told senators that President Bush's new rules for CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists could allow abuses that violate the Geneva Conventions, according to Senate and military officials.

The Judge Advocates General of all branches of the military told the senators that a July 20 executive order establishing rules for the treatment of CIA prisoners appeared to be carefully worded to allow humiliating or degrading interrogation techniques when the interrogators' objective is to protect national security rather than to satisfy sadistic impulses.


...[T]he JAGs told the senators that a key part of the order opens the door to violations of the section of the Geneva Conventions that outlaws "cruel treatment and torture" and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment," officials familiar with the discussion said.

The JAGs cited language in the executive order in which Bush said CIA interrogators may not use "willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual." As an example, it lists "sexual or sexually indecent acts undertaken for the purpose of humiliation."

Among lawyers, "for the purpose" language is often used to mean that a person must specifically intend to do something, such as causing humiliation, in order to violate a statute. The JAGs said Bush's wording appears to make it legal for interrogators to undertake that same abusive action if they had some other motive, such as gaining information.

Other law-of-war specialists agreed that this part of Bush's executive order creates an escape clause allowing abusive treatment.

Two former Reagan administration officials, Robert S. Turner and P.X. Kelley, wrote an op-ed page piece in The Washington Post on July 26 criticizing Bush's order as a violation of the Geneva Conventions that could endanger captured US soldiers by eroding respect for the treaty. Among their criticisms, they also singled out the "for the purpose" wording.

"As long as the intent of the abuse is to gather intelligence or to prevent future attacks, and the abuse is not 'done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual' -- even if that is an inevitable consequence -- the president has given the CIA carte blanche to engage in 'willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse,' " the two wrote.

And the White House's response?
Erik Ablin, a Justice Department spokesman, yesterday rejected that interpretation of the order. In an e-mail, he said the order "simply requires AN intent to humiliate and degrade the individual" -- for any reason -- before an interrogator's conduct would be considered a war crime. He said this standard was consistent with how international war crimes tribunals have interpreted the treaty.

Um, how is that a rejection of that interpretation? He seems to be confirming exactly what they feared--that there needs to be an intent to humiliate and degrade before torture can be considered a war crime. Which leaves an out for people to claim that wasn't their intention, they just wanted information, or whatever.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Topsy-Turvy Edition

In a great deal of the literature that I've read, the authors create a "scale" of the races, ranking them--usually according to perceived mental abilities. Often the scale would be: blacks, Native Americans, Asians, and whites. Sometimes they would have Malays in there somewhere, and sometimes they would have "Hottentots" below the regular blacks. But the idea was generally that blacks were the worst and whites were the best. Native Americans were held a little bit higher--there was the idea of the "noble savage" and the myth of Pocahontas, many of the oldest families in America had Native American blood in their veins (and were quite proud of it), and even the civilizations in Central and South America made people believe they were "better" than blacks. There was also a degree of bias in the people doing the judging, I'm sure--they would claim that Indians were so proud that they would die before being enslaved, unlike those slovenly obeisant Negroes. This, while giving Native Americans a bit of a higher position in the scale of races, also blamed the slaves for their positions (they surrendered to the idea too readily), but also gave the whites an excuse for exterminating Native Americans and not enslaving them.

Asians--specifically Chinese and Japanese, usually--were held just below whites in terms of ability. Both countries had ancient civilizations of their own, and especially with the Russo-Japanese Wars, it was clear that they were the equals of some of the Western powers. Japan especially was looked on with favor by certain writers, such as James Denson Sayers and Theodore Roosevelt. Whereas other Asians were decaying, Japan was growing, imitating the West and absorbing their culture. Often, though, Asians were discussed as though their glory days were behind them, and that though they were smart enough to use white technology, they could not invent it, or built upon it, or innovate it.

That was the usual scheme of things in works I've read. Then recently I found this:
[Prominent phrenologist George] Combe was particularly scathing toward the American Indians. In Africa, he argued, some of the inhabitants had at least advanced beyond "the savage condition," to create ". . . cities, rude manufactures, agriculture, commerce, government and laws; and in these respects they greatly excel several of the tribes of native Americans, who have continued wandering savages from the beginning to the end of their existence." Though there were some exceptions among the Indians, ". . . speaking of the race, we do not exaggerate in saying, that they remain to the present hour enveloped in all their primitive savageness, and that they are profited extremely little by the introduction amongst them of arts, sciences and philosophy." If Indian "savageness" stemmed from a conformation of the brain, attempts at civilization had little hope.

In a more popular work, Combe argued that a comparison of the heads of a Negro and a North African Indian demonstrated that the Indian intellect was weaker, but his pride and firmness were larger. Thus Negroes ". . . were able to appreciate the superior moral and intellectual powers of the European race, and are content in some measure to live under their guidance. The Indian, on the contrary, has refused to profit, to any great extent, by the arts or literature of the Europeans and has always preferred death to servitude." The great popularity of the phrenologists in the midnineteenth century ensured a wide dissemination of these racial theories.

--Reginald Horsman, "Scientific Racism and the American Indian in the Mid-Nineteenth Century." 27 American Quarterly 2, pp. 157-58.

So apparently some people at least thought that Indians were lower than blacks.

Vermont to decide which part of the bus blacks get to sit on

Well, no, they're not.

Instead, they're setting up a commission to determine whether they should upgrade from civil unions to full-blown gay marriage. Their first task is, apparently, to convince people that they haven't already made their decision:
A new commission set up to study whether Vermont should move from civil unions to full marriage for same-sex couples laid out its first goal Thursday: Convince the public it is open-minded enough to hear from both sides on the issue.

Several members of the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection insisted during the panel's opening meeting that they could put aside their own feelings on the topic and listen to Vermonters with open minds.

"While I have personal beliefs around civil unions and the right to marry ... I think it's pretty clear that the Legislature needs to reflect majority opinion ... and recognize where the state and society are willing to go," said commission member and former lawmaker Helen Riehle.

Gah, I hate all this talk about letting the "majority" decide what rights gay people have. Yes, a democracy is supposedly "majority rule", but... well, I'll let James Polk say it:
By the theory of our Government majorities rule, but this right is not an arbitrary or unlimited one. It is a right to be exercised in subordination to the Constitution and in conformity to it. One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights. Minorities have a right to appeal to the Constitution as a shield against such oppression.

Although maybe in Vermont the majority can make the right decision:
The 2004 exit poll asked respondents to choose between three options for legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships: full marriage, civil unions or no recognition. Forty percent said they support marriage, 37 percent civil unions and 21 percent neither.

Meh. Anyways... some people aren't too convinced about the gesture the commission is making:
Not everyone was buying the commission's promise to be open-minded, though. Two groups that opposed the first-in-the-nation civil union law when it passed in 2000 and oppose gay marriage now called for their supporters to boycott hearings scheduled for this fall out of fear the commission was stacked in favor of gay marriage.

Because then their opinion gets counted more, right?

Blackface is the perfect way to show solidarity with Africa

At least according to UNICEF, that is:
The United Nations Children's Fund is running damage control after its new German advertising campaign was not so-well-received. Someone had the not-so-clever idea to splash four blond child models in mud to create blackface.

The public service announcements intended to draw attention to the education crisis in Africa by appealing "for solidarity with their contemporaries" in Germany. The adverts appeared in, among other places, the most respected publications in the nation, such as Die Spiegel, Stern and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

You can follow the link to see two of the ads, though the translation of the German in the second one is incorrect. It actually means something like, "In Africa, many kids would be glad to worry about school."

UNICEF's reply, when outrage predictably ensued? "We apologize if you feel irritated by the make up of the children."

I suppose it could be that Germany, not having the same experiences as America did, simply doesn't have the same sensitivity to blackface, so they didn't really see anything wrong. On the other hand, Black Women in Europe is probably right:
...[T]he kids' statements ignore the existance of millions of african academics and regular people and one again reduces a whole continent to a village of muddy uneducated uncivilized people who need to be educated (probably by any random westerner). This a really sad regression.
Bottom lines of this campaign are: Black = mud = African = uneducated. White = educated. We feel this campaign might do just as much harm as it does any good. You don't collect money for helping people by humiliating and trivilaizing them first.

Via Pam's House Blend.

Life on Mars?

The soil on Mars may contain microbial life, according to a new interpretation of data first collected more than 30 years ago.

The search for life on Mars appeared to hit a dead end in 1976 when Viking landers touched down on the red planet and failed to detect biological activity.

But Joop Houtkooper of the University of Giessen, Germany, said on Friday the spacecraft may in fact have found signs of a weird life form based on hydrogen peroxide on the subfreezing, arid Martian surface.

His analysis of one of the experiments carried out by the Viking spacecraft suggests that 0.1 percent of the Martian soil could be of biological origin.

That is roughly comparable to biomass levels found in some Antarctic permafrost, home to a range of hardy bacteria and lichen.

"It is interesting because one part per thousand is not a small amount," Houtkooper said in a telephone interview.

"We will have to find confirmatory evidence and see what kind of microbes these are and whether they are related to terrestrial microbes. It is a possibility that life has been transported from Earth to Mars or vice versa a long time ago."


Clinton, you schmuck

"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," Clinton told supporters in Concord.

"So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that," she added.

Yglesias has it about right:
...I think the Democrat best positioned to deal with GOP political mobilization in a post-attack environment is going to be the one who isn't reflexively inclined to see failed Republican policies resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Americans as a political advantage for the Republicans.



I knew that there were mercenaries active in Iraq.

I didn't know just how many of them there are:
Via Avedon at The Sideshow, I found this lovely Washington Post article about private contractors (who for some reason we no longer call mercenaries) running amok in Iraq. The Post article states the official number of contractors in Iraq is approximately 127,000, but that's a lowball estimate since the CIA and intelligence arms of the various armed services are also employing private contractors and the exact number of how many they've hired is classified. Obviously, not all of them are engaged in combat-related activities but most of them are.


This article from The Indypendent puts the number of contractors at 180,000....

To put that in perspective, there are currently about 162,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

That's a helluva lot of mercenaries.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not to mention John Boswell's books

A recent article in the Journal of Modern History, "Same-Sex Couples Creating Households in Old Regime France: The Uses of the Affrèrement", seems to suggest that there may be a historical precedent for same-sex civil unions, dating back 600 years in France. I haven't read the article yet, but here's an article about it:
[I]n late medieval France, the term affrèrement -- roughly translated as brotherment -- was used to refer to a certain type of legal contract, which also existed elsewhere in Mediterranean Europe. These documents provided the foundation for non-nuclear households of many types and shared many characteristics with marriage contracts, as legal writers at the time were well aware, according to Tulchin.

The new "brothers" pledged to live together sharing 'un pain, un vin, et une bourse' -- one bread, one wine, and one purse. As Tulchin notes, "The model for these household arrangements is that of two or more brothers who have inherited the family home on an equal basis from their parents and who will continue to live together, just as they did when they were children." But at the same time, "the affrèrement was not only for brothers," since many other people, including relatives and non-relatives, used it.

The effects of entering into an affrèrement were profound. As Tulchin explains: "All of their goods usually became the joint property of both parties, and each commonly became the other's legal heir. They also frequently testified that they entered into the contract because of their affection for one another. As with all contracts, affrèrements had to be sworn before a notary and required witnesses, commonly the friends of the affrèrés."

Tulchin argues that in cases where the affrèrés were single unrelated men, these contracts provide "considerable evidence that the affr`rés were using affrèrements to formalize same-sex loving relationships. . . . I suspect that some of these relationships were sexual, while others may not have been. It is impossible to prove either way and probably also somewhat irrelevant to understanding their way of thinking. They loved each other, and the community accepted that. What followed did not produce any documents."


Mighty Morphin' Minutemen

I found this on a Google search the other night. It's hilarious--an attempt to show that the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were coded symbols of white supremacy:
Let us take each ranger, one at a time first.

Billy - the blue ranger:

Billy, the awkward and shyest of the teens plays perfectly into the "geek" stereotype. With his generic side-parted hair-do and his thick circular glasses, he just gives off the Slashdot vibe. He is quiet and shy, yet good with technology, making inventions for the rangers.

Kimberly - the pink ranger:

Young Kimberly Hart is the ditzy and materialistic ranger who undergoes a change of hart to become a compassionate and caring individual with a hart of gold. ok, enough lame hart jokes. The pink ranger is the more attractive of the two female rangers. She is also the most feminine. Notice her Ranger suit actually as a skirt (although why is a mystery) to emphesize the fact that she's a girl, as if the hot pink outfit wasn't enough. My main problem with her is this: She is the one ranger with a slight bit of sex appeal for young boys (the primary audience). The pink ranger basically teaches the youth of this country to associate pink with sex. Something that most guys have no trouble seeing the connection between.

Now, I know what you're thinking. We have class stereotypes and sexism, but where is this promised racism? Well, here it is.

Zack - the black ranger:

As black ranger, Zack gained enhanced strength, speed, and durablity. Meaning, of course, he bacame the perfect athlete. Figure this one out. The only black member of the team just happens to be the black ranger? It was pounded into kids' skulls that this guy was black. And just look at the typical 90's rapper-wannabe hair-do Zack sports. A quick note: the black ranger shares the name of our 12th president, Zachary Taylor, who was the first president to make an attempt to eliminate slavary... might as well have called him Abe Lincoln.

Trini - the yellow ranger:

Trini is described as the quiet and spiritual ranger. She also happens to be Asian. This goes back to the black ranger; black guy, black ranger; Asian girl, yellow ranger. Seems somewhat suspicious to me. Trini was never a major character, but everything from her name (Trini Kwan) to her look is stereotypical of an Asian-American.

Jason - the red ranger:

Jason is strong and brave. What could this possibly have to do with racism, you ask. Well, Jason is obviously Native American (at least in part). Once again, the color of the suit discloses information about the wearer. The proud heratige of the Native American is reduced to one word: "redskin"

Tommy - the green ranger:

When I was first exploring this theory, I saw no connection between the evil green Tommy and the rest of the racist rangers and I decided to write that he was the one shining ray of hope in this screwed up series... but I soon reconsidered.

Tommy - the white ranger:

When Tommy changes his evil ways, he becomes the white ranger. The strongest and purest of all the rangers, he is strong, fierce, and completely uncorruptable. I was having some trouble swallowing this one. What did this have to do with anything? Suddenly, it came to me: He is strongest, fastest, and overall most powerful of all the rangers; he is the perfect ranger. Hence the white.

I'm not sure where he gets the idea that the Red Ranger was Native American. Actually, I think that the Green/White Ranger is Native American.

Of course, by Christian math, this means that there is one gay gene

A week after the fact, I find this open letter to "sharp-minded antihomo" Judy Paris. No idea who she is? Eh, neither do I. Doesn't matter.

Here's part of the open letter that I wanted to focus on, because it brings up one of Paris's "arguments":
I'd like to point something out, though. When you note that "[m]ost scientists agree that it is unlikely that there is a single 'gay gene'," you equate this observation with an absence of a genetic contribution to homosexuality.

Uh, yeah. About that...
On Sunday, the Tribune published a rebuttal by Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist and leading researcher in the study of sexual orientation and its origins. LeVay is clear in exposing the deliberately deceptive nature of [David Clarke] Pruden's opinion piece.

Employing a turn of phrase calculated to confuse any reader, Pruden writes that a recent genetic study from the University of Illinois "reported that there is no one gay gene." That's correct - it reported evidence for three! How does finding three "gay genes" rather than one show that the born-that-way theory of homosexuality has "no basis in science," as Pruden argues?


We have to nuke them 'til they love us!

Courtesy of Pam, there's a poll over at WorldNetDaily: "Should U.S. threaten nuclear annihilation of Muslim holy sites for deterrence?"

The majority answer, at 3514 votes, or 65.62% of the vote (as of the time Pam recorded the poll, which is now down), was "Yes, this is the only language these religion-driven fanatics understand."

I think that the problem is much rather that the voters in that poll only understand violence. That, and the further demonization of our opponents: they're insane! They're fanatics! They're driven by hate! They hate freedom! There's no way to reason with these people, because they don't have any real rationales, they're motivated by nothing but frothing, seething hatred! (Again, projection of the voters' own racism and hatred onto their opponents).

And recall, you can negotiate with these people, if you actually bother to. They are not mentally unstable, frothing-at-the-mouth bat-shit insane whackos who don't listen to others (after all, they're not writing for WorldNetDaily). If you didn't mock the idea of trying to understand the root of their hostility, you might actually... well, understand the root of their hostility.

I'll give you a hint: blithely talking about using nuclear weapons on their most sacred sites, along with all the complete disregard for the value of their lives that entails, is a part of it.

U.S. to attack Iran in the next Friedman Unit?

Robert Baer, a former CIA field officer, guesses we might be attacking Iran in six months:
Reports that the Bush Administration will put Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the terrorism list can be read in one of two ways: it's either more bluster or, ominously, a wind-up for a strike on Iran. Officials I talk to in Washington vote for a hit on the IRGC, maybe within the next six months. And they think that as long as we have bombers and missiles in the air, we will hit Iran's nuclear facilities. An awe and shock campaign, lite, if you will. But frankly they're guessing; after Iraq the White House trusts no one, especially the bureaucracy.

He repeated this on Fox News, elaborating:
Baer explained that what his sources anticipate is "not exactly a war." He said the administration is convinced "that the Iranians are interfering in Iraq and the rest of the Gulf" but that "if there is an attack on Iran it would be very quick, it would be a warning."

"We won't see American troops cross the border. ... If this is going to happen, it's going to happen very quickly and it's going to surprise a lot of people," said Baer. "I hope I'm wrong frankly, but we're going to see."

Well, let's hope so. 'Cause frankly, we don't have many more troops to send into another country.

Meanwhile, whereas Baer hopes he's wrong, John Bolton hopes he's right.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Liars for Jesus

So apparently some (well-funded) crackpots are making a movie, Expelled, about how intelligent design is being shunned by scientists, some sort of conspiracy by Big Science to keep the edgy, new theory from getting its due hearing.

Okay, fine. Typical martyr-posturing by the I.D. / creationist / fundie crowd. And, to rub salt in the wound, they're releasing it on Darwin's birthday in 2008.

Unlike some other documentary films, Expelled doesn't just talk to people representing one side of the story. The film confronts scientists such as Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, influential biologist and atheist blogger PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education. The creators of Expelled crossed the globe over a two-year period, interviewing scores of scientists, doctors, philosophers and public leaders. The result is a startling revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly-funded high schools, universities and research institutions.

The thing is, they didn't do this as the makers of Expelled; they came up to PZ saying they were making a movie called Crossroads, about the intersection between science and religion.

So they lied about what they were doing to show what good Christians they are. Sounds about right.

"Marge, you being a cop makes you the man. Which makes me the woman!"

Somewhat hidden in this post is a hint of why people are so obsessed with preventing gay marriage. TRex quotes insecure wanker Jules Crittenden, taking issue with David Neiwert's defense of stay-at-home dads (like himself):
Let's face it, while any real man can wipe a kid's ass, do the dishes and the laundry, read kids bedtime stories, cook dinner, all that, moms tend to make better mothers. You know why? Because they do. Some of them are horrible failures at motherhood, and some guys are better at it than women. Some guys are horrible failures at fatherhood, and some women are better at it than men. So what. Most guys I know make better dads than moms, and its all they can do to manage that.

We hear over and over again that "gender matters" in a marriage--usually to distinguish anti-gay marriage efforts from anti-miscegenation efforts, because race doesn't matter in marriage. The only way this makes sense is with the sexist thinking vomited up by Crittenden above: there are certain "mother" tasks, and certain "father" tasks. Apparently "wip[ing] a kid's ass, do[ing] the dishes and the laundry, read[ing] kids bedtime stories, [and] cook[ing] dinner" are all "mother" tasks (and lord only knows what the "father" tasks comprise). And if a man is doing these, this doesn't mean that the division is an archaic, sexist, meaningless notion--no, it just means that the man is being the "mother."

One would be hard-pressed to parody his loutish attempt at justifying these divisions: women do better at the "mother" tasks, he reasons, "Because they do." That's it. It is simply axiomatic, unquestionable, so there's really no reason to do something like bring up evidence! What a joy this man must be to live with--"No, honey, I can't do the dishes because I'm male and genetically incompetent at it. You'll have to do them."

If one accepts this disgustingly misogynistic worldview, then gay marriage is obviously a bad idea: kids need "moms" to do the "mother" tasks, and "dads" to do the "father" tasks. And since these roles are simply "naturally" divided along gender lines, we must keep mixed-sex marriages and eschew same-sex marriages... for the sake of the children, you understand.

That men like Crittenden might be forced to help around the house if people start catching on that men are capable of doing so is purely coincidental.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Suffer the children

In a stunning rebuke to congressional leaders, and to the six (out of 10) Republican Senate Finance Committee members who supported legislation to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the White House threatened to veto bills that would have covered millions of children.

The article goes on to give "a few choice quotes from the Office of Management and Budget's veto-threat statements" trying to explain this despicable decision, and show exactly why each of them are laughable. One of those excuses is this:
The proposed expansion "would cause millions of individuals to drop their private insurance in order to be involved with a government insurance plan."

Even if this is true, why would that be a reason to veto the legislation? I just can't understand some people's fetishism of privatization and the "free market".

Anywho. The article ends with this jab:
Before, "compassionate conservatism" may have seemed like a political bumper sticker. Now it seems like the punch line of a sad joke, at the expense of millions of impoverished children.

Indeed. There's the old line, "The Moral Majority is neither". I'm thinking the same of "compassionate conservatism." Although I suppose one could argue that stuff like this is "conservative" because it's small-government.

Monday, August 20, 2007

And yes, I did see that Newsradio episode

I don't really have much commentary on this article, except that I thought the opening paragraph was ridiculous:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is too experienced, Sen. Barack Obama too raw. Listening to Democrats give their Goldilocks view of the 2008 presidential campaign must make voters wonder: Will any candidate be just right for the White House?

Senator Clinton is "too experienced"? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Is she "overqualified" for the job of President of the United States?

"My guilty plea is not an admission of wrongdoing"

A couple days old, but here's a tidbit: remember how Bush used to have demonstrators barred from "public" events, or arrested if they showed up wearing anti-Bush t-shirts (or even disparaging bumper stickers)? Well, there was recently a settlement for one such event from 2004:
A couple arrested at a rally after refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.

Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.


The front of the Ranks' homemade T-shirts bore the international symbol for "no" superimposed over the word "Bush." The back of Nicole Rank's T-shirt said "Love America, Hate Bush." On the back of Jeffery Rank's T-shirt was the message "Regime Change Starts at Home."

However, don't think that this means Bush has learned anything:
White House spokesman Blair Jones said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.

"The parties understand that this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses and risks of litigation and is not an admission of fault, liability, or wrongful conduct," Jones said.

Right. "We trampled freedom of speech, but we never did anything wrong."

But what about all those white, male, protestant businessman conservative pundits?

Chris Kelly, in the midst of mocking Peggy Noonan, has an epiphany:
And then it struck me, suddenly, like a slow-moving vehicle: That's how you get a job as a conservative pundit. Figure out what makes you different from a white, male, protestant businessman, and hate your own guts for it.

If you're black, hate civil rights. If you're a woman, hate feminism. If you grew up poor, despise the poor. If you're a visible minority, demand more profiling. If you're gay, say you're cured. If you're Jewish, praise anti-Semites, if you're Christian, praise war. If you're Michelle Malkin... I don't know where you start with your problems if you're Michelle Malkin.

Just take a good, long look in the mirror, and ask yourself: Who am I? And how am I failing to be Neil Bush?

Sounds about right.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gay people are just like animals, children, and corpses. All at once.

I'm getting used to people comparing same-sex relationships to bestiality and pedophilia--in addition to Scarborough, there's of course Rick "man on dog" Santorum, and calling gays pedophiles has been a constant theme for a long while.

But comparing same-sex relationships with necrophilia is a new one to me.

These people seem to be just like Walter Copeland in my previous post--they've never fucking heard of consent.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: What's "Consent"? Edition

In 1925, Grace Copeland, wife of newspaper editor Walter Scott Copeland, went to an event at the Hampton Institute and was distraught to find that she was seated next to black women. So was her husband, who penned a nasty editorial denouncing the affair, writing such things as "Amalgamation would mean the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon race in America" and "We would prefer that every white child in the United States were sterilized and the Anglo-Saxon race left to perish in its purity."

After his editorial was published,
There were immediate cries for legislation to ban racial mixing in the audiences of any public event. Copeland was called before a committee of the legislature to testify on the bill. At the time he said of the Hampton Institute, "The niggers in that institution are being taught that there ought not to be any distinction between themselves and white people. If you wipe out the color line, we are gone. There will be no power on earth to prevent the nigger from entering our homes and marrying your daughter."

--"The Journalism Award Named for a Supremacist Opposed to Race-Mixing at Hampton University", The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 30, Winter 2000-2001, p. 82

I wonder if that's how Copeland got his wife.
Read more... in, "Launch every zig for"

So after three and a half years of unconstitutional detention without any accusation of wrongdoing, we finally convicted a man who's been tortured into loving, as Ms. Beyerstein puts it, "Big Brother," apparently for being Arab after 9-11.

Hooray for justice.


After the widespread publicity of the plan to send copies of Left Behind to soldiers in Iraq, the Pentagon has apparently struck down the plan.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Freud would have a field day with this

A book that tells children that interracial couples gay people are normal, loving couples that should be treated like other people are horrible, filthy items that ought to be banned, or better yet, burned. "We must protect the children from Heather Has Two Mommies!" scream the religious right. Because we all know that "gay" = "buttsex", and children can't be subjected to that.

What, then, should we subject them to instead? Well, back in 1997, there was this one choice:
Attempting to negate positive effects of gay-inclusive children's books such as Daddy's Home and Heather Has Two Mommies, the anti-gay radical religious group International Healing Foundation (IHF) is renewing a national scheme to place an anti-gay children's book, Alfie's Home, in schools and libraries. IHF director and Alfie's Home author Richard Cohen suggests in the book that (male) homosexuality is caused by distant fathers and sexual molestation, theories widely discredited. John Spear, Director of Field Services for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Teachers Network (GLSTN), says education should provide a safe and affirmative environment for all students. "Alfie's Home promotes hatred, bigotry and stereotypes which wreak havoc on schools and the educational process."

What is Alfie's Home, you ask? Well, here are some pictures of its pages.

...yeah. So apparently, showing a gay couple as happy and well-adjusted and perfectly normal is disgusting and warping for children.

Showing a young boy being raped by his uncle? Perfectly all right. Children need to know that this sort of thing happens, after all.

That's a new one

mandt at Pam's House Blend gives us the latest bat-shit insane reason why we can't give gays rights like normal people: if we do, then men will get away with rape.

No, seriously.
According to Senate Bill 2 [in Oregon], "'Sexual orientation' means an individual's actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender identity, regardless of whether the individual's gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual's sex at birth." In attempting to remove arbitrary standards of race, sexual orientation, etc. as to discrimination in the workplace and among intergroup relationships, the state has created new standards of acceptance of one's perceived sexual orientation.


What would be the outcome if a man accused of rape denies that he was capable of rape because on the day of the rape he perceived himself to be female? Farfetched? Maybe. It could happen under this law.

Uh-huh. Sure it could.

Why did 9/11 change everything but who was running our country at the time?

Mary Ann Akers has the story of how the '94 Cheney "quagmire" video came to light again, and tells us why Cheney changed his views:
Asked what changed the vice president's mind about invading Iraq between 1994 and 2003, Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said she was not authorized to comment.

She did, however, direct us to an interview that ABC News conducted with Cheney in February of this year in which Cheney was asked how his views had changed from 1991, when he also spoke of military action in Iraq as a "quagmire."

"Well, I stand by what I said in '91," Cheney told ABC. "But look what's happened since then -- we had 9/11."

Anyone surprised by this?

...I didn't think so.

But--aside from the facts that 9/11 didn't make Iraq any more susceptible to invasion, any less of a quagmire, it didn't reduce our casualties any, and it certainly didn't magically replace Saddam's government for us--we should also note that this is just more instance of the administration trying to tie Iraq to 9/11. He stands by what he said in '91 (and, we can only imagine, '94), in which conquering Baghdad would have been a quagmire, but being attacked by someone who had no ties to Iraq at all changed all that.

We should also take away their right to vote because they might regret their vote later

"While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained," Justice Kennedy wrote, alluding to the brief. "Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow."

Given those stakes, the justice argued, "The state has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed."

In short, Justice Kennedy concluded that women couldn't be trusted to make their own decisions, because they might make choices that they would regret later. Therefore, the government should make those choices for them (recall this cartoon).

This goes a bit to explaining why fundies insist on criminalizing abortion, but not on punishing the women who break the law: they aren't in their right mind!
[Richard] Land doesn't deny that women who have abortions might be addled, but he, along with Yoest, Earll, and Gans, takes exception to them being described as bystanders -- or as enlightened women making free, educated choices.

"It's not demeaning to assume that any person who is a mother who could make the decision to do this must be suffering from some form of psychological impairment because of the crisis of the pregnancy or because of societal demeaning of human life," Land said.

Of course; they came to a conclusion that you don't like, therefore they're mentally deficient. Those silly women--why should anyone think they could be able to think for themselves.

"choice joyce", commenting at Pam's House Blend has an excellent analysis of this:
They believe that all women are naturally mothers and want to be mothers. They believe motherhood is woman's primary, ennobling, most fulfilling role. They believe it's instinctual in fact, it's what women are made for, and women are ruled by their biology. Therefore, any woman who has an abortion is obviously not in her right mind, because she's violating her natural maternal instincts. There has to be something wrong with her or her decision-making process, or she's being coerced by someone or circumstances, because ALL women naturally want to be and should be mothers.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's strange how often homophobes are racists too

Well, we already knew that any group with the word "family" in its name hates any family that doesn't look like theirs--specifically, those led by same-sex couples. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that they should hate families with different skin colors, too:
...Europe may finally wake up to the reality that its culture is on the verge of extinction. With global birth rates plummeting, the concern over saving the earth may soon be replaced by concern over whom we're saving it for. As the traditional family declines, fewer children are being born to replace and support the world's graying society.

As our friend Allan Carlson has observed, "Of the 10 nations with the lowest birth rates worldwide, nine are in Europe." Countries like Slovakia are producing only 50,000 children a year, compared to 100,000 in 1974. In nations like Russia, Belarus, and the Czech Republic, the birth rate is hovering at a mere 1.2 children per woman. The World Congress of Families (WCF) has warned of this "demographic winter" for years but only recently have the media begun to notice the chill. FRC has worked with the WCF to raise awareness of this trend. Now that we have the attention of the international community, FRC will continue to call on world leaders to implement pro-marriage and pro-family policies.

In other words, darkies are out-breeding good old white people.

The FRC then has set themselves up as the cheerleaders for the latest war to end civilizations--not the war on terror, but the war on immigrants brown people:
Gingrich said that the "war here at home" against illegal immigrants is "even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan."


And Massachusetts hasn't been engulfed in fire and brimstone, either

New Jersey voters support full marriage equality.

Now, if you were to believe the right-wing crackpots, you'd think that the catastrophic consequences of letting gays live together would have ruined things in that state so much that the voters would never again think of accommodating those evil sodomists.

Strange how that didn't happen. You'd almost think that letting gays marry doesn't cause the sky to fall after all.

The waiting is the hardest part

Attytood examines the news that the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps is being designated a terrorist group, and concludes that this is part of a scheme to let the administration invade Iran.
The White House hawks in Dick Cheney's office and elsewhere who want to stage an attack on Iran are clearly winning the internal power stuggle. And an often overlooked sub-plot on the long road toward war with Tehran is this: How could Bush stage an attack on Iran without the authorization of a skeptical, Democratic Congress?

Today, the White House has solved that pesky problem in one fell swoop. By explicitly linking the Iranian elite guard into the post 9/11 "global war on terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush's lawyers would certainly now argue that any military strike on Iran is now covered by the October 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq, as part of their overly sweeping response to the 2001 attacks.

This has clearly been the thinking for some time, particularly with talk -- unfulfilled, of course -- by some Democrats on Capitol Hill of either revoking the 2002 authorization or placing explicit curbs on attacking Iran.


This is about one thing, and one thing only:

A prelude to a new war.

There's certainly been overt hostility (to put it mildly) towards Iran, with Cheney calling for strikes, McCain's failed attempt at a joke, and everyone jumping to say they're prepared to attack. Further the administration's habit of constantly blaming Iran for the insurgency in Iraq (claiming, as in that post, that they're providing them with weapons) along with their hubbub over Iran's nuclear program does contribute towards the trend of their building a case for invasion. I mean, look at this:
LOU DOBBS: Let’s begin with the issue of — the administration has stated categorically, you know, our generals have stated categorically that as many of the third of the deaths last month, for example, were caused by Iranian support of the insurgency and the provision of those shaped charges killing so many of our troops.

Why is there no reaction by this government and this military?

JAMES WOOLSEY: I don't know. The Persians invented chess and the Iranians are doing a pretty good job of moving their pieces — Muqtada al-Sadr and those explosive devices, and Hamas and Hezbollah around to protect their queen, which is their most lethal piece — their nuclear weapons program.

Still, I'm a little skeptical. It's not that I think invading a third country while we still haven't secured the first two is beyond Bush; heck, we invaded Iraq despite not having finished up with Afghanistan. And I don't really think they care that our military is already stretched pretty much to the breaking point.

It's just that there's been talk of Bush trying to set up an Iran invasion for over two years now, and still nothing. It's not like they needed to wait to gain approval--if they are planning on doing it, what are they waiting for?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

At least this one's up-front about it

Some Virginia nutcase writes,
As a Christian, I think it's time to rid ourselves of this notion of freedom of religion in America.

Christians hate freedom! We ought to invade their countries and convert them to secular humanism.

Ed Brayton has more.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dogpiling on Bill Sali!

David Neiwert has more from Sali, who is attacking "multiculturalism" as being contrary to the national motto "E Pluribus Unum."

Don't ask me, I don't get it either.

In addition, Sali had this to say:
In response to his concerns about the Hindu prayer offered in the Senate in July, Sali said it is Christianity that drives many good causes in the United States. "Christian principles work, and they show up in a lot of different areas," Sali said. "Most of the hospitals in this country have Christian names. If you think Hindu prayer is great, where are the Hindu hospitals in this country? Go down the list. Where are the atheist hospitals in this country? They're not equal."

Question: "Where are the atheist hospitals in this country?"
Answer: Everywhere.

Every hospital is atheist, Bill, no matter its name. I don't care what name it has, I don't care what the religions are of the people who work there. Hospitals work on biology, anatomy, chemistry, in a word: science. They don't run on religion. We don't have doctors setting up vigils to pray people back to good health. The efficacy of Hindu prayer is equal to that of Christian prayer, which is to say, non-existent.

So I propose this challenge to Representative Sali: If Christian prayer is so great, the next time you're sick or injured, why not go to a faith healer instead of a doctor?

Feel like spot-lighting this

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy died at age 90.

Who was Ms. Kirkaldy, you wonder?
Kirkaldy, born Irene Morgan in Baltimore in 1917, was arrested in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus heading from Gloucester to Baltimore, and for resisting arrest.

1944--eleven years before Rosa Parks.
Her case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by an NAACP lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black justice on the high court.

The Supreme Court held in June 1946 that Virginia law requiring the races to be separated on interstate buses -- even making passengers change seats during their journey to maintain separation if the number of passengers changed -- was an invalid interference in interstate commerce.

At the time, the case received little attention, and not all bus companies complied with the ruling at first, but it paved the way for civil rights victories to come, including Parks' famous stand on a local bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.

Kirkaldy also inspired the first Freedom Ride in 1947, when 16 civil rights activists rode buses and trains through the South to test the Supreme Court decision.


Asked where her courage came from that day, Kirkaldy said simply: "I can't understand how anyone would have done otherwise."

She was not part of any organized movement, unlike Parks, who was an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when she challenged segregation.


Once again a common victim brings our two cultures closer together

Pam Spaulding reports that an Italian deputy-mayor, Giancarlo Gentilini, recently called for an "ethnic cleansing of faggots":
"I will immediately give orders to my forces so that they can carry out an ethnic cleansing of faggots," Gentilini told the station in an interview.

"The faggots must go to other [places] where they are welcome. Here in Treviso there is no chance for faggots or the like."

I was going to rhetorically ask what is it with Italians and gay people, but then I remembered that only a few years ago Rhea County, Tennesee, wanted to ban all gays, too.

"To Save America, we need the Black Death"

William Wolfrum has a great parody of Stu "sick bastard" Bykofsky's wet dream of slaughtering thousands of people to retain political power.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Two completely different things that we just happen to use the exact same language for

As an addendum to my last post, I'd like to draw further attention to the Freeper screed that Pam quoted:
Does the same church deny memorial services to the deceased if they were divorced or remarried?

Nice try. Maybe you do not clearly understand what homosexuality is vs what a divorced or remarried person is. Homosexuality is an act that is totally unnatural. It involves a LIFESTYLE, a CHOICE OF HOW YOU WANT TO HAVE SEX. It is totally unnatural in the scheme of life as it has evolved.

You see, 100 divorce regular people on a deserted island will eventually have a second generation and so continue the species on that island.

100 homosexuals on a deserted island will NEVER have a second generation. Now if the article had been about a church having denied to hold services for a practicer of bestiality (which is also an unnatural choice of how to have sex and also contrary to human survival) would you have posted the same silly question?

Again, nice try but still ridiculous.

Ugh. I feel like vomiting just copying and pasting that. But compare his "100 homosexuals on a deserted island will NEVER have a second generation" to what Josiah Nott had to say in his Two Lectures on the Natural History of the Caucasian and Negro Races (emphasis mine):
What then could we expect in breeding from a faulty stock; a stock which has been produced by a violation of nature's laws, but that they should become more and more degenerate in each succeeding generation? We know that the parent will transmit to the child, not only his external form, character, expression, temperament, &c., but diseases, through many generations, as insanity, gout, scrofula, consumption, &c. Why then may not that defective internal organization which leads to ultimate destruction exist in the mulatto? I believe that if a hundred white men and one hundred black women were put together on an Island, and cut off from all intercourse with the rest of the world, they would in time become extinct.

But of course the miscegenation analogy is faulty because, uh... gays are icky! Or something.

We don't hate the sinner, we just treat him like trash on "principle"

Cecil Sinclair, a Navy veteran of the first Gulf War, passed away recently. The church where his brother works as a janitor had initially offered to hold memorial services, then at the last minute reversed their decision simply because he was gay:
Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.


Simons said the church believes homosexuality is a sin, and it would have appeared to endorse that lifestyle if the service had been held there.

"We did decline to host the service — not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle," Simons told The Associated Press. "Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it — yes, we would have declined then. It's not that we didn't love the family."


"Even though we could not condone that lifestyle, we went above and beyond for the family through many acts of love and kindness," Simons said.

Well, sure. You don't hate the family, you just hate that one individual member of the family because he was gay. And enough of this shit that your disgusting behavior isn't hatred or discrimination--it's both. Your "principles" involve shunning gay people because they love their fellow man a bit more than you do, not to mention lying, and comparing gay people to murderers and thieves. You really run the fucking gamut of compassion there.

Well, at least you're not as bad as the Freeper that Pam quotes. But that's really not saying much.

This doesn't make anything better

Jonathan Schwarz drudges up a YouTube video of Dick Cheney from April '94, explaining why deposing Saddam Hussein would have been such a very bad idea in the first Gulf War. Here's part of it:
Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place?

You know, I used to just assume that the Bush administration didn't even bother thinking about these sorts of things before charging gung-ho to topple a country. If they were incompetent lackwits without an ounce of foresight, that was bad enough. But if they actually had thought of these objections, and still didn't do any post-war planning, and went and conquered Baghdad anyways... that's just fucking sadistic.

There's also this ironic quip from Cheney:
[T]he question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgement [sic] was, not very many, and I think we got it right.

So, 146+ dead Americans was too steep a price to pay for the removal of Saddam Hussein back in 1994. But in 2007, 3500+ dead Americans is well worth deposing that same man, after he got rid of anything that made him a possible danger.

Inflation's a bitch.

And of course, war is peace

You've probably already heard about Idaho Representative Bill Sali railing that Muslims and Hindus actually think they have rights in America. Well, due to the shitstorm he raised he's quickly back-pedaling, claiming that having a Muslim in Congress is simply "not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers." Which is still complete and utter bullshit, and David Neiwert gives some examples why. But he also quotes a few of Mr. Sali's constituents, who are defending his statements to the death:
Rep. Sali's caution with regard to Islam and public policy is wise. The citizens of Minnesota certainly have the right to send anybody to Washington they wish, but when you examine nations whose public institutions have been shaped by Islamic politicians, you invariably find no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, no freedom of conscience, no fundamental rights for women, and no freedom for ordinary citizens to choose their own leaders.

It is still a capital offense in 22 Muslim nations to convert from Islam to Christianity. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal even to worship Christ in public, and officials there continue to confiscate Bibles, crucifixes, and Stars of David even from tourists who bring them into the country.

If an Islamic-inspired worldview were to shape America's public policy, this country would become a far different land than the one bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers.

It would no longer be the "sweet land of liberty" of which we sing but something tyrannical and repressive. That's not the kind of nation the American people want, and Rep. Sali is right on target in issuing his word of caution.

In other words, we have to eliminate freedom of religion in order to preserve freedom of religion.

Although, as I noted in the original post, these people have some fucked-up ideas of what freedom of religion means. From a comment on the news article about Sali's hatemongering:
I agree with Congressman Sali. Having a Muslim in office and a Hindu open Senate prayer shows just how far the people of America have fallen from the priciples of God's Word. Freedom of religion was to be able to worship the true God of heaven without the interference of government telling us how to. It was so we could worship the ONE true God, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, and not the god of Ishmael, as Islam holds to, or one of the many gods of the Hindus. Yes, we are in the end times and the fight is between light and darkness, right and wrong, God and the devil. Those who choose God are on the winning side and will have the ultimate victory! Praise God!

I really can't wrap my head around it, but these people seem to honestly believe that "freedom of religion" actually means "Christian theocracy."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Birds of a Feather Edition

Eugene O'Neill, playwright, is nothing if not startling, and the public can hardly be said to be altogether unprepared for the announcement that he is to have a white woman play opposite a negro in an inter-racial drama which he has written and is now rehearsing. According to the New York dispatch, a young woman whose name is being withheld, has agreed, after one leading actress and many near-stars refused to play opposite a negro leading man in Eugene O'Neill's new dramatic production, "All God's Chillun Got Wings." In the closing scene of this play, it is stated, "the white woman is required to kiss the hand of the negro whose wife she has become." It is further stated that O'Neill's determination to go through with the staging of this play and make it "realistic" has "started much talk in theatrical circles." We read, "He first offered the leading female role to one of the best known actresses, and when she refused, consulted many others before finding one he said was willing to hold art above race prejudice. This young woman has asked that her name be kept
from the public, at least until the play opens."

Eugene O'Neill, son of James O'Neill who years ago starred in "Monte Cristo," is best known as the author of "The Hairy Ape," a play which interested jaded dramatic critics and won high praise from some of them because of its revolt against accepted standards, its brutality, the harsh nakedness of its horrors, and its puzzling obscurity of idea which recalled Ibsen without revealing Ibsen's inspiration. That such an imagination as O'Neill's should have reached out further into the repellent and adopted such a theme as he is now developing in stage rehearsals, though startling indeed, is no more than might have been expected.

Whether "all God's chillun got wings" may be open to debate, but it cannot be doubted that there would be a scandalized commotion among the winged creatures of the air if a robin were found mating with a dove and producing mongrel offspring in defiance of the law of nature that birds of a feather must flock together. The same law of nature applies in the case of distinct races of men and is made none the less imperative by a few violations of it with tragic consequences. In the economy and order of the universe there is some complete and fundamental reason as basic for the fact that the several grand divisions of the human race remain distinct, and are not amalgamating into a single mongrel type, in spite of the commercial intercommunion of all peoples and the talk of the "brotherhood of man"—which, it may be incidentally remarked, is good talk in its proper place and right meaning, without the madness of the demand for inter-racial mingling of blood.

Mr. O'Neill is altogether mistaken when he says he at last found an actress "willing to hold art above race prejudice." What he finally found was an actress willing to hold "art" above nature. And Mr. O'Neill is pleased only because he has definitely repudiated the long accepted canon that true art is the mirror of nature.

--"'Art' Above Nature," Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman, March 5, 1924, p. 4.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I was guarding that bank when it got robbed, therefore I should be given a raise!

Everyone knows that Rudolph Giuliani has been taking every available opportunity to remind the country that he was mayor of New York when 9-11 happened. Why he's been doing this is somewhat baffling: several deaths happened because of his negligence on the matter.

Maybe he's just banking on the fact that in the post-9/11, Bushian world, failure is rewarded.