Do you think video games cause violence? If so, I have a bridge to sell you.
Cultural and social conservatives in the United States still like to blame video games for gun violence, despite the fact that some of the most outlandishly violent video games are developed in Japan, whose rates of interpersonal violence aren't comparable to those of the United States. They do this despite statistics compiled by the US Department of Justice which show a correlation between decreasing rates of violence during the same time period in which games became more realistic and more violent.
Why do conservatives do this? I think they do it because they can.
The kids who grew up with the NES and the Sega Master System are now adults in their thirties, and I'm one of them. However, gaming is still not wholly respectable. Because gaming isn't as respectable as (for example) sitting on one's ass and watching Monday Night Football, politicians can slander gamers with impunity.
However, I have an alternative hypothesis for you. I think video games prevent violence. They don't do it by teaching non-violent means of conflict resolution, and I'd laugh at anybody who claims otherwise. Instead, I think games prevent real-world violence by giving angry, violent people a means of indulging their violent urges in a manner which doesn't result in violations of individual rights or property damage.
Why do I say this? Because I'm one of those angry, violent people. Rather than try to repress my nerd rage, I found a safe outlet. I'm a gamer. I'm a rights-respecting American citizen. I pay taxes, I vote, and I say that any politician who blames violence on video games is a liar and a demagogue.
Please join me as I reveal the new cover for my first novel, Without Bloodshed (Part One of Starbreaker), available in electronic and paperback formats on Sunday, 17 November 2013.
Tell your friends. In addition to revealing the cover, I'll be reading excerpts from my novel if I can get hangouts working on my computer, and answering any questions you might have about +Starbreaker -- as long as it doesn't involve spoilers.
It's gonna be a black Sabbath. Join me, or carry your regret to your grave!
If you paid any attention at all to recent events, and didn't skip over reporting on the rape trials in Steubenville, Ohio, then you may have encountered the phrase "rape culture". If you're a man, you might have dismissed the phrase while rolling your eyes.
This is a mistake. Rape culture is everywhere, if you know how to spot it. According to Wikipedia, it's "a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence."
At it's rotten heart, rape culture is the notion that the end justifies the means, applied to individual social interactions. Rape culture permits people to dehumanize other people and use them for their own gratification.
If that doesn't explain it, try these concrete examples. Rape culture is when...
* Candy Crowley on CNN laments the ruined prospects of a couple of high school jocks convicted on rape charges.
* A woman who presents herself the wrong way is called a "slut", and blamed when men fail to act like civilized adults around her.
* Women who drink too much are assumed to be "asking for it".
* People compare being cheated on a transaction, or beaten in a competition, to being raped.
* People joke about men being raped in prison, as if that were a legitimate punishment for any sort of crime.
* Women are told to dress, act, and look a certain way because men can't control themselves.
The last example should concern you, if you're a man, but I can understand why it might not bother you. The term "rape culture" originated in academic feminism, and is mainly a feminist concern. Men's Rights activists (the closest we have to a complementary masculism movement), assume that the very notion of rape culture is rank misandry, and a myth promoted by feminists to justify the oppression of men.
Rape culture is indeed misandric, by which I mean hateful towards men as men, but not for the reasons offered by MRA activists like Paul Elam. Rape culture is misandry because it assumes men cannot control themselves, or channel their sexuality in a manner respectful to themselves and those around them.
You probably know better than to stare at women who dress in a manner which turns you on because they want to, and not necessarily because they want to turn you on. You probably know better than to use women incapacitated by drink, drugs, or sleep for sex. You probably know that no means no, and that any response other than an enthusiastic 'yes' probably means no. You probably know that nobody asks for rape, no matter what they're wearing, where they are, or how drunk they got.
Rape culture assumes you're not civilized enough to know these things, men, and that should enrage you. However, rape culture contains a contradiction at its heart. Let me illustrate it for you...
Today is my eighth wedding anniversary with +Catherine Graybosch. Yes, we got married on #Halloween . We were a bit pressed for time due to her being in the US on a K1 visa, and we figured, "If we do it on Halloween, we won't have an excuse to forget." We've known each other for twelve years, however; we met on a Yahoo! writers' board in May 2000. I was living alone in a third-floor walkup in a rough neighborhood, and had dialup net access for about a month. She had made some interesting comments about imagination, and we ended up having an exchange based on her comments. I then asked her, via email, if she'd like to exchange stories.
We continued our conversation, and agreed to meet in July 2002. I flew to Australia to meet her, spent six days together, and did not want to leave. We developed a (rather expensive without VOIP!) habit of nightly phone calls and long chats over IM, until after year I broke down and asked her to marry me.
I repeated the question the next morning, after a night's sleep. We spent a year preparing, and dealing with immigration authorities in both the US and Australia; I was willing to go there, but I had the better job at the time, and she wanted to come to the US. The end of August 2004 saw me waiting outside the international arrivals entrance at Newark Airport with an bouquet and an engagement ring. I proposed to her as soon as she came out.
It hasn't always been easy, and I've probably made it harder than it needed to be, but I have no regrets. She says the same; I ask her every year. We laugh, however, whenever somebody complains about the difficulties of a "long-distance relationship" where the separation is a town, a state, or even the width of the continent. We kept it up with both the breadth of North America and the entire Pacific Ocean between us for four years.
I was able to cast my vote before coming to work, even though I've said that I'd most likely sit this one out. I voted for a straight Democratic ticket, even though I think Barack Obama has abused his power as President by the following:
* Signing into law a bill he knows will authorize indefinite detention ( #NDAA ). * Failing to overcome Republican opposition and shut down Guantanamo Bay. * Continuing the use of warrantless wiretaps. * Continuing the War on (Some) Drugs. * Using drone strikes to kill American citizens without due process. * Continuing the occupation of Afghanistan. * Murdering Osama Bin Laden instead of capturing the son of a bitch, dragging him back to the US, and putting him on trial. (Now that pigfucker is a martyr to his cause.) * Preventing the over-the-counter availability of emergency contraceptive pills to young women under the age of 16 when we know damned well that women as young as 12 go through puberty and become sexually active (not necessarily by their own choice). * Not putting bankers on trial for causing the economic crash of 2008. * Holding whistleblower Bradley Manning in solitary confinement without trial.
Most progressives prefer to turn a blind eye to these failures on President Obama's part, but I'm not a progressive. I'm a libertarian with progressive sympathies. For me, individual rights come first and foremost, and I'm not convinced that Obama's record shows much respect for individual rights on his part.
With these objections in mind, it's reasonable to ask why I would vote a straight Democratic ticket instead of voting for +Jill Stein or +Gary Johnson, and voting for Green or Libertarian candidates in other offices where available.
My answer is that while I consider Obama an oathbreaker who has forgotten his duty to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, the probable alternative is worse.
The Republican Party, fielding Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as their candidates for President and Vice President, are a greater threat to individual rights than four more years under Barack Obama. Obama doesn't seem to care about individual rights. The Republicans have proven themselves to be utterly inimical to individual rights under George W. Bush for the following reasons:
* Under George W. Bush, the US government resorted to torture. * Under George W. Bush, the US government began using the TSA to inflict mass violations of air travelers' Fourth Amendment rights in the name of "preventing terrorism". * Under George W. Bush, the US government ramped up efforts to spy on Americans en masse and without warrants. * Under George W. Bush, the US government committed the nation to perpetual war against "terrorism". * Under George W. Bush, the US government either scrapped regulations intended to curb the natural tendency of American corporations to pursue profits regardless of human or environmental cost, or permitted regulatory capture. * Under George W. Bush, the US government started two land wars in Asia, skyrocketing the national debt and blackening the country's name around the world.
The fact that the Republican Party gave us George W. Bush for a President, a dude ranch reject surrounded by fascists and neoconservatives (is there any substantial difference between the two?), is reason enough to seek the party's utter eradication. But there's more.
The Republican Party continues to give a voice to Christian reactionaries who insist upon imposing their narrow-minded understanding of Scripture upon the United States as law.
The Republican Party countenances men like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who justify rape.
The Republican Party insists upon the right to decide which relationships between consenting adults are legitimate and which are not, and insists upon the right to punish women for having sex without their permission. The Republican Party is against any form of fertility control for women.
The Republican Party, beholden to its corporate donors, continues to deny any science suggesting that human CO2 emissions, the bulk of which result from corporate industry, play any role in driving climate change.
Under no circumstance would I ever have considered myself a Democrat. I was, in fact, a registered Republican who voted in primaries to try to turn the party away from plutocracy and theocracy and back towards principles of equality under law, respect for individual rights, and limits upon the government's authority.
However, the Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln, of Theodore Roosevelt, or of Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is a party of Bible thumpers who wear brown shirts under white sheets. It is a party of sexism, of homophobia, of racism, of fascism, and of kleptocracy. The Republican Party is a threat to everything I was taught to value as an American, and it must be utterly destroyed.
I cannot help to accomplish the destruction of the Republican Party by voting Libertarian or Green. For that reason alone I have voted Democratic. Once the Republican Party is dead and buried, I can turn my attention to destroying the Democrats.
I'm not man enough, according to America. I don't have the right body. I don't wear the right clothes. I don't talk the right way. I don't listen to the right music. I don't watch the right movies. I don't have the right look. I don't drive the right car.
I'm not man enough, according to society. I read too much. Too many people have seen me crying. My hair is too long. I have too many cats. I'm too fond of the theatre. I've seen too many operas.
I'm not man enough, according to the Internet. I don't play sports. I don't chase after women and try to con them into letting me fuck them using Game. I'm too introverted. I'm too geeky. I'm not nerdy enough. I'm too this and not enough that, and blah blah fucking blah.
You don't think I'm man enough for you? Too fucking bad. I don't exist for your sake. My life is my own, and my manhood is mine to define, not yours to police. If I want to wear lace, I will. If I want to let my wife fuck me up the ass with a strap-on, and she's willing, then that's what I'll do. If I want to bang my head to Queen while driving in a little red Nissan, there's nothing you can do about it.
You think you can kick my ass for not fitting into your little man box? Come and find me. You won't be the first to bleed for your temerity. Bring your friends; I'll take you all on, and I'll win even if you kill me.
What the hell is President Obama thinking? It's bad enough when a President hides behind executive privilege to avoid being held accountable for his abuses of power. To permit attorney general Eric Holder to pull a Nixon is unforgivable.
If American Christians want to save their faith, I think (as an apostate), that the following has to happen:
First, and most importantly, they have to change the way they imagine God to account for what we know about how the universe actually works. Christians who insist that Genesis is true impose limits on God by insisting that he had to go about Creation in a particular way.
Second, they really need to stop preaching. It's 2012. Gutenberg printed his first Bible about 500 years ago, and nowadays I can get access to half a dozen English translations, with commentary, for free. Anybody who wants to read the Good News can probably do so, or get somebody to read it to them. There's no need to evangelize. There's no need to dick around at being "fishers of men" with a rod and real when modern technology gives you the means to cast a net encompassing the entirety of civilization.
Third, American Christians need to focus less on the Old Testament and the writings of Paul, and more on what the Bible claims Jesus said. Find the people who need help, and help them. God knows that if most of 'em could have helped themselves, they probably would have already.
I think it's fitting that I would hand over my draft of Without Bloodshed, part 1 of +Starbreaker, to +Curiosity Quills Press to start the editing/publication process on April 15th. I do, after all, depict a society in which taxation is considered extortion, and punished accordingly.
If anybody cares, the word count when I sent the draft was 115,273 words.
Holy mother of shit. I'm glad I wasn't closer to the epicentre of this one. An earthquake did just happen relatively near my office. According to the US Geological Survey, it's a 5.8 on the Richter scale.
This little girl is lucky to have parents who care enough about her and are sufficiently open-minded to observe the actual and individual effects of gaming on their daughter, instead of listening to self-appointed experts' blanket statements.
I finally have some work of my own up on the +Curiosity Quills Press website. Young men are dying in a small village in the Allegheny Mountains, and it is up to Naomi Bradleigh to investigate. It isn't her first case as an Adversary, but it may prove her strangest.
Here's the cover for +Without Bloodshed (part one of +Starbreaker), a near-future science fantasy thriller published by +Curiosity Quills Press. It'll be available on 17 November 2013 in paperback and electronic formats from Amazon.com and other retailers.
"All who threaten me die."
These words made Morgan Stormrider’s reputation as one of the Phoenix Society’s deadliest IRD (Individual Rights Defense) officers. He served with distinction as the Society’s avenger, hunting down anybody who dared kill an Adversary in the line of duty. After a decade spent living by the sword, Morgan seeks to bid a farewell to arms and make a new life with his friends as a musician.
Regardless of his faltering faith, the Phoenix Society has a final mission for Morgan Stormrider after a dictator’s accusations make him a liability to the organization. He must put everything aside, travel to Boston, and prove he is not the Society’s assassin. He must put down Alexander Liebenthal’s coup while taking him alive.
Despite the gravity of his task, Morgan cannot put aside his ex-girlfriend’s murder, or efforts to frame him and his closest friends for the crime. He cannot ignore a request from a trusted friend to investigate the theft of designs for a weapon before which even gods stand defenseless. He cannot disregard the corruption implied in the Phoenix Society’s willingness to make him a scapegoat should he fail to resolve the crisis in Boston without bloodshed.
The words with which Morgan Stormrider forged his reputation haunt him still.
I don't normally post on how to do social media, because I don't consider it an interesting topic. However, I've been on G+ a couple of years now, and I know a few things. I also have opinions.
A bunch of new people added me to their circles recently, and are no doubt wondering why I haven't circled them back. Too bad none of them bothered to ask, because that's the first reason I haven't circled them back. I have others, though.
You don't engage with me.
If you want me to circle you, I need a reason. Resharing my posts while adding interesting commentary is the best way, but simply commenting on my posts will do.
Your profile is incomplete.
I understand that you may have reasons to not show everything on your profile. Moreover, you have the right to reveal as much or as little as you like. However, when you circle me, the first thing I do is check your profile to see if you're a spammer or a robot.
Your profile looks fake.
If your profile photo is that of an attractive woman, but your profile says you're male and is otherwise empty, I'm going to assume you're a spammer. If you don't even have a profile pic, and your profile is pretty much empty, then I'm going to assume you're a troll. Why? Prior experience.
You have no public posts.
If I can't see what you post, how am I supposed to know what sort of content to expect from you once I add you to my circles? How am I supposed to know you're a human being, or at least a meat popsicle?
Your public posts are all the same stuff, from the same source.
That's a dead giveaway that you're probably a spammer, especially if you're posting from a site for which you claim to work. Try to be more subtle, damn you.
Your public posts don't do it for me.
There isn't much you can do about this, but I might still circle you if you provide interesting engagement.
You publicly post sexist/racist material.
I might be a white man, but that doesn't mean I want to see that shit. Save it for Stormfront.
You post NSFW stuff during what I consider working hours.
This is just self-interest. I might use my phone to read G+ at work when taking a break, but I still don't want to see porn between 9am to 5pm, EST. Nothing personal.
You're a business.
If I wanted my stream cluttered with advertising, I'd be on Facebook. If you're a brand or a business, don't circle me. If you're lucky, I'll just ignore you. I know you want to get your message out, but I don't give a damn about your message. I'm a writer, and I don't post about my books all the time. Why? Because nobody gives a shit.
Some other reason
If you don't fit the above reasons, and I still haven't circled you, then I might not have noticed you. Try interacting with me. :)
RESHARE: Here's my argument for eating meat: I enjoy it. I prefer meat from humanly raised animals fed their natural diet and slaughtered with as little cruelty as possible, but I'm not giving up meat.
Reshared text: +Grug Crood: "If humans continue to eat up all the plant life, the cows and deer and pigs will die anyway."
Quite the contrary; humans all switching to a plant based lifestyle causes the problem of food abundance, not shortages.
The reason for this is that, depending on whose numbers you want to trust, each pound of edible animal flesh requires between four to thirteen pounds of plants to produce. In essence, we're filtering protein/energy through animals before consuming them, and are doing so at a substantial loss.
Putting aside for a moment the health, environmental, and social issues inherent to agribusiness, when we do stop raising animals in order to eat their bodies and instead use that agricultural land to produce human-edible goods, we'll be able to feed the world many times over with food to spare, and we'll do so while using a fraction of the farm land.
+Grug Crood: "If cows, pigs, deer, and the rest of our meat sources were allowed to continue to breed unchecked, they would have to be killed anyway."
Not only is this claim wrong, it's very wrong. Agribusiness tightly controls the number of animals produced, and they do so via artificial insemination (google "rape rack" for more info on this). We're not eating them all because animals are breeding unchecked and we're fighting to keep the population down; rather, the market currently requires these numbers of deaths, and suppliers are carefully meeting that demand. So, while more and more people are living by their values each year and not eating animals, this is a gradual process, and as demand deceases, the production managers are correspondingly decreasing supply.
In short, we're not facing the situation you describe in any way, and there's no reason to believe we ever will.
+Grug Crood: "There are no animals that I am aware of that do not eat meat of some sort. Even cows eat insects that are on the grass. Pigs do. Dolphins do. Elephants do."
Regardless of your knowledge about the plethora of herbivorous animals, humans are not cows, pigs, dolphins, or elephants. Comparing our diets to theirs is no more beneficial than looking at a dung-beetle claiming that since eating poo works for him then it should work for us.
+Grug Crood: "If YOU were an insect, a cow would eat YOU too and think nothing of it."
I grant your premise: if things where different, then they wouldn't be the same... But I'm not an insect or a cow. I'm a human, therefor I (and you) must consider what are right and moral actions from the context of being a human.
+Grug Crood: "When you allow other animals to kill others, you are just as guilty as they are."
Perhaps the issue here is your use of the word "allow", +Grug Crood, which implies that one has control over the situation. For example, if a human lives in a house in which there are cats in their care, and one of those cats catches a mouse, and the human has the opportunity to save that mouse from the cat, then we might be able to establish some culpability for the mouse living or dieing -- specifically because there is a relationship between those beings.
That said, baring some social tie between two entities, there's absolutely no moral or logical basis to claim that one being is morally responsible for the actions of another . If you go out and kill someone tonight, I'm not guilty of your doing so, and vice versa. It's not reasonable to assert this, and it makes no sense to claim it is so. But even if someone is illogical enough to believe that, to then build on this nonsensical reasoning by claiming that one is morally justified in killing and eating animals because, for example, a lion kills an antelope, is a position that's utterly devoid of reason.
But... It's noteworthy that you also don't actually believe this assertion of yours to be true. If you did, you'd be living by the premise that all the evil done is the world is your fault, and you clearly don't believe this to be so (based on the content of this thread alone, if nothing else).
+Grug Crood: "I am eating a prime rib right now."
Hmm... Making such a statement suggests a wish to taunt me, which again speaks to the insecurities you're apparently feeling on this issue, +Grug Crood.
For the sake of the sentient beings being hurt and killed by such actions, I earnestly hope you come to live in alignment with your values and reconsider the morality of needlessly killing sentient individuals.
(... and then +Grug Crood blocked me...)=o/
This post is one in a series in which excerpts of discussions on veganism from other threads are reposted (or paraphrased) for the sake of expanding the conversation. As always, your thoughts and questions are welcome. See the full collection via the #spommveganchats hash (or perhaps with a more robust search, such as goo.gl/JoxZC ).
_... (for anyone requiring/desiring more context, the original conversation can be found at goo.gl/BL0evn)..._
Author/attorney +Karen Michalson released the third of her essays covering The War on the Humanities. In this installment, she takes on the artists themselves, accusing them of sabotaging each other, and thus themselves, in their desperation to be promoted by corporate America. Such promotion, Michalson argues, has become a proxy for aesthetic merit and artistic legitimacy.
If you're an artist of any sort, you've probably heard this song before. It goes like this: "If a corporation isn't selling your stuff, you can't possibly be very good." I gave up music because of this, because I knew I'd never be able to get signed as a rock violinist.
It's easier for musicians to buck this tradition, despite corporations encroaching on indie rock. Writers are just beginning to establish their own indie space, and the fight for legitimacy still rages.
However, I may be fortunate. The writers with whom I'm acquainted on G+ still grasp the concept of mutual aid, and if we compete, it's to create better work, not to have the most followers or sell the most books.
Despite this, Ms. Michalson makes a salient point: the emphasis on copies sold and the primacy of good marketing over good art makes it difficult for introverted artists or artists who put their work first to get the audiences they deserve.
I'm not going to complain, despite being one of those artists who would rather focus on his work than on his promotional efforts. I knew from the start I'd have to pay my dues if I wanted to make it big. I just expected my dues to take the form of time spent refining my craft and learning to write a genuinely good science fantasy novel. If I also have to learn to market my work, so be it.
I don't want your pity. I want you to buy my book, and then I want your friends to buy my book.
The culture has taken a hit. Instead of artist-shamans using the imagination to create a sacred space in which to explore the human heart, which is what art is, we have desperately compromised “personal brands” trying to move product.
In other words, in the arts, self-marketing ability is now a proxy for artistic excellence. (Miss Dickinson, please stand aside. Introverts need not apply.)
Here's to twenty more years of #Debian , without which Ubuntu and Linux Mint might not have happened. Not to mention Knoppix and lots of other Debian-derived #Linux distros. Happy #anniversary to everybody who ever worked on the project, with my thanks.
According to Santorum, my rights are contingent on my doing God's will. How the fuck does he know when I'm doing God's will, and when I'm not? For all he knows, I could be doing God's will every time I go down on a woman. After all, the books comprising the Bible were written by men, compiled into a single text by men, and translated by men. It can hardly be called the word of God after passing through so many human hands.
I have a better idea for Rick Santorum: If he wants to pursue happiness by doing his God's will, he's welcome to do so as long as his pursuit of happiness, or his God's will, don't trample everybody else's equal right to do the same.
If God wants to have a place in American politics, he can earn citizenship, pay taxes, and vote -- just like the rest of us. Until then, he and his fan club need to sit down and shut up.
Fiction writers are programmers. Their target platform is the human imagination.
As both a writer and a programmer, I’ve noticed dozens of similarities between the two, though many who do one or the other might insist that writing code and writing text are two different and incompatible processes.
It’s a bold claim, and I stand by it for the following reasons:
1. Contradictions are deadly to both fiction and software. 2. Prose directs imagination, as code directs computer hardware. 3. Both require abstract thought. 4. Perfection is impossible. 5. Don’t worry about perfection. 6. You won’t please everybody. 7. You will embarrass yourself. 8. Other people will offer unsolicited advice. 9. You have to concentrate. 10. Concentration is hard.
I elaborate on this reasons on my new website, matthewgraybosch.com. Take a look, and share if you enjoyed the article.
RESHARE: I'm sharing this shit not because I agree with it, but because I think slut-shaming attitudes like this need to be exposed and confronted. +Usman Haseeb might not have been one of the bullies/slut shamers who hounded Amanda Todd to suicide, but he sure as shit is one of the enablers.
Guys show their dicks on webcams all the time, to the point where sites like ChatRoulette are all penis, all the time, but nobody bullies them for it. But if some naive girl flashes her tits or helps some asshole cheat on his girlfriend, it's OK to spend the next three years abusing her for it, because she "had it coming"? No. I refuse to accept that. You don't get to condemn people for being sexual.
Reshared text: Amanda Todd had it coming. She went nude on a webcam and people bullied her for that. For every action there is an opposing reaction. People need to be careful of what they did. Newtons third law of action relation! But I hope she rests in peace because no one deserves to die.
RESHARE: I don't trust Monsanto, or any other corporation, when it isn't subjected to adequate oversight by neutral authorities. However, I suspect that a lot of what they do with crops is just a more focused, more precise version of the selective breeding we've practiced since we abandoned hunting and gathering in favor of agriculture and herding thousands of years ago.
I can admit that Without Bloodshed might not have been possible without help from others. My wife helped me. The staff at +Curiosity Quills Press helped me. Artists like +Harvey Bunda, Sara McSorley, and Ricky Gunawan helped me. My fans have helped me.
The staff at +System76 helped me. The thousands of volunteer developers who create and maintain the software packaged for Ubuntu Linux, not to mention the people maintaining the Ubuntu distribution, helped me. My teachers helped me, though the lessons I learned aren't necessarily the lessons they intended. My parents helped me. Every author I ever read helped me. The farmers who work to grow the food I eat helped me. The workers who keep the power on and the water running helped me.
And that's just my writing. At my day job, I have thousands more behind me, and I'll never meet most of them. They don't know I benefit from their labor. I have no idea if they benefit from mine.
It's called interdependence. It took me a while to grasp the concept. However, when I see a label that says "Made in China" or "Made in Bangladesh" or even "Made in the USA", it means that people made the object bearing that label. It isn't magic. It isn't a miracle. It's people not much different from me, busting their asses and trying to make a living.
I get it. The richest among us don't. Many of them insist that they built their empires with their own bare hands, without any help from anybody. They act like they're Hank Rearden when they more closely resemble Orren Boyle. They preach about hard work and how they miraculously attained wealth enough to ransom dozens of kings at a time, but there's something they never think to mention.
The hard work that elevated the richest among us wasn't entirely their own. The fact that they paid others to work for them, others who might have been free to work elsewhere but were nevertheless forced by circumstances to sell their labor to somebody, does not give the richest among us to take credit for everybody else's efforts.
Nor do the richest among us have the right to claim the title of "job creator" when they view labor as a cost to be reduced, if not eliminated, by any means necessary. If they want to be hailed as "job creators", as if creating more opportunities for people to bust their asses making rich people even richer is such a noble achievement, then they need to create jobs.
I'm willing to bet that I have created more jobs than most of these rich conservative bastards who heap contempt on anybody who lacks their wealth and privilege, because I actually spend the money I earn instead of hoarding it like a dragon.
Now, this is the point where I preach about how taxes are the price we pay for civilization, and how we should tax the rich to reduce inequality. This is the point where I prove myself a good little liberal and say I'm grateful to pay taxes. Screw that.
As far as I'm concerned, taxation is robbery. It is a necessary evil at best, and I'm not convinced about the 'necessary' part. I resent having to pay taxes. I don't care if they're local taxes, state taxes, or Federal taxes -- I hate them all, and if I can get away with dodging a tax, I'll damn well do so without apology.
If you want to know why I evade taxes whenever the law permits me to do so, I'll explain it in simple terms: I need the money. I don't make my money by owning things, but by selling my labor. Every dollar I pay in taxes is a dollar I can't put to better use, such as investing so that I too can join the owning class, rather than remaining a part of the working class. Sure, I could work with my fellow workers to change things, but that would require that they face reality and accept that the game is rigged against them. We're more likely to see monkeys fly out of my ass.
The people who benefit the most from the way things are aren't the people paying the bills. Considering that the richest among us don't pay taxes, while the vast majority of Americans do pay taxes, I am convinced that taxation as implemented in the United States is not merely robbery, but a tool of oppression.
Like Russell Brand, I don't have the answers. However, I'm tired of getting screwed by both the government, which taxes me half to death and then gives most of the money to corporations as subsidies, and by the richest among us -- who think that workers like me are human resources, and not human beings with needs, feelings, and rights.
I am not a resource. Next time you talk about how hard work lifted you to the top, remember that it wasn't just your hard work. It was probably my hard work as well, and that of thousands like me.
I'm pleased to announced that I've signed a contract with MGM to adapt +Starbreaker for film as a sci-fi romantic comedy starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in the lead roles. Woody Allen will direct, and Ridley Scott and Mel Brooks are the executive producers.
I just received word that Freddy Mercury has somehow risen from the dead to reunite with Queen and do the soundtrack.
As far as I'm concerned, an online sales tax is just another way for the richest among us to screw everybody else. I wrote letters and sent emails to my representatives in Congress opposing a nationwide sales tax on the net, and I recommend you do so too.
Until the richest among us pay taxes proportional to their disproportionate share of the United States' wealth, the rest of us should fight every attempt to impose more taxes on us.
I'm not surprised that a rabbi would defend circumcision. I say let the Jews keep it, as long as it is done to consenting adult males under anesthesia by trained surgeons using properly sterilized tools. As somebody who was cut without his consent, I say it should not be done to anybody who cannot give informed consent -- such as babies.
We don't tolerate the surgical modification of girls' genitals, but instead condemn the practice as barbaric and misogynistic. Why tolerate infant male circumcision instead of condemning it as barbarism and misandry?
I'm proud to be included in the Curiosity Quills: Primetime anthology recently released by +Curiosity Quills Press, and to see one of my short +Starbreaker pieces included among other fine stories like K.H. Koehler's "And Death Shall Have No Dominion", +Michael Shean's "Razor Child", Tony Healey's "Dark Orb", and J.R. Rain's "The Fridge". I think my own story, "The Milgram Battery", deserves to be included with the others, and I think you'll be getting a good deal for five bucks.
To prove it, I'm going to give you a little taste of my own work, "The Milgram Battery". This is the first scene, and if you want to know how the story works out, you should buy a copy of Curiosity Quills: Primetime.
Morgan studied the experimenter, ignoring the hand he offered as a polite gesture. His muddy eyes were those of the technician who helped him into the simulation crèche and hooked him up. His leathery hands injected Morgan’s arm with a drug which fought to blunt his awareness, and his lab coat had a Phoenix Society patch on the shoulder. This is the test. They want to gauge my reactions. The drug must be designed to lower my inhibitions and prevent me from thinking about my responses.
The experimenter lowered his hand with a huff, and consulted his tablet. "Morgan Stormrider? An odd name. What were your parents thinking?"
"They had no say in the matter." Morgan yanked his sleeve back down. "I grew up in foster care. My name is my own."
"No wonder you seem rather unsociable. Research indicates children who grow up without a stable home environment —"
"When did my childhood become your concern?"
"It isn't. I was simply making an observation."
"Keep them to yourself, and tell me why I'm here."
"You were selected to help me with an experiment." He led Morgan into another room as antiseptic white as the one in which they began. Plate glass partitioned the room and on Morgan's side, waited a machine similar to an electronic keyboard. Each key played a voltage higher than the last, in steps of fifteen volts, instead of a different tone.
On the other side sat a person connected to heart-monitoring equipment. Lines connected him to the keyboard on Morgan's side. The person on the other side mopped his forehead with a shirtsleeve while poring over a sheet of paper. He kept glancing around the room, and his bloodshot eyes were wide and staring when they met Morgan's. "The volunteer on the other side is our subject in an experiment concerning learning and negative reinforcement."
"I think I know how this works." Morgan gestured towards the keyboard. "The poor schmuck in the other room is supposed to memorize a series of word pairs. I'm supposed to test him, and give him a shock every time he makes a mistake."
"Exactly. You are to start with the lowest voltage, and work your way up to the maximum, which is four hundred and fifty volts. We use a low amperage current which may prove painful, but not dangerous."
"Unless your subject suffers from a heart condition."
The experimenter consulted his tablet again. "Oh, dear. His medical history reflects a heart murmur. Of course, he can stop the experiment at any time, just by asking."
Morgan turned his back on the experimental apparatus and the victim behind the plate glass. "Or, I can end this farce before it begins by refusing to participate. You want to determine whether I will obey orders to torture."
"It is not torture." The experimenter handed Morgan a stack of forms. "The subject signed an informed consent form and a liability waiver. If you wish, I can hook you up to the keyboard and let you feel the maximum voltage for yourself. There is no real danger."
He dropped the papers on the floor. "You need not trouble yourself."
"I must insist upon your participation."
Morgan smiled. While the prod wasn't classic Milgram, he already deviated far enough from the scenario to force the simulation to adapt to him. "I refuse."
"The experiment requires your participation."
"Of course it does." Morgan advanced upon the experimenter. "I am the subject."
The experimenter's face took on a blank expression as his voice flattened to a monotone. "It is absolutely essential that you participate."
He grasped the collar of the experimenter's shirt, and lifted him off his feet. "I know."
"You have no other choice. You must participate."
"I have another option." Cracks radiated from the point at which the experimenter's body impacted the plate glass and broke through. Morgan climbed through the breach and over the scattered shards to lift the cowering scientist to his feet. "Non serviam, torturer."
As he drew back his fist, the experimenter shattered into pixels, each fading to black, while the room itself became void.
RESHARE: +Charles A. Anaman, Dawkins' reason for opposing religion is more than sufficient, but the history and doctrines of organized religion throughout human history offer a surfeit of justifications for rejecting religious faith and treating its most devout adherents as if they were mentally ill.
You didn't get raped. You just suck at video games. Does comparing a competitive loss to rape trivialize rape?
One of the benefits to having gamers like +Rowan Cota, +Brenda Holloway, +Christine Paluch, and +Elin Dalstål in my circles is that their thoughts on the intersection between rape culture and male-dominated online gaming culture tend to crystallize my own discomfort with online gaming.
For example, entirely too many gamers compare getting their asses thoroughly kicked in a video game to being raped. It's a bogus comparison, and not only does it demean the millions of women and men who have experienced actual rape, but it's a sign of poor sportsmanship on the part of the person making the complaint.
That's right, nerds, I said 'sportsmanship'. I know it's a jock concept, and I don't give a damn. If you want respect as gamers, it's time you renewed your acquaintance with the notion. At it's core, sportsmanship is the understanding that everybody playing the game is there for the game. If you complain about losing, you're a sore loser. If you go out of your way to rub your dominance in the faces of your fellow gamers, you're a poor winner.
Either way, you're an asshole and you make gaming suck for everybody else. If you lose, don't compare it to rape. Don't say anything. Channel your anger into your efforts to get better and win the next match.
Though +Without Bloodshed will be available (at least in electronic form) on 17 November 2013, I am scheduling the release party with hangout for Monday, 18 November 2013 at 7:00PM EST for everybody's convenience. I will also be on G+ on the 17th.
I will be reading selections from the novel, and am available to answer questions. I'll even have a working webcam, so you'll see why I hide behind this profile pic that makes me look like an unholy cross between Ben Franklin and Ozzy Osbourne. :)
I just emailed the final revision of Without Bloodshed, the first novel in my +Starbreaker quartet, to my contacts at +Curiosity Quills Press. The next step will be to have the text proofread. I will then correct any mistakes the proofreader finds. After that, CQ will begin the production process.
I appreciate everybody's support and patience during this process. I know I've spent a long time building up anticipation, and I hope you won't be disappointed.
I don't have a release date yet. I'll provide one ASAP.
Is it time for a Nerd's Manifesto? Am I the man to write it? Do any of you have the will or the power to stop me from doing so?
I am a nerd. I might be a "high functioning" nerd who can hide the fact that he had to learn his social skills at a later age instead of picking them up in childhood, but I am a nerd.
I am a nerd. I can be obsessive about my interests. I can, will, and have spent hours absorbed in a book, or coding, or playing a game. I have done this while ignoring people who are less interesting to me than what I'm currently doing.
I am a nerd. To be a nerd is to be selfish. I am selfish with my time and attention, and I am not willing to give much of either without getting something of value to me in return.
I am a nerd. I don't need your culture, because I have made my own. Why should I care if the Yankees won the playoffs again when you don't care about the Doctor? Why should I pretend Lady Gaga matters when you've never heard of Annie Haslam or Sharon Den Adel? Why should I read Dan Brown or Jodi Picoult when you refuse to read Michael Moorcock or Ursula K LeGuin?
I am a nerd. You need me as much as I need you, because you depend on knowledge, and I chose knowledge, or was chosen by it, at the expense of the ability to easily connect with others. You don't have to like my attitude, but don't expect me to care about your feelings. You see, I'm none too thrilled with your attitude, either.
I am a nerd. You've been content to ignore me unless you have a use for me. I've gotten used to it, and I'm not too bitter about it. But don't be shocked if I don't want to talk to you about the things that matter to me. I refrain from talking about my passions as one of the few courtesies I am willing to extend to people who have shown through their actions that they don't understand people like me, and don't want to.
I am a nerd. The reason I want to attend your funeral when you tell me to "get a life" is that I already have one. It involves art, science, literature, music, games, movies, martial arts, technology, philosophy, and people who have taken the time to understand me and earn my trust. If you want to know why my life doesn't involve you, I suggest you start by finding a mirror.
I am a nerd, and I've spent my childhood apologizing for it and trying to hide it. But boys become men, and as a man I have learned that I don't owe you an apology for being a nerd. I owe you nothing, but I will offer you fair warning as a courtesy. I am a nerd, and proud of it.
+Rebecca Blain and +John Ward, I've been thinking about going into business for myself. Given my tendency to over-think my own work and other people's writing, and that I occasionally offer writing advice other people find useful, I thought I might do reasonably well as an independent editor for writers looking to self-publish.
However, I'm not sure where to start. I don't have a portfolio or references, and I'm not even sure how much to charge. I thought you guys might know, but if anybody else wants to weigh in, please do so.
If we want to more women not only playing games, but taking an active role in their development, then sexist troglodytes like Aris Bakhtanians need to be made to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up if they can't or won't learn to act like civilized human beings.
Furthermore, it's not just women who dislike competitive gaming because of the casual abuse and bullying Bakhtanians insists is part of gaming culture. I refuse to participate in online multiplayer games, and tend to avoid buying games that offer online multiplayer functionality, because I refuse to deal with assholes when I'm trying to have fun.
I only tolerate the presence of assholes in my life when I'm getting paid.
Also, what in shit's name was Capcom doing? Jerking off to bootleg Bayonetta doujinshi posted on 4chan? If Cross Assault was Capcom's show, why didn't somebody from Capcom take Bakhtanians aside and say, "Look, Aris, we need you to tone it down. You're making us look bad."
After years of work and dozens of abandoned drafts in which I refined my technique, my first novel is finally published. +Curiosity Quills Press and I are proud to announce the release of Without Bloodshed, the first part of +Starbreaker. The electronic edition is available on Amazon.com using the universal link below:
Morgan Stormrider must put down a coup d'etat in Boston without killing those responsible. The coup's ringleader, Alexander Liebenthal, accused the Phoenix Society of using Adversaries like Morgan Stormrider as assassins. If Morgan cannot put the lie to Liebenthal's allegations, the Phoenix Society will make scapegoats of him and his friends to preserve its own legitimacy.
Please share on social media, check out Without Bloodshed on Amazon, and consider buying a copy. If enough people do so, I can quit my day job and focus on writing the sequel, The Blackened Phoenix.
RESHARE: I lost interest in this question a long time ago, to be honest, but +Deborah Teramis Christian's post might prove useful to people who don't share my attitude, can be expressed as follows: Hate me and be damned, if your only reason for hating me is that I neither share your beliefs nor apologize for not doing so. I don't need your permission to be an atheist, and I don't need you to like me, either.
Reshared text: A little didactic and the psychology described is simplified, but interesting food for thought. (Just pointing to the vid, not really here to have a god/no-god discussion, so comments are disabled on this post.)
Since I no longer have a job to lose, I think I can afford to publicly support occupywallst.org. Let me tell you why.
Why are we occupying Wall St., in person or in spirit? We have our reasons.
We're tired of living in fear.
We're tired of living in fear of not being able to make ends meet. We're tired of living in fear of not being able to pay our debts. We're tired of living in fear of getting sick. We're tired of living in fear of not being able to find a job. We're tired of living in fear of being poisoned by the food we eat. We're tired of living in fear of not being able to provide for our families.
We're tired of being used by the government.
We're tired of being used by the government to provide taxes. We're tired of being used by the government to provide warm bodies to throw into the meat grinder of endless foreign war. We're tired of being used to perpetuate an American Empire that oppresses people at home and abroad. We're tired of being played against each other and manipulated by politicians who care only about their own ambitions.
We're tired of being used by business.
We're tired of working ever harder and getting less. We're tired of being treated like "human resources". We're tired of being downsized to make the quarterly numbers look better. We're tired of unpaid overtime. We're tired of having to consider a week's vacation a privilege when people in Europe are guaranteed a month off or more by law. We're tired of business sacrificing people for profit.
We're tired of FASCISM!
We're tired of corporations ruling us by funding electoral campaigns. We're tired of the government subsidizing corporations that ruin the environment and our health. We're tired of being taxed into poverty to bail out corporations whose executives' incompetence and greed have not only prevented our economy from evolving along sustainable lines, but have crashed the economy and created a Second Great Depression. We're tired of voting in elections rigged by Wall Street so that no matter which party wins, Wall Street continues to bleed us dry with impunity. We're tired of the government permitting corporations to merge until only monopolies remain. We're tired of our constitutional rights being trampled by government agencies.
We will not be stopped.
We are tired. We are angry. We are done being good little Americans who do everything we're told and ask nothing in return. John F. Kennedy told us that we should ask not what America can do for us, but what we can do for our country. The best thing we can do for our country is ask, "What has Corporate America done for ME lately?" We have come to occupy Wall Street and ask that question until it is answered.
We will not forgive the manner in which we were betrayed by the richest among us. We made America's prosperity possible, and we have come to claim our rightful due!
We will NEVER stop occupying Wall Street. We will not be placated. We will not be bought off. We will not be intimidated. We will not be stopped.
Our demands as the 99% of the American People who make American prosperity possible
What do we want? We want what we were promised. We want to be able to work hard and prosper as a result of our work. We want our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We want equal justice under law. We want a republic, not an empire. We want one nation, indivisible, with LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!
So, now that I've handed over Without Bloodshed to +Curiosity Quills Press, +Jade Hart needs me to come up with a cover. Because Boston's City Hall is a primary location in the story, I thought the cover for Without Bloodshed should feature protagonists Morgan Stormrider and Naomi Bradleigh standing in front of the building, in uniform, but unarmed to symbolize their commitment to resolving the novel's main central conflict without killing anybody.
RESHARE: When you interrupt me to ask me how I'm doing on a task, you make that task take longer. Why? Because not only am I not working on the task at hand while I deal with your idiotic question, but I also have to waste time and effort formulating a constructive answer.
It takes as long as it takes. It takes longer if you interrupt me. When I'm done, I'll use my words and tell you. DON'T FUCK WITH MY FLOW!
I apologize for reposting this, but +Thomas Knott wanted to reshare my opinions concerning H.R.3261.IH, the Stop Online Piracy Act.
I'm not the only one who's concerned about #SOPA. As both a software developer and a writer, I have a stake in this debate. In both cases, my work depends on copyright, and on the willingness of paying customers to honor copyright.
However, I do not support treating users of the software I write or the books that I read as though they were potential criminals. I do not support extorting every possible dollar from them in exchange for selling them crippled software or media that they cannot move from device to device at their convenience. I do not support draconian efforts to crack down on a minority of people who engage in file-sharing as some kind of political statement.
I support reasonable copyright lengths. Life+70 is unreasonable for me, and means that copyrights held by a corporation like Disney will never expire, because corporations are effectively immortal. 20 years is good enough for me, and gives me motivation to continue to write, continue to produce, and continue to enlarge the culture.
I support the end of DRM, and reasonable prices for digital media. Apple proved that people are willing to pay for convenient, reasonably priced music downloads with iTunes. Why bother with searching BitTorrent trackers for bootleg music that might be mislabeled or conceal malware if you can, for a dollar, buy the song you want from iTunes in a high-quality format that you can play on any device you own?
The average person uses bootleg media when legitimate means of acquiring digital entertainment are unreasonably expensive, or so crippled by restrictions that it is worth the effort to search for bootlegs. Study after study has proven this, but the entertainment cartels refuse to understand.
Instead of adapting to the 21st century, the entertainment cartels use their influence over Congress to guarantee the profitability of their outmoded business model by law. Worst of all, they have the temerity, the sheer pigheaded effrontery, to claim that they're doing it for artists, musicians, moviemakers, programmers, and writers like me.
I didn't ask them to lobby Congress on my behalf. They're no friends of mine. They don't represent me. I can damn well speak for myself, and I say that #SOPA is #FASCISM. This bill was written by the entertainment cartels, for the benefit of the entertainment cartels.
Instead of passing #SOPA, Congress should be demanding the prosecution of the entertainment cartels under the #RICO statues. Furthermore, every man and woman in Congress should be made to take a course on TCP/IP, DNS, VPNs, and the rest of the Internet's architecture before they presume to pass legislation affecting the Internet. They are not qualified to even discuss the internet, let alone regulate it.
I've been posting +Karen Michalson's essays on the war against the #humanities, so when I saw this on Slashdot I thought it would prove an interesting counterpoint. Since I have a foot in both camps, being a programmer and a writer, this defense of the humanities by a #STEM instructor is of particular interest to me.
The article's author, John Horgan of Stevens Institute of Technology, argues that the humanities remain important because they teach people to be skeptical, to question authority, and to cope with uncertainty.
I think Mr. Horgan's reasons are good ones. I have another, more personal reason: I can't prove it, but I suspect my own informal, haphazard study of the #arts may have helped me stay sane.
A brilliant work of hard science fiction, The Martian is best described as "Robinson Crusoe on Mars".
Author Andy Weir handles the classic narrative with panache, characterizing marooned astronaut Mark Watney as a much more human version of the "Competent Man" archetype so common in science fiction, especially classic SF by the likes of Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke. Packed with plenty of bleak humor and cliffhangers, this was a gem of independent SF when I read it earlier in 2013 after picking it up for a dollar, and I hope Random House gives this book the promotion it deserves.
At what point do we decide enough is enough, take control of the internet down to the physical cables, and tell the corporations and governments of the world that, "The internet is sovereign, and we will not answer to or cater to any government or corporation. If you give us a semblance of just cause, we will cut off your access." At what point do we put an end to the bullshit?
I'm torn about this article. On one hand, we have Hugo Schwyzer telling men how to be men, and I don't take kindly to the Masculinity Police. When people tell women how to be women, women rightly object. I bristle when men tell me how to be a man, for the same reason.
On the other hand, I don't see the point of trying to date women much younger than me. If I was single again, it would be unpleasant enough to compete with men my own age for feminine attention. I don't need to make things harder for myself by competing with younger men.
I might not be a good man, but I still know my limitations.
Besides, as I once told +Giselle Minoli, I want a partner, not a pet. A woman several years (or decades) younger than me is not my equal in experience, or (hopefully) in wisdom. How can a mutually fulfilling relationship exist between unequal participants?
I offered +Catherine Graybosch an engagement ring, even though it is a dumb custom invented by DeBeers for their profit. However, I got my ring second-hand: It's a sapphire surrounded by diamond chips, set in white gold.
RESHARE: At risk of being the sort of self-promoter who's ruining social media, I thought I'd mention that I have an article up on +Media Tapper concerning the Facebook IPO. I don't think the stock can go anywhere but down, considering that they depend on the same business model which is slowly failing broadcast television.
Reshared text: +Matthew Graybosch writes for +Media Tapper with a detailed look at the Facebook IPO, what went wrong, and why the SEC is taking a look at it. I've been hoping to have Matthew write for us for some time now, he brings an intelligent, passionate view to his posts. Anyone that follows him knows he's not shy in his opinions and he certainly isn't here. #facebookipo
+Keith Wagstaff, if you think Google+ is a ghost town, that's fine. However, you might want to consider talking to users who have found ways to make use of this service. You could start by talking to me, a software developer and up-and-coming science fiction author.
Emily Richmond points out that the debate over school reform doesn't take student motivation into account, and offers some ideas for improving student motivation. However, she doesn't appear to understand that the very structure of school, and it's compulsory nature, can destroy a student's motivation.
Some people will insist that going to school is a kid's job. Putting aside the fact that we usually pay people to go to work, if I dislike my job, or think that my boss is an asshole, or entertain fantasies of mowing down my coworkers with a Kalashnikov -- I CAN QUIT AND GET ANOTHER JOB. A student, on the other hand, is stuck in whichever school he has been assigned, with the teacher he has been assigned, and with the classmates he has been assigned. That's not a job. That's a thirteen-year prison sentence with eight weeks furlough in the summer because it's too expensive to provide air conditioning in the damned buildings during July and August.
If the kid doesn't want to be there in the first place, he's not going to learn what you want him to learn. He'll learn other lessons, though, like how to fuck with authority figures by taking orders literally.
I'm sorry to have to say this, but the Republicans are right. Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats have not done enough to fix America and her economy. The financial sector continues to run amok, free of any semblance of meaningful regulation. People are graduating from college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and no way to pay it off. Homeowners are still stuck making payments on mortgages whose principal is greater than the current market value of the house they bought with the mortgage. If I had to give the State of the Union address, I could do it in four words: We're in deep shit.
On the foreign policy front, we're still in Afghanistan, accomplishing nothing, while soldiers kill themselves because the military is decades behind the times when it comes to mental health. In the meantime there's noise coming from the right wing about how maybe war with Iran is a good idea. Like we haven't done enough to that country and her people.
A slogan like "Not Enough" would ring true if used by the Republicans, if Congressional Republicans weren't so beholden to Grover Norquist, the Koch Brothers, ALEC, and the devil knows who else that they've wasted the last four years on obstructionism. Republicans in state government would be a bit more impressive if they weren't so memorable for trying to disenfranchise voters and indulge in union busting.
As usual, I say "a plague on both their houses". The Democrats and the Republicans can both kiss my ass. I'm voting for +Gary Johnson, unless he quits. If he does, I'm voting for Cthulhu. Why settle for the lesser evil?
Romney and the rest of the Republicans have no objection whatsoever to corporate welfare in the form of subsidies and tax breaks. Nor do the Republicans have any objection to providing corporate welfare to the military-industrial-congressional complex by miring the United States in one war after another.
Welfare for individuals and families left jobless as a result of the GOP's insistence on letting wealth "trickle down", however, is "socialism" and "communism".
That's right, Democrats and Republicans. If you ever voted in a manner which tramples the #Constitution , or enriches #CorporateAmerica at the expense of the rest of America, then now is the time to learn fear.
I'm coming for you on Election Day 2014. Hell follows in my wake. Don't ask me for voter ID, for you will know I am the Lord when I pull those levers and lay my vengeance upon thee.
RESHARE: FUCK DAMMIT! The sons of bitches who permitted an eleven year old boy with muscular dystrophy to be bullied to the point of suicide should be made to DIE SCREAMING for their negligence. This is fucking unforgivable!
+mandy stewart is right. Bullying doesn't toughen kids up or have any good effects. Do you want to know what bullying does? I'll tell you right now.
Bullying makes people like me: heartless, cynical, vengeful, paranoid, and without any loyalty to society or a sense of community. Kids who are bullied learn that authority figures don't care about them, and may well be their worst enemies. They learn that violence is not only an acceptable way to settle disputes, it's often the only one that works. They learn that they can't trust other people, and that they're better off relying only on themselves whenever possible because nobody else gives a damn.
If that's what you want kids learning, then by all means continue to permit bullying. But if you don't want to see children grow up to be angry men like me, then fucking do something about child abuse by children in public schools. Because that is what bullying is. It's child abuse.
I didn't become an atheist because I was abused by a clergyman. I didn't become an atheist because bad shit happened to me as a kid. I didn't become an atheist because I lost my faith. I didn't become an atheist because Satan tempted me away from the "true path". I didn't become an atheist because I wanted to live a hedonistic lifestyle. I didn't become an atheist to rebel.
I didn't become an atheist. I WAS BORN ATHEIST, AND SO WERE YOU. There are no Christian babies, or Muslim babies, or Jewish babies, or Zoroastrian babies, or pagan babies. There are just babies, who are taught to believe different kinds of bullshit by their parents. Religious belief is a learned behavior. To claim that babies are born believing in God makes as much sense as claiming that babies are born believing in Santa Claus or the Great Blumpkin.
Reshared text: Just like before...I just wanted to remind you!
+Starbreaker is an epic science fantasy series inspired by the best of American and British speculative fiction, heavy metal and progressive rock music, and nineteenth-century Romanticism. Originally intended to be a single stand-alone novel, I re-imagined the story as a tetralogy (a quartet of novels) upon my publisher’s request.
WHAT ARE THE BOOKS CALLED?
Unlike many fantasy writers who don’t necessarily know how their series will end, or what titles they’ll use for each of their novels, I know exactly how the story will end, and I can tell you the title of each book. Here they are, in order:
* Without Bloodshed * The Blackened Phoenix * Proscribed Construct * A Tyranny of Demons
WHAT MAKES THIS SCIENCE FANTASY?
+Starbreaker is set on an alternate Earth less than a century into the future. After a collapse remembered by the survivors as Nationfall, humanity rebuilt their civilization and sparked a Second Renaissance. The resurgent human population lives and works with human-level artificial intelligence, settlements on Luna and Mars debate whether and how to preserve the landing sites of pre-Nationfall spacecraft, and an elite corps of Adversaries watch over businesses and governments to root out corruption and abuse.
However, a millennia-old conspiracy uses subterfuge and magic to maintain its control of the world. A threat to humanity’s survival and that of a race which lived among humanity since the dawn of human civilization waits to break free of its underground prison. The person best suited to face this threat doesn’t know he’s not human, but a living, thinking bioweapon.
WHERE CAN I GET STARBREAKER?
The first book in the series, Without Bloodshed, is in preparation for imminent release, and will be available in both print and electronic editions. +1, comment, or reshare this post to be added to a special "fans" circle who will be notified once the book is released.
I've got one last thing to say about the Sandy Hook massacre. I'm sick of hearing about fucking massacres.
If a dog gets rabies and bites people before it is put down, we don't call the dog evil. Instead, we heal the survivors and use the incident as a lesson in the importance of ensuring that our pets are immunized against rabies.
If a mentally ill man runs amok with firearms, however, we insist that he is "evil", blame movies or music or video games for giving him ideas, and give him "fifteen minutes" of often posthumous fame by splashing his name and crimes all over the news, thus showing that the way for other people to become famous is not through greatness -- which requires years of effort with no hope or guarantee of reward -- but atrocity.
We can't immunize against mental illness as we do against rabies. We can, however, learn to recognize the symptoms, and get people the help we need. We can learn to accept that mental illness is just that: an illness which we as human beings have a responsibility to better understand so that we can better treat the illness in a humane and effective manner.
We can ensure that mentally ill people who don't get help are at least limited in terms of potential harm by banning the possession by civilians of all types of semi-automatic firearms (yes, this means the police have to turn in their Glocks and AR-15s). If you're not serving in the armed forces, then revolvers, bolt-action rifles, and pump-action shotguns should be good enough for you. If you're worried about running out of ammo while defending yourself, work on your aim.
RESHARE: I agree with this sentiment myself, which is why the women in +Starbreaker tend to wear sensible clothing when they expect to have to fight, instead of conventionally "sexy" clothing.
For that reason I've been pleased with the PS3 port of Diablo III. I've been playing as a female wizard (who is voiced by the same woman who did Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender, if anybody gives a shit.) Her initial armor didn't cover much, but as I played the game and got better armor, I found that my wizard's armor covered more of her, rather than less -- like many games might.
She's also sensibly proportioned, which is a healthy counterpoint to the art style found in Dragon's Crown.
Remember, kids: the UK doesn't have a First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of of (offensive) speech. Now, I can see why Sean Duffy was convicted, but I can't muster much sympathy for their families. When you expose your life to the internet, you have to expect trolls.
"Moreover, the person who wishes to live this way, to maintain order at universal gunpoint, has an absolute trust in his own ability to use weapons wisely and well: he never for a moment asks whether he can be trusted with a gun. Of course he can!"
I only buy into the notion of order at universal gunpoint when I'm drunk, but I have asked myself if I should be trusted with firearms. For years my answer was, "No. I'm nearsighted and short-tempered." These days my answer is, "I'm still nearsighted, but not as short-tempered as I was as a younger man. I should be able to handle a .22 rifle, but nothing more powerful than that."
RESHARE: I used to make money by collecting cans and bottles to recycle as a kid. I don't know why Coked-up Cola is being so recalcitrant about this, aside from the possibility that they're doing it just because they can.
Reshared text: In a nutshell Coke are scum who see a penny refundable charge allowing people to get a penny back on each bottle returned for recycling it as a bad thing. Doesn't matter what country you are in, reshare, tell the world. Companies like Coke don't have the right to do this, no matter what they think. It's rare to see a Government doing something right for once, so let them know what's right and wrong here.