Monday, March 20, 2006

Meme – Reading this proves your clear fascination with me

Four jobs I’ve have had in my life:

“Frosty Girl” at Frosty Boy, a Dairy Queen rip off.
House painter for like two seconds until I quit because it was too damn hot.
Blues club manager
Software, blah, blah, blah.

Four reasons I've given for missing or being late for work:

"Car ran out of gas.”
“Ubs is sick."
“Oprah has John Travolta on today.”
“Couldn’t rustle up the desire.”

Four movies I could watch over and over (and do):

9 to 5
Punch Drunk Love
Blues Clues Music Movie with Ray Charles
Best in Show

Four places I've lived:

Detroit, MI
Portland, OR
Akron, OH
Philadelphia, PA

Four TV shows I love to watch:

60 Minutes
CBS Sunday Morning
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Lost, even though they hurt me with the re-runs.

Four TV shows I hate to admit I watch on occasion:

The Fabulous Life of…
E’s True Hollywood Story
Dr. Phil (what an egomaniac! If it weren’t for Rove, I would think he the devil.)

Four movies I've never understood the hype about:

Star Wars
The Matrix
Breaking the Waves
The Piano (wanted to love it, didn’t.)

Four (kind of obscure) lines from movies I quote often for no apparent reason:

Yeah, I got nothing.

Four people I could live happily without ever hearing from again:

Ralph Reed
Don Rumsfeld
Howard Dean
John Kerry/Hilary Clinton/Al Gore for a three-split tie.

Four of my favorite foods:

all food Mexican
ham ‘n cheese omelet with hash browns (the shredded ones – don’t give me no home fries!) and jammed wheat toast.
a crisp red delicious

Four things I don't apologize for:

My hips and belly.
That I’m all that.
My lack of guilt – a useless emotion.
My turn of phrase. Don’t play like you ain’t jealous.

Four sites you visit daily:

And This

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I Know

The topic is a serious business, but I seem only to be able to think, "Man, mathematicians are so HOT!"

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Gordon Parks

An inspiration, a thoughtful and reflective man, a talent beyond words died yesterday. If you know Shaft, you know a bit about Mr. Parks. He truly was so much more. An author, a speaker, a revolutionary, an artist. He will be missed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bad News Dudes

Some contend that this is actually good news because it will motivate people to vote democratic in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Oh, but I beg to differ- not just on the basis of the obvious and egregious burden that it puts on the women of South Dakota in “hopes” that it might get some lazy ass, selfish ass, jerk-off Americans to see that the Republicans can give a rats ass about them, their families, their health and their rights, but because the Roe v. Wade decision was waaaaaaay too weak to solidify our right to choice in this land. It was, in fact, “legislating from the bench” as the jackhole republicans like to turn the phrase. You see, Roe v. Wade relied on a broad interpretation of the 14th Amendment. So much so that Justice Stewart spoke of it in the concurring decisions.

“In a Constitution for a free people, there can be no doubt that the meaning of 'liberty' must be broad indeed."

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin at the beginning. What does the 14th Amendment even say?

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The above is Section 1 of the Amendment. It can be read in its entirety here.

Justice Stewart continues,

“As Mr. Justice Harlan once wrote (Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S): ‘The full scope of the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause cannot be found in or limited by the precise terms of the specific guarantees elsewhere provided in the Constitution. This 'liberty' is not a series of isolated points pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints . . . and which also recognizes, what a reasonable and sensitive judgment must, that certain interests require particularly careful scrutiny of the state needs asserted to justify their abridgment.’”

Okey doke then, that’s all well and good and I agree whole heartedly, but what we are currently facing in our goofily wacka-do political landscape (including the Supreme Court, though it should be outside, if not above, such things), is a decidedly irrational collective consciousness.

Oh yeah, baby. Tell me you don’t see it. If you don’t, let me show you.

As a former logic-playah, I can attest to the fact that the use and acceptance of conclusions drawn from fallacies are viewed as “environmental indicators” of the ir/rational landscape. When fallacies are prevalent and exist unquestioned/unrevealed, a collective consciousness of acceptance of irrationality exists. Conversely, when fallacies are employed, revealed and exposed, rationality triumphs.

So boys and girls, lets get to it.

A few fallacies for you and their acceptance by the masses:

The Appeal to Ignorance – The reasoning is that if there isn’t proof against x, than x must be the case or stated otherwise, if a claim hasn’t been disproven, then it is true.
Manifestation – (granted the result of which was fairly insignificant) –
“Iraq never has fully accounted for major gaps and inconsistencies in its declarations and has provided no credible proof that it has completely destroyed its weapons stockpiles and production infrastructure.”
Source: Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs, Author: Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, October 2002).

Hence, it follows:
Oct 28, 2004 President George W Bush declares: "It's a person who claims he has no weapons of mass destruction, in order to escape the dictums of the U.N. Security Council and the United Nations -- but he's got them. See, he'll lie. He'll deceive us. And he'll use them."Dec 2, 2002 White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declares: "If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world."
Jan 9, 2003 White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declares: "We know for a fact there are weapons there."
Jan 20, 2003 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declares: "Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons... His regime is paying a high price to pursue weapons of mass destruction -- giving up billions of dollars in oil revenue. His regime has large, unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons -- including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas; anthrax, botulism, and possibly smallpox -- and he has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons."

Affirming the Consequent – The reasoning is if p, then q. q, therefore p. Stated otherwise, If it’s raining, then the streets are wet. The streets are wet, therefore it’s raining.
March 11, 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair declares: "The threat that Saddam Hussein poses is an issue in its own right, because the reason why the UN Security Council passed these resolutions was precisely because we know the threat that there is from the weapons of mass destruction that he has."

ad Homenin / Red Herring (Guilt by Association) – Associates an idea with a person that the audience would most likely not want to be associated with. This forces the idea that anyone that may agree with the idea, should be likened to the person.
"The al Qaeda Cheering Section”
"The most telling moment in last night's [State of the Union] speech came after the president noted that 'key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year.' In response, notes the New York Times, 'some critics in Congress applauded enthusiastically.' If Osama bin Laden watched the speech, one imagines him applauding too."
Source: James Taranto, "The al Qaeda Cheering Section", Best of the Web Today, 1/21/2004

False Dilemma aka Disjunctive Syllogism – Reasoning form: Either p is true or q is true. P is false, therefore q is true. This reasoning form works in strictly logical structures. When it is applied to the world, however, it can often lead to false conclusions.
“Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington, and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home.”
Source: The President Addresses the Nation, June 28, 2002.
Stated otherwise, with the same intent: It is better to fight the terrorists in Iraq than to fight them in the United States.
The fallacy presents itself in the either/or premise. It is not necessarily the case that “the terrorists” must be fought here or there. There’s another possibility…perhaps many more possibilities. The fallacy manifests in the position that there are only two options. Hence, the false diemma.

Appeal to Fear - An appeal to emotion is a type of argument which attempts to arouse the emotions of its audience in order to gain acceptance of its conclusion.
"Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses, and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other planes -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."
Source: President Delivers "State of the Union", White House (1/28/2003).

And I could go on and on and on. The unfortunate point to all of this is that the “rational” interpretation of liberty is a shot in the dark in our current political landscape. So, what’s the answer, you ask? The idiot legislature gets the balls to do their job and actually legislate this. They won’t, of course, because it’s politically messy and who really cares about rights anyway? Well, me. But little ole me has very little clout in a ever-filthy, ever disingenuous, ever disappointing government.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Help A Fella Out

Click Here.

Going For The Positive This Week

This is one of my favorite sites. If you have a moment, use it to check out the Laureates section. Provided there are snippets about work that is changing the lives folks incrementally but profoundly around the world.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


There are times when I believe that we will never collectively get it. Instead, we will fail to conclude that others have worth, that differences are valuable, that life is pleasurable, that challenge is but a catalyst, and that we share all of this at our base – that these truths are us, defined – that they bond us and are testament to our individual and collective virtue.

Then I witness the acknowledgement of these truths in the work of others, manifested as proof that our spirit can be lifted, but easily with the awakening of our shared experiences, humor and joy.