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Oct 20, 2014

The Weaseling Continues...

From the New Yorker, here's Obama:
Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states
Now, this is an argument he has never made before. As Toobin notes, his administration, never, in all the cases it argued before the courts made that argument. In fact Obama was opposed to gay marriage until a few months before his re-election, when suddenly he evolved. Note that evolution is never sudden.

His evolved position? Same as Cheney's from years ago. Wanted to leave it to the states.

This was predictable. As gay marriage has become not-illegal in a majority of the states, and is crumbling elsewhere, Obama has an eye on his legacy. He wants to go down as the one who established equality for gays. History unfortunately will judge him to be so, despite being opposed to it for most of his political career, riding the coattails of many a nameless activist who fought for and won the battles in court, and stepping in to take the credit.

Oh, you want evidence? Look up weasel on this blog.

Oct 19, 2014

Pope admits God is not omniscient

tl;dr
If gay marriage is a new thing to God, then God didn't know about it. Perhaps Francis meant that God is not afraid of what is new to the rest of us.

No, that does not make sense either, this is not a new thing. Besides, God is only afraid of iron chariots.

But get used to the double-speak from this pope. He has mastered the art. He'll issue a radically new, socially liberal edict, long denigrated by the socially conservative church. Then soon, with much lesser fanfare, he'll walk it back. This time, the walking back was noticed, so he has to do another dog and pony show. He has done it before, you know.

Oh, come in, Tim Minchin, didn't see you standing out there:


Oct 15, 2014

"But Jesus never..."

Those are the three words that some of the nicer Christians start with to defend the amorality, and sometimes immorality, endemic in Christianity in particular, religion in general.
"But Jesus never asked women to be treated as inferior to men, that was Paul..."
 "But Jesus never asked homosexuals to be stoned, that was just Levitical law which no longer applies because he fulfilled..."
"But Jesus never was for the rich, remember how he moved around among the lepers and prostitutes..."
You get the picture. If Jesus is silent on a matter, they get to ascribe the most favorable motive to that silence. For example, if he was silent on homosexuality, then they get to claim that Jesus did not discriminate against homosexuals. If he did not oppose gay marriage, then he must have been for gay marriage.

I submit that the above is a piss-poor rationalization to cope with the cognitive dissonance that such Christians find in their axiomatic, if often denied, equivalence of religion and morality. It is bewildering that they suppress their moral conscience to salvage their investment in amoral scripture. After all, Jesus never spoke (in the same Bible) against the tyranny of the Roman Empire, their death-by-crucifixion form of capital punishment, their enslavement of people, or their taxation without representation. So whither that condemnation of the founding fathers, for instance? But, that is a topic for another day.

Sep 28, 2014

"What are you prepared to do?"

Flashpoint Ferguson. The saga so far:
  • An 18 year old black teenager, unarmed, is shot down by a police officer.
  • The teenager dies, his body left in the spot for hours.
  • The officer's report contains no details.
  • The police chief refuses to reveal the officer's name for days, and when he does, includes an unrelated bonus reel of the teenager allegedly stealing and scuffling with a store clerk. Clarifies that the officer had no knowledge of this incident at the time of the shooting.
  • Many, especially blacks, are outraged; FOX News digs deeper into the teenager's past; protests and vigils are held till some in the crowd start looting; followed and preceded by an alarming display of police force with intimidation of the press and protesters alike.
  • The DA does not indict or arrest, instead convenes a grand jury and proceeds to present unknown evidence, leaving it to them to decide what charges.
  • The jury has till early January 2015 to decide.
  • Meanwhile fundraising efforts are underway, the one for the officer take in more donations than the family of the dead teenager. The fundraising organizer is a noted political bigwig, and a prominent member of the governor's circle.
  • Independent witnesses reports are remarkably consistent: the teenager was fleeing when the officer opened gunfire and was surrendering with his hands up when he is shot dead.
  • Numerous journalists and social media activists dissect the events, with stories about alleged cover-ups, incompetence, and purported holes in the police stories.
  • All through this, the purported civil-rights leaders appeal for peace while demanding justice.
I have no idea what justice is supposed to look like; I suspect it is one that involves an indictment, conviction and some time in prison. Preferably on first-degree murder charges.

Sep 26, 2014

Security In Media: Scorpion - S1E1 - Pilot

Overview:

Scorpion is a new show on CBS about a group of genius misfits who are geniuses. That may sound redundant, but it's far less repetitious than how this show beats you over the head with how genius these genius-level geniuses are. If every letter in the word "genius" was a genius, then the level of genius-ness of one of these geniuses would be some large number instances of the word "genius." A number so large I can't even think of it because I'm not a genius. Of course, since they are geniuses and this is Hollywood, they are also socially inept criminals. Because, you know, the idea of a group of geniuses successfully and cooperatively working for the government is just too bizarre for people to handle.

But, this is not about the dissection of cliche TV tropes. It's about Information Security in Media. While it doesn't appear that this show will solely be about things IT related, they chose that as their plot for the premiere episode. The premise is this: communication software for the LAX airport control tower was just updated. That update contained a bug that crashed the software, severing communication between the control tower and incoming planes. While they were able to redirect some of the planes destined for LAX, there are others that are too close to LAX and too far away from other locations to be contacted. They need to get the software up or those planes will run out of fuel and crash.

Spoilers and foul language ahead

Dunford and his (not) $3 million casa (not) for sale.

There are several things one cannot say about Andrew. No, if I knew what they were, I'd be yodeling them now, wouldn't I? But there is ONE thing one can say about Andrew. He knows his cricket. Again no,
I have no idea why this image is here
not the gryllidae family, but the allegedly soporific sport. Other than that, he is a Kiwi-Brit. For those in the civilized world that treats nachos as a delicacy, that's the ecclesiastical ephemeral equivalent of a Puerto Rican Yankee. 

Because New Zealand is Australia's Canada. Just as Lake Forest is Mission Viejo's Mexico.

There is an ancient Spanish proverb, or at least there should be 
"Un yak embarazada en el maletero es mejor que dos en el asiento delantero." 
That seems so spectacularly inapplicable here that I'm forced to mention it, because no one else will dare dream of doing so. As Google and the UN translator on standby loosely translates it (Beta version, accept at your own risk, or your neighbor's, I don't give a damn anymore) 
"A pregnant yak in the trunk is worth two in the front seat."
Now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense. Never look a gift horse in the mouth, they say.  Hey pal, you look where you want to, and I'll look where I damn well please, OK? Besides, what do they know?

Damn Luddites!

Anyhoo, as I was not saying, this Dunford dude ("bloke" for the Polynesians and Yezidis) has a house for sale. Location, location, location. No, I haven't a clue as to where it is located, or why I wasted that clever alliterative figure of speech, but that's all Andrew would divulge. I think it has something to do with the 140 character limit on Twitter, but I suspect an ulterior motive. Something more sinister. Macabre, almost. No, not Stephen King macabre, more like Edgar-Allan-Poe-write-only-bot who-has-been-trying-to-follow-me-on-Twitter-macabre. To which I say: Back off pal, do mosquitoes sucking on mummies ring a bell?

It is almost as if the Scotland Independence vote didn't go his way. I suspect that he was rooting for a draw, because they just do not have enough of those in Test Cricket (sp?) these days.

Recently (BIG SPOILER ALERT AHEAD), he took to Twitter to whine about (that be "whinge" in Antipodea I and II), get this, giraffes. Now, if this were the Deep South, the preceding sentence would have started with "Y'all not gonna believe this, but the fake pommie wants to gab about giraffes." Sensitive as I am to overcoming other people's xenophobia, I suggest that Andrew register himself with this premier site: G.D.B.P.W.S.N.B.D.G. That's right, he's probably awful at drawing 'em giraffes. There, I said it, somebody HAD TO!

Sometimes, I wonder.