blueollie

Right Wing Fantasies, Military, Amish, Football

Ok, what is that President Obama going to do NOW…something that takes away our freedoms? Well, look no further:

Can websites be forced to change to accommodate the disabled — by using “simpler language” to appeal to the “intellectually disabled,” or by making them accessible to the blind and deaf at considerable expense?

[...]

But now, the Obama administration appears to be planning to use the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to force many web sites to either accommodate the disabled, or shut down. Given the enormous cost of complying, many small web sites might well just go dark and shut down. The administration wants to treat web sites as “places of public accommodation“ subject to the ADA, even though they are not physical places. Courts used to reject this argument when it was made just by disabled plaintiffs, but now that the Justice Department is making it, too, some judges are beginning to buy it, opening the door to trial lawyers surfing the web and sending out extortionate demand letters to every small business whose web site is not accessible to the blind (or perhaps too hard to understand for the mentally-challenged).

As Atlas’s Alexander Cohen notes, “the Department of Justice may soon issue regulations on website accessibility. Jared Smith, an accessibility consultant, even urges businesses to use simple language for the intellectually disabled.” (Bye, bye, speech similar to Shakespeare or the Gettysburg Address, with their archaic or flowery language that violates supposed best practices about how to write.)

Hmmm, the last I checked bookstores still had quantum mechanics text books.

Us missile force
This isn’t good: some morale problems (“dead end for officers”) may have contributed to sloppy practices. We don’t need that.

Writing about what you don’t understand. Interesting: Rolling Stone talks about “rape in the military”. But they start with the case of a woman who clearly drove while intoxicated…evidently after having been drugged (by a drink) and raped. However the author of the article didn’t seem to get that driving while intoxicated is serious (and would lead to some severe punishments) and that toxicology reports showed no known date rape drugs in the system. They also don’t seem to get that people in the military (NOT necessarily the lady in question) will make stuff up to get out of things; hence investigators have to take a skeptical attitude toward charges that don’t have “in your face” evidence from the start.

The Learning Channel: I used to like The History Channel and TLC; now it mostly shows junk. Here is but one example. Note: yes, this is a Salon article and the title is misleading. The article is about the network making stuff up and NOT about it being bad to record someone leaving their religion and religious community.

NFL Ever wonder what happens to players a decade or so after they quit playing, when the body starts its “payback” from all of those injuries? Much to my astonishment, the NFL players union didn’t negotiate long term disability or long term (past 5 years) health insurance. Hence some of the guys end up in pretty bad shape and unable to find health insurance.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | civil liberties, football, free speech, NFL, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Freedom to criticize religion (and atheists too)

Note: I am finishing this half-marathon race about 9 minutes “faster” than the winners of the Boston Marathon ran the whole thing. They are literally almost twice as fast as I am.

Post

As far as I am concerned: laws that ban criticism of religion are backwards and barbaric:

A court here handed down a suspended 10-month prison term on Monday for Fazil Say, an internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist and composer convicted of insulting Islam and offending Muslims in postings on Twitter.

Mr. Say, 42, who has performed with major orchestras in places around the world, including New York, Berlin and Tokyo, said during earlier hearings that the accusations against him went “against universal human rights and laws.” The sentence was suspended for five years, meaning that the pianist will not be sent to prison unless he is convicted of new offenses within that period.

In recent years, many intellectuals, writers and artists have been prosecuted for statements about Islam and Turkish identity, both of which the pro-Islamic government seeks to shield from criticism. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, however, have rarely figured in previous trials, although Turks are active users of the sites.

The messages cited in the indictment were Mr. Say’s personal remarks referring to a poem by a famous 11th-century Persian poet, Omar Khayyam, that poked fun at an Islamic vision of the afterlife. The poem was sent to Mr. Say from another user before he forwarded it.

In another personal Twitter post, he joked about the rapid call to prayer at a nearby mosque, questioning whether the muezzin who made the call wanted to get away quickly for a drink.

“Religion of Peace”? Sorry: but the behavior of the Islamic republics does Islam no favors. Note: Turkey is supposed to be a “moderate” country.
People who can’t accept freedom of speech do not belong in the United States.

Boston Marathon Bombing
I don’t know who did it or what group did it. I have my prejudices (re: mostly “homegrown” nutbags or criminals is my “out of thin air” guess) but we will have to let the police do their work. But of course, when stuff like this happens, the conspiracy kooks and the “the godless are responsible” kooks come out in the open.

April 16, 2013 Posted by | free speech, religion, running, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Cheers for science, boos for cold. :-)

Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 9.45.40 AM

I just walked out the door to go to the gym, saw the sunshine and said “oh bleep it, I am going outside”. But I bundled up:
underwear, bike shorts, tights, second pair of shorts
nylon shirt, long sleeve t shirt, sweat shirt, gortex jacket
mittens (heavy duty)
stocking cap.

And yes, my feet got cold; should have worn wool socks. I chose my 417 feet of climb course since the cold ALWAYS slows me a bit.

corn64clmb417

Time: 1:04:45 (51:17 for the 5.1 segment). It was only 10 minutes per mile but I still sweated up a storm. And I did enjoy the sun.

Social
A West Virginia paper printed someone’s anonymous phone rant; it was filled with slurs and threats. My beef: it was anonymous. Had this person used his name/address and they verified that it WAS that individual, then, hey, go ahead and print it.

Science

We have a more complete picture of the background microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang.

We also have a promising candidate for a leukemia treatment:

A treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer has, for the first time, produced remissions in adults with an acute leukemia that is usually lethal, researchers are reporting.

In one patient who was severely ill, all traces of leukemia vanished in eight days.

“We had hoped, but couldn’t have predicted that the response would be so profound and rapid,” said Dr. Renier J. Brentjens, the first author of a new study of the therapy and a specialist in leukemia at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The treatment is experimental, has been used in only a small number of patients and did not work in all of them. But experts consider it a highly promising approach for a variety of malignancies, including other blood cancers and tumors in organs like the prostate gland.

The new study, in five adults with acute leukemia in whom chemotherapy had failed, was published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Go Science!!!

March 21, 2013 Posted by | biology, cosmology, free speech, running, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Is Mitt Romney even trying? Plus: a free speech comment.

Workout notes
AM: 4 mile run (4.2 in 40:07; Cornstalk course) with a 8:44 last 1.03. It felt fine; no cars on the park loop, though it was dark.
I followed it by a 2 mile walk (Moss). Stretching and free squats after.

PM: lunch: 1800 swim (no Tracy today); 500 warm up (9:50), 10 x 50 on the 1, 10 x (25 side, 25 free), 4 x (25 3g, 25 free), 2 x (25 fly, 25 free).
I felt tired prior to the swim; better after. The water was nice and cold.

Posts
I like Randazza’s article about free speech and what a government run metro service can decline or decide to accept. I might take issue with his characterization of the groups in conflict; after all I can criticize the Bible without worrying that a Rabbi might to impose some death sentence for “being insulted”. Islam, as practiced in many parts of the world at this time in human history, is relatively backward.

But this isn’t to say that the other religions are at all reasonable; after all how much bloodshed has their been over parts of Jerusalem which, really, are not much more than a pile of rocks. And you have two groups of people of roughly the same size on one parcel of land, so the best solution is, well, rather easy…provided you take religion out of the equation.

2012 election
Today on Intrade: President O is at 75 percent.

Why?

One wonders if Mr. Romney is even trying to win.

Yes, he still might; a 25 percent chance is NOT a zero percent chance.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, civil liberties, free speech, political/social, politics, religion, running, swimming, walking | Leave a comment

Perceptions, noxious speech and other topics…

Weekly address

Mr. Romney: quit lying:

But hey, some porn stars are backing Santorum? Really, they released a hilarious ad.

Noxious Speech
This is NPR’s interview with Randazza about the Cox case and how one fights bad speech with more speech.

Of course, free speech carries consequences, and the National Review canned the writer who wrote a very openly racist screed in an e-magazine. Of course, the National Review used to publish stuff just like this: (via here)

Here’s what NR had to say about the Birmingham church bombings after they occurred:

Let us gently say the fiend who set off the bomb does not have the sympathy of the white population in the South; in fact, he set back the cause of the white people there so dramatically as to raise the question whether in fact the explosion was the act of a provocateur — of a Communist, or of a crazed Negro.

And let it be said that the convulsions that go on, and are bound to continue, have resulted from revolutionary assaults on the status quo, and a contempt for the law, which are traceable to the Supreme Court’s manifest contempt for the settled traditions of Constitutional practice. Certainly it now appears that Birmingham’s Negroes will never be content so long as the white population is free to be free.

And, of course, there’s more. Lots more after the fold.

From an unsigned National Review editorial printed August 24, 1957, titled “Why the South Must Prevail” (probably by William F. Buckley Jr.):

The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists

So, with this in mind, it is no wonder why people are so divided on the Trayvon Martin case and why whites are so reluctant to condemn this murder.

April 8, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, civil liberties, free speech, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, racism, republicans, rick santorum | Leave a comment

Marathons, Hate Crimes and Auroras

Marathons: how long does it take to “recover” from one?
Answer: “it depends”. :) Check out this New York Times article.

Factors:
1. Was it a running or walking marathon?
2. How hard did you go? After all, a 100 mile race has you doing almost 4 of these back to back.
3. How efficient are you? The more efficient among us do less damage to their bodies.

Civil liberties
Randazza links to an interesting article about so-called “hate crime” laws.

There was a case in which a college student put a video feed in his room and showed his roommate having gay sex…and he said some rather rude things about it. His roommate ended up jumping off a bridge and killing himself; this case went to court where the roommate was convicted and faces jail time and deportation.

So:

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT NUMBER ONE: Let’s say that Clementi never jumped off that bridge, but everything else about the case remains the same. Do you believe that Ravi would have even been prosecuted for what he did, much less convicted by a jury and facing ten years in jail? More to the point: If you’d been on that jury, and Tyler Clementi was alive and appearing in court as the plaintiff, would you have felt compelled to put Ravi behind bars for up to a decade? I doubt it. Remember, Ravi’s awful behavior would still have been the same. But few people would probably choose to convict him in the absence of a corpse.

What does that tell us? It says that his actions only amount to a crime when there are certain outcomes that he had no control over. (It’s not like he handed Clementi a gun and advised him to shoot himself. And even if he had, that final deed would still be Clementi‘s choice, and no one else’s.) [...]

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT NUMBER TWO: What if Ravi had spied on Clementi while the latter was making out with a woman? I’ll let The Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen flesh that one out a bit:[...]

Surf to the link to read the rest.

Aurora

Click on the thumbnail to see the spectacular photo with explanation.

March 21, 2012 Posted by | civil liberties, free speech, marathons, racewalking, running, social/political | Leave a comment

Neutrinos, Fox News Victim Card and Some Religion

Neutrinos: no, they don’t move faster than the speed of light. New experimental evidence is in.

Remember the FFF “hey lapsed or liberal Catholic: why don’t you leave the Church” ad that appeared in the New York Times? A similar “why don’t you leave Islam” ad was rejected by the Times.

Text:

Will it be religious freedom, freedom of speech, or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or imams and their wrongs? Whose side are you on?

In light of the ongoing, ruthless, international jihad against non-Muslims, the 1,400-year record of institutionalized oppression of women, the 18,560 Islamic attacks across the world since 9/11, and the endangering of free peoples across the world, if you’re part of the Islamic jihad, you’re part of the problem.

Why are you aiding and abetting Islamic leaders who have repeatedly and publicly announced a jihad to subjugate Christians, Jews, Hindus, and all non-Muslims, and to deny the rights of all women everywhere, Muslim or not?

Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of the Islam’s antiquated doctrine that commands jihad and genocide.

If you imagine you can change the mosque from within — get it to lighten up on Jew-hatred, hatred of women, hatred of non-Muslims, hatred of gays — you are deluding yourself. If you remain a “good Muslim,” you are doing “bad” to the rights of women and non-Muslims everywhere. You’re kidding yourself if you think the mosque is ever going to expunge the Qur’an of its violent texts that inspire jihad, or interpret them out of existence.

Your mosque hysterically claims that freedom of speech and the truth about jihad and Islamic supremacism are “an assault against Islam.” You are savvy enough to realize that the real assault is by the mosque against human rights. A captured internal document of the Muslim Brotherhood declares that its goal in the U.S. is “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.” Is that an agenda you endorse?

Obama has compromised, but Islam never budges. Instead, it is fully embarked upon a stealth jihad, using the Justice Department to force businesses and educational institutions to accommodate Islamic law — the same Islamic law that denies the freedom of speech, mandates death for apostates, and oppresses women and non-Muslims.

Why put up with an institution that dehumanizes women and non-Muslims — fully 9/10ths of humanity? Ask your imam: Does he support Hamas? Hizb’Allah? The destruction of Israel? Does he condemn the slaughter of Christians in Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, etc. Does he vocally denounce Islamic honor killings, FGM, forced marriages, child marriage, polygamy? As a “moderate” Muslim, you tell yourself and the world that you have chucked out the violent doctrine and hateful, oppressive decrees of your religion, and yet you keep identifying with the ideology that threatens liberty for women and menaces freedom by slaughtering, oppressing and subjugating non-Muslims.

There is a more welcoming home for you!

Join those of us who put humanity above the vengeful, hateful and violent teachings of Islam’s “prophet.”

As a member of the “umma,” of an avowedly hateful, supremacist, and antidemocratic club, isn’t it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en mosque.

Very truly,
Pamela Geller
President, Stop Islamization of Nations, American Freedom Defense Initiative
Robert Spencer
Vice-President, Stop Islamization of Nations, American Freedom Defense Initiative

The reason given: the ad, according to the Times, might put our troops in danger. In other words, backwards people who will riot when the hear stuff that they don’t like in effect have a veto over what we say?

Also from Friendly Atheist: a collection of various atheist posters and billboards.

Personally, I prefer the ones aimed at those who are already skeptical: “have doubts? You aren’t alone”, etc.

But one thing to consider: yes, young people are leaving churches. But the primary reason is NOT atheists (“New Atheists” or otherwise). Here is a blog post from a Christian blog on this topic.

My whole point of talking about these topics: I am not really out to convert anyone, per se. What I want is: I’d like to see religious myths taken out of public policy and science! I don’t want people thinking that some deity will protect us from the consequences of climate change or driving public policy decisions.

I sometimes talk about the intellectual aspects and what makes sense to me…and about what doesn’t make sense to me. But that isn’t about converting anyone else.

Fox News: victims. Jon Stewart says STFU.

March 18, 2012 Posted by | atheism, Fox News Lies Again, free speech, physics, religion, science | Leave a comment

Free Speech: only when it is not offensive to me.

Randazza wrote a CNN column basically arguing that Rush Limbaugh has free speech rights. Note: I agree with Randazza on the FCC issue but not on the sponsor boycott issue; to me, patronizing or not patronizing a sponsor is akin to ticket buying. If there is a market for Limbaugh’s stuff, lots of people will patronize his sponsors.

But the free speech was too much for some Daily Kos; someone wrote a diary saying how awful he is, how horrible women have it…and many making comments agree.

Again, the argument wasn’t that Limbaugh is awful; it is YOU don’t have the right to decide (via the government) what message gets broadcast. Of course you can choose which radio stations you listen to and where you spend your money, and you can denounce him all you want.

I’ll join you on the latter three.

But more and more, I am beginning to understand that free speech is not really valued by many….until THEIR free speech is threatened.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | civil liberties, free speech | Leave a comment

The Dumbest Senator and Free Speech

Jerry Coyne has some fun at the expense of the dumbest (or most cynical) Senator in the Union: Jim Inhofe. Inhofe is playing the old “God is in charge so we don’t have to worry about global warming” canard.

My guess: he is really following the Book of Exxon, not Genesis. Were Big Oil to suddenly get into green energy, then Sen. Inhofe would find some justification to back it…from the Bible. Remember Sen. Inhofe represents Oklahoma…..the state where they “investigate” Richard Dawkins appearances.

On the Free Speech end, Randazza has a nice column in CNN defending Rush Limbaugh’s free speech rights.

I agree that the FCC should NOT try to force him off of the air. But I disagree that a sponsor boycott amounts to a shouting down; to me it amounts to “not buying a ticket for the performance” since Mr. Limbaugh is paid because of sponsors. This is the only way to “not buy a ticket”. His fans can counter that buy really patronizing the sponsors and boycotting the sponsors that pull their ads.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | civil liberties, free speech, moron, morons, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics | Leave a comment

“Teh” Stupid: from my own side….

Here is a political fact: if your side only attracts smart people, your side will lose and lose big.

But it is painful to watch sometimes.

I read this Think Progress post about an economics professor who posted an article “defending” Rush Limbaugh on his blog.

I’ll get into the professor’s argument in a moment. But the Think Progress article said this:

The post prompted a statement of condemnation from University President Joel Seligman, who said, “I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.”

At the beginning Landsburg’s class Wednesday afternoon, the students, formed a line between him and the class as he continued the lecture.

Huh???? She testified and the professor gave his opinion on the testimony. It wasn’t flattering, but so what? I made a comment and that got some responses, most were rather “unlettered”. Scroll down on my wall to see them.

Some of them implied it was NOT ok to attack her testimony. What???? If testimony isn’t to be scrutinized, then why have it?

Oh well. Now what did the professor actually say? I linked to his blog post and will give my opinion on it:

But while Ms. Fluke herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty. I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it.

(emphasis mine)

Ok, yes, some ideas deserve ridicule; for example if someone suggested changing the geology curriculum to conform to Biblical creation myths, that idea would deserve ridicule. To treat such an idea with respect WOULD be a travesty…just like treating the idea that “tax cuts for the wealthy enhances revenue” as a serious idea would also be a travesty.

But I think the professor errs here: I don’t think that she was called on as an expert on policy witness; she was more of a “putting a human face to the statistics” witness.

But whether or not he chose the right word, what I just don’t get is why the pro-respect crowd is aiming all its fire at Rush. Which is more disrespectful — his harsh language or Sandra Fluke’s attempt to pick your pocket?

What is disrespectful is that the professor wants his idea treated seriously. Look: human sexuality is an important part of emotional and mental health; we are hard wired to enjoy a sex life. But advances in human medicine has made infant and child survival rates skyrocket but our libidos were primed for a time when infant/childhood survival was much lower. Also, pregnancy would be dangerous for some and bad (on many levels) for many. Hence, in this sense, birth control can be thought of a component for emotional and mental health.

Picking pockets? Hmmm, I’d imagine that pregnancy and subsequent baby causes would exceed those of the pills, no? I would think that birth control would make sense on economic grounds.

Besides, look at what health insurance covers: it covers stuff that is mostly quality of life related. Example: over the past two years I had a meniscus tear cut off (right knee). I could still walk a little and do my job; I just had pain. The surgery really helped. I also had physical therapy for my shoulder (ok, 30 dollar copay per session). But that took the night aches away; but I WAS getting along without it.

“Picking the pocket?”

Really; we spend money on dumber stuff than this all of the time.

March 10, 2012 Posted by | free speech, politics, politics/social, Rush Limbaugh, social/political | 4 Comments

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