[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2011-10-03

When the liberty bubble bursts

Filed under: Civil Rights,History,Privacy — bblackmoor @ 19:11
What the American people need

On the one hand, I don’t think anyone who is wealthier than 99% of the country should be making decisions for the other 99% of us. On the other hand, if we put a salary/net worth cap on who could run for public office, I think the end result is that our ostensibly-elected rulers would be even more corrupt and incompetent than they are now. I honestly have no idea what to do to fix this great nation.

In a nation of laws, where fundamental principles of fairness and equality under the law are sacrosanct, where everyone has the same access to the courts and has to follow the same laws, libertarianism is the best and most ethical basis for a government that provides the best outcome to the most people, and imposes the fewest obstacles for people to better themselves and to help those who are worse off than themselves.

The problem is, we do not live in a nation like that. Our society has never been perfect, but at its core, it used to be based on principles of fairness, and hard work, and individual rights. The day to day operation of our society often conflicted with those principles, but gradually, those flaws would be brought to light, old ways would be challenged, and things would get better. The society we were was slowly turning into the society we aspired to be. Liberty, and honor, and justice were leading us from darkness toward the light. Slowly, to be sure, but we were on the right path.

I am not sure exactly when this ceased to be the case, but I think this is no longer true. The foundation on which our society is built is corroded and crumbling. Our legislatures pass laws to which they make themselves exempt. Media outlets give us the news they want us to see, and truth is irrelevant. We allow ourselves to be distracted by trivia, or blinded by superstition, while we revel in our ignorance. We are engaged in an endless and expensive war against everything. Corporations reap tremendous financial rewards while stripping both their employees and their customers of their basic human and civil rights — right to privacy, right to a jury trial, right to a personal life, right to earn an honest living, etc. — and it’s perfectly “legal”. We imprison more of our population than any country on Earth, for nonviolent offenses, and we use them as slave labor for corporations.

(You might think some of the previous paragraph is hyperbole. I am sometimes too fond of hyperbole. But in this case, it isn’t. If anything, it’s an understatement.)

We are fucked. The political dog and pony show is out of control, our economy is in the hands of people who really don’t care what happens to 99% of us as long as they benefit, and it isn’t getting better. It’s bread and circuses, and we are running out of bread.

I have yet to hear a single person suggest anything that I think would reverse this trend. Not the Tea Party. Not the Obama followers. Not the blue-collar Wal-Mart patrons, who do most of the real labor in this country and receive nothing but scorn for it. Not the socialist hippie-artists, or the pseudo-intellectuals who’ve never done a useful day of real work in their lives. Certainly not the politicians, regardless of their political affiliation.

Not even the libertarians.

I look into the future, and I see darkness.

There are a lot of reasons I am glad that I don’t have children. This is one of them.

Sunday, 2011-05-22

Rapture FAQs

Filed under: History,Mythology — bblackmoor @ 11:15

Fun fact: The “rapture” doctrine was invented in the early 1800s by John Nelson Darby, right around the same time Joseph Smith invented Mormonism and Hans Christian Andersen invented the Little Mermaid.

Read more:

Thursday, 2010-09-23

Anne vs. Anthony

Filed under: Civil Rights,History — bblackmoor @ 10:01

I get Anne Frank and Susan B. Anthony confused. Which one fought the Nazis, again?

Saturday, 2010-09-11

Reflections on September 11, 2001

Filed under: Civil Rights,History,Privacy,Travel — bblackmoor @ 12:27

I recall where I was when the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed. Someone in a cubicle next to mine received an email that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings. I thought it was yet another ridiculous email chain-letter forwarded by the same sort of gullible people who pass on dire warnings of syringes in telephone booths and rat urine on soda cans, and I told them so with a sneer (I am sometimes not as kind as I would like to be: I was even less so back then).

But more and more people heard this news, and then someone said that it was on the television in the break room. Still skeptical, I went and watched with everyone else.

I was flabbergasted when it was on the news in the break room, live — and then a second plane slammed into the other World Trade Center building, right in front of me. Even then, I thought it had to be a hoax or publicity stunt of some kind. I mean, how could two planes possibly hit skyscrapers in the same city on the same day? It’s inconceivable.

But it was true, of course, as we all learned over the following days and weeks.

The worst was yet to come, of course: the massive, brutal insult to American travelers known as the TSA, and the various violations of our basic human rights in the name of keeping us “safe”. Buildings can be rebuilt, and while the death toll from the airplane crashes was tragic, that many people die on our highways every month. The plane crashes may have been the work of psychotic foreigners, but the real damage to the USA happened afterward, and was perpetrated by Americans. I will probably not live long enough to see that damage undone.

Saturday, 2010-03-27

New human relative identified

Filed under: History,Science — bblackmoor @ 14:37

skull fossil

At a press conference yesterday, researchers announced the completely unexpected: a Siberian cave has yielded evidence of an entirely unknown human relative that appears to have shared Asia with both modern humans and Neanderthals less than 50,000 years ago. The find comes courtesy of a single bone from individual’s hand. Lest you think that paleontologists are overinterpreting a tiny fragment, it wasn’t the shape of the bone that indicates the presence of a new species—it was the DNA that it contained.

(from Neither Neanderthal nor sapiens: new human relative IDed, Ars Technica)

Friday, 2010-02-12

America is not a Christian nation

Filed under: History,Society — bblackmoor @ 17:52

Religious conservatives argue the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Judeo-Christian country. But President Obama is right when he says it isn’t.

(From America is not a Christian nation, Salon)

I am no great fan of President Obama (nor was I of President Bush). But when someone is right, they are right.

Thursday, 2009-11-26

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 12:00

(I heard about this from The Breda Revolution.)

Wednesday, 2009-10-28

Iron curtains, old and new

Filed under: History,Society — bblackmoor @ 13:49

I was reading this article about the Hungarian Prime Minister who was ultimately instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall, and I was struck by the contrast between the fall of the Iron Curtain, and what has been happening to the USA for the past ten years (and a new President has made absolutely no difference in this trend).

It makes me sad.

Wednesday, 2009-06-24

Godzilla movie timeline

Filed under: History,Movies — bblackmoor @ 18:58

GojiraI spent some time today piecing together the cinematic history of Godzilla. I have about a dozen Godzilla movies on DVD and Blu-Ray. Most are available in English. A few are not. Some were brutally mangled for US release, but I think many of those have since been re-released by distributors that actually care about the film (most notably Gojira and Godzilla Raids Again).

With that in mind, I have compiled a list of the Godzilla films and what I consider to be the important Godzilla-related films (I included Rodan, for example, but I did not include movies like War of the Gargantuas, which are ostensibly set in the same universe but which never cross over with Godzilla), and linked them to what I consider the best versions of those films on DVD or Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, some are very difficult to find at a sane price (or unavailable entirely, in the case of Return of Godzilla).

I hope that other people find this list useful.

Showa era

Heisei era

The American knock-off

  • Godzilla (1998) No, it isn’t really a Godzilla movie, but Zilla does show up in Final Wars.

Millennium era

“Fat Godzilla” era

Tuesday, 2008-02-26

Viking Women Dressed Provocatively

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 21:54

authentic Viking footwearAs if we needed more reasons to be annoyed at Christianity.

A runway fashion show in Viking times would have spotlighted women cloaked in imported colored-silk gowns adorned with metallic breast coverings and long trains.

This surprising claim is the result of a new analysis of remnants from a woman’s wardrobe discovered in a grave dating back to the 10th century in Russia, painting a picture of Viking panache before Christianity was established that runs counter to previous ideas about buttoned-up, prudish looking Norsewomen.

“Now we can say the pre-Christian dress code was very rich,” textiles researcher Annika Larsson of Uppsala University in Sweden told LiveScience. “When Christianity came, the dress was more like that of nuns. There was a big difference.”

(from Viking Women Dressed Provocatively, Yahoo! News)

Sounds to me like the costumes from Viking Women And The Sea Serpent were not so far off, after all.

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