Almost missed this one

See what happens when you go three days without a net connection? I found this anti gay marriage screed in the ProJo Letters to the Editor section.

As usual I’ll take it apart piece by piece.

Costa A. Adamopoulos Jr.: Husband and wife a sacred bond

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, July 5, 2008

The writer of the May 22 editorial “Historic advance for gays” writes that “younger Americans” are “far more accepting than their elders of homosexual relationships” and suggests that, over time, “much of the fuss will simply wither.” Yet the same editorial states that “Americans have widely resisted gay marriage. More than half the states have constitutional amendments prohibiting it.” If over half of our nation’s states have taken proactive steps to ban so-called “gay marriage,” then would it not be safe to conclude that homosexual activity is not as acceptable as the author so boldly claims?

If “younger Americans” are, in truth, “far more accepting than their elders of homosexual relationships” that is principally because “younger Americans” have received their moral upbringing from the wrong source: namely the mass media. If individuals lack a moral standard by which to measure their credos, then anything whatsoever becomes morally permissible. This permissiveness is not freedom; it is license — the unrestrained liberty to do what one pleases.

It is because todays generation grew up with the church abuse scandals, hypocrisy on the part of many preachers. Just check out Onanites blog for more info on that! I think the youth of today see the double standard pushed forth by those who think religion is the basis for morality. It is not.

Regarding unrestrained liberty, it seems Mr. Adamopoulos never heard the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. He equates homosexuality and gay marriage with murder, rape, etc. This is a standard tactic used by the churches to try and deny rights to the last segment of the population that it’s ok to openly hate. From the tone of the Adamopoulos letter I’m fairly certain that he has membership in a church, maybe Catholic or maybe even Greek Orthodox. It isn’t just the Southern Baptists who have a lock on crazy, all the religions have their batshit crazy ideas.

But I will say that certain pastors harp on the anti-gay message more than others. Put it this way, their biggest fear is that if gay marriage becomes a reality that the lawsuits against the churches will follow. Would someone please point to the suits against the churches in Massachusetts that by the logic of Adamopoulos should surely have happened by now?

The second concern is the reference to these so-called “polls.” The author cites no sources, produces no statistics, gives no concrete evidence at all; nor does the writer indicate who these “younger Americans” are.

Apparently this gentleman doesn’t have net access. The numbers are all over the web. I wonder if that would be a good enough citation for Mr. Adamopoulos.

I would agree that marriage is not easy. Sacrifices and demands made on both partners can be tough at times. I concur that marriage affords “stability, support, and the deep satisfaction that comes with commitment.” Finally, I am in full accord with the statement that “it is a fine foundation for nurturing families.”

Here he extols the virtues of marriage but he’s blind to his own hatefulness and bigotry.

Where I part company with the author is the nature of the union. Taking the religious argument out of the picture for a moment, homosexual activity is wrong by design. The sexual act of one man and one woman was and is designed to do two things: first, it was designed to bind the husband and wife more closely together; and, second, to foster stability within the marital union for the procreation of children, and the successful rearing of them in the event conception takes place.

“…wrong by design…”, also known as the parts don’t fit. I think John Corvino has done a good job dispelling this argument. They do indeed fit. Adamopoulos thinks a marriages prime function is to act as baby making machines. By his arguments, a childless couple is the subversion of his god’s command to be “fruitful and multiply”.

Homosexual activity (and the idea of “gay marriage”) is wrong. No legislature, no judiciary, no popular vote, no public opinion, can change that.

COSTA A.

ADAMOPOULOS Jr.

Westerly

No Mr. Adamopoulos, it is not wrong. It’s oh so right. This guy seems to think that the will of the majority or in this case the religious whack job minority should rule over everyone. That’s not how a Democratic Republic works. He thinks his religious beliefs can subvert the will of the people, isn’t that special.

Anatomy of the Mortgage Crisis

Or perhaps I should have called that economic collapse, because that is precisely what is happening these days.

Got this link to a Mother Jones timeline dating back to 1913 and moving forward to 2008.

Particular points of interest are 1913, 1933, and 1970. First was formation of the Federal Reserve system. A promise of that system was to eliminate the financial panics that supposedly plagued the U.S. prior to the existence of the Fed. However we suffered our worst economic depression under its watch starting in the late 20’s.

Next up is 1933 when legislators tried to reign in the banks, only to have that effort overturned in 1970.

The next special year is 1978 when most banks went national, meaning state regulatory law didn’t cover the banks any longer.

But the granddaddy of them all is December 14, 2000. That is when they snuck the Enron amendment into the omnibus appropriations bill. That allowed commodities like energy, including oil and it’s derivative electricity to be traded outside the bounds of the Securities and Exchange Commissions watch. This gave us the rolling blackouts in California and much more. The reason we now pay $4 and more for a gallon of fuel and our electric prices are going bonkers is because those energy futures are traded outside SEC rules, by order of that appropriations bill.

That little gift came to us in the arms of Sen. Phil Gramm (R Texas) who btw, is deep in the pocket of lobbyists. He’s the same Gramm that left in 2002 to work for UBS. Interesting isn’t it?

Our elected representatives are no longer serving our best interests. The best part of it is that most of those responsible for the financial mess we’re in now are Republicans.

In essence this has been the looting of the American public. But here’s the rub, you can only wring a stone so far to get blood. Once we’re tapped out the businesses who backed the Republicans will suffer too but by then they’ll have won, they’ll have all the money. But that won’t last forever. Eventually they’ll need us peasants again.

1776 words on the 4th of July Weekend 2008

Had a very nice 4th of July weekend. We packed up and headed south (Well, if you can call East Greenwich that far south of Providence) for a three day stay with friends of ours, Beth and Nick.

We got there at about 1PM on Friday. We had a shifting crowd that day. The first we met was Paula. I don’t know what it is but a lot of people recognize me for some reason. Then I found out, she’d worked downtown for 33 years in the building I’d worked in for about five. Paula is one of those people who about five minutes into conversation you decide is somewhat eclectic but not in a good way. Luckily there were plenty of alcoholic libations. Funny thing is I really didn’t get drunk, that’s happened twice in a week. Either my tolerance for alcohol is going up or it’s the fact I’m eating and drinking at the same time. I suspect the latter is the case.

Nick’s son Nick Jr. and his wife Shelly showed up. Both very nice kids and you can tell they haven’t been married for all that long. There’s still a little playfulness to them. Shelly teaches French to 7th and 8th graders in the Quincy, MA school system and we got on the subjects of language and then for some reason movies. She’s a very delightful young woman. Nick Jr. is studying for his J.D. and plans to specialize in divorce law.

Tim and Elsbeth showed up Friday evening. Tim recognized me since he’s on the Downtown Safety and Information patrol. He seems like a pretty level headed guy who knows a hell of a lot about the state of the city of Providence and when I told them who the candidates for governor would be he and I both agreed that Cicilline has no shot at the guv’s chair. It was also amply evident that nobody at this gathering liked Governor Carcieri at all.

Elsbeth seemed nice enough though I didn’t have much of an opportunity to talk with her but Keyron has hung out with her in the past and she meets his standards so I suppose that speaks volumes. I’ll probably get to know her a bit better in the future as we’ve now standing invitations to all holiday events at the house.

Later Friday night Steve/Morty showed up. Morty is shall we say a serious extrovert. Normally when people would show up there’d be formal introductions from either Nick Sr. or Beth but in Morty’s case he walked up to all of us, shook our hand and introduced himself. That’s a sign of extroversion if there ever is any. I imagine someday I’ll pick up the paper and see he’s run for elected office and actually won.

The treat of the night was that some people about a block or so away were shooting off fireworks on the edge of the water. The fireworks used were quite nice and it’s obvious that someone spent a fair bit of money on them. The nice thing was since it was right at the edge of Narragansett Bay you could see the ‘official’ fireworks in the east bay communities on the other side of the bay. Sure, nothing beats when they used to shoot the fireworks off near the State House in RI but this was very nice since there were no big crowds but plenty of people on decks, etc. watching the fireworks.

I was very disappointed that they canceled the show in Providence this year citing fire concerns. I swear, the new RI Fire Code is an exercise in stupidity. The code as it existed prior to the Station Fire was adequate to the task. The one question that was never answered was WHY the management of the club were granted occupancy increase after increase. But the RI law that shields public officials meant we’d never hear from the fire inspector who approved the increases. Had they just followed the existing code we’d not have seen such a tragedy occur. But it’s RI, lets beef up the code so that you drive every business owner be they small or large crazy with the new requirements.

Anyhow enough on that. We spent the night at their place on Friday night. Very nice guest room and it had all the amenities like Cable TV, air conditioning and an open kitchen. Even had a pop-out ironing board. You can tell that Beth and Nick like to entertain.

Saturday Beth had to open her store so Nick dropped her off in Providence and came back. Then Keyron and I went with Nick to Wickford, RI. It’s a quintessentially cute New England town with numerous mercantile establishments and a few antique stores. One of them has some fabulous stained glass rescued from decommissioned churches. I love stained glass for the color. Someday I might even be moved to make one of my own. It’s not really hard, just requires lead and the ability to solder and I’ve soldered everything from SMT to large RF connectors using soldering irons ranging from 15W up to 150W.

During Saturday when Nick went to get Beth I was put in temporary charge of watching the dog whose name if Lokki (Lock-Key). Lokki is a 60lb English Bulldog, she’s ugly-cute. But let me tell you something, those dogs have some serious torque. I found out that circling around the room means she has to go out so I took her out for a walk. She was literally pulling me and I’m 210lbs. However I keyed in on certain phrases to which she responded like “Let’s go.” She’d turn right around and head toward the door to the house.

Saturday night we watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’ve never managed to see the entire movie. Very entertaining and my goodness, they make you absolutely HATE Dolores Umbridge from the very start, despite her predilection for pink! She’s just such a bitch.

I did a little bit of repair work on Beth and Nick’s computer. IE7 was just dogging the machine and their anti-virus application was hosing it too. Installed AVG8 (And yes, I know that it reports itself as IE when it goes checking the web sites) and Firefox 3. Nick was absolutely amazed at the speed difference. IE7 took a good 30 seconds to launch whereas Firefox 3 takes less then five seconds. And loading Yahoo’s home page in IE7 literally took over a minute where Firefox 3 loads it almost instantly.

Nick was sure the machine was infected with something but a scan with AVG reported no serious infections at all. I also introduced Nick to network video and RSS feeds. He’s a bit of a sports nut, so I subscribed him to the sports sections of Digg, Yahoo and the Providence Journal.

On Sunday we hit Wickford again this time with Beth along. We visited one the antique stores we’d missed but I can understand why. The prices were shall we say WAY out of line. They had some fully metal Tonka toys and the prices were in the $800 range. Damn! Makes me wish I’d kept my original Tonka and GI Joe toys from my childhood.

Another thing we did on Sunday was go to Smith Castle. It isn’t actually a castle but it once had 3,000 acres to it and was integrally involved with the slave trade. Now it’s down to a paltry 300 acres, oh the shame! The home was originally built in 1678 but was burned in the King Philips War and rebuilt in the 18th century but they used many elements of the original structure. All the beams in the building are chamfered with a diamond point at the end of each beam. This was indicative of someone with money.

Another interesting thing is that the interior of the house is in the original colors. The back stairway is white and an orange-pink trim on the stairways and banisters. The rooms were white, wood, blue, and green. They have a fully function loom that was used by itinerant weavers and they explained exactly how much thread was needed to make a dress. It’s a hell of a lot.

They also had a board with color sample for fabric and thread made using vegetable dyes. It literally spans the rainbow. Now we use petrochemicals to make long lasting dyes.

It’s definitely worth the $5 it costs for the tour of the facility as the docents are very knowledgeable about the house, people and things of the time. Another interesting aspect was the playing cards. Yes they had them even then and each had a political cartoon of some sort on them. I mentioned that we’d distributed cards to soldiers in Iraq with pictures of the most wanted on them and how it seems the practice never really went away.

After that we went down route 1A and found this restaurant with al fresco dining and lots of good fried seafood. Beth and Nick treated us to a nice feast. I had the fried scallops, Keyron had the clamcakes and chowder, Beth had fried clams and Nick had Fish and Chips. Very good stuff and the serving sizes were enormous.

All in all we had a very good time. I like Beth and Nick very much. Nick is an interesting guy, he’s a school psychologist and he has this amazing gift of being able to launch into long conversations with complete strangers. Beth and Keyron get along fabulously too. They’re people who we’ll stay in contact with I’m sure.

I also gave them some business tips like maybe setting up an S-Chapter corporation, and how much the tax rate is on inventory in East Greenwich. It’s significantly lower, about one fifteenth that in Providence. I also explained to Beth that there are several Open Source POS and inventory tracking applications available so I’ll be doing some work in that respect. I also recommended a CPA friend of mine since I know he’s capable and competent which they so desperately need.

So all in all that was our 4th of July weekend. When I think about it I’ve had some interesting 4ths from back 20 years ago when myself and a group of friends would go up to Bunganut Lake in Alfred, ME and camp out for the week to being in the city sweating and being right under the fireworks display. But this one was a very nice change.

And one final realization is that I’m very close to 1,776 words in this article. What more can I say, happy 4th of July to all my U.S. readers. Happy 4th of July.

DNA Evidence frees man in Texas Jail

This is good news in a way. Patrick Waller was serving a life sentence for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery and was 15 years into his sentence when freed based on DNA evidence.

This really irked me though:

In 2001, Waller requested post-conviction DNA testing under a new state law. The DA’s office, then under different leadership, opposed the request, and it was denied by a judge. A second attempt in 2005 was also unsuccessful.

Bill Hill, who was the district attorney when Waller requested his DNA tests, did not return a message from The Associated Press.

So in essence Waller would have been out of prison sooner had the DA not been an obtuse son of a bitch. And to make matters worse the guys who actual did the crime got off because the statute of limitations expired. Talk about injustice.

Apparently Waller is the 19th man since 2001 to be freed based upon DNA evidence. And I’ll venture a guess here, I bet every single one of them was of limited means. Not to mention I’ll bet that most are African-American or Latino. They seem to represent the overwhelming population of most prisons. Being as how poverty seems to be pervasive in both communities you begin to understand why crime is somewhat rampant and as a result members of those communities end up serving more time because they can’t afford good legal representation.

AFA pushes to have McDonalds stop support of the ‘gay agenda’

The assholes at the AFA, with Donald E. Wildmon as it’s leader is lamenting the fact that McDonald’s won’t back down on it’s support of the NGLCC.

Too bad, the boycott of McDonald’s won’t do anything to their bottom line. Ford learned that lesson.

What the AFA is doing is wrong. It’s absolutely wrong to single out one passage in the Bible while ignoring the other ones, like eating pork, or if we want to talk about abomination, shellfish.

But John Corvino brings up a very good point. What pushes down the walls is for gay people to get to know straight people and vice versa. I know several straight people who know I’m gay and don’t treat me any different because of it.

Over the past weekend I met one of Keyron’s friends fiance. He’s an older guy, by his reckoning he’s 53. But it’s funny, when he found out that Keyron and I had been together for fifteen years he had a lot of questions. You could tell he was trying to understand it better and I saw the light go on when it came to gay marriage.

I think a lot of straight people buy into the myth that we’re sexual monsters. We’re not, or I should say not all of us are. I know some people subscribe to the “So many men, so little time… a new man every day” thing but I have nothing against them. But I think it surprises people to learn that even gay people are in long term relationships. As I explained it to my new acquaintance, in the family I come from the only way a relationship ends is through one or the other dying of natural causes.

It’s a pretty strong family trait on both sides of my family. In the case of my father he’s stood by while two of his wives succumbed to cancer. He’s on wife number three now and either she’ll die first or he will but there’s no bailing out.

The story from my mom’s side is a funny one. My aunt got pregnant at a fairly young age. I was 7 when my cousin was born so that would make my aunt 19 at the time. For twenty one years my aunt played the field a bit but in the end, when my cousin was 21 years old she married his father. My cousin is now 34 years old so they’ve been married for 13 years. Forgot to mention they lived with one another for about 8 years. So in reality, they’ve been together for 21 years.

In short, we gay people are no different than straight people.

When RI had REAL Public Transit

I was reading an article in the Providence Journal today about the disputes over the Ancients and Horribles Parade in Glocester, RI in the Chepachet village.

Anyhow one paragraph gave a bit of background on the origins of the two groups who came together to form the Ancients and Horribles.

The Ancients Parade, started in 1914, had participants wearing old-fashioned costumes to celebrate the coming of the trolley to the village of Chepachet. The two parades, disparate as they were, merged in 1927 and evolved into a vigorous spoof of local affairs.

Indeed the Ancients were celebrating and commemorating the coming of the trolleys to Chapachet. Little did they know that in 34 years time all the trolleys would be gone, replaced by pollution spewing buses that ate up fuel and rubber.

I’ve seen photos and heard the stories about when Providence and RI in general had those trolleys. They went everywhere and they were reliable and consistent. What became of transit in RI after 1948 is cruel joke.

I do know that the Transit 2020 conference determined that RI needs two things, Bus Rapid Transit which is start to connect the more outlying communities, and a light rail system linking the urban cores.

The 2020 is the year. So in 12 years we need to get all this running. Yet the state is broke right now, teetering on the edge of insolvency at the current moment so it may take some additional effort to make it happen. Funny how that happens when the Republicans have control of everything.

McCain hates Bloggers

Wow, I’m surprised I didn’t come upon this earlier. McSame doesn’t like bloggers because we talk about the things he doesn’t want people to know about.

You know, things like his failure to pay the taxes on one of his California homes. Perhaps its the fact that he hasn’t pumped gas into a car in at least a century. Or maybe that he’s too damned old and ornery to be President of the United States of America.

The polls seem to have a widening gap between Obama and McBush. Lets hope that translates to a Democratic victory in November of this year. But as I’ve said before, even if McBush/McSame does get in, I think he’s going to have a strong Democratic majority in congress that will pretty much make him a lame duck.

But I hope it doesn’t have to happen that way. One thing that does concern me is Obama’s support for faith based initiatives. If there’s one thing that really worries me about letting those of faith administer our safety net programs its that along with the help, there’s that push to convert. I’m pretty resistant to it but it isn’t just the push. It’s the fact that if you don’t believe in their version of a god, they won’t help you.

Funny, I don’t recall it saying that in the Bible. You know what I’m talking about here, it makes no religious distinction about who you should help.

Obama does seem to be tacking right a bit, but I think he’s doing that to make the transition to the Democratic party easier for the southern bigotry.