Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Biblical Edition

Since last week was National Bible Week... well, I should've posted this last Friday, I guess. But I didn't, so I'm posting this now: a list of Bible verses used to justify hatred of miscegenation. This list was copied from the end of the book Whom Has God Joined Together?, by Dallas Jackson. Jackson is a living racist--the book was only published in 1990--but many of these same verses were bandied about by dead racists, as well.

I've provided something of an annotation here, a brief explanation of the thought process that lead them to conclude that these verses prove God hates exactly whom they hate.

  • Genesis 1:11-31
    God created all the animals "after his kind" (which was taken to mean species or race), and he declared that this was "very good."

  • Genesis 2:18-23
    God created Eve, whom Adam said was "flesh of my flesh." So she was created the same race as Adam.

  • Genesis 6:9
    Noah was declared "perfect in his generations", which must mean that his genealogy was racially homogeneous

  • Genesis 12:14-20
    Pharoah tried to get it on with Sarai, Abram's wife, which made God plague him and his house. Clearly because they were of different races.

  • Genesis 24:1-4
    Abraham makes his servant swear to go on a trip to get Isaac a wife from "my kindred" instead of the surrounding Canaanites. Obviously this must be about interracial marriage and not interfaith.

  • Genesis 26:34-35
    Esau married Hittites, which "were a grief of mind" for Isaac and Rebekah.

  • Genesis 27:46
    Rebekah frets that Jacob might marry a woman like Esau did.

  • Genesis 28:1-9
    Isaac commanded Jacob not to marry a Canaanite, but to go to Laban and get a wife from him.

  • Genesis 34:1-34
    Shechem a Hivite rapes Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and tries to marry her. So Jacob's sons slaughtered the entire city. Supposedly this is because Shechem wasn't of the same race--it's not like anyone would care if their sister were raped by someone of the same race.

  • Exodus 11:1-7
    "The Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel". God discriminates against the races, why don't you! It's the cool thing to do.

  • Exodus 20:14-17
    "Adultery" is redefined to mean "miscegenation", so God forbids it in the ten commandments even! How do they justify this bizarre definition? Well, "adultery" shares the same root as "adulterate", which means to make impure--and obviously that's what miscegenation does. And I'm sure this was true even in the original Hebrew, but there's no need to check or anything.

  • Exodus 33:16
    Moses's people will be separated "from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." Go segregation!

  • Exodus 34:10-17
    Verses 15 & 16 say not to join another religion, or even to let your kid marry someone of another religion lest they get tempted to join that religion. Why people seem to think that this is therefore a racial thing and not a religious thing is beyond me.

  • Leviticus 18:1
    Uh. This was probably a typo.

  • Leviticus 20:22-26
    God's commanding the Israelites "not [to] walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you." So, no goose-stepping then?

  • Numbers 25:1-18
    Phineas (or Phinehas) saw "one of the children of Israel" with a Midianitish woman, so he ran into their tent and killed them both with his spear. For this, God rewarded him with "the covenant of an everlasting priesthood." So God blesses people who kill race-mixers. Today, some violent Christian Identity groups refer to themselves as the Phineas Priesthood.

  • Numbers 36:1-13
    Here we have the daughters of Zelophehad commanded to marry among their father's tribe (of the multiple Israelite tribes). God is really picky.

  • Deuteronomy 7:1-6
    Verse 3: don't marry the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, or Jebusites, and don't let your kids marry them. Cause God hates foreigners. Well, technically God hates the natives of Israel, so he killed them all and gave the land to the Hebrews. But genocide is okay when you're totally benevolent.

  • Deuteronomy 32:7-9
    God "separated the sons of Adam [and] set the bounds of the people." Clearly, God endorses segregation. And also condemns migration. Unless you're white, then he's totally in favor of spreading to new lands.

  • Joshua 23:1-16
    If you intermarry, God will let other people kill you. So, you know, don't do it. Or brown people will kill you.

  • Judges 3:1-11
    The Israelites "dwelt among" foreigners, married their children to them, and worshipped their gods. So God got pissed and sold them into slavery. But it's only the marrying them that really got him mad, not the serving their gods. God's much too mellow to get upset by that.

  • I Kings 8:49-53
    God "separated" the Israelites, but somehow this applies to everyone else, too. You'd think he'd have said something to that effect somewhere, though.

  • I Kings 11:1-13
    Solomon's wives, many of them foreign, turned him away from God, and God got angry. But it wasn't the worshipping other gods that did it, but the marrying foreign women. Marrying seven hundred of them also wasn't a problem so much as their skin color.

  • I Kings 16:29-33
    Ahab married Jezebel (a Zidonian) and started worshipping Baal. So, uh... yeah. These people have crappy reading comprehension.

  • Ezra 9:1-15
    So the Israelites are all marrying other peoples, right? And Ezra--a totally righteous dude--is all "Oh noes! What'll we do?" And God's like, "Don't do that, man!" And Ezra's like, "Dude, you are awesome!"

  • Ezra 10:1-44
    All the people who had intermarried dumped their wives and gave up a ram for penance.

  • Nehemiah 9:1-3
    The Israelites all separated themselves from the other people, so therefore Christians should, too. They just want to be popular, y'know?

  • Nehemiah 10:28-34
    All the people who had intermarried promised they wouldn't do that anymore. It's like some racist after-school special. "I promise I'll never do drugs get it on with darkies again!"

  • Nehemiah 13:1-3, 23-31
    The Hebrews separated from "the mixed multitude" in the first part, and then Nehemiah found little biracial children and decided to kick their ass. I mean, he beat them, he tore out their hair. That'll teach 'em to be biracial and bilingual! Note: God endorses violence.

  • Esther 3:8
    Supposedly this is supposed to mean that the Jews were keeping separate, though I think this guy doesn't really understand what "dispersed" means.

  • Job 12:7-9
    Look at animals and learn from them. Now I ask you: have you ever seen animals spending time with animals of another species?

  • Proverbs 2:16
    This guy takes most any mention of "strange" women to mean "of a different race". So wisdom will deliver you from intermarriage, which is good, because going with her will result in death.

  • Proverbs 5:3, 20
    See above.

  • Proverbs 23:27
    "Strange" women are traps. You think it's all going good and then BAM! You wake up without a kidney.

  • Isaiah 2:1-9
    Especially verse 6--God has forsaken the Israelites because they intermarried. The psychic thing is okay, though--God just loves watching John Edward.

  • Jeremiah 2:1-29
    In verse 20, God calls Israel a "harlot", which means "adulterer", and--as we saw above--"adultery" means "miscegenation." No-one mangles the English language like a Christian trying to justify his position with the Bible!

  • Ezekiel 16:1
    I think this is a typo. In verse 2, though, God says he'll explain exactly what Israel's abominations are. And they apparently include: (16:15) being a harlot, like above; (16:26) screwing Egyptians; (16:28) screwing Assyrians; and (16:29) screwing Canaanites and/or Chaldeans. Wow, Israel really is a harlot.

  • Ezekiel 44:1-23
    ...y'know what? I'm getting tired of this. No more explanations, just a list.

  • Hosea 5:1-7

  • Hosea 6:4-10

  • Hosea 7:1-10

  • Malachi 2:1-17

  • Matthew 24:36-39

  • I Corinthians 10:1-10

  • Hebrews 12:16

  • Hebrews 13:4

  • II Peter 2:9-16

  • Jude 7-11

  • Revelation 2:11-16

  • Revelation 5:9

  • Revelation 7:9

  • Revelation 10:11

  • Revelation 11:9

  • Revelation 13:7

  • Revelation 14:6

  • Revelation 17:15

  • Revelation 21:24

  • Revelation 22:1


Bush wants to surrender to the terrorists!

The Bush administration intends to slash counterterrorism funding for police, firefighters and rescue departments across the country by more than half next year, according to budget documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The Homeland Security Department has given $23 billion to states and local communities to fight terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks, but the administration is not convinced that the money has been well spent and thinks the nation's highest-risk cities have largely satisfied their security needs.

The department wanted to provide $3.2 billion to help states and cities protect against terrorist attacks in 2009, but the White House said it would ask Congress for less than half — $1.4 billion, according to a Nov. 26 document.

The plan calls outright elimination of programs for port security, transit security, and local emergency management operations in the next budget year. This is President Bush's last budget, and the new administration would have to live with the funding decisions between Jan. 20 and Sept. 30, 2009.

Way to show the country that you're serious about protecting it from terrorist attacks! I mean, some of us were beginning to think that you were just raising the specter of terrorism to score political points and get re-elected. Good for us that you're not all talk.
The proposal to drastically cut Homeland Security grants is at odds with some of the administration's own policies.

How's that for understatement?

This is understandably causing a bit of resentment among legislators.
"This budget proposal is dead on arrival," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. "This administration runs around the country scaring people and then when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is, they say 'sorry, the bank is closed."'

California receives a large share of the counterrorism money each year, and could lose more than $200 million under the White House plan.

Boxer was particularly incensed about the proposal to end money for port security — a big concern on the West Coast. "California's ports carry over 47 percent of all goods imported into the United States," she said. "A terrorist attack at any of California's ports could shut down our nation's port system and result in a mind-boggling loss for our nation's economy."

Bipartisan opposition to deep cuts emerged from New York, another state that would be hard hit.

"To zero out essential Homeland Security programs which have more to do with protecting Americans and fighting the war on terror than much of the money spent in Iraq shows how warped and out of touch this administration's priorities are," said Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat.

The proposal "goes totally in the wrong direction," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. "This would be a very grave mistake, and I will do all I can to stop it."


Further Giuliani updates

Tim Grieve at Salon lists the various defenses the Giuliani campaign has offered thus far to his charging random NYC agencies for his police entourage while getting booty calls with his then-mistress. They seem to be going for the spaghetti defense: throw out everything they can and see what sticks (so far, none of them have). I think my favorite is number 4, though:
Shortly after the Politico story broke, Joe Lhota, a deputy mayor under Giuliani, told the Daily News that the practice of billing obscure city offices for mayoral security has "gone on for years" and "predates Giuliani." When told Thursday that spokesmen for Giuliani's predecessors disagreed, Lhota said he needed to "reverse" himself. "I'm just going to talk about the Giuliani era," he said. "I should only talk about what I know about."

So when Lhota said "every mayor of New York city does this", he only meant during Giualiani's era. That is, only Giuliani did this.

And it doesn't stop there! There was breaking news yesterday along the theme of misappropriation of city funds for Giuliani's affair:
Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on

"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.


The former officials told the extra costs involved overtime and per diem costs for officers traveling with Giuliani to secret weekend rendezvous with Nathan in the fashionable Hamptons resort area on Long Island.


Not so much 'impossible' as 'routine'

Squirrels really work for their food.

Although, really, it's mostly just climbing things and walking across other things. Squirrels do that all the time. The only remotely interesting parts are when it leaps from part of the obstacle course to another (which probably isn't far outside what squirrels do in trees anyways); the fact that it seems to be dragging the little red cart forward by pushing along the sides of the tube (again, not that amazing); and the initial jump, where it "lands" on a windmill blade. But that's just amusing.

When they start solving complex puzzles that open the way to the next obstacle, then I'll be impressed.

"You know who gets a bum rap? Hitler. Now I ain't saying the Holocaust was faked or anything, but you gotta--"

Shorter Jonah Goldberg: "I don't like Mussolini or fascists, but I think they had some good ideas. Like invading third-world countries and demonizing their victims as 'barbarians'."

And in case you weren't aware of the deeper irony in this, Goldberg is the author of a book entitled Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. Of course, it was originally titled Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Giuliani replies! Uh, sorta

Confronted with the allegation that he billed agencies like the Office for People With Disabilities for his police escort during his adulterous trips, his basic reply seems to be an eloquent "Nuh-uh!"
Rudy Giuliani dismissed a report Wednesday that he expensed the cost of his security detail to obscure city offices for trips to a Long Island resort as the then-mayor began an extramarital affair with current wife Judith Nathan.

"First of all, it's not true," he said during a GOP debate hours after the story broke. "I had 24-hour security for the eight years that I was mayor. They followed me everyplace I went. It was because there were, you know, threats, threats that I don't generally talk about. Some have become public recently; most of them haven't.

"And they took care of me, and they put in their records, and they handled them in the way they handled them," Giuliani said. "I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately."

Mostly he seems to be pretending that the scandal here is that he had police protection during the trips at all. Which is completely missing the point--the Politico article which broke the story specifically stated:
New York's mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there's no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips.

As for the actual scandal here--that he was making other people pay the bill for his affair--well, he's got no answer to that.
He didn't, however, offer an explanation for why the tens of thousands of dollars in costs, which aides say were routine expenses for protection for the mayor, were billed to city offices like the Office for People With Disabilities.

Tony Carbonetti, Giuliani's mayoral chief of staff and his top campaign political adviser, said he's asked Joe Lhota, a former city budget director, ex-deputy mayor and a Giuliani campaign adviser, to explain how such accounting practices could have occurred and why security expenses were not billed to the police department.

"These were all legitimate expenses incurred in protecting the mayor, and his police detail covered him wherever he went, 24/7," Carbonetti said in an interview before the debate. "You just do what you do, and the police go with you. That's just a fact of life when you're the mayor of New York."

Later, an aide said that for accounting purposes, the expenses appear to have been temporarily allocated to city offices and paid for out of the mayor's budget but that the police department ultimately picked up the tab and reimbursed the mayor's office at the end of each year.

Well, Carbonetti completely missed the point as well. The only explanation here is that there were unknown "accounting purposes" that justified billing city offices for this, but no worry, the police reimbursed them. I wonder if there are any actual records to prove this.

I'm not a painter. I'm a sculptor voter.

Wow. A few months ago, I found the case of a "Christian, straight, married" professor in Wisconsin challenging his state's ban on gay marriage. Therein I predicted "the entire thing is likely to be tossed out because he doesn't have standing to sue."

Look how wrong I was!
A University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh political science teacher's legal challenge to a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions can proceed, a Dane County circuit judge ruled Wednesday, throwing out a motion by the state to dismiss the lawsuit.

Judge Richard Niess ruled that William McConkey, an instructor, had legal standing to file the challenge to the ban, which was approved by 59 percent of Wisconsin voters in a referendum after receiving approval by consecutive sessions of the Legislature.

How could this be? Well, in the original article it said he was challenging it under the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as the 1st amendment. However, in oral arguments before the court he argued that the amendment--which bans both gay marriage and civil unions--violated Wisconsin's constitution, which states that only one question at a time may be put to the voters when amending the constitution. The judge agreed, therefore, that he had standing to sue.
McConkey, who described himself as a "Christian, straight, married" father of nine and grandfather of seven when he filed the lawsuit, is not directly affected by the ban on gay marriages or the ban on civil unions. But [McConkey's lawyer, Lester] Pines argued that the proposed amendment violated the Wisconsin Constitution because voters had to endorse either both concepts in the question or neither, and therefore were deprived of their rights to oppose one or the other.

McConkey has standing to proceed in the lawsuit, Pines said, because his voting rights were violated.


[Niess] agreed with the argument posed by Pines that by containing two propositions in the same question -- banning gay marriages and banning civil unions -- the people were denied the right to vote on each.

"I believe there is a demonstrable injury to any voter who is required to vote on a question that is constitutionally defective," Niess said. "Voting is the very bedrock, the very lifeblood of the democracy we have," and needs to be protected "above all," the judge said.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Clearly, gay marriage is to blame

Some breaking news (well, a couple hours old at this point): Giuliani's a naughty boy.

What did he do? Well, if I am reading the article correctly, from 1999 to 2001, while he was still mayor of New York, he was having an affair with Judith Nathan, now his (third) wife. He made several trips to the city where she lived, probably to visit her, though we can't really verify that. We do know that several of these trips don't show up on his schedule.

Well, so what? Here's the kicker: the mayor of New York has 24/7 police protection. So when he went on these trips, around four cops came with him, staying over the weekend at expensive hotels. Giuliani, for unknown reasons (though numerous people comment that the only reasonable rationale was to keep it a secret) sent the bills for these encounters to some "obscure" NYC agencies.
As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York's Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

At the time, the mayor's office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”

The Hamptons visits resulted in hotel, gas and other costs for Giuliani's New York Police Department security detail.

Giuliani's relationship with Nathan is old news now, and Giuliani regularly asks voters on the campaign trail to forgive his "mistakes."

It's also impossible to know whether the purpose of all the Hamptons trips was to see Nathan. A Giuliani spokeswoman declined to discuss any aspect of this story, which was explained in detail to her earlier this week.


The receipts tally the costs of hotel and gas bills for the police detectives who traveled everywhere with the mayor, according to cover sheets that label them “PD expenses” and travel authorizations that describe the trips.

New York's mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there's no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips.


"There is no really good reason to do this except to have nobody know about it," Carol O'Cleireacain, a Brookings Institution senior fellow who was budget director under Giuliani's predecessor, David Dinkins, said of the unusual billing practices.


It is impossible to say which of the 11 Long Island trips indicated by credit card receipts were to visit Nathan and which were for other purposes.

Eight of those trips, however, were not noted on Giuliani's official schedule, which is now available in the city's municipal archive and contains many details of Giuliani's official and unofficial life.

The billing practices, however, drew formal attention on Jan. 24, 2002, when Thompson, the city comptroller, wrote the newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a confidential letter.

One of his auditors, he wrote, had stumbled upon the unexplained travel expenses during a routine audit of the Loft Board, a tiny branch of city government that regulates certain apartments.

Broadening the inquiry, the comptroller wrote, auditors found similar expenses at a range of other unlikely agencies: $10,054 billed to the Office for People With Disabilities and $29,757 to the Procurement Policy Board.

The next year, yet another obscure department, the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, was billed around $400,000 for travel.


One of those trips, on Aug. 20-21, 1999, included a fundraiser on the evening of Aug. 21. Giuliani's four-man detail arrived 24 hours early, billing the city $1,704.43 at the Southampton Inn, according to their approval request.

More trips followed in the summer of 2000, after the mayor's affair with Nathan became public and they were seen together publicly in Southampton. The trips accelerated in the summer of 2001, when he visited Southampton every weekend in August, as well as on Sept. 2.

Many of the trips show expenses only for gas, though his police detail billed the city $1,371.40 for the nights of Aug. 3-4, 2001, at the Village Latch Inn in Southampton.

Some people are already announcing that they expect this news will completely ruin Giuliani's bid for the presidency. It may, but I'm less hopeful--after all, it's generally okay if you're a Republican.

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Ron Paul!

I think that you have to be terribly ignorant at best, or simply delusional at worst, to support Ron Paul. And many of his supporters generally prove me right. Consider, for example, one of the most common tropes among Paul's slavering devoted hordes: that he's the only candidate who'll stand up for the Constitution! Or, as this lady put it, "Paul is the only candidate who is ... a strict constitutionalist... ." He sure is! Why, he's so strict with the Constitution that he's put certain portions of it on a permanent time-out--portions like the 1st amendment, the 14th amendment, and the 16th amendment.

Of course, some of his supporters are all for ignoring the constitution. Here's the text for one of the ads of their completely moronic stunt (follow the link and be amazed at how thoroughly clueless these people are):
On December 16th, 1773, American colonists dumped tea into the Boston Harbor to protest an oppressive tax.

This December 16th, American citizens will dump millions of dollars into the Ron Paul presidential campaign to protest the oppressive and unconstitutional inflation tax.

Bold mine.

Aside from the fact that they're comparing donating ton Ron Paul's campaign to throwing tea into a river (which is ironically appropriate, but why the middleman? Why not just throw their money into the river?), the part I bolded really stood out to me. Given that the inflation tax is not an actual tax, but rather the effects of inflation, I'm not sure what exactly they're complaining about here. Do they really think that there's a tax here that is unconstitutional? Or are they complaining about the reality of inflation, possibly because the government took us off the gold standard? The latter is, after all, something that Paul endlessly whines about as being unconstitutional. One really has to wonder if he's ever read the damn thing.

Of course, the most depressing thing is that people have thrown away over $300,000 on this pointless stunt so far.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Elephants recognize the existence of races, why don't you?

Elephants used to be considered the animals closest to man in intelligence. They may be self-aware. But it also seems that they may be capable of distinguishing between groups in humans:
Some species distinguish several species of predator, giving differentiated warning calls and escape reactions; here, we explore an animal's classification of subgroups within a species. We show that elephants distinguish at least two Kenyan ethnic groups and can identify them by olfactory and color cues independently. In the Amboseli ecosystem, Kenya, young Maasai men demonstrate virility by spearing elephants (Loxodonta africana), but Kamba agriculturalists pose little threat. Elephants showed greater fear when they detected the scent of garments previously worn by Maasai than by Kamba men, and they reacted aggressively to the color associated with Maasai. Elephants are therefore able to classify members of a single species into subgroups that pose different degrees of danger.

Oh my god, John Van Evrie was right! Animals can tell who is a lesser threat, and so they hunt colored men and not whites!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Why oh why don't our victims love us more?

Rick "man on dog" Santorum on charity:
Let's be honest: How much credit do Republicans get for helping the poor? Let me tell you from firsthand knowledge - none, in terms of votes.


What I call "common-good" conservatism not only relies as much as possible on private charities and faith organizations, market forces, individual choice and decentralized decision-making, but also sees a role for government in empowering the nongovernmental institutions of civil society that serve the common good.

To wit, "common-good" conservatism means not actually helping people but telling everyone else that it would be really great if they helped the unfortunate. And he bemoans that Republicans don't get any credit for helping the poor.

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: To Die Would be a Great Adventure Edition

Part of the amusement of reading my dead racists is the complete and total arbitrariness of it all. They knew that whites were better than any other race--after all, they themselves were white--so all they had to do was examine the facts and use them to justify this position. In doing so, they would take any trait they had assigned to the races, and claim that in whites it was a symptom of their greatness, while in the other races it was a symbol of their weakness. So violent military conquest in whites shows that they are strong, stronger than the other races, and destined to rule all the lesser races; violence in other races, meanwhile, is emblematic of savagery and barbarousness--they don't know that civilized men settle matters differently.

Even qualities you would assume to be flaws were twisted to be great virtues:
It will be seen that suicide is most frequent in the Scandinavian countries, those of which the population is most purely Nordic; moderately high in England and South Australia, where the population shows a fair proportion of the physical qualities of the Nordic race. The rate is very low in Ireland, in spite of all the political and economic distress of her people; and very low in Spain, South Italy, and Russia, where the Nordic blood is scarce.

So Nordic people take their own lives with a much greater frequency than other races. You'd think this would be a bad thing, right? Wrong!
And even in suicide curiosity may play its part. Is not death a great adventure into the unknown? May not the desire to know the last secret have urged some reflective and unhappy souls, exasperated by the mystery of human life, to penetrate by their own act the impenetrable veil?

Suicide, you see, is merely a symptom of the overwhelming Nordic trait of curiosity, which sets them far above those pathetic other races which never question anything.

Text from William McDougall, Is America Safe for Democracy?, pp. 96, 100.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm a horrible person

I should point out that today is the 44th anniversary of John Kennedy's death.

So if you spent the day celebrating and being thankful, you're a horrible person.

The South: where the races are pure and the niggers are uneducated

Via Atrios, we have Will Saletan trying to justify his pig-ignorant assertion that racial differences in intelligence exist and that blacks are inherently stupider than whites with a statement that displays his monstrous stupidity:
The lowest black IQ averages in the United States show up in the South, where the rate of genetic blending is lowest.

Atrios doesn't provide a link to Saletan's article, so here's one. That way you can verify that Saletan really is that stupid--the South is where black-white mixing took place the most, often without the consent of one of the parties. Hell, the North and West both did everything they could to prevent blacks from coming to their areas of land at all, mostly to avoid race-mixing. In fact, that was what motivated some abolitionists--whereas slaveholders believed that having blacks and whites together was okay as long as the blacks were subjugated, these abolitionists believed that having blacks and whites together at all would lead to miscegenation. The only way to avoid this awful outcome entirely was to simply get rid of one of the races; they sneered at the South for its promiscuous levels of intermingling.

In short, Saletan doesn't know what he's talking about.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I don't think this counts as civil disobedience, but it's a nice gesture

Awww... that's sweet:
On Sundays, the Saint Paul-Reformation Church often holds informal soup and bread gatherings to discuss congregation business. It was at one of these meetings about two years ago that Jim McGowan, a member for more than two decades, proposed that the church stop marrying straight couples.

The church had long welcomed members of all sexual orientations—they had even bucked local Lutheran leadership and ordained a lesbian pastor. But McGowan, a straight man, nonetheless saw a subtle form of discrimination. If the church couldn't legally marry gay couples, he argued, it shouldn't marry straight ones either.

None of the 50 or so people present in the basement that Sunday stood up to contradict McGowan's proposition. So today, Saint Paul-Reformation is in the process of enacting a church ban on what he calls "the state's business" of civil unions.

If the congregation does vote to abstain from civil marriage duties, the church will still perform ceremonies for both straight and same-sex couples. The only difference will be that heterosexual couples will have to take the extra step of seeking out a judge to make their nuptials legal.

"We are looking at the function of our church in marriage ceremonies," says Anita Hill, a pastor at Saint Paul-Reformation. "Is it just to get it done in a pretty place? We're not in the wedding business; we're in the blessing business."

Still, the proposal to eliminate state-sanctioned marriage doesn't sit well with all the members. "There is a mother in our congregation who gets teary thinking that her daughter might not be able to get legally married in that chapel she sits in every Sunday," says Reverend Hill.

Yeah? How horrible! I imagine that mothers of lesbians never shed any tears over the fact that their daughters won't be able to get married at all, though.

But this church isn't alone in their objections:
Minneapolis has the country's third-largest concentration of same-sex couples, according to census data, and local churches have not been shy about wading into the controversy over gay marriage. At least three Twin Cities churches have voted to bar clergy from performing civil marriages. The United Church of Christ says that dozens of its churches across the country have passed similar resolutions and that individual clergy have refused to sign marriage certificates for years.


In early 2006, with state lawmakers still wrangling over the issue, the Lyndale United Church of Christ unanimously voted to pass a resolution instructing its clergy to stop signing marriage certificates on church grounds. Lyndale's pastor, Reverend Don Portwood, took it a step further, vowing not to sign marriage certificates anywhere. "When a law is not morally right, we are not going to follow it," he says, invoking the language of the Civil Rights Movement.


Starship Troopers was right!

Scientists have discovered a fossil that they think belongs to the largest bug ever:
This was a bug you couldn't swat and definitely couldn't step on. British scientists have stumbled across a fossilized claw, part of an ancient sea scorpion, that is of such large proportion it would make the entire creature the biggest bug ever.

How big? Bigger than you, and at 8 feet long as big as some Smart cars.

The discovery in 390-million-year-old rocks suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were far larger in the past than previously thought, said Simon Braddy, a University of Bristol paleontologist and one of the study's three authors.

"This is an amazing discovery," he said Tuesday.

"We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, super-sized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies. But we never realized until now just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were," he said.

The research found a type of sea scorpion that was almost half a yard longer than previous estimates and the largest one ever to have evolved.

The study, published online Tuesday in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, means that before this sea scorpion became extinct it was much longer than today's average man is tall.


Eurypterids, or ancient sea scorpions, are believed to be the extinct aquatic ancestors of today's scorpions and possibly all arachnids, a class of joint-legged, invertebrate animals, including spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks.

Braddy said the fossil was from a Jaekelopterus Rhenaniae, a kind of scorpion that lived only in Germany for about 10 million years, about 400 million years ago.

He said some geologists believe that gigantic sea scorpions evolved due to higher levels of oxygen in the atmosphere in the past. Others suspect they evolved in an "arms race" alongside their likely prey, fish that had armor on their outer bodies.

Braddy said the sea scorpions also were cannibals that fought and ate one other, so it helped to be as big as they could be.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A bit late, but I felt the point worthy of being made

I didn't mention it at the time, but a couple weeks back some animal-rights terrorists flooded a scientist's home because she did research on animals, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage. They threatened her further by saying that she should feel lucky because their first choice was to use fire, not water.

This naturally led to wide-spread condemnation among sciencebloggers. However, most of the bloggers responded by pointing out that animal research is exceptionally useful for creating cures for humans, and is absolutely irreplaceable. We could not, for instance, use computer models to do the studies we need. They also pointed out that it animal researchers are not, in fact, sadists who get their jollies torturing cute and fluffy animals, and no, they didn't spend their childhood plucking the wings off of flies. Researchers are very concerned with the care of animals and there are strict rules in place to prevent unnecessary animal testing, and to make it as humane as possible.

I agree with all this, and I in no way mean to detract from any of these points. It's very important to point out that these despicable stereotypes of scientists who work with animals is completely fanciful. However, many of the animal rights groups have a reasonable concern: they don't think it's appropriate to study animals to benefit humans. So when Shelley Batts at Retrospectacle writes
Biomedical scientists do not live a wicked life, as the ALF [Animal Liberation Front] seems to believe. They are involved in research due to a passion for knowledge and a reduction of human suffering,

she's partly talking past these people. They don't care about any reduction in human misery (except maybe their own) that comes at the expense of misery in animals. And this may be a valid complaint.

Except, as you've already concluded by reading the banner at the right of this post, it's not entirely true. Researching animals helps humans, sure, and that's a perfectly valid reason to do it. But for those concerned about the animals, this research also helps animals. I'm surprised that in all of the blog posts or comments that I read on this subject, apparently no-one thought to bring up this simple fact--animals benefit from our research, as well.

For instance: antibiotics were, and are, tested in animals. Antibiotics clearly are used to help humans, but they're also used to help animals. My parents have an antibiotic salve for the purpose of treating animals--horses, dogs, cats--which came in handy recently when one of our cats was injured. This page points out numerous benefits to animals that have resulted from animal research, which include vaccines against numerous diseases and improved treatment of other ailments., where I got the banner, point out other wonderful developments in equine treatment that resulted from animal research.

If animal rights activists really want to help animals, the best way is to let scientists study them so that we can help keep them healthy, and cure them when they're ailing.


You know, if they were aliens, why did they name their home planets after ancient earth myths?

The cave of Romulus and Remus discovered?
Italian archaeologists believe they have found the cave where, according to legend, a wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome.

An underground cavity decorated with seashells, mosaics and pumice stones was discovered near the ruins of the palace of Emperor Augustus on the Palatine hill.

Experts say they are "reasonably certain" it is the long-lost place of worship sacred to ancient Romans and known as Lupercale, from the Latin word for wolf.

"This could reasonably be the place bearing witness to the myth of Rome, one of the most well-known in the world, the legendary cave where the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, saving them from death," said Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli, presenting the discovery.


According to the myth, Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the god Mars, were abandoned by the banks of the river Tiber where a wolf found them and fed them with her milk.

The brothers are said to have founded Rome at the site on April 21, 753 BC and ended up fighting over who should be in charge. Romulus killed Remus and became the first king of Rome.

Archaeologists said the location of the cave reinforced their belief that it was the Lupercale.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Kudos to them for using the subjunctive tense, though

Not only is it demeaning to liken women to cardboard boxes, but the analogy is completely daft, too.
SCENE: a box factory

NARRATOR: If you thought there was a small chance that a baby was hidden in a box, wouldn't you treat the box as if it held a baby, just in case?

SCENE: an ultrasound image

NARRATOR: So even if you think there's just a small chance that an unborn child is a baby, shouldn't you treat it as if it were, just in case? Something to think about.

The first example is that of a closed box with unknown contents, but you have some (inexplicable) reason to believe that the contents may contain a baby. In this scenario, sure, you might want to err on the side of caution just on the off-chance that someone decided to ship a baby via UPS. Or you might actually look inside the box so that you know what the contents are if you have reason to believe there's a baby in there.

The second case has absolutely no relation with that scenario; instead it relies on the bizarre notion that a fetus has "a small chance" of being a baby. But of course a fetus is a fetus, and a baby is a baby--the desperate need to conflate the two is always bizarre. Further, we might point out that women aren't black boxes. The stages of pregnancy and fetal development are well-known. To compare pregnancy with a closed box whose contents are unknown is just a testament to the determined ignorance of the anti-choice side.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Making Baby Jesus Cry Edition

Up until now, I've tried to keep notions of anti-Semitism separate from my dead racist blogging. This is mostly because I grew up considering Judaism as just another religion, not an ethnicity--knowing multiple people who had converted to Judaism probably helped that, since you can't really convert to a different race. I still have trouble really grokking the idea of Judaism as a race.

Nevertheless, historically Jews were considered a separate race of men. And so I feel it okay to share this quote with you:
[H]ere a fact occurs to me which I have received from various sources, viz., that very small children, especially girls, frequently have quite a marked instinct for race. It frequently happens that children who have no conception of what "Jew" means, or that there is any such thing in the world, begin to cry as soon as a genuine Jew or Jewess comes near them! The learned can frequently not tell a Jew from a non-Jew; the child that scarcely knows how to speak notices the difference. Is not that something?

--Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, 2nd. edition, volume 1, p. 537.

To make matters more interesting, Chamberlain earlier opined (pp. 211-12):
Whoever makes the assertion that Christ was a Jew is either ignorant or insincere: ignorant when he confuses religion and race, insincere when he knows the history of Galilee and partly conceals, partly distorts the very entangled facts in favour of his religious prejudices or, it may be, to curry favour with the Jews. The probability that Christ was no Jew, that He had not a drop of genuinely Jewish blood in his veins, is so great that it is almost equivalent to a certainty.

Yeah. Jesus? Not a Jew. And since children burst into tears when Jews approach them, it's clear: being Jewish makes baby Jesus cry.

Guess who doesn't know shit about the religion he's trying to force on everyone else?

Bill O'Reilly, that's who!
O'REILLY: Well, you know, it's true, and it's -- anybody who wants an interesting read -- and send Jim a copy of Culture Warrior -- go to Revelations in the Bible and look at the prediction for the end of the world. It's fascinating, because it does involve the Middle East, and it does involve the clash of cultures, as Jim pointed out.

To paraphrase Ratbert: "A prediction about turmoil in the Middle East? Wow! You're really going out on a limb!"
Now, a lot of people think that's superstition, nonsense, all of that. The secularists reject it out of hand.

Gosh, how terrible of us. Who could possibly dismiss as superstitious nonsense the idea that Jesus has white hair and flaming eyes, glows, and has a sword poking out of his mouth? Or that the sun will turn black, the moon blood-red, and that stars will fall to earth (and yet somehow not destroy the planet)? Come on, Bill--Revelations is an opium dream on crack, not divine prophecy.
And I'm not trying to convert you to be a Bible-thumper.

I'm just saying that if you reject it out of hand, you're an evil godless "secularist" and you ought to get the hell out of this country, 'cause it was founded on Christian principles.
I'm just saying it's an interesting read.

Oh, it is that, Bill.
This was written -- what? Five thousand years ago? I mean, this is really interesting.

...five thousand years ago?

Really? Are you seriously that dumb?

No need to answer that.
So, I don't know.

Truest words you've ever spoken.


Car companies are seriously looking at cars that don't depend on gasoline:
Honda, Ford and General Motors this week announced plans at the Los Angeles Auto Show to put alternative-fuel-technology vehicles on the road in California in coming months. A few drivers will even get to park them in their garages.

Honda and GM's Chevrolet have developed hydrogen fuel-cell-powered cars for limited test use, while Ford is producing a plug-in hybrid vehicle. And although none is being manufactured in large quantities — mass production is still years away — the limited trials will be a tantalizing taste of what's likely to come.

The FCX Clarity is what Honda calls a "production" version of a hydrogen fuel-cell car it first exhibited two years ago. It promises zero emissions and luxury features such as heated seats and Bluetooth connectivity while getting about the equivalent of 68 miles per gallon.


Honda and GM are focusing on Southern California because of its relative abundance of hydrogen fuel stations.

In California, Bonawitz said, hydrogen per kilogram, the unit used for the fuel, costs $4 to $10. A tank could cost $16 to $40 to fill.

Skeptics point out that neither plug-in hybrids nor fuel-cell vehicles are anywhere near ready for prime time, and are perhaps a decade or more away from true commercialization.


Or perhaps they're Matrix Monkeys

Via GrrlScientist, have a sneak peek at the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Crouching Tiger, Flying Lemurs.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sexual abuse: it's not just for Catholics anymore!

Sara at Orcinus has a troubling post up. In addition to the Roman Catholic Church molestation scandals that disturbed America, there seems to be an unsettlingly similar pattern of molestation among Southern Baptist churches.
Since last January, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) -- the same group that finally brought the Catholic Church's ingrained patterns of protecting pedophiles to light -- has filed legal charges against over 50 Southern Baptist ministers (they're bringing in over one a week now), and gotten convictions against 26 of them to date.

Unfortunately, as she points out, this story isn't getting the same level of coverage as the Catholic church scandals did.

Probably a large portion of them

It just occurred to me, but I wonder how many of the people who insist that they could never accept "redefining" marriage to include same-sex couples also are adamantly in favor of redefining "human" and "zygote" to be synonymous.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We're number one! We're number one!

In STDs, that is:
More than 1 million cases of chlamydia were reported in the United States last year — the most ever reported for a sexually transmitted disease, federal health officials said Tuesday.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they think better and more intensive screening accounts for much of the increase, but added that chlamydia was not the only sexually transmitted disease on the rise.

Gonorrhea rates are jumping again after hitting a record low, and an increasing number of cases are caused by a "superbug" version resistant to common antibiotics.

Syphilis is rising, too. The rate of congenital syphilis — which can deform or kill babies — rose for the first time in 15 years.

"Hopefully we will not see this turn into a trend," said Dr. Khalil Ghanem, an infectious diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins University's School of medicine.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Or that black men can't really force your daughters to marry them

Digby expounds on the apparent inability of the right wing to grasp the concept of consent:
In the abortion debate, the only people who are (sometimes) considered worthy are those who didn't consent to sex and are therefore, "innocent." This also means that if a womans consent to sex she is automatically consenting to pregnancy (and admitting to being a whore who deserves to become a parent against her will.) Yet the anti-choice crowd simultaneously believes that a woman who chooses an abortion has not really given her "consent" because she doesn't really know what she's doing and can't be held liable for that decision.


The Deputy Director of Intelligence said the other day that if you gave any information to a web-site, you've consented to giving up your privacy to the government. GOP hacks are saying that if a soldier consents to be tortured as part of his training it means that it can't possibly be considered torture in any other situation.

To which I would add that many of them also can't seem to understand the difference between having sex with animals, corpses or children, and having sex with other consenting adults of the same gender. Or that consenting to a transaction involving specific sexual acts is not the same as consenting to being raped at gunpoint by four men.

Monday, November 12, 2007

You can trust us; we'd never abuse our power

The principal deputy director of national intelligence seems to think that the internet means privacy no longer exists, so why all this fuss about the government invading it? Well, maybe the internet didn't get rid of privacy, but he does think that it has redefined it:
As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States change their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Privacy is no longer people not knowing things that you don't want them to know that they have no business knowing. Now it's that the people eavesdropping on you promise not to tell anyone what they heard.

As an aside, given that he accepts redefining privacy to be the complete opposite of privacy, I wonder if he also would accept "redefining" marriage to allow same-sex couples to wed. My bet is not.

But anyways, back to the article.
Kerr said at an October intelligence conference in San Antonio, Texas, that he finds it odd that some would be concerned that the government may be listening in when people are "perfectly willing for a green-card holder at an [Internet service provider] who may or may have not have been an illegal entrant to the United States to handle their data."

It almost wouldn't be a proper Republican talking point without an attack on brown people. What on earth does the fact that some people working at ISPs are foreign have to do with anything? Because they're foreigners, they are immediately suspect, but we ought to trust our government to do no wrong? That's inane; neither of them should be listening in on our calls.
He noted that government employees face up to five years in prison and $100,000 in fines if convicted of misusing private information.

As Ed pointed out, this is meaningless. "We promise to punish people who do bad" is an empty promise given the government's track record on the subject--declaring that the courts can't even bring up the question of what the executive branch has been doing because of "state secrets"; or because the people suing don't know for sure that they've been spied on, and the government's not going to let anyone know who is on their list.
Millions of people in this country -- particularly young people -- already have surrendered anonymity to social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, and to Internet commerce. These sites reveal to the public, government and corporations what was once closely guarded information, like personal statistics and credit card numbers.

"Those two generations younger than we are have a very different idea of what is essential privacy, what they would wish to protect about their lives and affairs. And so, it's not for us to inflict one size fits all," said Kerr, 68. "Protecting anonymity isn't a fight that can be won. Anyone that's typed in their name on Google understands that."

This is insipid. People choosing to put up some personal information is in no way equivalent to the government tapping their phones. See, Mr. Kerr, you seem to have missed the fact that in the former scenario people publicized this information voluntarily, and they chose what information they put forth. On my Facebook profile, for instance, I don't even have my phone number up, much less my credit card number. Further, Facebook allows you to prevent the public at large from seeing this information--you have the option of allowing only your friends to see your profile.

He does come awfully close to bringing up a valid point, though. The wide availability of information that can be found via Google, if you're a determined-enough surfer, is staggering. And there are surely people who let out more information than they should, and probably come to regret it later. But that's their (perhaps poor) choice, and nothing the government should be trying to deal with, and certainly not exploit. Further, it has nothing to do with the issue of the government trying to learn information that they don't choose to make public.

And finally, what's with this "it's not for us to inflict one size fits all"? Are you only going to be eavesdropping on the people who think that it's okay, and leaving the rest of us the hell alone?
"Our job now is to engage in a productive debate, which focuses on privacy as a component of appropriate levels of security and public safety," Kerr said. "I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already are willing to give up, in terms of anonymity, but [also] what safeguards we want in place to be sure that giving that doesn't empty our bank account or do something equally bad elsewhere."

All right. I, and numerous other American citizens, are not willing to give up our basic right to privacy; we are not willing to give up our right to communicate with each other via the telephone and e-mail without someone else intercepting it. And preventing the government and private companies from doing so are the minimum safeguards we want in place.

Well, he is a Magic Negro

Via Ankush at Ezra Klein, I find this utterly bizarre comment about Obama in Andrew Sullivan's latest article:
Earlier this fall, I attended an Obama speech in Washington on tax policy that underwhelmed on delivery; his address was wooden, stilted, even tedious. It was only after I left the hotel that it occurred to me that I'd just been bored on tax policy by a national black leader. That I should have been struck by this was born in my own racial stereotypes, of course. But it won me over.

I don't know what racial stereotypes he has, so I'm really not sure what to make of this. Did he expect a black man to make tax policy exciting and entertaining? Did he expect that a black man couldn't talk about tax policy at all? Was he amazed that black men have come far enough that they're able to give talks on tax policy and be taken seriously? Basically Sullivan is saying that Obama won him over because he doesn't fit Sullivan's preconceived notions of what a black politician should be. And this is supposed to be an endorsement?

More on whacko Ron Paul

In the comments at Orcinus, Trefayne compiled a lengthy list of bills that Ron Paul sponsored during his career in Congress, and Dave turned it into a post all its own. Some highlights: multiple bills that would define human life as beginning at conception; bills to outlaw flag-burning; attempts to repeal worker-safety and minimum wage laws; "a bill to make all Iranian Students in the United States ineligible for any form of federal aid"; several bills expressing that the United States would have no part with the International Criminal Court; and more.

It's worth looking at--it should show that a lot of what I have him recorded as saying he tried to back up with legislative action. And if he became president, he'd probably continue in his pursuit of his insane policies.

phenry also has some more on Ron Paul's record on the issues.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gotta wonder who's going to pick this up

Have you ever wondered what caused the extinction of our cousins, the Neanderthals? Well, the Boston Globe tells us: feminism.
The Neanderthal extinction some 30,000 years ago remains one of the great riddles of evolution, with rival theories blaming everything from genocide committed by "real" humans to prehistoric climate change.

But a recent study introduces another explanation: Stone Age feminism. Among Neanderthals, hunting big beasts was women's work as well as men's, so it's a safe bet that female hunters got stomped, gored, and worse with appalling frequency. And a high casualty rate among fertile women - the vital "reproductive core" of a tiny population - could well have meant demographic disaster for a species already struggling to survive among monster bears, yellow-fanged hyenas, and cunning Homo sapien newcomers.


Almost as provocatively, a husband-wife anthropological team has raised the possibility that female derring-do may have contributed to Neanderthals' demise.

The University of Arizona's Steven L. Kuhn and Mary C. Stiner, use archeological evidence to argue that Neanderthal females - unlike Homo sapien women of the Upper Paleolithic period - joined men in hunts at a time when stabbing giant beasts with a sharpish stone affixed to a stick represented the cutting edge of technology.

That's courageous, but probably bad practice for a population that never numbered much more than 10,000 individuals. The loss of a few males to a flailing hoof or slashing antler is no big deal, in the long run. But losing females of child-bearing age could bring doom to a hard-pressed species.

"All elements of [Neanderthal] society appear to have been involved in the main subsistence pursuit" of hunting large animals, Kuhn said. "There's not much evidence of classic female roles.

"Putting the reproductive core of the population - pregnant women, mothers of infants, children themselves - at such danger could have put Neanderthals as a whole at serious demographic disadvantage," he said.

Not only would women suffer casualties, Kuhn said, their full participation in the hunt would mean they were not harvesting wild grains and other foods that could sustain their roving bands when game was scarce.


My eyes, they burn!

I have finally seen The Ring. Not the horror movie(s), but an actual movie that will kill you in a week unless you make someone else watch it. So please, watch.

To give you a hint of what you're in for, mawa at Pharyngula explains:
In French, "poulpe" means octopus, while "pulpe" means pulp. "Pulpeuse" is a female adjective that means both "voluptuous" and "with pulp".

If that hasn't piqued your interest, I don't know what will.

Bet you didn't see that coming.

Today's the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

But before you start playing the Gordon Lightfoot song in commemoration, please think of the dead.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Fluidity Edition

One of the more amusing aspects of institutions that rely on racial classifications is just how arbitrary those classifications can be. For instance, in Racist America, pp. 213-14, Joe Feagin writes:
Over several decades many whites came to view the Chinese as another threat to white racial purity. In 1880, for example, the California legislature passed a law prohibiting whites from marrying a "negro, mulatto, or Mongolian." ("Mulatto referred to someone with black and white ancestors, "Mongolian" meant Asian.) Earlier, in 1854, the California Supreme Court had overturned a lower court's ruling convicting a white man of murder on the basis of testimony by Chinese Americans. A California law declaring that "no black or mulatto person, or Indian, shall be permitted to give evidence" against a white person was said by this court to include the Chinese because they fell under the term "black person." The court explicitly said that "black" includes "all races other than Caucasian."

Here, Chinese were "black" because they weren't "white." From the court case in question:
As before remarked, there is a wide difference between the two. The word "black" may include all negroes, but the term "negro" does not include all black persons.

By the use of this term in this connection, we understand it to mean the opposite of "white," and that it should be taken as contradistinguished from all white persons.


We are of the opinion that the words "white," "negro," "mullatto," "Indian," and "black person," wherever they occur in our Constitution and laws, must be taken in their generic sense, and that, even admitting the Indian of this continent is not of the Mongolian type, that the words "black person," in the 14th section, must be taken as contradistinguished from white, and necessarily excludes all races other than the Caucasian.

Note the phrase "admitting the Indian of this continent is not of the Mongolian type." The judges in this court case, People v. Hall, had spent some time arguing that Chinese counted as Indians even if they weren't actually the same race.
When Columbus first landed upon the shores of this continent, in his attempt to discover a western passage to the Indies, he imagined that he had accomplished the object of his expedition, and that the Island of San Salvador was one of those Islands of the Chinese Sea, lying near the extremity of India, which had been described by navigators.

Acting upon this hypothesis, and also perhaps from the similarity of features and physical conformation, he gave to the Islanders the name of Indians, which appellation was universally adopted, and extended to the aboriginals of the New World, as well as of Asia.


We have adverted to these speculations for the purpose of showing that the name of Indian, from the time of Columbus to the present day, has been used to designate, not alone the North American Indian, but the whole of the Mongolian race, and that the name, though first applied probably through mistake, was afterwards continued as appropriate on account of the supposed common origin.

That this was the common opinion in the early history of American legislation, cannot be disputed, and, therefore, all legislation upon the subject must have borne relation to that opinion.

See? Chinese can count as either black or Indian, depending on how you want to prevent them from testifying against white people in court. But my favorite example of the completely arbitrary nature of racial classifications has to be from South Africa. From "Status of Asians at Issue in South Africa", New York Times, 7 February 1962, p. 2:
Racial segregation laws have confronted officials with a case in which South Africa's relations with Japan are at stake.

In another difficult case, an Asian man and a white woman who are married were accused in court of violating the republic's Immorality Act, which prohibits miscegenation and cohabitation by whites and non-whites.

In the last year the Government has devoted considerable energy to building up trade with Japan. As a result she has become an important customer for South African iron and wool. To enable Japanese business men to function freely the Government ruled that all Japanese would be officially regarded as white and would be exempt from the many laws that discriminate against non-whites.

When it became politically and economically inconvenient, Japanese were magically transformed into white people. And all those concerns about miscegenation just vanished.

Let's revisit my working definition of homophobia

Homophobia: when you pretend that every word you've just said doesn't apply equally well to straight people and/or couples.

Illustrative example:
O'REILLY: Illinois students at Weekaugan [sic: Waukegan] High School voted seniors Brandy Johnson and Lupe Silva the "cutest couple." So the self-proclaimed lesbians get their picture in the yearbook under the "cute" banner. At first, school officials tried to ban the category, but finally relented despite a parental objection.


O'REILLY: I believe, based upon our investigation of this Weekaugan High School deal -- and the picture, and put up the picture again of these students -- that the kids voted this couple the cutest couple to tweak the adults, Doctor, to cause trouble, to make an issue of the yearbook.


O'REILLY: [A]n exposition of sexuality in a minor -- and that's very important -- in a minor situation is inappropriate in an academic setting. All of those things are valid... .


O'REILLY: Look, I've been very consistent on this since my first book was written. I think private behavior belongs in private settings.

BERMAN: Right.

O'REILLY: I don't think it belongs in the high school yearbook.

BERMAN: But you'd be OK with the cutest couple, heterosexual couple, though?

O'REILLY: I would be, because that is the norm of society. See, it's the same gay-marriage thing. You have a 6 percent option here. Homosexuals, according to research, are 6 percent of the population. And, if you're basing --

BERMAN: But since minority --


BERMAN: But since African-Americans are a minority, would you have a problem with an African-American heterosexual couple as the cutest couple?

O'REILLY: No, because -- because race is not conduct. There's a difference between who you are and what you do. And that is another key --

BERMAN: So, you're judging homosexuality as poor conduct.

O'REILLY: Not judging -- I'm not judging anybody at anything. I'm telling you that there's a legitimate point of view that number one, you don't allow sexuality to intrude in your high school yearbook, because they're minors.

BERMAN: Right. This isn't about sexuality.

O'REILLY: Sure it is.

BERMAN: This is just a couple.


BERMAN: They're not flaunting their sexuality any more or any less than a heterosexual couple their age might.

O'REILLY: Look, Doctor, there's no reason why Brandy and Lupe had to declare themselves anything other than friends. They didn't have to do that. They chose to do that.

BERMAN: If they're in love -- but they have the same right to do that as any heterosexual couple does.

O'REILLY: It's not a matter -- it's a matter of appropriateness. That's what it's a matter of.


O'REILLY: But you're dismissing a very legitimate point. This is inappropriate. You do not define yourself in a high school yearbook --

BERMAN: Only if you judge homosexuality as wrong.

O'REILLY: -- in a sexual way. Period. You don't do it.

I bolded part of this that I think is exceedingly important to take note of. Some people will declare that they're sick of gay people flaunting themselves everywhere, trying to force their sexuality down other people's throats. They will sometimes refer to "outrageous" gay rights parades, where--they allege--half-naked leather-fetishists publicly masturbate, spraying their seed directly into the virginal eyes of their pure, innocent children who have never had a sexual thought before in their lives.

But what they actually mean, as Bill O'Reilly ably demonstrates, is that they object to the idea of gay people who are out of the closet. Gay people are okay as long as they pretend that they don't exist, and the homophobes don't have to acknowledge their existence. But for a gay person to proclaim their existence is to shove their sexuality down the homophobe's throat. For a gay teenager to date while in high school and become a couple is to flaunt their sexuality. For a gay couple to have their picture taken together is to "define themselves in a sexual way." For a gay person to hold hands with or kiss their partner--or even be seen in public together--is an obscene display of perversity that will corrupt women, children, and the elderly (the latter two of which are to be avoided at all costs, but the first is highly encouraged). For a gay person to try to marry is to threaten the destruction of all civilization.

But if a straight person were to do any of this, well, that's okay. That's just the natural order of things.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ron Paul-isms

On the Great Depression:
As for Social Security, "we didn't have it until 1935," Paul says. "I mean, do you read stories about how many people were laying in the streets and dying and didn't have medical treatment? . . . Prices were low and the country was productive and families took care of themselves and churches built hospitals and there was no starvation."

On immigration:
Paul recently waded a bit deeper into the immigration fray by introducing legislation that would deny citizenship to children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents. He referred to those children as "anchor babies."

"As long as illegal immigrants know that their children born here will be citizens, the perverse incentive to sneak into this country remains strong," Paul said last month. "Citizenship involves more than the mere location of one's birth. True citizenship requires cultural connections and an allegiance to the United States.

"Birthright citizenship sometimes confers the benefits of being American on people who do not truly embrace America."

On crime:
Regardless of what the media tell us, most white Americans are not going to believe that they are at fault for what blacks have done to cities across America. The professional blacks may have cowed the elites, but good sense survives at the grass roots. Many more are going to have difficultly avoiding the belief that our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists -- and they can be identified by the color of their skin. This conclusion may not be entirely fair, but it is, for many, entirely unavoidable.

Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.

If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.

Your typical Ron Paul supporter (who are frighteningly, almost cultishly devoted to their man), will shriek bloody murder that I've included this quote. They'll point out that the Paul campaign has claimed that this wasn't written by Paul himself, but by some ghostwriter for Paul's own privately-published newsletter. There are a few problems with that.
  1. phenry indicates that there is some reason to believe that this was, in fact, written by Ron Paul:
    For example, the article relates the observations of one Burt Blumert, who is labeled "expert Burt Blumert" but who is actually just a gold coin and bullion dealer in San Francisco who happens to be a longtime personal friend of... Ron Paul.

  2. Even if the article were ghost-written, as Sara at Orcinus explains, that does not absolve him at all

  3. It doesn't explain why he was defending these statements four years later:
    A campaign spokesman for Paul said statements about the fear of black males mirror pronouncements by black leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has decried the spread of urban crime.

    See? A black guy said something we can vaguely pretend is close to the slur that we uttered--therefore our racism is sanctioned by this black guy, and isn't racism at all! And besides, we didn't even say it.

On the 16th Amendment:
True patriotism today has gotten a bad name at least from the government and the press. Those who now challenge the unconstitutional methods of imposing an income tax on us, or force us to use a monetary system designed to serve the rich at the expense of the poor, are routinely condemned. These American patriots are sadly looked down upon by many. They are never praised as champions of liberty as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. have been.

Non-violent protesters of the tax code are frequently imprisoned whether they are protesting the codes unconstitutionality or the war that the tax revenues are funding.

A more sophisticated and less well known technique for enhancing the state is the manipulation and transfer of wealth through the fiat monetary system operated by the secretive Federal Reserve. Protestors against this unconstitutional system of paper money are considered unpatriotic criminals and at times are imprisoned for their beliefs. The fact that, according to the Constitution, only gold and silver are legal tender and paper money is outlawed, matters little. The principle of patriotism is turned on its head.

On the 1st Amendment:
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders' political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government's hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.

On domestic terrorism:
[Democratic candidate] Morris recently distributed copies of political newsletters written by Paul in 1992 in which the Surfside physician endorsed the concept of secession, defended cross burning as an act of free speech and expressed sympathy for a man sentenced to prison for bombing an IRS building.

On the United Nations:
I don't need to tell you that our American way of life is under attack. We see it all around us — every day — and it is up to us to save it.

The world's elites are busy forming a North American Union. If they are successful, as they were in forming the European Union, the good 'ol USA will only be a memory. We can't let that happen.

The UN also wants to confiscate our firearms and impose a global tax. The UN elites want to control the world's oceans with the Law of the Sea Treaty. And they want to use our military to police the world.

[Edit] And some more....
On Hurricane Katrina:
"Is bailing out people that chose to live on the coastline a proper function of the federal government?" he asks. "Why do people in Arizona have to be robbed in order to support the people on the coast?"

On abortion:
Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the "right" of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the "property rights" of slave masters in their slaves. Moreover, by this method the State achieves a goal common to all totalitarian regimes: it sets us against each other, so that our energies are spent in the struggle between State-created classes, rather than in freeing all individuals from the State. Unlike Nazi Germany, which forcibly sent millions to the gas chambers (as well as forcing abortion and sterilization upon many more), the new regime has enlisted the assistance of millions of people to act as its agents in carrying out a program of mass murder.

On multiculturalism:
Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans only as members of groups and never as individuals. Racists believe that all individual who share superficial physical characteristics are alike; as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups.

Conservatives and libertarians should fight back and challenge the myth that collectivist liberals care more about racism. Modern liberalism, however well intentioned, is a byproduct of the same collectivist thinking that characterizes racism. The continued insistence on group thinking only inflames racial tensions.

[Edit] I just found some posts that examine the above statement by Paul (here and here), and wanted to add them to my collection. I agree with a lot of what they have to say, though I would rail on some more about the bizarre notion that "liberty" will somehow free us from racism.

On the free market:
The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims. Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence, not skin color, gender, or ethnicity. In a free market, businesses that discriminate lose customers, goodwill, and valuable employees – while rational businesses flourish by choosing the most qualified employees and selling to all willing buyers. More importantly, in a free society every citizen gains a sense of himself as an individual, rather than developing a group or victim mentality. This leads to a sense of individual responsibility and personal pride, making skin color irrelevant. Rather than looking to government to correct what is essentially a sin of the heart, we should understand that reducing racism requires a shift from group thinking to an emphasis on individualism.

Shit like this is why I can't take libertarians seriously. If we didn't have all these gosh-darned government restraints, the Free Market Fairy will fly down and fix everything with her +5 Magic Wand of Capitalism! It's like they just slept through history class. We've tried it when the government wasn't regulating things, and it wasn't pretty. The laws that we have now are in place for a reason--because when they weren't, people did whatever the hell they wanted, and the Free Market Fairy wasn't fixing anything. The Civil Rights Act was passed because when people had the freedom to discriminate against blacks, they did it, and showed no indication that they were going to stop doing so any time soon. Trying to appeal to a person's rationality to fix racism isn't going to work because racism is irrational.

[Edit again]
On the bedroom:
Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment "right to privacy." Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states' rights-—rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.

On the judiciary:
Americans need to better understand the role of federal courts. The Supreme Court is supreme only over the lower federal courts; it is not supreme over the other branches of government. The judicial branch is co-equal under our federal system, nothing more and nothing less. Yet we've allowed federal judges to pursue a social agenda that is at odds with a majority of Americans, in essence converting our courthouses into legislatures. In the process average people have lost even more power to affect the laws under which they must live.


Congress has a constitutional responsibility to stop rogue federal judges from using a flawed interpretation of the Constitution to rewrite the laws and traditions governing marriage. The Marriage Protection Act, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, will protect the people of Texas from having marriage defined by federal judges rather than the Texas legislature.

On civil rights:
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.

Of course, America has made great strides in race relations over the past forty years. However, this progress is due to changes in public attitudes and private efforts. Relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

On health care:
For decades, the U.S. healthcare system was the envy of the entire world. Not coincidentally, there was far less government involvement in medicine during this time. America had the finest doctors and hospitals, patients enjoyed high quality, affordable medical care, and thousands of private charities provided health services for the poor. Doctors focused on treating patients, without the red tape and threat of lawsuits that plague the profession today. Most Americans paid cash for basic services, and had insurance only for major illnesses and accidents. This meant both doctors and patients had an incentive to keep costs down, as the patient was directly responsible for payment, rather than an HMO or government program.


We can hardly expect more government to cure our current health care woes. As with all goods and services, medical care is best delivered by the free market, with competition and financial incentives keeping costs down. When patients spend their own money for health care, they have a direct incentive to negotiate lower costs with their doctor. When government controls health care, all cost incentives are lost. Dr. Berry and others like him may one day be seen as consumer heroes who challenged the third-party health care system and resisted the trend toward socialized medicine in America.