Friday, February 19, 2010

CPAC Descends Into Civil War Over Gays

The CPAC conference has deteriorated into name calling. Seems the sponsorship of the right wing love fest by an alleged Gay Republican organization GOProud has caused much consternation. '

First a speaker from Students for Liberty was roundly heckled and booed for his mention of the GOProud group's sponsorship. Then the YAF, Young Americans for Freedom verbally bashed the gay group to cheers.

It's all very telling as the GOP may very well be melting down a little bit. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of bigots.

Texans are Dumber than A Box of Rocks - New Poll Proves It!

Sometimes it is easy to forget how politicized our education system here in Texas is. Case in point, our textbooks. Since Texas is the largest buyer of textbooks, many publishers make the business decision to abide by whatever standards Texas sets. That means material in Texas textbooks is hotly contested. Specifically, the right wing and fundamentalists try to push their religious agenda into every page of school books here in Texas.

The end result of this politicization is an electorate that gets progressively dumber and dumber. If I were a conspiracy theorist I would point out that this is a long term strategy to create a nation of sheep who can be easily controlled by a fascist government. Bahhhh!

Meanwhile, the anti-science bent in Texas school texts has produced this disturbing result:
  • 51% believe, “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.”
  • 38% believe, “God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago.”
  • 30% believe, “Humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.” Another 30 percent said they “don’t know” whether the statement is true.
This should make you scared for our future, since these same ideology laden books are used across the country to "uneducate" our children.

Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of Texans who will never be able to compete on the world stage in science, since they believe the Flintstones is a documentary!

The Name Game - Men's, Women's and Gender Neutral?

I saw something at the NGLTF Creating Change conference in Dallas that surprised me. Not so much because of the political correctness of it, but because of our Great State of Texas laws. The restrooms on the main floor of of the conference had been relabeled as "Gender Neutral Restrooms".

I have no problem with the idea, though the state differs. I understand the needs of my trans friends and how sometimes they are caught in the gender trap of public conveniences. What I saw was revealing. In many places the "Men's" is on the right and the "Women's" is on the left. This may or may not be an architectural convention but it seems pretty common. Even though the signs had been changed to "Gender Neutral", men and those identifying as men turned right and women and those identifying as women turned left.

Go figure?

The good thing about gender neutral restrooms is that it could eliminate the need for potty parody and the long lines at public events. Just choose the restroom with the shortest line and voila, problem solved.

I seriously doubt if this nod to political correctness will ever catch on in mainstream society, but it was an interesting experiment in social engineering. Now, how about adding those sofas in the Men's room that used to be mandated by Texas law in Women's restrooms?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Manifesto of Suicide Pilot in Austin?

Before you go running into the streets in terror, the plane crash in Austin just may be the work of a man who was depressed over debt and troubles with the IRS.

Latest suspect is Joseph Andrew Stack, who apparently set fire to his home and then stole a small airplane which he crashed into the building. That building in Austin houses some of the IRS offices and that may be the motive. Someone who seems suspiciously like Stack left a manifesto here and it sound like both a rant and a suicide note.

Business Insider found the rant and has more on the story here.

Hope there are no additional deaths other than the pilot.

Love Wins In New Hampshire

A measure to overturn the law allowing same sex marriage was defeated in the New Hampshire state house yesterday. The vote was decisive, 210 to 109, that number included 40 Republicans voting to maintain same-sex marriage!

Great news!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rick Votaw - Bigot, Republican and Potty Mouth

And the hits from Utah just keep coming! Latest news from the "bigot state" is Rick Votaw, the vice chairman of the Salt Lake County GOP who made the delightful comment in response to a silent protest. LGBT activists had gathered on the steps of the Utah Supreme Court wearing tape or cloth over their mouths symbolizing the message that they won’t be silenced.

GOP uber-bigot Votaw remarked, "I think it’s because they want to keep the cocks out of their mouths".

Whoops! Well now he says he is sorry... of course that is only after the press got hold of this juicy quote. Meanwhile Republicans and Democrats have agreed to suspend legislation on gay rights until the 2011 legislative session. Score one for inaction!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Over Enhanced Skin Tones Mar Winter Olympic Coverage

Watching the Winter Olympics tonight I noticed how the new technology of HD worked for and against the event. The depth of color and detail made the skaters look like I was watching them through a window not a TV. That was great, Then they cut to the panel of experts and things went south.

Apparently these on-camera folks learned about the "skin tone detail adjustment" that is available in modern HD cameras. This feature is actually the camera recognizing skin tones and softening them to eleminate the details that might be more obvious in HD. For example pits and blemishes, thought small will show up. So, I suspect the on-camera talent insisted that the technical folks turn this control to the max to smooth out their skin and eliminate any wrinkles or imperfections. What you get is a smooth almost plastic look. It was like watching "pod people' rather than humans.

Scott Hamilton is in his 50's but his face looked like a pink blob, only eyes, nose and mouth breaking the uninterrupted smoothness. Oh come one folks, you look like mummies not people. Live with your wrinbkles and stop trying to use technology to mask the fact that you are aging. Big deal, we all age, it's what experience and life is about!

Boo Hoo! Glenn Beck Has No Sponsors inUK

Cry baby Glenn Beck has lost 103 sponsors in the United Kingdom for his show. In fact it ran for five straight days without any sponsors at all! The lack of paying advertisements is a result of an action by Color of Change, a group dedicated to strengthening Black America's voice in the media. Their campaign to urge sponsors to pull their ads from Glenn Beck because of his radical racially charged hate speech has worked.

Now, I have to wonder when Fox will tire of keeping Beck on the air as a nonprofit program. Though Fox is the propaganda arm of the GOP, they are also motivated by profit, and no proifit means no programs.

New Crime - Flying While Fat!

OK, everyone has heard about actor Kevin Smith's recent kerfuffle with Southwest Airlines. The air carrier tossed him from a flight because they said he was too big to fit in the seat. Smith claims he was in the seat and buckled in securely when they ousted him.

It was a PR nightmare for Southwest, but it raises an interesting question. First, if yo know me you know I am not skinny. When I fly I purposely try to avoid Southwest because the seats are cramped and you can't reserve a seat. Mostly, I fly American Airlines since I can often get an upgrade with my advantage miles. (Though I have some beefs with AA mainly related to their rotten "on-time" schedule)

Now since much of America is growing, and I mean in the waistline department, it would seem silly to alienate an entire class of flying customer. I have to wonder if airlines wouldn't be advised to pull a few rows out and make larger seats for FF's (fat fliers). I for one would pay more for the comfort, though not as much as the exorbitant first class seats.

Just an idle observation. Meanwhile, Kevin Smith has challenged Southwest to bring their seats to the Daily Show where he will face the challenge of sitting and bucking himself in. If he fails he has pledged $10,000 to the charity of their choice.

For those long flights, like overseas, I use this trick. I book the seats well in advance and get the lowest rate possible, then book three seats so my partner and I can relax with the seat rests up and never feel cramped. Not that much more expensive and feels like First Class without the china and glassware.

Amazing Skater - Gary Beacom

You won't see him in the this year's Olympics, but his skating is amazing. Off the ice he is pretty much a wacko, tax-protester, wing nut. On the ice he breaks all the rules and is inspirational.

Utah Legislature Considers Dropping 12th Grade

Ah yes, seems the legislature in Utah is trying to out-stupid Texas again. (Being from Texas I can say that with impunity.) Now they have decided that since they are facing a deficit the best way to cut that down is to eleminate 12th grade in public schools. Yup! Drop the Senior year of high school and you save big time!

What the heck? Well, here is the spin the GOP is trying to put on this proposal:
"The bottom line is saving taxpayer dollars while improving options for students," said state Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, a Republican and co-chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. "The more options we give to students to accelerate, the more beneficial it is to students and taxpayers."
You see when a Republican wants to eliminate a critical service, they call it an option. Like having kids that are ill-prepared for college is an option. Although, I guess considering the average IQ of the Utah Legislature, 12th grade seems like a luxury!

If these guys were selling cars they would tell you that brakes and steering are options. Oy vey!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Best Lernin' is Home Lernin'!

Well I just couldn't resist this lovely photo posted over at Joe My God. I think it really sums it up as far as the IQ of the Perry/Palin folks.

Cheney Reconsiders DADT?

And as the earth shifts on it's axis, our old friend Dick Cheney has decided that it is time to take a second look at "Don't Ask Don't Tell". Will wonders never cease?

The Three Musketeers and Black History Month?

When I was younger I loved swashbuckling stories. I read the The Three Musketeers and Count of Monte Cristo albeit in the Classics Illustrated edition after finding the novels a bit beyond my reading level. In later years I tackled them in the original version and found them riveting.

I even studied them in high school along with other classics of European literature and never once did I learn that the author, Alexander Dumas was black! That little nugget was conveniently ignored in my white-centric schooling, though I expect it is not today. So, as my contribution to Black History Month, I encourage you to find out a little more about Dumas and the next time you consider one of the many versions of his novels that have made it into film and television, remember his heritage.

The French writer was from an aristocratic Hatian/Creole family, though his widowed mother had long lost any wealth and raised Alexander as best as she could. His love of books and admiration for his fathers military career lead to his later storylines of daring do.