Month: June 2008

A Doctor who just doesn’t get it

The latest missive by Dr. Michelle A. Cretella has appeared in the Letters to the Editors at the Providence Journal. What is it with M.D.’s, their education is steeped in science and empirical observation. How the hell can they be such religious fundamentalists. I’ve written before about one I ran into in North Carolina who was a Jesus freak, but we’ve even got them up here in Rhode Island.

In her June 13 letter “The bishop may be as biased as Bakst,” Wendy Becker takes issue with Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin’s statement that only heterosexual marital relationships are in accord with the natural law. Ms. Becker claims that the bishop’s statement “runs contrary to science,” but her objection is untenable.

This all started with a letter written by Bishop Tobin several weeks ago. Wendy Becker disputed the Bishop’s claims that homosexuality was against the natural order. And now we have Cretella, an M.D. by training saying that Becker’s claims are untenable.

Natural law does not refer to any and all behaviors observed in nature. Natural law refers to the universal moral law defined by Cicero as “right reason [that] is in conformity with nature.” Although natural law cannot be proven by the scientific method, it is discernible through reason and will never contradict science. Similarly, science cannot determine moral principles, but science does inform our moral judgments.

Cicero’s Universal Moral Law is cited in this first paragraph but Cretella’s analysis of Cicero is tainted by religious insanity. In essence she’s saying observe nature and then use reason influenced by religion to formulate a moral code.

Her insisitence that science informs moral judgment is laughable. If there is anything the religious moralists don’t get is that science informs morality. It’s weird, how can Cretella be an M.D. yet be such a religious whack job? Has she compartmentalized her thinking? Or does she suffer from MPD? Hmmm.

In a 1995 issue of Scientific American, Dr. Dean Hamer, the pre-eminent, openly homosexual gay-gene researcher, admitted that homosexuality is not genetically determined. Two years ago, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project, reiterated that “homosexuality is not hardwired by DNA.”

This is the best one yet. Playing on words that are thirteen years old Cretella’s choice of words leads us to believe that there is no genetic basis to homosexuality. But there is, even if indirectly.

You see, while no true ‘gay’ gene has been found, there are genes that might pre-dispose one to homosexuality. But genes aren’t the only players. During development a fetus is exposed to hormones that influence the expression of genes. It’s the mothers genetic expression producing the hormones that may or may not make a person gay. I’m surprised the good doctor hasn’t kept up on her reading.

Undeterred, some argue that regardless of the cause of same-sex attraction, homosexuality is natural because it is found in nature. The argument is essentially this: Homosexual behavior is observable in animals. Animal behavior is determined by their instincts. Nature requires animals to follow their instincts. Therefore, homosexuality is in accordance with animal nature. Since man is also an animal, homosexuality must also be in accordance with human nature.

I hate to break it to the good doctor but we are animals, a member of a large family of primates which includes the Apes, Chimps, and Bonobos. So I wish Dr. Cretella would explain the key differences to me since Homo Sapiens is nothing but the latest branch of development with the largest brain case of our ancestors (Homo Erectus, Homo Neanderthalensis, Australopithecus Afarensis). I also recall a move to reclassify chimps from Pan Troglodytes to Homo Troglodytes.

We’re driven by instinct too. Ask a teenager why they feel such powerful sexual urges and they can’t explain why, but it’s hormones and chemicals surging through their bodies.

I think the closer we come to accepting that human beings are in fact animals the better off everyone will be.

Of course, there is no proven “homosexual instinct” among animals; science cannot impute human motivations and sentiments onto animal behavior. However, even if apparently “homosexual” acts among animals are in accordance with animal nature, then parental killing of offspring and intra-species devouring are also in accordance with animal nature. Are we to insert human beings into this equation and conclude that filicide and cannibalism are in accordance with human nature? And if they are, why does society not endorse them?

Ok peaches, how many times do I have to say this, human == animal. Instead of filicide we now take babies that ordinarily wouldn’t survive (premies) and they do survive but I often wonder, how much are we diluting the gene pool by helping them to live? I know a few people who were premies and two things I’ve noticed is that they aren’t generally the brightest bulbs, and when they reproduce the chances of premature birth RISE. Hmmmm.

So something that should have been a genetic dead end is now out in the gene pool. Lovely.

Cretella brings the cannibalism argument out just to shock people. No we don’t eat our young, but some do eat the placenta after birth and the communion host is symbolic cannibalism, the body of Christ indeed.

Lesbian feminist and pagan Camille Paglia summarized it best: “Nature exists whether academics like it or not. And in nature, reproduction is the single relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction.”

Only a male-female marital union is in conformity with this aspect of human nature.

Cretella loves to twist the words of alleged experts on gay behavior. And Paglia neglects that the pleasure aspect of sexual activity plays a part. Part of having 1450cc’s of brain is that our sexual function is decoupled from the physical to some degree. Most of our sexual pleasure is derived from brain function. To be sure, the brain is influenced by hormone secretion but that’s just an autonomous process for the most part.

Sex isn’t just for procreation. That’s something the religious fundamentalists keep driving home. For if the secret that sex can be highly pleasurable ever got out they fear they’d lose their grip on the control of the bedroom. For those of us who rejected the religious control on our lives, we’re much happier and balanced on the whole. In Cretella’s case, the question pops into my mind. When is the last time she got laid?

Gays in the Military

Apparently 60 Minutes did a piece on gays in the military. In it they talk to American and British soldiers, leaders, etc.

What stuns me is that the U.S leadership is homophobic beyond belief. There’s on Congressman Duncan Hunter who calls it ‘morally repugnant’. In essence this guy finds love morally repugnant. Of course he’s a Repug himself. He should be forced to watch John Corvino’s presentations on the subject.

Interestingly the British are much more comfortable with the inclusion of gays in the military. One asshole actually had the balls to say that the military in countries that allow gays to serve openly never see hard combat, never train for it, etc.

But lets take the British as an example. They train every bit for hard combat as U.S. soldiers and the same is true with Germany, France, etc. They all follow NATO training regimens.

Allowing those who are openly gay to serve has done nothing to limit unit cohesion. In fact according to the British, the level of cohesion has improved since nobody has to worry about being outed, etc.

Another interesting fact is the younger soldiers in the U.S. are more accepting of those openly gay than the command structure. One asshat actually brought up the fact that someone could refuse an order to work with gay people on the basis of their religious beliefs. I say that you enter the military and check your religious beliefs at the door, they’ll do you no good in battle.

Goes without saying it again, all the ones in opposition are old people. The unfuckably bitter.

But all that said, this is one person who never did military service nor would I ever consider it.

Troppe informazioni martedì numero e un centinaio di quaranta (TMI #140)

Yes I know I’m a day late on this. I’ve been busy.

1. Do you believe anyone truly likes their job? If so, why?

Yes it is quite possible for someone to actually like their job. I enjoy being an I.T. guy so that proves the question. I also enjoy helping people and teaching them. That’s been a role I’ve had in every job I’ve ever had.

2. Do you 1) live to work or 2) work to live 3) not see a difference?

Work to live. I have to fund my hobbies somehow. None of those hobbies are necessarily cheap.

Put it this way just my little electronics hobby can run into some serious cash per year even though I harvest parts from dead items. E.g. most recently harvested a 2 line by 16 character, an electret mic, and am in the process of extracting the 5.8GHz board from it. In case you’re wondering, the power system on the base died and it was a cheap enough phone that I didn’t bother fixing it, just replaced it with the DECT cordless phones.

3. How many hours do you work a week?

40, and my commute is < 15 minutes. I’ve always loved nice short commutes and throughout my I.T. career I’ve never had more than a half hour commute. I did do 45 hours a week once, hate

4. What was your safety item (i.e. blankie) from when you were little?

Don’t recall that I had one. I’ve checked and nobody can remember any special attachment to an object.

5. Have you ever used food during sex?

Of course, hasn’t everyone? Mashed potatoes have been involved, so too has chocolate syrup. But never combined. Honey too though that’s very sticky stuff.

Bonus (as in optional):What is your guilty food pleasure?

Pudding. Seriously dig butterscotch pudding. I even make it with 2% milk, and be it known I cannot get below 2%. I’ve found that is the magic level for just about everything from puddings to mashed potatoes. The 1% milk is just too watery.

Family Leave Act and the obstacles (Bush is one of them)

Check out this piece on the Mother Jones Journal. They have some pretty interesting things that pop up on that site very frequently.

What really irks me is this:

The new Democratic Congress has proposed a flurry of legislation designed to bring federal workplace policy into the 21st century. In January, for the first time in 15 years, Congress amended the FMLA to allow family members caring for wounded service members to take 26 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave and expanded the law’s definition of “caregiver” to include siblings and other next of kin, not just parents. Last week, the House voted to allow federal workers to take 4 of their 12 weeks of FMLA leave with pay after the birth or adoption of a child. Virginia senators Jim Webb and John Warner have introduced companion legislation in the Senate. (Bush has already threatened to veto the bill, calling it a “costly, unnecessary, new paid-leave entitlement.”)

The irksome part is that Bush calls the proposals costly, unnecessary and an entitlement which tells us exactly who Bush is beholden to and it isn’t the people of the United States, it’s those that are members of the Chambers of Commerce, the companies who don’t want to shell out the cash to provide said benefits.

I have never worked in a job where I didn’t get sick time, vacation, personal days, comp days, etc. Hell, I worked with such enlightened folks that when I had to put one of my cats down they actually told me to take the day off with pay. But I do have friends who have lost jobs because they were sick for more than two days.

When I’ve been in management positions my policy was always that if you are sick, don’t bring it to work. Take the time out that you need to get better. And know what, nobody abused the policy at all. Treat people right and productivity INCREASES. Treat them wrong, like denying them sick time, better wages, etc. and productivity suffers. We’re aren’t slave laborers and that is precisely what some of the bigger corporations want, a class that won’t resist, that is powerless to resist. Why do you think manufacturing fled for distant shores? It fled because companies could pay pennies a day and not have to worry about labor or environmental law.

The very notion of a corporation means it is soul-less and in many cases immune from prosecution. As such, there is a culture of ignorance of the law in just about every large corporation.

File suit against a company and they’ll trot out a hundred thousand dollar defense team that’ll tear you’re $5,000 lawyers arguments to shreds using arcana of law. What about if a corporation commits a crime? That’s been done several times and they’ve gone after the leadership. All well and good but my feeling is that the law should go just a little bit further and revoke the corporate charter too. Force them to liquidate for pennies on the dollar. ‘

I have to wonder what happened over the past hundred years. From the end of the Great Depression up to about the early 70’s companies weren’t as greedy as they are today. But then I look and see that the late 60’s and the 70’s marked the ascendancy of the neocon branch of the Republican party. There is some hope though, I think we’re going to see a very strong Democratic majority in the 2008 elections. The way I see it, they’ll get a solid majority in congress which could override the veto of a Repug president.

Even my little S-Chapter corporation has a contract that protects itself and myself. But I’m also cognizant that our first duty is to provide a service. The contract just protects the company and the client.

But I could see if my company ever grew to a large size that it might become a soul-less monster, I just don’t know how to fix it so that it grows to a large size but never gets to the monster stage. I guess that going forward if I hire people that aren’t greedy asses, and if I keep it a sole proprietorship and grow it to a full C-Corp at some point maintaining majority stock ownership and seeking conscientious investors.

Time will tell. But Family Leave should be provided for EVERYONE, not just parent/child/sibling but domestic partners too.

A Homophobe in Virginia Speaks

This appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch. My dissection below.

God Does Not Delight In Homosexuality

Editor, Times-Dispatch:
I take issue with the celebratory tone of the Metropolitan Community Church’s 30-year anniversary [Op/Ed column, “Congregation Celebrates 30 Years — For the Love of God”]. Establishing a church for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders is to confer a blessing on a church that would celebrate thieves, slanderers, swindlers, and adulterers, for I Corinthians 6:9-10 lists homosexual offenders along with these other undesirables. Indeed, this passage says that those who practice such activities will not inherit the kingdom of God unless there is repentance.

By believing this Scripture, one is not denying the personhood or dignity of those who participate in any of these activities, as Pastor Robin Gorsline accuses in his guest column. Haven’t we all slandered someone, and haven’t we all taken something that did not belong to us? The point is that these actions are not to be lauded; they are to be recognized as wrong and corrections made. The Bible calls this repentance. To celebrate slanderers or swindlers would produce a society of mistrust. To celebrate adultery and homosexuality would undermine the cornerstone of a stable society — the family.

Gorsline writes that “God is delighted that I am gay.” God is no more delighted that one is gay than He is delighted that one cheats on his spouse, or that one makes malicious statements to injure another’s reputation. God has set a standard for how he wants His creation to behave. He knows that we will fail, and that is the reason He sent His son Jesus to intercede for those who acknowledge their sin. Whether one is a slanderer or a homosexual, it is a contrite heart, not a proud heart, that delights God.

Elaine Hanger. Chesterfield.

Hanger assigns attributes to gay people that just aren’t that way in the verses she quotes.

For your edification here they are:

6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

So in essence Hanger is saying that if we are ‘abusers of ourselves’ than we are ALSO fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effiminate, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers and extortionists.

Nice little piece of word trickery there. I’d also like to point Hanger to that commandment about not bearing false witness against your neighbor. She misses it by a mile by making her pronouncements based on a small selection of text from a text so riddled with contradiction that it makes you head spin if you read the whole book.

We occasionally get wing-nut letters like this in our local rag but they tend to stick with the passages from Leviticus. It’s interesting to see the branching out into first Corinthians now. And if I may do a little prophesying myself, let me make a guess at the life of Elaine Hanger.

I see that she lives alone with her 6 cats, gossips mercilessly about her neighbors, hasn’t had the comfort of a man for almost her whole life, except that quick, fumbling fuck in her senior year of High School.

She thinks her shit doesn’t stink. Goes to church every Sunday but misses the message completely.

And here’s the other thing, how much would you like to bet that she didn’t locate those two passages by herself. No she didn’t, her pastor on the other hand in order to whip up the congregation has to instill the hate against the ‘other’ I’ve spoken about earlier and since he’s a man that knows the book and how to use it to keep himself in comfort and his congregation in fear.

I went through the same shit with my father. He once said to me that the Bible said that white people and black people shouldn’t be together. I of course asked what book he read that in and then the truth came out, his pastor said it. I did some research on the pastor, turns out he’s affiliated with a white supremacist group. So that’s where it came from.

That’s the other thing. People who go to church all the time, do their little apostolic works, etc. are the ones who depend on their religious leader to interpret what they’re reading, if they’re reading at all. Mostly they just listen to the sermons. So it’s very easy for a pastor with an agenda to sneak ideas into the heads of his congregation.

There was a line from The Police song “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da” that went “Poets, priests and politicians have words to thank for their positions.”

No doubt, language is slippery and can be used for nefarious deeds.

Dobson accuses Obama of not knowing his Bible

This is absurd! I dare say that Dobson and Company have never read the whole Bible either. For if one does so something becomes abundantly clear.

That something is that the Bible contradicts itself on many, many occasions. I was fortunate to have spent twelve years in Catholic schools because if anything it equipped me to do battle with these idiots.

If you recall some time ago I posted the Know Your Bible quiz an I scored 70% even though I haven’t looked at the book in 20+ years. I predicted that if you had the fundies take that quiz they’d all score less than 50% and while I’ve not been able to verify that hypothesis I’m pretty sure of it based on the rants from the like of Dobson.

I cannot wait for Team Obama to debunk Dobson. That’ll be fun.

An update, Obama and several others have now answered Dobson. Not only that, check out this web site, where they say Dobson Doesn’t Speak for Them.

There are things I’ve noticed about the religious nutcakes. The majority of them are older, uglier and non-fuckable. No wonder they want to control who fucks who, who can abort, or many other things. I guess they figure most of all if they can control women they might get laid every now and then.

RI Assembly Wrapping Up

The local rag, The Providence Journal had an article talking about what a tough time it’s been in the legislature, yadda yadda yadda… .But I seized upon it to send a letter to the editor that shines the light on the issues they didn’t take up. Whether ProJo decides to print the letter is another matter but I present it here for my readers.

It is with great interest that I note what series of bills didn’t make it to consideration of the entire body this year. Once again bills pertaining to full equality in marriage and divorce rights in the state has been quashed by the leadership in both houses, even though supporters of those bills have the support of two thirds of the judicial committees.

As Justice Patricia Hurst tells it, the inaction by the legislature and the executive will have dire consequences should Casandra Ormiston and Margaret Chambers challenge the Family Court Act under Article 1 Section 2 and Article 1 Section 5 of the Rhode Island Constitution.

I’ve watched time and again as this issue gets tabled in committee. So now I feel our cowardly legislative leadership should be made to feel the full wrath of we who have been denied protection and rights under the Rhode Island Constitution.

I ask that Speaker Murphy and President Montalbano allow those bills to come to a full vote. They deserve no less but if they fail to act, they can be certain of wreaking havoc upon Family Court law.

I do hope that Ormiston and Chambers file that suit. The legislature will have to reconvene either to redress the issue of inequality, or to re-write the Family Court act to be gender neutral.

Either way, their hand is essentially forced now.

Gay Pride 2008

This evening was Gay Pride Providence 2008. The usual players were in attendance but the crowd was shall we say kind of big.

Once again let me rant about the parade. It seems to have gotten very commercial with regard to the floats. Bacardi, Trixx (A local adult entertainment complex) and a few others. The one thing missing this year was G.O.A.L, but I suppose that last year they marched because they had their conference here in the city.

My next rant is that it is a NIGHT parade, supposedly ‘illuminated’. I must have a different idea of illumination from the gay people on the Pride committee. I had threatened to bring a few million candlepower lights but that didn’t pan out this year. However I did get a video treat. Once I saw the parade wrap up I went looking for the people I was there with. I got across the street and the parade was coming up the street, under two streetlights none the less. And right up front was the Big Apple Corps. Quite entertaining, take a look.

I don’t know why but every year I look forward to Gay Pride. I look at how far we’ve come, and how far remains. But little by little things get better for us.

And then there’s the floats for the adult entertainment. Ick! If I see one more skinny little twink I think my head will explode! Gimme someone with a little meat on the bone, a little body hair, you know, a man.

Gay Pride Swag

So Keyron was out with friends of ours and they hit an event. Apparently Cox is adding Logo to their channel lineup. Too bad that they’re hiking rates. But they did a give-away

Anyhow some of the swag:

A Cox Tech Connect Post-It device (This is competition for my business damn it! I might just scrape off their stuff and screen on my business logo and send it back to them. )
A Logo Bag
A Logo Luggage Tag
A Logo Pen
Season 2 of Noah’s Arc
Season 1 of Rick & Steve
Season 2 of Big Gay Sketch Show

Keyron always walks into these things. Only thing I ever won was a copy of Making Things Talk at a Providence Geeks meeting.

Noah’s Arc ended after season 2. The last episode wrapped up a few things, mostly all things but it was a bit disappointing since that’s it for Noah’s Arc.

Noah ends up back with Wade, and Alex is finally proven right about manipulative Guy, to the point where Trey finally realizes it and tells Guy he has ten minutes to pack his shit and get the fuck out. And Ricky the slut ends up falling for Genito only to have Genito fall for someone else.

Rick & Steve is funny shit though. It’s animated but the gay references in there are pretty funny.

As far as the Big Gay Sketch Show, eh, not particularly funny. Maybe it has to grow on me. The show does have its moments though. An example is S02E03, towards the middle there’s an episode where a gay guy brings his lover to meet his grandmother (It’s titled Grandma Bell). Turns out the grandmother is a lesbian. But oh my, a very foul mouthed lesbian. Reminds me of my grandmothers favorite phrase, “Fuck em’ all” and she never meant that in a good way.

Another highlight of the show is “Today on Craigslist With America’s Treasure: Maya Angelou”. It’s done by cast member Colman Domingo. Another funny comedienne is Erica Ash. She played Grandma Bell. Whoooooo! Baby got mouth on her.

And then in S02E02 the character who parodies Elaine Stritch (Played by Nicol Paone) is surprised by the walk-on of the real icon who simply comes on and says “My name is Elaine.” and then proceeds with the sketch.

If you don’t know who Stritch is, she’s the one who did the original recording of Ladies Who Lunch. If you watched Camp they did this particular piece and it was funny as all hell. Conniving little bitch indeed.

I suppose that makes the show worth watching as you never know when to expect a real icon, or a truly foul comedic moment.

Cox raising rates in RI

This is interesting. Cox is crying that energy costs are forcing it to raise rates for video service in RI.

A 6.6% increase on basic expanded cable to $48.99 a month, and hiking the prices on all premium services like digital cable, subscription channels etc.

This is interesting since Cox is now more expensive than Verizon’s FiOS package if you get all your services from Cox (video, net, phone). I only get net service and they’re not hiking those rates, nor are they hiking phone rates.

But here’s an idea for Cox. How about investing in green technologies? For example all those cable amplifiers etc. are on telephone poles. Wouldn’t be too hard to use solar technology to power those during the daylight hours. You could even setup batteries so they could go through part of the night. Make it an intelligent network, e.g. if there’s nobody using the service then shut the amps down, make them on-demand devices.

As far as the vehicle fleet, how about looking at electric vehicles or hybridized electric vehicles.

There are a number of things that in the short run would cost them more but in the long run reduce their dependence on those energy suppliers like National Grid, et al.