RSSCategory: hypocrisy

Amazon.com Now Censors As Policy

April 12, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More
Amazon.com Now Censors As Policy

Amazon.com has just initiated a new marketing policy. They are stripping away the sales ranking of any book with so-called Adult Content. Here’s their little explanation:

“In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D
Member Services
Amazon.com Advantage

What this mean in effect, however, is that books primarily with gay and lesbian content are being singled out for exclusion from database searches. It is being applied in a bigoted and surprisingly hamfisted manner to conform to someone’s standard of what constitutes Offensive Material.

Adult Content generally means anything with more than coyly suggested sex in it. However, as a sample of the books not having their sales ranking stripped away, consider these:

–Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds by Chronicle Books (pictures of over 600 naked women)
–Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love” (explicit heterosexual romance);
–Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Wolf and the Dove (explicit heterosexual romance);
–Bertrice Smal’s Skye o’Malley which are all explicit heterosexual romances
–and Alan Moore’s Lost Girls (which is a very explicit sexual graphic novel)

These book sell very well, generally, so it’s obvious that there’s a dollar connection to this new policy. Midlist—the vast majority of books—will be targeted.

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Rush Limbaugh IS a “Brainwashed Nazi.”

April 9, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More
Rush Limbaugh IS a “Brainwashed Nazi.”

I’ve long subscribed to a rule which says that in political discourse whichever side calls the other side a “Nazi” first loses. The “Nazi rule” means that if you use it, you lose it. The “Nazi rule” holds true almost universally. I say “almost” because the one calling the other a “Nazi” first loses unless the first one using the term “Nazi” has it right.

Recently, a caller on Rush Limbaugh’s show identified himself as a Republican voter, a veteran and opposed to torture and blamed Rush and his ilk for the recent electoral woes of the Republican Party. The caller, ”Charles from Chicago”, called out Limbaugh for his support of torture and blamed Limbaugh and others which supported torture for why the American people have left the GOP in droves.

Rush begged to differ and Charles called Rush a “brainwashed Nazi.” Rush blamed people like Charles for the Obama win, and didn’t stop there but, called Charles “ignorant” among other things.

First, “Brainwashed” is the intensive forced indoctrination of new beliefs to have them supplant old beliefs.

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Varnum vs Brien: the abridged version of the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion upholding gay marriage

April 4, 2009 | By | 12 Replies More
Varnum vs Brien: the abridged version of the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion upholding gay marriage

What follows is an abridged version of the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion upholding gay marriage: KATHERINE VARNUM vs. TIMOTHY J. BRIEN, Polk County Recorder. Decision date: April 3, 2009.

Who would have thought that the next state to recognize gay rights was going to be Iowa? Right out here in the heartland, neighbor of Missouri, where I live? Many these states in the Midwest have taken pains to amend their laws to forbid gay marriage.

I am highly impressed by the Court’s ruling and opinion in the case of Varnum vs. Brien, the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion upholding gay marriage (here’s the full text of the opinion).

Here’s Des Moines Register’s brief description of the holding. It is an extraordinary opinion, extremely well-written and well-reasoned. It is extraordinary for both the legal analysis and for the emotional and social insights expressed by the court. This Court really gets what is at stake in this case, and did hide from any of the arguments asserted by the County.

It’s amazing what happens when you carefully lay out all of the arguments for the world to see, and I do believe that the Court covered all of the arguments expressed by those who are opposed to gay marriage, even a big argument that the anti-gay-marriage forces didn’t have the courage to raise in the courts (religious objections). Because the Court took the time to carefully lay out all of those anti-gay-marriage arguments, we can all see how empty and paranoid they sound in the abstract. When we see the anti-gay-marriage arguments calmly on paper, without the angry faces and the megaphones, we see them as the specious arguments they truly are.

Today, I took the time to read the entire 70-page opinion by the Iowa Supreme Court. It occurred to me, though, that many people (especially non-lawyers) might not want to work their way through the entire opinion. Therefore, I have created this “abridged” version, preserving the significant points, but redacting the citations and technical points. This actual words of the Court’s opinion are truly worth your while. Don’t settle for the simplified news media stories on this decision. This court’s opinion is professional and inspirational. In it’s thoroughness and directness regarding a tumultuous subject, it reminds me of the Pennsylvania decision of Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., (full decision of the Dover decision here).

In this legal decision, the Iowa Supreme Court takes the long view of history, as you can see at page 16, where the Court points out that it prohibited slavery more than 15 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the rights of slave-owners in the Dred Scott case. This discussion is on the mark, given that any legislation curtailing the rights of gays is based on bigotry. The Court has a long analysis ready for those who would argue that homosexuality is a choice, starting around page 41 in the “immutability” section. The also Court slams the concept of “civil union” as a second rate version of marriage (for example, see page 9).

What was at stake in this case was Iowa Code section 595.2(1), which ostensibly provides:

[o]nly a marriage between a male and a female is valid.

The Court considered a mountain of evidence and reviewed dozens of amicus briefs (briefs from interested individuals and organizations who are not direct parties) before rendering its opinion.

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As If We Didn’t Know

March 25, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More
As If We Didn’t Know

Politics dictated FDA policy? Say it isn’t so!

According to this NY Times piece, the Bush Administration (they get the blame because, after all, he was the Decider) bade the FDA to meddle with contraception when it suited a certain agenda.

What I find so delightful about this, as with the Dover PA decision on Intelligent Design in the classroom, is that a Republican judge, this time a Reagan appointee, made the call.

The thing is, contraception and all that it implies really ought to be a conservative issue. I mean, really—it has all the hallmarks of the last 60 years of conservative philosophy built on the rights of the individual, the freedom from interference being chief among them. You would think conservatives would have leapt on this a long time ago, staking it out as exemplary of the idea of American Individualism and the freedom to act as a moral agent, dictating one’s own destiny and making determinations about how one will live one’s life free from government meddling. Handing both men and women the tools—provided by the free market, to boot—to manage their own lives in accordance with their formulation as individuals of the American Dream should have been a slam dunk for conservatives. They should have been cheering for it since the days of Margaret Sanger.

What is more, given the attitude of the communist states, which dismissed Sanger and the entire notion of family planning as a bourgeois, capitalist plot to undermine the growth of the collective, this should have been part and parcel of rearing a generation of people cumulatively opposed to Soviet style socialism and collectivism.

Everything about the Choice movement smacks of good ol’ fashion American Values! It is the perversity of the debate that is ironic, that it should be those who are castigated as liberal soldiers in the march to socialism and its destruction of all things individualist and true blue American who are the champions of the idea that people ought to have full say in the when and if of having children.

How did this happen?

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“Extenuating circumstances” for faking drug testing data?

March 20, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More
“Extenuating circumstances” for faking drug testing data?

I don’t get it.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that

A prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex, according to the hospital where he worked.

This fabrication is not surprising in light of the fact that Vioxx has now been shown to be of highly questionable effectiveness and based on real world use that has arguably caused tens of thousands of deaths–people who had heart attacks because they used Vioxx when they could have, instead, continued to use the extremely safe over-the-counter drug Naproxen. But then comes the good part, a claim by Dr. Rueben’s attorney:

“Dr. Reuben deeply regrets that this happened,” said the doctor’s attorney, Ingrid Martin. “Dr. Reuben cooperated fully with the peer review committee. There were extenuating circumstances that the committee fairly and justly considered.” She declined to explain the extenuating circumstances.

There you have it. There were “extenuating circumstances” for faking data in 21 medical studies. I wonder what those “extenuating circumstances” were? The desire to get rich by conniving with a dirty drug company (see the article for the evidence)? Our did those “extenuating circumstances” include the lack of any sense of professional responsibility? Or did those “extenuating circumstances” include sadistic impulses to endanger the lives of thousands of people?

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