Friday, July 01, 2011

Why Fireworks on 4th of July?

OK burn bans aside, which I understand very well since it is dry as a tinderbox here in Texas this summer, fireworks on Independence Day  are as American as Apple Pie.  Mentioned by our founding fathers, specifically John Adams in a letter to his wife (got the date wrong):
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
So there City of Dallas!  Time to follow our founding father's advice and legalize fireworks in Dallas.  I used them as a child, and was taught how to fire them safely and with care.  Kids nowadays have no such instruction and because they are illegal most often shoot them covertly and in most cases, dangerously.

With common sense and care, fireworks can be fun and reasonably safe and should once again be part of the 4th of July!

Pro Sports RIP? Season of Discontent in Pro Sports

The NBA may lock out players making next season in doubt.  Now from my perspective this isn't a big deal.  I pretty much don't give a rats ass about pro sports except baseball, and that only applies to going to the games.  On TV baseball is as exciting as watching paint dry, pitcher/batter is not the game, the real game is in the outfield and can only be seen from the stands.

But I digress.  The NBA is embroiled in a labor dispute that is simply put, a bunch of billionaires trying to negotiate with a bunch of millionaires how much to pay them.  For all it's street popularity, basketball at the pro level is all about being rich.  Season tickets are well beyond the price range of the common man and much of the game is about sky-boxes and sponsorship bucks.  Not very interesting to me.

Meanwhile the NFL is doing the same thing.  Owners (billionaires) vs Players (millionaires) in a game of brinksmanship.  All so the fans can pay big bucks to watch in air-conditioned comfort from new domed stadiums.  Doak Walker would spin in his grave!

So will there be a season this fall?  Frankly I don't care, I'd much rather watch minor league baseball or college football anyway and that would be on rare occasions when I had absolutely nothing better to do.

Scientists use Diamond to Create Quantum Memory - Quantum Physics Friday!

Remember in the movie Superman, when Christopher Reevesuses a crystal shard to retrieve images and data from Krypton?  Well that may not be that for from some future computing tool. 

Scientists working with nitrogen electrons and diamond have managed to store information at the subatomic level and perhaps open the door to quantum computing.

A story in Science News gives details:
The physicists were able to coax the fragile quantum information contained within a single electron in diamond to move into an adjacent single nitrogen nucleus, and then back again using on-chip wiring.
 More here for you science geeks!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Paris Street Dancer - Amazing Video

Found this while looking for something entirely different but had to share.  The clip shows a wonderful street performer in Paris.  Not the full dance, but enough to brighten your day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Exploring the Bible's Various Authors - Computer Finds Clues to Writers

For years, biblical scholars have looked at the bible as being written by a variety of authors.  The Pentateuch, or five books of Moses have long been attributed to "priestly" and "non-priestly" writers.  The teasing out of the difference has been through analysis of the word choices and writing styles which vary in come cases widely and other cases in more subtle ways.

For example the names used for God in the Pentateuch change sometimes from passage to passage.  This would indicate that the work had at least two authors.  The research has taken many years and a lot of very devoted scholarship, until now. 

A new computer program has been used to examine the scriptures and it reached similar conclusions to those of scholars, except that it took only a few minutes.  The new tool may shed some light on details of the origins of the scriptures that make up the Bible and give us a better understanding of the authors and their styles.

For Biblical literalists, this will sound like heresy, so to you I say, never mind.  Personally, I have always believed the Bible was a collection of works that expressed our struggle to understand the divine.  It is a collected work that contains many truths if they are taken in the right context.  For those interested I suggest reading Marcus Borg's "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time".   There is a lot more truth in the Bible than just a collection of children's stories.

Independent Review of Atlanta Eagle Raid Finds Widespread Wrongdoing

Police in Atlanta tried to cover up their actions the night of the raid on the Atlanta Eagle. Cell phone records and testimonies recorded by an independent review show the department gave misleading information to the public when they answered reporters' questions about the controversial raid at the Atlanta Eagle bar on Sept. 10, 2009.

The federal lawsuit against Atlanta police was settled for $1 million and the findings of the new review confirm the charges in that lawsuit.

All this is very interesting as the NYPD is possibly involved in the same kind of harassment of the Eagle in New York City on the same night as the same-sex marriage vote, in  fact only minutes after the vote was confirmed.

Watch for more on this soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rick Santorum - "Same-Sex Unions "Cheapen" Marriage

As though Rick Santorum hasn't said enough offensive things about LGBT people, now he attacks the idea of Same-Sex unions saying it somehow cheapens marriage.  In a recent speach he said, "When you redefine marriage, you cheapen marriage. You make it into something less valuable, less special ... [and] it is a sure bet that will undermine faith."

Mr. Santorum seems to miss the fact that heterosexuals have been doing a really good job of cheapening marriage all by themselves.  Take Newt Gingrich, who now on his third marriage, having had affairs that ended the previous two marriages.  Sounds pretty cheap to me! 

Or Ronald Reagan whose first wife Jane Wyman divorced him because his political ambitions took precedence over their marriage. Sounds equally cheap to me, to value your political career over your marriage?

So Mr. Santorum, when I look at these figures:
According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%
 I would say you heterosexuals are screwing marriage up pretty well on your own.  Perhaps you might consider the possibility that LGBT people who actually are having to fight to get married, might do a better job of it.  For LGBT people marriage isn't cheap, it has cost us millions of dollars and thousands of hours of activism, and we haven't got it yet.

More Dangerous Heterosexuals - 51-Year Old Actor Marries 16-Year Old With Parents Permission

Apparently one again straight people have proven to be really bad parents.  A couple has allowed their daughter, Courtney Alexis Stodden who is 16 to marry a 51-year old actor in a Las Vegas ceremony. Las Vegas law will not allow 16-year-olds to marry without a parent's consent.  The parents gleefully consented.

The new bride, who dresses and looks like she is much older is a model and aspiring country singer and former Miss Washington USA contestant.  Her new husband, Doug Hutchinson has appeared in the television show, "Lost" and the movie "The Green Mile". 

Once again proving how dangerous heterosexuals are a parents, letting their children marry men 35 years older than them shows questionable judgement and generally makes them to be unfit as parents.

OK, once again for those who are irony impaired, I include this story because it shows that heterosexuality is no measure of suitability as parents.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dangerous Heterosexuals - Why Straights Should Not Be Allowed To Raise Children

Add this tragic story to the list of why straight people should not be allowed to conceive or raise children.

The case of Christian Choate. The 13 year old boy who spent the last year of his life locked in a dog cage by his straight parents and was beaten repeatedly and starved before being buried in a shallow grave under concrete in 2009.

His body was only discovered 2 years later. The parents, Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina are charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent, confinement, obstruction of justice, moving a body from a death scene and failure to notify authorities of a dead body. Nice parenting huh?

I say all this ironically, just in case anyone cannot figure out the intent. This tragedy is not funny and it was caused by a couple of very mean sick parents. Their unsuitability for parenting had nothing to do with their sexual orientation.  Likewise the suitability of a gay or lesbian couple as parents has nothing to do with their sexual orientation either.  Why is this lesson so hard to learn.

Sometimes tragedies can be teaching moments even if the lesson is only tangential to the story.

Let The Hate Begin - Family Research Council Puts Out Scare Video

Hope you haven't had any food lately, you might loose it watching this gut wrenching hateful video.  So why publish it?  We need to understand what kind of lies these folks are spreading.  This video contains lots of stuff that is presented as fact that is from discredited "research" yet it is shown as true.  Video is a powerful tool, and FRC knows how to use it well.  Where is our think tank doing this kind of stuff to sway public opinion? 

Watch and hold your stomach.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Echos of the Rainbow Lounge - NY Police Harass Gay Bars During Pride

Even as New Yorkers were celebrating the new freedom to marry, regardless of sexual orientation, the NY Police Departmet were conducting "inspections" of local gay bars.  At the NY Eagle, patrons reported police enterig the bar and shining flashlights in patrons eyes and ended up charging the bar with 6 counts of violations, all of which seem very tenuous.

Charges of "unnecessary noise" as well as charging the bar with not having a "public assembly " permit because of the crowd seem really lame to me.  The timing could not have been accidental and just like the harassment at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, I suspect the police knew it was the start of Gay Pride week and thought they would just go out and "harass some queers".

More here from the New York Times.