Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ames, Iowa To Be Included In New Book

Not just any book, either. It's a coffee-table edition of The Daily Dish feature, "The View From Your Window." Andrew Sullivan and company have been collecting reader submissions over the past few months, and put them together into a book. What's unique about the process is how they were able to cut down the cost:

How did we get the price down by half? We did it the way publishing houses do it - with a twist. We didn't guess the demand or market test it, we simply asked for pledges. We crowd-sourced the price. We got enough pledges to do a print run of 2,000 which brought the price down to $16.25. But unlike the publishing houses, we're not pocketing the difference. We're handing it over to you in a lower price. Blurb will make some money - they're a business, after all, and they're doing the heavy lifting - but apart from that, you are merely paying for the actual materials of the book. Since the pictures are yours, and this blog is yours, that seems fair.
Of course, once those are gone, the price goes back up to $30. I've already got my copies ordered.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

"The most reliable standbys of modern filmmaking are explosions and breasts."
--Gregg Easterbrook. How else to explain Jenny McCarthy?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholic Church Ultimatum To D.C.

As if anyone had any further doubts as to the rabid, anti-gay evil of the Roman Catholic Church, this one takes the cake:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

"If the city requires this, we can't do it," Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. "The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really a problem."

You know, sometimes the punchlines really do write themselves.

Fortunately the city council sees this for the extortion it is:

In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as "somewhat childish." Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city's relationship with the church than give in to its demands.

"They don't represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure," said Catania, the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill and the chairman of the Health Committee.

What still baffles me is why anyone has any relationship with the Catholic Church anymore, except as the enemy of decency it is.

And for those of you who think this is just Ratztinger being an anti-gay bigot, well, while you're not wrong, John Paul II once described American gay culture as "evil" as well. This has been coming for a long time.

And one of Andrew Sullivan's gay readers the other day wrote a very touching letter. There's an awfully good point embedded there:

In answer to your question asking if it is bizarre that the Catholic Church finances a campaign to tell gay kids they cannot have a relationship like their parents: If those kids knew they could have happy, loving, same sex relationships, would they still choose to be priests?
I don't see it being that complicated. It's just that Benedict and the other haters are all a bunch of self-loathing queens who want everyone to be as miserable as they are. Sullivan, himself, admits he struggles with the guilt all the time. He said that he detects nothing in his prayers telling him to leave the church. I wish him well, but I think he--and the world--would be better off without such institutionalized guilt.

I know this for sure: the collection plate dollars of ALL Catholics are being funneled to an organization that uses the money to actively suppress the already-marginalized. And they need to be reminded of that.

Via Pharyngula.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lou Dobbs: Long Overdue

Looks like Loony Lou is leaving CNN, according to the New York Times. Tonight might be his last show. Of course, it's been years since he was anything resembling credible. When your act boils down to, "I hate immigrants," your only real home is Fox.

So, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs down, Nancy Grace to go.

Via TPM.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Quote Of The Day

"The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese. And that, in erotic terms, is the Catholic church in a nutshell."
--Stephen Fry.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Art Critic Translations

This. Is. Beautiful.

From his 1996 book, Picasso’s Sweet Revenge, art critic Ephriam Kishon (who hates modern art and its pretentious flaks with a passion) takes a phrase from a review of a modern art write-up and translates it into what it really is. Kinda like Defense Department “entrenching tool” becomes a “shovel,” that kinda thing. Enjoy:

  • Swelling tender structures with a narcissistically effervescent interplay of power. (Brown fleck in the lower left corner. )
  • An Apollonian consummation of rhythmatized linear layers. (Two stripes.)
  • Cosmically upthrusting cellular currents of timeless transfiguration. (Nothing.)
  • Prefigured vibrational synthesis as optical distance to melodic hypertrophy. (Empty canvas, signed on the back.)
  • Spiraloid, fluoric antagonisms of archetypical chimeric esotericism. (Five green triangles.)
  • A luminous, foetal and autotaxic destruction coefficient immanent in the geometric, somnambulistic precognition of lambent erosions. (An inflated condom)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gay Marriage Split Decision

By now you've probably heard that gay civil unions passed in Washington State, but gay marriage failed in Maine. The fact that this is even an issue that needs to be put to a vote is shameful and depressing. The haters can bitch and moan about activist judges all they want, but the fact is, most of the time the courts are ahead of the curve when it comes to civil rights and doing the right thing. And Iowa's Supreme Court makes me prouder all the time.

Here's what you're going to see as a result of this: You're going to see an extension of what's happening in corporate America. Companies that do not have gay-friendly employment policies are slowly losing their talent pool of gay people (and those who support basic rights on principle) to those corporations which do. In the same way, those corporations which are not in gay-friendly states are going to start taking gay rights into consideration when they are being recruited to a particular area of the country. It won't be a deal-breaker, by any means, but it will be a factor. And I could see it being a matter of politics, too, with companies leaning on politicians to get civil marriage--at a minimum--passed to as to provide them with a better environment in which to recruit better employees and therefore improve their competitive advantage.

Or we'll just wait for the haters to die out and the next generation to vote in the rights gay people deserve.

Either way, we can't rely on politicians to do the right thing. I'm looking at you, Mr. Obama.

I'm also looking at you, Catholics (you knew this was coming, right?). Your church helped defeat gay marriage in Maine again. Your church is on the outside of the right thing looking in. You are continuing to support an organization that doesn't give a damn about human rights, and whose closeted gay hierarchy is projecting its self-loathing on everyone else, just like closeted politicians in America. I'm tired of it, you have no excuse to which I will listen. You need to decide that your church is in the wrong and leave it.
Later: Sullivan has a letter a gay Catholic wrote to his priest (who's apparently still in the closet but not to the parishioner). It's beautiful in its eloquent, steely barbs:

Hatred fueled by the resources of hundreds of thousands of parishes will be the central reason why the Church will eventually wither and die. I can no longer bear the stench of the rotting body and hierarchical ignorance. I can no longer embrace what has become a menace and money machine to support evil. We are all tainted by what happened in Maine. We are all lesser citizens because our brothers and sisters are lesser citizens.

The Catholic Church donated over half a million dollars to the anti-gay vote. When are these fecken twerps going to get it through their mitres that they're ranting about a subject their own parishioners aren't even that concerned about?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dan Savage: Trick Or Treat Or...Garlic?

Now that everyone's recovered from the annual insulin overdose that is Halloween, Dan Savage has something to say about the annual parade of kids who are too cool for school:

For these trick-or-treaters—older kids who aren't in costumes—we lay in a few bags of peeled-and-wrapped garlic cloves. We mix 'em into the bowl with the rest of the candy so they're handy, but we're careful to only give 'em to older kids who don't come in costume. The garlic says, "My, you're getting up there," and, "Gee, you could at least make an effort." We think everybody should do it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Doctor" Convicted Of Car/Bike Road Rage


A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Monday found Dr. Christopher Thomas Thompson guilty of assaulting cyclists by abruptly stopping his car in front of them on a hilly Los Angeles County road last year.

Thompson, a former emergency room doctor, was found guilty of six felonies and one misdemeanor and could face as much as five years in prison.

It wasn't his first time doing that, either. And he had the gall to use the rapist's defense: They had it coming:

According to (Investigator Robert) Rodriguez, Thompson said, “I just live up the road. I was driving to go to work. The bikers were in front of me, three across. I honked my horn and yelled ‘ride single file.’ The bicyclists flipped me off and yelled back. I passed them up and stopped in front to teach them a lesson. I’m tired of them. I’ve lived here for years and they always ride like this.”

(aside: full credit to Dr. Bruce Rogen for happening on the scene and providing medical care to the injured cyclists. Dr. Rogen is a credit to his profession. Dr. Thompson should be stripped of his license on general principles)

For those of you wondering (and all the rest of you), yes, it's legal for cyclists to ride two-abreast on a road. If you don't like it, piss off. The earlier incident I mentioned involved two cyclists who DID move to single file when they heard Thompson's car coming, and he braked in front of them anyway. No more excuses, no more concessions. We've done our part, now it's up to the motorists to give us some respect. And if you've never been buzzed at arm's reach at 45 mph, I will take your opinion with a grain of salt--if that. We have the right to the road, and we're not going away.

I think I'm going to renew my membership to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.