Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Whatever Happened to "Conduct"?

I really couldn't believe this story out of the UK......

According to a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, one school in the town of Wellingborough is allowing pupils to swear at teachers, providing they only do so no more than five times in a class. A tally of how many times the f-word is used will be kept and if the class exceeds the limit, they will be “spoken” to, the newspaper reported.


According to the Daily Mail, assistant headmaster Richard White said the policy was aimed at 15- and 16-year-olds in two classes which are considered troublesome.

"Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score," the Daily Mail quoted White as writing in a letter. "Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson."

This part was the most interesting:

The newspaper also reported that the 1,130-pupil school plans to send “praise postcards” to the parents of children who do not swear and who turn up on time for lessons.

I believe in the power of positive reinforcement and that kids should be recognized for polite behavior. However, why are we tolerating inappropriate behavior and rewarding what should be expected?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Daily Briefing

Blog Ally Bridget Johnson, aka GOP Vixen, and her co-conspirators, as she describes them, have started a new feature for her blog -- Cindy Sheehan's Daily Briefing. This feature is designed to help those folks who are unacquainted with the realities that existed in Ba'athist Iraq, from any cause ranging from overdosing on Michael Moore to extreme and irrational Bushaphobia, to be better informed in making their decisions and public statements.

As a public service, we will be simulcasting, as it were, the Daily Briefing over here on North Dallas Thirty. This post will be updated and moved to the top of the blog on a daily basis. Please be warned -- several of the pictures provided are extremely graphic.








Sunday (8/21/05)





Friday (expanded version)


Monday, August 22, 2005

This is Scary....Really Scary

Whilst doing some research on other topics, I came across this letter to President Bush written by one of the mothers affiliated with Cindy Sheehan's Gold Star Families for Peace.

When I finished, I sat there and pondered......is this something worth posting about, and if so, why?

Part of me wants very much to respect this mother's personal space and her obviously-palpable grief. It is extremely difficult to criticize the expression of another person who is going through as much pain as she is. As she points out, her son's death has had a huge impact on her family, and that obviously must be respected.

However, what I found particularly illuminating was her screed here (emphasis mine):

So, Mr. President, exactly what is the "noble cause" that my son and the other sons and daughters are dying for? It's not the liberation of Iraq and it's not for democracy, because most of the people of the Middle East don't want democracy. It's not to fight terrorism, because we are only fanning the flames of terrorists every day that American troops are in Iraq. It is not to make America safer, because you have done nothing to make America safer. Your "noble cause" couldn't possibly have anything to do with giving the Iraqi people a better life, because their lives are worse now, not better. Our borders are wide open for terrorists to come across, but you insist on keeping them open to make your pal Vicente Fox happy. Your "noble cause" changes from week to week.

And herein lies the crux of the problem with the Cindy Sheehan crowd; the bulk of their appeal is to the selfishness, cultural ignorance, and "me-first" attitude exemplified by so many on the liberal Left (and unfortunately, many Americans as a whole, which is why it's so effective at getting public attention).

Just as an example:

You do not acknowledge the broken infrastructure of the country. Let's see, the most recent report was that residents of Baghdad get at most four hours of electricity a day. How can you run schools with that? In the staggering heat?

First off, teachers, chalkboards, books, and students do not run on electricity. Electric lights are not required when you hold classes during the daytime.

Second off, if you look at the temperature profile for Baghdad, it's a lot like Texas -- hot in the summer, mild to cool in the winter.

Presumably, the Iraqis can do like our ancestors did -- make the logical decision not to have school in the summertime because it's too hot. Furthermore, they can build structures that are adapted to the desert climate -- high ceilings, thick walls, cross-ventilation -- kind of like they've been doing for the centuries that they've lived quite nicely in the desert without air-conditioning.

I think we forget.....it was just a bit over a generation ago that most schools barely had electricity, much less such niceties as air conditioning, and these poor tortured children not only were the envy of the world in terms of their reading, science, and math abilities, but touched off the greatest revolutions in electronics, physics, industry, and others in history. As our past thirty years have shown, making the classroom more comfortable has done squat in terms of improving learning potential; it's all about the motivation of students, and given the outright repression that took place under Saddam, I think there's enormous motivation to learn -- especially since most women were banned from schools.

Then, lastly, my favorite -- and perhaps the most damning example of the degree of unreality that she and the others have brought upon themselves.

You do not acknowledge the thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens who have died because of this war.

Ma'am, YOU do not acknowledge the millions of innocent Iraqi citizens who died and suffered for your version of "peace".

There is ample evidence of the brutality of Saddam Hussein -- indeed, a survey of households found that 47% reported one or more human rights abuses since 1991, including "torture, killings, disappearance, forced conscription, gunshot wounds, kidnappings, ear amputation, landmine injuries, sexual assault, and hostage taking."

Finally, this is the best line of all:

So, Mr. President, exactly what is the "noble cause" that my son and the other sons and daughters are dying for?

Ma'am, your son, an enthusiastic soldier by any description, died in a single-vehicle car wreck, in Texas, off military property, as a consequence of his own decisions.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other mothers lose sons annually under the same conditions. Why are you allowed to blame President Bush for your son's death and they aren't?

This is not arguing over the war. This is prostituting your grief in a most unhealthy fashion to avoid coming to grips with the fact that your child is dead. This is a perversion by the Left of a mother's emotions for shameless political opportunism.

That's why it's scary.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Simply, Starkly Brilliant

With a hat tip to Michael of GayOrbit.....Laurence Simon has come up with the best resolution to the entire Cindy Sheehan affair.

Friday, August 19, 2005

An Interesting Development

CNN is reporting, as is the New York Times, that former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld is planning to seek the Republican nomination for governorship of New York.

This is interesting from a purely-historical standpoint (as the article notes, he would be only the second person to ever have been governor of two states, following Sam Houston), but also because Weld has a very good record on gay rights. His opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, when he was running for one of the US Senate seats from Massachusetts, is widely believed to be the only reason John "I oppose gay marriage and think it's wrong" Kerry decided to vote against DOMA. Indeed, Weld's record was liberal enough that his nomination as ambassador to Mexico was blocked in the Senate in 1997 by angry conservative Republicans.

Currently, Weld is taking the tack that he supports gay marriage for Massachusetts because it is a correct interpretation of that state's constitution, but civil unions (and not gay marriage) for New York. He does support equal rights for gays otherwise, not unlike current governor George Pataki. Interestingly enough, his likely opponent, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, supposedly supports same-sex marriage, but has repeatedly argued that denying it is not a violation of equal protection or due process.

Personally, this would be a tough choice for me on the gay-rights issue. Spitzer's stance, in my opinion, is somewhat calculated, but is primarily due to the fact that the man is a damn good and honest lawyer. He knows what the law says, he may not agree with it, but he will follow it. Weld takes a similar tack, although I think he should express his support more forcefully. I think under either of them, gay rights would advance in New York State; the question is, are gay leaders willing to work with both?

I suppose we'll have to see how things shake out.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Be Careful What You Ask For.....

For those of you who have been covering me since the very early days over on GayPatriot, you know well by now what I think of Mr. Mike Rogers and his "outing" campaign.

Imagine my surprise to find out today that he's apparently been disowned by his own.

Please, please read that link.

(Oh, and in reference to the "your mom's number", Chris Bower, who heads MyDD.com was complaining about a certain "psychopath" calling him -- check out his comment, as well as the post that provoked it and additional responses.)

Don't think that I don't want to comment on this one -- badly. However, two things are holding me back.

First, to make a classical allusion, this has become the equivalent of Jason tossing the stone among the armed men sprouted from the dragons' teeth.

Second, as to the wisdom of my mother: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

The Achilles' Heel of the Lunatic Left

Whilst reading through Daily Kos today, I came across this little gem from Kos itself (emphasis mine):

So Casey and 2,047 US and allies have died to establish an anti-women, anti-Israel, terrorist-harboring Islamic regime that is actually less free than Saddam's Iraq.

Of course, the kite-flying paradise as depicted by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11 is what these people believe Saddam's Iraq was, which is why Kos and his leftist confederates can say that what the Iraqis have now is "less free".

That's why they hid the fact that Saddam was imprisoning babies and toddlers because their parents were political dissidents.

That's why CNN had to report only what Saddam wanted, versus what was really happening.

That's why there are literally thousands of these (be warned, link is very graphic) scattered across Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan is doing an excellent job of prostituting her grief and her son across the country to aid people like Kos, whining about how there was no "noble cause".

Here's your noble cause, Cindy and Kos.

The minute you acknowledge what Saddam did to Iraq and to the Iraqi people, we'll have a dialogue. But you have neither the courage or the honesty to stand up and admit that it ever took place, much less the enormity of it.

That will be used against you. Bank on it as Saddam's trial continues.

UPDATE: Turns out GayPatriotWest and GOP Vixen ( WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) are thinking along similar lines.......

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Here We Go.....

Finally, after much asking, cajoling, and gnashing of teeth, I have gotten an answer to my fundamental question, asked in posts from Wednesday, Thursday, and yesterday: why SHOULDN'T gay groups of every political and other stripe speak out often and regularly against pedophilia?

Because it implies that we're somehow more responsible than everyone else.

Funny, I don't remember other groups who speak out often and regularly against pedophilia being seen as "somehow more responsible" for it. On the contrary, the opposite is invariably the case.

As I said before, I'm under no illusions that this would convince Dobson and his ilk otherwise when they've staked so much on gays being pedophiles. However, at the same time, it mystifies me that so many gays oppose doing it with such harsh words:

You're not just being a gay Republican, you're being a gay republican who's sucking up to the anti-gay right, and bemoaning how it's all the gay left's fault they they hate you.

Wrong. I'm being a concerned gay citizen who is appalled by child abuse and molestation and feels that gays do have a responsibility to speak out and regularly condemn it. Gay rights have nothing to do with pedophilia, molestation, promoting underage sex, or the stripping of parental rights, despite attempts by groups like NAMBLA, the ACLU, and abortionist groups to argue otherwise. Those things are WRONG, period, and anyone who tries to associate them with gay rights is exploiting gays for the purpose of defending appalling, horrible behavior.

The proof of the irrational hatred of the gay left is that a statement like that will be bashed as "appeasement", "trying to curry favor", and "sucking up" to right-wingers who I have regularly pointed out a) are driven by irrational hatred of gays and b) are not likely to change their mind because of what I do.

You know what? Fishstuck 'em.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Pardon Me, This Isn't Munich

As many of my friends will tell you, I'm a history junkie of epic proportions. Old Victorian house with a leaky roof? I'm there. Ruts of an old wagon trail out in the middle of a pasture? All over it. Eight-hundred-page biography of Napoleon Bonaparte? Can't put it down.

Thus, I had to laugh when a most interesting historical comparison was made in response to my previous and follow-up posts concerning James Dobson's numerous and....um, interesting....conclusions about gays.

But you're singing Dobson's song for him, so clearly, you buy into his whole line of bullshit. THe idea that GLBT groups aren't doing enough to combat NAMBLA, when none of us has any real contact with that group is something Dobson's cronies cooked up, and you swallowed.

Dobson will call you a pedophile no matter what. The idea that you think you can appease him is Neville Chamberlainesque.

For those following at home, Neville Chamberlain was the British Prime Minister who was infamous for his attempts to appease Adolf Hitler and avoid war by acquiescing to Hitler's annexation of Austria and the Czech Sudetenland, an action that ultimately emboldened Hitler and led him to believe that he need no longer concern himself with British opposition -- and hence, the Second World War.

This comment was backed up by yet another along the same lines.

The only thing you'll make clear is that you'll try any ploy to curry favor with a group of people who will ALWAYS detest you no matter what you do or say short of you putting a bullet through your head.

Of course, all this came about because I dared to publicly speak two things; one, that gays should regularly speak out against NAMBLA, child molestation, and pedophilia, and two, that gays could make a strong statement to that effect by advocating that the age of consent laws be raised and the punishments given to sex offenders be increased.

Really, I'm laughing even harder at this point. For me to believe that anything I do would ever satisfy Dobson would be an act of optimism akin to Paris Hilton writing an Emmy acceptance speech. It ain't gonna happen, folks, and I know that.

However, Dobson isn't who concerns me at this point. Who DOES concern me are the people out there whose feelings are best summed up by new Blog Ally Mom of Army of Mom (emphasis mine):

I tend to think that homosexuality and bisexuality do run in families. I know too many people in which there are several members of the family either openly or closeted who are one or the other. Seems like there has to be a gene for it. And, I used to think that molestation led to some people having gay tendencies, too, because I know so many men and women who were molested as youth and were gay or bi. *shrug* Don't know if it might play some role or if it is just an unfortunate coincidence.

Mom's an intelligent, articulate person, not a homohater by any means. However, what she used to believe is identical to what Dobson says -- molestation as a child makes you gay. Dobson and his ilk use that fact to lead the people down the primrose path -- gays don't condemn pedophilia, gays want to lower the age of consent -- and gently push them to draw the obvious conclusion, that gays want to molest children and produce more gays. Since Dobson defines molestation in very general terms ("sexualization", which can include dirty pictures on TV), he has a broad range of "evidence" to bring forward of how gays are after your children.

What the gay community has failed spectacularly in doing is reaching out to the Moms of this world. If you read her blog, you realize quickly that she is wise, peaceful, and compassionate, but the person foolish enough to threaten her children will find out that Mother Theresa is packing heat under her habit. We have let Dobson play to the two biggest fears of parents -- one, that their children will be harmed, and two, that they didn't do enough to prevent their children from being harmed -- because of this attitude that speaking out is "appeasement" and "trying to curry favor", as if saying underage minors shouldn't be having sex and that gays don't support pedophilia is akin to allowing Hitler to rape two European countries. Worse yet, we keep making inane statements in favor of taking away rights from parents, such as how gays need to oppose on the basis of "gay rights" parental notification laws that put abortion at the same required level of consent as ear-piercing or going to the school nurse for a Tylenol -- then act surprised when parents, the vast majority of whom SUPPORT parental notification, are suspicious of our motives.

In my humble opinion, the gay community will never advance until we realize a simple truth; the fact that Dobson and his ilk oppose something doesn't make it right, and the fact that they support something doesn't make it wrong. Furthermore, we have to realize that our agreeing with Dobson on one issue doesn't mean we agree on all of them.

In the meantime, though, I'll continue to pray that the religious right remains blind to a simple and expedient way to eliminate most gays......tell them that Falwell and Dobson both oppose gays drinking drain cleaner.

Then again, think of what I'm missing....Joe Solmonese standing up and tippling a tall glass on TV, Barney Frank demanding a congressional investigation into shopkeepers refusing to dispense Drano to homosexuals, being called "Vidkun Quisling-esque" and being accused of "trying to curry favor" for saying that gays should speak out against it......

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Random Evening Muse

When I first moved out to my thirty-hundredths of an acre, house, and no mule in North Dallas, it was a new experience for me -- new, in the context that it was the first time I had ever lived in a preowned home when I was old enough to remember it. This stems from the fact that the NDT Dad, having grown up in a ranch house that could euphemistically be described as "vintage", has an aversion that verges on paranoia towards any form of roof over his head that is older than he is -- which meant we never lived in anything other than a new house. As a result, though, I had never before had the experience of, "Why the hell did they do that?" that comes, not during the inspection, when the house could be on fire and you would be rationalizing it as "excellent central heat", but after a few months of living in it, when the novelty of every single lock in the house requiring a different key wears off.

One of the things that falls into this category is my hot tub. The previous owner of the house was a nurse who spent long hours working away from her husband, then plied him with extravagant and expensive treats on her return home; this is why my house, a bare shade over one thousand square feet in size, has a spa that could double as a dry dock for the Nimitz.

When I first toured the house, the only thing I could think of upon seeing it was how many fun nights I was going to have with that thing -- parties with other bears and cubs, long soaks after workouts, a lot of warm water-sodomy under the stars. What I didn't contemplate were nights like this one, where I spent an hour scrubbing off the sides....after replacing the filter.....after discovering, upon my weekend out of town, that the breaker had tripped in my absence, rendering 650 gallons of water held under a cover at ninety degrees, uncirculated and un-chemicaled, the color, consistency, and odoriferousness of bacterial growth medium.

At least I got the being naked in the backyard part right.

There Is Always Another Way

As one might expect, my post of yesterday criticizing the "gay community" for playing into the hands of individuals like James Dobson, dba Focus on the Family brought a few well-reasoned responses.

First, from regular commentator Ian S., on the topic of age-of-consent laws:

As for age of consent laws, AFAIK the position of the major GLBT organizations in this country is that they be the SAME for straights and gays which invariably means LOWERING them for gays. I for one heartily support that position. If you do not, I'd like you to explain why you think the age of consent should be higher for gay people. Especially you who is so quick to condemn others who propose that gays get treated differently when it comes to marriage laws.

Next up was the insight of regular commentor Pat, as related to sentencing differences between heterosexual and homosexual predators:

NDT, I'm sure many of the gay community do shoot themselves in the foot. But let's look at the examples you bring up. In the case of Matthew Limon, the sentencing is unfair. Why should he get more prison time than a straight counterpart would? If he does deserve more time in prison (which he probably does), than why don't the lawmakers simply impose stricter (but equal) penalties on ALL offenders. Maybe I've missed the outcry on that. But whatever the case, the penalties should be equal. I'll let Dobson try to explain why he thinks heterosexuals should get less time in jail if they behave like a sexual predator.

Pat hits on what I think is an acceptable solution for Ian's dilemma -- namely, that equality can come from not only lowering strictures on gays, but raising them on heterosexuals.

For example, almost everyone at least pays lip service to the concept that teens should not be having sex. Why then, should we not raise the age of consent for all forms of sexual intercourse to an equal level, i.e. 17 or 18? In the case of sentencing, everyone supports harsh penalties for repeat sex offenders. Why not, as Pat suggests, raise the penalties for everyone?

This is akin to my previous argument that gay marriage (and ultimately procreative heterosexual marriage) be limited to covenant marriage. Dobson's argument that "pro-homosexual" organizations want to legalize child sex, molest children, and create more queers is utterly destroyed when we support RAISING the age of consent and scattered to the four winds when we demand stiffer penalties for individuals who molest children, regardless of whether it's same- or opposite-sex molestation. If he opposed this, he would indeed be put in the ridiculous position, as Pat points out, of arguing that heterosexuals should get lesser penalties for molesting children and, persuant to Ian's argument, be having sex sooner.

It's tactically and strategically briliant. In one swift move, we make it clear that gays oppose the sexual exploitation of children, which is probably the most politically-popular statement you could make short of motherhood and apple pie. We also force Dobson and his ilk into the untenable position of either agreeing with the godless homosexuals or arguing in favor of teenage sex and sexual predators.

However, it will never happen for a very simple reason -- because it would cost the gay media, gay lobbyists, and gay rights organizations millions of dollars.

Honestly, now. Do you think the ACLU will put up with stiffer penalties for behavior that it defends the promotion of on the basis of "free speech"? More importantly, do you think Planned Parenthood, NARAL, EMILY'S List, and the like are going to tolerate gays making such an explicit statement to limit sex, when they lose $300 - $500 of clinic revenue for each less abortion they perform?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Finding the Unexpected

Blog Ally Boi from Troy made a wonderfully Wonkette-esque post today about James Dobson's, dba Focus on the Family, latest attempt to demonstrate confusion between gender, sexual, and biological orientations.

Expecting more entertainment from the topics listed on the right sidebar ("Change of Sexual Orientation Is Possible", "How to Prevent Homosexuality"), I clicked through them -- and was quite frankly floored.


Homosexuality is rarely “chosen.” It’s unfair to tell a homosexual individual that he or she chose that lifestyle to pursue sexual excitement or some other motive. After all, Dr. Dobson says, “who among us would knowingly choose a path that would result in alienation from family, rejection from friends, disdain from the heterosexual world, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, and even a shorter lifespan?”

No evidence indicates that homosexuality is inherited. This is true despite the beliefs of 35 percent of America adults, who heard or read highly publicized mainstream media claims to the contrary, especially in the early 1990s. Dr. Dobson notes, “There are no respected geneticists in the world today who claim to have found a so-called ‘gay gene’ or other indicators of genetic transmission.”

Or this:

Most homosexuals are not pedophiles. But there is a vigorous homosexual-led campaign now under way to end the taboo.

The more you read through this, the more Dobson's worldview becomes comprehensible. First, he believes that homosexuality is a behavioral disorder brought about by involuntary childhood sexual exploitation. This is why he promotes reparative therapy; if homosexuality is a behavioral disorder, it is expected that it would respond to therapy in a fashion similar to other behavioral disorders.

The second portion is a bit odder -- namely, that these selfsame disordered individuals have the desire to sexually exploit children, which apparently would then perpetuate more homosexuality. To his credit, he admits that not all gays are pedophiles; however, he follows that up with an argument that the actions of "pro-homosexual" groups to lower the age of consent somehow implies that we are.

The danger in this is that, while all of Dobson's proofs are, upon examination, spurious to the point of being laughable, he has a great deal of prima facie evidence that supports his conclusions. If one looks at the history of NAMBLA, it wasn't too long ago that they were an accepted part of the gay rights movement and umbrella gay movements. National and international gay organizations HAVE demanded the removal of age-of-consent laws and passed resolutions to that effect. Indeed, it could be argued that the effects of pedophilia that bothered gays apparently had more to do with losing elections than it did with the exploitation of children.

Furthermore, the practices of the "gay community" now add further fuel to the fire. In the case of Matthew Limon, for instance, who was sentenced harshly for having sex with an underage minor (after two previous convictions for exactly the same thing), "gay rights" groups argued that his sentence was "unfair" because it wouldn't have been as harsh had it been heterosexual sex and because it was "consensual".

The sheer lunacy of both arguments should be obvious. In the case of the latter, if children can consent to sex, there are thousands of pedophiles in this country who need to appeal their sentences. Relative to the former, apparently the fact was lost on the community that the man was a repeat sex offender under Kansas law. That the allegation that the state's "Romeo and Juliet" statute, meant to prevent young lovers from being arrested willy-nilly, should be used to argue against a harsh sentence for someone behaving in the fashion of a sexual predator makes gays look like fools -- or like we're conniving to legalize unrestricted sex among and with minors.

Aside from the blatant, what else do gays do? Oppose as "a gay issue" parental notification laws that say sexually-active teens who want abortions should be required to have the same level of parental notification and consent for the abortion that they would need to have their ears pierced or to get a Tylenol from the school nurse. Loudly scream about the awfulness of teaching teens to abstain from sex until they're older. Finally -- my personal favorite -- proclaim undying love and support for the ACLU as they try to get NAMBLA off the hook for promoting pedophilia.

Dobson's arguments are at best flimsy and at most flat-out false. However, when your opponents keep shooting themselves in the foot, you don't HAVE to have good arguments to win.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

And Now, For Something Totally Unrelated to the Primordial Swamp

I've been holding off on publishing this next post for a variety of reasons, some rational, some superstitious. There are still a few loose ends to tie up, but by and large, I think we can say that the whole business is complete -- so now I can talk.

Long story short -- North Dallas Thirty's beloved Saab 9-2x, chosen with the help of you loyal readers, Allies, Worthy Adversaries, and regular/irregular commentors from here and Boi from Troy, is no more.

Just over a month after I got it, I was headed south on the Dallas North Tollway for lunch. Suddenly, a car about six lengths ahead braked crazily, skidding to a stop in the middle lane, cars diving in all directions. Instantly, I was faced with a choice -- rear-end this person and others at 60 miles per hour or dodge left and try to thread between the wall and the sideways cars.

I chose the latter.

The Saab did its best to hold on, but the angle was too extreme to avoid clipping the center wall with the left front. Instantly the car went into a 360-degree spin back across the three three lanes of oncoming traffic -- during which I remember distinctly watching the world roll by and thinking, "OK, I am DEFINITELY going to be late for my 1:30 meeting."

With a SLAM, the car hit the guardrail head on, the hood disintegrating, a huge splash of acid from the battery splattering on the windshield.....then, as the guardrail flexed, the car bounced off, spinning 180 degrees and coming to rest with its back bumper scrunched against the guardrail, perpendicular to the roadway, about twenty feet away from where I had first hit.

Yes, the other driver was cited -- numerous times. However, that didn't undo the damage to both ends of the car, the engine hacking itself to death when the timing chain shattered, the frame bending in two spots, and the fact that every single body panel on the car had acid burns on it.

Amazingly enough, I walked away without any damage whatsoever, not even next-day stiffness. Indeed, had the wreck not happened where it did, things could have been much worse; ten feet earlier, and there would have been no guardrail to stop the car from crossing grass, then a service road, then a curb, then more grass -- the recipe for an end-over-end flip that would have put me in the hospital for weeks and off sodomy for a month.

Putting the obvious aside that I was damn lucky and blessed, if there is a lesson you take away from NDT's experience, children, let it be that buying a rare car automatically triples the time required to do anything, be it taking it apart, pricing how much it will cost to fix, then figuring out how much the car is actually worth -- especially when it's the first time the collision center of the dealer who sold you the car, the insurance adjustor, and the appraiser has ever seen one, much less tried to estimate and fix major damage to it, then throw up their hands and total it. Suffice to say that NDT has been driving the most insipid of rental cars -- a two-door Chevrolet Cobalt with less in the way of modern power conveniences than an outhouse -- for just under two months.

So what has replaced the hardy Saab? As of tonight, a 2005 Mazda3s 5-door hatchback in Black Mica with Black leather interior, well-equipped with power moonroof, six-CD changer, xenon headlights, tire pressure monitoring system -- and oddly enough, antilock brakes, side airbags, and side curtain airbags. Most importantly, it's an automatic -- 4-speed sport with manual mode, to be exact.

Don't laugh. For those who aren't familiar with me, my buying a car with an shift-itself tranny is akin to Benedict XVI telling the Catholic Church to hand out contraceptives and bless gay marriages. However, when you're in love, you do unusual things -- especially when you are about to move to a city where your house and its allied parking spots are on the side of a hill pointing straight down. It tends to make one question one's belief that automatic transmissions are the automotive equivalent of prostitution -- meant only for those who can't manage their own.

I'll be blogging more about das Auto in the future. Consider this an open thread to tell us about your vehicle and what you think its characteristics say about you.

Once More Into the Primordial Swamp

As the active trackbacks on my previous posts on the topics of creationism, intelligent design, and evolution are showing, my viewpoint is being spread across the web to several interesting locations.

One of the more vocal ones seems to be KipEsquire of A Stitch in Haste, who blogged the following:

It's interesting to watch the flames of fraud jump from the totally debunked "irreducible complexity" fallacy to the new nonsense of "sticky species," the idea that, since we have never seen a species "morph" from, say, a fruitfly into a fruit bat, we are therefore guilty of "faith." Again, it took nature a billion years to make a bacterium and 4.5 billion to make us. Any progress we've made, even going from wild boars to domestic pigs or from prehistoric maize to modern-day corn, is pretty damn impressive and pretty damn conclusive given the sheer enormity of geologic time. "Faith" has nothing to do with it.

Kip's argument in this case is that the fact that human beings, through selective breeding, have been able to change maize into modern corn and wild boars into domestic pigs. That is a true statement.

However, Kip then generalizes those changes to indicate that evolution (as strictly defined, the fact that expressions of observable traits in a population over time tend to change in response to environmental pressures) is solely responsible for the diversity of life on our planet. That has rather significant difficulties that require a strong degree of "faith" to accept.

The problem with using the change of maize into corn, for example, can be summed up very simply in this reference, which talks about the changes (emphasis points mine):

"In the genes we looked at, early farmers did not 'change' anything within the gene," said Viviane Jaenicke, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "All (of the genes) were already present in the teosinte (corn's precursor) populations. All the early farmers did was to select teosinte plants which carried the alleles they were interested in. And this selection process created then the maize. So it is not 'engineering' but a selection process."

More exciting to Jaenicke is the fact that she and her colleagues were able to gather enough DNA from a 4,400-year-old ear of corn to study. They were surprised to find that genes found in modern-day corn were already present in the ancient corn.

What Kip is talking about is selective breeding, which is identifying traits that you want to perpetuate in a given population and arranging mating patterns to do so. This intensifies certain traits, but at the same time, increases the dependency of the population on outside assistance. For instance, teosinte, the genetic precursor of corn, grows almost anywhere, including areas of very poor soil and low rainfall. Modern corn, as anyone else who grew up on the prairie knows, requires very nutrient-rich soil and an enormous amount of water to survive and to thrive -- both of which exceed the capacity of unassisted nature to provide under most circumstances. Furthermore, although maize can crossbreed back with other teosinte and its other derivatives, doing so reduces and dilutes the advantageous traits that maize has. Again, there are good reasons that college and high school kids are paid good money to go through and detassel corn in the summertime -- any mixing of genetics often results in a poorer, less-advantaged product. "Hybrid vigor" does indeed exist, as we see in the superior disease resistance of mutts as compared to purebred dogs, but a mutt is rarely, if ever, as good as its purebred parents in terms of their selected traits (i.e., crossing a Chihuahua with a Great Dane gives you a dog that's neither small enough OR big enough).

Importantly, though, as the article points out, in selective breeding, the net of the genetic material itself does not change -- only the way in which it is expressed. That is an excellent proof for evolution as strictly applied, since it shows definitively that environmental pressures (in this case, human intervention) can cause changes in the traits observed in a population, but it is an extremely poor one for arguing that evolution is responsible for both the vast observable AND genetic differences among life forms on this planet -- after all, the base genetic material does not change, the changes made in trait expression are often counterproductive to survival and reproduction, and the changes, assuming they do confer an advantage, are diluted when divergent lines are crossed.

In short, in order for selective breeding to be an absolute proof of evolution as they apply it, the only difference between any forms of life on the planet would have to be the expression of genes, not the number or type of genetic material. Furthermore, we would have to be able to crossbreed with any other form of life as well.

Clearly, that is not the case; thus, at this point, the evolutionists start bringing in the idea of "genetic change", meaning that the actual genes and chromosomes themselves of organisms were altered through mutation, addition (i.e., bacteria and viruses work by inserting their genetic sequences into the DNA of their host cells), or crossbreeding (donkeys and horses, which have different numbers of chromosomes, can be crossed to produce mules with the chromosomal characteristics of both parents).

However, genetic change is in and of itself a cantankerous process. When you consider what happens when you mess with the genetic material, the default answer is "lethal" (most individuals with genetic abnormalities die in utero), then "obviously impaired" (the laundry list of human genetic disorders), followed closely by "sterile" (i.e., a mule), then "impaired, but not immediately observable" (i.e. Huntington's disease), to "not impaired, but not advantaged", and finally to "advantaged by genetic change" -- a miniscule fraction -- you have to wonder how such a horribly inefficient process produced such enormous and functional diversity of life.

Of course, even an inefficient process can generate sufficient output if you do it often enough, which accounts for the next refuge of evolutionists -- "geologic time". According to their argument, since the earth has been around for 4.5 billion years, give or take a few hundred million, over that period of time, enough "advantaged by genetic change" has taken place that we made the leap from protozoa to primates.

Again, though, from what our friends the geologists tell us, we can see that there are a few issues with that. First off, no one knows exactly how long the earth has been temperate enough to support life in the first place. We know that bacteria can survive near the boiling point of water, for instance, but that's a far cry from the temperature of molten rock, which is at best how the Earth started under most theories. Furthermore, it is commonly believed that our planet, as it cooled and solidified, was atmospherically very similar to Venus -- again, not conditions exactly conducive to supporting life, and again, no one knows for how long. Finally, if that weren't bad enough, the geologists tell us that Earth has been racked by several sudden and cataclysmic events -- meteor impacts being one of the largest -- that so drastically changed planetary conditions, it is likely that almost all, if not all, life was wiped out during one or more of them.

In short, you don't have 4.5 billion years to explain the genetic diversity of life on Earth. Furthermore, you have to take into account not only that, but that you may have had to repeat the process multiple times from the ground up, taking into account the dizzying arrays of climatological, environmental, and bioprocesses that could have been involved. At some point, the probabilities of all these events converging simply become outrageously small.

Again, anything's theoretically possible. At some point in time, scientists may manage to create an organism from the aggregation of organic chemicals. But, from a selective-breeding-as-proof standpoint, the argument is stronger that life started out as a group of proto-critters that then diversified in traits via strict evolution, versus the "bacteria became humans" argument.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Retrospective on the Primordial Swamp

As I said....best way to start an argument in the blogosphere, especially the gay blogosphere....talk about evolution and creationism.

There were some excellent points made, especially by Eva Young (Lloydletta), perpetual commentor Ian S., and Roaring Tiger.

On the other hand, no less than three people (they know who they are) said that I think evolution is "not a fact" -- despite this very clear statement:

Now, evolution, as strictly applied, is a fact. Over time, the rates at which certain traits are expressed in populations tend to change, genetically and physically, in response to environmental and other pressures.

I think my major mistake in writing the post, though, was in not first referencing a previous post I had made on this topic -- more specifically, on how I came to my views on the subject. Without that, I think many people misread my perspective.

Then again, maybe I'm only kidding myself and people really do think I have a "feeble Christian mind" and am completely ignorant of biology or arithmetic, as a few have said. Maybe they do dislike me to the extent that they don't read my posts before commenting on what I do and don't say in them.

C'est la guerre.

Wading Back Into the Primordial Swamp.....

If you want to guarantee an argument in the blogosphere, especially in the gay blogosphere, the best thing to do is to bring up the subject of evolution vs. creationism. However, what it also does is bring up the dark, scary underbelly of how science, and especially science as applied by many gays, has turned into some sort of intolerant religion even worse than the ones they use it against.

To whit, this morning's commentary by Blog Neutral Michael of Gay Orbit, discussing the opening of a museum devoted to the creationist viewpoint features some very interesting commentary and comments.

Got that? Museums are now about beliefs - not fact. Sad. It’s little wonder that the vast majority of people who study math and science in U.S. colleges and universities are not U.S. citizens. Not surprising at all - especially when you’ve got a president who endorses this crap. Yup. Eve didn’t get thrown out of the Garden of Eden. She was flown out on Air Pteranodon.

Earth to Michael.....unless you know something I don't, all of your museums devoted to evolution as the only means by which life came about are based on beliefs -- not on fact.

You see, in order for something to be a "fact", it has to be observable and repeatable. If you let go of your laptop, it will always go crashing to the floor. That's the basis of the theory of gravity. Even if you were up in orbit and dropped it, gravity would still send it falling pell-mell towards the floor; the only difference is that, since the floor is falling at the same rate as is the laptop, if conditions stay the same, the floor will always be one step ahead of the laptop.

Now, evolution, as strictly applied, is a fact. Over time, the rates at which certain traits are expressed in populations tend to change, genetically and physically, in response to environmental and other pressures. If I relentlessly breed fruit flies in a controlled environment, I can bring about changes in their gene combinations and their physical appearance.

However, the problem is this. Unless I use methods other than standard reproduction, i.e. that which would be found in nature, I have yet to be able to turn fruit flies genetically or physically into bats. I have yet to turn bacteria into protozoa. I have yet to turn a series of organic compounds into a bacterium.

Thus, since I have been able to do none of those things without severe artificial enhancement (or some even WITH severe artificial enhancement), I can only say this.....arguing that evolution is the only means by which life came about looks a lot more like a belief and a lot less like a fact.

As long as you put appropriate limitations on each, neither evolution or creationism disproves the other. The extremes of both -- namely, saying that evolution is the only way or that creation is fixed -- are indeed completely incompatible, but when you sit in the pleasant middle, you can see how they BOTH could be true.

In short, what's to say God didn't just set things in motion from a starting point? As I've blogged before, the fact that I was educated almost completely in religious-oriented institutions hardly precluded my being taught both, as well as their respective strong and weak points. It also didn't seem to impair me one bit when later on I went to a thoroughly-secular setting -- indeed, it made me more apt to question, probe, and try to understand both.

Really, the issue here is two sides that are so vehemently opposed to each other that they are beyond reason -- and their attempt to influence the middle to eliminate the other side. The Left's goal in this is the complete elimination of God as a viable concept, and the Right's goal is the complete imposition of God (as they define Him) as the ONLY concept.

Personally, I have no problem with acknowledging both science and God. The fact that the world tends to run in an orderly, scientific fashion does not preclude God from intervening or doing as He chooses; at the same time, the fact that God is the wildcard in the universe doesn't mean that science is a completely invalid concept. By the very definition of His being God, God is beyond human comprehension; therefore, since science is only what humans can comprehend, the concept of God is beyond science.

What I would suggest that my gay brothers and sisters do is to examine why it is so important to them that science reign supreme over God. My feeling is that this has more to do with knee-jerk opposition to religious fundamentalism than it does to their particular feelings or introspections on the matter. Questioning evolution, while it is a hallmark of religious fundamentalism, does not necessarily make one a religious fundamentalist.

Really, I thought John Pike's (of the blog Pike Speak) comment was the most relevant here.

this is sad beyond belief…AND THEY ARE SURGEONS!!! They must fall in that <1% of hard-scientists that reject Darwin.

Would you want them as your doctor?

Let's put it this way. These people were smart enough to get through high school, university, medical school, residency, AND their board certifications to become not just physicians, but surgeons. If believing wholeheartedly in evolution was a necessity to be able to learn scientific concepts and practice medicine well enough to do all of those, you'd think at least ONE of those levels would have caught them by now. One wonders if the people screaming about how, since these folks don't believe wholeheartedly in evolution, they can't be good doctors, regardless of the fact that they obviously are more than qualified in every other respect to practice, follow the reverse -- that, as long as someone believes in evolution, they can be as qualified as Dr. Nick Rivera on "The Simpsons" and still be a good doctor.

Really, I think anyone who tries to ban creationism or intelligent design from being taught is just as ignorant as someone who tries to ban evolution. I also was rather impressed that the President took the time to say that teaching both was a good idea. However, this is a life-or-death struggle for the loony Left and the radical Right, and in the process, they're making a LOT of people ignorant.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Value of Education

I think this quote of today from CNN/Money talking about the current job market says it all.

"We haven't seen that much improvement in employment of hourly workers because the job market for lower-skill workers still has a lot of slack in it," said Mark Vitner, senior economist for Wachovia Securities. "But if you look at skilled workers, it's a much different picture. We're starting to see some real shortages in some sectors."

Vitner noted that the unemployment rate for college graduates is down to 2.3 percent, not significantly worse than the 2.1 percent unemployment rate for college graduates in April 2000, when the overall rate hit a 40-year low.

By comparison, workers with only a high school education had a 4.7 percent unemployment rate in June, far worse than the 3.3 percent rate in April 2000, while high school dropouts have a 7.0 percent unemployment rate today.

In short, the unemployment rate has not differed significantly throughout the recession for college graduates, but has increased by over 40% for those who are only high school graduates. It no longer pays to keep moderate-skill jobs in the United States, and that rate change shows it.

The lesson here, kids? Stay in school -- and when you get out, donate back to organizations like The Point Foundation.

Pull the Strings, the Puppets Dance

As per GayPatriot and The Malcontent, the blogosphere is abuzz this morning over the revelation that Bush Supreme Court nominee John Roberts provided pro bono legal assistance to gay activists arguing the case of Romer vs. Evans, in which the Supreme Court struck down Colorado's antigay Amendment 2 that prevented any form of state government from enacting any form of gay-rights protections.

This is obviously good news. However, this morning, I am seeing red and breathing fire, and there's a very good reason for it. This, more than anything else, lays absolutely bare the degree to which our so-called "gay rights" organizations will whore for Democrats and abortionists at the expense of gay rights.

Strong words, hm? Let me show you why.

Quoting from the Los Angeles Times (emphasis by NDT):

Jean Dubofsky, lead lawyer for the gay rights activists and a former Colorado Supreme Court justice, said that when she came to Washington to prepare for the U.S. Supreme Court presentation, she immediately was referred to Roberts.

"Everybody said Roberts was one of the people I should talk to," Dubofsky said. "He has a better idea on how to make an effective argument to a court that is pretty conservative and hasn't been very receptive to gay rights."

She said he gave her advice in two areas that were "absolutely crucial."

"He said you have to be able to count and know where your votes are coming from. And the other was that you absolutely have to be on top of why and where and how the state court had ruled in this case," Dubofsky said.

She said Roberts served on a moot court panel as she prepared for oral arguments, with Roberts taking the role of a Scalia-like justice to pepper her with tough questions.

When Dubofsky appeared before the justices, Scalia did indeed demand specific legal citations from the lower-court ruling. "I had it right there at my fingertips," she said.

"John Roberts … was just terrifically helpful in meeting with me and spending some time on the issue," she said. "He seemed to be very fair-minded and very astute."

Dubofsky said Roberts helped her form the argument that the initiative violated the "equal protections" clause of the Constitution.

The points emphasized all lead to one central conclusion -- John Roberts not only gave advice on Romer, which could be done privately and without too much fanfare, he openly and publicly assisted people in preparing arguments and ensuring that they could be successful in front of the high court. In gay parlance, relative to his support on this case, he was not only out of the closet, he was setting the wastebaskets on fire as he walked by.

However, what are the "gay rights" groups saying?

HRC says "John Roberts Threatens to Tip the Supreme Court to the Far Right".

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (emphasis mine):

We especially call upon our allies in the Senate to determine whether Judge Roberts subscribes to the holdings of Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas, among other cases, and will affirm that the civil rights and privacy rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans are protected by the Constitution.

Finally, and my favorite, Lambda Legal (emphasis again mine):

In nominating Judge John G. Roberts to replace Justice O’Connor on the Supreme Court President Bush has just about guaranteed that divisiveness will continue to reign in the judicial nomination process. Some have suggested that Judge Roberts is well-liked, but with all due respect, we need to know if he will stand up for the rights of all Americans not whether some people think he’s a nice guy.

Really, these comments and allegations are complete and total insults to gays' intelligence. Every single one of these groups allegedly contributed time, money, and expertise (meaning staff) to the legal team in the Romer appeal. Does Lambda, for one, expect us to believe that they had no idea who was giving advice and practice assistance to their co-counsel? What were their people doing when Roberts was shooting questions at Dubofsky in a mock courtroom for the specific purpose of getting her ready to argue the case? Were they jumping door-to-door in Dupont Circle while he was helping her construct the arguments? Were they on their twelfth vodka-and-Seven at JR's while he was giving her his considerable insight on how best to appeal to each justice?

In short, these so-called "gay rights" groups flat-out hid and lied about John Roberts's record. There is no plausible way that they could be unaware of the fact that he assisted the legal team or that he himself helped, as Dubofsky cited above, to construct the argument that Amendment 2 violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment is the one working chance that gays have for arguing for ALL forms of equal protection -- and these groups are opposing and attempting to smear a nominee who has demonstrated that he feels the Fourteenth Amendment DOES apply to gays, and did so on a case that not even the allegedly "gay-friendly" Clinton administration would file a brief stating that they favored. What gives?

The reasons for these groups' studied ignorance and outright mendacity are blatantly obvious when you again review the statements previously cited. When you click on HRC's button, the first reason given to oppose Roberts is that he would "undermine a woman's right to choose". Lambda Legal is even more blatant, inserting an entire paragraph in their press release instructing you to "visit" another portion of their site "to learn more about the connection between reproductive choice and civil rights for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community". NGLTF's insane devotion to promoting and protecting abortion is already well-documented (Matt Foreman's statement that implies nobody knows what Roberts's stance was on Romer is not related, in my opinion, to abortion -- it's just another reminder of how little research he does prior to commenting).

Finally, and perhaps the biggest reason of all, John Roberts was nominated by the Bush administration. That equals automatic disqualification and blocking for Democrats and, like they did for the outing campaign run by Democratic consultants Mike Rogers and John Aravosis, they pay other people to do their smear work for them. Supporting abortion and Democrats at the expense of gay rights is par for the course for many "gay leaders", including current executive director Joe Solmonese and former board member Ellen Malcom, and for all of these organizations that called candidates who supported stripping gays of legal rights (ironically, by state constitutional amendments) pro-gay and gay-supportive. What makes it even easier is that organizations like HRC are run by lobbyists who are completely dependent on Dems for their income, i.e. Hilary Rosen and Mike Berman, and former Democratic staffers, i.e. Joe Solmonese, and are constantly short on cash. It's not hard for Dems to get them to jump on command -- just wave a dollar bill, and they come running over to your window.

In short, this has gone far enough. These people are not only doing the whim of the unpopular moonbat minority that demands the right for any woman of any age to kill anything, any time, for any reason, as long as it's in utero -- bad enough in and of itself, given that it reinforces the image of gays as amoral sex-pushers -- but they are actively blocking people with demonstrated records of helping gay rights and claiming it's because "abortion is a gay issue".

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My Boi from Troy Moment.....

As a nod to the practice of Blog Ally Boi from Troy of posting gratuitous pictures of gorgeous men, I am posting some lovely links that I came upon today.

Whilst I was visiting CNN.com, trying to expand my knowledge, when I stumbled upon the Sports Illustrated Athletes in Swimsuits collection, other....um, things....were expanded as well.

For those who have seen me waxing poetic over Officer Dan Aranyosi, one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in D.C." as reported by The Hill and publicized by BfT himself and Gay Patriot, my choice of favorites among the athletes in swimsuits should be no surprise whatsoever.

The first runner-up ("Dammit, GET OUT OF THE WAY!") is fairly predictable, but second runner-up is a bit unusual, even for me.

However, there was one pic that deserved the "Dear God, WHAT were you thinking?" award......

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Delectable Tidbit of News

In one of those news items that always seems to catch my eye, it seems that Atkins Nutritionals, the company that pushed and promoted the diet craze that pushed the profit margin on my remaining beef cattle from "laughable" to "reasonable" and into "Holy smokes!", filed for bankruptcy.

Some blame its demise on cholesterol and fat, some on lack of fruits and veggies, but I think the reason is much less complex than that. While I love a thick steak as much as the next guy and have been known to bow down and worship brunch tables that feature unlimited bacon, no diet that denies me the pleasures of Noe Valley Bakery bread is going to last more than fifteen minutes in MY household.