[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2016-11-23

What do I want?

Filed under: About Me,Civil Rights,Politics — bblackmoor @ 19:52

I just had a conversation with someone who said that President-elect Trump’s intended cabinet appointments so far indicate that he is “reaching out to the opposition”. Initially, I though that was a particularly funny comment, and congratulated them for their sarcastic humour.

Except they weren’t making a joke. They apparently actually believed that. Which left me speechless.

They then went on to explain how they were reasonable, and thoughtful, and in way of example of their reasonableness, gave me a short list of their horrific beliefs. They concluded with, “We all want the same things, just have differing opinions as to how to get there.”

I replied, “I strongly suspect that you and I do not want the same things.”

“What do you want?” they asked.

What do I want? That’s a good question. I want zero-calorie, 80-proof rum. I want a reliable 200 Mbps Internet connection that costs less than $100 per month. I want every movie and TV show ever made to be available on, at most, two or three Roku channels, and for them never to be removed. I want a house where I can look out my window and see nothing but trees, ocean, and sky, and to live in peace with my wife and my cat. But that’s small stuff. When it comes to the world outside my window, what I want is less easy to define, so it took me a few minutes to distill it down. So this is what I said:

I want a world where people who are decent and kind can live their lives in peace without fear of being deported, or having their basic civil rights denied because they love the wrong person, or being hooked up to electrodes to shock them “straight”, or being put into internment camps because they picked the wrong invisible friend, or being harassed and driven away because they have the wrong ancestors.

They replied that they considered themselves a realist, and they considered me an idealist.

I replied, “I consider myself someone who doesn’t want their friends treated like sub-humans by people like you.”

Which was probably not the most constructive thing to say. So it goes.

Sunday, 2016-08-21

Don’t buy a house with a HOA or POA

Filed under: Civil Rights,Home — bblackmoor @ 08:12

A word of advice to young people: never buy a house with an HOA (home owners’ association) or POA (property owners’ association), no matter how low the fees are and how mild the restrictions are. HOAs/POAs attract the worst that humanity has to offer: liars, bullies, and thieves, who will lie and bully their way into ever more power, ever more restrictions, ever higher fees. HOAs/POAs are a cancer: worse than cancer, because there is no cure, and they only get worse. Inevitably, inexorably worse.

Here are some memes I made. They’re supposed to be funny. Comedy is hard.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Friday, 2016-04-08

Petula Clark, Harry Belafonte, and Mizhena

Filed under: Civil Rights,Gaming,Television — bblackmoor @ 07:21

There is a computer game called Baldur’s Gate. It’s a fantasy adventure game based on Dungeons & Dragons, along the lines of Lord Of The Rings. An expansion for the game was released recently, and in that expansion there is a minor character named “Mizhena” who, if you engage with them and repeatedly ask them questions, will eventually tell you that they are transgender. If you are unfamiliar with Dungeons & Dragons, you might not realize that transgender characters have been a part of that game world for 30 or 40 years. It’s not new. It is, however, new to the Baldur’s Gate game.

As a result, a small segment of the Baldur’s Gate fan base revealed themselves to be vile bigots. These bigots created a “controversy”, objecting to the inclusion of this character in the game.

Petula Clark and Harry BelafonteThis “controversy” comes at an interesting time. Today, April 8 2016, is the 48th anniversary of the broadcast of the Petula Clark Show on NBC. Petula Clark was a very popular singer at the time, having fifteen consecutive Top 40 hits in the USA, starting with “Downtown” in 1965. Clark was joined on her special by Harry Belafonte, who had made Calypso and Caribbean music popular throughout the world with his singing in the 1950s. During a duet toward the end of the show, Clark touched Belafonte briefly on the arm. Doyle Lott, a vice president from Chrysler, the show’s sponsor, was present at the taping. Lott objected to the “interracial touching”. He pressured NBC to remove the “forced” contact between Clark and Belafonte, to remove this “social justice” from the show. However, Petula Clark stuck to her guns, and the special was broadcast with the “controversial” touching. When the show aired, it received high ratings.

It’s been over 40 years, and the Doyle Lotts of the world are still manufacturing controversies to defend their bigotry. I think it is right and just that people are enjoying the music of Petula Clark and Harry Belafonte to this very day, while Doyle Lott has been reduced to a footnote in the history of civil rights.

There are many cases where people of good will can and do disagree. That is usually the case, in my opinion. However, these cretins who wail and moan and gnash their teeth any time they see someone other than themselves represented are not people of good will. They are the bartender who says, “We don’t serve their kind here.” They are the prejudiced priest who refuses to heal the half-orc in the party. They are the pig-faced sheriff that says, “We don’t take kindly to outsiders around here.” They are the craven peasant accusing a midwife of witchcraft. They’re the corrupt king who doesn’t want the adventurers to fight the dragon because it’s never his daughter that gets sacrificed to it.

These are not people of good will. They are not defenders of the sanctity of gaming. They are, by their own choice and by their own hand, villains.

Monday, 2015-08-24

Why Dracula has such incompetent henchmen

Filed under: Civil Rights,Movies,Society — bblackmoor @ 09:12

Years ago, while watching The Wraith, I wondered out loud why “cool” villains like Dracula (or Nick Cassavetes in The Wraith) were always surrounded by incompetent creeps and toadies like Renfield (or “Skank” in The Wraith) — people I wouldn’t trust to guard an egg salad sandwich. Her reply was, in essence, because those are the kinds of followers they deserve — that they are not, in fact, “cool” at all.

I am reminded of that conversation whenever I read comments by Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen where they make weak attempts to distance themselves from Theodore Beale without distancing themselves from what Beale says or does. When you find yourself on the same side as the Theodore Beales of the world, it’s time to reevaluate your position.

Tuesday, 2013-08-20

Groklaw takes its ball and goes home

Filed under: Civil Rights,Privacy,The Internet,Travel — bblackmoor @ 14:15
book in chains

Legal Site Groklaw Shuts Down Rather Than Face NSA

I stopped flying years ago, because it offends me to be scanned, groped, and treated like a criminal in order exercise my fundamental human right of travel. Now I am wondering how long it will be before I stop using email and the web. Perhaps I should have stopped already.

How did we become a cyberpunk dystopia without most of us noticing?

Friday, 2013-02-01

‘US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture’ – CIA veteran John Kiriakou

Filed under: Civil Rights,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 13:16

Ten years ago, the idea of the US government spying on its citizens, intercepting their emails or killing them with drones was unthinkable. But now it’s business as usual, says John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent and torture whistleblower.

Kiriakou is now awaiting a summons to start a prison sentence. One of the first to confirm the existence of Washington’s waterboarding program, he was sentenced last week to two-and-a-half years in jail for revealing the name of an undercover agent. But even if he had another chance, he would have done the same thing again…

(from ‘US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture’ – CIA veteran John Kiriakou, RT.com)

Friday, 2013-01-18

Ignorance, prejudice, and irrational fear

Filed under: Civil Rights,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:09

Most anti-civil rights legislation is based on the argument, “I don’t like the way you live, even though it harms me not at all, and therefore it ought to be illegal.” Give that some thought before you advocate legislation to criminalize behaviour that does you no harm. Ignorance, prejudice, and irrational fear are a poor foundation for public policy.

Of course, it doesn’t help that some of the people exercising their civil rights are assholes.

Saturday, 2012-08-25

Satire is having trouble keeping up with reality

Filed under: Civil Rights,Politics — bblackmoor @ 13:21
Onion vs Republican

POP QUIZ: One of these articles is satire, and one of them is factual. Can you tell which is which?

1) ‘Pregnancy Begins 2 Weeks Before Conception’ Now The Law In Arizona

2) Ann Romney: “Why should women be paid equal to men?”

I am of the growing opinion that our state and federal governments are all just an elaborate prank.

Sunday, 2012-08-05

Assessing the impact of Citizens United

Filed under: Civil Rights,Politics — bblackmoor @ 18:11
We The Corporations

Here is an interesting article from Matt Bai: How Much Has Citizens United Changed the Political Game? The gist of it is that Citizens United may not have exactly the impact that people tell you it has (or will have). Which, in retrospect, really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

And here is a … not so much a rebuttal, because he doesn’t respond to any of the original article’s points… it’s a reply, I guess, from Russ Feingold. I don’t find it persuasive. “A new form of corruption”? Hardly. Matt Bai makes it amply clear that this form of corruption has been around since at least the 1990s (and in my opinion, since long before that). But this Feingold fellow was the ONLY Senator to vote against the so-called PATRIOT act during the first vote on it, so I’ll give his arguments my attention based on that alone.

Friday, 2012-06-29

My thoughts on the SCOTUS vs Obamacare ruling

Filed under: Civil Rights,Society — bblackmoor @ 18:04

taxation as negative reinforcementI confess that the continued authority to selectively tax citizens in order to encourage desired behaviour disappoints me, but not because of Obamacare. I am mostly indifferent to the Affordable Care Act itself, because it will affect less than 2% of the people in this country in any significant way. My own health care costs will continue to rise, with or without it.

It disappoints me because it makes it less likely that the existing tax system will be eliminated and replaced with a fair tax (such as the FairTax), since the current tax system is rife with such selective taxation. For example, if there were no taxation benefits or penalties associated with getting married (or not) or having children (or not), there would no longer be any reason for the government to interfere in who could marry whom — it would be a purely personal issue between consenting adults, beyond the authority of government to regulate or prohibit (and that’s how it should be, in my opinion).

Had the selective taxation of citizens in order to manipulate their behaviour been declared to exceed the authority granted to our government, a great deal of the current tax code would have had to have been discarded. But it wasn’t, so it won’t be. Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the Supreme Court’s ruling really only affirmed one thing: the status quo has been preserved. Which, ironically enough, primarily benefits the people doing most of the wailing.

I am disappointed, but not angry, nor terribly surprised. Life goes on.

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