Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Immigration Bill

Principles, schminciples. Let's talk bottom line.

The cost - in freedom (already endangered by the looniness of gitmo, the Patriot Act, and warrant- free wiretaps) and in cold hard cash of rounding up 12 million folks (or more) to buy them ice cream cones, let alone push them through the court system while imprisoning them and then out the door to the relevant countries - is beyond what we can afford on either front as a nation. Right or wrong, it's wwaaaaay outside our budget.
Current immigration law is subjective and whim-driven, with a bit of dumb luck thrown in for spice.  Before we start hurling folks out of the country, perhaps we need to take a long cold look at making sure the law WOULD throw the right folks out rather than folks who have every reason to believe they are legally in-country, or even citizens.

Consistency, objectivity, and logic would all be nice touches before we go on some grand campaign for deportation.

Finally, securing the border should and must be a separate issue from the issue of "how do we deal with folks already in country of questionably legal status"?

Frankly, I'd not object to mining the borders and running checkpoints at said borders and ports of entry - problem is, we'd still have the coasts.

The only reasonable course I see is to secure the borders, and then start processing those folks already within the borders into three categories or paths:

1) Legal Residence - felony free, gainfully employed or familial obligation...goal: citizenship.
2) Temporary Worker - 3 year non-citizenship temporary worker visa, upgradeable at U.S. Embassy in country of origin.
3) Immediate deportee - felon, chronically unemployed, etc.

That, we can do. Folks willing to work hard for citizenship, we can afford. And manual labor, we need.

That's just my take.

On a generally crappy day...

It's amazing how the tiny social interactions and casual flirting can just perk one right up...

Was down at the farmers market for lunch today, and hot young thing was a'flirting with me - not something I'm used to, but it remains quite cheering nonetheless.


Lawdog reminds us of the beginning of the War to End All Wars - anyone see any parallels in the modern world?

Fashion Faux Pas

Now, I'm not exactly a fashionista. In other words, for me to think something is bad - it's gotta be really, really, bad. However, public transit seems to bring out the worst in people...

Ladies. Please. Find a gay man with fashion sense (i.e., not me) and CONSULT.

In the meantime, a few hints. If you're a jowly female in your late 5o's carrying a bunch of extra pounds - dried-out bleach blonde is NOT your friend, but then again, neither is the form-fitting black sweater from your bikini years or a pair of jeans that proudly display every quivering ounce of cellulite you've acquired since.

Mid-30's lady. A mid-thigh skirt and sitting spread-eagle sans panties on a public transit vehicle is not a good thing. The phrase repugnant comes to mind. Especially if you've gone to seed about 10 years back.

No. Despite the Tammy Fay years, makeup should NEVER be applied with a trowel...and if your calves are bigger than a 2yo's head...the short skirt look isn't your friend and should be saved for those unhappy occasions when the weather makes all other options more hideous.

Guys. Just because you're aging, doesn't mean your waistline is rising - I don't care how old you are, your waist is BELOW your nipples. If you are carrying extra poundage, it doesn't help to use your shirt and pants as girdles against the girth. Bathing is a good thing - try it.

The ride to work this morning was....grim.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Damage Control Brownies

A work in progress - since blood sugar has become an issue, many of the favorite Cynic-Treats have been relegated to the List of Evil Substances - a situation not to be tolerated. The quest for *INNOCENT* snacks has begun...

First off, it comes ready-made from the store, it is most likely evil. If it's "regular-folks" snack treats, odds are that Cynic will get to do the magic skyrocketing blood-sugar trick (not a good thing). If, on the other hand, it is a sweet (particularly chocolate, an especial weakness) designed with diabetics in mind, it likely involves sorbitol or other substances that will lead the Cynic to lock himself in a restroom for an extended period as distinct and vitriolic cursing about unfairness and goddam practical jokers singe the air thereabouts for the duration.

The last experiment was purged with a Thai chicken massuman (sp?) curry after three painfully long days of misery. I don't understand the whys and wherefores, but Thai food is my FRIEND.

Yet, the search for snacks continues...and another generation of experimental damage control brownies has emerged from the kitchen. They aren't the old family recipe anymore, but they are getting edible..I'll share the recipe once perfected, but so far the conspirators have eliminated flour and sugar (substituting 50/50 whole wheat and walnut flour, with Splenda as a sweetener), doubling the cocoa content (required to make its' presence known over the whole wheat), and going with a modified sugar-free (well, except for that already in the nestle's semi-sweet chocolate chips) frosting.

Presently the walnut flavor is a bit strong, and the texture is more cornbread than cake...but it IS clearly chocolate treat...and does NOT do evil blood sugar things. Will tilt it a bit more towards whole wheat flour and add a bit more baking soda for a better rise...and up the liquid content (again!) ...

Must have treats!


Let's begin with something amusing, that perhaps the current crop of kids coming out don't run into, but my generation certainly did (though, as the commentator pointed out, with some minor edits).

Moving right along, we have Bill O'Reilly - that font of journalistic tact, empathy, and accuracy - after all, it's all for the kids - right? He appears to be attempting a trifecta - besmirching the Pink Pistols, some kids who seem to be playing a mean game of "let's see how YOU like it" (with, perhaps, a certain amount of over-enthusiasm), and generally bully-ragging reality for profit.

And then we have a differing view on the whole Pride thing, and some intriguing responses. Myself, I think the Pride events do have a purpose - more than one, actually.

They're one of the few locations that pretty much whoever you are within an incredibly broad're going to see someone whose life looks enough like yours that there's cause for hope that you can pull off a reasonably successful life on your own terms, whether you're Dem/GOP/Libertarian or fuschia with pink polka dots.

Pride is another canary in the proverbial coal mine - the bigger the party, the better off we are...the angrier the crowd, the uglier the coming year. It's a dandy fund-raiser for community groups and charities. And then there's the whole one-stop shopping concept - the fact is, that most Pride events are where you'll find everyone from the Log Cabin sorts to the Radical Women, the Gay Biker group to the local LGBT swim team, and usually a square dance troupe or two thrown in someplace, and more often than not anymore, a high school band, a few police cars, and a fire engine or three. Oh yeah...and some drag queens and leather folks :)

The liberal activists of yore may still hold substantial influence over the community, but, the event itself is dominated by those of any viewpoint who get off their dead butts and help organize it. If you don't like what you see, get involved and work to change it - or hold your tongue.

My patience for them as kvetch and don't work, is limited. My respect for those who get pissy and step up to the plate, is rather more substantial.

What can I say, I'm a sentimentalist...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pride & Lessons

Local Pride I & II both went off without major hitches this year, at least until the books surface, and then we'll see. Local Pride I occurred at the traditional venues, and Local Pride II (put on by pond-scum of low moral values) provided a good ration of bread and circuses downtown.

We'll see how it all boils out, but there seems to be a crisis of conscience about the whole Pride thing across the nation. Having been involved once or twice, I shall belt forth with my Standard Pride Parade/March & Rally/Festival rant.

Organizers: You silly twits, you are at best stewards of a community trust - you don't own the damned thing like Jeffrey Sanker owns the Palm Springs White Party; your position is much more that of the Chamber of Commerce putting on the Community Christmas Party. You are dependent on the good will of your community, and if you screw up badly enough on judging that will'o'the' ready to eat it up cold when somebody else claims equal right to the event name and puts on a competing event in the way THEY believe the community wants it done. Attempts to trademark " Pride" and then litigate against those who would dare to hold a competing Pride event (and label it as such) in the same city simply place you on the same moral level as a maggot.

Activists: Ninnyhammers! The bills MUST be paid - and unless you can pull the cash out of one sphincter or another, quit your bitching about "selling out to the man" in accepting corporate sponsorships in exchange for limited corporate acknowledgment. That money makes the rest of the event possible, including paying for the PA system for that godawful separatist speaker to drone on and on and on....and for the freebie booth you're using as the major fund raiser and outreach tool for your group this year.

Party Animals: Silly Queens of Indeterminate Gender! While you're out have a good time and dancing the night away, the activists are working their little organizing butts off putting together a big fun event for you - throw them a sop! Let them have their painfully boring separatist speakers, a few freebie booths, and tedious politicians marching in the Parade - it's a fair trade for their putting in a lot of hard work and throwing a great event.

Others: If you don't like the Pride you got, get off your dead asses and organize the '08 event.

That will be all.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Senator Fienstein attacks free speech

"Feinstein, speaking on "Fox News Sunday" with Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said talk radio in particular has presented a one-sided view of immigration reform legislation being considered by the Senate."

Oh my. Goodness no.

If Feinstein doesn't like talk radio as it sits today, let her take her and her husbands pork barrel profits and plow them into founding a talk radio network they like better to compete in the free marketplace of ideas - oh, wait! Wasn't that Air America, that screaming success?

Apparently Feinstein & Co. can't abide the notion that folks might actually prefer conservative talk radio over their so-called alternatives, and in response must attempt to legislate this form of free speech and political commentary from existence.

I'm not a fan of talk radio - I often find it simplistic, rabble-rousing, and anything but impartial. But is the test of whether someone may speak or utilize the public airwaves whether or not *I* or Feinsten *like* said person(s) or their views?

Given the availability of spread spectrum technology, the artificial notion of limited airspace which must be rationed out in the public interest is ludicrous. It is even more ludicrous to layer on a level of censorship under the name of a so-called "fairness" doctrine. Let us call it what it is, a "let's tilt the playing field" bill...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Basic IP Hunting

IP numbers are the foundation of the internet and most local network schemes - each computer or likeness thereof hooked to the network/internet is assigned a number under this scheme, and those numbers are used as addresses to ensure that the allegorical mail arrives at the proper address ("Hey bubba,, wants to look at the site again, can ya send it over to him?" or "Hey bubba, has some e-mail here...pass that along, wouldja?")

It's a little more sophisticated than that, but that covers the basic concept. Now and again, for one reason and another, it may become interesting to track back where something came from ("HEY! BILLY JOE BOB! I'm'a covered in slime here! The port just opened up and puked all over me - can you tell where it came from? They're REALLY sick puppies").

That's when a little bit of net wizardry comes into play. In the U.S. (presently the largest 'net presence) IP#'s are handed out by a fun group called the American Registry for Internet Numbers or something like, better known as ARIN - so we take our slime-hurtling friends IP# over to and run a who-is upon it, generating a something a little like:

This will generate either (a) a listing of your villain du jour (the folks the IP# was leased to), (b) an ISP to whom the range of IP#'s was leased to (at which point a chat with that ISP is the next step), (c) a bounce to another registry to start all over again, as that particular IP # is registered w/ another registry (RIPE.Net if they are in Europe, for instance; or finally (d) a discovery that someone was getting more than above average creative...

Handy knowledge to have.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Reigning in Talk Radio - Freedom of Speech, Anyone?

It appears that Senators Feinstein and Clinton are desirous of reigning in talk radio with a "legislative fix" - how fun. Folks say things you don't like, get paid to say them, and even start a political movement that causes you concern - so you *make a law to stop and/or punish them*.

Again, what fun. Does that mean that the next time a GOP/Libertarian coalition takes power that they get to bar promotion of Unions in public places, ban comment from those they dissent with, pull the broadcast licenses of liberal broadcasters, and run bi-monthly income tax audits of the Brady Center?

It's such *jolly* fun to contemplate the sort of tit-for-tat possibilities this opens up - the years of litigation, the heightened bitterness and division between differing political viewpoints, the opportunities for demagogues of all ilks to spread their bile upon the the land - and oh, what a boon, to the "true believers" who will now have *demonstrable* evidence of conspiracies against their sundry pet causes.

Sell a gun. Donate the money to whoever is running against these divisive turkeys. Or volunteer some time to run'm out of office....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why M$ annoys me...

Let me count the many, many ways....

- Spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) utilizing a variety of techniques regarding competitors rather than improving their own product.

- A 32,000+/- limit on the number of rows of data you can have in an Excel spreadsheet. YOU try and sort a 200,000 line data file when you need to break it into 32k line chunks first. Makes a bad evening so much better.

- A well-deserved reputation for software ("bloatware") that pushes users into unnecessarily purchasing new hardware because of poor resource utilization. In other words, much M$ software in my experience is a pig for resources, such that a relatively young machine grinds to a halt under the burden of carrying the latest OS and software like an oxygen-starved asthmatic.

Now...the list could go on, and the above is only my opinion...but I have a 250k line sort going...yeargh.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Evil Pleasures

A plane's cabin was being served by an obviously gay flight attendant who was just as obviously enjoying himself. He came swishing down the aisle and announced to the passengers, "Captain Marvey has asked me to announce that he'll be landing the big scary plane shortly, lovely people, so if you could just put up your trays, that would be fab."

On his trip back up the aisle, he noticed that a woman hadn't moved a muscle.

"Perhaps you didn't hear me over those big, noisey brute engines. I asked you to raise your tray-z-poo so that El Capitan can put us on the ground."

She calmly turned her head and said, "In my country, I am called a Princess. I take orders from no one."

To which the flight attendant replied, without missing a beat, "Well, sweet-cheeks, in my country, I'm called a Queen, so I outrank you. Put the tray up, bitch!"

So many customer relations issues in the world could be solved by just putting a hung-over drag-queen in charge and authorizing them lethal force.

Head Check

Thing's've changed - again.

This time last year I was in my second week of baby-sitting a rather nice estate in the deserts of sunny Southern California, out in dusty flats. I was about a month out of the hospital after the big adventure, and wasn't doing much of anything at high speed - but was expected to keep and eye on things and repel boarders as necessary. Fortunately the biggest border were occasional specimens of rattus norwegicus....they kept to their side of affairs, I kept to mine.

Since then I moved from Dusty Flats to the Big Damp Spot in the NW in December, re-united with friends, ended one friendship, and did a fair bit of job-hunting. Got back involved in the community by way of an over-developed sense of responsibility, and have since slipped that leash and found a job working with Itsy Widget as a proto-geek and am in my 2nd week.

Missed the annual Dykes vs. the Drag Queens softball game (complete with bribeable umpire) fundraiser, am brushing up long disused linux skills, and am contemplating changing my living situation. Local Pride events coming up this next weekend, and am debating whether to attend or vent my annoyance by heading to Vancouver in August for their big fling....

Things are looking up, and I'm kind of hoping I can do stability (as opposed to chaos) for a bit...Itsy Widget seems like a good firm, and I like the folks there - and the opportunity to learn a whole bunch of neato geekery.

Thus concludes the flow-of-consciousness du jour.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

And now for something a bit less serious

A hint of Freddie Mercury, a dash of the Beatles, and an awe-inspiring vocal range...a friend clued me into Mika last night and I am really quite pleased...

Monday, June 11, 2007


Riverdog has a post up on Alcoholism and what he perceives as the shortcomings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

'Fraid I just can't leave that one alone. I've known, in my meanderings, both far too many drunks and addicts that are out there practicing their addiction and who were struggling for recovery - and friends in 12-step programs have carefully pointed out to me a couple of minor details that seem to be missed here...

First off, the various AA-based 12-step programs are pretty clear in their traditions (see #6 & #10) that neither AA (or other 12-step groups) nor their members in the name of their sundry groups should either own significant property (a 4'x8' table might be ok - a 40'x80' double-wide would not, from what I understand) or express any opinion on outside controversial issues-particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion.

AA/NA/etc ain't MADD, Schick-Schadel, or any of the commercial or tax-dollar supported critters out there - there may be various group meetings at such facilities, but the facility is not the group, the group is not the facility.

Second in line, according to most folks in the various programs I've talked to - there are hints and such that there may be a problem, but the only one who can say for sure is the drunk or addict who figures they've got a problem - not as if it'd do any good anyway for them to hear it from someone else, as I understand it.

Third, I've seen hints that addiction bursts forth from various sources - sometimes genetic, sometimes environment, and sometimes dumb luck; but where it comes from seems less important than the havoc it wreaks in the lives of the addict and of the lives of those around them.

By the time most, and thankfully not all, of the afflicted are in sufficient pain to do something about their problem - they've pretty well lost both the resources and the ability to regain them anytime soon to "pay for their own recovery and all the damage they've caused."

I'm kinda tired of watching folks I care about self-destruct; I may have my little issues with the frothing fanatics over at MADD (who I expect to hear advocating public hangings and defenestrations, any time now - Carrie Nation, party of one?) at about the same level I object to the bliss-ninnies over at the Violence Policy Center and their peculiar brand of madness - but, given their complete aversion to public policy and harassing the unwilling, the sundry 12-step groups strike me as a damned odd target of despite.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Geekery: Or demonstrating the advantages of Linux over Windows to a 79yo

Windows (and Microsoft) dominate the business & home user marketplace, along with PC-type hardware - the WinTel Creature from the Dark Lagoon.

Were the world a perfect place, this would be just dandy - however, it's not, and Windows is, to put it mildly, a deeply non-secure operating system (i.e., far too many folks know how to break into it and do bad things) with some serious resource allocation issues (i.e., it's a pig for memory/hard drive space/processor cycles - using resources that the stuff you actually do your work with could be using and generally slowing everything down). And then, let's talk about price....

Dell Windows Vista Ultimate Box

PC Club Windows Vista Ultimate box

Dell Ubuntu Linux Box

Home Built Linux Box


Dell Precision Workstation 390:
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300 1.80GHz/800MHz/2MB L2/Dual-core 318T [222-7751]

Operating System:
Windows Vista™ Ultimate, with Media

1GB, 667MHz, DDR2 SDRAM Memory, ECC (2 DIMMS) 1GE26 [311-640]

Graphics Card:
128MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro NVS 285, Dual DVI or Dual VGA Capable

Hard Drive:
250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ and 8MB DataBurst Cache™ 250ST

CD-ROM, DVD, and Read-Write Devices:
16XDVD AND 16XDVD+/-RW, Roxio Creator™

Resource CD:
Resource DVD -

Vista™ Premium

Hardware Support Services:
3 Year Economy Plan

Installation Services:

INTEL ® CORE 2 DUO E4300 1.80 S775 1 OS A9688008 NO OPERATING SYSTEM

Memory 1024MB DDR2 RAM - DIMM 667MHz

Hard Drive 250GB 7200RPM 16MB SATA2 HARD DISK





Dimension E520 N

Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E4300 (1.8GHz, 800 FSB)

Ubuntu Desktop Edition version 7.04

1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs

250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache

INTEL ® CORE 2 DUO E4300 1.80 S775 1 OS A9688008 NO OPERATING SYSTEM

Memory 1024MB DDR2 RAM - DIMM 667MHz

Hard Drive 250GB 7200RPM 16MB SATA2 HARD DISK





Hardware Cost





Operating System



Office Suite

$345.00 (MS Office Professional)

$332.00(MS Office Professional)



Graphic Artist Suite

$1,799.00 (Adobe InDesign Suite 3)1

$1,799.00 (Adobe InDesign Suite 3)1



Photoshop or equivalent






69.00 (Quicken Premier 2007)

69.00 (Quicken Premier 2007)

69.00 (Quicken Premier 2007)5

69.00 (Quicken Premier 2007)5




1 Includes Adobe InDesign (Pagemaker replacement), Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, InCopy, & Dreamweaver.

2 OpenOffice is a replacement office suite for MS:Office, and is largely (90%+) cross-compatible. Reads Word & Excel files with only minor formatting issues. Included at NO COST in most Linux distributions.

3 Workable replacements with Scribus & GIMP – issue: GIMP does not have strong CMYK support. Doesn’t matter if you aren’t doing press-work. Included at NO COST in most Linux distributions.

4 GIMP is the Photoshop replacement, which as above, is strong, but doesn’t have integral or strong CMYK support yet.

NOTE: Codeweavers is a lovely company that makes “Cross-over” allowing you to run with some technical expertise (minimal) Quicken and Photoshop (among other windows applications) on a Linux machine.

Dad is doing fairly well with all this. He installed Ubuntu Linux (Windows is like if Ford made all the worlds cars; Linux is where a bunch of different builders all make cars - they all go forward, have four wheels, but different cars suit different folks for different reasons. Same thing with Linux distributions.) on a retread PC he had laying around similar to the ones in the chart above...a 1.8ghz box with only 512k RAM and an 80gb HDD.

Then my presence was requested. Thunderbird (email) and Firefox (Browser) look the same on both Win and Linux from a user viewpoint - so I stuck with those, moved Dad's address book over, and am putting off the moving his old email from the WinBox until I get a new toy I want to try, the Versora Progression tool that allegedly migrates all of your Win software settings, email, and address books from your Winbox to your LinBox in automated fashion.

Got his flatbed scanner set up for him on the Ubuntu box, then a HP Photosmart 8700 Printer configured. Next was sound - this is still a challenge as Ubuntu is seeing both the sound card integrated on the motherboard and the Soundblaster Live 5.1 sound card in the PCI slot...and randomly choosing one or the other every time it reboots - short term work-around is to simply move the speaker plug to the currently functioning sound jack; but it's enough of a bother to crawl behind and move the plug around that I'll try and resolve that issue in the next couple of days just for convenience. is a great tester for web-sound (and will remind you to install the Flash plug-in so it'll work), and then Rhapsody does for Linux what WinAmp does for Windows.

Soooo...surplus box with surplus hard drive now scans, prints, burns PDF's, does sound and video, can lay out a newsletter or do office kind of chores...using legal free software...and made from spare parts.

Next on the list is installing the Crossover Suite to support Quicken, the accounting software that Dad swears he can't live without (Moneydance is a good free linux alternative) , but that's a bit of joy for another night.

Dad is a little bit pleased to be escaping the WinEmpire before he's coerced into purchasing a new PC with much pricier parts and all new software to stay current.

Ubuntu is a great Linux distro for folks new to it. By default, it keeps folks out of the guts of the system where serious damage can occur, it provides an easy user experience for folks making the "big leap", and offers a legal path to accomplish things that otherwise would require great scads of money be hurled at them.

Most pleased thus far with a system that only cost me .75 (for a DVD to burn it to) after I downloaded it. Don't begrudge the cost of Quicken+Crossover one little bit compared to what we'd have had to come up with to be similarly functional in the Windows world.



Abortion is one of those issues that I rarely comment on as I usually manage to peeve those on both sides of the divide - but, having read several recent pieces on it and having been exposed to the latest liberal diatribe on the subject at a blog which shall remain nameless, here we go.

At some point, a point that folks far wiser and and better acquainted with the biosciences than I will from time to time determine (likely occurring between conception and age 18) sentience sets in and one suddenly has a conscious critter of allegedly human nature on ones hands, and that snuffing said critter without a *really good reason* qualifies as one of the gradations of wrongful death. However, in that same breath, if someone is to force another to carry a child to term - they can bloody well PAY for raising that child to adulthood.

Where that point falls is presently a matter of some debate - for myself, the test is that if a fetus can survive outside the mothers body under its' own power (more or less - such cheating as incubators and respirators and medical care seem reasonable to allow) with a reasonable probability of surviving to the "talk and build a fire" level of consciousness, then the critter has crossed that line in the sand.

Much before that, and I'd ever so gently point out that a womans body is her own, and its' between her and her god to decide what's right for her, without my unsolicited comment or contribution.

And now to distress the liberals amongst us. Roe V. Wade and decisions subsequent to it, based on some phantasmagorical creation found in the alleged and hazy penumbra of the Constitution, is quite simply bad law, IMNSHO.

When judges, most especially and particularly the Supremes singing 9-part harmony, pull legal logic from startling new sphincters - it's a very bad thing indeed, no matter how noble their purpose and/or beneficial their effect in the short term. Simply put, once judges start getting creative on the bench (particularly and especially the Supremes) there are darned few restraints upon their creativity and/or originality.

And it is from this philosophical base that I take the view that a Constitutional Amendment defining as broadly as possible a "right to privacy in ones personal affairs" would be an absolutely stunningly good thing and perhaps reduce the BS per capita rate in the nation by more than 60% - that having an incremental series of pseudo-amendments inflicted from the bench is just as stunningly bad as that devoutly to be hoped for amendment would be good.

After all - what's to stop the Supreme Court from a creative interpetation that it was their job to decide a Presidential Election (as, say, opposed to the Electoral College or Congress, as clearly laid out in the Constitution)?

The level of creativity that judicial friskiness allows is dreadful to contemplate, and should be discouraged whenever possible. That said, stare decisis notwithstanding, there comes a time when even the Supremes should admit that they were wrong - and undoing prior judicial activism, should not be considered judicial activism in and of itself. Roe v. Wade, while certainly not alone in that regard, is a precedent well worth reconsidering - not on the basis that abortion should be illegal, but on the basis that it is bad law that opens doors best left sealed.

Abortion is a simple issue for those that feel, rather than think. It is a simple issue for those that allow others to do their thinking for them and merely parrot the party line. But if one has the wit to cognate under ones own power, the decency to look at the concerns facing both mother and child under a wide variety of hostile circumstances, and the caution to not place faith blindly in judges or demagogues - it gets rather more complex, rather quickly.

Ah well, rant mode off...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

It's not my fault

Ambulance Driver posted it first, and I near to hurt myself giggling.

Monday, June 4, 2007

I like it...

Now, I'm not always enthralled with everything our country does (no thinking person is), and I've been particularly disappointed in the current administration and its' amazing ability to start out doing something fairly sensible, and take that course and foul it up beyond the wildest imagination of the average citizen.

That said, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela (timeline) is a walking example of just how much worse things can get when you have an unrestrained megalomaniac in power. A once successful democratic nation reduced to rule by decree, and with a collapsing economy in an oil-rich OPEC member, and eroding civil rights.

Now, I'm just suggesting in passing, for the sake of argument, that Hillary Clinton is pretty much Chavez in drag. Great right wing conspiracy, outcries for "responsible media coverage" (who decides what is responsible? And how does this work with freedom of the speech or the press), push for "economic fairness" (aka "legislated theft"), and all.

However, back to Chavez and Venezuela - in my meanderings on the net, I ran across Contra Coffee and quote below...

Support Venezuela Freedom!
We started roasting this new blend after reading about Hugo Chavez’s authoritarian intervention into Venezuela’s coffee industry. In January 2006, Chavez doubled the price that Venezuela’s roasters pay for coffee while refusing to allow the roasters to raise their prices to consumers. Faced with certain loss, the roasters shut down their facilities. Chavez responded by sending in the military to confiscate the roasters’ stocks. “The army has the authority to confiscate the coffee,” he said on his weekly TV show. “We will sell the coffee at prices set by us.”

This blend is our protest against Chavez’s tyranny. While we wanted to use Venezuelan beans, Chavez’s trade restrictions have made that impossible. Instead, we’re using a mix of high grown Central and South American Arabica coffee. 2.5% of every sale goes to the non-profit Freedom House organization to fund programs that promote democracy in Venezuela. Drink up with hope for freedom in Venezuela.

Now, this may not be the best and brightest of all notions to strike out at an increasingly repressive regime - but it is certainly one of the most charming. Available both in quantities appropriate for home use, and for running a full-bore espresso shop, this is a lovely opportunity to rattle the cages of your local leftists - a group that pays farmers BETTER than the "Fair Trade" prices and opposes Chavez...and makes what sounds like a good coffee.

Five Blogs that make me Think

Having been awarded the "Thinking Blogger Award" by Ambulance Driver, it seems I need to pass along the honor, and recall where all this began, and at the same time, name 5 bloggers that make me think. No particular order here...

Outright Libertarians, the gay libertarian group, run a blog that when I achieve toxic levels of bile regarding the amount of liberal/leftist twaddle afflicting my community and the reasons therefore, I am relieved to go here and recognize that "not everyone thinks THAT WAY." Mental aspirin with a soup con of inspiration.

TheLawDogFiles - while occasionally wince-inducing, probably one of the best-written blogs on the web. A well-traveled veteran peace officer with a love of the language, a gift for story-telling, and more than a few brain cells rubbing together shares experience, philosophy, practical safety and defense knowledge, and a bit of wisdom as the prose flows.

Better & Better is another blog I follow...common sense, humor, and practical advice appeal to me - what can I say? On the other hand, if I had to read a blog on fashion, I think I'd go slowly mad.

Living Single in the Bible Belt is new to me, but informative of a different take on life. And she likes Fred Thompson!

Anarchangel with Chris & Mel provides regular food for thought ranging from politics, to firearms, and thence onward to life.

All of the above seem like good folk to invite over for lasagne and preferred beverages.....and good reads, as well.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

More things that make my head ache

This one is a bit of a rant, but seems appropriate in relation to events in recent days - a frank discussion of the social effects of HIV/AIDS on the LGBT community, at least as I'm aware of them. This isn't a discussion of the tragic effects on individuals or survivors - it's a look at some anecdotally observed social phenomena that, frankly, trouble me...and likely to be a lengthy post if I do the context-setting properly - because to understand where we are, we have to understand where we came from.

The AIDS epidemic hit its' stride in the early 80's - and gutted an entire generation in an emerging community before the initial fires ebbed. In the early days, a diagnosis was an indication you were in the last stages of a terminal and untreatable illness with good odds of a rapid decline and passing.

Within a short time, an emerging culture of free-wheeling sex and liberation was a culture under siege amongst hostile forces. Friends would announce they were positive, and be gone in weeks or months...and initially, the medical establishment and public health agencies were largely indifferent because it was "just gays."

Safer (never safe) sex, condoms, dental dams, and changing sexual practices were the initial preventative response, and remain so to this day.

Later, AZT and its less hazardous successors emerged, eventually developing into a somewhat effective palliative known as the "cocktail" (Viruses are kind of like computers...they can only hold so much information. Each "drug-resistance part" of a virus takes up a certain amount of "information space" in the virus. By hitting the virus in a patient with enough *different* drugs, so the theory goes, the virus eventually runs out of storage space and gets nuked by whichever drug it wasn't able to store a "resistance pattern" for...)

After an initial honeymoon, fear became less effective as a marketing tool for safer practices in the face of the fact that HIV/AIDS was not the near-term horror of a death sentence that it once was. Sure, there were folks (fewer every year, as therapies improve) for whom the cocktail didn't work...but after living for years under the threat of HIV/AIDS without any hope, even slight hope was enough to leave many in the community a feeling of relief.

The dark side of that relief was that risky behavior became more acceptable. Unprotected sex between partners (after all, partners never cheat on each other, right?), more frequent "oops" moments of drunken passion (after all, it's not a death sentence anymore, is it?), and other faux pas of the epidemiological world - not least of which was the belief that once your were HIV+ you were sufficiently screwed that you had nothing to lose by discarding safer sexual practices altogether with other HIV+ partners.

This last failed to consider that like the common cold or the flu, HIV is a family of retroviruses - a group with many strains of differing virulence and intensity. There was still risk - and, oh, what risk. Not only would a person risk infection with a more virulent brand of HIV with a more rapid progression with exciting new forms of drug resistance - but face a whole range of ancillary bacterial and viral opportunities for adventure with a compromised immune system. As a bonus, I'm given to understand that different viral strains can interact to create hybrid super-strains.

Joy. Yet, it gets even better. Operating under the misguided belief that with the new "cocktail" palliative therapy (palliative=put things in a holding cycle or at least slowing down the decline; curative=actually get better) that HIV/AIDS was no worse than an especially annoying form of diabetes, more joined the "bare-backing" crowd. The fatalists ("as a gay man, I'm eventually doomed to infection anyway"), the sensualists ("but it FEELS so much better!"), the depressed, and the emotionally wounded joined the party.

At this point, recall that HIV/AIDS has a variable and substantial incubation period to detectability (i.e., the incubation period isn't short and varies from person to person) just to add to the potential fun. Folks honestly believing they are negative, yet are actually infectious (whether from not being tested or from not being detectable at point of test) out there fooling around in this new environment.

It's a viral particles wet dream. HIV/AIDS infections begin an upswing after a long decline.

About now things take a real turn for the south, with a new group emerging that simply makes my head ache. The "bug chasers" - boys who actively seek to become infected and those that help them achieve their goal. Whether fatalist, horribly misinformed, or just plain bugfuck nuts they lurch upon the scene...with predictable results.

Then this week we learn of guys who have not merely gone south, they've apparently gone stark raving bonkers - date rape with a viral twist. Quarantine seems the minimal response, and in my little circle of friends, substantially more...vigorous...responses hold a certain appeal.

The mind boggles. The mindset that would perpetrate this kind of vileness is beyond me - but I would argue so long as it walks the streets, none of us are safe.

Thanks for the Linky Love...

Ambulance Driver offers some kind words over on his blog, and welcome to any new visitors meandering over here as a result. He's one of my favorite reads, and comes at things with an off-beat and down-to-earth humor I can envy, but not duplicate, not unlike Lawdog.

Hope I can live up to the kind words :) Good reading to y'all!