Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Photo fraud vs. Photo non-fraud

I just wanted to point out that making a big deal about this doesn't enhance bloggers credibility when they complain about this.

A pile on is tons of fun but getting carried away doesn't help the cause.

Gender Variance - twisted non-tolerance

The ladies at the Independent Women's Forum linked to this article about a school in the Bay Area that is catering to those who do not want to force small children into strict gender roles.

This letter (I'm J.P.) was my reply.

My philosophy about gender in child-rearing has always been that most harm is done by making a big deal of things. Children should not be made to think that something is wrong with them because of their preferences. They shouldn't be searching for the answer "what is wrong with me" when absolutely nothing is wrong with them.

When I was a child I was completely unaware of what was going on around me. As an adult I found out that some of my classmates were deemed in danger of not being masculine enough or not being feminine enough. The adults, parents and school councilors, were trying to *fix* these kids. The parents of my tomboy neighbor were told to have her spend lots of play time with a girl who was very feminine. She's married, last I heard, still about as empathic as a brick, still a tomboy. She's a gym teacher and coach. I found out that someone else rather close to me was sent to the school psych for fear of being homosexual. He's not. In fact, it seems that the young man in our neighborhood who may actually *be* homosexual was a body-builder who competed very well on the wrestling team.

If the school councelors were trying to prevent gayness, they shouldn't have been picking on the non-athletic debate club boys.

In any case, I think this was horrible to do to those kids. But let's look at the "solution" of accomodating "gender variance." From the article.

Children with gender variant behaviors feel intensely that they want to look and act like the other sex. They prefer toys and activities typical of the opposite gender. Signs usually start appearing between the ages of 2 and 4.

For some children, it's a passing phase. Some grow up to be heterosexual, some gay.

As a girl who never much cared for dolls, what am I supposed to think of that?

Once upon a time adults tried to make "gender variant" boys and girls conform to gender stereotypes. We recognized that this was wrong, and that a range of behavior was normal for girls and for boys. There was a natural overlap of boys who liked music and art and who could be found with their noses in a book and girls who could be found catching tadpoles with the boys or up a tree or playing baseball.

But now "gender variance" is a phase. A phase? Something that heterosexual children outgrow? So the boy who likes bright colors and flowing clothing, if he doesn't turn out to be gay, will one day decide that dull suits are much better? (Nevermind that Historically manly men often dress like peacocks in elaborate costume.) And girls who are "tomboys" who absolutely refuse to wear a dress, unless they turn out to be lesbian, will one day decide that a sundress and strappy high heels are *comfortable*?

Petaluma mom Leslie Hansen knew something was different when her daughter was 2.

"She refused to wear pink, barrettes or anything fancy in her hair. She wanted her hair short. She didn't want to wear lace, dresses, patent leather shoes. She didn't want to play with dolls. Well, she had a dollhouse, but she put animals in it," Hansen said.


I hated pink. I hated dresses. I didn't play with dolls. Two of my three daughters will NOT wear pink. They hate dresses. They don't play with dolls. My idea of fun when I was a kid was finding bones in the cow pasture, digging "escape tunnels" in the woods behind the house, and doing taxidermy on road-kill squirrels. My youngest daughter wants short hair and my oldest daughter chose to go shooting for her 12th birthday.

My ONE daughter who loves anything pink and who loves pretty stuff doesn't play dolls either, never wanted tea parties, and, in fact, from the absolute earliest age prefered the tactile feel of toys with hard corners.

And Leslie Hanson thought it was *different* that her daughter didn't cooperate with playing "dress up" with Mommy?

And this is a Bay Area phenomenon. Well, duh. These people have gone all the way from the idiots of my youth who wanted to shove children into neat boxes, past the denial of oppressive stereotypes all the way back to the box again. The difference is that now they've decided that being shoved into a box is lovely.

Particularly if they get to feel all self-righteously tolerant about it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The problem of democracy

Well I'm feeling rather smugly smart just now, this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Pete Du Pont says what I've said many times. The electoral college is a *good* thing and direct popular election of the President is a *bad* thing.

The problem with democracy is that nothing about majority rule protects the minority. Nothing.

At one time I found it baffling that dissident groups in some far away country would boycott elections. What sense did it make for them to complain when they refused to participate? There is nothing baffling about it. They refuse to participate because they don't want to contribute to the illusion that they have representation when they have nothing at all.

When our constitution and our laws about the government were being set up the people discussing representation knew this very well indeed. This is why we have severe constitutional limits on the Federal government (not so much as when we started out, but that was the plan) and two houses of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives. It was designed to balance the interests of large States and small States. It was designed specifically to circumvent the weaknessess of majority rule by weakening the potential ability of large states to dictate to small states. Small states had wanted equal representation with the larger states but that wouldn't be fair either. The Senate, where North Dakota is equal to California, and the house where California has hundreds of Representatives to North Dakota's ONE, is the compromise.

It's a good compromise.

The other thing that was done was that the States rather than individual voters selected the President. Today we have an electoral college that works to sort of even out influences. Each state gets the number of votes equal to its members in Congress. Again, California get's LOTS and North Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, get very few. It doesn't matter if a candidate gets 52% of the vote in California or if the candidate gets 90%, the candidate gets all the electoral votes. It doesn't change much but it does mean that legitimate regional differences have a better chance to be addressed. Candidates can't just dis the small states to concentrate on the largest ones. This lessens the chance that the coasts can dictate to middle America, because a simple majority in any of those small states is magnified. In a purely popular vote getting 42% of Colorado or Kansas is every bit as good as getting 52% so what candidate would waste time on Colorado or Kansas? No one with any brains would bother. 10% of the popular vote in North Dakota would be what percentage of the vote in New York? Is it even a whole number or is it a fraction of a percent?

What would majority rule be like? Do we really *want* New York and California as our masters?

The electoral college, like the Senate, was created for a reason. Without it most of us would probably be just as well represented if we took a page from third world revolutionary groups and refused to vote.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

An Elaborate Escape from Thailand?

Well, if it's true I'd like to take this opportunity to publically authorize the US government to use my tax money to send the pervert back to Thailand. They were nice enough to cooperate with an extradition. It's only fair that we return the favor.

My Anime Inventory

Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell - stand alone complex : 6 or so DVD's
Corrector Yui : 2 DVD's
Blue Seed : box collection - I haven't watched this yet
My Neighbor Totoro (I'm including Miyazaki movies)
A Chinese Ghost Story (probably as good as Miyazaki)
Orphen : box collection
Nausica (Miyazaki)
Castle in the Sky (Miyazaki)
Lost Universe : 8ish DVD's
Noir : 6 or so DVD's - I haven't watched this yet
Gasaraki : complete series
Dirty Pair : 3 DVD's
Bubble Gum Crisis - Tokyo 2040 : complete series
Elhazard : 4 or 5 DVD's
Spirited Away (Miyazaki)
Tenchi : The movie - Tenchi Universe - one other version
Howl's Moving Castle (Miyazaki)
Porko Rosso (Miyazaki)
The Cat Returns (Miyazaki)
Ninja Scroll : a couple DVD's
Jin-Roh The world brigade : box set
Gunsmith Cats - Bulletproof
Macross Plus
Castle Cagliostro
Lodoss War : 2 DVD box
Princess Mononoke (Miyazaki)
Rahxephon : 6 or so DVD's
Kiki's Delivery Service (Miyazaki)
Generator Gawl : 2 DVD's
Nadia : 6 or 8 DVD's
Wolf's Rain : complete series
Full Metal Panic
Lupin III
Steam Boy
Ah, My Goddess - the Movie
Parasite Dolls - I haven't watched this yet

And then you think of how much of a college education all that could pay for. Owie!

And there is television: Naruto is a favorite in our house. Full Metal Alchemist is very good. Trigun. Mendori Days. That one with the deliquent high school with the can shaped robot student that no one catches on isn't a boy... what's that called?

The Avatar isn't anime as I believe it's US produced but is excellent and borrows a lot from Japanese animation. It proves that we can learn. (I believe that A Chinese Ghost Story isn't Japanese either, but there you go.)

Favorites? Recommendations?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Asian meaning Middle Eastern, of course

Drudge has this article linked. Two scruffy looking Asian men had the gall to terrorize British vacationers by *gasp* speaking a foreign language on an aircraft.

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand the article seems to clearly lay the blame for irrationality on the passengers with mention that political opponents blamed the government for failing to reassure people. (You'd think that the opposition could also take some initiative to reassure people but there, like here, scoring political points takes priority.) Why blame people for being scared? Is this actually an *irrational* fear? Are they responsible for the perception that scruffy looking possibly Arab men are dangerous? Or are terrorists responsible and the public response *rational*?

On the other hand, I feel a bit like rubbing the sophisticated Euro nose in this unsophisticated behavior. Europe doesn't admit it's racism, and that's on a *good* day. While I agree that airport security should include profiling I don't agree that it's okay to treat people like terrorists when they've been searched twice already.

It doesn't help that Brits of my (on-line) aquaintance have recently lectured about how terribly the US has over reacted to terrorism and how wrong are agressive attitudes and used not sending an invading army to North Ireland as an example. But this is what Brits do? They have panic attacks because someone is speaking a language that *might* be Arabic? And it doesn't help that I've experienced many a usenet conversation about how well travelled are Europeans and how much more they know about the world than Americans who seldom travel abroad.

I know that many respectable people on this side of the pond deplore the British and European attitude of appeasement toward their Muslim populations but it seems to me that it exists as a Jeckel and Hyde sort of paradox despite or maybe even *because* of an existing racism. We Americans get taken to task constantly about how racist we are but not admiting racism in Europe doesn't mean it goes away. Maybe I'm completely wrong but I've heard so much that makes me think that the appeasement there is mostly about trying hard to pretend that Muslims in Europe aren't discriminated against when they really are.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Giuliani and the conservative base

I've said for a while now that fears that Giuliani can't sway the Republican base of conservative Christians is simply not true.

This article supports my view though it's not conclusive.

It's not skeletons you know, it's skeletons that are IN closets. And dressing up like a girl only matters if people have any reason to expect that you mean it. ;-)

The social liberalism matters. The 2nd Ammendment matters. But they aren't going to matter as much as people think they will.

I've heard liberal persons explain who OTHER people won't vote for... how do they know? I think it's their own prejudice speaking, either their prejudice ("a black person/woman/Jew can't get elected") or prejudice about other people's supposed prejudice. And people don't like it when those assumptions are made about them. In the last election Kerry and Edwards tried to play on what they *believed* would put off the Republican religious base... that Mary Cheney is a lesbian. That the reaction and anger was directed at Kerry and Edwards was predictable to anyone with a clue. It didn't even mean that people *approved* of Mary. It doesn't take approval or agreement with a lifestyle to recognize the dispicable *intent* of the Kerry/Edwards campaign.

And that's what's most likely to happen if a Democratic (or even Republicans in the primaries) try to sway the conservative religious base with Giuliani's behavior... it will be percieved as malicious gossip and a slur on the characters, not of Giuliani, but of the conservative religious base. And they will resent it.

And the liberal social policies? If he's not vowing to interfere in States issues, it's not going to matter any where near as much as some people think it will. He's not an evil person just because he holds contrary views.

(And the Democrat habit of having a "personal" view of abortion as wrong, like Ferraro and I think maybe Kerry did it too, good Catholics... and a separate actively pro-choice view for government.... bad idea folks. Really really bad. Just be for it or against it, people can respect that.)

Caveman Voter?

This is a rather interesting article by Josh Manchester.

At first I thought that "caveman" was supposed to be insulting but apparently not. I suppose it makes more sense if you've seen the SNL sketch... it seems a take on "I'm a simple person and I don't know much but I do know *this*."

Josh gives us this version of the Caveman:
Hey, all you elected politicians and media types and academics! I'm just an average guy. I wake up and I go to work and I have a family. I don't know much about Shi'ites, Sunnis, Wahhabis, Salafists, Imams, Mullahs, root causes, or the desire for democracy in the Muslim world or whatever. My mind can grasp these concepts just fine, the fact of the matter is I just don't care. I don't know much about all that stuff, but there is one thing I do know: when a bunch of "death-to-america" chanting yahoos want to destroy our culture, attack our cities, down our aircraft, and build nuclear weapons, then they are entitled to the business end of a B52.

The only thing I'd add is that there's not caring and then there's deciding that some things are a distraction from the heart of the matter.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Getting to be prom queen of the world is lame if everyone knows you're a slut.

This is my response to yet another comment (this one on neo-neocon's blog) claiming that Bush was the worst president EVER and Condi was a laughingstock in the world. (The Condi bit was somewhat unusual, I will admit. What wasn't all that unusual was that the commenter, IIRC, claimed to be reasonable.)

I'm reminded of that saying: Metaphysics - I'll see it when I believe it.

The force of WILL displayed is incredible. The belief that Bush is bad-evil-theworstever existed before he ever took the oath of office. The sore feelings that Bush was better at stealing an election than Gore was taken up by people who are professionals when it comes to the ultimate moral authority... outrage. Gore started out by displaying a petulant attitude and it's never let up.

And this was in 2000. When there was a limit to the damage that any president could do. The difference between a Dem status quo and a Rep status quo resembled the libertarian refrain "The Democrats and their clones the Republicans."

Before 9-11. Before the invasion of Afghanistan. Before the build up to the invasion of Iraq. Before any cowboy manners could offend any sophisticated Euro. Before all that.

When it comes to the belief that Bush (and anyone close to him) is the WORST PRESIDENT EVER, cause and effect are backwards. Since the belief existed before any possibility of evidence... I have to, logically, rationally, MUST question the belief.

And here's a clue... popularity != reputation.

Getting to be prom queen of the world is lame if everyone knows you're a slut.