Posts Tagged ‘Biden

04
Oct
08

An introduction…

I’d like to take a minute to make a quick introduction. I post under the name secularJihad because I am a fervent, some would say militant, atheist. I am out to destroy Christmas. I would prefer most churches be bulldozed or turned into all-ages rock venues, unless they have some intrinsic artistic, cultural or architectural value. (Most pre-fab box-built megachurces from the last 20 years don’t.) Religion is ridiculous. That’s my opinion. It’s the opinion of many other atheists, and it’s the opinion of most religious people as well…as long as they’re referring to someone else’s religion. People get defensive about their own particular brand of superstitious nonsense. The fact is that most people adhere to whatever religion they were raised in, unless they wise up and break free. Most don’t have any good reason why they believe what they do, its just what they’ve always known. Maybe it’s time to reconsider? I think so.

I’m highly critical, to the point of being insulting, to most faiths. Most religious people are as well, again, as long as their own diety isn’t being ridiculed. I don’t have any such restriction. The idea of Saturn eating his children is just as silly as the idea that Yahweh magically knocked up a young girl and then killed her offspring to teach us a lesson, or the idea that drawing a cartoon of a prophet somehow forfeits the artist’s right to exist. They’re all equally non-compelling mythologies to me. If you think Richard Dawkins is overly harsh toward religious people, you should probably avoid my posts. I think he’s about as gentle at his most annoyed as I am on an average day.

When I’m not pissing on other people’s most closely held beliefs, I enjoy a variety of pastimes. Most are music or computer related, or both. I’m an avid music collector, mostly focusing on grunge-era independent music, shoegaze, metal – from Black Sabbath to Mastodon, AMREP noise and various forms of electronic and experimental music – particularly Bill Laswell’s far reaching ambient collaborations and remixes. I’ve been a bass guitar player since I was about 13, and a so-so drummer since I was about 30 (had to wait until I was a homeowner for that one). I’ve played in several bands, with long-ish stints in a six piece noise metal band, an instrumental post-rock band, and a stoner/sludge metal band. I love most music, but loud and heavy wins out most of the time.

I record my own music, but not nearly often enough.

I’m also a digital artist, specializing mostly in 3D still illustrations. Most of these begin in either 3D Studio MAX or Photoshop. I was professionally employed as a digital artist and photographic retouch-er for over a decade, and have recently moved into the graphics software industry. I still do creative work on the side when the job sounds interesting, and when I have time. I also create images for a variety of royalty free and rights managed brands that are sold on-line.

Racism is bullshit, as are most forms of discrimination, and should be avoided.

I am a vocal opponent of most laws restricting personal freedom, especially when they originate from religious doctrine, or modern perversions thereof. One person’s freedom to follow their faith ends when it cramps my style. I am awkwardly Libertarian in that regard. I oppose the drug war, and support gun ownership. I’m pro gay marriage and pro choice. Basically, I don’t care what you do, that’s your business, and don’t tell me mine. In other respects I proudly support many Socialist principles, and so do you, whether you know it or not. Our grandfathers would have all been worked to death in soot-filled factories if not for Socialists. Socialists gave us the weekend, and the 40-hour week. Hard battles were fought to give us these benefits, and they’re being eroded. Don’t believe me? Check your Blackberry. I also support government health-care and public schools. I don’t mind paying a high tax rate for a government that provides for me in times of crisis, and ensures my basic needs will be met if I am unable to meet them myself. And I don’t mind if my taxes go to help someone else who is in this position. My odd mixture of political beliefs makes me unpopular at nearly every political round table, but more often than not, I identify with progressives and Democrats. I generally oppose war, but in particular I oppose open-ended wars against concepts, rather than targets.

I prefer medium-light bass strings.

I’m supporting Obama/Biden in ’08, and have donated a few hundred dollars to their campaign. (Though it pains me that Biden was such an ardent proponent of the drug war.) It comes down to this: Do I want to live in a bright shiny sci-fi future where we all float around in pollution free hovercars and everyone is happy and free to express themselves creatively, or do I want to live in a charred industrial waste-world where we are surrounded by a wall that’s piled high on both sides with flyblown emaciated bodies of those trying to get in, and those trying to get out? I personally choose the former, and while I don’t think Obama will magically transport us from Fuckedville to Utopia in 4 or 8 years, I do think that electing him could be something that future generations will point to as the turning point in taking us there. Regardless, the politics on this page are my own, and Barack Obama does not support this message.

Spicy food, FTW!

I like animals, but strongly prefer cats. A cat is happiest when she gets to just chill out and enjoy her space. I get this. Eat. Sleep. Stretch. Yawn. Pet me. Litter break. Bath. Repeat. Simple. I get it. Dogs tend to get all up in my business in a way that I find a little bit intrusive. They’re ok when they’re calm, or when I’m jacked up enough to want to actually play with them, but that’s almost never. Cats can be annoying little shits at times too, but in general my money’s on them.

I am tentatively embracing the Apple Mac platform, though I’ll probably always have a few home-built PCs around.

I started out blogging on MySpace, but moved to WordPress because MySpace’s blog implementation is amateurish and doesn’t syndicate well. I tend to blog on the topics of religion, politics, music and computing, which should be no great surprise if you read the rest of this post. I try to infuse a little dark humor into my caustic vitriol. I am an admirer of the late Bill Hicks, and in particular of his ability to cut through all bullshit and speak with equal enthusiasm on topics from pornography to music to politics to the great existential questions. There are a lot of unfunny black-hearted cynical fucks who like to think they’re a little like Bill. I’m one of them.

Steve Jobs is a cocky prick, but I do love my iPhone.

I spent most of my college and post college years, when I wasn’t at work or studying, getting high with friends. I had a great time. Though I don’t know if I’d do it with quite as much gusto if I had a second chance. I think I could have accomplished a little more if I’d been a bit less pacified and a bit more focused. I recently completed a 5 year period of total sobriety. I have to say that in some ways, my life got a lot better, and in other ways it pretty much blew. I’m a bit awkward socially to begin with, and being the odd man out at every social gathering wasn’t easy. At any rate, 5 years seemed adequate to prove a point, and I’m back to being party-optional. Though I’ll probably pass more often than partake. It’s hard enough for me to manage all my work and personal obligations without inhaling an additional handicap.

So that should be enough to start. Maybe too much. More to come…

12
Sep
08

Q: How do you tell the difference between George W. Bush and Sarah Palin?

Answer: Lipstick.

Last night, during the Vice Presidential debate, we were shown the glaring contrast between the two tickets. The Obama/Biden campaign has been hammering on the McCain=Bush theme so much that I’m almost sick of hearing it. I’d love to see a fresh new attack, there are so many to choose from, but this has been working for them so I’ll trust their judgment. Last night’s debate should have crystallized this for anyone who still has doubts. If you have trouble seeing it, flip the ticket and look again. McCain=Cheney, Palin=Bush. Do you see it now? Crusty old rich hawk. Dumb-ass hick governor that has to read everything off the teleprompter. McSame/Failin’ ’08.

Sarah Palin’s abysmal performance last night should have been universally panned by any thinking viewer or pundit, and yet we’ve set our expectations so low that she was given a free pass. She was unable to produce concise substantive answers to any question, and when she didn’t have a memorized talk track, she fell back to the list of keywords that we’ve all come to expect from her. There were even Bingo cards and drinking games printed with these buzzwords on them.

Like W, she played the “folksy” card ad nauseum. In the first minute she was already laying it on thick. She was full of “yer durn right!” and “’em” instead of “them” and “hockey mom” and “Joe 6-pack”. She actually said “Joe 6-pack” in a debate! That’s who she thinks you are! I hope that the rest of my countrymen are as sick of being condescended to as I am. Matt Damon said that her candidacy is like the plot of a bad Disney movie, and I couldn’t agree more. That’s not good enough for me, and I have hope that it’s not good enough for the rest of the electorate either. These are tough times, complicated times, and we cannot afford to let another inept, under-educated buffoon limp along in the toughest job in the land. It hasn’t worked for the last 8 years, and it’s not going to work for the next 4.

Let’s talk about sexism for a second. Yesterday’s pre-debate coverage was full of armchair advice for Joe Biden. From every corner people were telling him that he should only attack McCain, and avoid the appearance of attacking Sarah Palin at all costs, lest he appear “sexist”. If that’s not sexism, I don’t know what is. Joe Biden followed this advice last night. He referred to Sarah Palin (generously, I might add) as “Governor” and kept his attacks focused on McCain. Sarah, by contrast, was free to fight with both hands and directed her attacks at “Joe”. This is bullshit. If she were a man, this would never have been the case. An incompetent man in this situation would have been eviscerated. She winked at the camera, and spoke in a breathy voice when she wanted to fake sincerity. It was patronizing and offensive.

Joe Biden wasn’t the only one coddling her. Gwen Ifill was softballing it as well. Sarah Palin doesn’t know anything about the job. She doesn’t know much of anything about anything. She doesn’t know what magazines have news in them. She doesn’t know any Supreme Court cases, even though she could potentially name a judge to the Court. She might be a nice person to meet on the street, but she is grossly out of her league in national affairs. If she doesn’t have the name of the President of a foreign country memorized, she’ll dodge the question. If she doesn’t have a talking point, she’ll dodge the question. The whole country has winced in vicarious embarrassment at her answers during Katie Couric’s interviews. This should have been a continuation of that bloodbath, and it would have been if not for Gwen Ifill padding all the questions with built-in answers. She framed the questions in such a way that ANYONE could have given as good a performance as Mrs. Palin did last night. She also allowed the Governor to dodge and evade questions at will, never holding her feet to the fire. I actually saw post-debate pundits praising this as “good debate strategy” which is bullshit. I was never a debater, but I have a hard time having respect for someone who can’t answer the questions, or even give a general answer on the same subject. She twisted the first several questions in to rambling nonsense about her “energy policy”. She should have been called out on this, but she wasn’t. I’m fairly certain that this was because the moderator was also trying to avoid the perception that she was being “too hard” on Palin.

Let’s talk for a minute about her energy policy… She referred to Alaska as a microcosm of the US, which it’s not. Alaska is an anomaly. Crafting an energy policy for a state that floats along on a cushion of combustible resources takes no great skill. Think Beverly Hillbillies. It’s already set up, all you have to do is watch the money roll in. Watch this video by Fareed Zakaria, the relevant section is toward the end. He explains that her experience in Alaska is not relevant experience for the United States as a whole. You see, we have these things called “cities” in the lower 48. People live in them. Hopefully enough people to change the landscape of the election…

I was disappointed to see that gays were thrown under the bus by both candidates last night. There’s no good reason for this. The only reasons are religious reasons, and those are bullshit. This wasn’t new. I’ve been disappointed by our ticket’s stance on this issue, but it was sad to see it emphatically restated. There was a point of distinction to be made, however. Sarah Palin still seems to think that being gay is a choice. I’m not gay, but I don’t believe this to be the case. She went on to say that she “tolerates” her gay friends. I’m sure they’re grateful, but once again I found this condescending and patronizing. Being “tolerated” is not the same as being treated as an equal.

I haven’t mentioned anything about Joe Biden’s performance, other than the fact that I felt it wasn’t a fair fight because he was constrained by rules that didn’t apply to her. That being said, I felt that he was eloquent, informed and skillful. He didn’t ramble and digress, and did a good job of getting the facts out there. He may have come off as a little stiff to those who prefer the informal, and frankly inappropriate, style that Palin employed. And he didn’t fumble, as many assumed he would.