Something to Think About

Sometimes I find a blog post or article that says something I so desperately want to say. And they say it much better than I could ever do.

First, go read this post:
I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.

Check this out, and feel free to correct me if I get this wrong…

According to Christians, Jesus taught a couple of interesting things. First, “love one another.” Second, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (“Her” being a woman who cheated on her man.)

According to Buddhists, Buddha taught a couple of thought-provoking things. First, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Second, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

According to Hindus, a couple of fascinating teachings come to mind. First, “Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all.” (Krishna) Second, “Love means giving selflessly, excluding none and including all.” (Rama)

According to Muslims, Muhammad taught a couple interesting things as well. First, “A true Muslim is the one who does not defame or abuse others; but the truly righteous becomes a refuge for humankind, their lives and their properties.” Second, “Do you love your creator? Love your fellow-beings first.”

According to Judaism, their scriptures teach a couple remarkable things. First, “Love your neighbor like yourself.” Second, “Examine the contents, not the bottle.”

The greatest spiritual leaders in history have all preached love for others as the basis for all happiness, and never did they accompany such mandates with a list of unlovable actions or deeds. They never said, love everybody except for the gays. Love everybody except for the homeless. Love everybody except for the drug users. Love everybody except for the gang members, or those covered in ink, or the spouse abusers. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody with the exception of the “trailer trash,” those living in poverty, or the illegal immigrants. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody except for our ex-lovers, our lovers’ ex lovers, or our ex-lovers’ lovers. The mandate was pretty damn clear, wasn’t it?

Then go read this one:
A Teen’s Brave Response to “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay”

I am the Christian mother of a 15 year old teenage boy and about a month ago he came home from school with a copy of your article “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay”. The teacher gave his class a homework assignment to read it and write a 500 word essay about “what it meant to them”.

He came home and showed me your article and asked me what I thought about it. I read just the title and became furious at his teacher and at you (even though I know you had nothing to do with her handing out the assignment). Anyway, I confiscated it from him and told him he wasn’t to do anything with it till I had a chance to read it first.

And then I got madder and madder as I read it as I felt like it was a direct attack against our beliefs and our Christian religion and that it was promoting homosexuality, a practice that around here is a huge “sin”.

I gave my son an earful about homosexuality and God and told him that he could tell his teacher that he would not be participating and if she had a problem, she could come talk to me and then I threw the article in the trash. My son didn’t say anything just walked into his room and shut the door.

Both posts are rather long. But bear through them to the end.

Now, sit back and THINK. Really really hard. THINK. Not just now, this moment, but always. Before you open your mouth, THINK. Before you gossip, THINK. Before you put down, speak against, say angry things, say bad things, say jokes that put down someone. THINK.

#ToMyUnbornChild

As I have said numerous times, I don’t Tweet. I wouldn’t know how if I wanted to. I have no desire to tweet and probably never will.

The number one reason is it would cause me pain to write in such horrible short hand. I rarely ever use it with cell phone texts. We are dumb enough as a nation without us purposely doing it. Did you know that college students continually hand in papers that have txtspk or tweet type of writing??

The second reason is it seems to draw in the stupids. Just like AOL seemed to attract them like moths to a flame, so does Twitter. High ranking politicians tweeting a mostly naked photo of themselves. Influential athletes saying stupid shit and surprised people took offense.

From what I understand, you send a message to someone by putting @ then their username. And you keep something on topic by using # then the topic name. Anyone subscribed/following to that topic name will get it. I think that is how it goes. There’s one called #ToMyUnbornChild where folks are pretending the tweet is going to their unborn offspring. How sweet, right? Well, for most it is. For others, they use it as a platform to show their stupidness or perhaps to prove they ought to be spayed or neutered before they truly do give birth.

I found out about this via a blog called “Raising My Rainbow“. This super strong and patient yet human woman is blogging about her youngest son who is ‘gender creative’. It has been wonderful being reminded that not all parents are wonky idiots and are capable of adapting to suit their child, not the other way around. Anyway, she had a new entry where she writes a letter to the unborn children of some of the people using the hash-tag #ToMyUnbornChild. It is wonderful.

I’m sorry that your parents, though they have not been blessed with you yet, have already threatened to beat you, kill you, burn you, make you sleep in the oven, hang you from a bridge, step on your throat, drown you, stab you and/or shoot you. Your parents don’t represent the goodness that can be found in humanity, they represent the worst.

It doesn’t mean that you are fated to be like them. It means that you don’t have to do much to be better than them. So start there…then soar.

Not being a follower of Tweets, I didn’t know what she was talking about so I followed her link to here: 100 Real Tweets from Homophobes Who Would Murder Their Gay Child. I only got so far before the depression got too strong. Hopefully, these people (and the others who were not listed) were showing off for their friends. Hopefully, they don’t really mean it. Hopefully they won’t reproduce.

I recently finished a novel where the Religious Right has replaced the Republican party (all it would be is a name change at this point) and they have turned the US and other nations into something worse than the al-Qaida could ever be. Things like this prove to me that fiction is not that far off from reality. That this nation and others are slowly choking the citizens into compliance. I would think and hope that the more technologically advanced a society gets, the less fanatic it is in terms of religion. But it seems to be the opposite. Instead of embracing technology as a way to spread their message of a loving God, they use it to spread how much their god hates everyone else. Fit this mold or die.

Even if you are a newborn, fresh and new and totally clueless as to what being homosexual is, you fit this mold or die.

SOPA/PIPA continued

Wow. Was that awesome or what? The sheer number of websites that went dark for the entire day. The Big Name Websites that did the same. Wow.

Wikipedia’s English site was completely dark. Not just the front page with a ‘click here to continue’ link. But blocked from one end to the other.

Craigslist, Reddit – dark
Webcomics – available but with a huge notice
Google – available but with censored out logo
Wired – censored

The list goes on.

But it is far from finished. Senators and Congress folk woke up this morning and realized this was serious. Many backed out and said they no longer support either bill. Even many of the sponsors of the bill pulled out. Some tried to compromise. Some tried to wave it off. Most scratched their heads and wondered what the big deal was about. But both bills are still very much alive. One will still be voted on January 24th although it is not expected to go further.

Want to do more?

Learn about it.

There has to be better ways to go after the truly guilty without also taking down the innocent. There are ways to find out the IP addresses of people who upload books and music illegally. There are ways to find the IP addresses of people who download them. With that information, they can be tracked down and stopped. Just the other day a writer got the address and phone number of a woman in Argentina who is uploading hundreds of lesbian fiction. She wants authors to contact her and demand she stop. She also posted a cool pseudo phone conversation that I think we all wish were true. So if this one author can find this information, why the hell can’t the government??!!

Okay, rolling off soapbox now. Stay tuned for more information as the saga continues.

SOPA/PIPA

UPDATE: as soon as I posted this, I found a growing list of sites that are going dark on Jan. 18th. Sopastrike.com
If this site were bigger, I’d add it officially to the list. Yes, my sites will be going dark for 24hrs.

Below is a modified version of something I posted over at Lesbian Fiction Forum.

I’ve heard bits and pieces about this but not enough to understand it. So I’ve decided to do some research. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

(SOPA is the House version and PIPA (Protect Internet Providers Act) is the Senate version. Most of what I found online was about SOPA and noted that PIPA is essentially the same thing. I’m still looking into PIPA so what I have below is specific to SOPA.)

On the surface, stopping online piracy is a good thing. We authors are fighting this all the time. I was thinking this act is a good thing. But it’s not.

Basically, what SOPA will do is this, using this site as an example:

Let’s say I want to tell you of my love of chestnut trees. I go to Wikimedia Commons and use an image that is labeled as such that I can use it. However, the person who uploaded that image did not have the proper right to do so. The original photographer (or owner of the tree) sees the image on Wikimedia Commons. Now, under SOPA, that photographer can shut down not only Wikimedia, but for anyone and everyone who downloaded that image because by law, the webhost would have to release every IP address of anyone who downloaded it. Including me. They can then shut down my site AND have access to all of YOUR IP addresses as well. AND unless my webhost and Wikimedia Commons webhost could show that they actively tried to censor us, THEY would be punished.

Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but it makes me concerned for the fringe groups such as LGBT. They could shut down as many sites as they want. All they have to do is find one bit of copyright infringement. Not only could they shut down the sites, but also the IP addresses of everyone who visited.

I looked for some stuff of SOPA in plain English. I found a big graphic that helped me to understand it better:
http://venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/ … ternet.png

Electronic Frontier Foundation has several letters from some big groups against SOPA as well as articles that talk about the bill:
https://www.eff.org/search/site/SOPA

January 18th is Blackout Day. Many sites will be putting up a censorship marker for 12-24hrs or more to show what would happen if SOPA passes. These include Wikipedia (maybe?), Reddit, Icanhazcheezeburger (LOL cats), and several others. The list is growing as the news of it expands.
http://techland.time.com/2012/01/12/sop … ay-follow/

The irony of it all, is the original introducer of SOPA, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, would be guilty under his own proposed laws and his own sites would be shut down. (although it is a reach since the image is from an archived version of his site)

While I think it is great that congress is trying to do something, I think they have no fucking clue or are getting bad advice. Most sites I read today said a lot of campaign money and donations to the introducers of these bills come from the Big Companies who want to shut down any and all piracy (like the record and movie companies).

And it’s not just that they’d shut them down. But they block the DNS of that website. Every website name is assigned one when that domain name is registered. If my webhost shut me down, I could simply move to another site with the same name. Not so with this. I would have to start over with a new website name. And trust me, real piracy sites are prepared for this and it would just be a blip for them. They’d just move on and restart.

Trust me, online piracy is something all writers know about. I’m not a big enough name that any of my stuff has been pirated but I know people who have. Piracy is NOT “sharing” and it is not “good for the writer”. It is taking money out of the pockets of the writer and their publisher, plain and simple. Want to help me and other writers? Promote our work by encouraging your friends to buy the book. “Sharing” with hundreds of online users is piracy.

But back to SOPA. This isn’t the way to do it. This is NOT how piracy should be stopped. It is akin to killing the dog to get rid of the fleas. They’re just going to go to another dog. And another. And another. And…

Contact your congress person. Tell him/her to not support it.
http://americancensorship.org/ – website with more (and better) information
http://americancensorship.org/infographic.html – good infographic
http://my.americancensorship.org/ – for stuff happening in your state/region

“Over It”

Sometimes, I read an article and am moved. Moved internally, externally, mentally, physically. Moved to tears, to action, to anger, to love, to reach out and hug someone.

I found such an article today. It is a tough article with just enough sarcasm to keep it real. At least for me.

It is about rape and the ‘culture’ around it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/over-it_b_1089013.html

Eve Ensler: Over It

I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don’t have a sense of humor, and women don’t have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don’t think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.

Postal Service

I just read an interesting article about an interesting division of the USPS.

Poor Penmanship Spells Job Security for Post Office’s Scribble Specialists

It describes how, even though machines have greatly advanced their ability to read handwriting, there are still many letters that get bumped out by the machines because it can’t read them. 5% is a good drop rate but it equaled (according to the article) 714,085,866 letters last year.

But the point I want to make is not exactly related to the article. It is related to the comments. And here is my point:

NO TAX DOLLARS GO INTO THE POSTAL SERVICE

Let me repeat that.

NO TAX DOLLARS GO INTO THE POSTAL SERVICE

The money you pay the IRS, not a penny of it goes to the post office. Their entire budget is dependent on the mail they deliver. (however, there may be some miniscule amount that is spent on govmint employees who must interact with the USPS in some way) The current problem as I see it, is the Govmint required them to make a huge ass payroll payment. Which they kinda did. The payment was so huge, it is an overpayment. The post office is asking the govmint to give them a break and not make the next installment. The problem though, is that “income” is counted in the US budget. So removing that huge chunk from the budget would make it short, although it’s not really. Add into that the far too many unions who are not exactly working together very well and the many employees within those unions who are still working without a contract (such as rural carriers) for several years now.

So, bitch all you want about how money is being wasted on sending poorly addressed letters at the same price as perfectly written ones (I kinda agree with you on that one) but, please, show your intelligence and stop with the “my tax money pays for that?” shit. ‘Cause it ain’t. Your tax money goes to more important things. Like a 10 year war in two countries, one of which we never should have invaded in the first place.

[disclaimer: my darlin’ is a non-union rural carrier]

Does It Hurt, Vick?

I hate Micheal Vick. I hate who he is and I hate the NFL for letting him back in. I hate the money he is paid. I felt satisfaction at knowing he was hurt during last week’s game as well as yesterday’s. And I hate that feeling. Hatred is not a good thing, it does nothing to further along neither myself nor my species.

But I still feel it.

I turned to Lorna yesterday (we didn’t see the game, just a report of it) and said “Ya know, he ought to be put down if he can’t play, right?”

No one can be involved in dog fighting business for SIX YEARS and be “cured” like he claims to be. How many dogs did he brutally put down (either with his own hands or, at the least, knew about and condoned) for not being able to fight? How many dogs were wounded? How many unagented, unpaid dogs suffered through the fights only to die through yet more suffering? The humans didn’t just inject them, they beat them, tortured them to death.

And yet, the survivors of that racket live on. I believe only four of those dogs had to be humanely euthanized. The others live on either in real forever homes or at that dog sanctuary.

Which species came out ahead of this? Did we, the humans? I don’t think so. Just thinking of him makes me mad. Just thinking of the alleged Humane Society of U.S. and their support of him makes me madder. The NFL for desiring money over conscious. No, it is the dogs that came out ahead. They survived something most of us could not. They came out of it still loving life and, yes, even humans. Would I be able to do that? No, I would not. My reaction toward Vick even after all this time shows the truth.

So, Vick, next time you limp to the sidelines, I hope you think of those dogs you killed. I hope you see the irony of this and I hope you wince. I hope, really hope, that you feel that first inkling of true shame for what you did.