May 31, 2005

They Call Me The Working Man, I Guess That's What I Am...

I just officially finished my first day at my first real law job ever. I'm tired, so this isn't going to be long. Not tired so much from the work, which thus far is pretty mundane, but from the hour long walk home I decided to do instead of waiting for the bus. If you think the hour walk is impressive, I was also in a suit and dress shoes. I suggest you all don't do this, it is a bad idea. Anyway, I have to break out the cold ones, or something, because I guess that's what workin' men do. Or sleep.

College Students - Great Job, Money and Hours

I found this posting on Craigslist Chicago:

A Massage Relaxation and Recreation service based in the city is in dire need of help

Looking for help in the City, West and Northwest suburbs.

Money is GREAT, paid for your travel to the client. On average our staff earns over $500 week for part time work. Set your own hours, to a certain extent.

Our hours are from 11AM to 11PM Monday through Saturday. Great job for students.

Please send: short bio about yourself, contact info, and photo

This sounded legit until they asked for a photo instead of massage therapist certs. Do escort services usually recruit through classified ads?!

May 30, 2005

What a lazyass

He's been on the NYT op-ed page for like six weeks, and already John Tierney is ripping off columns. Ripping off his OWN columns, from a WEEK ago. What fucking tool.

Memorial day

Most everyone I've shown this to hasn't been able to read it, so I'll copy it out:

Joseph R. Scott, Col. 19th Rect. Ill. Volunteer Infantry, February 2 1838 - July 8 1863, from wounds received at battle of Stone River

"Who will save the left"

The nineteenth Illinois

This man was just a few months past 25 when he died, my age. This marker is in Graceland Cemetery, a few blocks from my apartment.

I think our generation often thinks of veterans as veterans of Viet Nam, Korea, and World War II: old men in nursing homes or middle-age men begging for change on the sidewalk. But veterans are veterans because of who they were as young women and men, people our age who went through hell for their country, their people, and their values. The twenty-year-old just coming back from a tour of duty in Iraq, this day is for her, too, along with those old men and the young men they once were.

Posted by Hello

Pardon me while I don't talk electoral strategy

Amp, of Alas, a blog, sums things up pretty well, but I bet I can do it even more briefly: Dems in RI put up Langevin, an anti-abortion fellow, as a potential to run against pro-choice moderate incumbent Repub Licoln Chafee. NARAL says they're going to support Langevin's pro-choice opponents in the Dem primary, Langevin drops out. Kos and Ezra and others make a lot of noise about how NARAL should fall in line behind Langevin, to make a Dem majority in Congress a primary goal, and preserving reproductive autonomy a secondary one. As Kos puts it, "Didn't we know ... that choice was a core principle of the Democratic Party? To which I have a simple answer: The hell it is."

Amp has a good response, which is basically that NARAL is not a front for the Democratic party, nor should it be: it's a pro-choice advocacy group, and NARAL endorsing an anti-choice candidate of any party would be as hypocritical as Kos endorsing a Republican of any ideological bent. And this response (at least, my reading of it) helped me get a good understanding of the reason I've never been as comfortable at Kos as I am at the smaller feminist blogs I tool around in. Go read Amp, then come back.

Pretty much everyone with some political sensibilities has one or two pet issues, topics they get really worked up over. My friend Annie cares a lot about global poverty and living conditions; my friend Mal about the environment; while my friend Manda gets really upset over racism and homophobia. I, like a lot of the bloggers I read, care about sexism. And the pet issue of a lot of the people at dKos is the Democratic Party itself. This certainly isn't a bad thing, because it means people like Kos can coordinate the rest of us, get us to work together behind some common goals. But this is how the party bigwigs lose touch with the grassroots in the first place and start taking the support of groups like NARAL for granted. People like Kos need to realize that, for a lot of us, the things the Democratic party nominally stands for, that tangled web of 'special interests', is why we support the party at all. I voted for Nader in 2000 because I didn't think Gore really represented my political point of view; and I only support the Democratic party when I can do so and be consistent with my politics.

There was an excellent illustration of this in France over the weekend, when the people overwhelmingly rejected ratification of the EU Constitution. Both the left and the extreme right disapproved, and according to the BBC, a lot of the leftists voted against ratification as a vote against Jacques Chirac, the conservative President of France. In the last Presidential election, Chirac ran against Dominique de Villpin (sp), a far-right xenophobe, and the left was forced to vote for a conservative incumbent who took their support for granted. As he refused to reward their support by moving to the middle, the left responded in kind this weekend.

The latest generation of leaders of the Democratic party -- people like Dean and Kos, focussed on bringing the grassroots together -- can do a lot of good work, getting us lefty/liberal types to work together on common goals. But insisting that we put party loyalty above our political commitments gets things entirely backwards: we need to recognize the overlap in our political commitments, and use that common ground as a reason to work together. I write quite a bit here about the ethical grounds for my political positions. I want to say that, while people like Kos can unify lefties and liberals, they cannot provide these ethical grounds. The single-interest groups can provide the requisite ethical grounds, but not unify without some higher level of coordination. So we need to work together, yet still realize that sometimes the single-interest groups are going to be led away from the Democratic party. If the party leadership can recognize that, then the small groups will come back.

May 28, 2005

Why I hate Evolutionary Psychologists

PandaManda, quoting some asshole justifying rape as 'natural': "Basically, the boys were designed to ‘hit’ as many females in the shortest period of time, whether the women want to mate or not. Through out human history this has been the ‘natural order.’"

May 27, 2005


  1. Moby - Honey
  2. Bloodhoung Gang - Three Point One Four
  3. Rachmaninov - Vespers - Blessed is the Man
  4. Duke Ellington - Are You Sticking
  5. Yo-Yo Ma - Inspired by Bach, Suite No. 1 - Prelude
  6. Adelphians - Fantasia on Christmas Carols
  7. Chumbawamba - Home With Me
  8. Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin - Hoedown!
  9. Rent - Finale
  10. Ani DiFranco - Adam and Eve

It's a crazy rant link post!

I should probably be horrified, but this is just so amazingly crappy I'm sitting here laughing my ass off. It was the hit below SoR on a google search for "insane feminists". Here's today's game: find a substantive paragraph anywhere in this website that doesn't involve a logical fallacy. 300 Ra points for every one you find!

This is a list of some of the google searches that have lead people here recently. I used a picture instead of text to avoid getting more hits from some of them.  Posted by Hello

May 26, 2005

The Coolest Game Ever

If you have a spare hour, you *all* need to check this video out. It's Will Wright's (The Sims, Sim City, et. al.) GDC speech from a few weeks ago and is based around the philosphy behind his upcoming game Spore. It also includes quite a bit of video from Spore, which is facinating. Trust me, this is cool. You have to register, but it really only takes a second.

All Anal Nerds, Look Here

Here's an interesting link if you ever wanted to know if the Enterprise could beat a Star Destroyer. The answer is probably no, and if you're talking Super Star Destroyer, well, that's just rediculous!

Another Short Post

Hey there, my good friend and Moot Court pahtnah Maureen sent me this link to some very amusing telephone conversations. Click on through!

May 25, 2005

A Post For Its Own Sake

I just wanted to post something, so here's a somewhat funny video. It's no Banana Phone, but it's decent.

Flash: NYT puts actual feminist on Op-Ed page

Maureen Dowd's substitute turns out to actually be kinda coherent and kinda a feminist.

Here's the deal: this isn't a 'women's' problem; it's a human problem. Yet for 30 years women have tried to crack this largely on their own, and one thing is clear: if the fight isn't joined by men (like me) who want a life, too, any solutions become 'women's' solutions. A broader drive to redesign work will take a union-style consciousness that makes it safe for men who secretly want balance to say so.

This is a vast improvement over Dowd's tendency to ramble (albeit from a left-of-center POV) as incoherently as Brooks or Tierney. But was the only way they could do this tapping another white, male pundit? I think it's great to see an upper-middle-class white male whose wife probably handles most of the domestic chores calling on other upper-middle-class white males whose wives probably handle most of the domestic chores to do away with this system. But, while he's doing that, the Times will have no women writing for the Op-Ed page, which is precisely the sort of thing this Matt Miller is arguing against.

Something similar (well, kind of) here

May 24, 2005

Let's play a game

Maybe MosBen will award his Ra points or whatever for the best entry. I just think we have enough Joss Whedon fans that read this semi-regularly to pull it off.

The game is: Ask Joss Whedon a Question

I'll go first. Here's my question: How do you feel about the Buffy movie? I've heard that your script was changed, and it obviously had a completely different style from the teevee series. Do you think the poor reception of the movie played any part in the 'cult' status of the teevee show?

Another abortion post! Yay!

Amanda Panda has a post on Parental Notification laws that just has so much good stuff you really should just go read it. I'm going to talk about one little thing she says, and reference our earlier discussions on abortion.

The other important thing to note about Casey v. Planned Parenthood is that the court found that most women already consult their husbands over abortion decisions and when they didn't, they had a very good reason, such as the fear that they would get beat down for daring to make their own decisions. The relationship between teenage girls and their parents is pretty much parallel in this sense--most teenage girls who are pregnant already consult their parents on the decision and those who don't have a good reason, like fear of abuse.

Yeah, it's the issue of trusting women again. As best I can recall, I've only ever seen two arguments limiting abortion: (a) It's a person, and its life is sacrosanct, from conception; and (b) If women are allowed abortions of type X, they might make the wrong decision. I'm going to talk about (b) here, which I think covers both opposition to specific abortion procedures (DX) and the decision to abort or not being made by certain women (teenagers).

Implicit in the (b) argument is the assumption that a significant number (whatever this means) of women will actually make the wrong decision. Most of us don't worry about people driving giant hunks of steel around at ridiculous speeds six times faster than anyone can run, because relatively few people are harmed in accidents involving those fast-moving hunks of steel; but we do worry about people driving those hunks around while intoxicated, because there are a lot of accidents in those sorts of situations. In other words, we trust most people to be safe drivers, but we don't trust people who drive too fast or drive drunk to not harm other people.

Now, I'll grant in this post that some women might make the 'wrong' decision about an abortion (though I honestly don't know what that means). In setting limits on abortion rights, you're claiming that 'too many' women will make the wrong decision: that women cannot be trusted to make good moral decisions when they have reproductive autonomy. You can make such a claim, of course -- but I do not see how this could be justified unless by sexist assumptions or theological arguments like (a).

May 22, 2005

Inerrant, literalist, fundamentalist, evangelical, conservative

These are words I've been trying to sort out for quite some time now: what is a fundamentalist Christian? Evangelical Christian? Are fundamentalists always conservative? How about evangelicals -- it's not too hard these days to find 'progressive evangelicals', but to this liberal atheist, that almost feels like it could be an oxymoron. And of course Christians talk about the Bible a lot, and a lot of heterosexism, misogyny, and opposition to evolution has been justified by appeals to the Bible, so it would be nice to have that relationship worked out. Well, thanks to Hug Schwyzer, a feminist, evangelical Episcopalian, I think I've got a rough idea.

Okay, first, let's get the Bible terminology straight. Hugo links here, which (except for some slight bashing of the UCC) gives some pretty neutral definitions of 'inerrant', 'infallible', 'literalist', and along the way, 'fundamentalist'. The difference between infallible and inerrant is a little too subtle for me at this point, but the idea seems to be that the Bible is absolutely correct on spiritual matters, 'revealing God, God's vision, God's purposes, and God's good news to us'. An inerrantist/infallibilist thinks that the Bible is the one and only spiritual handbook, though this does not mean it should not be read critically, as a complicated piece of literature. The contrast is with 'liberal' Christian denominations, like the UCC, who take the Bible to be at best a rough spiritual guide, divinely inspired but corrupted to an unknown extent by human interference.

Literalism takes inerrantism and infallibilism to an extreme: the Bible is right about everything, including all the bits that disagree with modern science and archaeology. So you can be an inerrantist/infallibilist without being a literalist, and still think the first two chapters of Genesis are to be read metaphorically, not literally, or disregard the misogyny and heterosexism of the Bible as irrelevant to its spiritual message. Fundamentalism is synonymous with literalism, where that has a conservative or even reactionary and theocratic interpretation. A fundamentalist Christian is politically conservative, reactionary, or theocratic, and cannot affirm evolution in good faith. Being evangelical means one has more 'flexibility', so an evangelical can be a creationist or believe in some kind of 'divinely-guided evolution', and be politically conservative (which is why a lot of fundamentalists are evangelicals, and vice versa) or politically liberal (which is why the terms are still distinct). From

In Christianity, the term fundamentalism is normally used to refer to the conservative part of evangelical Christianity, which is itself the most conservative wing of Protestant Christianity. Fundamentalist Christians typically believe that the Bible is inspired by God and is inerrant. They reject modern analysis of the Bible as a historical document written by authors who were attempting to promote their own evolving spiritual beliefs. Rather, they view the bible as the Word of God, internally consistent, and free of error.

Now, what is evangelism in itself? The term has ties to another name for the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, the account of the life and works of Christ. The word gospel means 'good news', and the bulk of these books is Christ's evangelizing: preaching and missionary work. Let's check's glossary of religious terms:

Evangelize: To gently explain ones beliefs to another in the hope that they might wish to adopt them. The word is sometimes used as a synonym for "Proselytize" -- to actively attempt to convert another person to your beliefs.

There's also this line in the definition of evangelicalism:

The name "evangelical" was originally used to refer to those faith groups which followed traditional Christian beliefs, in contrast with two other movements: philosophical rationalism and legalistic Christianity.

They also have a whole page of definitions. The three central components of all of these seem to be the following:
  1. Personalism -- This is a belief of intense personal faith and devotion to God, much like Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith, and in contrast to Kant's Enlightenment faith and Hegel's legalism.
  2. Activism -- As part of their devotion to God, the believer is compelled to share their faith with others, to literally evangelize.
  3. Biblicism -- The evangelical is an inerrantist/infallibilist about the Bible, whether this is in the narrow, literalist sense, or the broader sense discussed above.

So evangelicalism is entirely compatible with feminism, and liberal politics in general. Indeed, liberal evangelicals make the argument that Jesus talks a lot more about caring for the less fortunate than condemning homosexuality, and treated all of his followers, male and female, far more equally than sexist conservatives do.

May 21, 2005

In which I write a sports-related post

Don't worry, I haven't been replaced by alien replicants from beyond the moon. Yet.

eleven-year-old little leaguer pitched a perfect game on Saturday in New York. I don't know shit about baseball, but I know this is impressive:

Her pitching on Saturday mowed down the opposing Yankees in an 11-0 shutout before a stunned crowd of about 100 parents and friends in the bleachers of the Oakfield Town Park.[...]

Her perfect game was even more perfect than the common definition of the term, which refers to a pitching performance in which every batter is turned back, either by striking out or hitting a ball that results in an out.

So, cool. Now read it again. This was a girl, pitching in little league, not softball. She plays with the boys. In fact, she's the only girl in her league. So what are people saying about this impressive young athlete?
The president of her league:

"I can't imagine being a boy that has to face her at the plate," said Eric Klotzbach, an engineer and the president of Katie's seven-team league in Genesee County. "It has got be a shot to the ego."

And the manager of her team:

He said players on other teams in the league might find it unnerving to be overpowered by a girl on the pitcher's mound, but that Katie's teammates "think it is great that she's on our side."

The original NYT article is here.

May 20, 2005

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars is a peculiar series and I think that while it benefits the series monetarily, it also creates some rather unique problems. I would suggest that no other science fiction series in any medium has had the effect on modern popular culture than the original Star Wars trilogy has and that, as such, the original series has been deified to a certain degree. Adding to this holy trinity is like coming up with a new set of chapters for the Bible. Now, I'm not going to suggest that the prequels are perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel like people expected so much that when the prequels were decidedly unperfect people began to focus far more intensely on the flaws present in those movies than if it were another movie.

Drew and I were talking about this on the way down to the theater, but I think with a lot of science fiction action movies get taken far more seriously than they should be. Independence Day is a pretty good example, and it's what we talked about. I first saw that movie on its opening day. The crowd was excited, people hooted, clapped, and cheered, and it was a lot of fun. I walked out of the movie with a very simple feeling of having had a fun time. Sure, there was some bad dialog and there were some logical inconsistencies and flat out impossibilities (a Mac can interface with alien technology? That's handy!). As I got a little older and started getting what I'd call snobby about art generally, I started picking movies apart. I'd triumphantly congratulate myself when I found all the less than stellar bits of dialog or some aspect of the plot that didn't make sense. Now, while I still get this from time to time, in the last couple years I started to realize that there was something I was missing, and that was the feeling I had walking out of the theater after ID4. I'm not going to say ID4 is a good movie, but I had lost that exhuberance for film (and art in general) in favor some arbitarary set of rules about what made "good art". Though cliched, I wasn't seeing the forrest for the trees.

That's a pretty long preamble, but basically the point is, I felt that way walking out of Episode 3 and it felt pretty good. Drew talked about an NPR review he had heard where, though each individual thing mentioned in the review was negative, the overall tenor was positive and I think there's something to that. Yeah, if you want to you can point to any number of things in this movie that I would have changed; there's some droid humor aimed pretty directly at children and didn't do anything for me, there's some sappy dialog that I wish they could have tweaked a bit, and there as a few things they could have done a bit earlier and done a bit more to explain. But I had fun. The acting is somewhat uneven. But I had fun. Yoda didn't get out more than one gramatically correct sentence in the whole damn movie. But I had fun.

For the first time since the original trilogy I cared about what was happening. Anakin wasn't just a whiny padawan, he was a poor kid trapped in a crappy political situation where everyone was using him and no one trusted him and everything seemed to be spiralling out of control. It was the second full movie where a lot of the choices were, to a degree, morally ambiguous. Other than towards the end of Empire, Jedi is the only other movie where the major choices being made didn't have a clearly "good and right" series of solutions for the characters to run down. Furthermore, this movie is packed to the gills with cool things that I've always wanted to see in a Star Wars film. And the lightsaber fighting is badass.

Long story short; don't go expecting Citizen Kane. Star Wars has never been something any you should take too seriously, especially if you can't enjoy the fun of the film in doing so. There's certainly something to fandom and the fun of obsessing over details, but there's a fun movie here and if you can't see if you're missing something. Maybe you're being too serious, maybe you're too attached to the "purity" of the original trilogy, or maybe you just don't like sci-fi, I don't know. I'd suggest you take this movie on its face; recognize its flaws, but don't lose that fun feeling.

Pandagon: Class and marriage

Amanda Panda talks about cross-class marriage, and the way our interactions are tempered in subtle ways by class identifications. It's an interesting post, and links to the interesting NYT series on class.

I was trying to think of what class I identify with, and I realized it's really a non-trivial question. See, my parents split up when I was in about sixth grade, and divorced a couple years later. As is often the case in these scenarios, my dad moved out, we only saw him every other weekend, and my mom rapidly became destitute. We lived off child support payments and AFDC for a year or two, while she finished school (AA in architecture), then started working as a drafter in a local architecture firm. She was laid off around my senior year, but has built up a decent reputation in her community has a talented house designer. Meanwhile, my dad's income continued in the low six figures, and he bought a house the fall of my junior year, along with new cars every couple years. I got to report just her income on my FAFSA, while he actually paid the gap between financial aid and tuition.

On the one hand, I grew up and continue to be lower middle class, living from paycheque to paycheque, worrying about what happens if I get sick, trying to figure out how I'm going to afford the car I'll need to buy this fall. But I live in a neighborhood of Chicago that's predominantly upper middle class (and white), and I really don't know what to do with myself without cable, broadband internet, espresso bars, and box stores.

I'm a cross-class relationship all by myself.

May 19, 2005

Six months

It's been six months since the Great Republican Vindication of 2004, when (according to Republican party) America defied liberals and lefty types in favour of doing whatever the GOP and Christian conservatives felt like. One would expect the GOP to use all that 'political capital' to pursue great projects and wrestle with the most important issues of the day.

Which, apparently, are the following: judges who don't agree with the wingnuts 100% of the time, and the continued existence of the middle class. To address the first, the GOP has decided to pursue the 'giant hissy fit with revolutionary procedural implications' strategy, effectively trying to destroy the Senate. To address the second, they have decided to go after the social security system -- the closest we have to a national retirement plan for the middle class -- and have already illegalized bankruptcy -- an important safety net for the middle class when, for example, unexpected medical expenses appear -- for private citizens. Oh, and also doing jack shit about the skyrocketting costs of health insurance and gasoline, which also hit the middle class harder than the poor and wealthy. Not to mention our shit-tastic public education system, the environment, racism, and sexism.

And, of course, the elephant in the room, the question no-one except us "radical lefties" wants to ask, is: WTF is wrong with the American middle class? None of this shit from the GOP is a surprise! I could understand if the vast majority of people really did care more about gay people getting married and abortions than about their own economic security; everyone's entitled to prioritize in their own way, after all. But it's simply false: according to poll after poll, the overwhelming majority of people in this country are a little squeamish about gay marriage and abortion, but would still rather have them at least somewhat legal than not, and really do want better schools and cheaper gas and the possibility of getting by after they retire. And, at the same time, they happen to catch a report on the evening news or in the newspaper about the latest assault on their interests by their duly elected representatives, and they shrug, yell a swear at the bastards in DC, and go back to making dinner.

It's enough to get one very annoyed at one's fellow citizens. And write meandering, facile rants on one's blog.

Another rant in this vein over at dKos.

May 18, 2005

Alas, a blog - Rape Culture and the Myth of “Female Sexual Advantage”

Alas, a blog - Rape Culture and the Myth of “Female Sexual Advantage"

No matter what I said, this guy “translated” it to fit his preconceived notions. “No” meant “yes.” “Not interested” became “interested but won’t admit it.” “You’re not my type” becaome “she’s just shy.” Many feminists argue that pornography “silences women.” This is what they mean. The woman is only allowed to say what the man wants to hear - even if what she actually says is completely different. Pornography that plays with the rape myth tells the story of a woman who says no, but ultimately means yes. That is what this guy was doing to me. He was insisting that whatever I said meant what he wanted it to mean.

Another real life example of how a woman’s sexual power silences her. I was not one of the “popular kids,” partly because I had little interest in being one, but one of my good friends was exactly what you describe when you are discussing a woman with a lot of sexual power. She was a cute, feminine blonde, popular, intelligent, cheerleader, upper middle class, dressed conservatively but was perceived as sexy. The guys I hung out with - who, like me, were NOT socially powerful - said she was the most beautiful girl in the school. What did all this sexual power get her?

Well, in 10th grade it got her raped by most of the guys on the football team. She was dating one of them, he slipped her something stronger than she was used to, then passed her around to his buddies. When she told people about it, most of her friends basically said she got what she deserved - if you’re going to be beautiful, them’s the hazards. Mind you, she did not disagree - she accepted that this is just the way the world is. When I pointed out that being pretty is no excuse for rape, she said I was probably right, but what can you do about it? [...]

Arguing that a woman’s sexual power in any way “evens things out” between the sexes is to miss the point entirely. A woman’s sexual power is used to justify rape; a woman’s sexual power is used to silence her; a woman’s sexual power is used to dehumanize her. The fact that some women manage to use their sexual power in some instances to their benefit doesn’t change any of this.

I desperately want to write more. But words can't capture the way I feel right now.

May 16, 2005

Wingnuts: German, not English!

According to Echidne, wingnuts on the Kansas school board are considering redefining science:

Instead, they want to define it as "a systematic method of continuing investigation," without specifying what kind of answer is being sought. The definition would appear in the introduction to the state's science standards.

There is a language in which this definition of science works: German. The German word Wissenschaft is used to refer to any systematic body of investigation or research, including physics and psychology. Of course, in English, science is used much more narrowly: a systematic investigation of the natural world, in search of naturalistic answers. Germans make a distinction like ours, between Naturwissenschaft, or natural sciences, and Geisteswissenschaft, or social sciences and humanities (the line between anthropology, psychology, and philosophy is kind of fuzzy for Anglophones, too). That's why Creationism and ID, by definition, go beyond science, or Naturwissenschaft. And why changing these definitions will do nothing but make Kansas high school science classes worthless outside the state.

Hey, here's an idea

Let's actually teach kids about sexuality in sex ed:

"... One year later, girls in the skills-based program were less likely than their peers to have an STD; about 10 percent tested positive, versus 18 percent in the general-health program and 15 percent in the STD-information program.

They also reported fewer instances of unprotected sex than girls in either of the other groups, and were less likely to say they'd had multiple sexual partners in the past 3 months."

Via guest blogger at Eschaton

May 15, 2005

Scrutiny Hooligans: Fear and Loathing in the Great Parenthesis

Via a guest poster at Eschaton, Scrutiny Hooligans: Fear and Loathing in the Great Parenthesis: Why the Religious Right is Wrong:

So what does this mean for those oh-so-inconvenient admonitions of Jesus to love one's neighbor, make peace, turn the proverbial cheek, help the poor, don't judge, blah-blah-blah? Those aren't for the Church Age, silly pagan. You're a hopeless sinner, bless your heart, don't go stressing out about it. Jesus will be right back, just believe; salvation is by grace alone, not effort.

Bush and the right-wing wingnuts like Tom Delay with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other are just enjoying the good life in the Church Age. According to Dispensationalism, that Kingdom of Heaven Jesus was always blathering on about has been placed on hold until the Second Coming (if you think I'm kidding about this insidious and diabolical theology, look it up for yourself).

Potayto, Potahto


According to the Pew study, 76 percent of poor Republicans believe most people can get ahead with hard work. Only 14 percent of poor Democrats believe that. Poor Republicans haven't made it yet, but they embrace what they take to be the Republican economic vision - that it is in their power to do so. Poor Democrats are more likely to believe they are in the grip of forces beyond their control.

The G.O.P. succeeds because it is seen as the party of optimistic individualism.

Or, you know, the party of cognitive dissonance and misdirected class envy.

May 14, 2005

Clone wars

If you get geeky about things like Star Wars more than I do (which, given the readership of this blog, is probably the case), I'd like to recommend Cartoon Network's Clone Wars. Done in the same style as Genndy Tartakovsky's Samurai Jack (who directed and co-wrote Clone Wars), this is a truly excellent action film, even with being animated. If you're lucky, Cartoon Network might show the whole thing in a three-hour block again, the way they're doing tonight, or the first half is available on DVD now, with the second soon to follow (or, I believe, you can watch it on Cartoon Network's website).

Should we compromise on 'civil religion'?

Digby thinks compromise on 'trivial' issues of 'civil religion', like Ten Commandments displays, is not okay.

So, on what will we hang our hat on once we've decided that religion --- or more specifically the 'judeo-christian umbrella' --- is sanctioned by the state in regards to prayer in schools, the 10 commandments on public buildings and public displays of religion on community ground. These things are all trivial in themselves (although for some people, putting little kids in the position of having to pray or abstain is unconcionable.) But regardless of whether each little instance of religious tradition in the public square is in itself pernicious, taken together, if sanctified by the courts, it erodes one of the basic tenets of our system, which is the prohibition against the establishment of state religion. And that adds up to a greenlight to teach creationism or promote any other Christian dogma --- with my tax dollars.

Are these sorts of things really trivial, though? Official recognition of one religious tradition, even one as broad and common as Western monotheism, as 'the' civil religious tradition still excludes other traditions, and reduces their members to a second-class status, permitted residents of a monotheist society rather than citizens with full equality in the eyes of the law. The rights of social minorities are then no longer guaranteed by the foundational principles of the state, but by the pleasure of the majority to permit the minority to continue to exist. Recognizing the Ten Commandments as the foundation of our legal system, even just ceremonially, serves to undermine the notion that a Buddhist automatically has the same legal rights as a Christian. Which is, of course, precisely the opposite of the intention of the Establishment Clause, and the goal of the wingnuts: theocracy.

Condemned to freedom

An amusing quiz, via Dr. B and Profgrrrl.

You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Man is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.



Cultural Creative














What is Your World View?
created with

It sounds about right, though I think my Modernist/Enlightenment and Postmodernist inclinations are much more equally balanced these days. Also, I understand they're quoting Sartre when they say man is condemned to be free, but why didn't they use 'humanity' instead?

I wasn't sure what 'Cultural Creative' was, but Profgrrrl happened to get it:

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Sounds an awful lot like what attracts me to Kant and Heidegger, actually. Nifty.

May 13, 2005


Dr David Hager, rapist and on an advisory panel of the FDA, will be stepping down. Via The panda which has left

A controversial evangelical doctor will leave an important Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel following allegations that he had inordinate influence over the FDA's decision on nonprescription status for emergency contraception (EC). Dr. W. David Hager, appointed to the FDAs’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee after ardent opposition from women’s reproductive health and rights groups, including the Feminist Majority, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he “will no longer be on the advisory committee after June 30.”

This isn't the castration with a golf club he, like all rapists, deserves, but it's better than nothing.

Better Than Tek War

The Random Ten reminded me that I should mention Willam Shatner's (somewhat) new album Has Been, made in cooperation with Ben Folds among others. To put it shortly, this is the most surprisingly good album of the year. Now, I didn't say it was the *best* album of the year (which is still going to Sage Francis' A Healthy Distrust for me thus far), but given what you'd expect from a William Shatner album the fact that this is actually not just listenable but honestly good is extremely shocking. It captures the perfect blend of serious, touching, and thought provoking songs with a healthy dose of self depricating humor. Sure, there were a couple moments where I rolled my eyes a little, and I do mean a little, when it seemed like a song was a little too angsty for a celeb to be doing, but I think it's fair for most of the songs to separate the narator from Shatner and combine them in others which fixes that one little problem.

For those that don't know, most of this album consists of Shatner's spoken words on top of Ben Fold's instrumentals and as odd a concept as it might seem, it works. From the reflective in songs like "That's Me Trying" (Featuring Aimee Mann) to the farcical in "I Can't Get Behind That" (Featuring Henry Rollins), Shatner's voice is just perfectly tailored to the words coming out of his mouth.

I completely understand why the thought of this album might hit you as a really really bad idea, but trust me, it's great. At least there aren't any Beatles covers...

The Random Ten

Finals are done and I've got to get my lazy ass back in the habit of posting. The easiest way I can think of to do that is the good old Random Ten, which also gives me the opportunity to deride my readers for not posting their Random Tens in the comments. Here's this weeks, embarassing as some of the songs might be... (Song Title - Artist)

1)Picard Flute solo (remember from that episode where he got scanned and lived a whole life on another planet, but it was all in his head? Yeah, big dork here.)

2)Obstacle 1 - Interpol

3)Nothing To Say - Platypus

4)Entre Dos Aguas - Paco De Lucía

5)Together (Feat. Lemon Jelly) - William Shatner

6)2084 - Ayreon

7)Endtroducing - DJ Shadow

8)Fuzzy Dice - Optimus Rhyme

9)Status Seeker - Dream Theater

10)Strike Up The Band - George Gershwin

Remember, this is a *Random* Ten, so no changing songs you're embarassed about. As you can see I have no shame, and I expect none from you all. Also, don't forget that I'm giving out Ra Points these days...

Virginity or Death!

Katha Pollitt, in an upcoming edition of the Nation, on EC, the newly-developed HPV vaccine, and opposition to them:

What is it with these right-wing Christians? Faced with a choice between sex and death, they choose death every time. No sex ed or contraception for teens, no sex for the unwed, no condoms for gays, no abortion for anyone--even for that poor 13-year-old pregnant girl in a group home in Florida. [...]

As they flex their political muscle, right-wing Christians increasingly reveal their condescending view of women as moral children who need to be kept in line sexually by fear. That's why antichoicers will never answer the call of prochoicers to join them in reducing abortions by making birth control more widely available: They want it to be less available. Their real interest goes way beyond protecting fetuses--it's in keeping sex tied to reproduction to keep women in their place. If preventing abortion was what they cared about, they'd be giving birth control and emergency contraception away on street corners instead of supporting pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions and hospitals that don't tell rape victims about the existence of EC. [...] Antichoicers may pooh-pooh the effectiveness of condoms, but they aren't calling to restrict their sale in order to keep boys chaste. [my emphasis; see my last post]

Why are some people so fucking creepy?

I think I'm going to be ill.

Daddy's Girl: Courtship and a Father's Rights:

I don't feel qualified to discuss the role of sons, but it seems clear that there is a peculiar relationship between the father and the daughter. Since a daughter is, by the grace of God, always under authority--there being a transfer at marriage from a father's to a husband's--daughters are 'Daddy's' uniquely. While he must raise his sons to be loving husbands and fathers who make houses possible, he raises his daughters to be submissive, godly wives and wise mothers, to make houses homes. He raises a son to be a provider; he raises a daughter to be provided for.

Proud independence is no noble goal for a woman, and the spirit which pursues it is no part of a godly girl's trousseau. Of course, those who exalt independence, denying headship to a husband, will certainly deny it to a father. Thus, they find the idea of courtship offensive. But those who acknowledge that God's way is right (Luke 7:29, 35) find the idea of 'authoritative stewardship' quite pleasant!

What's the argument for the first paragraph? That a father, as a 'creator', has a right of sovereignty over his daughter. Because, you know, the mother didn't contribute anything. Because a woman is a lot like pot (yes, this is an actual example the author uses): she's there for you to put stuff in and to make the room look prettier.

Things get even worse further down.

Numbers 30 provides help in understanding God's view of the father/daughter relationship. "If a woman makes a vow to the Lord, and binds herself by an obligation, in her father's house, in her youth, and her father hears her vow and her obligation by which she has bound herself, and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every obligation by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father should forbid her on the day he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand, and the Lord will forgive her because her father had forbidden her."

In that scenario, a daughter has solemnly promised something to the Most High God, who has no superior. The father then hears of this vow, and on the day he hears of it, forbids her, saying, "No, Miriam, you may not do temple service on the 15th of Adar; we have to visit our relatives in Be'er Sheva that weekend." And the LORD will forgive her because her father had forbidden her. So much, then, for "God told me to disobey you, Daddy." Throughout Scripture, daughters are given in marriage; they do not give themselves and they may not be taken. [...]

The order of God, as indicated in his word, is that God himself defers to the will of the father when it comes to his daughter. God says, "You heard your father. The answer is no." Thus, the will of the father regarding his daughter IS the will of God.

Not only are good Christian women subordinate to their husbands and fathers, but they're subordinate because God considers women so subhuman that he doesn't even want to bother himself with them. This directly contradicts the Prostestant belief that no one needs an intermediary to come to God.

There's more not-so-subtle misogyny.

God has given fathers a lot of insight into the character, impulses and designs of young men. Flowers and sweet words might win the daughter; but Daddy's a man, and it's a lot harder to pass Daddy's tests. Further, a godly father is aware of his daughter's capabilities and needs, and can often see more clearly than she whether a young man is a complement to her and whether she can aid him in his calling. (my emphasis)

Father knows best, because a young woman is just dumb and horny, willing to open her legs to anyone who comes along with some pretty flowers and spoil that precious, precious virginity that's the only reason a godly man would be interested in her.

Some people wonder what my problem is with Christianity. Well, a lot of it is this misogynist shit. Never mind all that equality before God stuff;

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nore free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28)

No, the real problem is these harlots who think they can walk around as though they were PEOPLE, with the RIGHT and ABILITY to think for themselves.

(NB It is commonly believed that the misogynist Paul was the author of Galatians, which is why I was surprised to find this quote there. But apparently this is contested.)

Good Christian sex?

Bitch. Ph.D.: David Hager: ob-gyn, advisor to the FDA, Christian, and . . . rapist?

Bitch. Ph.D.: Clarification

Yes, my blogging vacation is extending indefinitely. I'm enjoying my vacation (and trying to find a job) and, in theory, the glorious Chicago springtime (it was 60 and overcast today ... could've sworn I was back in Tacoma). Until I get off my ass and ... well, sit my ass down and write ... read those two posts of Dr. B's. This Hager guy is virtually a textbook example of the relationship between patriarchy and opposition to contraception. She makes an excellent point about conscience clauses:

And I think that's the whole problem with this whole argument over pharmacist's rights. The argument hinges on their "right" to hold private opinions--a right which we all surely agree they have--and to make those private opinions have public weight, even to the point of usurping the private opinions of other people. People who, not coincidentally, happen to be women. And the flip side is that our private opinions, unlike theirs, are supposed to remain private, not to have public weight. We can think, but we cannot act: the exercise of our private opinions (about sex, about birth control, about abortion) is a matter of public concern, and therefore our own private consciences must succumb to the private consciences of pharmacists, of politicians, of powerful men.

I also wanted to comment on a story quoted on feministe. The health insurance I will have at Notre Dame is crappy, clearly designed to cost the university as little as possible, with a huge premium, huge deductible, and crappy coverage. The quality of care for women is, unsurprisingly, particularly atrocious. For example, a yearly physical is covered, or a yearly gynaecological exam, but not both. Viagara is covered (to the extent any drugs are covered by this insurance), but not birth control. Oh, and all non-emergency medical care must be done through the university's hospital, which is obviously Catholic-owned. The doctors aren't even ALLOWED to talk about birth control methods other than the 'rhythm method', much less abortion or emergency contraception.

And thanks to the National Labor Relations Board's ruling last year, the ND grad students aren't even guaranteed the right to unionize and get better health coverage. You see, the NLRB doesn't consider us actual employees of the university: we're students first, which means students only.

May 10, 2005

Ughhhh ...


via feministblogs

It's a pretty depressing list

A guest blogger at Eschaton links to a list of things that "if someone had been saying five years ago that electing George Bush would result in any of the following, they would have been branded as a paranoid conspiracy nut". It got me thinking about the election five years ago. I voted for Nader, and while it seems people who voted for Nader then tend to either lie or admit they made a mistake, I have never felt my vote was wasted or wrongly cast, even though I wouldn't vote for the man today if you paid me.

Four and a half years ago, in the presidential debates, the only perceptible difference between Gore and Bush was in the delivery of the same bland policy talking points. This was even a joke at one point -- a moderator asked the candidates to name a difference they had on matters of policy, and they failed to come up with a single one! Bush's six or seven months in office -- much of which I spent in Europe, watching BBC news -- confirmed the theory that a moderate with a slightly rightward tilt had squeaked his way into office thanks to a partisan Supreme Court. It was bad for democracy, of course, but the worst Bush was going to do was make some pointless bluster about withdrawing from anti-proliferation treaties that probably wouldn't have gone anywhere and shift the tax burden onto the working class a little bit more. No big deal.

Then the right-wing wingnuts got an early Christmas present from some like-minded Saudis, and the Republican party forgot all about compassion. September 11th did two things for movement conservatism. First, it galvanized the conservatives themselves, unified the free marketers and Judeo-Christian fundamentalists against a common foe of medievalist Islam, staving off the infighting and cognitive dissonance which continuously threatens to cleave conservatism in two. Second, it scared most Americans shitless. Like the Cuban Missile Crisis, September 11 was a graphic indication that there are people who hate us, and would be quite happy to see us wiped off the planet. In this state, the people were easy to herd behind a strong father-figure: Daddy was going to Make Us Safe Again. Deferring to the Presidency extended to deferring to his party and the party's ideology, while the media -- just as scared and uncertain as the rest of the people, and willing to do anything for a buck in any case -- were happy to collaborate in the name of Security. The Republican orgy began.

May 09, 2005


How curious about what our readers think of this. How about this?

Alas, the wage gap

Ampersand has been writing a series on the wage gap, the difference in earnings between women and men. There are currently ten parts, of varying length; the link above should display the entire series, whenever you happen to have a couple hours free to take a look.

Something I find rather interesting is the form of sexist discrimination revealed by the data. It's not so much the case that women are discriminated against as individuals (though this does play a role; see part 3, 'Men get more credit for their work'); rather, there are numerous small, systematic biases that work against women, such as the second shift (men are much less likely to do work around the house than women, regardless of out-of-the-house employment) and the structure of a career (women who try to work part-time the first few years of the lives of their children are often pushed out of employment entirely, and then find it much more difficult to return later).

Discrimination in the workforce is usually is a matter of “cumulative causation.” Among other things, this means that the effects of discrimination add up over a lifetime. So, for example, losing a single job offer or promotion usually won’t make a big difference; but dozens of such small losses over the course of women’s careers eventually add up to a big wage gap.

This is important, because it means we should expect the pay gap between men and women at the start of their careers to be small. The effects of discrimination build up gradually over time, and only becomes sizable once women have been in the job market long enough for the impacts of dozens of individual instances of discrimination to add up.

Via feministblogs

Alas, the wage gap

Ampersand has been writing a series on the wage gap, the difference in earnings between women and men. There are currently ten parts, of varying length; the link above should display the entire series, whenever you happen to have a couple hours free to take a look.

Something I find rather interesting is the form of sexist discrimination revealed by the data. It's not so much the case that women are discriminated against as individuals (though this does play a role; see part 3, 'Men get more credit for their work'); rather, there are numerous small, systematic biases that work against women, such as the second shift (men are much less likely to do work around the house than women, regardless of out-of-the-house employment) and the structure of a career (women who try to work part-time the first few years of the lives of their children are often pushed out of employment entirely, and then find it much more difficult to return later).

Discrimination in the workforce is usually is a matter of “cumulative causation.” Among other things, this means that the effects of discrimination add up over a lifetime. So, for example, losing a single job offer or promotion usually won’t make a big difference; but dozens of such small losses over the course of women’s careers eventually add up to a big wage gap.

This is important, because it means we should expect the pay gap between men and women at the start of their careers to be small. The effects of discrimination build up gradually over time, and only becomes sizable once women have been in the job market long enough for the impacts of dozens of individual instances of discrimination to add up.

Via feministblogs

Evolution 'debates'

Le sigh to le max. Here we go again.

Starting this week in Kansas, the State Board of Education is holding hearings to help deciding how science should be taught.

Both sides of this week's evolution hearings are represented by lawyers.

Some of you might remember that I wrote something about Intelligent Design a few years ago. You would be remembering right. My point there is exactly the same Amanda is saying (along with Katha Pollitt) here: intelligent design is, at best, terrible terrible science. Essentially, when considering some biological structure whose evolutionary development is not immediately obvious, ID scientists just assume some mysterious supernatural intervention. But this assumption cuts off any further scientific investigation: if your theory is that God fashioned eyes out of whole cloth, then you don't develop the models of eye evolution that actually tell us interesting things about the way our eyes work. The supernatural black-box creator of intelligent design is simply antithetical to the way modern science works. While it is a proposal which could be discussed reasonably in, say, the philosophy of science classes I took my senior year of college, it does not belong in already overtaxed high school biology.

We might suppose, however, a milder form of intelligent design: God didn't spontaneously design certain organisms and biological constructs, but guided the course evolution took to get some desired outcomes. Call this 'evolutionary design'. Or, equivalently, 'guided evolution'. It doesn't really matter, because this form of creationism is so mild as to be methodologically indistinguishable from standard evolutionary theory. The only difference, really, is that instead of truly random mutations, God has loaded the dice in favour of certain beneficial features. Indeed, such a hypothesis essentially goes beyond science: natural selection doesn't presume to dictate that eyes will always evolve in any population of animals, it merely gives an explanation of how such an evolution occurred, given that the population does, in fact, have eyes.

Which makes me wonder why so many conservative Christians get all upset about evolution. Yes, it runs against a literal reading of the first two chapters of Genesis or so, but a basic understanding of climatology and geology makes the Flood of Noah story laughable, and you don't see Christians up in arms about the vile secular influence of general science courses for high school freshmen. Likewise with all the other sketchy science in the Bible. What makes contra-biblical biology so appalling?

May 08, 2005

David Brooks is fucking dumb. But you already knew that

He starts off his latest idiotic piece of crap with this, actually sound, advice for Democrats:

Don't take people at their word. Don't listen to them when they tell you how to be virtuous.

They're faking it. They don't care about virtue, or you or the common good. They're just taking opportunistic potshots under the guise of sermonizing. They're just a bunch of hypocrites.

I, of course, immediately thought of all the shit-tastic free 'advice' Brooks and other conservative and moderate talking heads have given Democrats recently. But now, what does Brooks do in this column? He tells the Democratic party what they need to do in order to be virtuous! (In case you were actually wondering, he thinks Democrats should support 'progressive indexing' in Social Security 'reform' -- because, I guess, a progressive benefits cut that fails to address a non-existent problem has that appealing word 'progressive' in there.)

I wonder if Brooks could even comprehend the staggering self-contradictory nature of this column if it was patiently explained to him with the help of several four-colour diagrams.

May 07, 2005

So close, and yet so bored

The exams are graded, but not totalled, or recorded, or course grades worked out. All I want to do is sleep and read the new pop culture and philosophy books I picked up the other day (More Matrix, and Superheroes).

I will make pizza for anyone who comes over and does my grades for me. Any kind* you want.

* Since meat is not food, and toppings must be food, meat is not acceptable.

May 04, 2005

Voices and faces

The Voices and Faces Project:

What is The Voices and Faces Project?

The Voices and Faces Project is a non-profit initiative created to give voice and face to survivors of sexual violence, offering a sense of solidarity and possibility to those who have lived through abuse, while raising awareness of how sexual violence impacts victims, families and communities.

I called this depressing, but as my friend Annie pointed out, what I find depressing is rape itself. This project itself is, in her words, cool, uplifting, and happy.

Bionic Octopus: Why Should Abortion Be Rare?

Bionic Octopus: Why Should Abortion Be Rare?:

The only reason they say abortion should be 'rare' is because there are those who want to make it never, and to say 'rare' is therefore to acknowledge that and to half-capitulate to it.
We have to make a choice: either we consider abortion to be a medical procedure like 'any medical procedure', in which case no special pleading for its rarity absent pleas for all medical procedures to be rare, OR we allow the opposition to define abortion as a special case, in which case we've lost the argument already.

[...] But the real mindset behind 'rare' is the tacit acceptance of abortion as a special case, replete with trauma and anguish beyond those of 'any medical procedure'. And as long as we have that mindset, we are perpetuating the actual experience of trauma for women who choose to have abortions.

Via feministblogs

When is politics not politics?

When it's cultural criticism. I've gotten kind of bored of the election cycle coverage and legislative sparring over at kos and eschaton. Why? Because that's not where the politics I'm interested in happens.

If CNN basically covers this story all Saturday, it's news. It's not a debate. It is news, and malaria isn't. Instead of wishing it wasn't news, we need to subvert it. We need to discuss it in wider terms, class, race, sex. We need to bring depth to the debate. I mean this story gets weirder by the day. But if you don't engage it, bring different perspectives to it, the media gets away clean again. When people say 'you don't cover this story' people think 'liberal whiner'. If they want to talk about runaway brides, let's talk about runaway brides, but intelligently, questioning the sex roles of men and women and the economic cost and pressure in a large wedding. There is fertile ground for smart people, but they have to seize the target and change the debate.

There's a second wave feminist slogan, 'the personal is political'. Winning elections and negotiating partial victories is important, but it can start to feel very disconnected from the daily lives of most people. The point of the feminist slogan is that our daily lives aren't disconnected from the political realities of our society, and looking at the one can lead us to question the other. I don't care about Michael Jackson or the woman who skipped out on her ridiculously expensive wedding. But talking about those gives us a way to talk about more important stuff, race and gender and sex and class. That's why I find Pandagon so much more interesting than Kos, and Amanda more interesting than Jesse.

May 03, 2005

Bitch. Ph.D.: Freedom of the press, dude

Bitch. Ph.D.: Freedom of the press, dude

Academics believe in the truth, too--the lies of the right wing about postmodernity notwithstanding. That's why we do research and cite our sources. Even if the truth is that 'the truth is unknowable' or, perhaps, 'there is no one truth,' that is a kind of truth; just as, ironically, even the most cynical person who argues that there is no such thing as media fairness or an informed public, argues this as a negative. What is so horrifying about the extreme elements of the right wing nowadays is that, when we see Attorneys General argue that torture is only a question of definitions, rather than a word that points to a material reality grounded in people's bodies; when we see liberals talk about compromising abortion rights as though those rights were only political theory, with no grounding in the bodies of women; when we see the president and vice-president deny, on the record, that they ever said things that we have seen and heard them say; what we are seeing is a denial that there is such a thing as truth or a public, in a sense that is not conceptual, but is actually material and real, and is supposed to be material and real. The point of deconstruction was that language, by its nature, escapes pure referentiality; it was never that the things language tries (imperfectly) to refer to do not exist.

And that's why some of us, even unreconstructed liberal idealists, are starting to occasionally raise the f-word, 'fascism.' Because when those in power use their power to start talking about materal realities as if they were only abstractions, and therefore unimportant or malleable; use language as if it has no referentiality in order to cover up, or distract attention from, the material realities of their actions; then we really, truly are approaching fascism--not in the rhetorical, sloppy way that Godwin's law is meant to poke fun of, but in a very real and true sense.

So my dad got married on Saturday

Being the best man in your dad's wedding is kind of weird. For starters, it was the first time I've been a best man, the first time I've even been in the wedding party. Secondly, my DAD got MARRIED.

The ceremony was performed at the United Church of Christ in Danville, CA, and the reception was on the large patio next to the Fellowship Hall of the church. Picasa has a nifty little webpage generator I used to throw together a picture page; within half an hour of plugging my camera into my computer, I had pictures online. My dad is the groom (obviously), and Pamela is his new wife. The young girl in a few of the pictures is my new step-sister, Liana, who was one of the bridesmaids; her sister, Rachel, is good at hiding from the camera, but was also a bridesmaid. My brother, Tim, is the guy in the tux in a few of the shots.

It's finals week here, which is not as busy for me as it has been in previous years, but expect light blogigng to continue until next Tuesday or so.

May 01, 2005

I'm So Meta

So it couldn't go without mention; April was far and away the biggest month of traffic we've ever had. Since we started using Site Meter to keep track of our traffic the most unique visitors we've ever received in a month was last September with somewhere around 650 people. This last month we crushed that with an amazing, for us, 928 visitors. Oooh, we were so close to that super cool thousand person barrier, but let's get it for this month. Also, we're currently averaging 31 unique ip addresses per day, though given that I read the site from a couple different computers a day I count for two or three of those. Still, that's an awful lot of people not commenting. I know, I know, you have to register with Blogger, but it takes no time at all and then you get to be part of the old Staff of Ra Community.

Hey, maybe this is an opportunity to steal another idea from another blogger (who just cracked 3k people per month!). I am now introducing Ra Points! I will dole out these points to people that participate in the site in any way (except our contributors, which wouldn't really be fair). If you find a way for me to add a blogroll to the sidebar of the site, which I've wanted for a long time but don't know how to do? Ra points. Post a comment? Ra points. Tell me about a really cool story that I should post but have somehow missed? Answer some kind of trivia question that I may post from time to time? You get the idea. The Ra points have no exchangeable value at this time, though I may at my discretion decide later to add some kind prize, but don't you just want to win?! Comments need not be super inciteful, nor do you need to be any kind of expert in the subject matter, just give us your thoughts.

Here are a few questions to get us started:

In honor of the release this week of the Spaceball's Collector's Edition on DVD, what merchandise did Yogurt show off? 1 Ra point per item.

In honor of the DVD release of The Sandlot 2, what was the name of the dog that got their Babe Ruth ball in the first movie? 3 Ra points.

Which Admiral was responsible for bringing the fleet in too close to the Hoth Base, causing them to raise their shields, in The Empire Strikes Back? (Look through the last several posts and you should be able to find it) 5 Ra points

Martin Freeman plays Arthur Dent in the newest adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Name the two most well known films he has appeared in in the last three years. You should, as with all these questions, not use the internet to find the answer. 2 Ra points per movie.

That should be a good start. I'll try to keep these questions coming regularly so if you miss out you'll have plenty of opportunity to catch up later, and I reserve the right to remove points if I feel it is deserved or dole out extra points as well. Tell all your friends to visit the site and comment! Remember that trivia is not the only way to earn Ra points...

File under D for Duh

I am:
"You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

Are You A Republican?

Via Pandagon and Feministe. No links because I was best man in a wedding today and I'm exhausted.