Saturday, August 05, 2006

Image Warz 2 4/3 - Attack of the Poutine!

Clearly, I am not French. And yet, I still taunt you! lame Obscure graphic references to bad Elvis movies are no response to the hell that is "disco fries". Punkass Blog manages a hit, a miss, and a tragic error. (Your opinion may vary as to which is which. And yes, I KNOW there are four images in their volley.)

However, the Dreaded SS has staged a sneak attack with the aid of the Porn Klown Posse. Kinda NSFW...

Head Nurse seems to have conceded defeat - or de fries, at least - while admitting in public her disgusting French habit of dipping them in mayo instead of Le sauce Americane'

Clearly victory is within my grasp! I've searched my hard drives and the Internet for the most disturbing images possible.

At first, I thought this would do : Unconvincing Fake Boobage. But in thinking about it, that example isn't at all funny compared to some even bigger boobs out there.

Then I realized I had a collection of ana voog's images in there. Now, ana is an intenet live cam performance artist. And she also knits hats. You know, the sorts of hats that you would kind of expect a performance artist to knit. Why, here's an example!

But it's really not up to fetal cosplay or clown groping, is it? And I thought of uploading my favorite customisable Dick Cheney joke - but seems to be down.

Well, if you need a dirty job done properly - you need to do it yourself. This war was started with Evil Photoshopping and it will be ENDED that way!

The View from My Cloister

Via Instapundit, believe it or not - to THIS post concerning the Libertarian perspective on the Iraq situation

Henry at Crooked Timber challenges me to provide more background on why the fiasco in Iraq is another instance of government failure. I do so in the comments to his post and expand somewhat here.
An interesting post, and you should read it, but I really had little to say other than to nod in approval that such sensible things are as yet being written, while being saddened at the necessity for them to be said. So, rather than add to my ennui I looked to the navigation bar and found this - another question I would be interested in hearing from others about.

Marginal Revolution asks a simple question: Does blogging improve our lives?

I'm not talking about BlogAds revenue or better chances to write Op-Eds. I mean our lives. Ben Casnocha writes:

...I recently had a great solo dinner in Rome. I had a terrific companion (newspaper) and good food. About 1/4 of the way through this thought crossed my mind: "This is an awesome meal. I'm going to blog it." I did. I was committed in my mind to making it a positive night overall, and it did end up that way. In sum: when I know I'm going to blog an experience, I'm committed to making it a positive experience, and since intention and reaction mostly define the quality of an experience, it usually turns out positive. True, I could always commit to having positive days each day, but knowing I will blog something introduces a weird form of "public accountability."

Ben is an excellent blogger; here are Ben's impressions of France. Is he right about blogging?

I didn't actually read Ben's impressions of France, much less his positive meal experience - for neither is about why I write, nor about why I read. But there are many other comments, with the general consensus that it is positive - and for as many different reasons as there are bloggers. Here, then, is mine, posted here when it became too long to be a comment.

I write for an audience (often a largely imaginary one) - but mostly I write for myself. And Someday, When I Have Time I Will Write That Important Book... oh, wait, I have!

So, someday when I have time I will merely have to collate it and insert the illustrations.

But that alone is too simple.

I'm one of those people who needs to think aloud in order to make my thoughts coherent - indeed, to see if they are thoughts at all. A lot of my posts never make it out of draft stage; I review it and think, "and your point would be?"

I mean, how often can one point out that Bill O'Reilly is an idiot, unless it serves a larger point? How often must we linger at the spectacle of Ann Coulter? Granted, it's a train-wreck - but it's hardly a fresh one. The crumpled metal is starting to rust, and it's rather hard to argue that either represent anything but their own, largely imaginary audiences.

I blog is because it gives me a sense that it's possible to do something other than despair, drop out or consider joining mass acts of civil disobedience.

And it gives me a reason to read, think and consider various viewpoints. Instead of becoming more radicalized by our political and military situation, I believe that I have become more moderate, if anything.

As a Constitutionalist and a Left - Libertarian, there is much to be angry about, much to feel upset about, and it gives me a positive way of dealing with those feelings, in a way that has a chance of achieving something.

Finally, I have a unique perspective that is only partially my own doing. I can claim credit for how I explore my perspective, but there are few that can claim to be on both the Autistic and Dissociative spectra to the extent that both affect them, and who have explored communications as a means to cope as I have done.

I don't want to seem like I'm complaining, because I'm immensely happy with my life and it's very much enhanced by what has become an avocation of gawking audibly at the seemingly bizarre things "normal" people do. My entire life, it seems, has been consumed by trying discern the thought processes of ordinary folks well enough to predict what may happen next. In doing so, I have explored everything that seems to be spoken and unspoken motivation, from preachers to pornography and while I've learned a great deal that illuminated my hindsight, it improved my foresight only to the extent that I could avoid bad outcomes, not so well that I could find good ones to participate in. Whatever my motives and the motives of those around me, understanding did not seem to lead to fitting in.

I finally realized that "fitting in" was going to be the death of me, a different definition of success was in order.

Thanks to the Internet, then the web, and now blogging, I'm able to interact with people in ways that are tolerable and rewarding for me, without making myself and others uncomfortable. In another lifetime, I might well have emulated Julian of Norwich, and retreated to a nice quiet cell for a life of contemplation.

Although my good friend Julia suggests that the famous Anchoress was herself part of the Internet of her day and in part responsible for some of the ferment that led to the Reformation. This was before printing presses became common and the standardization of mail - so all communication was, in fact, "packet switched" with no governing central mechanism.

An interesting observation - and perhaps a reason why the thought of standardising and regulating the mails became compelling to Authorities, even as the thought of regulating the Internet so enthralls them today.

Goddess forbid that People might Get Ideas, much less THINK about them! (And, like Julian - there are times I have appreciated my equivalant of thick stone walls and an approach guarded by a bemused, but proud congregation. )

I've come to realize that it's important to bring the excercise of reason and the understanding of the practical necessity of compassion back into the public square. While I make no claims of being especially more qualified for this - I have noticed the need, and "to complain is to volunteer."

I can think of no better legacy than to be thought of as being responsible in part for a little fermentation myself. Meanwhile, I commend you to my friend Julia Bolton Holloway, who, while on the net, lives as a hermit for reasons perhaps different than mine, but I'm sure no less compelling as my own.

The Godfriends' Websites , about the love of God and neighbour , are constructed as a colour-coded memory system as were medieval manuscripts, Anglo-Saxon materials in alternating reds and greens, later medieval materials in alternating reds and blues, in the latter case like pulsating umbilical cords, of the Word become flesh dwelling in our midst, oliveleaf trauma healing material being in blues and greens . Brown ink signifies a quotation from a manuscript, other text in grey signifying modern commentary. A hierarchy of scripts is used with large capitals for websites, smaller capitals for their subsets, in the titles to essays. Rather than modern technology, with counters, java, flags, we shall use an ancient simplicity in words and images, from the Age of Faith. As did Julian herself. Had she lived in our centuries, Julian would have used the Internet so. This Website, like Julian's Benedictinism , is intentionally a school of learning , a school for contemplation ; yet, like Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love , it is for everyone, wherever you may be in the world, poor or rich, crippled or whole, lay or cleric, children, women, men. As Ritamary Bradley wrote in Julian's Way : A Practical Commentary on Julian of Norwich (London: Harper Collins, 1992), we are about not only the theory, but also the practice, of Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love, in all its kaleidoscopic aspects, like dew upon cobwebs sparkling amidst mist, like the Gothic traceries of Julian's Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Norwich. Like Julian, this webmistress lives as a hermit in a graveyard, though in Florence rather than Norwich.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Holt makes naked assertions in public; NPR too polite to point out shortcomings.

Media Matters - NPR's Morning Edition uncritically reported Arkansas lawmaker's claim that "over 10,000" studies show gay parents are "problematic for the child":
"On the July 31 edition of National Public Radio's Morning Edition, reporter Jacqueline Froelich aired -- without challenge -- Arkansas Republican state Sen. Jim Holt's assertion that 'there are thousands of studies, actually ... over 10,000' that show 'the homosexual family or the environment is problematic for the child.' Froelich aired Holt's remark during a report on the Arkansas Supreme Court's recent ruling that the state's regulation banning gays from becoming foster parents is unconstitutional. Froelich did not address Holt's dubious figure of 10,000 studies, which would be possible only if a new study reaching that conclusion had been released every day for the past 27 years. Froelich also failed to mention that numerous scientific studies, including research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Psychological Association (APA), support the Arkansas Supreme Court's ruling."
I'm a longtime listener of NPR and one thing I like about it is that it doesn't insult my intelligence by telling me how obviously absurd an obviously absurd assertion is. They just let it dangle there, with the evident of letting you get it if you do, and not much caring if you don't.

As I say, I like that it dosen't insult my intelligence, but that approach may be failing to properly inform the electorate. Of course, they may well be suffering under the "stewardship" of some political hack who wants to ensure "more balanced reporting."

In which case, of course, this sort of reporting lets those smart enough to read between the lines discern the truth, while leaving the stupid remain ignorant.

This is exactly how the intellectuals of the former Soviet Union had to speak to one another in the presence of their political masters.

How easy it is to slip into habits we once so proudly mocked.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Here's To Slick Willy!

I think this sums up my view towards the sexual hijinks of powerful men. Politicians are like rock stars; they get into the game at the beginning because of the groupies. Some like their sycophants on their kness, others want them as side-boys, but it's all about the power and the control, whether or not the ya-yas are expressed sexually.

And dear, concience-struck man that he is, I include Jimmy Carter in that.

You see, folks who like power come in several flavors - so to speak. There are those who like the power and don't much care what, if anything they do with it. And there are others who are there to do something with that power. Some like to use it well, and others get their kicks from abusing power to get more power to abuse.

I'm not sure which of the above scares me more - those into getting power to do good things unto me or those who wish to do evil unto me.

I like the simple purity of a man who's lusts for power can be slaked by a plump intern and a good cigar afterward. And Bill seemed to have the idea that it was a job, and you had to do well to get the goodies.

So harrumph all you like - but there's an essential and graphic truth here. Whatever the rewards you wish from power; if we trust you with it for a time, you had best earn that trust with results, or you will be stripped of it.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Should I throw down, or just throw up?

Blame Shakespeare's Sister for turning me onto this:

Anyone for a crazy image warz? at

Absolutely, totally, completely NOT safe for work. I am not kidding here. Do NOT click this link in front of children, puppies or republicans of any age.

And SS replies with A Can Of Whoopass, Manhattan-Style.

I decided you two must PAY for that keyboard! I headed to flickr and typed "squick" into the search engine. I warn you, this involves the deliberate, unconcionable desecration of something every American holds dear! Muaaaahahaah!

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

To protect my investment in the 1st Amendment, I may need to invoke the 2nd.

From "And, yes, I DO take it personally"
what the bloody hell does bush think he's trying to do...? never mind... we ALL know what he's trying to do... it used to be called totalitarianism... bush would like you to think it's democracy... without mincing words, it's bullshit and has no place in the united states of america...
U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill."
Does anyone have a spare handgun for a concerned citizen?

Seriously. As an insignificant but persistant critic of the Administration, I have "test case" written all over me. If nothing much happens, then they will go up the food chain of criticism.

And yeah, I don't believe for a second any of the "terrorists" will scare anyone but the Administration.

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Hey, Harry; It's not EVEN a scrap of paper!

Reno and Its Discontents:
"And this leads me to the most frustrating position Reid takes–his non-aggression pact with Republican Senator John Ensign, or the “Kissy, Kissy by Reid, Ensign” as Hugh Jackson of the Las Vegas Gleaner eloquently described their Senatorial cuddle way back in 2005. And Ensign’s manly charms are certainly hard to resist. Escaping notice on the national electoral scene, Reid’s luke warm support of Ensign’s Democratic opponent, Jack Carter, is a point of failure in Reid’s Democrative leadership, and Democrats on the state and national level should be calling Reid out for it. Not only does Reid’s position fly directly in the face of the Democratic National Committee’s 50 State Strategy, it leaves Nevada citizens little choice but to believe that Reid would have us be represented by a Senator gleefully running in a three-legged race with the Bush Administration to hand the country over to the forces of the corporatocracy and religious conservatives who think that being pro-choice and for raising the minimum wage makes you an ungodly communist.
I should get out more. I have somehow managed to overlook "reno and it's discontents." Of course, they have somehow managed to overlook me...

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More Conservative Whining.

Sound Politics: Eradicate?

Yes, there are neocons in Washington State. I know that sounds bizarrely improbable, but Seattle is a port city and you get all kinds.

But they do whine, don't they? Ain't it amusing when folks get everything politically they ever wetly dreamed of , spent years sneering at and dismissing the voices of caution and objection as being "gutless liberal cowards" and then have the temerity to WHINE when the absolutely predictable comes to pass?

I mean, what part of "Payback" do they not understand?


Fortunately, I had finished my lunch when I came across this Seattle Times headline, which says that I should be eradicated.

Eradicate those who have put us in the Middle East

The headline was for a letter from a reader, Mark Lemmon. The last paragraph, which apparently inspired the headline, reads as follows:

Yes, we Americans have our own problems: We need to weed out these neocons and their globalist conspirators! It's wake-up time because the alternative is World War III.

Luckily, as I said, I had finished lunch, so reading the letter didn't ruin my appetite. But it did put me off a little to learn that Mark Lemmon, whom I have, to the best of my knowledge, never even met, wants me weeded out and, perhaps, eradicated.


Update: I sent a polite email to the editorial page editor, Jim Vesely, suggesting that he apologize for printing that letter, with that headline. Here's his complete reply:

No thanks, I'll stick with our earlier decision and with the headline, the dictionaries agree with our use of the words.

In a day or two, I may do a post comparing the rhetoric in the letter and in the headline to that used by some famous dictators.
My, how righteously he snorts his indignation! How dare the enemies of the neoconservative movement suggest that actions have consequences and those who are solely responsible for the actions should be held accountable?

Perhaps it isn't entirely fair that all US conservatives be considered equally responsible. But hey. This is a war, right? I belief we have been informed it's WWIII by the Usual Pundits.

I'll believe that when the rest of the world gives a flying crap about what anyone in Washington has to say - beyond trying to figure out who will be the next victim of US electoral politics.

If it seems like I'm suggesting that calling this "WWIII" is "wagging the dog" I am suggesting no such thing. I'm stating it as an evident fact. It's either intended to influence the elections or it's a pretext to suspend them "for the duration of the Emergency."

Why do I believe that? Because of the actions of the White house. Because of the timing of the violence and the objective lack of a convincing case for war.

And what did we get for advising caution and prudence, those most conservative values? We were told we were "unpatriotic." We got put on no-fly lists. We had our servers sabotaged. We have been vilified, swift-boated, even imprisoned for daring to be rich and liberal.

With hardly an exception, neocon punditry and bloggers have mindlessly shouted down any sort of balanced observation, any suggestion that this situation was going to occur.

So I think we "liberals" - and by "liberal," I mean the Neocon usage, "those who call us wingnuts " - can be forgiven for indulging in a few moments of quiet amusement as the wheels come off.

Because when your entire agenda is to "Fix their little red wagons" - it's best to check your own cotter pins first.

Pink Monkey Syndrome; the perils of taking xenophobes seriously. lotto-numbers poster
There is a great deal in common between those who are fanatical about wiping out autism in general and in their particular children and political authiritarians who want to "wipe out" world-views that disagree with their own.

I've come to the tentative conclusion that the viewpoints and tactics are broadly similar due to a considerable overlap in populations.

At this point I should admit a certain degree of learned prejudice and reflexive distaste for both expressions of rigid authoritarianism, both from being on the short end of this mindset myself and from seeing the rubble and wreckage created by such people, however well-intentioned.

Indeed, the more idealistic and well-intentioned people of this mindset are, the more damage they do. Truly vile and self-centered people impose on others only to the extent that it satisfies their personal needs, such as lusts for power and dominion. They are quite willing to settle for an acceptable degree of compliance tempered with a lack of demands upon them for anything resembling responsiblity.

Idealism coupled with ignorance and infused with messaianic zeal is a damn dangerous combination, and one unlikely to result in any objective good that the idealist would expect.

Nonetheless, idealism - or more preciesly, the cynical exploitation of idealists for profit - tends to drive all causes, at least here within the United States. A quotation on Autism Web from Keven Lietch the parent of an autistic child may give you some insight into why.

I'll also say upfront that I don't like discussing Megan online anymore. I've
recieved very abusive email, addressed to Megan herself from various friends of
Erik's. Recently, someone told me to hang myself with the corpse of my dead
children. That was, believe it or not, one of the milder ones. Suffice it to
say, there's a line I won't cross. I'll talk in generalities to make a point but
I won't discuss any specifics about her at all.

I have Kevin's main site in my blogroll because he's no extremist of any sort. He merely reports what works, what does not work, and what wisdom he's gleaned from talking to actual autistics.

Well, in the idealistic community of "Parents suffering with Autistic Children," that degree of common sense is seen somewhere between french-kissing an Aids victim and listening to a Satanist critique the Bible. is the main page of a site that seems clearly to be related to Lennie Schafer's Autism Report, well known for being unapologeticly pro-cure and anti-autistic. I myself have personally benefited from an authoritative diagnosis from Mr. Schaefer; I am "not autisic" because, well I can communicate my disagreements with him to others. Or in other words, if I am able to communicate an objection, I'm not autistic and therefore I have no right to criticise, while if I am "really" autistic, any objections I may communicate through screams, grunts, twitches or typing have are to be dismissed "for my own good."

This is, by the way, a "double bind" argument intended to defend the user against any criticism at all from anyone.

Lennie dismisses several "myths" bout autism that I frankly have never heard anywhere but from Mr. Schaefer and those who consider him "authoritative." I quote Keven Lietch's site because Lennie either doesn't want his important and valuable work reproduced or taken out context, I am unsure which, but I attempted to quote the main page Mr. Schafer's site directly, but found I was unable to do so. A quick "view source" revealed the following script (In red.)

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Definition of Autism</a></font></b></p>
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Myth of<br>
Autism as a Culture</a></font></b></p>
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<i><b>"We are not a plague. We are people who have a culture:
a large published literature, art, music, architecture, design,
technology, science, and engineering." </b></i></font></div>
<div align="left"><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"><br>
~ <b><font color="#CC0000">Michelle Dawson</font></b>, "IS
AUTISM A PLAGUE? Dr Victor Goldbloom and the Decision of the Quebec
College of Physicians", 6 Oct 2003</font></div>
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<p><b><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="3"><img src="arrow_r.gif" width="19" height="14" alt="arrow">The
United Nations World Health Organization classifies Autism as a <font color="#CC0000">Disease</font>
<a href="#1">*</a><br>
<img src="arrow_r.gif" width="19" height="14" alt="arrow"></font></b><b><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="3">The
United States Director of National Institute of Mental Health Dr. Thomas
Insel, says Autism is a Brain <font color="#CC0000">Disease</font> <a href="#2">**</a><br>
<p><b><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="3"><img src="arrow_r.gif" width="19" height="14" alt="arrow"></font></b><b><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="3">The
Judicial Community Defines Autism as a <font color="#CC0000">Disease</font>
<a href="#3">***<br>
<font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">In stark contrast to
the widely recognized medical opinion that autism is a debilitating neurological
disease, a small, (yet noisy!) group of individuals in Canada and elsewhere
has become very vocal and active in the autism public policy debates and
struggles. They have become forceful advocates for the bizarre fringe
notion that autism is a misunderstood "culture" rather than
what science knows it to be - a very serious disease of the brain.</font><br>
<p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">The "<b><i>autism
is a culture</i></b>" fringe has repeatedly sent messages to those
who support autism treatment suggesting that autism treatment is symptomatic
of intolerance and cruelty. Nothing could be further from the truth, yet
their messages have become increasingly accusatory and offensive. Many
have complained of being harassed by frequent intimidating messages from
this group. They have even made public personal attacks against individual
parents accusing them of being "liars." While some consider
this fringe group as truly being from another planet, others have requested
that a website be created to help people unfamiliar with autism issues
put them in their proper context and perspective.</font></p>
<p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Hence this site. </font></p>
<p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Although we live in
a free society where everyone, including frauds, have the right to express
themselves, every opinion expressed in public, especially if presented
as a fact, should be subjected to critical analysis. The misguided and
misleading arguments of the "autism is a culture" fringe are
most deserving of such analysis.<br>

<hr width="95%">
<p> </p>
<p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"><a name="1"></a><b>*
</b>W.H.O. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related
Health Problems, 10th Revision, Version for 2003, <a href="" target="_TOP"></a><br>
<b><a name="2"></a>**</b> Research psychiatrist and neuroscientist Thomas
Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health and head of
an interagency federal panel on autism. Insel says autism might in fact
be "many different illnesses with one name," which would account
for the array of symptoms, varied times of diagnoses and different strands
of autistic behavior. "These are urgent questions because we're talking
about a lot of children and a tremendously disabling brain disease, which
really robs a child and a family of the personhood of this child,"
Insel says. (emphasis added). From the article, "More questions than
answers in autism" <br>
Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY March 29, 2005 <br>
<p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"><a name="3"></a><b>***</b>
[Allan, J. BCSC: para 135] "Autism is the disorder or illness that
requires treatment".Auton et al. v. AGBC Date: 20000726 2000 BCSC
1142 Docket: C984120 Registry: Vancouver, B.C., CANADA<br>
[Saunders et al. BCCA: para 2] "A small but significant percentage
of children develop autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a neurobehavioural
syndrome that destines almost all whom it strikes to a life of isolation
and eventual institutionalization." Auton v. British Columbia (Attorney
General) Date: 20021009, 2002 BCCA 538 Docket: CA027600 Registry: Vancouver,
B.C. Canada<br>
[McLaughlin B et al. SCC: para 4]The infant petitioners suffer from autism,
a neuro-behavioural syndrome that impairs social interaction, hinders
communication and results in repetitive behaviour. Auton (Guardian ad
litem of) v. British Columbia (Attorney General) Neutral Citation: 2004
SCC 78: File No.: 29508. Date: November 19, 2004 Registered: Ottawa, Ontario,
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Inasmuch as this site is presented as part of an important ongoing debate about the nature of and remedies for autism, the portion of the text highlighted in yellow, and the knowledge that no respectable authority worth citing on any mental health issue would consider properly credited citations to be inapproprite, even critically, I am left with the inescapable assumption that Mr. Schaefer wishes to be taken entirely in context.

Some people may argue (though not likely the "some people" who cited the dire need for the above-referenced site} that the only reasonable assumption of the utility of such a script woud be to limit "fair comment" by making it difficult for critics to highlight and blog a paragraph. I dismiss this as a clearly invidious presumption, for it presumes that Mr. Schaefer, a well-respected and widely-read authority would be ignorant of, amoung other things, elementary copyright law, the operation of html browsers and the existence of .PDF creation utilities that would preserve his words in unselectable stone. That would reveal a sort of intellectual dishonesty and discomfort with the testable reality of his own ideas that would strongly undermine any false pretentions of qualified authority. Indeed, one might well take it as a strong indicator of intentional fraud, rather than what otherwise must be presumed to be sincere, if incorrect and counterproductive attempts to inform.

Since it would be wrong, and indeed, quite possibly actionalble for me to assume the above, much less imply that Mr. Schafer assumes his critics to be entirely ignorant of HTML and the web in general, I must charitably assume that Mr. Schafer is simply unaware of the proper procedure for ensuring a fully contextual quotation. It is slightly arcane after all and unsupported by the simple visual HTML editors it appears he relies upon.

Mr. Schaefer, if in future you ever wish for an entire page of html to be quoted so that the contextual accuracy may be without doubt, you need only do this:

<textarea height="25" width="60"> PASTE HTML HERE </textarea>

That results in an entire page of html being conveniently presented for selection as shown below.

Never force an aspie to consider the concept of "theory of mind." You probably will not like the results.

As seen above, I have several theories about the concepts of Lennie Schaefer's mind, which I am forced to rely upon as what Lennie directly says does not stand up to logical inquiry. Should I then presume that Mr. Shaefer is a fool? I think it would be both unwise and unfair to presume that, but he clearly does have an agenda, and that agenda does for some reason include getting a large number of people to uncritically accept some or all of the things he asserts to be true. In the above case, while there are many agendas I could assume, there is one very direct agenda which is clear - to get you to NOT read anything by Michelle Dawson or the people at or

And we know that because? Well, because he directly quotes her, and as we see above, places her name within the keywords. So the people he is particularly concerned about are those concerend with the impact of Michelle Dawson's words. Michelle is as monomaniacal and obsessive as any aspie I know, writes and organizes as others do - supubly so, in her case but without any regard to accessiblity or the emotional comfort of her reader.

But what she speaks to directly are the professinoal ethics of, qualifcations of and underlying assumptions toward autistics of the advocates of Applied Behavioral Analysis. While I'm not as highly qualifed as her to criticise - I am qualified to observe that Lennie's resposne is a fairly typical one - that is to say, accuse michell of saying something absurd.

In this case, the entire site and it's name is (as Ken cogently illustrates,) a strawman arguement.

Recently a new site has sprung up that seeks once and for all to debunk the idea of self advocacy for autistics – indeed, they claim that the advocacy movement are frauds. Here’s their opening statement:

In stark contrast to the widely recognized medical opinion that autism is a debilitating neurological disease, a small, (yet noisy!) group of individuals in Canada and elsewhere has become very vocal and active in the autism public policy debates and struggles. They have become forceful advocates for the bizarre fringe notion that autism is a misunderstood “culture” rather than what science knows it to be – a very serious disease of the brain.

They back this up with a quote from their arch-nemesis, Michelle Dawson talking about autistics:

We are not a plague. We are people who have a culture: a large published literature, art, music, architecture, design, technology, science, and engineering.

Anyone seen it yet?

Michelle Dawson quite categorically says that ‘We are people who have a culture’ whereas what this site claims is that the autism advocacy movement says is that autism is a culture as oppose to a medical condition.

This very basic error lies at the heart of the misinformation peddled at this site. All through it, they make claims which are pretty much all based on their premise that the advocacy movement claim autism IS a culture. Lets be clear – they do not. None of the big websites reflecting the advocacy movement claim anything of the sort.

The US in particular is particularly succeptable to "Moral Panics," possibly due to a deep thread of anti-intellectualism. That convenient flaw, which is hardly exclusive to the United States, makes it far easier to manipulate people en masse than with common sense and documentation. Facts are arguable - even when they are incontravertable, and facts give no comfort to the fearful. Moral certainty, though; ah, that is the warm wet diaper of Middle America.

I would have much more to say about the futility of imposing American moral certainties upon the world in general if I did not think reviewing news headlines for the tenure of the Bush Administration would not be evidence enough of the phenomonon to those who are not entirely victims of it themselves. All I will say is this: George Bush governs as many parents "parent," he relies on certain simplistic rules and clearly believes that moral certainty is more valuable than factual accuracy or situational awareness.

That is to say, he does what he thinks to be right without reference to the people and circumstances involved or to the acutal consequences. His veto of stem-cell research shows how poorly such moralism serves anyone subject to the whims of a reflexive moralist.

Of course, it could well be argued that a sufficently relevant system of morality and precepts derived from firm ethical principles dictated by someone authoritaive in morality, culture and context would be superior.

It probably would be, but nonetheless, all moralists presume that their moral certainty gives them the right, if not the duty to impose their will on those who disagree. If they actually understand that the person or circumstance is exceptional, well, it's for "the good of all," and if the person is not exceptional, they are clearly a willful criminal.

It never occurs to moralists that other people have the inherent right to make their own mistakes up to the point, of course, where the resulting mess lands in someone else's yard.

To explicitly tie this back into Autism and the AS spectrum. Until the seventies and eighties, there was no recognition of mental difference short of outright insanity. The DSMIV had not yet evolved into an industry defining every slight difference from the "Norm" as being a disorder entitling a psycologist to billable hours.

(When I think of "the norm", I see Norm, of "Cheers," and can't imagine why being "Norm-al" is so desirable.)

Oh, I am affected by my mental distinctions, just as I am by other genetic gifts of my parents which make me painfully white and blue-eyed, requiring the medical intervntion of sun-block and dark glasses if I want to "be like normal people" and frolic in the ionizing radiation.

OR I could just stay indoors until conditions are appropriate for my mole-like genetic profile. This is one, extremely simple example of a situation where being forced to do what "everybody does" leads me - and I'm sure, many others - into behavior that is factually harmful to them, and certainly painfully uncomfortable.

There are many circumstances in which I do have to face the day - this is why I have sunblock and dark glasses. But having to cope, and even being reqired to learn to cope so that I can fuction are quite concepts from being required to "enjoy myself" under circumstances I find definitively unfun. This is in fact one of the very solid nubs of the autistic / neurotypical divide - the incapacity to understand that what is good for YOU is not always good for me - or your particular child.

One theme that seems to be repeated by every parent new to the diagnosis is that they are afraid of the children being "left out" and "having no friends." Oh, parents; be not afraid!

I cannot maintain more than two friendships at a time - and the shifting, nuanced spectrum of what NT's consider friendship, with it's unspoken but critica emphasis on power dynamics and social status absolutely mystifies me. My brain is incapable of keeping track of who I'm supposed to like and not, while emotionally I cannot put limits on closeness the way NT's seem to be able to do. Friendship, for me, is a profoundly intimate thing and therefore I'm very selective about who I "let inside."

Being pointedly excluded hurts me as much as anyone, but at the same time, being forcably socialized leads to disaster every time and I don't need large amounts of "social time" to maintain my emotional balance. "Separation from the herd" doesn't terrify me in the slightest - indeed, I need a great deal more "alone time" than would be - ah, neurotypical.

My parents were constantly concerned about my "lack of friendships" and my "Inability to get along with others" to the extent that they did not notice that I'd somehow managed to get through childhood and adolecence without a single serious life-threatening incident other than the ones precipitated by them and thoughtfully prevented by me.

Risk-Taking behavior as a means to impress others is simply not part of my profile, and from what I understand, is not typical of aspies and autistics. Risk involves unpredictablity and the potential of being conspiciously wrong in public. When it appears that we are doing something risky, you can be sure that we are quite sure that there is no acual risk.

On the rare occasions we are mistaken, it would be a courtesy not to laugh - but I do not ask the impossible.

The single riskiest endevor for any autistic or AS person is communication. Avoiding falls, burns and cuts from sharp things is simple in comparison to learning how to communicate with people who only think they are using words to communicate, but who in practice will reject concepts expressed when they have the wrong emotional connotation.

Communication has all kinds of potential unexpected consequences, unforseeable outcomes and inevitable surprises, which are stressful to us even when they are good, happy and welcome surprises. When one of the most predictable outcomes is an unpredictable likelihood of strong verbal and/or physical correction for communicating something "wrongly," it's understandable that verbal communication may be abandoned entirely - at least in your presence. From the viewpoint of any child, the point to communication is to get your needs met with a minimum of inconvenience and an absence of distress - and if that means learning to make your own bottle instead of asking, that is what will happen.

This is an important thing to understand: Different human beings have different human needs, and needs are powerful things; we WILL get what we need to survive and consequences be damned.

The single best way to create an antisocial, uncaring and dangerous person is to take a child and force them to live in survial mode - with unpredictable and ever-changing conditions placed on getting what they need to survive.

Alas, much of the advice given parents on how to raise kids will have this effect on some fraction of the total population of children, because chidren are not actually blank slates with the ability to mindlessly provide desirable responses in response to chosen stimuli.

Indeed, in order to be sure that you are not creating some variety of monster, you have to abandon a preference for appearences over reality. When a child communicates a need, you need to accept the communication and act upon it. Style comes later.

But to do that requires that you conciously abandon a fear of difference and embrace a child who will never be able to become a voluntary copy of yourself, with your values and your prejudices.

There are, unfortunately, far too many people that will pay anything and sacrifice anything, including their own lives and those of their children to maintain such illusions.

And certainly enough to sustain all kinds of extermely expensive "interventions" that demonstrate one's loyalty to a convential wisdom dispite all observable outcomes. And if you will not take the word of a self-diagnosed aspie on this point, perhaps you might consider the illustration of a presumably neurotypical Iraqi trying to survive the good intentions of Donald Rumsfeld, et al.

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I Endorse Jack Carter

The writer of this letter, reproduced on Jack Carter's site, shows why Nevadens are turning toward Jack Carter.

Letter to the Editor in the RGJ - War on Terror | Jack Carter for Senate: "

I have been saddened to see people calling for some sort of censure against the New York Times for publishing the details of the bank tracking story. That Mr. Bush himself announced the program in 2003 seems to have bypassed these folks. I note that there is no call for action against the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story about one hour before the Times; I guess it's all right to reveal things if you are a Republican, or mouthpiece thereof.

"The purpose of terrorism is not just to blow things up. It is to make people like you and me afraid and give up a way of life. Whenever people say it is OK for the administration to curtail their rights guaranteed by the Constitution, attack the press for telling the truth and lie about why we are in a war (Iraq had no ties to Sept. 11 -- we're there for the oil. Period), the terrorists win.

"Stop supporting terrorism by giving in to fear. Don't let politicians destroy what we hold in highest regard in this country. Stop allowing the erosion of our Constitutional rights!" (emphasis added)


I left a response there, and I'm proud enough to cross-post it here:

"To me and most of my fellow Libertairians, the Constitution is a "Litmus Test Issue."

Whatever political views a politican holds can be tolerated within that remarkable framework. While I have a preferred overall philosophy, I believe firmly that it does take all kinds to make an effective Senate - and right now, we have just one kind.

Gutless Wonderments!

I include "democrats" within that group, such as Sen. Lieberman and our own Harry Ried.

Neither have stood up for their constitutionally-mandated senatorial prerogatives in the face of executive-branch usurpations.

When a man leads the minority party he's supposed to set them back on their heels, to take it to them deep in their own end-zone, to fight them tooth and claw and consequences be damned when we are having more Constitutional crises at once than I believe we have had before in total.

He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch,
To win or lose it all.
- - Montrose

The Minority Leader stands between us and an increasing plausiblity of a second Civil War. I don't think he percieves the gravity of our position, or how seriously disgusted Nevadans and Americans in general are with the "Most Exclusive Club in the World."

As for Lieberman; when a man has an election stolen out from under him, he ought to take it personally! Really, very personally - and the person who benefited from oversetting our Constitution and cheating the Citizens of their legitimately elected leadership should not be shaking his hand. Oh, no; he should be making that person sweat bullets. Or better yet, ballots. Paper ballots. Such things must never be taken as "Politics as Usual;" those who can accept that outcome as the price of continued political influence need to be replaced with men and women of unbesmirched honor.

Honor. An old-fashioned word, some would say. Those some need to find out that honor still has currency outside of the Capital.

I have been fighting this Administration in my own way, from my keyboard and my graphic tablet, trying to plant ideas out there where they may take root. I do it because it's my duty as a citizen of this great nation.

I'm endorsing Jack Carter for Senate because he represents my core values.

I believe in the Constitution and common sense; I believe that individual liberties are worth preserving and moreover, a better safeguard of our national security than any number of Big Brothers. I place my trust in the enlightened self interest of my fellow Americans.

Now, if you will pardon me, I'm going to take up my virtual two by four and go "enlighten" a few more. "


I'm putting my cafecash where my mouth is - I spent all day creating supportive graphics. (It's important to do this, because it gets the name and keywords out in multiple formats, multiple stores, in multiple ways. So get to work, y'all. Read Why.)

I'll be spending my cafecash on spreading around election materials, and I'd like to join with other Cafepress owners in "swapping" cafecash to best effect; that is, I buy my stuff at full discount) and swap it for stuff you bought at full discount so that everyone has a good variety to wear and share.

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