Friday, December 26, 2008

Neurotypical should not mean "abusive asshole." Don't you agree?

Autism Connect - 'Pattern of abuse of autistic children in Florida schools':
"Alex Barton has opened doors for parents of autistic children to get their message heard, said Palm Beach parent Phyllis Musumeci, mother of a teenage autistic boy.

Alex is the 5-year-old Port St. Lucie boy voted out of his Morningside Elementary classroom in May. Because of his case, the state Attorney General's office began an investigation into how autistic children are treated in schools. The office is trying to set up a meeting to talk with parents and others."
The local news has been all over it, and the local trogs are all over them for calling attention to what they see as a non-issue. And that's where I expected it to stay, frankly.

Perhaps I'm too cynical, perhaps the public outcry - from all sides - truly illustrated the dynamic at work. Or perhaps analysis of the situation from a legal standpoint, in light of IDEA, ADA and simple standards of professional competence was the "Come to Jesus" moment. But the revelation that Wendy Portilla is far from unique in her approach to children is not terribly surprising.

I would go further and suggest that various responses to the situation - accusing the parents of simply being "after the money" or that "kids like that" should be kept away from "normal kids" - show the obvious result of employing abusive assholes. It defines "abusive asshole" as a respectable standard, one to be emulated.

Call me crazy; many have - but I have a problem with "abusive asshole" being seen as "normal." It could explain a lot that is wrong with the US in general and Florida in particular.

Posted by gordongecko on July 12, 2008 at 6:58 a.m.

This entire story has turned my stomach from day one. Only in a society this eskewed would the minority seek to influence the majority. Why should one child be allowed to disrupt an entire class? Unfortunately, liberal do-gooders and the media have been able to make "normal" people feel guilty and "disadvantaged" people feel special. In other words, minority rule. It has become a case whereby the majority should suffer because God forbid you offend one person.

Let me tell you folks, life ain't fair...and people are NOT created equal. This is not and should not be a mutually inclusive society but rather a mutually exclusive society. Punishing a teacher for looking after the interests of 20 students should be rewarded. Instead, we villify her for the sake of 1. This mother needs to recognize one thing. Your child is different. He needs special education.

The fact that this person is most likely a graduate of the Florida educational system, along with the fact that the Florida educational system might not actually understand why that would be a problem is the reason why Fark has a "Florida" tag.

Oh, I encourage you to go read the whole thread to see how much trouble I took to find the one rotten apple in the barrel.

Vaccines, Toxic Speech and Rhetorical Questions.

It’s Time For Vaccine Talk Detox:

by Kristina Chew, PhD on December 26th, 2008

Seems a pity that, on seeing the words “top 10 unfounded health scares,” the first thing I thought about was……….vaccines and autism.

Many speak of a “debate” about an alleged vaccine-autism link and that there’s a “controversy” brewing here, but it’s a false controversy. 2008 saw the publication of more studies refuting a link, and yet there’s been a call for more studies—-among the $1 billion in research initiatives noted in the Strategic Plan of the IACC is an item about the “different health outcomes in vaccinated, unvaccinated and alternatively-vaccinated groups”—so it’s not as if this particular topic is going to go away.

Sometimes, one starts to wonder, will this particular topic ever go away? How many studies will it take to convince those who believe so very much that there is a link, that there really isn’t one?

I love answering rhetorical questions. I grew up doing it in all innocence, now that I understand that it's unexpected and often amusing, I do it deliberately.

I'll leave it to others to put a positive human spin on the issue. Indeed, Dr. Chew does it quite well herself. But I have a certain rhetorical niche and it involves saying things in public that are usually whispered in private. The problem with the latter is that these inconvenient truths never reach the proper ears in any useful way.

Here's your problems. Lennie Schaefer. John Best. Autism Speaks. And an entire industry that sees autistics (or rather their parents) as a community to be exploited. If their rhetoric were directed at any other population, it would be quite correctly named for what it is: hate speech. Nor is it founded in any better science than other racialist theories.

This would outrage me a good deal less if we were not speaking of parents and children and what amounts to the marketing of systematic abuse as "cures."

As Orac puts it:

Because autism is a condition of developmental delay, not stasis, and because it frequently has periods of stasis followed by periods of rapid development followed by periods of stasis again, if a parent tries enough quackery, sooner or later by coincidence alone he or she will be seem to be able to match up a remedy with an apparent improvement.
All the time and money sucked up by these parasites is time and money that could have gone toward positive things that enhance the lives of autistic children and their families. Music lessons. Respite care. Model train sets. Feed a perseveration, build a future - but for heaven's sake, take care of your own sanity first! That way, you can be part of a particular solution, rather than a symptom of a widespread social disease.

What kind of Yo-Yo would buy this?

From the department of "Way cool, but why, dear Goddess, why?" This is actually green tech; you power it by flinging it around like a lunitic, while listening on the - get this - bluetooth headset!

8 Old School Toys That Got Badass Makeovers - Page 2 |

"In the past 80 or so years, the yo-yo has seen some pretty mundane innovations, such as a ball bearing axle for better spin efficiency and the addition of flashing lights, to name a few. But finally, someone has rolled up their sleeves and is ready to fuck shit up all over the yo-yo world. Meet the ReGEN; half yo-yo, half MP3 player and just a pinch retarded.

The most groundbreaking aspect of the design is the fact that apparently just 10-12 throws an hour will provide more than enough juice. Which is good news if you have a long drive to work, or have to take the crowded subway in your daily grind. It also holds up to 200 songs to ensure that your wrist gives out way before your music does.

'But,' we wondered, 'How do you listen to music if you're constantly throwing this little robot?' The answer is wireless Bluetooth headphones. Here's a thought: When the music-listening technology that comes with today's yo-yos is cooler and more advanced than the music-listening technology that came with portable CD players in our day, the youth of today officially rescinds its right to ever complain about anything. Ever."

Emphasis Mine: And get the hell off my lawn!

And yet, there IS hope! (New Trek Movie coming!!)

There's something to keep us going, until it's out in theaters.

TrekMovie Goes Inside The Star Trek Trailer - Shot By Shot [UPDATE: Abrams Gives His Analysis] |

Remember, in the Star Trek Universe, mankind has given up money; instead, everyone is engaged in some form of constant self-improvement.

A lot of us seem to be engaged in that effort these days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Postcard We Live In

It's hard to describe how amazingly beautiful and how freaking COLD it is here. But it's just stunningly beautiful and I wish I had a camera truly up to the job of showing it off. I have a cheap little 2.1 megapixil camera and it's still hard to NOT get a postcard shot.

As you can see, we are pretty well covered in Canada's favorite white recreational substance. As is said in tourist towns all over the world, "wish you were here." That's kind of a good trick; the flying conditions are bad, I'm not sure what driving is like, but if chains aren't reqired for walking, legally, they remain a damn fine idea.

But man, if you can actually get here, Phoenix Mountain is nearby with just freaking AWESOME piles of this stuff. Or you can just strap on your cross-country skis and take to the local trails.

Don't even try flying. Rent a biodiesel 4wD and drive. Fill it with likeminded friends and you'll get here cheaper and undoubtably in a better mood. Probably even earlier, if the reports on airline travel are accurate.

Today's conditions at Phoenix.
Wednesday December 24th 12:22 pm Base 61 cm ( 24 " ) Fresh snow 7 cm ( 2.8 " )
Last 48 hrs 7 cm ( 2.8 " ) Skies Snowing Heavily Wind Calm Temp -8 °C Runs open
16 of 16

Friday Dec. 19th to Sunday January 4th, 9:30 to 3:30. Closed Christmas Day

January/February: Open 5 days a week, Friday thru Tuesday, 9:30 to 3:30,
plus Thursday nights 6:30 to 9:30

March: Open 3 days a week 10:00 to 4:00

For myself, walking has become excitement enough. But if you are of more adventurous charactor, well, give us a thought here; Accomodations are plentiful, the food is good and the people friendly. Hell, money aside, it's winter. We could use the company.

The snow, of course, speaks for itself, and while it should last awhile, is always best when fresh.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The annoyingly correct Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich is never so annoying as when he's gloating. This is a particularly long and pointed gloat, looking back to his career-stalling battle with the banks in a battle to privatize Cleveland's public power system. It's worth a read, but in a sense it merely underlines the two first paragraphs.

t r u t h o u t | My Battle With the Banks: "Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. Congress voted to give the banks $700 billion, lifting them temporarily out of their sepulcher of debt, while revealing a deep truth about the condition of America's financial powers:

They never had the money they said they had as they constructed their debt-based monetary system which now lies in ruins. Their decisions on behalf of depositors, shareholders and investors were lacking in basic integrity and common sense. Green gods bailing out with their golden parachutes."
To me, the moral of the story is not Dennis' ultimate vindication, or the obvious other lesson - that had he behaved as his political contemporaries of the day on the Cleveland City Council, he would probably now be much better known. But he was unable to pay the price required to avoid the fate of a time in the political wilderness. Moreover, he knew that "the worst that could happen" was not as bad as those on the other side of the table thought.

Sometimes there are more important things at stake than an illusion of prosperity, success or influence, particularly if that illusion is bought with a betrayal of trust. And in this one instance, Dennis' narcissic tendency does serve us; Dennis found himself at a crossroads where he had to choose between an illusion in which "everyone who mattered" would think well of him and the ability to look in the mirror and see the man he wished to be.

Narcissic traits are not bad or good - it's a place, a way of being. It's how you behave in order to fulfill those needs that matter. Dennis likes to think well of himself - but is unwilling to delude himself about the face in the mirror.

An annoying, shrill little man with a track record of being correct on the facts and on the principles. Annoying enough to be shot at. Annoying enough to have made powerful enemies - and tasteless enough to do a public war dance upon their fiscal graves. Oh fortunate sin! It makes him human enough to be tolerable. Otherwise we'd have to found a religion around him.

At the end of the day, when the pennies are counted upon the kitchen tables of the world, money - even the hard money that Ron Paul and his followers swear by as the antidote for the current mess - is simply a symbol for value; of honest effort and honest reward. It is nothing more than a system of notation, and if that system has been corrupted, then the sensible thing to do is to stop using it. The collapse of a system does not mean that real value has evaporated; whatever that was real will still be real, and the people who make real things and do things of real value will still be making and doing.

Belive me; the US dollar is not the only means of accounting. Gold works. Man hours work. Kilowatt-hours work. Pork bellies, diamonds and Euros work. And - whatever we may think of it - bricks of opium, bales of tobacco, barrels of whiskey and kilos of cocaine are all commidies of enduring value; always have been, most likely always will be.

But the most fundamental currency of all is a handshake and the iron-clad-determination to live up to it. All things of real value derive from that, all artificial means of accounting for value are simply a means of allowing the arms to stretch further than they otherwise could.

That is the purpose to money and at the root of it, the reason why we have civilizations and laws and cultures and religions - to enhance, expand and enforce a network of trust. Those who hold power have the responsiblity and the duty to be especially trustworthy; not because of any higher calling, but because that is what the job is all about, and it is such an essential duty that humanity cannot long do without it.

When people start behaving as if they have an inherent right to power and have the inherent right to use it, defend it and expand it at the expense of those who donated it, it is inevitable that they will be replaced, because they become too expensive to be useful. They cost more than they are worth. Loyalty is withdrawn, alliegance evaporates, illusions vanish in the cold light of personal circumstances.

Now, hierarchical structures exist for the primary purpose of keeping the marks in line; keeping those on the bottom fed just enough to to work, without feeding them enough that they can afford the capacity to thin; to keep the donors donating whether they wish to or not, and of course to keep every level of the pyramid below the top bamboozled and ignorant in service to that end.

But that ship - all moral compasses aside for the moment - has sailed into the harbor and sunk with all hands. The genteel conspiracy between the great powers of media, religion, business and government has been exposed as a conscious fraud and a conspicuous failure.

Right or wrong, for good or for evil; they are doomed simply because ...oh, I hate to use such a term, but English is so limited ... because the "global consciousness" has evolved to a point where their tools and techniques can no longer work, and competing tools and techniques offer far more advantage to the vast majority of individuals who would never once be considered for membership in the "power structure." It's not just that they are corrupt failures - although that's the case here in North America - but that even if they were icons of integrety, they are still trying to do things in a way that is out of touch with the needs and capacities of the times.

That evolution is as much technological as spiritual, as much pragmatism as principle; it's certainly not driven by particularly enlightened motives - but as always, the cold laws of ethics define what will work and what will not work over time, regardless of how enthusiatically we wave our flags and incence.

Instead, we look at the choices made in our names by those who are wielding our power and, given the opportunity, start talking to one another about the matter, replicating on the Internet the exact same process that happened in Europe during the Enlightenment in coffee houses and taverns over pipes of "sauced" tobacco.

People are comparing notes. Ordinary people of ordinary means are capable of fact checking statements made today by their leaders against statements made last week and graphing in real time the return on investment of their donated power. Anyone who wants to can fire up a spreadsheet and plug in the numbers. And like all investors, they have every right to expect a positive return on investment. More to the point, right or wrong, wise or foolish - all of them do.

Alas, "western civilization" shows every sign of being a vast Ponzi scheme in the process of disintegration; and not just the one pillar of it - the construct we refer to as "money," but also the false Christianity it depends on to keep the sheep from reading their financial statements, the false politics that is arranged to prevent any real, meaningful positive change for individuals and the false culture created by a corrupt media that depends on very carefully not telling the most important stories of the day.

All these great powers have lost the trust of anyone who has honestly examined the available evidence - and the ability to disciver and evaluate has become pervasive. Increasingly, everyone that can has or will soon. What will happen then? Well, I cannot say for sure. But what I can say is that the consequences will be of far less importance to most people than the doom-sayers invested in the current "pyramid power" scheme would suggest.

Increasingly, the question of whether one should "go along to get along" will become more and more of an obvious choice; aside from the moral dimension, aside from the question of eventual ethical consequence compared with immediate necessity; the point is that there is now a vast array of real choices emerging for real people in real situations in the real world. The false illusion - "Maya," if you will - is falling away to reveal something that is not so much higher and more spiritual, though there is that aspect to it, but to reveal fundamentals.

"Before Enlightenment; hew wood, draw water. After Enlightenment, hew wood, draw water."

The hewers of wood and the drawers of water are those from whom all power flows and who ultimately support all that is civilization. They are the ones who buy the party boats and the Manhattan penthouses. They are the ones who create the real wealth. And they are the ones who can and increasingly will decide with whom and under what terms they will share it.

Our current system depends upon the vast majority of us toiling in some form of slavery; physical, mental, economic. We are held at gunpoint, by guilt, by ignorance, and all of this is due to the fact that our lords and masters are not very good at their jobs; know they are not, and know that if anyone drew aside the curtain to see the Great and Terrible Oz - they would be honestly unimpressed.

Certainly there's not much evidence that the current crop of Oz-wielders are very good at pressing buttons, much less understanding what those buttons actually do, unlike the fictional Great and Terrible Oz who was a master of using the art of humbug to inspire practical ends.

But in fact, whatever we think of those people who currently hold power, and whatever changes this new perception brings, there is something to remember here; we are all human beings, nothing much has changed on that end of things and nothing much can change. We hope we can become better human beings, but we won't become better people by trying to amputate or deny aspects of our humanity for "the greater good," or for any other reason. If there's any lesson to be taken from the last several millenia - I'm looking at YOU, "saints" Paul and Timothy - it's that.

If you are gay, you are gay. As far as I'm concerned, it's simply no longer reasonable to think of homosexual orientation as being a "choice." The only choices come in light of accepting one's orientation as a fact and then acting upon that fact in a way that allows one to sleep at night in good conscience. This is a particular example of a general principle; we all have various pediclictions with potential ethical consequences. If you need power to make your nipples hard, you are in exactly the same situation.

These orientations are basic, and they are either curses or blessings depending on what we do in order to get our needs met. Morality aside - because if our morality gets in the way of doing the right thing, much less understanding that we are doing viscerally wrong things - it must and it will be put aside.

What we need is an understanding that our lusts and needs must be informed; for those who's lusts are either frustrated or unfettered become monsters and parasites.

Our basic neurology defines us in unavoidable ways. Some of us are social. Some of us relate better to abstracts, others to the concrete. Some of us can grow things, others would starve in a garden. We all have sexual preferences - and these preferences vary far more than "conventional wisdom" would prefer. Some of us need power and authority, others of us cannot function without someone without someone capable of creating a context that makes our work meaningful and valuable.

Society is a matrix of trust and while it's possible to lie and cheat, to take advantage of power and position to gain benefits that are disproportionate, unearned and undeserved, there is no free lunch. Ultimately, such people undermine the trust their entire scam depends on and that leads to a general, cyclic housecleaning.

Yes. This has happened before. It will probably happen again. It's happening right now - and that's the important thing to remember here. The people who want to stampede you into supporting their schemes and dreams of staving off their personal disasters do not deserve your support. Nor is this a moral, political, conservative, liberal statement. It's a statement of fact.

They have fucked up. They are asking you to permit them to fuck up at your expense a little longer. They are saying that it's better, somehow, for them to fuck up in known ways rather than to risk the prospect of fucking up in different and potentially more informative ways. Most importantly, they wish to prevent anyone else having a chance to prove they might fuck up less at a lower price - in the face of overwhelming evidence that almost any randomly selected person could achieve that very minimal standard.

You are being asked to send good money after bad - and in every single aspect of our culture and economy; you are being asked to support a social system that has no problem with what happened to ordinary people (who happened to be black) in the aftermath of Katrina. You are being asked to support a petroleum economy that can no longer sustain itself or even replace it's rotting infrastructure. You are being asked to incur unsupportable debt in order to prop up a literally bankrupt monetary system. And you are being asked not to even ask why, much less what possible benefit might come to you or your family.

In terms of faith and religion, in terms of the dominant cultural themes, it's all Gays and Abortion, all the time, and not a damn thing about how, where and by what means spirituality might inform and improve the lives of people outside of the big boxes filled with rotting mutton.

From a pragmatic, moral perspective, I have come to the point where I wonder aloud if it would be such a bad thing if everyone who professes the sort of faith on display at such places as the Wasillia Assembly of God were to disappear. Let us take it as a thought experiment - let us ask ourselves if, were The Rapture they devoutly pray for to occur, would those who remain be better or worse off?

The answer is obvious to me; any religon that is founded on the idea that there are vast swaths of humanity they are doctrinally permitted to visualize writhing in the flames of a fictional hell, encouraged to visualize and celebrate pissing upon sinners from a great height would neither be recognized nor particularly missed by anyone trying to live as Jesus taught.

Anyone who would squander monies donated to a church to do good works upon such a mean-spirited and dishonest exercise as California's Proposition Eight is in no sense qualified to be a worthy steward of God in any way I can bring myself to accept. Any such religion asking for your support, much less demanding it, any leader of such a religion who will not accept the reality that their actions and choices are violations of some of the most basic principles upon which all religions have in common is undeserving of your support.

Religions have a place. They serve, when they serve at all, to inform people as to how to live better than they could on their own; they exist "in order to make good men better."

Should they instead decide to exist to excuse bad acts and encourage fools to act in concerted folly, they will pay a price. If you continue to be part of that group, you will be part of the pool from which that price is extracted.

Ask any Hugonaut. Or for that matter, any member of the Catholic Hierarchy in Quebec old enough to have lived though the Quiet Revolution. Ask them what happens when it becomes clear to the majority of people that they are actually better of seeking advice, guidance and and leadership from others who are more willing to accept the value of tolerance and the virtue of trying to be virtuous instead of merely asserting it while wearing a funny hat.

The thing to understand here is that there are inherent differences between human beings; our different needs and variations in ambitions are the things that make a society work, and wherever society starts to see such differences as a threat, making it impossible for certain sorts of people to live openly, honestly and ethically, to that extent that society will suffer. They will suffer the lack of their honest potential as well as paying the price of them meeting their needs in the way that circumstances demand.

Ultimately, if we meet our needs to the benefit of other people around us, we will be known as good people; if our existence is at the expense of the people around us, well, the "why" of it matters little. You see, there are times when society can tolerate a high parasite load. There are other times in which it cannot. And there are times when society realizes that it's time to shave themselves bald and burn the bedding.

This is a bad time in human history - from the perspective of bedbugs and crab lice. From the average human perspective, though, we can do without crab lice a lot better than crab lice can do without us.

A functioning civil society requires a functional morality that informs and empowers positive moral choices. There are several sorts of people that are particularly valuable and paradoxically, particularly dangerous to society. When society is about to collapse, you have only to look at your political and moral standard-bearers to discern why this has occurred and adjust your own understandings of what sorts of belief structures are ultimately cancerous to you and the people to whom you owe consideration and due regard.

And this brings us back to Dennis Kucinich. Dennis plays the "everyman" in our little morality play; the everyman placed in a position of authority, facing threats by those who think themselves more powerful and more deserving. Dennis is a person who grew up in hardscrabble circumstances; who knows poverty - and who thereby knows that being broke is nothing particularly to fear. Money is simply a means to an end, and if you allow the means to get in the way of the end - maintaining the essential social, family and economic relationships that make for a just, open and functional society, you will have failed.

And you will know that. You see, that's the ultimate price.

Knowing - in the moments of sobriety, between jolts of power, whiskey and religion - that your choices have led you to deep into the Place of Decision, and you, arrayed in all your pomp and your power are on the wrong side. That you have the starring role in your own personal production of Faust. That this IS hell, nor will you ever be allowed out of it. Not, at least, with the trappings and trinkets that dragged you to such depths of foolishness in the first place.

Monday, December 22, 2008

GE Unveils the World’s First OLED Christmas Tree

Recently the OLED research team over at General Electric unveiled the world’s first OLED Christmas Tree! Forging ahead of the usual end-of-the-year slowdown, GE’s Global Research Center headquarters in Niskayuna, NY rang in the holidays with a 6-inch-by-15-ft. OLED system all rolled-up into the form of a tree. And just to be authentic... a few of the lights were out.

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Getting off the Pot: Let's look at the e-Book Business

One very useful aspect of blogging is the ability to put something out into the universe so that the universe - that is to say, friends, family, random strangers - can later say, "and how's that going, Bob?"

I absolutely do not regret having ripped up stakes to move to British Colombia. Greenwood is awesomely beautiful, as I've written in my wife's "Omygod, Omygod, what have we done" blog; "Canadian Communique".

What the heck, here's another image.

From Greenwood, BC, Canada

It's called "My Udder Store" because the the owner's first store is a hardware store. But you don't sell milk at a hardware store. That's why he had to oppen "anudder one." Small town humor. You gotta love it. That's where we have to walk to get necessities, because I ain't driving to Midway or Grand Forks. I have "all weather tires" and by that, they don't mean this.

No Holiday Whining T-Shirt shirtIt's beautiful; like living in God's own snow globe, but it's bloody cold! We are getting our chunk of what appears to be a record setting winter across North America and cabin fever is setting in - despite the blessings of cable TV and The Internet. And, as I've stated elsewhere, finances are strained for the moment.
We have been trying to think of ways to keep our minds and fingers productive and busy, and in order to do that, we both need motivation. Money is one of the better motivations I know for getting up and moving. Well, completely by accident, I stumbled across this: A woman named Melanie Mendelson who makes her living on the internet, writing e-Books. You see, it addresses all the issues both of us have with getting up and doing things. Both my wife and I have Asperger's Syndrome; one of the most notable features of this condition is that we are not natural networkers; we are not energized by social occasions or interactions.

I've even found this to be true in my explorations in Second Life; it's such a good illusion that it successfully replicates the stresses I feel when interacting with people face to face!

Well, Melanie Mendelson has an approach to working around this "neurodiversity issue" and wants to help (for a small, reasonable fee) . I'm inclined to take a chance. Because, well, information is what I do.

Let's talk about the business concept of infoproducts
(a.k.a. e-books). Basically, you sell information. You put
your info in an electronic document, and people pay you so
they can download it to their computer.

Infoproduct business is extremely profitable. An extra copy
of the e-book costs you NOTHING... There is no printing cost
and no shipping cost. You write the e-book once and sell it
over and over, and pocket all the money!

You can write your own e-book in just 24 hours of work -
even if you hate writing! Break down the time slots however
you like, and in 24 total hours your e-book will be ready to

If you spend 2 hours per day, you'll finish your e-book in
12 days. If you spend 4 hours per day, you'll be done in 6

Even a measly 30 minutes per day will get you a finished
e-book in less then 2 months! And after that, you can sell
it over and over, and profit for years and years to come...

The "24 Hour E-Book Writing System" tells you EXACTLY what to do.
You simply follow it, and at the end of the 24 hours you will have
a ready-to-sell infoproduct - period.

To learn more, click here

It's a concept that's crossed my mind from time to time; both my wife and I have things we know that are well worth writing down and the sales copy speaks directly to my concerns about trying to "make it" as a writer in more conventional ways.

We have been looking for an opportunity to turn what we know into a business and a life on a budget of ... well, not much at all.

This is the paragraph that got me to "yes."

Why Am I In The E-Book Business?

Because I am lazy and always seek shortcuts :) Seriously, I just don’t want to deal with having employees, inventory, phone calls, face-to-face sales, etc. Yes, I admit I like to hide behind a computer screen :)

I resemble that remark!

I love creating things. I absolutely HATE having to do the things that would lead toward people buying the things I create. That's the "stopper." I've already had some success with my graphics on t-shirts, even with my inability to market them myself, so maybe she has something I need to know.

I'm hoping that what I already know about making t-shirts will translate into a book, or her approach will apply to my existing t-shirt designs. Most importantly for me; I want to succeed honestly.

All she wants for this information is ... well, the price of a good t-shirt. Hey, Melanie; wanna swap?

The things I need to know about writing e-books are simple; what topics to write on, putting it in a salable format, finding where to sell and knowing how to spread the word.

You could spend years figuring this all out - as Melanie Mendelson herself mentions: it took her five years to get from the idea to the execution, and then there was a lot of brutal hard work between the starting and the creation of a system to take what she knows and turn it into a simple formula.

I don't find writing difficult. What I DO find difficult is organizing my thoughts into a coherent piece. That's what this product promises me. I haven't yet plunked down the money, but I did take the step of setting myself up as an affiliate - sort of a skeptics leap of faith. I will be ordering the system and then following it, but money is tight and I am always looking for a great blog thread.

I thought it would be interesting to write an e-book about something I know well without this system, then order it and write the next one.

In parallel, I'm going to be goading my wife into putting her 20 years of classroom experience with special needs students in general and autism/Aspergers's students in particular to use. And heck, I may have a few insights into that myself. It seems likely that a "users manual" for employers might just come in handy.

I don't need to make a hundred K a year for this to be a successful venture for me; a third of that would do just fine. But in all humility on behalf of my wife, there are people who know far less about what she knows making that sort of money giving bad advice to parents about autism and aspergers. So, what's good advice that works worth?

That, by the way, is about the only thing about sales and marketing my father taught me that was worth remembering. Find a product you don't have to sell. Find one that you can simply plunk down on the table and open the order pad. That's your dream ticket.

That's why I signed up as an affiliate. One of the most conspicuous things about Melanie's presentation is the lack of presentation. As sales copy, it's barely ok. It makes very little effort to "sell" me. But then, if what she is saying is true - it doesn't have to.

So, that's what I'm going to establish here, in a series of posts. Does this system work as promised? If so, well, I'll be happy to attach my name to it. Plunk it down. Open the sales pad. Hand them a pen. The ideal product for the people who need it.

And no, I'm not going to tell you how it works - that would be stupid! But I'll tell you exactly how well it worked for me, and I'll tell you how well it worked for my wife.

And along the way, I'll probably try and sell you a T-Shirt.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

North American Auto Bailout is a huge opportunity

Hi-Pa Ford 150 Conversion
The beauty of a crisis situation is that it tends to concentrate attention on emergent issues. Our most emergent issues are three-fold and interlocking - the climate crisis, the economic crisis and the energy crisis. There is one single aspect of that problem that can and must be addressed to improve our chances on all fronts.

That aspect is individual transportation. The humble automobile. In North America, it's the glue that holds our economy and our culture together.

The last two Bush administrations proved that the people responsible for maintaining the Status Quo had too much personally invested in petroleum infrastructure and far too little understanding of the fragility of that system. And ultimately, they found it to be personally and financially more comfortable to prosecute war for the control of oil reserves than to risk exploring alternatives. The risk of exploring new ways of doing things, of course, is the risk of losing control of the system as a whole. But that presupposes that the current situation permits any degree of control in the face of emergent circumstances.

What does not yet seem to be obvious to those in charge of making these large decisions is that they really are not in the position to dictate and control the emergence of a lean, green, widely distributed economy. They can interfere with it. They can try to advantage some players, discourage others - but in fact, despite all the gloom and doom, this situation is fraught with opportunity.

This is one of those times, when people start to cast around for new ways of doing things, only to find that the technologies exist. This article is about just one such technology; the in-wheel electric motor, an established technology that has been proven in existing designs. Hold on to that thought, that's the key to this entire post.

The real key to making a practical electric vehicle is not making a practical electric vehicle.. That has been achievable for many years, and they have even established themselves in many niche areas. The combination of zero emissions, high efficiency and ease of maintenance are overwhelmingly advantageous any where the issues of range and energy density can be easily addressed. Consider the electric golf cart - or the ubiquity of the electric shopping cart in malls and supermarkets.

One of the huge problems is that people designing electric vehicles tend to have preconceived notions about how people "should" use their cars and "should" feel about transportation, rather than designing electric vehicles that actual, real consumers could afford and would actually buy.

To some extent, that's been because of technology and materials constraints; old-fashioned battery packs and the problems inherent in hand-building prototypes. But a great deal more has to do with social engineering trumping good automotive design.

The problem of energy density and range is being addressed but while the price of advanced batteries is plummeting, the price point is still not quite there for full-up pure electric vehicles that can replace standard gas an diesel vehicles.

But this can be addressed right now with Serial Hybrid technology, a technology that can, right now, promise a better car than a conventionally powered equivalent. Hy-Pa has demonstrated this with an off-the-shelf incarnation - the hybrid-electric Mini.

Now, I don't know what the cost of the four wheels is compared to the stock engine - but since an electric motor is a far simpler thing to build, it should be a lot cheaper to make at equivalent production levels. Given the small size and engineering simplicity of a small, constant speed generator, the entire system should offer substantial savings over comparable IC technology. Not right this second, of course. But not in the distant future, either.

Because the wheels are high performance motors, ABS comes as a standard function built into each wheel’s software. Now anti-skid can also be applied to acceleration since the motor can smoothly control torque delivery to/from the road in both cases. Flooring the brake or accelerator hard merely results in controlled maximum torque, giving the shortest possible stopping or acceleration time.
Clever wheels

The technology eliminates the need for crude differential gears to share power between left and right sides. The wheels are in constant communication with each other deciding 1000 times each second how much torque share is optimum for the current driving conditions. Should one wheel detect a slippery surface and take appropriate anti-skid actions, the other wheels are aware of this instantly and adopt an appropriate compensating strategy to keep the vehicle as stable as possible.
640 brake horsepower – for life!

Each wheel develops 160bhp - 640bhp in total. The original Mini One develops less than 100bhp with an engine that weighs nearly double the weight of the four electric wheels! Apart from wheel bearings there are no wearing parts in the electric wheels; this means the horsepower stays for the life of the vehicle - and beyond.

As the battery level reduces, the rear mounted ICE/generator starts to automatically top up the battery. So when you arrive at your destination you can simply park the vehicle knowing that when you return the battery will be replenished. Alternatively you can take advantage of lower cost mains electricity and plug in to recharge. So you never need to worry about battery capacity or how to recharge. During operation, as the battery level falls the generator cuts in, enabling an average speed of 60 – 70mph to be sustained with no further battery depletion.

In creating the Serial Hybrid mini, they actually created a vehicle that can perform better than the original vehicle. Zero to Sixty in 4 seconds truly demonstrates the head-snapping power that can be developed by electric motors; by putting the motors in the wheels, Hy-Pa has done something that they probably were not setting out to specifically do - make it possible to convert an existing, already designed and tooled vehicle into a product that could be delivered within a year or two as a finished product - or right now if you have an existing vehicle and a well-equipped shop.

Now, combine this with the news that it is inevitable that several auto-plants will have to be closed and all those jobs will be lost. Would it not make more sense to pick one or more of those plants as flagships for this new technology?

The gas-hogging Hummer for instance, is almost surely gone, but it would be hard to think of a more ideal existing chassis for a heavy-duty general service vehicle. By simply adapting the line to turn out Hummers that literally hum when you press the button, it could be a symbolic and marketing triumph. The advantage of using the Hummer is that it's large and has a lot of potential for specialty conversions, allowing a much more immediate implementation using stock parts that would have to be specifically engineered for smaller vehicles. But honestly speaking, the major value here is in the badge and it's potential to seize the public imagination.

I would start with an initial model line that featured a flex-fuel on-board generator. There should be several standard configurations for fuel tankage, but the "standard" version should be natural gas. (Re the Pickins Plan and common sense). Ideally, the various fuel tankage alternates should be designed into modules that can be interchanged simply and with few or no tools, making them extremely attractive to fleet operators and creating a design standard for aftermarket parts makers.

One thing I'm seeing is a general reluctance to go to market with something that isn't a perfectly seamless, self-contained product. Consider the Chevy E-Flex system.

Note that this has a single electric motor driving two wheels by means of a conventional trans-axle. It is a dedicated unit and must be assembled from scratch, using a battery pack that I assume to be specifically made for this platform. That strikes me as making little sense; what we need is a standard battery pack to design products around, rather than designing a product that demands a totally unique battery. And of course, it has something that in-wheel designs allow us to avoid to a far greater extent. - moving mechanical parts.

I can't tell if the E-Flex platform makes use of electromagnetic regenerative braking, but if it does not, the Chevy Volt is an inferior system to what can be done with Hy-Pa wheel-based designs, and it's inferior because it's been designed as a proprietary, closed architecture system.

Furthermore, the Hy-Pa wheel-based design does not require re-tooling. It can be applied directly to existing chassis designs - as the F-150 and Mini demonstrate. This would be true of any other system of this type. Zap Motors is pursuing this path aggressively, acquiring their own in-wheel motor technology.

I should point out the obvious - that a common Honda Generator converts any of their all-electric vehicles into a crude serial hybrid; it would be trivial to design an after-market generator that would fit any Zap! EV as a drop-in range extender. However, as useful as Zaps are, they still don't appeal to the consumer as a primary vehicle, nor does their light motorcycle design lend them to heavy field usage.

What we need is something that can roll out tomorrow, works as well or better as it's gas equivalent in critical target markets right now and has an upgrade path. In other words; when that better battery pack comes out, you will be able to put that battery in your existing vehicle. When a more efficient generator is available, it will be able to accept it. And of course, if you don't happen to need the on-board generator for a particular task - why not leave it in the garage and free up all that weight and space?

The issue is not a question of technology - it's far more a question of reconsidering what it is that we are doing and how we are doing it. That is Detroit's problem - they are trying to use their existing design philosophy to design electric vehicles from the ground up. Meanwhile, EV designers are trying to design a new automotive lifestyle. I wish to grab them by the ears and slam their heads together.

It's hard to understate the economic potentials here. By putting just a little thought into the fuel and generator module specifications, we have the potential to create entirely new industries. For instance, a vehicle that will be operating in a remote logging area could be configured to burn wood waste to run a sterling cycle generator. Flex-fuel generators capable of using bio-diesel and ethanol are ideal for agribusiness. And of course, anything working the "oil patch" should be running off flare gas.

Electrical Vehicle technology is particularly attractive for northern climates because it's just so much simpler to engineer electric vehicles for low temperatures. There are no coolant fluids, no, oil sumps and a lot more wiggle room regarding critical tolerances. In Canada, we could easily assign this a national security priority.

No doubt there are several platforms and plants other than the Hummer that will become suddenly available, addressing every market niche there is, but if it were me (and I wish it could be), I would start there.

But I doubt that PML can deliver enough motors and drive systems right at this moment. Furthermore, they are UK based, so we have to add transportation costs and delays.

It would make a great deal of sense to build these motors in Canada for the North American market; it's the sort of technology that we have the people to build. The Canadian financial sector is in better shape than most, so we are in a better position to take that step. I'd strongly suggest that the Canadian Government should smile broadly upon those looking toward building such a facility with an eye toward driving the cost of this technology down.

This general technology is being explored all around the world, by every major automaker. Someone - several someones - are going to be cashing in on this sea change. The North American market is still critical, and still dominant, and this technology is so obviously superior to conventional drive-trains technology that it will go forward, with or without us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Veno Veriatus: Tenent drunkenly mocked Neocons.

Swimming trunks? $25. Bottle of fine scotch? $60. The director of the CIA in the pool of a Saudi prince, ranting drunkenly about neocons and Jews? Priceless. A new book will report that ex-CIA director George Tenet allegedly let loose on neoconservatives while drunk in the Saudi ambassador's pool.

read more | digg story

Obama's Inaugural Fuckup

Chromefishtian Sticker sticker

I probably don't feel as crushed as my politically queer friends and inspirations do by Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation.

Most are focusing on Warren's anti-gay activism, and it's certainly important. But it's the part of the iceberg above the water. I'm concerned about the iceberg itself. Warren is a front-line Culture Warrior and he's across the trenches from me. So, this leads me to ask, aloud; on which side will Obama be?

Obama says he wants this to be "the most inclusive Inaugural ever." Well and good; well and good; but there ARE some positions that you cannot include without implying a degree of tolerance. I, along with a great many people, feel that certain ideas cannot, may not, must not be tolerated. I say this as a red-letter Christian and a diligent student of both Constitutional Democracy and the values and theology of people like Wright.

For myself, I'm unwilling to include in my zone of tolerance anyone who claims a fundamental right to DENY human rights to other people for any reason, and I am even more unwilling to tolerate a person willing to bear false witness - as an ordained minister - in order to achieve a political goal.

Via The Box Turtle Bulletin
This is the same Rick Warren who recently said that the relationships of his “many gay friends” are no different from child rape, incest or polygamy. He also jumped on the paranoia bandwagon surrounding same-sex marriage by falsely claiming that Prop 8’s failure somehow would have overturned the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and religion. (It can’t. No law or state constitution can.).

I would not stand on the same stage with the man. It's a damn ignorant signal for a man who is both a religious man and a Constitutional scholar. It's not at all an "inclusive" move. It is, on the contrary, a very much disinclusive move.

Senator - I'm disappointed. I expected to be, but I'm surprised at how stunningly symbolic a betrayal this is; how very visceral. How very tone deaf.

Let me be blunt, Mr. Obama; whether you like it or not, whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, there IS a culture war in America. It HAS been declared on the American people by leaders like Warren, like James Dobson, like the late and unlamented Jerry Falwall.

Nor is it just about abortion and marriage rights. In fact, these are mostly smokescreen issues. Pick almost any urgent issue facing us; the economy, the climate crisis, health care, human rights, globalism - and you will find them squarely on the wrong side. When they have been given power to address these issues - and Bush did a lot of that - they consistently made things far worse than mere lack of qualification and intelligence would suggest.

Nope; it's a matter of policy; policy that believes that not only are unbelievers going to hell, but that they should be sent there as a matter of state policy.

Check the Christian Broadcasting Network site, or the Focus on the Family site, or any of the other official organs. Check out the whole Dominionist movement. Warren is not merely associated - his church is at the forefront.

Here's what Discernment Ministries says about Dominionism:

The dominionist’s kingdom must be advanced on Earth by gaining control of governments (State), utilizing business (Corporations) and partnering with social sector (Church) institutions. New bridges are being built based on triangular relationship between all three sectors of society. The Church is forming partnerships (or collaborations) with State and/or Corporate interests in order to implement dominion. Peter Drucker, the management guru, was instrumental in overseeing the implementation of this agenda – to create a three-legged “healthy society” globally – via Rick Warren of purpose-driven fame. Warren was mentored by Drucker, as were a number of other evangelical leaders such as Bob Buford of Leadership Network. Buford trained an entire generation of aspiring megachurch pastors in Drucker’s social philosophies. The megachurches are based on the Drucker corporate business model. Drucker’s ideas also undergird the faith-based (Church-State) movement which has been politically championed by the neoconservatives in Washington.21 Dominionism is significantly breaking down the walls between Church and Corporations (see point 4 below). In brief, the three-legged stool of dominionism looks like this:


STATE + CHURCH = Faith-based

the Merchant Church

I cite them because they are about as rock-ribbed a source as I could find.

Don't even speak to me of compromise with such, Sir; it's incompatible with oath you intent to take at the Inaugural.

These people believe they have the right and duty to oppress others. They oppose the rights of people. They are utterly and implacably opposed to all that is Constitutional and Ethical. And, given half a chance and a bottle of Jim Beam, they would happily drag you to death behind their Humvees.

Sir, the Inauguration is about symbolism. This is not a good symbol. It's even worse policy. And it's exactly what your policy will end up being if you lie down with these dogs.

Credit: Chromefishtian Sticker by webcarve

Yes, I AM a Mythbusters Fanboy

If all reality is subjective... shirt...I am just lazy about exploiting my fellow fans. Yes, I know, I suck at Capitalism.

But I have a few designs lying fallow and would look great on the show itself. That's actually what I was going to do - plug my shirts to the cast - when I got distracted.

Ok, I admit it, I hate cold sales calls. So, I guess I have to wait for a researcher to stumble across this page, looking for ideas.

But here's the one that I'd love to see on the show:

It's a template, so you can do all KINDS of things with it, but I got inspired and made an even better one:

Yes, with this one you can add an ascii image. It's even got a tutorial. I picked Grant Imahara of Mythbusters as my exemplar. Why? Well, I don't think he's picked on enough. At least, not on zazzle.

I'm not alone in trying to hint that my shirt should be seen on the show. There are some doozies keyworded for Mythbusters. Here's a few hilarious ones:

I really need to see Buster wearing this shirt. I think we ALL need to see Buster wearing this shirt!

And I want to see Jamie Hyneman wearing this tie that features Adam Savage's Mythbusting mug.

And I had to do a special shirt just for this post. It's something that's been in the back of my mind for months, but I needed a reason. I'm not sure why I did, but I did. So, finally, here it is!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TINC, John Best; TINC!

Larry Welkowitz, Ph.D.A poses a rhetorical question that will make John Best's head explode.

I wonder if the next frontier in diversity or "multiculturalism" might not be moving beyond the color of your skin or one's ethnicity, but instead "neurodiversity." We are all neurologically unique...some of us have funny brains, some serious, some have autism or Asperger's. In other words, there is real diversity in how we process information. And, a challenge for the future is for people to understand this and to become interested in how we are different, and to appreciate those differences.
Yep. Ka-POW! Did you know we neurodiverse individuals were co-conspirators with the Bavarian Illuminati? Holy Adam Wieshaupt, Batman! (Yes, it's an anti-vax thing. It's John Best. It's always anti-vax.)

Share the love. :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cafepress and Shopbot Beta

I'm a long-time Cafepress store owner and that seems to have gotten me an invite to play with a private beta marketing application called "Shopbot."

Now, I'm still poking things and pressing buttons, but it seems to work pretty well. It certainly shows off these products well.

And I welcome it with open arms. You see, I just plain suck at marketing. And I doubt that I'm alone in this. To the extent that Cafepress, Zazzle and other such enterprises survive at all, they survive due to professional marketing affiliates. Us creative types tend to be more interested in making the new thing than selling the old thing.

Anyway, this has led me to think aloud. You see, my father was a salesman and I grew up knowing what was involved in sales, in marketing, in social networking, in the whole process of "getting to yes," and at the same time, knowing that I sucked. Badly. It fascinates me, but in the same way that spiders and and plummeting do. I want to avoid accidental encounters very, very badly.

I also learned that sales and marketing are every bit as much a creative talent as is what I do when I sit down to write or make art, and I come to regret the snottiness and high episcopal disdain I've felt for the nuts and bolts of marketing.

There's hardly an aspect of marketing that I don't do every day, and do well enough or even better than most - until it comes to closing the deal. That's where technique and skill end and raw native capacity begins; you either can, or you can't.

I can't. So when it comes to that, I much prefer automated solutions, ways of allowing other people to market my stuff, or simply decide to buy it on it's own merits.

The one positive thing in this whole matter that I learned from my father was that, for a salesman, the best of all possible worlds was a product that was good enough and cheap enough that all the salesman had to do was haul it out of the sample case and slap down an order form.

That's a tall order in itself, but I do try. And I really very much rely upon tools like this to give me some of the advantages that used to be reserved to very well-heeled professional marketing intermediaries.

This tool is similar in that way to several others - for instance, this Zazzle scroller. The zazzle tool, though, has a feature that doesn't seem to exist with this (although I could well be wrong about that, or it could as yet be un-implemented.) The zazzle tool allows me to display my own designs, or to display particular products and keywords; so I chould choose to scroll all "Chrismas Mugs" or "Mother's Day Cards."

But the only intertivity they leave to the consumer - the person who has to "come to yes" in the equasion - is whether to buy any particular product or not. And as such, this is simply a smarter and more elegant way of better targeting a market niche.

This is the internet and we are speaking of custom items. I want a feature I see in none of these examples; I want a way for my customer to ask, in an automatic way, "can I have that in purple" or "could you put my kid's name on this" in a way that automates the calculations and generates an individual quotation. One of the reasons why I prefer Zazzle to Cafepress in many ways is that Zazzle does that for me - it's a means by which people may build upon my work in an automated way.

And I'd like to see Cafepress take that up in it's own way. For instance, I'd like to be able to release some or all of the designs I've uploaded over the years to Cafepress "into the wild," for people to use, or even resell. For a modest fee, of course.

Anyway, that's my thinking at the moment. Time to put this out there and see what it does. :)

Christmas Trees and the Fudge of the Gods

We aren't planning on having a tree this year. Why? Well, it's just that it's a damn tough act to follow.

Speaking of tough acts - as you can see, our next-door neighbors have a candy shop. It's not just any candy shop; it's an old fashioned penny-candy shop. Not that you can get anything for a penny these days; even wholesale. But you can find all the old-fashioned things, like Horehound Drops and Sen-Sen.

That alone would be unremarkable; what is remarkable, indecent, sinful and decadent is their home-made fudge. They treated us to a slab of it, maraschino cherry flavored. (They have twenty-odd others.)

Now, you know how it is with fudge. Every one's recipe is different, everyone swears theirs is best and the only proper thing to do is to nod, smile and hide the remains.

Their fudge would be an exception to that rule. Think of a Sees or Lindor truffle. Now think of just the good part, incarnated as a slab the size of your hand. Literally too much for one person to eat at once. So good you will absolutely hate not being able to. Utter, freaking tastegasms!

While Reno, Nevada doesn't make you think automatically of high standards, or excellence in anything - it sets a damn high bar for food in general and desserts in particular. It is, after all, the mecca for white, middle-class, heterosexual sin. :) Eating is the major recreational activity in Reno; my wife and I are still shedding pounds. Ah, the Black Bear Diner, the Peppermill Buffet, the steaks at the Gold Dust West... And the signature desserts of each!

This fudge is sinful enough to provoke exorcisms. This fudge would be right at home in The Peppermill or The Sienna. I'm certain there's not a pastry chef working in Reno that would not bleed for this recipe. Making fudge is easy. But fudge is rather like Go - an hour to learn, a lifetime to perfect.

No, damn it, they don't have a website. I'm pestering them. Meanwhile, I'll take serious inquiries to them. As I said, they are right next door and it's the slow season here in Greenwood. So if you happen to be putting together gift baskets and are lacking that distinctive, memorable item - email me quick.

If you are in Canada, there's still time for sure.

No Holiday Whining!

The loud detonation of Christmas Crackers has become a North American tradition. Sneak this design onto a nondenominational holiday tree near you.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

No Tragic Hipsters

Portly Dyke, writing at Shakespeare's Sister, fired off this letter to The Advocate in response to their "Gay is the New Black" Cover.

"_________ is the New Black" is a phrase meant to infer that something is new or cutting edge. News for you: Oppression is neither new nor cutting edge -- in fact, lateral oppression among and between disenfranchised groups is so old and status-quo that perhaps your cover would be better served with the following slogan: "Same Shit, Different Gays".

In your rush to construct a "clever" cover, perhaps it did not occur to you to completely think through the inferences in your choice of trendy phrase -- which is most commonly defined to mean this: "Blank is the New Black" is used "to indicate the sudden popularity or versatility of an idea at the expense of the popularity of a second idea". Get that?

Which I do. And yet, speaking from my perspective as an ethics blogger who dosen't really concern himself about specific niche groups, I really didn't have a handle on the issue.

For me, an image helps, something that focuses the idea for me. And I found it in the comments threads.

This is where I got my "ahHA!," the point where I realized what was wrong with this picture.

My instinctive rresponse to the Advocate is "please; get OVER yourself." And I'll tell you where it comes from; it comes from the abuse community, various mental heath communities, the places where damaged and broken people come together to commensurate, whine a little, and then learn to get over themselves and cope. Not because there's some grand moral imperative to do so and certainly not at ALL because that's what people who watch Larry The Cable Guy think we SHOULD do, but because the alternate is being stuck, paralyzed and stupid, whining in public.

One of the greatest sins among those trying to cope with their crap is "abuse-sizing;" claiming that the nature and circumstances of their abuse or oppression is ever so much more significant than that of another person belonging to a different group that is oppressed for different reasons.

There is really no intelligent response to this that doesn't involve some mockery; and for two reasons. First, because stuck people need to be slapped out of the things that keep them stuck. And second, because it really doesn't matter what excuses people used to oppress you. After years of poking under rocks and teasing out motivations, I've come to a conclusion that would be clear to more folks if it weren't for precious stunts like this.

There is no difference. Oppressors and abusers do what they do to the people they can isolate, cut out from the herd and torment. They depend on behavior just like this to make it possible. The Advocate has "come out" as being a publication with no interest in actually dealing with the problem - rather, they have siezed upon "being oppressed" as being a means of creating a captive market, a dysfunctional closet filled with potential victims. And you would want to be in that closet, because one is surrounded by a better quality of victim?


We are in a culture war with the same exact peckerheads - peckerheads that collectively make up no more than 30% of the US population, and while I don't have figures, I'm betting that's ballpark for pretty much everywhere. Some places, they have more clout, some places less, but the thing to remember, they are all the same, everywhere, the world over.

However, they pick on three percent here, ten percent there, one in 150 one day, five in a hundred another. Oh, they all have their own pet hates - but the real, core motivation is the same.

They like hurting people. They like having power and abusing it. They like beating queers to death and bragging about it. They like calling autistic people "freaks." They like lynching black people. They like burning down and blowing up and shooting and torturing people who are different from them. They celebrate cutting the clitoris off a screaming eight year old to "keep her pure."

There are all kinds of reasons they give, many justifications and rationalizations - but it's all bullshit. The point is, the existence of a "them" is the only thing that defines them to themselves. Their entire culture depends on defining themselves as not black, not gay, not weird, not strange, not "defective," not sick, not twisted. They think of themselves as normal, and they prove that to themselves by doing their very best to make life as difficult and dangerous as possible for everyone else.

So let us stop enabling these people. I'm calling The Advocate on doing just that. This is not "The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle."




Prop 8.


"Conscience Clauses."

And then there is this immensely stupid, annoying distraction of a "War On Christmas." It's all about 30 percent of the population making war on the rest of us.

Well, we have a small, historic window of opportunity. And a very simple path to victory. All it takes is a loud, unifed, determined "no." An affront to one is an affront to all, and that the sort of person that thinks themselves entitled to abuse and persecute others in the name of Flag, of God, of Politics - that person is a danger to everyone.

If these last eight years have not been lesson enough to us to put an end to this, these thirty percenters will continue to drag us into the killing fields. For literally, there is no difference between prop eight and Krystalknacht, between the killing fields of Cambodia and the voting booths of Kansas. The people who did and would do these things are all the same. The only question is, how far do we let them go; how much do we tolerate? Because those examples show us just how far they WILL go, given the chance. And before there were thugs smashing glass and skulls - there were lots and lots of "minor" transgressions. Like, say, Prop 8. Like, say, Legislation to protect the "consciences" of bigoted busybodies.

I'm fed up right now. I don't need some pinhead pulling a plastic bag over my head in the name of Jeezuz to tell me that I should have paid attention earlier. What about you?

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Big Black No by webcarve
No Tragic Hipsters by webcarve


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