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So, I admit that Josh Dugger is not like Ted Nugent.  Josh, at 30, did not adopt a 17 year old girl so he could have sex with her as his daughter.  Josh only molested his real sisters and other children.  Josh, admittedly, was not yet a legal adult when he did this, so unlike Nugent we can't hold him completely responsible.  

And some may say that 17 is old enough, so Nugent really did nothing wrong, except the creepy aspect of having sex with one's adopted daughter.  And some may say that advocating sex between consenting 10 year olds, as much as a 10 year old can consent, is not something anyone should complain about because kids have sex, so we should be concerned that they do it safely, not try to push failed policies such as abstinence.

And certainly forgiveness is the basis of all civilized society, not just christian society.  So I agree that when someone makes decisions with which we disagree, we should, as much as possible forgive.  We should not, for instance, celebrate the death of someone because they choose to love someone we would not.

And youth is a factor, so when a young person makes a tragic choice, maybe forgiveness is the key, and maybe you don't execute, especially when you have forgiven 12 other murderers.  I mean, ask Huckabee has said, sometimes one does something in one's youth, and maybe help and forgiveness is what is needed.

I have no issue with anything Huckabee has said in defense of his latest child molester friend.  Kids do stupid things.  The law is set up to protect kids from having their lives ruined by doing stupid things.  We do need to forgive those that have done stupid things. We do not need to sensationalize this, except to the extent to say that no matter how many time Christians want to tell us how to live out lives, they make the same mistakes as everyone else, they are going to protect criminals in their families just like everyone else, and they are going to expect everyone to forgive their trespasses, even if they do not have the grace to forgive ours.

That said, Christians have a child molester and pedophile problem. In modern parlance, there is an optics problem when Huckabess does not come straight out and say that Josh is pervert and, though we forgive him, such behavior is not accepted in the community. It is the same optics problem that occurs when a Christian kills doctor and blows up abortion clinics and instead of simply saying that such behavior is not part of the Christian faith, most just say that that person was not representing mainline Christianity, leaving it open that some Christians do believe in terrorism

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I apologize for writing about such unmitigated click bait, but this is just too interesting to ignore. It is like some radical atheist wrote a skit meant to show the hypocrisy of the radical religious right.

Evidently, the Christian Family Research Council, which is the FRC we all know and love, had an avowed child molester employed as executive director of its nonprofit lobbying group.  This person is Josh Duggar, the same person that is part of the nationally broadcasted christian family TV show. The allegations are based on a published police report.

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Sun May 17, 2015 at 04:40 PM PDT

8 thugs killed in shootout

by lowt

Today, three gangs of thugs gathered at a restaurant named Twin Peaks. For those who do not know, this restaurant is know for scantily clad large breasted women provided for the entertainment of adolescent men. The gang gathering quickly became violent as these thugs began to fight, and the fight escalated to gunfire.  At least 8 people were killed and at least another 18 injured

Surprisingly. as has been done at other gang related shootouts, the cops did not intervene, allowing the thugs to kill each other and endanger innocent bystanders.

Also surprisingly, the Twin Peaks management at least condoned, if not encouraged, the gang activity that escalated into the deaths of the gang members.  Police blame their use of, what is that word, oh yeah, restraint, on uncooperative management at the restaurant.

Also of note, Waco is one of those places that is majority Christian, about 58%, while the nation is around 46%. This sis location of Baylor University, whose president both was lead prosecutor of Bill Clinton and defender of one of the most prolific and richest pedophiles of our time .One wonders how this promotion of thuggish behavior and pornography fits in with this bastion of Christian values.

It is certainly my fear that one day a someone like these gun toting sexually repressed angry usually white guy will decide to shoot me just because he can, and the police will so nothing about it.

Discuss

Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 10:39 AM PST

Ben Carson: we all are a little gay

by lowt

In the third season of South Park, the two of the father's of the main child characters wind up naked in a hot tub.  There is some sexual tension, some conservation, and then the announce that everyone is a little gay.

Some in the LGBT community found this offensive because it framed the issue of sexual orientation as a choice.  As the minister of my church said many years ago, he did not know if being gay was a choice, but for him it was not. So I understand, especially for those who were raised being discriminated against, the idea that being gay is a choice is not open for discussion.

It reminds me of the discussions about race that some bigots had when I was growing up.  How we were not supposed to discriminate against black people because skin color was not a choice. Yes, it was probable that black people were inferior, but it was not their choice. We had to be sympathetic and help these people who were dealt a bad hand at birth.

We, of course, now know that all this is garbage. We are all equal, all have something to offer, and there is no monolithic culture around skin color, gender, or anything else. We all take the best of whatever we are exposed, and create our own lives. Many choose to be this person or that person because it works for us, and if we make a choice for personal reasons rather than to comply with the wishes of someone's arbitrary deity, it makes the choice no less valid.

This is why recent comments by Ben Carson are so interesting.  In these he says that being in jail makes some man gay, so being gay is a choice. He further says that it is ok for people to be gay, and to have sex, but not to be married.  The choice idea is not ht big issue, but the assumption that there is a preferable choice and that preferable choice should be given special rights is problematic.

As mentioned, back in the day there was a distinction made between have dark skin and being culturally black.  The dark skin was not a choice, but one could, and should, choose to not be culturally black, whatever that meant.  The choice of speaking in the not-preferred dialect, wearing an afro, dressing in multiple colors, left one open to discrimination not because people were bigots, but because you made a choice to be discriminated against. Unfortunately all too often the same rules apply today.

One made a choice to avoid discrimination by knowing one's place and doing one's best to fit into the hegemony.  This is exactly what Carson is speaking of when he speaks of being homosexual as a choice.  People who choose to be straight set the rules, and those who choose not to fit in will be given limited rights as long as they know their place.  The preferable orientation is straight, and we must accept this basic fact if we are not be discriminated against.  We are are all a little gay, but those of us who make a choice to be gay do so only at the whim of the straight cabal.

Which of course is silly.  We have the right to make choices, even when those choices are against another preferred sky monster. It is absolutely true that being gay for many people is not a choice, but that distinction is only really important in a world where being gay is an inferior choice to being straight, just like being black is only relevant in a world where being white is superior.  It is not, and the world is better when we stand on the rooftops declaring that everyone has equal value.

Some activist are going to scream about how being gay is not a choice.  Again, it depends on the person and many are rightly going to say it is not a choice. But just like we need to move beyond tolerance, we need to move to a world where an homosexual couple is treated absolutely equally to straight couple, choice or not choice.

After all, I know many couples where being in straight relationship was a choice, and it makes their love no less valid.

Discuss

Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:59 AM PST

Arizona and hypocrisy, big surpise

by lowt

Arizona is one of those states pulling up to the fainting couch over the Common Core.  Last year most conservative voted on a bill to kill the common core in the state. The bill failed with overwhelming democratic response.  the conservative justification for the bill, as always, was they did not want to be controlled by the federal government. In education the state can do so much better.

Arizona did, however, pull out of the multistate consortium that would develop the tests for the common core.  Apparently the governor thinks wasting the taxpayers money developing a specific test for the state, rather than going in with other states to spread that cost, is the best way to address the projected half billion dollar deficit.

Arizona does get credit for being financially responsible enough, thanks to the democrats, to keep the common core and the billion dollars in federal funding.  As always, tax and spend liberals are always better than spend and spend conservatives.

So imagine my surprise when I read the state is adopting the federal Citizenship Exam a requirement for graduation. They are taking federal test, telling educators this is the test you must teach to, and students that they will not graduate if they do not meet these federal standards.  So much to all the bluster against how bad the federal standards and the common core is.

To make matter worse the state is not implanting this as the standard quick ten question test, possibly done by pulling students out of  class for a few minutes to a computer lab. They are instead requiring students to pass the full 100 question test.  That is a fully have day of testing, at least.  A full half day of instruction that is lost.  A half day that teachers are paid not to teach but to babysit.

When conservatives complain about the high cost of education, remind them that it is the testing that makes it so expensive.  Paying consultants from Harvard and the like to develop local tests instead of using a national test bank.  Paying teachers a couple weeks a year not to teach but to test.  Paying a few person on each campus, at a cumulative cost well into six figures, to make sure tests are secure and to provide evidence to harass good teachers. Which is not to say that testing serves no purpose, but that we need to use to help students, not just to provide a jobs programs for people who want a job but have no real teaching or other useful skill.

Discuss

Sat Oct 11, 2014 at 09:40 AM PDT

Why Wendy Davis is Right

by lowt

There is some controversy concerning and ad attacking Greg Abbott. In the ad the Wendy Davis campaign references a accident that made him differently abled and the multimillion dollar reward he received from the homeowner.  This ad is definitely aggressive, and is most certainly an Hail Mary in a campaign that is tailing by double digits. On the other hand, in a campaign where Abbott's. and conservatives in general, only reason not to elect her is that she is 'Abortion Barbie', the ad is nowhere near as inappropriate as conservatives think.  In fact it is clever and speaks exactly to the prejudices and weaknesses of the conservative ideology.  It forms a perfect counterattack to the name calling and religious fear mongering that Texas conservatives use as the only weapon in their arsenal.  Recall how Perry won against Bill White, a well respected fiscal conservative, by mobilizing the evangelical churches to push the idea that White would expand gambling, even though when he was mayor he continued to push gambling to the surrounding small cities, where I can tell you gambling is rampant.

So follow me below the fold where I unleash my inner conservative and  postulate why this ad may significantly close the gap.

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Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 04:50 PM PDT

The danger of religion

by lowt

There have been so many stories that have reinforced my distrust of extreme religious organzations.  It has not just been the conversations over the years with evangelicals where my discussions challenging thier version of Jesus made them so made I thought they were about to go to their car and shoot me.  It is not that so many Christians seem to think it is ok to kill doctors who take care of women.  It is not the radical Muslim who behead their enemies.  It is not even that I can't buy liquor or Sundays, or when I was in New Hampshire I could not get a Guinness and scotch.  It is not even the continued violence of Sarah Palin and her family. It is that these self righteous enemies of civil society seem to have little or no ability on how their selfish action effect anyone else.

For instance, it is no secret that radical religious groups want to end civil education in the US as we know it.  This American Life ran a story of a group of Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups that actually did it.  They almost completely defended a public school district in the name of fiscal responsibility.  One of the leaders essentially said the school district was a business that stealing their money, and because their kids did not go there, it was not a useful service.  This of course is a common theme of radical religious groups: an unwillingness to admit that they are part of a larger civil community, with responsibilities that extend beyond their selfish needs.

Then there is this case where Pennsylvania wants to put a kid in jail for two years for mimicking  oral sex with a statue that is intended to depict their version of Jesus.  At least this statue is not lily white and blonde, but I think an extreme christian community might be more concerned with the first, second or third commandment, since as far I can tell there is no commandment against fondling a statue.  And although it may not be a fair comparison, geographically or practically, this is just 150 miles away from the place where a group of high school students gang raped a girl, and at least one has served less than two years for that crime and is not welcomed back in school playing football as a registered sex offender.

I know everyone will say these are isolated cases, and religion is not a basic enemy of those who want a civil, secular, and peaceful government.  To those I would say I largely agree, but consider the of Eric Rudolph.  He was a christian terrorist who engaged in the only terrorist attack of an Olympics on US soil.  He evaded US authorities for 5 years, and when captured rather than being treated as terrorist, he was given a plea deal.  He still have a presence on the Army of God webpage, which is still not treated as terrorist organization.  While I would say that religion may not in itself be dangerous, it is a convenient cover for those who wish to indulge in self serving violence and general destruction of civil society.

Discuss

Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 08:16 PM PDT

Corruption on all Sides

by lowt

Not sure what to make of this.  A Russian bank has hired Trent Lott and John Breaux, both former US Senators, apparently to lobby on bank laws and regulation.  This is apparently to help the Russians fight the sanctions placed by the US government in response to the escalations of tensions by the Russians, including the threat to use the nuclear deterrent.  Not sure what to make of this. Are any politicians beyond the lure of the holy dollar?  By buying a Democrat and Republican the Russians are clearly indicating they are serious in their fight against US sanctions, and probably are not looking to back down on the nuclear thing.

Discuss

Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 09:27 AM PDT

Police are free to kill anyone

by lowt

Last year L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Wood killed Milton Olin Jr(the official line seems to be that the officer's car struck the victim).  The officer was completing email on the computer, drifted into the bicycle lane, and killed the Olin who was riding a bicycle.

The officer is not facing any charges because it is apparently perfectly legal for a cop to operate a computer while driving.  Records show that the officer was also texting of the phone, but not during the time the car was moving and struck the victim. The officer apparently did not face any sanctions and was moved to other duties.  There also, surprisingly, is not effort to limit the playing on computers while driving.

I get that we can't put cops in jail because they will immediately be killed.  I get that we can't just panic every time a cop murders a civilian because it an inconvenience to not murder that civilian.  But in this case we have a dangerous practice that put lives at risk with no apparent balancing factors.  Shouldn't officer be trained to quickly file computer reports in a few minutes before driving away from the scene?  Isn't that what we are told as civilians?  To take a few minutes to stop and do what we need to do on our mobile devices?  I mean if a trucker kills someone in the line of her duty, there are calls to change the laws to make the trade safer.  A cop does the same thing, and everyone is like, well, what else were they supposed to do?

It is not lost on me that this is a old white man who was killed while the egregious cases involve non-white children and young people being gunned down in the street.  However I think it important to remember that the ability of cops to oppress is not limited by race.  There is no limit to a cops ability to kill the innocent, be it fear, hate, or poor judgement.  While I am sure that the vast majority of cops are safe drivers who are not looking for an excuse to kill, the fact that there appears to little effort to 'police' those who are is frightening.  That further reinforces the fact that limiting the right of cops to kill innocent people is something that we all must promote.

Discuss

Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 05:27 PM PDT

Pornography: Violence and Sex

by lowt

If one took a nine year old girl on vacation and exposed her to a group orgy many might say that was a bad thing.  If you encouraged her to give a hand job to a adult male, just to see what it was like, the parents would probably face charges, as well as other people involved.  It is not the girl has been violated, she has not been penetrated, but most would agree that psychological damage done would be non-trivial.  Most would also agree that there would be no way for a nine year old girl to consent to such a sexual act, so it is by definition non-consensual sexual activity.  Therefore charges would be filed.

On the other hand, it seems perfectly legal to put an Uzi in the hands of nine year old girl for the purposes of recreation. And when the girls kills another person, there is no concern about her long term psychological well being.  No concern for the fact she will have to live her entire life knowing that she killed another person.  No concern of what kind of parents would allow the risk of such a thing happening.

I guess it is the nature of our gun crazy culture that we want to censor people being beheaded, pictures of non-erotic children, but nothing wrong with allowing young children, who cannot consent, to participate in our death rituals.  No one censors the blood leaving the body, the last moments of death, as long as the goal of high profits for the gun manufacturers is met.

Discuss

Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 09:00 AM PDT

Conservative Court Kills Free Maket

by lowt

In a stunning decision, the court that has equated corporations to people has decided that the revenue stream of a few entrenched corporations is more important than the free market.

Aero, a company that rents antennas and video recording capabilities to individuals, has been under attack from the broadcast networks.  Their service allows consumers to time shift, which is perfectly legal, and view TV shows on devices other than a TV.  This to me is the critical point.  Broadcast networks have been vigilant in insuring that their programs be viewed on a TV,or streaming where commercials cannot be skipped.  Yes, Hulu exists, but shows are available at best the day after they are on TV, if they are available at all.  Furthermore, even shows that are available may be only available for a certain amount of time.

I will admit that the networks own the shows and should have the opportunity, not the guarantee, to earn a profit from those shows.  I do not see how Aero is infringing on that opportunity any more than a DVR does. The only thing that Aero does only streaming with non-mandatory commercials.  It essentially makes online viewing the same as viewing a show on a TV.

So, from what I can tell, the SCOTUS has agreed that online viewing is different from viewing content broadcasted to a TV.  That skipping commercials on a TV is OK, but not when the content is captured by an antenna and streamed to a device.  This innovation is useful to many people, as it allows them to watch programs when a TV may not be available, but may reduce the revenue received by the networks.  In other words, free market innovation that complies with the law is less important than revenue of existing corporations.

We have seen a lot of argument around the rights of content owners.  Some people who wants strip all rights obviously go to far.  On the other hand, decisions such as this which assume the creator has a right to profit goes too far.  It is like requiring all cars to come with buggy whips so that buggy whip jobs will be saved.  It makes some sense in the short term, but long term innovation suffers.

Yes, if the SCOTUS ruled for Aero it might have meant that broadcast TV might have died a bit faster.  Or, it could have meant that broadcast TV might have had a way to survive a little longer.  We don't know.  What is clear is that innovation took a back seat to a business model that dates from the previous century.

Discuss

Sat May 17, 2014 at 07:47 PM PDT

Sean Hannity Leaves New York

by lowt

About a month and a half ago I noted that Sean Hannity stated on his show that he was committed to stay in New York until at least 2017 because #Benghazi. No, just kidding. He was staying in New York because he wanted to wait for his son to finish high school. Now he has changed his mind and leaving New York because #Benghazi.  He will be moving to Florida and have a 'ranch' in Texas. The Florida move is not surprising. Below the fold we will take about how he screws the state of Texas and other tidbits.

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