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.
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 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...
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 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?
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.
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 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.
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.
+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.
RESHARE: For some reason, a lot of guys think this will happen to them. So what? You still had the privilege of knowing her. If she leaves, say thanks for the memories and move on. If you have trouble getting over her, just get drunk and listen to Queensryche.
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: 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.)
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.
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
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.
If I was drunk enough, I could find a perverse amusement in the fervor with which today's Republicans cling to doctrines which were discredited a century or two ago, like the notion of Divine Right, or Social Darwinism. It's particularly amusing that Republicans pander to Creationists and reject what Darwin was really about while peddling a perversion of Darwin's work on evolution by natural selection created to justify and legitimatize the rule of the people by the richest 0.1%.
"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."
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 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!
I've been saying for years that politicians, especially Republicans, need to lay off the God talk. If they want to be good Christians in their private life, that's their business. However, a good Christian is not necessarily a good public official.
We elect officials to Federal office to govern in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, and to state office to govern in accordance with the constitutions of their respective states. To that end, we need people who know the law, in particular the Constitution and its amendments. We need people who are willing to consult with subject matter experts when drafting legislation pertaining to matters outside their own expertise. We need people capable of weighing and balancing the interests of thousands or millions of people.
These are not skills one learns from reading the Bible and going to church.
Just to clarify up front: I have a beef with the government of Israel, not the people. I have no dispute whatsoever with Jews in general or the people of Israel, unless they insist that their government can do no wrong.
No doubt many supporters of Israel will insist that the suggestion that Israel withdraw from the West Bank as they did from the Gaza Strip seven years ago is anti-Semitism, but if they think that's bad, I can top it. As far as I'm concerned, the manner in which the Israeli government has treated the Palestinians is reminiscent of the manner in which European Jews were treated prior to the Holocaust. The Jews were socially marginalized and forced to live in ghettos. They were subject to state-sanctioned pogroms. The Palestinian situation is entirely too similar for my taste.
Being an atheist, I can't even spare contempt for the notion that God promised that land to the Jews. You don't get to drive people from their homes just because your supernatural patron gives the OK.
Leaving aside the religious claim, was not Israel an ancestral homeland for the Palestinians living there when Britain handed over part of its protectorate so that the state of Israel could be founded anew? I'm not surprised that they've fought for so long.
RESHARE: This bill should be known as the "I want your children to suffer the way I had to" Act of 2013.
Reshared text: Whoa, here's a message to children: don't disappoint your state representatives by actually using a printer to print a thank-you note. Maybe you should just write the thing in your own blood to show you are sincere... I wonder after what age she will accept printed thank-you notes without insisting on cursive. quote Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, is the sponsor of House Bill 146, known as the "Back to Basics" bill. She said she filed the proposal after receiving a bunch of printed thank-you notes from a local fourth-grade class that visited her in Raleigh. And hey, don't forget the article in Inside Higher Ed about how students need to learn cursive so they CAN WRITE BLUE BOOK EXAMS in college. https://plus.google.com/111474406259561102151/posts/74DzryqEFoq Welcome to the 21st century, everybody!
RESHARE: It's called the presumption of innocence. Everybody is entitled to it, even if they killed God on national television. It's also called the due process of law, and the right to a trial by jury.
You don't get to decide that somebody is "clearly" guilty. We have judges and juries for that. I wonder how +Dan Soto would replace trial by jury. Should we summarily execute people caught in the act, instead?
Reshared text: Allegedly
I hate the fact that media outlets have to use the word allegedly when reporting a crime that was clearly committed by an individual.
I'm not talking about OJ type scenarios where there weren't any witnesses but situations where a person is seen beating the crap out of someone and it's still an "alleged" crime.
RESHARE: I see the point that +Lourdes C is trying to make, but it wouldn't have been compelling to me as a young man finishing high school and looking forward to the prospect of never having to set foot in a classroom again, and it isn't all that compelling now, as an older man whose childhood scars only occasionally ache.
We all have to find a balance between altruism and egoism, between looking out for others and looking our for ourselves. If we place absolute self-sacrifice at one end of a spectrum, and absolute selfishness without sacrificing others at the other, I tend to be more egoistic than altruistic. When told that I should do something, the first question that comes to mind (and to my lips if I can't figure it out on my own) is "What's in it for me?"
In the case of college, I was able to find my own reason. I had a vocation, writing, and was realistic enough to know that I should learn a trade of some kind so that I could support myself until I was a good enough writer to make a living at it. More importantly, I was able to hope that after going to college, and taking on debt, I would be able to find work in my field and pay off that debt. If I was 17 today, I wouldn't have that hope. I would probably say "fuck it" and join the Navy instead.
You can tell me about the species all you want. You can tell other people about the species and future generations. But first, give them a reason to believe that the sacrifice will be worth it in their lifetime. Talk of going to college for the sake of future generations is no different from talk about the importance of suffering poverty for the sake of earning a place in Heaven. Either way, it's religious talk, and it doesn't help.
Reshared text: In It For The Species in which the authoress spells out why you damn well better get your kids to college
Its been bothering me for a while now that I am seeing kids, parents, pundits, and prognosticators all standing around debating whether or not they or their children, need to go to college... specifically, whether it is worth going into debt to become educated with almost zero probability of getting a job in their major'ed field when they graduate.
Let me say that that is a valuable conversation to have in this day and in this age and, most especially, in this economy.
But let me tell you right now, parents, friends, pundits, parents who have kids with these questions coming over to their houses to hang out with their kids, what the end of this conversation must be.
"I understand your position, and I understand your concerns and it is a heck of alot of money, but you need to understand, *insert child name here;
We're in it for the species, boys and girls.
To that end, it is your goal, your duty to your family, your peers, your country, your planet and to your species to get an education that will allow you to think for yourself and execute your plans for your future on your own terms.
Now I'm not going to tell you that you can't get that without a $57,000/year stint of college debt for four to eight years but I can tell you this. If you don't go, we will, all of us, regret it.
We will regret it because, a few generations down the line, not one of you will understand how to get to the moon. Not one of you will understand how advanced mathematics opens up the universe to you. Not one of you will be able to see manipulation when it is visited upon you by those who wish to control you.
If YOU don't go to college, insert child name here, then your children may not go. If their children don't go, and the opinion becomes that only those who can really afford it can go, then only a select few will go.
AND THEY WILL BE YOUR LORDS AND MASTERS and you will thank them for the crumbs they give you. You will thank them for keeping you in your pens, safe and secure against the big bad world.
Kiss the universe goodbye, because our species will never EVER leave this planet and spread out into space because not a damn one of us will be smart enough to figure out how to build the ships to go.
Forget about future advancement in medicine, because doctors will become little more than first aid technicians because really, there are 7 Billion of you so far and you are all cattle to your masters...and replaceable.
...not that you or your children or their children insert child name here will ever realize it.
Forget about deep space probes. Forget about science. Your children, their children and your children's children, will be in a pen of your making and mine because the powers that be wanted you there and so you didn't get that higher education and I didn't put the boot up your ass to get you there.
But I don't want you or your children or their children to be financial slaves either. So while you are at college (and by the Lords of Kobol you *are going to college*) it is your duty and mine to fight tooth and nail and street by street and represesentative to representative (regardless of their party) that you're education and the education of your children down through the ages to come, will be a responsibility, executed and funded by we the people today and you the people of tommorrow.
And if you don't get your ass insert child name here back to your desk and fill out every form and every bit of paperwork for that financial aid to help us help you, then you are letting down yourself and the rest of the entire species of hominid we call Homo-Sapien, from the person who first discovered fire, to the child who was just born in the hospital half a world away.
You have a responsibility to your species. And you're damn well gonna make good on it. Why? Because we're in it for the species and don't you ever forget it."
RESHARE: Personally, I think women are being entirely too reasonable in the face of reactionary and invariably religious men displaying the effrontery to attempt to police a woman's body or her sex life. Ladies, you ought to be pulling a Lysistrata at the bare minimum.
If these assholes were trying to police my sex life, I'd be shopping for rifles and signing up for a NRA marksmanship course. Of course, a single angry man with a rifle isn't a revolution. You need at least 100,000 angry men with rifles.
Reshared text: Quote: This is a question of who has the right to debate what goes on in my uterus. And what saddens me is that it's not anyone that knows what having a uterus is like.
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.
Why not? As +Gyan Gather pointed out earlier, the abuses for which I despised Bush and despise Obama will happen no matter who gets elected, because the vast majority of the American people are scared brainless for one of a number of reasons. Voting out of hope instead of pragmatism only threatens to make matters worse, so why not vote for maximum bad?
Within a month of being hired by Computer Aid, Inc., I thought that this would be a good place to build a career. I thought to myself, "I wouldn't mind working here for ten or twenty years if they're willing to have me." I was committed to proving myself to these people and earning a place in the company. If they needed me to work overtime, I was there. If somebody needed help on a project outside my primary project, and I could help them, I did.
Instead, I've got another item on my resume and yet another job search looming ahead of me. My manager asked me to meet with her this morning and notified me that, due to a lack of available work, CAI would be letting me go. In fairness to CAI, they've offered me a week of severance pay in lieu of notice, and have promised to provide me with references and help me file for unemployment benefits. However, I am disappointed. I had hoped, after the year of faithful service I had provided, to have earned a place with the company.
Regardless of my feelings on the matter, I have to look for a new job. I'm a software developer whose most recent project was the Healthy Beginnings Data System for the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County, Florida. I helped see the project through from the beginning of development all the way through the release of the version 1.0 production build to CSC. I have a total of twelve years of professional experience, and I am proficient with C#, ASP.NET, the .NET Framework, and LINQ. I am also capable of writing both ad hoc T-SQL queries and stored procedures for Microsoft SQL Server, and can work with design patterns. I have experience with Agile and test-driven development methodologies.
I also have some skill with open-source languages and systems such as Ruby and PHP on systems running GNU/Linux and Apache.
If you're looking to hire an experienced, reliable developer who will endure any hardship to complete a project that inspires him, please refer to my LinkedIn profile for a full overview of my professional experience. I can also furnish a resume in Word format upon request. If you don't have hiring authority, but work for a company who's looking for developers; or if you know somebody who needs a good developer, please send them my way. My salary requirements are reasonable, and I am willing to relocate to anywhere in the United States. I am also willing to relocate to Canada, the UK, and Australia.
Megan McArdle at the Atlantic has some interesting things to say about taxes in the wake of Warren Buffet's op-ed. I hadn't heard of the Chesterton's Fence Fallacy before, but I recognized it as soon as I read the description, because the same principle applies to programmers: don't fuck with code you don't fully understand. It was written for a reason. They might not be good reasons, but you can't make that judgment until you know the reasons.
Ms. McArdle also makes some good points about the purpose of the tax code, which is primarily to fund the government, not to promote a notion of social justice. She also explains, rather bluntly, why labor income is taxed at a higher rate than capital income: if you work for a living, the government has you by the balls. What are you going to do, flee the country?
RESHARE: I lost patience with the notion that a man can either be friends with a woman, or want her for a lover, but not both. I see no reason why a man can't be friends with a woman, but still acknowledge in his private thoughts that he finds her attractive. I've had friendships and professional relationships with women where I've thought, "I'm willing if she is", but I've always kept such thoughts to myself. It's up to her to indicate interest first.
Reshared text: I’m sure you guys are now sitting there saying to yourself, “I don’t do that”. Heterosexual males cannot help themselves. It is innate to their beings. They look at women as potential mates and part of the territory they would like to claim. Even if she is not your type, if you spend enough time with a female and get along with her, you will have a fleeting second or two of hmmmmm’ pass through that mind of yours. Tell me I’m wrong.
I agree with +James Barraford, with a small quibble concerning terminology. "Assault weapon" is so vague a term as to be meaningless. If we're going to put a weapons ban on the table, it should be a ban on all semiautomatic weapons. If a ban is too severe, then people should have to go through the same Federal licensing requirements to own a Glock 9mm semiautomatic that they would face if they wanted to own an actual M-16 or a Thompson submachinegun.
Either that, or ban specific designs for civilian possession, such as the AR series, AKs, the M1911, etc. If you can't defend your person and property against criminals with a revolver, a bolt-action rifle, or a pump action shotgun, then perhaps you should get some professional help.
+Dee Solberg told me something interesting about corporate ranchers a little while ago. This is something she heard from a farmer she knows, but she hasn't been able to corroborate the story:
"I found out something really interesting about how commercial farmers feed their cattle...and it's not shown anywhere. I'm trying to figure out a way to corroborate it. Maybe you'll have an idea. My step dad told me that big time farmers feed their cattle hay from big round bales like a small farmer does, but the difference, is that the small farmer cuts the bale open after loading it into the feeder and removes the plastic. The big farmers put the hay through grinders plastic and all...and yes, the plastic is the kind that leaches toxins into the water. So his question to me was, does it leach into beef since they are ingesting it on a massive scale?"
This is the first time I heard of that; I assumed that the big corporate ranchers fed their cattle corn. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the plastic these cattle are ingesting with their hay ends up tainting the beef.
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.
RESHARE: A black actor as James Bond means a black man engaging in the sort of sexism and violence our society condemns in black men but excuse in white men. However, he wouldn't be doing it because he's black, but because he's James Bond, and that's how the character rolls. I'd like to see it happen just to watch racists' heads explode.
I also think, on the basis of his portrayal of The Operative in Serenity, that Chiwetel Ejiofor might make a better bond than Idris Elba. :)
Reshared text: Could James Bond Ever Be Black?
Could the character of James Bond ever be played by a black actor? On another thread I have been discussing how great it would be to see Idris Elba in the role. It has also been brought up that some folks would have a cow over Bond being portrayed by a black actor, especially if the "Bond girl" is portrayed by a white actor. So, could the quintessential British super-spy be portrayed by a black guy? Would it matter?
RESHARE: The real tragedy is that when this young woman is old enough, there will be men willing to fuck her and possibly knock her ignorant ass up. Seriously, guys, do your species a favor: don't fuck ignorant women. Don't fuck illiterate people, or blatantly irrational people. If you can't find a sane, intelligent, and knowledgeable partner, but still need to have sex, get a fuckin' vasectomy first. But for the love of the human race and of the planet, stop breeding with morons.
Reshared text: Maybe the World Should End This Year
Because this is the future. Our children are the future, and this is it. She does not understand what leap year is. She doesn't understand the purpose of it. She is loud, obnoxious, and just generally pissed off, not due to any real unfairness or difficulty that has been thrust upon her. She is upset about a month having an extra day every four years.
So, what does she do with her lack of understanding? She doesn't do the minute's worth of research it would take to learn what Leap Year is. Instead she makes a video and posts it online, declaring her ignorance for just anybody to see. This is a trend that I saw even when I was in high school, and it is apparently still living on within the education system. Being ignorant is cooler than learning. And it is not just our children. This disdain for knowledge was recently seen a couple of months ago in the SOPA hearings, where politicians took turns proudly stating that they did not understand the technologies they were about to regulate.
RESHARE: I approve whole-heartedly of +Elie Ayoub's post, but I think it's time we distinguished between capitalism and commerce.
Commerce is trade and social interaction between free, mutually consenting people for mutual benefit.
Capitalismas implemented in the United States and United Kingdom has become little more an economic and political system in which those who own capital use their property rights as a means of collecting rent, while using their wealth to preserve their privilege.
We should support the former wholeheartedly, because it is a non-violent, non-coercive means of social interaction between individuals.
We should harshly criticize the latter, because its beneficiaries resort to state-sponsored violence to protect their property and privilege while its advocates try to con everybody else by conflating capitalism with commerce.
Reshared text: Necessity is the mother of invention. Says the universal book of superficial and vague life truths. Why did I trust and believe you? Just because it's ancient, should it automatically be assigned some extraordinary power of conviction? So who do you talk to if you're looking to make some amendments here?
Greed people, greed beats all in this category. As a fervent believer in ethical capitalism, a student of economics and management, and a professional in an industry and country vastly immersed in the philosophy of private property and revenue idolatry, I consider myself to know a little something about the cheese that leads the rat through the maze - and gives it diarrhea from time to time.
Greed in my opinion has such power over human behavior, that it's fueled us to come up with shit like mortgage backed securities, spyware, imaginary weapons of mass destruction, every armed conflict ever, Justin Bieber, and brace yourselves... baconnaise. Humanity weeps. Some of it anyways.
So, for the sake of our children, consider my request to change this saying into something more reflective of our reality, and spread the word: Greed is the befouled mother of invention
You're in the news, +Laura Gibbs. I'm also enrolled in the course mentioned in this article, "Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World", but I haven't participated. I should have canceled, but I keep thinking I'll be able to make time between writing and the day job to participate. While I might make excuses for not participating, at least I'm not trying to waste everybody else's time by resorting to plagiarism for a course which doesn't even offer college credit. That's just pathetic.
Why can't the Democrats come up with somebody who's a better libertarian than Ron Paul, if they don't care for Ron Paul's brand of libertarianism? Why aren't Democrats serious about ending foreign wars and the War on (Some) Drugs, both of which are detrimental to everybody but the rich?
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.
I've just been circled by somebody named +Sharon Tate, who seems to do nothing but reshare pictures posted by other people. Normally, I'd think "spammer", but because of the name my first thought was "Wait a minute. Didn't the Manson Family kill her?"
Suck it, Republicans. You're going to have to win the White House and get a solid majority in both houses of Congress if you want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Can you afford to do so?
Edit: Changing the link to theatlantic.com for better and live-updating coverage.
The most contentious aspect of the Affordable Care Act, the "individual mandate", is being upheld as a tax. Given that it's a somewhat regressive tax, being either a flat amount or up to a fixed percentage of income, one would think that the Republicans would be all for it. Those assholes love taxes that hit the poor and the middle classes harder than their true masters, the 0.1%.
I'm not sure there's any basis to this rumor, but if Apple is going to introduce a new 13" Macbook Pro, I hope it's got a retina display and no optical drive. I've been waiting to replace my old 2008 aluminum unibody Macbook.
RESHARE: REASONS TO VOTE REPUBLICAN (You know I'm being sarcastic, right?)
1. I vote Republican because I want the government to tell me how to be a moral person. 2. I vote Republican because I'm too chickenshit to murder people who have done me and mine no harm with my own hands. 3. I vote Republican because I think that wealth confers the wisdom needed to rule over others. 4. I vote Republican because I want everybody else's sex life to be as boring and vanilla as my own -- especially those nasty queers. 5. I vote Republican because I know they'll keep people who aren't hard-working, decent, real Americans (you know, immigrants and black people and the like) in their proper place. 6. I vote Republican because I like having corporations lord it over me and mine. 7. I vote Republican because science cannot be allowed to challenge the truth of God's Literal Word. 8. I vote Republican because I fear and hate women. 9. I vote Republican because I don't trust God to judge people in the next world, and want to see them judged in this one. 10. I vote Republican because I am empty inside, and can't figure out how to live my own life without authority to tell me what to do.
Reshared text: REASONS TO VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT
1. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 43% isn't. 2. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would. 3. I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it. 4. I vote Democrat because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves. 5. I vote Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius. 6. I vote Democrat because I'm not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive. 7. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits. 8. I vote Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the Democrats see fit. 9. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters. 10. I vote Democrat because I think that it's better to pay billions to people who hate us for their oil, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle or gopher. 11. I vote Democrat because while we live in the greatest, most wonderful country in the world, I was promised "HOPE AND CHANGE". (actually I thought I was going to get free gas and a house).
(Come on now, some of your Dems surely have a list for the Republicans!)
I'm surprised +Derek Thompson didn't tie this in with his other article, "The Cheapest Generation". For my part, my wife and I have chosen not to have children for different reasons. She's afraid of how the kids will turn out with me as the father, given what a problem child I become once I started going to school. For my part, I understand that the corporatist system depends in part on population growth to drive economic growth, and I see no reason why my wife and I should sacrifice our standard of living in order to help provide Leviathan with a new generation of serfs.
I love my wife, but I have to admit that if we had both been citizens of the same country, I might not have wanted to get married. I might, instead, have been content to move so that we could meet more easily when we wanted to be together, while still having a home of my own.
Even though I pay the rent, I often feel like my apartment isn't my home, or our home, but hers. There isn't a single room that doesn't have her things in it, a single room where I can be alone.
The only time I can really be alone, the only space that's exclusively mine, is my car. Could this be why so many men cling to automobiles?
The thought of divorce occurs to me from time to time. We don't have children, and she's always worked for a living. But I keep dismissing the idea as foolish. It was my idea to get married, and most of the time I do enjoy my wife's company. Being with her has been good for me. I owe her too much to walk out on her.
All the same, I miss having my own place, where I can put up garish heavy metal posters, eat when I'm hungry, and not feel like I need to justify buying a bigger TV or building a badass stereo rig. Yes, it's selfish.
RESHARE: This is why I hate fundies and forced-birth advocates, and why I am profoundly disappointed in the Republican Party for pandering to such people. Abortion is a woman's issue, and it is nobody's business but that of the woman and her doctor. Nobody else, not even God Himself, is entitled to a say in the matter.
So, the President signed #NDAA despite having "serious reservations" about provisions in the bill that trample due process rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. According to the Associated Press: "My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama said in the signing statement. "Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation."
That's well and good, but what about the next President's administration? Or the one after that? When a bill containing provisions that are probably unconstitutional hits the President's desk, the President is supposed to check and balance Congress by VETOING THE FUCKING THING!
He isn't supposed to express "serious reservations" or issue a signing statement. He's supposed to VETO THE FUCKING THING! If his veto is then overridden, then he can at least face the American people knowing that he upheld his oath to preserve and protect the Constitution.
However, Barack Obama is too spineless to uphold his oath and fulfill his responsibilities as President of the United States. Rather than do his job, he has proved himself an oathbreaker unfit for office, and a traitor to the ideals on which this country was founded. I'd rather vote for +Gary Johnson or +Ron Paul, even if they lose or "split the vote".
Oh, and +Newt Gingrich? I hope you're proud of yourself. You helped create the Republican Party of today, which is willing to embrace fascism and pass blatantly unconstitutional legislation in the name of "fighting terrorism".
It's time our so-called "leaders" and "representatives" were made to see that there are consequences to having shit for brains. Too bad the most vulnerable citizens in our society are those most likely to suffer them.
RESHARE: The chemical reactions we identify with fire require oxygen. Nuclear fusion does not. In fact, nuclear fusion can produce oxygen. Furthermore, it is possible to fuse elements up to iron while still having energy left over to continue fusion. Once a star fuses its matter into iron, fusion ends.
IN WHICH I COMPLETELY OVERTHINK A YA PARANORMAL ROMANCE Want to see what happens when long-haired metalheads who write science fantasy attempt to review romance? No? Too bad.
I should mention from the outset that I tend to avoid reading YA (young adult) fiction. I didn't like being a teenager, so reading about them isn't exactly appealing. I tend not to read romance, either, for reasons I can't even pretend are reasonable. However, Jessa Russo at http://www.jessarusso.com/ asked me to help her promote her second novel, Evade, by participating in her all-review blog tour.
First, the plot: seventeen year old Eleanor Van Ruysdael (whose nickname, Ever, is derived from her initials) has a dead boyfriend named Frankie, who died in a car crash which she survived. She isn't over him yet, but it might be difficult to get over a teen crush who insists on haunting you.
What begins as a tale of unrequited love becomes a love triangle when twenty-two-year-old Toby and his father movs into the house in which Frankie and his family used to live. Though Ever tells us she's stuck on Frankie on numerous occasions, she is instantly smitten with Toby -- to the relief of her friend Jess. After some courtship between Ever and Toby, the arrival of Toby's ex Ariadne further complicates matters.
Ariadne's arrival kicks Ever into high gear by introducing an interpersonal conflict halfway through the novel. Ever can't stand Ariadne, but the feeling isn't mutual because Ariadne doesn't regard Ever as an equal worthy of her enmity.
I won't comment further on the plot, lest I spoil the ending. Instead, I will shift my attention to the mechanisms driving the story. In particular, I wish to consider Ms. Russo's choice of viewpoint. Ever is told exclusively through the viewpoint of its protagonist. We only know what she tells us. We have no choice but to believe Frankie is real, because Ever tells us other people can see him. When Ever learns that Toby and Ariadne are "soul collectors", we can only take her words at face value, but Ever doesn't tell us what exactly soul collectors are, or how they do what they do, because she herself doesn't know. We remain ignorant of Toby's motives and those of Ariadne, because we're limited to Ever's viewpoint.
A cursory glance at the reviews on Goodreads suggests that this limited perspective frustrates a great many readers to the point where they end up despising the novel. I consider it Ever's chief virtue. While I might praise Ever's verisimilitude by virtue of its characters, who are annoying enough to remind me of the teenagers with whom I used to do time in high school, the real value of this novel lies in its unreliable narrator.
An unreliable narrator, according to Wikipedia, is "a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised" (emphasis mine). Ever's youth and inexperience alone might compromise her as a narrator, but it's her psychological issues which push her over the top. Her unresolved grief and survivors' guilt are both obvious from the first page of the first chapter. Furthermore, because we have to take her word for the fact that others can see Frankie, the ghost himself might be a figment of Ever's imagination -- or a delusion. Even the events culminating in Ever's cliffhanger ending might only be a fantasy, but it's a fantasy we must accept at face value, because we only know what Ever tells us.
I don't know if Jessa Russo intended for Ever to be an unreliable narrator. I could be overthinking a novel which is nothing more than solidly written young adult paranormal romance. Or, Jessa Russo might have infused her material with unexpected literary sophistication through her choice of viewpoint and the care with which she feeds the reader information.
Pick whichever interpretation you think is most flattering.
Ever by Jessa Russo (http://www.jessarusso.com/) is available now in both paperback and electronic editions, and is published by Curiosity Quills Press (http://www.curiosityquills.com). While we have a publisher in common, I received no considerations in exchange for this review, and I purchased my copy.
I'm disgusted, and not a bit surprised. In fact, I think the people running America's public schools approve of bullying, and have no qualms whatsoever about turning a blind eye while kids who don't fit in for any reason live in fear of those who do.
Naomi Bradleigh: [backing away from a shotgun pointed at her from inside a round door] "I assume you're Michael Brubaker. Or have I perhaps disturbed Mr. Bilbo Baggins?"
Michael Brubaker: "Great. Another hobbit joke. I can't believe my father not only bought into this monolithic dome crap, but had to have round windows and cover everything with sod. What do I have to do to get people to take me seriously around here?"
Naomi Bradleigh: "Have you considered simply walking into Mordor?"
A post by +Giselle Minoli about the attempted murder of Malala Yousufzai by a pig-raping Taliban militant became a discussion of violence in fiction and its glorification involving +Jennifer Tackman and myself. +Giselle Minoli had asked if there was a short-hand term for the use in film and TV of violence against women as a means of audience manipulation, and the only term which came to mind comes from comic fandom: "women in refrigerators". (Link below)
Being the asshole I am, I also free-associated with a certain Alice Cooper song called "Cold Ethyl", but that's tangential.
+Jennifer Tackman had also brought up desensitization to fictional violence, and asked me what I thought. My answer is that I don't buy the argument that repeated exposure to fictional violence inures most people to real-life violence. It's an argument I hear time and time again when it comes to violence in video games, especially when somebody like the Virginia Tech gunman or the gunmen responsible for Columbine are found to have enjoyed first-person shooters like Call of Duty or Doom.
I grew up on a steady diet of fictional violence. I craved it, and used to joke that my favorite things in life are consensual sex, ultraviolence, and Beethoven. I sought out violent media because for me, real life was violent. Violent fiction even offered perspective of a sort: what was a bully compared to a psychotic uncle who had summoned demons by opening an antique puzzle box?
Why are the Republicans closing ranks behind Todd #LegitimateRape Akin? Partisan interest, of course. They want that Senate seat, and they want to keep their ability to obstruct legislation by filibuster. They will do so by any means necessary, even if it means supporting somebody who spouts misogynistic bullshit in public.
I'm not going to claim that these numbers are grounded in anything resembling reality. In fact, I just ducked into the men's room and pulled 'em out of my ass. However, if I had a chance to reform the nation's tax code with the requirement that be simple and progressive, here's what I'd do.
First, I'd ban all state and municipal taxes. Let local and state government submit their budgets to Congress, who must take them into account when creating the Federal budget. If a state or municipality submits a budget wildly out of line with those submitted by other jurisdictions, the Federal government can pare it down, or investigate to see why so much money is being demanded. However, all taxes should be paid to a single authority. If we're going to have the strong central government of which Federalists like Alexander Hamilton dreamed, it's long past time to stop fucking around.
Second, here are your new tax brackets. All numbers are for individuals. Multiply them by the number of adults living together in a household. For businesses, multiply them by the number of full-time employees on the payroll for a year or more. I don't give a fuck as long as they pay their taxes.
$1 - 25,000 pays nothing. $25,001 - 50,000 pays 5%. $50,001 - 100,000 pays 20%. $100,001 - $300,000 pays 40%. $300,001- $1,000,000 pays 60%. All income above $1,000,000 pays 80%.
All income is taxed at the above rates regardless of source, if earned by a US resident. If you live outside the US, you don't pay taxes. You pay the same rates whether you made the money from wages, capital gains, profits on your business, or inheritance. You even pay the same rates if you're a church unless you can prove that at least 80% of your income is spent doing charity.
There should be no loopholes, and the only exception should be for non-residents; they pay taxes to the countries in which they reside, and shouldn't be forced to pay taxes to two countries.
I'd love to pimp slap every man and woman who thinks that "having it all" or "work-life balance" is just about balancing the responsibility to earn a living with the responsibility to raise one's children properly, whatever "properly" happens to mean. However, I've got better things to do with my hands, like explain to you why there's more to the situation than balancing work with family.
As far as American corporations are concerned, we're not people. We're human resources. We exist to be used, until we're of no further use, at which point we are replaced. This mentality on the part of the people whose names appear on our paychecks is a mentality which, if left unchecked, is inimical to any hope of having a semblance of a human life. If work is all that "really" matters, then there is no room for family, for friendship, for romance, for art, for philosophy, for faith, or for anything that makes us actual human beings instead of meat puppets.
This isn't a feminist issue, or a masculist issue. This isn't a parents' issue. This is a fucking human issue. You find it hard to be there for your kids? Guess what? I find it hard to carve out time to write fiction. +Jillian Ann finds it hard to carve out time for her music. +Giselle Minoli finds it hard to carve out time to fly and tend her garden. We all have a responsibility to earn a living, but that responsibility cannot be permitted to outweigh our inalienable fucking rights to live, be free, and pursue happiness.
I suspect that many Mormons don't dig too deeply into the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If they did, they'd find that the church's original founder, Joseph Smith, was semi-literate and a convicted con artist.
It appears that I've been circled by several hundred people in the last few days. I wonder if you all knew what you were getting into.
You see, I'm an unemployed software developer who codes for a living because I'm not a good enough writer to do that for a living. I happen to be a damn good coder as well, though my technical experience can be described with some accuracy as having more breadth than depth. My resume is available upon request.
I write an unholy bastard hybrid of science fiction and fantasy. If you want androids who don't know they're not human fighting demons from outer space, I'm the man to read. I'm currently rewriting my novel, Starbreaker, because the draft I completed in 2009 just isn't good enough. I tend to post draft chapters, as well as outtakes written in response to +Nina Pelletier's writing prompts, here in my public stream.
I'm quite opinionated, and tend to hold forth on articles I've read. I post the occasional video, which usually involves music I like. I tend not to post animated GIF images or image macros.
I use profanity. If that offends you, you might want to un-circle me.
Politically, I think that government and business feed off each other to the detriment of the vast majority of the people, and that we should seek nonviolent means to end this Faustian 69 in which government and corporate America are currently absorbed.
I am not religious. I do not believe in gods or the supernatural. I am not spiritual.
I am prone to occasional fits of ranting and raving, and my sense of humor often involves jokes that might only make sense after I've ruined them with an explanation.
Holy crispety-crunchety crap! How the hell did I end up in the circles of a thousand people?! I'm just a long-haired metalhead who writes science fantasy, and tends to either geek out, rant about the news and politics, or post rock videos.
I have no idea who most of you guys are, and I suppose I should do something about that. So ask me some questions. Time permitting, I will answer all reasonable questions to the best of my ability.
RESHARE: My own experiences were similar, so I tend to hold American public schools and those who work there in contempt, even if they don't deserve it. I wouldn't send one of my own children to a government-run school.
Reshared text: When I was in the second grade, I was sent to special education courses during recess because I was disinterested in coursework.
When I was in the fifth grade, they tried to put me on Ritalin because I was a disruption to class.
When I was in the seventh grade, I was suspended for reading a book (or sleeping) in class after a test because it was "disruptive."
When I was in the ninth grade, I was nearly expelled for arguing with my teacher after she threw a book in the trash because I refused to "recheck my work" after an exam.
When I was in the eleventh and twelfth grades, I was in remedial English, because I "struggled" getting it.
Today, I score in the upper eighty to lower ninety percentile for Rhetoric and Reading. Please excuse me if I think your quick fixes, diagnoses, and magic pills aren't part of the solution.
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.
RESHARE: I don't see the point in asking women for sex. Women have voices. If they want sex badly enough, they will ask. It might just take a while, if they grew up in a shitty culture where women aren't encouraged to either understand or express their own desires.
RESHARE: It's not that Rick Perry is a Christian, but that he won't shut up about his Christian faith. Furthermore, Rick Perry uses his Christian faith as an excuse to be willfully ignorant about science, espouse reactionary politics, and trample the rights of people who don't share his faith, look like him, or live the way he thinks they should live.
RESHARE: To paraphrase Voltaire: if you can be persuaded to believe absurdities, you can be persuaded to commit atrocities. The more fervent your belief, the greater your potential for cruelty in the name of that belief.
Ronald Reagan often called religion the world's mightiest force for good, "the bedrock of moral order." George Bush said it gives people "the character they need to get through life." This view is held by millions. But the truism isn't true. The record of human experience shows that where religion is strong, it causes cruelty. Intense beliefs produce intense hostility. Only when faith loses its force can a society hope to become humane.
The history of religion is a horror story. If anyone doubts it, just review this chronicle of religion's gore during the last 1,000 years or so: http://bit.ly/o4Ndee
That's strange. A chapter in Starbreaker usually runs between 1500 and 4000 words, but I was able to finish Chapter 10, "Before the Dawn", in less than 700. But it's not a chapter that needs to be long. It's just a look at Morgan and Naomi alone together without the world closing in on them. It's about intimacy, not length. I'll post it tomorrow.
When was the last time you bought and read a physical book? What was it? These are the last five paper books I bought this year.
* Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun in two volumes, Shadow & Claw and Sword and Citadel * C. J. Chivers: The Gun * Norman Mailer: The Castle in the Forest * George R. R. Martin: A Dance with Dragons * Andrew Hunt & David Thomas: The Pragmatic Programmer
See this? This is the M1 Garand, the semiautomatic rifle with which the United States fought and won the Second World War. Want to know how many rounds of ammunition this sweet old lady held? It held 8 rounds. That's right: The M1 held eight rounds of .30-06 ammo, and American soldiers used it to overthrow two tyrannical regimes: Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
If you think you need an AR-15 with a thirty-round mag to "fight tyranny", you need to stop being such a fuckin' size queen.
RESHARE: Maybe gun control should apply to the cops.
Reshared text: EAST CLEVELAND, OH -- Two unarmed suspects were slain by police officers after a 25-minute pursuit. At the conclusion of the chase, which included 62 police vehicles, 13 officers drew their weapons and unloaded at least 137 rounds in to the suspects' Chevy Malibu. No weapons were found, and there was no evidence of return fire. The police were so violent and so reckless that they even shot up their own cruisers with friendly fire.
The police supervisor was only aware of 3 patrol cars pursuing the suspects. The remaining 59 had no authorization to join the chase, and ignored dispatch's instructions to terminate pursuit.
One officer climbed on top of the suspects' vehicle and shot 49 rounds into the occupants.