aleatory contract

my own personal Waterloo

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

just once, just once, can't i have all my goddamn hormones and neurotransmitters actually working properly? for, like, a week? because. that would be really nice. failing that, someone with a medical degree having some idea why they don't would be nice. failing that, having someone with a medical degree evince any interest whatever in figuring out why they don't, instead of absently saying 'well, that is very curious! here, have some more pills!' would be nice.

dude, it's nobody's business but the turks.

remember duke cunningham, ace fighter pilot and loveable scamp recently sentenced to eight years in prison for taking bribes? a republican candidate in the special election to fill his seat, one howard kaloogian, claims on his election website to recently have bravely risked life and limb to travel to iraq. once there, he was pleasantly suprised to find it calm, stable, and a great place to take the kids! he even took pictures of downtown baghdad, to show the real truth all the liberal media playa haters refuse to report!

one reason the media might not be reporting on all this calmness and stability in baghdad is the fact that it is actually occuring in.... uh.... istanbul.

(no word on whether he was savaged by wild dogs, though. martin, now you can tell everyone your leg wound was the result of 'sectarian violence'!)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

a response to tim, which became too long for a comment

Nate says A. You think B logically follows from A, therefore Nate believes B.

i do have a habit of doing this, and it is an unfortunate one. the habit tends to be exaggerated in formats like these, where there is the necessary immediacy of in-person speech without the ability granted by in-person speech to take a sidebar and get points clarified. (text is limiting, too, because means of emphasising certain ideas is limited. i used caps to add emphasis, because italics are devoted to quoting the words of others. unfortunately, caps scan as yelling, also. i tried to mix things up by using bold tags, but those scan as yelling and throw off my eyes in reading, because they look like delinations in text where delinations shouldn't be. i was angry, but i didn't mean to be as yelly as i probably looked.)

partly, i think, it's an attempt to keep arguments straight in my own head, as my thought patterns are... not always linear, precisely. partly, it has something to do with my conflating nate's arguments with those i have often heard others of nate's apparent viewpoint (i say 'apparent' because, frankly, i don't know every particular of nate's belief system, any more than he knows mine). i try to anticipate arguments i think him likely to make - arguments i have seen those in the pro-life-no-exceptions camp make time and again. i try to cut off those arguments, and in doing so perhaps overgeneralise, or get certain things flat wrong, thus doing him an injustice. so for that, i apologise.

it is very difficult for this sort of debate not to turn personal, though, because a substantial part of the conflict is the very ugly truth that there's ultimately not much room for compromise. no matter how i may try to divorce myself from any prejudice i might hold, to me, those who would ban abortion believe that their religious/personal beliefs are ultimately more important than my life, or the life of any other woman. i am sure - if to say that i am 'sure' about such a thing is not to put words in the mouth of another - that as strongly as i believe the foregoing, nate believes that the potentiality of life that is a human fetus ultimately trumps all. if i interpret correctly, he has clearly said as much.

to be told that i'm of less value than another person's idea is, i am afraid, no matter how reasonable i try to be, always going to insult me on a personal level. it's not an imagined slight - it's not a personal slight, either, and i do try not to read it as one. i could be better at that last bit, but i've done a lot of reading lately on the topic of abortion rights, and the anger i directed at nate was, in large part, stoked by that reading. it should more properly have been used as material for a post on my own blog, not pointed at a specific person on someone else's blog.

it is interesting you raise the idea of 'selection bias' - i've been trying to convince myself to stop reading pro-ban blogs and sources and pundits, because i was far less worried about a ban before i started reading them. i honestly didn't think it was something i ever needed to worry about. the more i learn, the more i realise that it is something i need to worry about. those who are trying to legislate bans rely on the continued sanguinity of the population, and various creeping bits of legislation and redirection of funding have effectively made roe v. wade moot in a lot of places in this country. which is scary as all hell, and something worth fighting over for its own sake, but particularly worthy of attention given the religious and politcal climate of the country at present. i too once believed that abortion was too good a rallying issue to ever be settled. i'm no longer sure of that. i become less sure as time passes and as i learn more.

i began research in the attempt to 'study' those of different viewpoints, and after a bit of time doing so intensively, i found myself... really wanting to kick a lot of them. hard. in the shins. learning that rather a lot of people with rather a lot of voting clout regard you as subhuman tends to inspire that reaction. i had a similar reaction to my first real interaction with Real Live Sexism, which i didn't actually believe existed, since i'd never seen it in all my twentythree years. in my defence, i think i responded better to this dustup than i responded then. (i responded by punching a very large man in the face, repeatedly.)

i don't mean to 'drive nate away', but i also dislike feeling as though i have to stay silent on issues meaningful to me. i try to 'ignore' these arguments often. sometimes it boils over. likely, if i had refrained from responding on moss's blog, and rather responded here on my own blog in a reasoned fashion, all of this would have been avoided. i'll try to do that in the future, and probably people will avoid saying anything to keep the peace, and if that's the prerogative, that's okay. it probably will be, because, as you say, it tends to be an ugly and depressing conversation to have. i really don't mind if people get yelly on my blog, though.

this discussion really isn't intended to make people uncomfortable, and i wish people wouldn't apologise. conflict != bad. my intent here is to encourage people to speak at liberty on the topic.

on 'civility'

i am sure everyone feels nice and cozy keeping discussion on the plane of the theoretical. this, after all, is how discussions work, no? as long as we're talking about hypothetical choices being made by hypothetical people in hypothetical situations, we can afford to be 'civil', though it appears to me that 'civility' is being used as code for 'avoiding unpleasant disagreement, because disagreement is no fun at all -- and it's all theoretical anyway, so why get all het up over it?'

not to put too fine a point on it, but the people on the recent abortion thread chastising me (jokingly, in some cases) for my lack of 'civility' were all dudes. those commended in that same thread for their dedication to 'civility' were all dudes. those doing the commending - also all dudes. i hate to put it that way, but it's the case. nate and tim and all the rest: none of you will ever have to actually have to worry about getting an abortion. you can afford to be 'civil' in a way i can't. you can still suffer a great deal from a possible abortion ban - you can be forced to have children before you are ready. you can see someone you love harmed or killed. thanks to simple biology, though, you are still sheltered from the full force of the blow. a ban on abortion will necessarily affect women more than it affects men. it will affect us in ways you probably cannot fully appreciate.

there is not 1:1 gender parity on the blogmass, so this skewing of gender is not unusual. truth told, i rarely think about it. i have tried to stay quiet on nearly all blogmass abortion debate threads, because of this emphasis on 'civility'. all this 'civility' has discouraged me from speaking, because on this topic, i do not choose to be 'civil'. i've tried for some time to be 'civil'. in debates with those who are pro-life, it gets me ignored. on the internet, it gets me banned. i have come to the conclusion that being 'civil' gets one exactly nowhere, but since everyone takes such pains to be 'civil' around here, and since the only way i see to be 'civil' has involved shutting the hell up, i've kept quiet.

i do not know if this holds true for other female members of the blogmass. hell, i don't know if it holds true for other male members of the blogmass. it well might. i don't know what prompts someone to comment on a given post, or what prompts someone to let a given thread go. it may not be a topic which interests them. they may not have happened to read those particular threads.

it is possible, though, that there are some who may have felt uncomfortable speaking up amidst all this good ol' civility for fear of being labeled 'impassioned' or 'overemotional' or ahem 'uncivil'. if so, and if you read this now, this post and those following it are for you. please comment if you wish. be as rude as you damn fucking want. (civility will be tolerated, too. i won't threaten anyone with any motherfucking lectures on any fucking subject, motherfuckers.)

i have repeatedly said that i started out being civil. i did. i began my response, answering lines as i saw fit. then all hell broke loose - i deleted the foregoing 'civil' response i had begun, and i posted what i wanted to say. the quote from nate which triggered my abandomnment of 'civility' was this:

But that it's really such a terrible thing to ask people to carry a baby to term, deliver it, THEN get rid of it instead of tossing away what MIGHT be a human life? I just can't get my mind around it.

that quote may well look perfectly 'civil' at first glance. consider the word choices, hear my arguments and decide whether my reply was really so 'uncivil'.

who is doing the 'asking', in this quote? state and federal laws are not intended to be viewed as polite suggestions. if one doesn't do what the law 'asks', one gets punished for it. laws do not 'ask'. laws demand. to support a ban on abortion is to demand that women comply absolutely, or face legal consequences. one is not 'asked' to obey the speed limit, or 'asked' not to rob a bank. very good reasons can be offered for not engaging in illegal activity, but the law, ultimately, is the law. the law tells you what to do, and tells you what the consequences are if you disobey.

is 'asking' a 'terrible thing'? 'asking' women to 'carry a baby to term' is already policy in many states - mandatory waiting periods before an abortion can be obtained, mandatory 'counselling' and the like. doctors who perform abortions present a woman seeking an abortiion with a full range of choices - at least, ethical ones do. they ask the woman if she has considered carrying the pregnancy to term, and keeping the child or giving it up for adoption, when those are medically feasible options. an abortion ban isn't 'asking' women to 'carry a baby to term'. it is telling women to carry their pregnancies to term. or else. (guilt-tripping women by throwing garbage at them, calling them godless sluts and filthy murderous whores, bewailing the state of their damne'd souls, or confronting them with misleading information and gory pictures isn't 'asking', either, incidentally. that is also a form of demanding.)

'people' don't get pregnant. only women do. no one can 'ask' nate, tim, martin, moss, or any other bearer of XY chromosomes to 'carry a baby'. i am getting rather tired of being 'asked' to be a martyr for someone else's cause. consider those people who never have served and never will serve in any branch of the military by their own choice , yet still extoll the glories of war, those who 'support the troops' by sticking magnets on their cars. 'chickenhawk' is a popular term for such people, and it springs to mind here, frankly. is it proper to draft me, and half of all america's citizens, in a moral war i, and they, may not support? that we may consider misguided, harmful, and wrong, and that may end up with us getting injured or killed?

we come now to the lovely turn of phrase 'carry a baby'. i'm not even going to get into the when-is-it-a-baby debate. to even claim one can 'debate' such a point is disingenuous.

this post grows long, and so i reseve the balance of the quote for my next post, in which i will also put forth my argument that personal experience does, in fact, have some role to play in arguments which go beyond the theoretical and eventually wind up setting real actual public policies - which policies lead to thoroughly non-hypothetical people being injured and killed in thoroughly non-hypothetical ways.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

okay has anyone else recieved the croquet weekend mailing from SJC? do you also find it disturbing? if you do not find it disturbing, do you have a fantasy involving schoolgirl outfits, betty boop, and bestiality?

bringing new meaning to 'pravda on the potomac'

so the washinton post.

(oh, the washington post.)

on the same day the washington post fired eighty newsroom employees, many of them Actual Journalists, they saw fit to hire a man named Ben Domenech. ben's role at the post will be to provide some much needed Balance to the flaming liberal agenda that is the post's editorial section. laying aside the puzzlement that is one's initial reaction - i mean, seriously, what 'liberal' would a conservative blogger be balancing? krauthammer? - let us look at young benjamin's credentials.'young' is the operative word: ben domenech is twentyfour years old. his qualifications include having a website at , co-blogging on the retardedly racist , and being the son of a republican party operative who is presently implicated as a player in the jack abramoff scandal.

and those are the extent of his qualifications.
you will note a lack of any journalistic experience at all ever. that is because he has none. he did apparently work as a speechwriter for congressman tom 'gay marriage leads to people fucking turtles' cornyn, and he also has worked for notoriously conservative regenry press, meaning that he helped to edit michelle malkin's pro-japanese-internment screed. oh, he also has experience lying on his resume, which is very helpful for all aspiring journalists - he claims to have been awarded the Ruben J. Salazar award by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
there is not actually any such thing as the Ruben J. Salazar award.
it is possible he did at some point recieve financial aid or a scholarship from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, but rather unlikely, considering that such a scholarship requires, uh, being hispanic, and also financial need, and *also* showing 'awareness of the hispanic community.'

here is an example of domenech's 'awareness', lifted from his blog:

[I posted this in past years on May 5th - it's a tradition honoring Latino heritage. The basic point is this: Cinco de Mayo ought to be properly historically renamed, "Beat Up a Frenchman" day.]....So think about that tonight while you're chowing down on tortilla chips and salsa. And if you get the urge, go beat up a Frenchman. Hey, I'm not even Chicano, but I can understand.

other pearls of wisdom, blogged in the past by ben, can be found here - apparently, telling al gore to 'suck it' is 'raising the level of discourse'.

he also blogs under the nick 'augustine' on, where he recently called coretta scott king a 'communist'. but really, here is the best bit of all, lifted from the reader complaints on the WaPo site:

Ben Domenech on soldiers dying in the Iraq war (March 10, 2003):

This aversion to any sort of bodybag in the context of war is
something my brother Ellis and I have mocked before, at length: we
like to call it the "Contra 3 Syndrome." In Contra, one of the most
popular arcade games ever (unrelated to the South American
resistance), you play a soldier blasting away at baddies (in the 3rd
installment, for the SNES, it's alien baddies) with oversized weaponry
in a side-scrolling firefight. It's an entertaining game, but
extremely short--Contra 3 is only 6 levels long. Besides, you really
need all three of your lives to deal with the last boss--so a lot of
people who play the game will restart the minute they lose their first
life. Ellis and I are more likely to make it to the end with only one
life left, but hey, that's the point of the game, not
erasing/restarting every time anyone dies. Modern War isn't exactly
like Contra, and it's a good deal longer than any 6-level game.

[from here -, indeed!]

curiously, though he is of prime enlistment age, he has yet to enlist
in any branch of military service.

i can work up several theories to explain the logic behind his hiring. it is possible the post does not understand how google works, and just did not do any research whatsoever. it is possible he's parody - really, it's hard to read him as anything besides parody, and he claims to have written for mcsweeney's, though i have not found any articles by him. it is possible he has been hired to deflect attention from the rest of the wretchedness that is the online post section, to give the frothing liberal intarnet moonbats something to froth about besides the rank incompetence of the post ombudsman. it is possible they want to pick up the marketshare of those who find the moonie-owned Washington Times just a bit too liberal for their taste. it is possible that they really and truly believe the great lie of the Liberal Media Bias, and believe that the fact that froomkin has written a few articles critical of the bush administration means that they must restore Balance, and be quick smart about it, too. their intentions i cannot know, but they have managed to piss off quite a few people, really.

his post blog:

if you want to leave comments, though, you must go to the Editors'Blog, because ben is afraid of people being mean to him, and will not allow comments. not even heavily edited, filtered and scrubbed comments of the sort you can leave on the editors' blog. (note: according to the comment filters on the editors' blog, words like 'despicable' are too mean.) but if you wish, here it is.

Friday, March 17, 2006

that's an unhappy template. right there.

'you either want to see it, or you don't.'

i give you the trailer for Snakes On A Plane.

you are welcome.

is it too early to camp out for premiere tix, you think?


don't give me a 403, bitch. I MADE YOU.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

(mis)overheard on C-SPAN

'And then we will have cocoa with Senator Lieberman.'

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

and strangely enough, the surveys were all postmarked from nigeria...

who says we can't fight three wars at once? the republican party excels at multitasking: why, in north carolina, they're manipulating voters and engaging in mail fraud AT THE SAME TIME!

not to mention the curious electoral events down in texas, presently. i am witholding judgement until events become clearer, but i'll say this right now: november should be... interesting.