National Nuke Association

Defending Your 2nd Amendment Right To Nuclear Weapons.

We all know that the real purpose of the second amendment is not hunting or protection from ordinary crimminals, but to protect ourselves fron the crimminals in government. We need access to weapons to keep run-away government in line. And let’s face it, that Bushmaster in your closet just isn’t going to cut it. A semi-automatic assault rifle, even an RPG, is no match for a government armed with predator drones that can take you out from the air. If we want to make sure that the government is afraid of the citizenry, as the Founding Fathers no doubt intended, we have to put tactical nuclear weaponry in the hands of the citizens where it belongs. If only a tenth of the approximately 40% of American households that have guns also installed tactical nuclear weapons in their back yard the miscreants in government would have to pay attention to us. To remember that they are our servants, not our masters.
Now we know that the Anti-Armament crowd will argue that these weapons are too dangerous to be in the hands of ordinary citizens, that ordinary citizens have no legitimate need for tactical nuclear weapons. These people only seek to emasculate the red-blooded American citizenry. There is no need for a government that respects the will of the people to fear an armed citizenry, and non-responsive government should fear.

Now we at the National Nuke Association support responsible tactical nuclear weapon ownership, and we stand ready to provide training, for a modest fee, in the the proper maintenance and use of your tactical nuke. We will also be happy to supply you with a list of our preferred contractors for the installation of your personal nuclear device, and a have a number of financing plans available.

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Your donation will help us fight for your right to arm yourself with truly effective weaponry.

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This is, obviously, satire.

Legitimate Rape?

Todd Akin’s recent apology just shows that he truly doesn’t understand why his comments were offensive.

He has apologized for the word “legitimate” because of course no rape is legitimate which misses the point.

Putting any qualifier in front of rape, whether it is “legitimate” or “assault” as Physicians for Life does, or “forcible” as legislation sponsored by Akin and Paul Ryan did, is an attempt to differentiate between “real” rape — the stranger in the alley, preferably with the victim near death from fighting — and just unwanted sex. All unwanted sex is rape. Any qualifier is an attempt to shift blame from the rapist to the victim. The ridiculous notion that “real” rape victims don’t get pregnant is comforting delusion for those who can’t really think of a good reason a woman should be forced to risk life and health to give birth to her rapist’s child, but want to insist she must do so. From the protection and sanity of California, it is tempting to ignore craziness in Missouri, If not for the fact that the Republican VP nominee, Paul Ryan, also wants to make women bear rapists’ children. And God only knows what Romney’s real position is.

Sarah, Get a Dictionary

Since listening to the Palin farewell word salad, I won’t insult speech writers by calling it a speech, I have been waiting for someone in the media to point out that she clearly does not know what ‘apologetics’ means.  No one has mentioned it, at least not that I have heard.

It may be that they have been too busy with all the the more obvious points of insanity and inanity on that incredible, almost meaning-free hash.  Or it could be, dare I say it, they don’t know themselves.

In her stream-of-consciousness monologue, Palin referred to American apologetics, in context that made it clear she meant someone apologizing for America, but that isn’t what it means.

Just as Christian apologetics is a formal defense of Christianity, American apologetics would be a defense of America.

So, ex-Governor Palin, why do you object to people defending America?

Owning Myself

I have been thinking about choice and control a lot in the last week.  The the Silence is the Enemy blog campaign, and the murder of Dr. Tiller have coincided with a time that I am having to make a number of medical decisions.  All of the medical people I have been dealing with have been carefully discussing options with me, and completely respectful of my choices. I am in control of what is done as much as anybody can be.

It is startling and uncomfortable to note that many would want that control taken away from me if I were a pregnant woman.

At the core of the anti-choice movement, and the rape culture is the unspoken idea that women in particular, but also children, and any one weaker than their attacker, do not own their own bodies.  They do not get to say how they are used and who uses them.

The anti-choice people want to make the debate about ‘killing babies’ and ignore the forced pregnancy aspect of their position.  Listening to them over the last week, I have heard no concern for the mothers whose babies are killing them, or whose babies have died inside of them and need to be removed to protect the mothers health.  These are the people Dr. Tiller helped when no one else would.

I do not condsider a fertilized ovum to be a person, but even if I did, I could not grant that person the right to commandeer the body of another person to serve its needs.  Many, even most, parents are willing to sacrifice for their children.  But if they are not willing, no court will compel the parent of a five year old to donate blood, much less a kidney or bone marrow, or part of a liver to save their child’s life.  How can a fetus have greater rights than a five year old?

Ultimately it comes down to the question of who owns my body.  If it is mine, no one should be allowed to use it without my consent.

Silence Is The Enemy

There is a concerted effort in the blogosphere this month to draw attention to the mass rape of women and young girls, particularly in Liberia.  It is being organized by Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection.  She will have updates throughout the month, and has a list of actions we can take to raise awareness.  This has to stop being the unspeakable crime, because if we can’t speak about it we can’t stop it.

She and a group of other bloggers will be donating all of their blog income this month to Doctors Without Borders, who treat many of the victims.  Income is determined by blog traffic, so you can contribute just by clicking through to the blogs. You can find a list of the blog coalition here.  If you follow any of these blogs in a reader, you need to click through to the blog itself to generate the increase it traffic that will increase contributions.

You can also increase the profile of this issue by blogging about it yourself, and linking to these blogs.

Update:  The bloggers who are donating their proceeds are:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/
http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/
http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/
http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/
http://scienceblogs.com/neurotopia/
http://scienceblogs.com/authority/
http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/
http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/

By any other name…

There have been a number of discussions about the ethics of blogging under a pseudonym, and whether a blogger using a pseudonym was in some way less credible than a blogger who used his or her real name.  It has come to the surface again because of the vindictive outing of an Alaskan blogger by a politician who didn’t like what she had written.  This was particularly ugly, because the only purpose to the outing was to hurt the blogger.  It was a petty and childish action.

I don’t know why this blogger chose a pseudonym, and it doesn’t matter.  It was her decision to make and should have been respected.  The only time the identity of a writer is relevant in evaluating an argument is when the author presents him or herself as an expert.  If the author is not claiming special expertise, then the position the author is taking can and should be evaluated on it’s own merits, not the reputation of the author.

There are many reasons to use a pen-name, or maybe I should say a keyboard-name, some serious, some trivial.  My choice of nom d’blog began as entirely trivial.  I like the name.  I am not especially worried about anonymity, and most of the people that I know regularly read my blog know who I am.  But I do have some non-trivial considerations.  As a teacher I like keeping a certain distance between my teacher hat and my private opinions.  I do not write about my students in an identifiable form, but maintaining a separation makes that even a bit more secure.  I am generally willing to discuss my political positions with students, when it is relevant to the class discussion, or outside of class, but I am not particularly interested in having my students Google my name and come up with everything I have ever posted to drag into class discussions when it isn’t relevant.

I am not easily intimidated, and would not change what I have written if I knew it would have my name attached to it, but I have found some interesting features to pseudonymity.  I use the same name to comment on other blogs, some with much higher traffic than my own, and so have interacted as Shadowcatdancing with a variety of people, and have found them sometimes making assumptions about my age, gender, etc. that have brought home the fact that they must judge me on my words alone, without any of the cues that we use to so conveniently pigeonhole people in face-to-face interactions.  I has been downright educational.  And I don’t want to give that up.  At lest, not yet.

It would not be difficult to track me down, and eventually some student will undoubtedly do so.  When it does I will likely be a little annoyed, but it won’t change what I say, and I won’t start using my “real” name, because, as I said before, I like Shadowcatdancing, and it is as much my name as the one on my birth certificate.

Hearings

Watching congressional hearings leaves me with a new appreciation of just how intellectually limited some of our elected representatives are.

Funny,  I don’t remember feeling that way when I watched the Watergate hearings.  I grant you I was only in Middle School at the time, but I spent my days that summer glued to the TV, and I have come to the conclusion that there are few Barbara Jordans in the House today.

I couldn’t watch the whole thing.  Being a grown-up this time I had to go to work, but the questions asked of Liddy in the 30 minutes or so I could watch seemed to in many cases miss the point.

One Repesentative used his time to lecture Liddy about how he should give the money back.  Meaning, it seemed, that he thought AIG should give back to the treasury the amount they had given out in bonuses, as if this would make everything alright.  He clearly failed to understand what everybody is pissed about.  Far more than being concerned that taxpayer dollars are going to pay these bonuses, people are pissed at the idea that people who nearly destroyed the company are being rewarded outrageously.  The company returnong money to the government will not satisfy anyone who is outraged by all this.  The people who are pissed, and that appears to be the majority of the population, want the people who got the bonuses to return the money.  It would be nice if they also showed some evidence of understanding why we are so pissed, but that may be asking too much.

Liddy appeared to understand, better than the clueless congressman, but he did not make these bonus deals; he inherited them.  He is not getting paid for his work to save AIG, and said he paid the bonuses because he considered the risk of not paying them too great.  What exactly that risk was was not made clear in the time I could watch, and the few questioners who had their turn did not ask for clarification.  It may have been explored in more detail later, but if it was, it has not been picked up by any of the news shows I have seen.

So far, I am not impressed by Congressional outrage.

I miss Barbara Jordan.