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User Journal

Journal Journal: I changed history last week 5

And unlike in "All You Zombies", I didn't need a U.S.F.F. Coordinates Transformer Field Kit, series 1992, Mod II to do it.

As you can see from this excerpt from Wikipedia, the first country to pass a same sex marriage law was the Netherlands, in December of 2000.

2000

21 December: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signs into law the first same-sex marriage bill in the world. It had previously cleared the country's Senate on 19 December in a 49â"26 vote and the House of Representatives on 12 September in a 109â"33 vote. The law came into effect on 1 April 2001.

Of course, Canada screwed that up just fine:

2001

14 January: Two same-sex marriages are performed at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto in Ontario, Canada (2-1/2 months before the Netherlands law came into force). Although registration of the marriages was initially denied, a successful court challenge upheld their legality on 10 June 2003, thus retroactively making them the first legal same-sex marriages in modern times.

Not so fast there ... the first marriage of two same sex women that is legally recognized was in Quebec, April 1976 - a quarter century before the Netherlands. It gained legal recognition by the government as a same-sex marriage more than 40 years later, on July 15, 2016.

Now if that sounds totally f'ed up, then you know it has to involve me, and my 35 years of work trying to modify the name and sex on my birth certificate, running into one delay after another, and a very recent law change with totally unexpected consequences that has my kids and me laughing :-)

My application was pre-approved years ago, but I ran into lots of problems, and until just before Christmas last year, it was expensive - something I just couldn't afford because of all my health problems, and before that having to quit my job because my boss bounced a month's worth of pay cheques and then tried to make it look like I had agreed to work as an independent contractor, and too many other problems many of you are familiar with, so finalizing it kept getting put off.

Then a few years ago, they said the procedure was being changed, and it would be both quicker and cheaper - just wait a year to pass the new law.

Of course, the new law took a lot more than a year to pass, and then everything was ready to go ---- and if you believe that bullshit, you'll believe anything the government tells you.

Add a couple more years leaving people in limbo because now they had to come up with the legal and other procedures for actually applying the law. A lot of people probably said to hell with the wait and went with the old procedure.

Finally, I saw that they were now able to take new applications, got the forms, gathered up all the stuff needed, and was just waiting on one of my sisters to sign an affidavit saying she knew me and I understood the seriousness of all this.

After weeks of "not today, maybe next week", she said to email the docs to her and she'd look at them. And after more weeks of "not this week, I'm busy", a second request to email them to her so she could look at them. Like I told my endocrinologist, it was pretty obvious she was avoiding it. Afterwards, one of my neighbors said she would have done it immediately, but I didn't want to impose on her. Oh well.

Finally she did, and I took the paperwork downtown, and was told it would take 4 months. Turns out that because it had been pre-approved all those years ago, they could skip part of the evaluation, so it took less than three.

Now if it had happened a year ago, 5 years ago, a decade ago, all that would have been changed was my name and sex on my birth certificate. The cover letter they sent said this:

Please not that the required changes were made to your act of birth and your act of marriage registered to the registrar of civil status. The change to your given names was also entered on the act of birth of your children.

So my marriage from 1976 - by the Catholic church of all places (no, I was an atheist even back then) is now legally recognized as being between two women, and my kids have two women as their parents - and all the documentation available shows this.

I cannot even ask for a copy without the changes. Neither can anyone else. My kids are like me - they find it hilarious.

BTW - here no church or municipality is in charge of, nor may they keep or issue, records of birth or marriage. So even the Pope can't claim that the Catholic church doesn't do same sex marriages.

And everyone who didn't run into these delays got screwed out of "first same sex marriage post."

It doesn't make up for the decades of problems, but it's something to laugh about, and we all need a good laugh once in a while. :-) Besides, zombies try to preserve the timeline. I'm not a zombie.

Republicans

Journal Journal: The Kevlar Kandidate Launches His 2020 Kampaign

This didn't take long. While technically this is a campaign stop for Mike Pence's suicide tour, the more experienced Kevlar Kandidate knows an opportunity when he sees it.

The only thing Pence got right in this stop is that Drumpf won't be there. The Kevlar Kandidate however knows this is a can't-lose situation for himself; if he manages to deliver Wisconsin to Drumpf (who will still lose the national election) he will get credit for pulling off a successful voter-suppression effort. If Drumpf doesn't win, Kevlar can say it was because the anti-Drumpf movement in his state was too strong. Either way he keeps his own brand in front of the TV cameras a little longer before he takes up residence in Iowa in December.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Respect for the individual 21

"Respect for the individual." First heard about this one about 40 years ago. One of the three guiding principles of a great company. Still around, but they dumped that idea a while back, though I'm still working on it.

Back when the company had that principle, there was a strong consensus that it was the best company in the world, at least some of the time. By the time I started working there, they were already on the down side, and one of the biggest problems was that they had forgotten what the principles were about. The other two principles were easier to understand and follow but "respect for the individual" was already on the ropes, though it somehow became something of a fetish object for me.

Seems like a simple idea, but it isn't. To really understand the meaning, you have to apply it to everyone. It's really easy to respect some folks. Many of my coworkers and customers were elite engineers and programmers with PhDs from hoity toity universities. One of them even rose above normal rankings and did me the peculiar honor of asking for a bit of minor help on a TED talk. Went well, too. Easy to respect such individuals, but you can't draw the line there, or you're disrespecting other folks and it has to be universal.

I've often suspected that my difficulty with the concept was related to my time in the service, where the rules of respect were completely codified and ritualized. Up? Respect. Down? Phuck 'em. Convenient, but mindless, and ultimately fake. Real respect for the individual has to go every which way.

Maybe my problem with the concept had more to do with self-respect? It has to go inwards, too, or maybe it's better to say that respect for other individuals has to be based on a foundation of self-respect, too. If you have perfectionist or idealistic tendencies, then it's kind of hard to practice that respect in reverse for exactly the same reason that the high-level respect doesn't easily go to lower levels.

For a while I tried specialization. I thought the trick of "respect for the individual" might involve finding the unique strength, even if it was a negative one, and then you can respect that. Can you respect someone for being the biggest liar in the room? How about respecting the greatest rudeness or stupidity, even if you have to limit the scope of the "greatness" to a slashdot journal? Actually takes me back to the military days again... Perverted version of the 23rd psalm "because I'm the baddest motherphucker in the valley [of the shadow of death]."

So how can you respect a subhuman and mindless troll? I failed again.

Oh well. Guess I need to keep studying it.

By the way I'm leaving this one open for comments just in case some trolls are stupid enough to want to prove my point. Unlikely that any of them will say anything interesting enough to merit a reply, but it might be amusing to watch them try. Of course the sad part is that they really don't have any better use of their precious time on earth.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Is Michael Moore right about Trump's victory? 43

This is my own dismayed reaction to Michael Moore's lists (one in email and a somewhat different list on Alternet) of reasons why Trump will win:

The email version was stronger, though he used some different points there. Not sure it should be in a top five list, but Mike didn't mention the plausibility threshold: The Donald has finally convinced everyone that it is actually possible for such a person to become president. Not sure when I was dragged across that Rubicon, but even I have to admit that the official nominee of the so-called Republican Party could become president. No matter what.

My worst-feeling agreement is on the enthusiasm factor, though my analysis is based on a breakdown of Trump's supporters into government haters, Hillary haters, bigots, racists, and authoritarians (fascists). Doesn't matter how wrong they are, they are all enthusiastic about their wrongness. There might be some people who have corresponding positive enthusiasm for Hillary, but I haven't met one.

Even if you do feel total enthusiasm for one (or more) of Hillary's policies, can you really be sure she'll do it? Sorry, but you know she's a realist and it all depends on the political realities. Also, even if Trump is saying that he's totally opposed to that policy, he's also said he's in favor of it, and no one knows which side he'll be on tomorrow. Do you hear that giant sucking sound? It's your enthusiasm.

Ultimately it comes down to bad economic models, but there are so many to choose from and all of them stink. For example, the mass media model of eyeballs for ads has driven the free publicity that Trump rides like a lawn tractor, mowing down everyone who has gotten in his way. Alternet is nicer, but it's running on fumes. (I've suggested better alternative economics, but I'm not a salesman and I can't push good ideas the way the Donald can push bad ones.) [Also suggested better economic models for slashdot, but they aren't interested here, either. Perhaps my ideas are so good (or bad) that they just have to be rammed down people's throats? But I'm not such a ram.]

At this point I think that America's best hope is that Trump is a big liar, and since he is, maybe we can have hope after all? No, because the secret truth would have to be that he is really a secret super-patriot and he realized that the so-called Republican Party is just a brand hijack. The secret super patriot would have decided to restore democracy in America by helping the so-called GOP finish its suicide so a rational and principled second party could emerge. I'm not saying that something along those lines won't happen after the Trump fiasco, but it ain't his secret plan. Now I'm just desperately hoping he's conned me, too.

User Journal

Journal Journal: oh how eggcelent 15

This reminds me of a nascent advertising trick I'd began noticing: "Made with 100% x". (Think about it for a sec.)

Apparently the "egg patty" is a dozen ingredients -- including corn starch, soybean oil, "medium chain triglycerides", artificial butter flavor, and xanthan gum -- formed to look like a single, fried egg.

"The yolk is much fuller, it looks much more yellow," said Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis

Apparently the new and improved version will also sport over twice the calories, four times the fat, and one more gram of protein than an actual egg.

TFA goes on to say (and I may be paraphrasing here) that by doing consumer research they found out that how their shit tastes actually matters.

p.s. I get my pooch an occasional triple cheeseburger at Mickey D's (not on the menu; ask and they'll add a third patty for a buck), so I Googled their "all beef patties". It looks like they took down their ingredient list (so it may no longer be accurate) but from Google's cached version:

Double Cheeseburger:
KETCHUP, 100% BEEF PATTY, REGULAR BUN, ONIONS, PICKLE SLICES, MUSTARD, PASTEURIZED PROCESS AMERICAN CHEESE

100% BEEF PATTY:
Ingredients: 100% Pure USDA Inspected Beef; No Fillers, No Extenders.
Prepared with Grill Seasoning (Salt, Black Pepper).

Sounds better than Taco Bell's "Seasoned Beef" containing 88% beef and 12% science.

User Journal

Journal Journal: An excellent Analogy, Part II 5

Maybe it's time to change my sig line again.

I just noticed this morning that the idea of God supporting Agile CI is rather Islamic. To be Catholic, God would have to support Waterfall Development.

User Journal

Journal Journal: how to talk to brown people

So apparently yesterday, day 2 of the GOP's convention, was about jobs. CNN guests afterward were saying the GOP is leaving out speaking to "people of color".

I guess y'all are saying that Blacks and Hispanics aren't interested in jobs. (Or that they shouldn't be.)

So to "reach out" to minorities, I guess you have to talk about welfare instead. And it's the Right that's racist.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Leftie meme #5,632 4

If you don't like, for political reasons, what an article says, you look for any little error, and then say that that means the whole thing is suspect.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Suggested poll for politics: How to stop Trump? 226

No, the Subject: line isn't actually my suggested poll, though someone else might want to work on that one. Actually I'm approaching a different poll from the back, but that may be because it's increasingly obvious that America's real choice this November is "backwards with Trump" or "forward with Hillary". Perhaps just a failure of my imagination, but I am unable to imagine how the country can go forward with its head screwed on backwards as it fantasizes about a glorious past that was never so glorious. (The Donald's supporters must insist that old people with accurate memories and non-conservative historians (and I'm both) are just tools of the vast liberal conspiracy.)

At this stage of the game (of sick politics), the question of stopping Trump has become equal to asking how Hillary can win. It should be a case of "How can she possibly lose?", but after 30 years of sustained, mostly non-credible, and often incredible and even insane demonization, I'm beginning the believe that it really could happen. How much of Christie's lynch mob speech were you able to stomach?

No, that isn't my suggested poll either, though I think the answers to such a poll should be measured in seconds for decent people. Lynch mobs are bad.

Here's my suggested poll:

What campaign slogan should Hillary use?

(1) Forward Hillary
(2) Stronger Together
(3) Iâ(TM)m with Her
(4) Make America Whole
(5) Love and Kindness
(6) Break Down Barriers
(7) Build Ladders of Opportunity
(8) Love Trumps Hate
(9) Donald Trump
(10) Save Us, Cowboy Neal!

As usual with my poll suggestions, I've loaded the dice by putting my favorite answer first, but most of these have actually been tested by Hillary's campaign and I haven't noticed any of them catching fire the way "Crooked Hillary" has...

In my research for this poll, I visited her official website looking for her campaign slogans, and that was massively depressing. No clear slogans to be found, though some links for some issues, for sending money, and most annoying of all, for harvesting my email address. However, that wasn't the really depressing part. That was when I decided to try to contact the campaign and was shown a webform that actively REJECTS my email addresses. WTF? Tried three, all valid, and each returned "This does not appear to be a valid email address." Has her website been hacked? WTF?

More importantly as regards this suggested poll, no mention of "forward" (or "backward") on any of the webpages I visited. Maybe the website just isn't for people like me? With a bit of imaginative effort, I can imagine that I'm not included in any of her target demographics, but it's easier to believe the website needs work...

Seems like I need to close with the usual disclaimer. Quite possible that it's contamination due to the decades of vilification, but I don't feel any real enthusiasm about voting for Hillary. Rather than the tainting, I just think it's part of my increasingly negative view of American politics. If the dictators of Texas hadn't removed my vote (different long story), I certainly would have voted for her, but mostly it would have been another negative vote against another terrible candidate from the so-called Republican Party. Honest Abe's ghost is haunted and horrified by Con Man Donald. (I think my more substantive (and less negative) reasons actually involve Hillary's personal identities, but that's another long topic.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: "hatrid" 7

Saw some comment of some typically intelligent and no doubt socialized education educated Leftie write "hatrid toward women". (And as typical, where none such was indicated.)

Well here's some: The bimbo[1][2] Megan Kelly on FNC, after another lady quit and filed a sexual harassment suit against the boss, came out and said she too was sexually harassed, 10 years ago.

So someone posts the following awesome comment to that story:

"So, if she continued cashing the paychecks and didn't formally press charges, does that make her a prostitute?"

I would've used "bimbo" instead, as in a woman with questionable morals.

[1] I'm not using that here to be derogative as in the sexual definition of it -- I've no idea if she fucked the fat old ugly guy or not -- but in the intelligence and wisdom one. As in "you stupid bimbo". (The equivalent for a guy might be things like "you stupid knucklehead".)

[2] There, now Lefties can say, because I attacked one woman, that "BD degrades women"!

User Journal

Journal Journal: a little is good, more is worse 29

My dad mentioned this a week or two ago; finally remembered to look it up:

"A new NAHB study shows that, on average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for 24.3 percent of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale."

The median home price around here is $550K. Sans a nanny state, that would be $440K instead. At today's current 30-year fixed rate, that means a $2450/month payment would instead be $1950. IOW, that's $500/month just in goverment regulations (and just in the area of housing).

Now *some* regulation is good. Just like we need *some* amount of government. But does one really need their housing cost to be $500 higher for all of it. Maybe $50 or $100 of regulation would suffice.

This is also swell, from the same FA:

"In other words, the cost of regulation in the price of a new home is rising more than twice as fast as the average Americanâ(TM)s ability to pay for it."

Forcing American workers to compete with labor in countries of lower costs of living has certainly contributed to stagnating wages, but the cost of government regulation going full steam ahead in spite of this is pretty insensitive to our plight.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The USA in 50 years? 32

Anyone care to share their perspective?

I'm not giving it more than 50 years. Doesn't matter who is elected, once disparity between the top and bottom becomes to wide, once those in the middle see that no matter what they do, they're going to continue to risk being part of the bottom, and those on the bottom rungs realize that this is their lot in life, "citizen" is no longer a source of pride.

Add to that endless undeclared wars with no clear goals (the last time congress declared war was in 1942) and the racism that was a characteristic of the country even before it was founded, even after fighting a civil war over it, still being in the headlines daily, and the insistence on clinging to a 2nd Amendment that threatens the basic security and freedom from fear of citizens, and the US no longer being a world superpower that can dictate policy with impunity, challenged now by both Russia (who annexed the Crimea with no problems) and China (South China Sea, and about to replace the US as the world's largest economy), and something has to give. Ultimately, the USA is no more capable of stopping a bloc of states from seceding than it was in stopping Russia. 50 years maximum.

User Journal

Journal Journal: amazing

On the front-page topic having to do with millenials (and maybe also in light of the recent topic of free incomes) someone posted:

"Socialism is the participation trophy of life."

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