Saturday, April 30, 2005

So Who Would Be The Judean People's Populist Front, Then?

Man, I live for things like this. It seems that screaming nutjob Fred Phelps is calling out raving dingbat James "SpongeDob" Dobson will burn in ever-lasting agony for being - and I cannot make this up if I tried - "too soft on gays". Why, exactly? Well, in spokeszombie Shirley Phelps-Roper, Dobson's group Focus On The Family enable those dratted gay folks because - and again, I cannot make this up even if I had a head start - "they have the big lie that God loves everyone".

Give 'em hell, Shirl. This is, mind, the same cat who's on record as saying that homosexuals actually want to destroy the institution, and that the destruction of marriage will destroy the Earth. Course, in Fred Phelps' eyes, I guess ol' Dobson is a bit of a softie. Fred says God hates everyone he hates not only the standard gays and not-white/male people, but everyone who doesn't hate as much Fred Phelps. Lucky how that works out, ain't it.

Now, you know what really depresses me about these cats? I'm agnostic, but I know a lot of good folks who do believe with all the certainty they can muster that there is some sort of Supreme Being and some sort of order to the universe. It's not my bag, but I say more power to 'em if it gets 'em through the night. They're generally good people, just trying to get through life as best they can, just like anyone else.

Those folks who might have issues or misunderstandings about homosexuality, but deep down, do want to try to help folks and spread the love as much as possible. Thing is, these ain't the people the "faith-based" crowd really caters to, when you come right down to it. Fred Phelps and James Dobson, however, never seem to fail to get ample airtime. Funny how that works out, ain't it?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Somehow, This Doesn't Surprise Me

Coming as a shock to absolutely nobody who saw The Phantom Menace or Attack Of The Clones, apparently George Lucas is so hard up for inspiration he had to set a tight regime to force himself to write Episode III. Oh, that bodes well, doesn't it? After sitting through the pain of seeing my childhood demolished by the tripe of the last two movies, I'd already decided not to give Mr. Lucas anymore of my bread. This certainly doesn't help matters.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Things You Need To Know...

Apparently, there's a lady in Atlanta who's running religious outreach program to strippers. The lady's an ex-stripper, so I guess she knows the score and apparently it's doing pretty good with the glass-heel crowd. Sure, why not.

In other news, Eric Rudolph has agreed to plead guilty in the bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Keep in mind, this is the bombing at Centennial Park during the Summer Games. Jury selection is still going on for the 1998 Birmingham abortion clinic, and Rudolph's been charged with a pair of non-fatal bombings in Atlanta - one at an abortion clinic and one, proving this guy's a real dick, at a lesbian bar. Supposedly, part of the deal means Rudolph will show authorities where 250 pounds of explosives are buried in the hills of North Carolina, where the little shitass hid for so long.

The funniest man in America, Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay, is saying the federal courts have "run amok" and, what's more, Congress is letting. Hey, asshole, you're part of Congress! So by your logic, Tommy, you're part of the problem. Meanwhile, the rest of the GOP is basically saying, "Shut your piehole, you insecticide-sniffing mongoloid, at least until we get this filibuster thing pushed through."

And finally, Brian Greene - author of The Elegant Universe - wrote a neat story in today's New York Times celebrating the 100th anniversary of Einstein's various world-changing theories. Go read it, 'cause quantum physics is pretty damn neat. What's even neater - to me, anyway - is that physicists are starting to see why Einstein had such a problem with quantum physics. Basically, it says despite what we wish and hope and believe with all our souls - and be honest, we do this - that the universe doesn't operate in such a manner that we can predict. This bothered Einstein, and you know it bothers the shit out of people who think the Earth is 6,000 years old. Furthermore, it's quite likely we're missing something fundamental in how we look at creation.

There’s more to learn, beloved, and we’re a powerful long way from knowing the Ultimate Truth. I find that very, very cool, personally.

If I Ever Question Why I Left Florida...

I'm sorry, but is this really neccessary? Long story short, the Florida legislature passed what's called the Protection of Persons And Property bill, colloquially known as the “Stand Your Ground Bill”. What it does is pretty simple. Florida - which has fairly loose gun control laws in the first place - has this thing called the "Castle Doctrine", which means you have the right to defend your home against intruders. What that means is if someone's breaking into your home and you have a gun - and something like 6 million Floridians do, which is a disturbing thought in and of itself - you're free to basically shoot first and ask questions later.

In their infinite wisdom, the Florida legislature passed this deal that basically extends the "Castle Doctrine" to anywhere a person has the lawful right to be, such as a grocery store, library or a nursery school. In other words, if you're walking down the street and you feel threatened, you have the right to blast away, no questions asked, and the onus is on the cops to prove that you did it with malice aforethought. All you gotta prove is that you felt "threatened". Gov. Jeb Bush is gonna sign it probably, the NRA plumb loves it of course, and the politicos in Florida are trumpeting it as a solid "get tough on crime" measure.

Lovely. Now, of course, a lot of the opposing law makers and your general gun control-type crowd are saying it'll make some "wild west" type situation on Florida streets, quick draws at noon and such. Personally, like the situation with the signs in Arizona, I don't really think we'll see that. I do, however, think we'll see a lot of yay-hoos who've been salivating at the thought of popping that asshole at the gas station going through with it. I also gotta think we'll see an increase in the number of completely innocent people being shot for no other reason than they were around some dipstick who managed to spook some other dipstick who happened to be packing.

Thing is, beyond how sensible this bill is - or isn’t, frankly - I gotta wonder if it's necessary. Like every other blessed state in the union, Florida already has laws on the book that allow citizens to defend themselves if threatened, even to the point of using deadly force. Thing is, Florida laws says you have to make an attempt to escape first. This new law says you don't have to run first. Quoth the Republican sponsor of the so-called "Stand Your Ground Bill", Dennis Baxley of Ocala (which is a really nice town, by the way, full of some of the nicest, if whitest people I've ever met), "If I'm attacked, I should not have to retreat."

Lovely.

Let us recap. If someone threatens you in Florida with bodily harm and you seriously feel the only way to preserve your existence is to end the existence of the person threatening you, no problem. All you gotta do first is see about trying to get away. You can't, no worries. Come October 1, you don't have to think about running first. Again, I gotta ask... just how necessary is this? Prosecutors and cops aren't really thrilled over this bill, naturally, as it puts way too much discretion in the hands of individuals and makes it way too easy for folks to basically get away with shooting people.

Me, I'll be interested to see what happens when the first gangbanger busted on a drive-by uses this as a defense. Folks, this is what happens when legislators don't spend near enough time thinking about the bills they're passing. But, hey... if it were about actually passing laws that help folks out, nobody'd work near as hard, I think. Doesn't get as many votes as telling your constituents they're free to lock and load.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Thinking Outside The Box, As It Were...

Well, this is interesting. Gist of the story is, more and more, teenagers are avoiding sex...sorta. What they're doing, apparently, is concentrating on oral and anal sex, the idea being that anything that doesn't involve vaginal penetration "doesn't count". A recent survey has one-in-five U.S. teenagers saying they've engaged in oral sex. Of them surveyed, barely 14% had engaged in full-on nookie, and in a rather surprising twist that's nevertheless nice to hear, it seems boys are going down on girls more often than vice versa. Ain't that a helluva note.

Kids are seeing the odd beejay or yodel in the valley as "safer" than regular intercourse - which it is, but you still oughta be careful, as the story points out - and in any event, it doesn't count. The Clenis, of course, is to blame. Y'all, if you'd get pissed off if you caught your significant other engaged in it, it counts. End of story.

This story comes on the heels of the announcement by a bunch of Yale and Columbia University researchers that a whole lotta them abstinence pledge kids are going at it like squirrels. The pledge-keteers were, the study says, four more times likely to have anal sex as their first time, and overall, six times more likely to give head than a non-pledging-yet-abstinent-nevertheless teen. When it's all said and done, teens who took the pledge were 88% more likely to have sex before marriage, compared to 99% of teens that didn't. Considerably less shocking is that the pledgers are less likely to use condoms or get tested for STDs than teenagers whose parents aren't scared shitless of fucking.

The head of a group called the National Abstinence Clearinghouse (which hopefully doesn't involve Ed McMahon in any way) said the study was "bogus" and, furthermore, the kids who said they had sex were lying about taking the pledge. Well, of course they lied, but not in the way this dingaling means.

Now... I'll freely admit that the chance of me getting laid when I was in high school was about as likely as a duck writing Wagnerian operas, but I nevertheless think abstinence for teenagers is a smart idea. I also think a comprehensive sex education program, starting in grammar school and conjoined with a solid education in overall health, is a damn good idea. Pretending that kids are gonna do what they told their parents to keep said adults happy is, well, a bit naive. Kids can pledge all day they won't wreck the family car - I sure did - but a smart parent still teaches the little rapscallion how to drive. I'll grant you, of course, the situation is a bit different for sex, but the concept is the same.

I really think we infantilize teenagers and try to protect them from the world - which can be a mother, I'll grant you - but it's foolish to think it'll work, and it's doubly insulting when parents are shocked that such insulation doesn't work. Teach your kids what you must, answer all their questions honestly and encourage them to wait until they're really ready for the big ride, but do drop the whole "until marriage" bullshit, please. Beyond just the "test drive" theory of picking a spouse, it's creepy to me that we basically tell kids sex is harmful and sinful and nasty and will ruin your life, so y'all save it for the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and love more than anyone.

And people wonder why I'm strongly considering eternal bachelorhood...

Friday, April 01, 2005

Well, I'll Be Damned...

Mitch Hedberg died Wednesday. He was 37 and, apparently, it was heart failure. He was born with a weak heart. Bummer. He was funny as hell, more than just a "Steve Wright clone" but a genuine stream-of-conscious bad rapper in the grand style of Lord Buckley of all that's weird and wonderful in this world. Granted, it could be an April Fool's hoax, but it seems it's legit.

And apparently, Jerry Falwell is on the mend. That's how the world, works I guess: we lose too much laughter and keep too much fear and loathing.

Take it easy, dude.