Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Some things are just wrong

Me, as a purely political observer, I don't care about gay marriage. Politics is the art of the possible, and on a national level it's not possible (preventing it from being banned, on the other hand, is possible, and I make a distinction). To get there, it's the responsibility of progressive activism, not politics (I make another distinction), to get their **** together and prevent things like, say, the passage of Prop 8 from happening in a blue state like CALIFORNIA. Did Obama not teach you anything about grassroots organization?

Until then, I've never been a hardcore social liberal. I'm not a social conservative either, I just care about the environment, education and the economy more than I do about other issues. Just convince me that your social issue is movable to the left, and I'll get on board. In any case, I'll always vote leftwards, but I just can't get worked up like others about social issues until I can back a progressive winner.


That said...some things are just wrong.
"SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A woman in the San Francisco Bay area was jumped by four men, taunted for being a lesbian, repeatedly raped and left naked outside an abandoned apartment building, authorities said Monday."
Put away your feigned surprise; I can completely see something like this happening in America. At times, we as a people are that depraved and that soulless. If not more. Before hearing of this, I would have needed to be convinced that it could happen in San Francisco, but I would have never deemed it unfathomable.

There's a point where it's not about politics. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was all about taskmasters making as much money with as little labor compensation as possible. The depravity continued in the aftermath; no punishment was dealt to the factory owners because there had been no crime (what labor laws?). Even when Al Smith did his barnstorming all over New York, factory owners were DESPERATE to keep at putting the proverbial whip to their workers, all the while trying to hide it from Smith and the Assembly. Laws were passed. Unions were allowed to form. A turning point in reversing the balance between laborer and entrepreneur had revealed itself.

Here's the irony: I'm going to venture a guess and say that the fire was the ultimate catalyst for change. Maybe Al Smith followed suit, and the Assembly followed after him, but before then, Tammany Hall didn't do enough, if anything, to prevent the bodies from falling just outside Washington Square Park.

I, for one, don't think these sorts of issues are solved in the political realm. My thinking is that, if you need to, come the crucial moment, change politicians' minds, you've already lost.

It's the same thing we've said about Iraq: win their hearts and minds. Gay marriage, like unionization and labor standards a century earlier, is the social issue that politics cannot cure until we know for sure it's viable. The battle has to be fought in the streets, not on Capitol Hill or in front of the White House.

People should be downright livid that something like anti-LGBT gang rape could happen in America. These are the things that are truly, completely, horribly wrong that need more attention in the activist realm than the debate on pure principles and ideology.

This is exactly why I don't care that Obama is having Rick Warren perform the invocation. Because when we talk about it, it's mostly about why gay rights are good or why they're bad. Yeah, you sold me, but tell me the same thing in tangible, practical terms.

For the most part, the issue of gay marriage, from both sides of the debate, has been waged more on principle than on example and anecdote. It has allowed the side issues of the role of religion and the rights of states and freedom of speech to take up the collective, brain brain power of all the parties involved. Only a fire had the power to direct the political debate towards real results.

So, I go back to the beginning to tell the activist movement to clean up their act, talk about why intolerance towards difference is not only harmful, but has already, at a most basic level, proven to be harmful, poisonous and needs to be ended, like yesterday.

And if those in progressive activism need any pointers on where to start redirecting the debate, there's a woman in San Francisco who has become a victim of one of the 1,500-or-so sexual orientation-based hate crimes just this year.


Monday, December 22, 2008

You've got to go through hell before you get to heaven

Said Steve Miller.

Overnight bus, early morning in Shinjuku, mediocre McDonald's coffee, a recliner at the Internet cafe, and twenty-four hours before my next shower. God, I'm so tired.

At least I brought my emergency travel case (now seven years old, which Northwest gave to me after stranding us in Minnesota for the night). I don't know what I'd do without a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advice from Shawn Estes

If you're going to throw your shoe, you HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO make contact. Don't be the guy who missed.

(yes, I know I'm late on the story - I JUST saw the video from TYT)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Maybe I'm getting old

Is it alright to like Akon's new album? It's SOOOOOOOOOooooo Europop-py (which was cool in the 90s, but is now so cliche since Ace of Base) and much more commercial than Konvicted. The video for Right Now, if you were to mute the sound, looks like typical pre-Freedom material. It doesn't match the music.

At first, it was, "Oh no, he sold out." didn't stop me from playing it all day long today. At home, at Mister Donut, on my's addictive. The last time I've had this kind of reaction was after getting some Explosions in the Sky off iTunes (I watched the movie Friday Night Lights only once, by the way, and thought "whatever").

So either it's perfectly alright, or I've become a sheep-like consumer. Help me, please.

CONCACAF 2010: the 2009 Hexagonal

I spent the last few hours working on the new blog I'm setting up, CONCACAF 2010. In it, I hope to update visitors with all the information relevant to the six nations left in CONCACAF looking to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. After the 2009 Hex, it will be there to cover the three (hopefully four) nations representing the region in 2010.

(on a computer science note, dusting off old HTML and CSS knowledge, not to mention coding and debugging skills that I haven't used in a while is getting more and more frustrating as time goes by)

No, I'm not done yet. But I set up some preliminary information that I'll use to make the rest of the skeleton (I'll do that at Mister Donut tomorrow), and it will be ready long before the Hex starts in February.

Feel free to take a look around by clicking here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I rediscovered Chivalry

...and Gumball, and Road Rally USA, and Snoopy to the Rescue. Next, I have to find Cave of Time and Lemonade Stand. If you don't know, it was likely before your time because it was almost before mine.

I'm not going to get enough sleep for the next two weeks, I imagine.