Monthly Archives: June 2009

Norm Coleman Concedes

From the New York Times:

Norm Coleman, the Republican incumbent, has conceded to the
Democrat Al Franken in the contested Senate race in
Minnesota, ending a seven-month battle over the seat. Earlier
Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled
unanimously that Mr. Franken was the winner.

Much of this was covered in the early stages by my previous blog Carldems.blogspot.com

See more here:

Did Coleman’s Attorney Vote for Franken?

Al Franken’s January Statement
Franken certified the winner
Senator Franken?
Minnesota Supreme Court’s December Decision
Recount Update: Can Franken Pull It Off?
Canvassing Update 2

Canvassing Update
December 5th Update
December 4th Update
Dececember 3rd Update
December 1st Update
MPR Ballots
Star-Tribune Ballots

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Filed under Campaigns, Politics, Uncategorized

Is Fox Nation devilishly trying to tear this country apart?

You might think that the headline is strongly worded, and irresponsible.  You would be wrong, because it was phrased in the form of a question.

This is a favorite tactic of Fox News.  The Daily Show first documented this in 2006:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Question Mark | The Daily Show | …“, posted with vodpod

Now, Fox Nation is joining in by  “asking” if the House or Representatives committed treason:
climate change

From News Hounds:

The headline of the linked article is “House Passes Milestone Energy, Climate Change Bill.” Obviously not happy with the AP headline, the Fox Nation writers, in order to put it in right wing terms the pitchfork gang can understand and appreciate, tweaked it thusly: “Treason? House Passes Direct Assault On Industrial Base.” It is accompanied by a photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The AP article is what real journalism is all about, as it describes what happened in the House of Representatives with no reference to “treason.” The Fox Nation headline is a subjective statement of pure right wing propaganda by those who haven’t read the constitution and is aimed at those who are constitutionally illiterate. But then, in Fox Nation, anyone who dares disagree with the solons of right wing dogma are traitors. Republican Rep Michele Bachman claims that Jesus has taken care of global warming, so why worry? BTW, Republican Representative John Shimkus said that “This is the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I have ever experienced.”

They say a picture can say a 1,000 words:

c_06122009_520

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Filed under Blogs, Media, Television

A Response To Sally Kern (via the Oklahoma Gazette)

One of the nice things about blogging in Oklahoma is the fact that there are people like Sally Kern. Sally Kern, her colleagues, and followers, go around saying many many ridiculous things which beg to be rebutted.  Normally what she says really just ought to be ignored, but this week she wrote a ‘counterpoint’ in the Gazette entitled “preserving traditional marriage.” Below I will post each part of her article and offer a rebuttal. Please feel free to rebut on your own in the comments.

For centuries, traditional marriage has been the bedrock institution of society, providing stability and sustainability. Only traditional marriage produces children, which perpetuates future generations.

This is the beginning of Representative Kern’s argument, and a common argument against gay marriage.  The first thing to notice is that she’s framing the debate in terms of “Preserving Traditional Marriage.” She is assuming, without any evidence at this point, that allowing homosexuals the right to form a union will jeopardize or end “traditional” marriage.

Further, from my understanding, marriage was only a source of stability in the sense that it was used as a business transaction.  Fathers would try and get their daughters engaged with a better-off man so that their family could be better regarded.  In many societies, adultery was common, and outside of the western world polygamy was common.

While same-sex couples can adopt or be inseminated, this is not the norm. For posterity, society has a vested interest in preserving traditional marriage. Countless studies prove that children thrive best when reared in a home with a mother and a father. Children need the unique qualities that each gender brings into the nurturing process. Also, a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman helps to protect from STDs.

The first sentence doesn’t make any sense. Is she saying that among same-sex couples it is not the norm to have a child? Or is she saying that it is not normal for that occur?

She claims “countless studies” have found that a home with a mother and father is better than same-sex parents for children.  Yet this LA times article says that the “American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Assn., the American Psychological Assn., the American Psychiatric Assn. and a variety of child welfare groups” have all endorsed the proposition that gay parents are no better and no worse than traditional parents.

The American Psychological Association says: “the research has been remarkably consistent in showing that lesbian and gay parents are every bit as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.”

So what exactly does Representative Kern mean by “countless”?

Biology is important in the same-sex marriage debate. It doesn’t take a genius to know that a man’s and a woman’s body parts naturally fit together. The anatomy of opposite sexes was made to complement each other. Two men or two women can’t physically complement one another. There are also other differences between the sexes than just physical. Emotional and psychological differences exist. A man cannot meet all the needs of another man and vice versa.

I think that many gay men would say that other men are able to meet their needs. Most lesbians seem to also believe that other women meet their needs.

Homosexuals say same-sex marriage is their civil right, comparing their quest for marriage equality to blacks in their struggle for equality. But homosexuals have always had all the rights of citizenship, unlike blacks. They can vote, own property, hold a job. They’ve never been bought and sold as slaves, or had separate bathrooms or drinking fountains. Homosexuality is not self-evident the way black is.

I think we can agree that homosexuals have not been harmed in the same way African-Americans were in this country.  Just because it’s not the same does not mean that African-Americans have a claim to the civil-rights “tag” and gays don’t.  This is Representative Kern’s divide and conquer paragraph.

Homosexuality is not inborn. If it were, from which parent was it inherited? No validated scientific study has ever proven there is a “gay gene.” Everyone is equal and worthy of respect, but not all ideas or behaviors are equal. Granting legal status to a behavior is wrong. Is adultery morally equal to fidelity?

Scientists who study the nature of homosexuality can stop. Sally Kern has the answer. “Homosexuality is not inborn.” I guess that means it’s a choice.  I must say, that’s a pretty interesting choice for people to make despite the significant social repercussions that still exist and were much more common in the past.  Those gays must just be deviants who are looking to mess up society.  It sure is inconvenient that there are so many biological correlates to homosexuality.  It’s also inconvenient that there seem to be gay animals in nature.

While it is not clear why certain people are gay and others are not, studies do seem to bear out that it is not a choice. The Boston Globe did a great article on this question here. Also the fact that we haven’t found a “gay gene” is terrible evidence that homosexuality is not “inbred.”  The human genome was only decode within the last decade, and much of the genome is still a mystery. Further, homosexuality could be a biological process without being genetic.

The book “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality” reinterprets Scripture to support homosexuality. The book is contrary to historical Christianity and sound biblical interpretation. It does not change God’s standard.

In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus affirmed the Genesis account and upheld marriage as between one man and one woman. The high divorce rate among heterosexuals is no more pleasing to God than same-sex marriage. Jesus’ silence on homosexuality is not an endorsement of it. He also said nothing about rape, incest, drugs or pedophilia. Surely, these aren’t acceptable?

Here we get some religious arguments.  Jesus said nothing about rape, incest, drugs, pedophilia, or homosexuality, so he must be against all of them, he’s pretty much against everything that Sally Kern thinks is bad, but just forgot to mention those things.  Mmmhm. As support, Kern cites Matthew 19:4-5, where Jesus says that men cannot divorce their wives unless their wife has committed adultery.  Verses 4-5 say that God created man and woman to be together etc.  Jesus never says that homosexuality is a sin, but he does say

1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7 1-5 New International Version

This is also a great opportunity to show President Bartlett’s biblical response to the “homosexuality is an abomination” argument.

Sally Kern’s grand finale:

Marriage is more than just an institution for romantic love, adult convenience or social acceptability. To redefine it is to make it something different. Same-sex marriage will devalue marriage and weaken society. This has been proven in Norway, where the rates of traditional and same-sex marriage have declined and the number of out-of-wedlock births has increased since same-sex marriage was legalized.

Granting marriage status to homosexuals who comprise little more than 3 percent of the population would be like granting all applicants admission to a prestigious college just because a few meet the qualifications. That school’s status would fall. Likewise, the status of marriage will fall if same-sex marriage is legalized.

The last paragraph makes no sense to me.  Marriage = an elite school? Letting people in makes it less valuable?

By the same argument we should exclude some people from our most important rights, you know, in order to keep them desirable. Civil Rights, Political Rights, Social Rights, all need someone excluded from them.  Is that what you’re saying Representative Kern?

Read the “point” that Kern is replying to here.

Update: Clark Matthews at the Lost Ogle, has his own response to Sally Kern

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Filed under Policy

Michael Jackson kills the Internet

If there was any question about Michael Jackson’s popularity, it was settled last night, when news of his death created strong, in some cases unprecedented, internet traffic.

Some examples:

  • The Los Angeles Times was one of the first major publications to state that Jackson was dead. When CNN mentioned this as a source, the LA Times website was brought down by the traffic influx, receiving over 2.3 million page views in one hour.
  • Twitter went into a 5-6 minute delay. I saw the fail whale for the first time in weeks. TweetVolume reported that more than 65,000 tweets reported on the original TMZ story within the first hour – around 5,000 per minute at peak. “We saw an instant doubling of tweets per second the moment the story broke,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told the Los Angeles Times. “This particular news about the passing of such a global icon is the biggest jump in tweets per second since the U.S. presidential election.” Ultimately, updates about Jackson would double Twitter’s update frequency, and the singer currently occupies seven of Twitter’s ten top trending topics.
  • The number of status updates on Facebook was triple the average. Despite this, Facebook remained operable throughout.
  • America Online’s AIM instant messenger product – which was undergoing some minor scheduled maintenance around the time of the Jackson news – was severely impacted by the story and went down for 40 minutes. “Today was a seminal moment in Internet history. We’ve never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth,” an AOL spokesperson said.
  • An edit war on Jackson’s page on Wikipedia ultimately forced the online encyclopaedia to freeze

The New York Times also reports that even google was affected by this flood of traffic:

Even Google had trouble keeping up. Between 5:40 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Eastern, after TMZ.com had said Mr. Jackson had died, some visitors to Google News “experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson,” a Google spokesman said.

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Filed under Celebrity

Food Friday: Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

A sassier way to get your seafood

On a hot summer day, nothing beats the taste of seafood to make us think of rolling surfs and cool breezes – even if we’re stuck in an overheated apartment in the middle of the city.   But for those of us who don’t live on a coast, good seafood can be hard to come by.

Fortunately for those of us surrounded by amber waves of grain, frozen shrimp is plentiful, high-quality, and best of all, cheap.  But it’s often hard to prepare it in a way that doesn’t involve deep-frying or result in limp crustaceans arranged around a questionable container of cocktail sauce.

Ceviche, a traditional Latin American dish, is a refreshing alternative.   Everything marinates in a citrus mixture, which magically “cooks” everything so that it is crisp, and provides a satisfying tang to each bite.  It’s just what the doctor ordered for a steamy summer’s night.

This recipe is remarkably flexible – switch up the vegetables, change the seasonings.  You can even use a flaky whitefish like tilapia instead of shrimp.  All that matters is that you keep the citrus base and use good, fresh ingredients.  For that reason, it’s best if you use actual lemons and limes and squeeze them yourself, although bottled substitutes do a decent job and are much less time-consuming.

SHRIMP CEVICHE

1 pound raw and deveined frozen shrimp
1 cup lime juice
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, very thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small hot pepper, minced
1/4 pound thin asparagus, cut into inch-long pieces
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Pour in the shrimp, and immediately turn off the heat.  Let the shrimp sit in the hot water for about 90 seconds.  Immediately drain and immerse the shrimp in cold water.  When cool, drain shrimp.
2. Arrange the shrimp, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, garlic, hot pepper, and asparagus in a shallow pan.  Mix together the citrus juice, and pour over the pan.
3. Allow to sit in the refrigerator at least one hour – more time means more flavors mixing.  To serve, drain the excess juice, garnish with cilantro.  Superb with freshly baked bread.

Yields 4 servings

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Filed under Culture, Food

GOP and Fast Food: The Hidden Connection

Hamburger is GOPNow, don’t get excited. This isn’t a logo change à la Brand New, I just wanted to draw your attention to a – perhaps subconscious – endorsement of American fast food by the Republican Party. How much like a hamburger does that elephant look! With a yummy sesame-seed bun, too!

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Filed under Bethany, Politics

Sad Day in Pop Culture- Fawcett and Jackson Dead

Obit FawcettFawcett dies of cancer at age 62

Michael Jackson dies of cardiac arrest at age 50.

MJ_-_Thriller25_-_PRESS_SHOT_5

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