Stop bringing NAMBLA into the discussion!

Is it just me?

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Or has Mention of NAMBLA come up way too often in conversation about Same Sex Marriage?

In the linked article above there is a big difference between what the Justice Sotomayor said and what Dr Carson said. 

I’ll grant you they were both discussing the slippery slope issue, essentially asking; “where do you stop?” But Dr Carson chose a particularly inflammatory and to my mind distasteful comparison.

His intent was to limit disagreement by painting anyone who disagreed with him as someone who by extension supported child molestation.

Anyone reading the quote “be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Love Association]” could not help but make the comparison and incorrect hopefully temporary association that all main stream GLBT persons are pedophiles.

That was Dr Carsons intent. He chose to support his assertion in defense traditional marriage by shock and fear creating a horrific image in his readers / listeners minds.

The reason that Justice Sotomayor wasn’t ripped up for her question is that she framed it without the rhetoric. As questions and answers in matters of law should be framed. 

Dr Carsons intent was to inflame passions and he was chewed up and spat out over it. If you can’t handle the heat… Needless to say I have little pity for Dr Carson getting beat up but he is entitled to his opinion and his say.  The left, should have simply called him on the NAMBLA part of his statement and explained why it was offensive.

Aside from NAMBLA not representing main stream GLBT people, I find that NAMBLA being invoked by the Ultra Right, religious conservatives to be strange and offensive.

I never think of NAMBLA, I find it odd that so many in the religious right apparently do

Invoking NAMBLA in any way as a reason that Same Sex Marriage shouldn’t be allowed is in my mind akin to saying;

The South shouldn’t have voting rights because the KKK exists there.

Or that Idaho should have its federal funding cut because of the White Supremacist movement

Or African Americans are all terrorists because of the Black Panthers.

Or that independent breakaway religious denominations should be banned because of Jonestown or Branch Davidians.

We all have relatives that we’d rather not parade around.

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Most of the time, in the interest of good taste we don’t mention fringe elements much less attempt to present them as the “Norm” and why people should fear a particular group.

In the interest of civility can we all agree that NAMBLA is a minuscule minority element of the much larger GLBT community?

Proponents of Same Sex Marriage aren’t seeking to undermine Marriage. They’re seeking to be included equally in the institution of Marriage.

The laws concerning adulthood and age of consent will apply equally to NAMBLA as they would to all citizens of the country regardless of Same Sex Marriage.

So please lets pull NAMBLA off the table as a talking point… 

FOREVER!!!!

I’m going to regret having included NAMBLA in this blog. Now I’ll know how often that acronym is searched for, Thanks a lot conservative religious right. There are some things I’m really better off not knowing…

Discussion with Average people – The good of Twitter

Between the discussion over same sex marriage and the discussion over Gun control and assault weapons ban my Twitter account has been blowing up. I should point out that as I was writing this I was breaking away frequently to respond to discussions via Twitter. I noticed that the style was very choppy when I re-read this piece.

I also want to be clear, while I was participating in the discussions I was not initiating them. I follow a number of people, some conservative, some liberal. It’s my attempt to see both sides of any issue that gains traction. Twitter often leads the normal news reporting agencies by hours if not days.

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There have been some very interesting and informative discussions over the past few weeks. I’ve learned a lot of new things.

For example while I know that the AR-15 isn’t a machine gun, I didn’t know that it was the M-16s Papa.

I’m unconvinced either way about the background checks.

Not because I’m being purposely obtuse but because I am convinced that criminals will find a way to arm themselves regardless of the law.

That is after all the point of being a criminal – you don’t obey the law.

I believe that the current bloviation on the part of our politicians about and assault weapon ban is nothing more than window dressing. The ban isn’t going to address the real issues, it’s a dog & pony show to give the American People the illusion that our representatives are actually doing something.

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Before you start getting the wrong idea, I take nothing at face value that I read on Twitter, or on the internet for that matter.

What I can say is, the people who are willing to have a discussion have, in some cases challenged my beliefs.

As I’ve examined those challenges and verified the information some folks have presented, I’ve been learning.

I’ve been privileged to participate in discussions about same sex marriage and constitutional law.

I’ve noticed that more often than not, the Ultra Liberal elements on Twitter are the least capable of defending their positions.

In the Same sex marriage discussions it’s the radicalized gay ultra liberals that start the name calling first.  Bigot & Homophobe are the first two words they’ll choose to defend themselves when they can’t make headway in a discussion with Opponents of Same Sex Marriage.

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Shortly after, the Liberals will take their marbles and go home by blocking, then unfollowing people that don’t agree with them.

It’s interesting that the conservatives will hang in a conversation and actually exchange ideas without resorting to the name calling. Oh they may disagree vehemently but name calling is generally not part of the conversation.

This other thing that’s interesting is that I’ve seen many of the “ultra liberals” engage in bullying tactics where they attempt to silence any differing opinions. I thought these people were supposed to be the “Nice” ones about freedom and rights and all that. Apparently that characterization only applies if you keep to the party line.

Amazingly, I’ve found myself defending religious zealots, not because I agree with their stance against gay people (I don’t) but because they were being denied their opportunity to express themselves.

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I’ve at least been successful showing that not all supporters of Same Sex Marriage are rude thoughtless assholes.

I’ve been involved in a number of marriage discussions, and while I don’t believe you can truly “Win” a debate with someone who believes that being Gay is a sin and a choice…

I have at least been able to make some of the more reasonable people in the bunch, pause and reconsider their positions. That is enough, because pausing and reconsidering is the first step toward changing a long held belief.

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As part of both of these discussions I’ve been re-acquainted with my old friend the United States Constitution.

That document is amazing simultaneously in it’s complexity and simplicity.

Have you considered how short the constitution is (In terms of page length) and how far reaching it’s power is?

It’s a document that can be read, and was meant to be read by common people. I marvel at how we go from the few pages of the U.S. Constitution to the thousands of pages of Obamacare.

It’s amazing that you can found a country with a few handwritten pages and you can’t reform healthcare with less than thousands or hundreds of thousands of pages.

If you’ve never taken the time to read the U.S Constitution do so, it’s worth your time and you might be as impressed as I am. It’s available online at many locations including Here

As I’ve read and watched both sides of the two arguments I have come away realizing that  both sides have polarized extremists on either side,  strangely the arguments after a while begin to sound the same.

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For example, both arguments use the safety of children in their justification.

Ban guns to protect to children

Ban Same sex marriage to protect the children

Both arguments use constitutional grounds in their justification

The 2nd amendment insures the right to bear arms

States rights trump the constitution with regard to marriage. Unless it’s DOMA then it’s ok to listen to the Feds

Thankfully both discussions dont use the religious arguments.

However there have been enough of those regarding same sex marriage to last me a life time.

Here’s a sampling.

If we’re going to allow same sex marriage we might as well allow polygamy.

We don’t mind if the gays have unions but don’t call it marriage, marriage is sacred and defined by god

Next thing you know some idiot will be wanting to marry their dog or horse.

Churches will be forced to marry Gay people.

I love the polygamy argument. Simply because they tend to get real quiet when you point out that it’s been done.

Yep in UT by the LDS church from 1852 and was officially stopped in 1890 after a considerable amount of legal wrangling. If polygamy is a tenant of the church, doesn’t the provision for freedom of religion protect it?

I’ve also pointed out that Solomon is reputed in the bible to have had many wives.

Sadly the religious people don’t call me on my bluff. I suppose I’ve poisoned the well a bit by pointing out that the very thing they are citing as an evil result of same sex marriage they themselves have already done.

All they’d have to say is “Well we don’t do that anymore” and my argument falls apart.

However that admission opens the door to my pointing out that they can’t stand on religious tradition because once again they themselves have chosen to break with tradition.

I’ve enjoyed pointing out that civil unions and domestic partnerships don’t really work and are simply a redux of “separate but equal”. different/separate but equal NEVER works.

The real irony here is how many African Americans suggest it.

What’s the old saying? Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it?

We have abundant cases where gay people had done the union, the domestic partnerships, spent thousands of dollars in attorney fees trying to protect their partnership and then lost everything when one of them died.

The worst of these cases I know of was where two elderly gay men were sent to different nursing homes because someone decided they were incapable of caring for themselves anymore. Their home was seized by the state, then sold, as were all their possessions at a state run estate sale while the two men were still alive and fighting what the state was doing. “Different/separate but equal” isn’t a solution it’s a trap.

The saddest part of the example above is that had the couple been a man and woman simply living together the state wouldn’t have been able to get away with it. Which says that even when the conditions are the same, a heterosexual couple has more rights than a homosexual couple.

The bestiality argument is also one of those you hear a lot. But if you point out that the language and acts described in bestiality laws somewhat assume straight folks, then they tend to not press the point.

The churches being forced to marry gay people is an unfortunate side effect and I can see that concern might have some merit.

You just know that a gay couple is going to feel that their right to marry is being infringed upon if they go to a beautiful Catholic church wanting to be married and are told that the church won’t allow it.

That’s got little to do with them being gay or straight that would have more to do with if they were both Catholic or not. The fact is a religious practitioner doesn’t have to perform a marriage of two people.

If a clergy member refuses to marry a couple, it’s usually something to do with their assessment of the couple and what they perceive to be the odds of a marriage lasting.

That doesn’t prevent a couple from getting married, it simply says that the clergy person won’t be performing the wedding and that the bride to be may not get to walk down the aisle of her church.

If a church rents it’s space for public events then I foresee it being a whole different ballgame.

The truth of the matter is that most gay folks don’t attend churches where they don’t feel welcome. It’s likely that most of them will prefer to be married in their own churches, in front of their own clergy and that is likely to be just fine.

The gay community in my opinion must stand ready to stop frivolous law suits brought against churches.

It’s simply about respect.

The gay community must respect that simply because you have a right, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to use that right to cause harm.

I’m probably fighting a losing battle but at least I’m occasionally causing someone to stop a moment to think about a different point of view.

Who on Earth would ever have predicted that I might actually become interested in politics?

I guess stranger things have happened, but not recently!

And yet again overreaction… This time, to a cake

Ok, by now everyone knows that I’m pretty Pro-Gun.

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I was raised around guns and I owned a beautiful .410 from the time I was 14 or so. (that was a sweet gun which was later stolen from a relatives home… along with the gun safe it was in. Another Story)

I haven’t to date replaced that sweet .410

While I’m thinking seriously about picking up a few guns before getting them becomes a nightmare of bureaucracy I haven’t done so yet.

I can even have some sympathy for those people who sincerely believe that guns are out of control and who support legislation to impose control on guns, ammunition, etc.

But THIS STORY just really gets my blood pumping. Here’s another article.

I’ve go no problems with the bakers who refused to make the cake in the first place. They chose to exercise their rights and they chose to leave money on the table. Their problem not mine.

Where I get seriously PISSED off is with the people sending hate messages to the baker for making the cake.

Come on people! There is no excuse to hassle a baker for baking a cake.

as Wil Wheaton says “Don’t be a Dick”

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You have got to admit the cake looks fanfuckingtastic! It’s a work of art and just plain cool.

YES! That is a birthday cake!

Heres a picture from the article of the cake being held by someone, perhaps the birthday boy.

Thankfully Yelp and Facebook have removed the nasty comments. The most benign were that the baker was “insensitive” and “ridiculing the tragedy in Newtown”

REALLY?

The baker was commissioned to bake a cake, that cake was defined by the person commissioning it. 

The cake was also being given to a person that supports the 2nd amendment and presumably exercises his right to own guns.

There’s nothing insensitive or ridiculing about it. 

It’s a fucking cake!

I’d bet the same people that were sending hate messages to the baker, play “Call of Duty“,  sit on their couches watching The Expendables, or Ghost Rider 2, or any number of violent movies or TV shows. 

But they’ll get indignant about a birthday cake. Can you say Hypocrisy good, I knew you could…

I could see my other half getting me a cake like this and telling me it’s the only AR-15 I’ll ever own. Yeah, the other half might draw the line at me getting an AR. I dunno I haven’t asked.

I can tell you this, If I got a cake like this I’d be grinning from ear to ear, even if I couldn’t have a real AR.

Head to the Bakers Facebook page and tell her she did great!

OOOps

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I was changing the subscription settings on the blog this morning.

I really shouldn’t do things like that before my second cup of coffee.

Anyhooo I thrashed the subscriptions database.

I’m sorry!

For those of you that took the time to subscribe I am really sorry and invite you to subscribe again.

Cudos to SendGrid for doing the right thing… Or When Stupid is a crime

Or I could have called this… When Twitter is a weapon.

On Sunday 3/17/2013 a lady attending PyCon in Santa Clara overheard a couple of developers engaging in some sophomoric joking where they were trading sexual innuendos about poorly named devices.

Instead of doing the simple thing like turning around and letting these guys know they were out of line she photographed & tweeted their picture out into the twitterverse.

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Her action caused the two developers to be removed from the convention, one of the guys lost his job and ultimately so did she. This Article is pretty brutal about how they report it.

There is so much that is wrong in this scenario.

This woman had options:

She could have done the human thing and asked the guys to cool it, explaining that they were being offensive.

She could have moved, thereby taking responsibility for her own feelings. (I’m not saying that she should have been required to move, but she could have removed herself from the annoyance.)

She chose to be passive aggressive, snap a photo of the guys (without their knowledge / consent or modeling release) then broadcast that photo to a presumably wide public audience captioned with something identifying them as pigs. Saying essentially HELP ME THEY’RE SEXUALLY HARASSING ME! 

We’ve all sat through sexual harassment training. As I’ve sat through those classes I’ve often thought that the Harassment brush was just a little too broad and biased against men. Women have far greater latitude in what they can say to men and we men have to take it.

I’ve been asked in the workplace if I was circumcised, and how big my dick was by crude Women. I’ve also listened to endless gay jokes and disparaging remarks, from men.

Hell, I’ve been present in rooms where the evil of the WHITE man was being discussed and the suggested solution was that all the white people should be punished. Yeah racism isn’t solely the domain of white people. Racists come in all colors shapes and sizes.

So WHAT?

Next! I simply exited the area when the conversation turned to stuff I didn’t want or need to hear.

I’ve watched woman after woman end good mens careers with the corporate Nuclear weapon of “Harassment” it’s not a new phenomena. I’ve also seen men laughed out of an HR department when they decided to report a woman that was harassing them.

I remember laughing my ass off several years ago when after considerable publicity a female sports reporter was allowed in the locker rooms of male professional teams.

She was then offended by naked men walking around in the locker room. I thought it was a joke, but quickly it escalated into something more. After gaining access to the male locker rooms, she decided that the men should be clothed when she was there. The insanity came to a halt when the teams simply stopped talking to her.

I remember thinking, “Lady that’s why we built locker rooms. Guys would be just as happy changing clothes and showering outside. We created the space so that women and children wouldn’t be offended.”

At the time a number of male sports reported speculated about gaining access to female locker rooms but that was considered creepy.

This situation is also about our collective thin skin, and our psychotic enforcement of  Politically Correct standards on steroids.

You can reasonably expect to be offended by something anytime you’re out in public.

For that matter you can expect to be offended by the crap that passes for entertainment on TV, not to mention the commercials. KIAs booming hip hop commercials come to mind. The Kardashians, uhh hello???

It’s the kid with his pants hanging down his butt.

Or the morbidly obese guy sweating like Niagara Falls in front of you at a fast food joint ordering 2 mega cheese burgers super size fries and a gallon cup of diet coke.

It’s the plumber proudly showing off a hairy plumbers crack.

The gang member flashing signs at an opposing gang in front of a crowd of kids, daring someone in the opposing gang to shoot him, thoughtless of the collateral damage.

It’s the past middle aged woman whose been around the block once too often, braless dressed like a teenage slut.

And it’s the teenager dressed like a slut being upset because people treat her badly.

It’s the Middle Eastern guy screaming and shaking his fist at a veiled woman in a mall, as she shrinks away.

It’s the profane, the obscene, the morally ambiguous.

It’s the self centered dumbasses more interested in texting while they’re driving or walking expecting you to move out of their way because they can’t be bothered to pay attention to someone as lowly as you.

It’s signs with messages you find offensive. Do I need to see salacious advertising for the latest “Falling Star” from Hollywood?

How about booming music with lyrics talking about killing whitie or slappin dat ho ’cause she don’t suck you right.

It’s the gas pump TVs screaming at you while you’re just trying to put gas in your car. while you’re thinking, “why am I paying 4.80 a gallon to be forced to hear this shit?”

In short it’s all the things that we each find offensive, yet put up with and ignore.

These things we take no action about because after all it’s about freedom of expression. Well, freedom… and the undercurrent of fear of getting involved. 

But two men, having a laugh at bawdy innuendo at a convention in public who happen to be in earshot of a woman… and the shit hits the fan.

I think that SendGrid did the right thing firing this woman, I also think they should apologize to the developers who were removed from the conference and they should pay the developers companies for the lost conference fees.

Moreover, I think this should serve as a call to arms.

The time for draconian Politically Correct enforcement is past. it’s time for some of us to grow thicker skins, and stop trying to see offense in every situation.

It’s also time to stop denigrating being Male.

Face it men are different. Aside from our cocks and balls. We think differently and look at the world differently. As a result our jokes and what we find funny will be reflective of those differences. 

It’s time to let men be men.

Ladies, believe it or not, if you simply ask us to play nice… We will.

Walking Tour of Ontario Yesterday

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I went on a walking tour of old Downtown Ontario yesterday. The tour was interesting and I was honestly surprised at how many of the buildings from the 1800s were still standing.

Granted many of those buildings look a lot different today from when they were built. However, according to the tour leader in many cases the original architectural details of these buildings were simply covered by updated “more modern” facades.

The cool part of this tour was the “field guides” these were booklets that had photos of the buildings we were looking at through the years. 

Two things were obvious from these guides, first and foremost, these buildings were and are really interesting and in some cases grand. Secondarily, the tour guide who’d put these field guides together had love and passion for the subject. 

I was impressed by his knowledge and that he was involved in helping the city preserve and renovate many of these historic buildings.

It was also a beautiful spring day in Ontario and just walking around the old section of town was very nice despite the morons driving up & down Euclid who thought it appropriate to scream obscenities as they drove by.

No-one in my group noticed the gang member with his pants down below his butt flashing gang signs as he approached a group of similarly attired people. 

I’ll admit that until it was obvious these people were part of the same gang, I did scope out the nearest cover.

During the tour I was unconsciously keeping track of distance to the nearest object of substance, (walls, stone monuments, culverts, etc). That’s not to say that Ontario is a crime ridden city, but a certain gang element was obvious and the best way to survive a gun fight is not to get shot…

My brother would call it “situational awareness”, my über liberal friends would call it paranoia. I call it common sense. The trick to being situationally aware is to let it be a sub process in your mind but not to let the need to be aware overwhelm enjoyment of the moment.

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As we wandered around the buildings many of which were being preserved and earthquake retrofitted with public money I was thinking of the simpler times in which these buildings had been constructed. Some of the structures were WPA projects.

Characteristic  of many of the WPA era buildings are the somewhat ornate touches. Things like tile inlays in the entryways. Little details in the woodworking inside public buildings like courthouses and city/county public buildings. Since the WPA ran from 1935 to 1943 these buildings reflect the style and sensibilities of the 30s.

As the tour guide pointed out these buildings wouldn’t be built today.

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The tour ended at a building that was undergoing renovations. This particular building was constructed in the early 1900s. Typical of the era it had high ceilings and ornate tin / copper ceiling coverings. During the renovation workers had uncovered some of the tilework that marked the original entranceways.

The person that had laid the tile was working on a border pattern and honestly, I think it didn’t work out quite as he’d envisioned it would.

As you can see in the first picture the pattern is a repeating pattern that’s somewhat reminescent of Greek / Roman patterns that appear on buildings throughout America. 

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The problem is what do you do when you get to the corners?

The unknown artisan in question chose a pretty straightforward approach, with mixed results.

The corner details are what caught my attention.

No, those are not Nazi swastikas in the corners. The legs go the other direction for the Nazi version.

Nazi or not, it doesn’t matter because in the 1900s when this building was built there was no such thing as Nazism.

There were Eastern religions where this symbol and it’s mirror had significance, usually in the context of peace and contemplation.

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The point is, without context, if you didn’t know that this building predated the rise of the Nazi party by almost 40 years you could easily think something really bad about the owners of the building, or the people that  did business in the building.

Here’s a link to people that really try much too hard to find evil where none intentionally existed. 

 Thankfully the tour group I was with yesterday said very little. It was interesting since the closest thing to comment was “What year was this building built?” 

The tour guide answered “early 1900s” and that was the end of the matter.

The sad thing about the age we live in is that people are always looking for insult where none exists.

I won’t be terribly surprised if when the building opens again there isn’t some news coverage describing the “Racist” symbols that were preserved with taxpayers money. 

I’d recommend waking tours of your towns if offered, you’ll learn things about your home that will surprise you.