The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

Archive for the ‘a rant’ Category

Contraception NOT a health issue?

leave a comment »

I’m a white male who has been complaining about the male-dominated discussion about birth control over the past weeks. But I’m still going to write about birth control and pregnancy. You can skip this if you want.

*

I don’t know who Conrad Black is. According to his Wikipedia entry, he is Canadian, is the Baron Black of Crossharbour, and was once the third largest newspaper magnate in the world, which coupled with his 80s movie villain picture doesn’t give me a favorable impression of the man. Anyway, he wrote an article titled Obama: Leviathan 2012 for the National Review, which included the following sentence, and I am aghast at such a statement:

“Birth control is not a health issue at all; pregnancy is not a disease or an illness and termination of it is not a cure to a medical problem.”

He is, of course, discussing President Obama’s tussle with the Catholic Church over paying for birth control and the “Pearl Harbor nature” of such a move. And that he takes the side he does is not controversial or alarming. We just disagree.

But in doing so, The Baron seeks to disassociate pregnancy and birth control and women’s issues, as they say, from real health problems, and portrays women fighting for these issues as nothing more than noisy, pestering “abortion tigresses” infringing on the rights of the the Bishops of the Catholic Church and undecided voters. This almost knocked me out of my chair. The idea that contraception and pregnancy, that reproductive issues in general, are not health issues is a  horrible, vile idea. And anyone who has seen the potential impacts of a pregnancy on a woman and still believes that pregnancy and birth control are not health issues should be ashamed of themselves.

It doesn’t matter what one thinks about free access to birth control, employer paid reproductive /abortion services, religious freedom vs. government mandates for birth control coverage, or anything on the that issue. Such things are not related to the question of HEALTH.  But to frame the argument that pregnancy and birth control, even abortion, are not health related is a fiction, and an incredibly dangerous one at that.

I found Conrad Black’s article in the National Review quite disgusting. Not the politics of it but the way he speaks about women and pregnancy. Maybe it’s because I’m young, and there’s just a generational difference on such matters. Maybe it’s because I work in non-profits, and he’s a Baron and wealthy newspaper magnate. Maybe it’s because I fail to understand the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t know. But when I read this, I see language that should make people very nervous:

By misrepresenting contraception as a health issue and hiding abortion behind it, and unleashing the feminist ravers as the shock troops against the religious denominations to shred the First Amendment, it will propose a giant step in the complete emasculation of any independent religious moral authority, or any institutional dissent from the absolute moral fiat of the federal state.

Ho. Ly. Shit. As Mrs. TRC pointed out, for Mr. Black these challenges from the wild and crazy women to the religious status quo are equivalent to becoming an effeminate, un-whole, castrated male.

Access to birth control is a health issue. And  pregnancy is not a disease, but is a dangerous health issue. All it takes is one rip in the condom, one failed birth control pill, and a woman’s life is in danger. The idea that pregnancy is just a happy-go-lucky process to bring smiling babies into the world is wrong. It’s a serious health issue. Preventing unwanted pregnancies is a serious health issue. And pretending otherwise does no one any good.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 24, 2012 at 16:40

File under: OH MY GOD!

leave a comment »

Inter-Governmental Global Domination through Sustainable Development? Really! How dare anyone take away our Constitutional, no, our GOD given right to fuck up this planet in any way we so choose!

Sometimes, you read something so ridiculous, you wonder if it must be true. People can only be so crazy, right? Which means, just maybe, Agenda 21 is code for global domination, the UN is plotting to destroy American  freedom through bike paths and sustainable practices, and we are all screwed.

Thankfully, there are enough Americans who have their eyes open, and they will do anything to stop any inconvenience from reaching their communities, or from allowing their local governments to be subject to global conspirators. And they are ready and willing to expose this underground effort at tyranny.

Did you know that the United Nations is in cahoots with local land-use planners all over the country to rob you and your neighbors of your God-given right to your gun, your land, your water, your food, and your liberty? Did you know that there is a UN document, titled Agenda 21, that sets out the plan and that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich already has declared that, if he were to become president, he would cut funding for any activity related to that U.N directive? Glenn Beck knows all about it, naturally, and so does the Tea Party…

Like all grand conspiracy theories, the UN plot for world domination, as expressed through “sustainable development” initiatives, links together all the disparate themes the theorist wants to see linked. George Soros is in on the plot. So is the Occupy Movement. So is President Obama. So are the Clintons. So, the Agenders say, is Queen Elizabeth II herself. And don’t forget the Rothschilds! The only people missing from the equation are  Scully, Mulder, and the Smoking Man.

Actually. TRC does think you should read this story. It is a bit snarky, like we are, but represents an important problem in the effort to tackle climate change. Namely, that Americans are over the concept of shared sacrifice.  Anything that impacts us, personally, is just a step too far. We don’t want to sacrifice for our wars, and we certainly are not going to sacrifice for the health our planet.

There is a lesson here, that is unfortunately being learned all over the country: If you fight long enough and loud enough, even if you have no evidence or argument to the contrary, you can disrupt positive national change in order to protect your own personal belief that everyone is out to get…YOU.

Unfortunately for Jesse Ventura, most conspiracy theories do turn out to be just a load of bull.

**P.S. TRC does recognize there is a need to address this concern, for whatever reason it might exist, and notes the real world reality that the Agenda 21 folks represent. We recommend Why Planners Need to take Agenda 21 Criticism more Seriously for a cooler response.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 8, 2012 at 10:39

Posted in a rant

Obama’s “war” on Religion, from American Spectator

leave a comment »

Here are a few sentences from the American Spectator, in a lesson TRC wants to give to readers of news:

The recent litany of Obama’s odiousness begins with his growing, unambiguous war against traditional Christianity. He has now left no room for any pretense otherwise to be believed.

Any individual with critical thinking skills should be able to recognize that anything that comes before or after those two sentences will be completely unfounded, anti-Obama horseshit. I can think of no other way to put it.

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised that such sentiments are expressed in the American Spectator, but that does not mean that they should go unchallenged. And we should certainly educate Americans to be able to recognize propagandistic fear mongering when they see it.

I found this article linked from Real Clear Politics, an aggregate source that I value, but that I think has lost any interest in discerning valuable political discussion in the heaps of outlandish uber-conservative Anti-Obamaism. Such as this essay from American Spectator.

The real sad part of this is that the author of this essay, Quin Hillyer, has a reasonable beef with the President, one that has a place in the discourse of contemporary politics and the 2012 election. He has no interest, obviously, in reasonable discourse, however, because President Obama is not reasonable. President Obama is “inept,” “odious,” “feckless” (good one), wants to “starve the American forces” (REALLY!), and pretty much hates everything and everyone Quin Hillyer identifies as “American”.

Here’s the conclusion of this piece.

This is a man who has no interest in serving the United States that most of us know and love. Instead, he’s a man who, by hook and definitely by crook, serves the despicable vision of the utterly foreign America he wants to impose on us.
Four more years of this guy in power, and we are doomed. He is a menace, and, by every legal means possible, he must be stopped — and his maladministration reversed and thoroughly buried. 

If you want to save Christianity, America, the World, and everything that “most of us know and love,” we must align our interest against the man who seeks to destroy Christianity, America, the world, and everything most of us know and love.

Because it is not possible that Obama, a Christian and seemingly pretty good guy, just disagrees with Quin Hillyer. No, Christianity and America, and all that is good, lay in the balance. If Obama wins, the America will likely be destroyed, or worse, Foreignized.

That’s the point: Obama is not American. Obama is not a Christian. He is a foreigner.

I’m sad and mad about this. What a disgrace. And I blame Real Clear Politics for sending me there.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 3, 2012 at 12:13

Behold! Ignorance in its purest form: Sen. Stacey Campfield

leave a comment »

I don’t live in Tennessee and their local politics is there own. But back in April, I posted about a piece of legislation that is being called “Don’t Say Gay.” I couldn’t help it. It is the kind of ignorant homophobic legislation that riles up the blood here at TRC. But then I pretty much forgot about it.

Until this week. When the author of that legislation, Mr. Stacey Campfield, gave an interview that is so ignorant, so homophobic, so racist, that I have to come back to it. For my own sanity.

So here is Sen. Campfield. He looks like a regular guy. And by his definition of regular, well, I guess he is. Here are some of the gems from his Sirius radio interview:

Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community. It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.

My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.

“A lot of people trying to gloss over and say it’s an every-person disease but really it’s just those high-risk people that are most likely to contract or spread that disease. The odds of a regular man getting it from a regular woman are very low,” he said.
We asked, “What do you mean by ‘regular?'”
He said, “someone who is not from Africa, someone who is not a homosexual, someone who is not an IV drug user, someone who is not sleeping with someone who is one of those things.”

What’s the average lifespan of a homosexual? it’s very short. Google it yourself.

So just to be clear, because clarity matters, according to Stacey Campfield, a regular person is not: African, gay, a drug user, or having sex with an African person, a gay person, or a drug user.

In an attempt to educate out of this nastiness, the wonderful bloger Abbie Smith at ERV, who is not a state Senator but a scientist studying molecular and biochemical evolution of HIV, actually gives some history and reality to the statements above. One note from Ms. Smith I wanted to highlight:

The virus was originally introduced into the homosexual community in the US via an unlucky founder event. However in the areas where HIV is an epidemic, and in the US present day, heterosexual women are the group hardest hit.

And because I’m worked up about this asshole, here are some other gems of ignorant hate, from the Huffington Post:

That bullying thing is the biggest lark out there.

[Homosexuality]  has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does beastiality That does not make it right or something we should be teaching in school.

Homosexuals represent about 2 to 3 percent of the population yet you look at television and plays and theaters, it’s 50 percent of the theaters, probably more than that, 50 percent of the theaters based on something about homosexuality.

This is the first time I have heard a straight guy decry the involvement of gays and lesbians in theater.

It’s not hard to see why the son of a bitch was refused service at a restaurant.

Written by Christopher ZF

January 31, 2012 at 11:52

Why I hope Representative West (Tea-Party, FL) loses his re-election race.

leave a comment »

I hope that Rep. Allen West, the outspoken Florida Tea Party darling, does not win reelection to the United States House of Representatives. It’s not so much because he is a Tea Party darling who imbues almost everything about politics that I find, well, gross. I can live with that.

No the reason I hope that he is removed from his position as elected representative in the US Congress is because he said this to our President:

Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.

This may not be that bad. I don’t know. I’m sure this kind of thing is a winning political statement. It is probably market-tested to annoy people like me, who value equality and fairness. It is probably work-shopped to drive us fucking insane. Well, it worked. And I don’t care if you meant it to drive me crazy. I hope voters remove you from Congress.

After which, you are more than welcome to stay in the US.

Written by Christopher ZF

January 30, 2012 at 14:16

To President Obama: Be the Climate President I thought you would, please.

leave a comment »

I planned on waiting to write this post until closer to the November election, but it’s on our mind now, and the with the Keystone XL decision due on February 21, it’s seems appropriate.

So, to President Obama: Hello. I’m a supporter. I’m a faithful liberal democrat, whose vocational concern is mitigating climate change, and who places climate and environmental policy as one of the top 3 issues in my political worldview. If we don’t put the Earth at the top of the list, well, we are doing a disservice to our species’ survival. Not a politically popular position, but as important a value as there is.

When you made the change from Candidate Obama to President-Elect Obama, I wrote the following:

It’s starting to feel more and more like what happens with the Keystone XL will reflect whether that impulse was right. I know I wasn’t the only one who had such an impulse. It seem’s so optimistic now, but after the campaign, that is where you led us environmental folks.

And then, you did not push on Nancy Pelosi’s energy and climate legislation when you had the opportunity. Instead, health care reform was prioritized, and passed. I get that. But was pretty bummed. I doubt you could have known health care was going to take the entire time you had the super-majority. But you missed a lot of opportunities while getting that watered-down health care bill passed.

It is true, though, you have been a pro-environment President. To pretend otherwise is to miss the facts, to obscure the forest for the trees. Even yesterday your administration made an important decision to protect the Grand Canyon by banning uranium mining. You have increased fuel-efficiency standards, protected and enhanced the Endangered Species Act, and overseen many environmentally friendly decisions in the three years you’ve been in office.

But climate change mitigation is not the same as protecting the environment. Environmental decisions are critical and necessary. But that’s not good enough. The continued permits for exploring in the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the continued mountain-top removal, the failure to move climate change mitigation to a policy level priority through the legislature, these are climate failures.

And now Keystone looms. A Climate President, and I perhaps rashly addressed you as such three years ago, would find a way to move the nation, and the world, towards decreasing our Greenhouse Gas emissions. Because that is what is necessary to confront the actual threat of climate change. The science is clear, and you have said all along that you respect science. Not enough to put through EPA director Lisa Jackson’s regulations to hinder emissions. Not enough to choose climate change as the primary driver of your legislative majority. But still. You’ve called for clean energy, you’ve called for robust energy portfolio relying on renewables, you’ve called for serious action on climate change. And yet, we are still pumping out more CO2 than ever.

I know the system. And that you cannot just enact a series of climate friendly decisions and expect the nation to change its energy ways, stop everything and turn course. Of course not. This country is deeply embedded in a fossil-fuel energy system, and getting out of that system is going to be very, very hard. But now that it is clear that any action will have to be made in spite of the Congress, not with the Congress, maybe it’s time to take a step against the threat of climate change. Don’t worry about November, either; I agree with David Roberts: this isn’t even going to be that big of a deal come election time.

I know you recognize the reality and the danger and the scientific necessity to start somewhere on Climate Change. Hopefully, you recognize that KXL provides a pretty good staring point.

Thanks. Have a good day. The Relative Comment.

Written by Christopher ZF

January 10, 2012 at 11:51

The Worst Piece of Anti-Climate Journalism Ever. Period.

with 2 comments

TRC would like to congratulate Louis Woodhill, contributing author at Forbes, for just making it in a nick of time to be awarded the prize of “worst piece of science comprehension and most ridiculous rhetorical strategy in journalism” award. This does of course allow that what contributing author at Forbes Louis Woodhill does is journalism and not just blather, and we grant that is a stretch.

If you want your brain to explode, read Even the Warmists Don’t Believe in Global Warming. It’s a riotous good time. For an individual with a degree in mechanical engineering, one would think Mr. Woodhill would have a better understanding of how science operates. Alas. We cannot understand that which our paychecks depend on us not understanding.

It is worth going through the whole essay, piece by piece. It is not every day one reads the worst piece of Climate Change journalism ever.

First, the climate is indeed changing: One feature of the manifested universe is the impermanence of all things. Poetic.

Then Woodhill asks of that change: Overall, is it good or bad? We can’t say. We don’t even have a conceptual framework that would allow us to answer that question, or even to adequately describe how the climate is changing. “Climate” is an abstraction, and all abstractions are untrue (or at least incomplete).

Sorry, this is wrong. The Climate is an actuality. It is a thing, and it can be described and observed. Granted, it is very, very complex, and difficult to make prescriptions for, but it is NOT an abstraction. It is only an abstraction to those of us lucky enough to have air-conditioners and in-door heating, roofs over our head, and money to move when we need to.

But even this is a point that is understandable, though incorrect. What’s next?  Is human activity causing the climate to change? We don’t know, and there is no way, even in principle, that we can know. It is difficult enough to determine the “what” of climate change. To determine the “why”, we would need to do controlled experiments. And, for this, we would need another planet, identical in every way to our own earth, which we could use as a “control”.

Wrong. In fact, even in principle, this is wrong. There is no understanding of human activity that does not affect the climate, the ecosystem, the entire natural systems of the earth. By doing anything, human activity changes the climate. But I presume the point Mr. Woodhill is making is that we cannot control experiments to understand if burning fossil fuels is actually changing the climate. Again, wrong. It is the most basic level of physics, understood for at least 150 year: carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and greenhouse gases capture heat. The more carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere, the more heat that carbon will hold. If Mr. Woodhill can somehow change physics, I am sure the world would love to hear it. Accepting this will do you no harm. It can be argued that warming the earth won’t be so bad, but it can’t be argued that burning fossil fuels, thus increasing (by a LOT) the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will not increase the temperature. How much is open to argument, that it is happening is not. That is just science.

Of course, why should we trust science? “Science” consists of nothing but theories that have not yet been disproved by evidence, but which, in principle, could be so disproved. (some nonsense about Relativity being challenged) If something is “settled”, it is not science. It is religious dogma, and an assault upon freedom of thought and inquiry.

Well, that was easy. Why bother arguing against the science, only to throw science as an entire endeavor for understanding anything overboard with one crazy notion?

From here things really get strange. But don’t the climate scientists’ computer models prove that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing climate change? No. First, no computer model can ever prove anything (see the definition of “science” given above). Second, we do not have the capability to model a system as complex as the earth.

Really? No computer model can ever prove anything? I assume Mr. Woodhill realizes that computer modeling is an integral part of many facets of science and is not the creation of climate scientists who are pushing an agenda to make people give up their freedoms. Because, if no computer model can every prove anything, well, that changes everything.

After deciding no computer model can prove anything, the contributing author at Forbes goes on to discredit climate computer models, which, based on his previous argument is a complete waste of time.

So what do we know about the earth’s climate? Apparently, nothing. We don’t know what is really happening to the earth’s “climate”. Even if we did, we could not be sure why it was happening. And, we have no way of knowing whether the change was good or bad for mankind as a whole.

All our best efforts, brightest minds, and exact calculations, decades of study, decades of observation, all amount to a big fat goose egg. No one knows anything.

Wait, but then, why do “progressives” (who are the villain in this essay) keep pushing the coming climate catastrophe? In the world that Mr. Woodhill lives in, progressives pushing climate change want the world to surrender our freedom and move to a centrally planned world economy managed by experts, “just in case”. How could we be so wrong, so terribly anti-freedom, so blind to reality?

Two points about this: first, it’s not going to happen. The Progressives will have to content themselves with extracting a few billion dollars per year from taxpayers to fund cushy “research” and “advocacy” jobs, and to hold climate change conferences like the one that just concluded in Durban. Second, the climate change advocates obviously don’t believe in climate change themselves.

It’s so obvious. Well. I guess that settles it. It’s not real, and even those of us who think it is real KNOW it is not real. Easy-Peezy.

And now for the nail in the coffin. How does Mr. Woodhill know we believers don’t really believe it? Because we are unwilling to accept the wonderful potential of, wait for it…GEOENGINEERING!! Yes, that’s right. If we thought climate change was real, we would re-make the entire interactive nature of earth and its climate with technology! Because that is the real simple solution. Not, you know, changing human activity. It’s much simpler to  alter the fundamental systems of nature!

Mr. Woodhill goes on, but I can’t go on. From here, contributing author to Forbes Loius Woodhill (remember, he has a BS in mechanical engineering, oh oh, it all comes together) goes on to sing the praises of geoengineering as a resolution to our problem that is not real, is not believed by people who believe it, is not proven by science, because science can’t prove anything, because the earth is complicated, because humans are incapable of understanding the change inherent in the universe.

The worst piece logic ever created, arguing for the most complicated and expensive resolution to a problem that apparently doesn’t exist. Congratulations, Mr. Woodhill. I didn’t think it possible.