commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for the ‘activism’ Category

Ban Civil Marriage

Civil marriage – marriage regulated by the State – should be banned completely in the United States.  Marriage is a matter of way of life and belief, and should be left to the religious and philosophical spheres.  Including marriage as a civil structure simply brings the United States one step closer to a theocracy.

Test all children for parentage at birth (eliminate the “marriage presumption”) and eliminate all governmental monetary ties to marriage.  Have social security cover minor children of decedents, and allow people to designate one and only one adult to receive survivor’s benefits based on a decedent’s work record.

Allow adults living together at one address to either file one tax return for all residents or else to file all singly (single filing required for persons at government institutions such as prison halfway houses.)  Better still, adopt the Fair Tax instead of the Income Tax and there is no problem with filing at all, since there’s no filing.

Of course, this would put a lot of family lawyers out of work, not to mention loophole accountants…

Advertisements

If the House Republicans don’t believe President Bush anymore…

… when can I expect to see the Republican House members introduce a bill for an immediate and total pullout from Iraq?

Quote Updates 9/22

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT):
“If an institution is too big to fail, then that institution is too big to exist.”
http://sanders.senate.gov/

Walter Kittredge (1863):
“Many are the hearts that are weary tonight, wishing for the war to cease; many are the hearts looking for the right, to see the dawn of peace.”
http://www.merrimackhistory.org/Walter%20Kittredge.htm

Anton Szandor LaVey:
“It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable.”
http://www.satanicchurch.com/content/9-sins.aspx

Brendan Cathbad Myers:
“When most pagans think of ethics, they usually think of the Wiccan Rede — a highly utilitarian idea which has nothing to do with virtue. I’d like to change that.”
http://www.wildideas.net/cathbad/

Ken Sanzel:
“Not every story has a point. Sometimes you just bend spaghetti to watch it break.”

Leave Georgia, pretty please, Czar Putin

My grandfather, the late Andrzhei Antonovich Dzialtvo, fled Lithuania with his family around 1902, when he was about four years of age.  It was during one of Russia’s periodic invasions of countries around it, which Russia has engaged in as a regular hobby long before Europe even noticed the Americas existed.

It’s also long-known that asking the Czar – whatever he goes by, Czar, General Secretary,  President, or Prime Minister – to stop invading gives the guy a good belly laugh.

So this is what I’ve suggested by phone to my Congressional Representative, the Hon. Christopher H. Smith (R4-NJ), and one of my Senators, the Hon. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), in a call made to each of their offices:

  • The President of the United States of America should immediately recall his ambassador from Moscow and reduce relations to a chargé d’affaires level;
  • The State Department of the United States of America should issue a warning to all American citizens in Russia to promptly leave Russia;
  • The President of the United States of America should, by Executive Order, immediately declare a suspension of all trade with the Russian Republic.

That will get Vladimir Putin’s attention.  Calling for meetings and asking politely has not worked for dealings with Russia in over a millennium, and it obviously is not going to work now.

When I called Rep. Smith’s office, I was told that the Congress couldn’t do anything because Speaker Pelosi has declared a recess; I pointed out that the Representative was quite good at holding press conferences and could issue a public statement calling for these measures from the executive branch of the US government.  Senator Lautenberg’s office was a little more encouraging, and the staffer had a good laugh when I told him about Rep. Smith’s staffer trying to blame Speaker Pelosi for a possible inability for Rep. Smith to say anything publicly.

This is going to make it an interesting Olympic season, too…

Autism vs. Basketball Stars

What’s the main difference between Michael Savage and Don Imus?

Don Imus attacked Rutgers basketball players, who are perfectly capable of defending themselves.

Michael Savage attacked autistic people, who are people who are at a vast disadvantage for defending themselves.

Think Michael Savage will get fired like Don Imus did?  I doubt it’s likely.  Disabled people get a lot less funding than state university basketball teams – not to mention a lot less fans and a lot less attention.

I’d love to see some of the women’s basketball team at Rutgers step up publicly and say that Mr. Savage’s remarks are just as unacceptable as Imus’ remarks.  But I’m not holding my breath on it.

The entirety of “The Defense of Fort M’Henry”

Poem, The Defense of Fort M'Henry, by Francis Scott Key

Netflix can’t maintain queues; can they be trusted with credit cards?

I received the following notice in my email today, from Netflix, a web-only movie rental company:

Important News Regarding Netflix Profiles

We wanted to let you know we will be eliminating Profiles, the feature that allowed you to set up separate DVD Queues under one account, effective September 1, 2008.

Each additional Profile Queue will be unavailable after September 1, 2008. Before then, we recommend you consolidate any of your Profile Queues to your main account Queue or print them out.

While it may be disappointing to see Profiles go away, this change will help us continue to improve the Netflix website for all our customers.

If you have any questions, please go to http://www.netflix.com/Help?p_faqid=3962 or call us anytime at 1 (888) 638-3549. We apologize for any inconvenience.

– The Netflix Team

This is my response:

(Also published as an open letter on my blog.)

Dear Netflix,

I wanted to let you know that if you go through with eliminating Profiles, the feature that allows me to set up separate DVD queues under one account, I will likely cancel my membership with you.

It is disappointing to see Profiles go away, and I don’t see how this will improve your website – or your business. I do know that if you can’t manage to hire web programmers to maintain a feature that’s worked successfully for so long, I really don’t see how I can trust your remaining web programmers to keep credit card and other information confidential.

If you have any real explanation other than shoddy programmers or being unable to pay enough to programmers to run a web-only business, please feel free to contact me.