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Archive for May, 2009

New ideas

May 26, 2009 Leave a comment

So Prop 8 is ok, but the 18,000 gay couples already married can stay that way.

Some might say that the 18,000 existing gay marriages are a loss for the religious right. I say it’s an opportunity. For what? Gay marriage cap and trade.

What better way to show you have some new ideas and aren’t all “gay marriage will lead to people marrying hamsters” than to riff on the hip new emissions cap and trade policy that’s making waves in Washington (or will, anyway).

You’ve already got a cap: 18,000. You need a rate of decrease. You don’t want to seem strident, so you go with 2,000 a year. You shouldn’t have any problems getting that from the number of divorces. That gives you almost a decade to wipe out gay marriage. Long time? Maybe, but you remember that California is well and truly fucked anyway. You probably don’t use “fucked,” though.

Now, let’s say that in any given year, half the marriages end in divorce. So maybe after the first year you have 7,000 (16,000 minus 9,000, keep up) licenses to auction off. What do you get for those marriages? How much would you have paid to marry your wife? One thousand? Two thousand? Ten thousand? In any case, you’re talking millions per year in new revenue (and you didn’t even factor in the death rate!). Now, it’s not enough to cover the $8 billion budget shortfall (unless you’re going to ask $1 million plus per marriage at the outset), but you’ll be doing your part to help California.

There are fringe benefits, too. The new gay marriage loan industry? Just what the struggling mortgage industry needs!

Why are you all looking at me like that?

Categories: Religion, Silliness

Hardcore

May 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m a couple days late, but this is still worth mocking:

REID: I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear.

QUESTION: No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.

REID: Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.

QUESTION: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? …

REID: I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.

Harry Reid is so hardcore that even releasing accused terrorists so they could be moved is not acceptable. In transit they won’t be in prison, so that counts as released.

I guess.

Categories: Congress

Random thought

May 19, 2009 3 comments

The number of movies I’ve seen based on Philip K. Dick books makes it difficult to find an unsullied PKD reading experience.

On the plus side, the A Scanner Darkly movie made little sense to me, so maybe that’s the way to go.

I heard Obama gave a speech at Notre Dame. How’d that go?

I’m going on vacation tomorrow to the land of the wood paneled K-Mart. I will hopefully have a report on the continuing struggle of the immigrant proletariat against the bourgeoisie’s corrupt tourist economy.

Needless to say, serious thoughts are scarce.

Categories: Culture

Helmets…for seals

May 16, 2009 Leave a comment

You knew that, but this is still strange, even for them. In response to Joystiq’s request for their thoughts about a seal-clubbing minigame for Overlord II, they said this:

In real life, seals don’t have helmets and can’t fight back, but perhaps you’ll soon see PETA-made helmets for baby seals in Canada.

I think PETA have finally reached the pinnacle of absurdity: a statement so ridiculous that it can’t be mocked. It’s almost a perfect representation of their lunacy, only missing their trademark offensiveness (holocaust on a plate, anyone?).

Bravo, PETA.

Categories: Culture, Silliness

Star Trek

May 10, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m not much of a Star Trek guy. I’ve seen a few of the more recent movies (First Contact being the good one I’ve seen) and a smattering of TNG and DS9 episodes. This is due mostly to laziness, not any dislike of the universe. With that out of the way, the movie was fantastic. It’s not particularly deep (which I’ve seen complaints about), but it was thoroughly entertaining. There’s very little in the way of plot (we must stop evil bad guy from reaching Earth!), so it’s essentially a story about the characters. It’s amazing to me how much I know about these characters simply from pop culture. I’ve seen just a part of one episode of TOS and I rarely felt lost when the ST fans in the audience laughed or applauded the references to the series.

Now that they’ve started things off with a bang, I’m looking forward to where they go next (assuming sequels).

Other assorted thoughts: Nokia! Dr. Cameron is Kirk’s mom! Carson Beckett somehow managed to sneak into Starfleet’s barracks. Sticking Scotty in some kind of water tube contraption was dumb.

Categories: Culture

The world is ending

May 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Michael Gerson has written a column about religion that doesn’t make me want to throw things.

At a recent conference of journalists organized by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Putnam outlined the conclusions of “American Grace,” based on research still being sifted and refined. Against the expectations of hard-core secularists, Putnam asserts, “religious Americans are nicer, happier and better citizens.” They are more generous with their time and money, not only in giving to religious causes but to secular ones. They join more voluntary associations, attend more public meetings, even let people cut in line in front of them more readily. Religious Americans are three to four times more socially engaged than the unaffiliated. Ned Flanders is a better neighbor.

Against the expectations of many religious believers, this dynamic has little to do with the content of belief. Theology is not the predictor of civic behavior; being part of a community is. People become social joiners and contributors when they have friends who pierce their isolation and invite their participation. And religious friends, says Putnam, are “more powerful, supercharged friends.”

Notwithstanding my hard-core secularism, this is more or less the conclusion at which I’ve arrived. Religion is a powerful social construct here. Europe is different and I haven’t quite reconciled that in my mind yet (their generally more extensive social programs replace some of religion’s functions here?).

I dislike the conclusion, but what can you do? It’s still a bit much to say our society would collapse without religion. A lot would change, but why couldn’t we follow a path similar to some European countries?

Categories: Religion

Tortured religion

May 6, 2009 1 comment

This Pew survey about support for torture by religious affiliation is enlightening.

For a group that prides itself on values, evangelicals are the least likely to say torture is never justified, preferring the more relative “sometimes” and the awful “often” options. Mainline protestants have the fewest undecideds and the most in the “never” category and are pretty evenly split between often/sometimes and rarely/never. The unaffiliated prove themselves to be the most anti-torture (but they’re not sure about it, having a higher number of undecideds and fewer “nevers” than the mainline Protestants).

But I like the break out by church attendance. Weekly or monthly churchgoers are pretty comparable, but the bigger jump comes when you go from monthly attendance to seldom or never. I guess all that torture in the Bible goes straight to their heads.

But really, we’re a more pro-torture country that we should be, and that’s disheartening.

Categories: Domestic Policy, Religion
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