07-25-08 8:21  •  Censoring a Slur

Choppper: I can't believe you deleted my posts where I called Mickey, a known Pro-Islamic troll, a Dhimwit! That's censorship!

Chopper, for the millionth time, allow me to explain that I have researched the term "Dhimwit" and I have concluded that it is hate speech and has NO acceptable usage.

Jase: Hate speech? That's stretching it a bit.......

Here's the original explanation I gave to Chopper:

Hi there Chopper! I explained this to you once before, but since you are a friend I don't mind going over it again.

The term is definitely name calling the way you use it. For one thing, it is obviously a pun on the term "dimwit," which, along with the similar term "halfwit," is clearly intended to insult the person's intelligence.

Worse than the insult, however, is that it the term is clearly a slur. It is used the same way the term "niggerlover" was used in pre-Civil Rights America. Another analogous term might be "Pinko" if the enemy is the Commies...or in Harry Potter's world it's "Blood Traitor" when the enemy is the Mud Bloods. It means, roughly, "sympathizer" - one of "us" who doesn't hate THEM enough.

The last time this came up was months ago, and you have been able to communicate sufficiently since that time without resorting to the most offensive language. I'm sure you can continue to get by without it.

Jase: You're a fascist. "Dhimwit" is not "niggerlover" and "dhimmi" is not hate speech.

Did you actually read any of this? The term "dhimmi" is not at issue.

Jase: Fair enough. But "dhimwit" is not the same as "niggerlover".......it's just not. I don't see how you can make the comparison.

That's fine. That's why I included more than one comparison.

• "Pinko" - It is a term that was used during McCarthyism to mean a Communist sympathizer. An American, but one who does not hate commies enough.

• "Blood Traitor" - This is an illustration of the concept from the Harry Potter series. It means, a Muggle-born sympathizer. A wizard, but one who doesn't hate Mud Bloods.

These are slurs for "sympathizers" to The Other Side...one of Us, but who has Turned and is now with Them.

That is exactly what Chopper accuses people of. Siding with Them. Being "Pro-Them". Worrying about Them, trying to be fair to Them...when all They want is to *kill* Us!! Gullible Islam-Lovers! Traitors! (And, "half-witted" ones at that!)

If that is what you want to read, then here's a link to Chopper's blog:

The moderator is here for a reason. It's up to me to decide what is acceptable and what crosses the line. In my opinion, perjorative insults which mean "traitor" are slurs.

You will just have to get along without slurs in this discussion.

Choppper: Changeling, you make the Muslims extremists proud when you censor the D word!

I am making Them proud. Case in point.

Choppper: You're simply not competent to be moderator here.

I am moderator here. Love it or leave it.


Choppper: You can be voted out.

Rene: I don't recall a vote. "Ali" the tribe founder bowed out and Changeling was given the keys to the boat, if I remember right. I think she has been a good moderator though, so I have no complaints.

Mr. M: IMO, dhimwit, however it's spelled is like calling someone a dumbass.

No, that would be dimwit.

"Dhimwit" specifically refers to a gullible pro-Islamic dumbass.

Mr. M: We should say what we want! Someone acts like an asshole, and then when someone calls them on their shit they turn into the bad guy?

No way! By all means, call people on their shit. Calling people on their shit is the main thing that makes conversation about religion so interesting. :-)

We do it all the time, and there are a million different ways. Be creative. As long as you can avoid personal attacks and name-calling, which are prohibited by our charter, have at it!

Choppper: This is censorship! The moderator Changeling has some sort of superiority complex now and is on a censorship rampage with anything he doesn't agree with.

Ridiculous. Do you think I let you post 99% of your stuff here because I *do* agree with it? You have had a free hand at the Crossroads to post your anti-Islamic information for years and I don't necessarily agree with any of it. However, the only time I ever step in is when you insult other posters or use slurs.

As for Mr. M's public excrement posts, I have deleted every one of those he has ever made over the years so he shouldn't act all surprised now. Someone has to keep the floor clean in here. :-)

Nityanda: And why do you not take the same actions when your boyfriend swarm insults other posters or use slurs?

I have deleted posts of Swarm's before. If you feel there is a post of his that is crossing the line, point it out.

Choppper: ...has Changeling ever said a single thing to Mickey specifically about his inane posts?

I told him to stop insulting you. What more do you want? I'm not going to order him not to disagree with you.

Choppper:"At least you admit you are personally biased against that word Changeling.

I am basing my decision on the fact that legitimate reference materials do not contain the term.

Choppper: Changeling, you've NEVER said single thing to Mickey or his friends about *TROLLING* or being pests.

I have not found Mickey to be trolling by my understanding of the term. If there is a specific post you consider to be trolling, point it out and I will certainly consider it.

As for "Mickey's friends," exactly who are you talking about?

Choppper: Every single post in that thread by Mickey, like his posts in this thread are a combination of distraction fallacies, and pesty posts with no substance, nothing to offer the thread at all.

There are no rules requiring that posts have substance. Severe insults and hate speech are the only things prohibited.

And who are these "Mickey's friends" you are having problems with?

Choppper: I VOTE FOR A NEW MODERATOR - Changeling simply is not competent to moderate this tribe.

Mr. M: I am against censorship and deletion of posts ( for the most part ) also. I vote for a change of moderator too. Whether or not it actually happens is a different story.

I didnt like Ali. He was never around and only surfaced when people posted about choosing a new moderator. Then he was censoring and deleting things too. At least Changeling is here and actively participates. And while I don't care for deletion of posts, she's a hell of alot better than Ali any day. If she would delete less posts I would be fine with her. She's fair. She probably just deletes the poo posts because she's concerned what some people might think if she didnt delete them.

Choppper: Okay then, who wants to contact tribe to switch mods? Sounds like Changeling has been fired to me...

Who do you want for a new mod?

Mr. M: The Dalai Lama? God? Satan? Me? lol I'm probably the only one that's available. Do you really think anyone else besides Changeling would want mod this tribe? I would but doubt I'd win an election.

Changeling got it, I think, because Ali designated her. I don't remember there being a vote but could have forgotten. I'm pretty sure it was a "quick switch." Are there actually people on this tribe that post actively that would want to be moderator and that the active posters on the tribe could agree upon? This is a hard decision that could take some serious thought Chopper.

Reverend Ro: I don't vote for a change of moderator.

If folks don't like or agree with a moderator the easiest thing is to leave and create their own tribe. Moderators will not fulfill everyone...its not their role. The role of the moderator is to make sure things don't get overboard.

Sometimes moderators miss things...and its expected. Sometimes moderators delete post and you know what it sometimes needs to be done regardless what we think and feel.

Besides two people staging a protest is not enough to remove a moderator.

She hasn't violated any tribe rules and is not responsible for the actions of trolls or missing a few posts.

Let's be real...you don't like certain aspects of this tribe...fine. But I vote she remains.

Mr. M: I dont care if she stays or not. I just dont agree with the deletion of posts unless it's truly unacceptable. And different people have different ideas of what is acceptable and unacceptable.

If she created the tribe I would acknowledge more of a sense of ownership to her. But on the other hand, I have gotten behind the wheel of several moderatorless tribes and passed the torch to someone else when it was right.

Michael: Changeling's cool with me. I vote for no change.

Rhino: Changeling is also OK by me. I vote for no change.

Choppper: Too late - just because her friends show up at the last minute without any knowledge of her censorship rampage will not suffice - Changelings time as mod here are over. She has repeatedly proven herself incompetent to moderate here. I have been a member here long before she was ...

Michael: Too late? Wow, my vote doesn't count. You must live in Florida.

Swarm: We get the idea that you want Changeling to only check out-of-bounds religious people, and now you are having a hissy fit because she actually tries to be fair.

But just to set the record straight, Changeling has been here as long as I have and we predate you at the crossroads Chopper.

Not that there is some kind of longevity contest.

I do find it ironic that you call for a vote and then declare those who vote against you "too late."

Choppper: No, Changeling does not predate me being a member here so, that's a lie.

Swarm: She never posted and then posted only rarely for the first couple years, but I know how long she has been reading the group chopper.

And as usual, your hysteria is unfounded.

I do find it interesting that you have deleted your own thread "telling the truth is islam bashing." Until you did that all of these links pointed to places where the word had been used and not deleted for various reasons...


The people who spoke up for her are all long standing members of the group and on various sides of the debates. Their and my opinions are every bit as valid as yours nor is this "last minute."

Choppper: Changeling is into massive censorship! Wake up!

Swarm: I am awake thank you. Changeling made plain a very low level of basic civility for discourse here for both the pro and anti religious and you thought it just fine when you benefited, but now that you must play fair too, you become hysterical.

Reverend Ro: Rocky, nice try. I'm a moderator of a few tribes and I am a lot stricter then Changelings...Moderators don't get changed for deleting post. And what you consider incompetent, is not what tribe considers incompetent.

You simply sound jealous that she gets to decide how to run her own tribe. Its her tribe dude, as Mr M said, learn to live with it or leave. And in reality it doesn't matter how long you've been on tribe.

Jake: Changeling is a great mod for this Tribe, if there IS a "Vote" I say NO!

Choppper: Jealous, that she gets to decide how to run her own tribe?

See there's where you're wrong - it's *NOT* her tribe and it never has been. She didn't create it - she had nothing to do with the creation of it at all.

Changeling is gone as moderator - get used to it. Her censorship rampage demonstrates the fact that she is incompetent to mod here.

Hi folks! Thanks to everyone for the show of support, and all the other feedback too. I will certainly keep it in mind in the future. :-)

Chopper, you don't have any authority to remove me as moderator and you do not have any grounds to. You are kidding yourself about this...among other things.

You have been free to post your views here for a long time, and you are free to continue to do so, to the extent that you adhere to a pretty simple guideline for civil discourse. Please do not engage in personal attacks or name calling. That's the standard Ali set in the description of the Crossroads and which he asked me to maintain.

If you don't like the guidelines, cut out. Your choice.

07-22-08 1:34  •  End of Marriage?

Heilly: It seems like people are just not as interested in marriage anymore. Do you think marriage will continue to exist?

Humans tend to form long-term, mostly monogamous relationships under any circumstances. Even serfs in feudal Europe and slaves in 18th century America, who were forbidden to marry, came up with their own informal ceremonies which they performed in private to celebrate commitments.

However the "ideal" of marriage is seldom strictly adhered to.

For one thing, there are usually a significant portion of adults in any social grouping who never marry at all. "Bachelor uncles" and "maiden aunts" are common. Sometimes this is where homosexuals find themselves when they are forbidden by social mores to marry their true loves. Some people are simply not interested in pairing or do not find a suitable mate.

This actually has advantages for the group. In many animal populations there are adult members who do not produce offspring. But this ensures that there are "extra" adults around to help parents with the rearing. Raising the next generation is difficult and parents often need assistance. Since the non-producing "aunts" and "uncles" do share genes with the offspring, their help does ensure that their genetic material is passed on.

Another deviation from the "ideal" of marriage is the fact that there is no society, no matter how rigid or puritanical, that has ever been able to prevent marital infidelity. It occurs in every human group. Among nobility, powerful lords were often expected to have mistresses, and ladies could ask for "special services" from their houseboys and horsemen.

Such affairs were not usually considered grounds for ending the marriage. Marriages among the rich and powerful were as much or more for the purpose of political alliances as for romantic reasons, and people were not really expected to find their entire sexual needs fulfilled within the bounds of the alliances. These "outside relations" were acceptable as long as the dalliance was discrete. As one British lady put it, "I don't care what people do as long as they don't frighten the horses."

So, my conclusion is that people today are not different than people have ever been. Marriage will continue to exist, and it will continue to have many deviations and alternatives, as it has for thousands or perhaps millions of years.

07-21-08 2:11  •  Thank the Troops

hand gesture

Quad: For those of you who do support the troops, here's a great way to show it. Make this "thank you" gesture to any troops you see walking around in uniform. It shows our gratitude for their sacrifice and they will really appreciate it.

I was out and about with the kids today and we were passed by a couple of fellows in Navy uniforms. On a whim I decided to offer them the "Thank you" gesture as demonstrated in the illustration.

Well, apparently not all the troops have been briefed on what this means. They both stopped walking and just stared at me like I was crazy. Finally I said, "It means Thank You."

Both of them just laughed at me and one of them rolled his eyes and said, "Whatever, lady!"

So much for "thanking" the troops.

Quad:So naturally, they'll all act like that right?"

Obviously, some will.

Quad:"Just because you came across two punkasses doesn't mean it's a bad idea."

It is a bad idea. That's the last time I offer up an inscrutable hand sign to a total stranger.

pea eye roll

So glad to see that dismissive eye-rolling is not solely the province of punkasses who happen to be in the Navy. :-)

On the whole, however, I'm getting pretty tired of being required to think that everyone in uniform is a brave, noble Rescue Hero who I must unquestioningly worship for his selfless deeds of derring-do on my behalf.

Some of them are just assholes who joined the military because they had no marketable job skills.

(Not referring to our own husbands, of course, ladies. Princes, to a man. Mine was a paratrooper in his day, 1st of 509th Airborne, NATO Strike Force.)

07-17-08 7:18  •  Extreme Wealth

There were so many posts created here yesterday just for bashing the poor, I thought I would bash the truly evil members of our society...the very wealthy.

It is those with extreme wealth who are the true scumbags - the laziest, the most selfish and with the least regard for other people and our society. Here are some examples:

Hard Work

You may think the poor are lame because they don't seem to be working hard. However most people who are poor are employed, at least off and on, at various times in their lives. They may be in dead-end jobs that don't make enough to live on, but at least they put in a solid day's work from time to time.

The truly wealthy never work. They don't have jobs. At most they might sit on boards of directors, which means attending a meeting or two each year, nothing more. They also do not wash their own dishes, clean their own clothes or homes, buy their own groceries or raise their own children. Unless you count (maybe) brushing their own teeth, the wealthy never clean anything.


You may think the poor are trashy and unclean because they have a car up on blocks in the driveway and they don't pick up their yard.

However, at least in America, it's the very wealthy who are the biggest polluters, destroying entire ecosystems by ignoring environmental impact statements and making business decisions that despoil natural habitats and drive species to extinction. How many wildlife preserves have the poor destroyed with oil drilling lately?


You may think the poor are lowlifes because they use drugs. The fact is, the wealthy use just as many drugs as the poor do. They just use higher class, more expensive drugs, even if they have to buy their own doctor or two. Then, when the rich get caught using drugs, they simply cycle in and out of plush "rehab" resorts, while the poor who get caught are shipped straight to the crowbar motel.


You may think the poor are big cheaters because they are scamming the welfare system to get a few extra dollars. However we barely blink when the extremely wealthy cook the corporate books and scam billions of retirees out of their pensions. The wealthy have whole teams of accountants and lawyers whose only job is to find loopholes that let them cheat the largest amount of money possible from everyone else.


You may think our troops are killers just because they are killing people. However, most of our soldiers are just poor people who had no other way to earn a college education and make life better for their families.

It's not the poor who start the wars. It's people who pull strings at Halliburton and the oil companies and other war profiteers who beat the wardrums and stir up the populace into a fearful frenzy. And it is the wealthy alone who gain from the military contracts. They have far more blood on their hands than any poor soldier.

Financial Decisions

You may think the poor are a bunch of dummies who are not making smart financial decisions about their lives. However, when a poor person makes a bad decision, it affects only them and their families.

When the wealthy and powerful make bad decisions, it ruins nations, topples economies, and affects the lives of millions. Whole populations starve when the wealthy make a bad stock trade.

Leeching Your Money

You make think the poor are cheating you out of your own hard earned money because they are helped with tax dollars. However, if you have spent your career working for companies, the majority of your productivity has gone in to the profits for someone else. While you earn a wage or a salary, the profiteers have accumulated their billions off your back. You do most of the work, they get most of the money. Their wealth is accumulated directly from the sweat of your brow.


You may think the poor are a drag on the economy, but at least the poor actually spend almost every penny that they get from any source. The money goes back into the economy and continues to change hands.

The wealthy, on the other hand, hoard money like an obsessive compulsive with a houseful of old newspapers. The main utility of money for the extremely wealthy is to use it to accumulate more money. All the money in our system is being continuously sucked up to the very top, where it sticks. Even the wealthiest person can only eat so much food, and watch so many TVs at once. They literally cannot spend it all. There are very few ways to get the vast amount of this wealth back into the legitimate economy where it can circulate and do some good for society at large.

Your status

Say what you want about the poor, if you are a middle class American, the poor envy you and respect you. They would like to be in your comfortable shoes, and they consider you the epitome of the American dream.

The wealthy, on the other hand, despise you. You are just as pathetic to them as every other person who is not in their tiny, lofty club. To the wealthy, you are barely a step above the poor yourself and you have no more status than the lowest crack addict. The wealthy resent every single penny that goes into the public trust to provide middle class public services, like schools, roads and fire departments. The very rich consider you nothing more than a peasant, to be milked for every last drop of your labor and cast aside in massive layoffs when they need to improve the bottom line for stockholders.


I don't expect very much agreement, of course. The subject classes are not allowed to think ill of the Master Class. We are not allowed to question our Gods.

Sunshine: I am wealthy and by no means evil, I don't do drugs, I work full time, I am a germaphobe and have ocd so you can bet your ass I am clean, I don't cheat at anything, I am a very giving person. I have been poor and now I am wealthy. Big Deal, get over it. You are no better than the poor bashers.

If you work full time you are not in the class of wealthy that I'm talking about. I mean the really wealthy.

Sunshine: Just because I work does not mean I am not really wealthy. I happen to love work.

YogaPantz: Obviously you're part of the class that poor people aspire to and truly wealthy people look down on...the middle class, albeit the more affluent end of it.

Sunshine: Actually, we aren't middle class. We are quite wealthy.

How big is your household staff?

Sunshine: I have no staff except a nanny. I do my own cooking and cleaning. Hubby does the laundry. I could have a staff of 10 if I wanted. I choose not too because I like doing things myself. I am quite capable of cleaning my house and cooking. That doesn't mean I'm not wealthy.

We have a huge bank account and a lot of investments. I'm wealthy by anyone's standards.

YogaPantz: Wealthy by anyone's standards except the kind of wealthy she is talking about, to them you may as well be on food stamps with your cute widdle bank account & darling little investments.

Sunshine: How dare you say we are not wealthy! My husband works at IBM and I'll have you know they give million dollar bonuses! And, we invested our money wiesely, we didn't just let it sit it the bank and earn a few bucks. We made it work for us.

YogaPantz: SHE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU, SHE IS TALKING ABOUT THE SUPER WEALTHY! By your own statement, you and your husband have earned your wealth through hard work & investments. You are upper middle class, the investor class. Your husband works for IBM, he doesn't own it or run it. You don't need to feel slighted or offended by what she said, because she wasn't talking about you! She's talking about inherited wealth, multiple trust funds, personal assistants with personal assistants, their own jets & yachts, family jewels from generations past, Swiss bank accounts, offshore companies and accounts. By your own definition, that isn't you.


Sunshine: It's just like lumping the poor. You cannot lump a group of people together based on what your assumptions are. I know alot of rich people and they are very nice!

It is easy for people to become impoverished through no fault of their own. There is no way to know what the individual's cirumstances are, so assumptions about "why people are poor" are worthless.

However, no one becomes (or stays) super-wealthy without hoarding wealth. I don't care how "nice" they seem. Hoarding is selfish and immoral.

Sunshine: You can stay wealthy without hoarding. It is called investing. It is called saving. It is called being frugal. Do you have proof that every rich person hoards money.

You are very confused about the difference between rich people and very rich people. Your husband would have to get a million dollar bonus from IBM every year for a thousand years to create a billion.

I'm not talking about ordinary rich people. I'm talking about the super wealthy, and the fact that they are super wealthy is evidence that they are hoarding wealth. Nobody became a multi-billionaire by "being frugal."

Sunshine: I am confused between rich and very rich because who decides what rich and very rich is.


Sunshine: Wealthy is wealthy is wealthy. Does it really matter?

For the purpose of this discussion, absolutely.

07-11-08 7:11  •  Prison

Lil Missy: Do you think prisoners should have luxuries in prison like exercise and cable? What do you think about the prison system as a whole?

The prison system represents our failure as a society to understand human nature. No one really knows why some people choose to become criminals, though abuse, ignorance and poverty are probably at the top of the list. No one knows how we as a society can prevent this from happening.

I don't know any person who has never, ever violated any law. The people who are arrested are the often just the unluckiest who get caught. And then, we make no effort at all to teach them behavior that is more acceptable to society. We force them into association only with other criminals who know as little or less than they do about acceptable behavior. Yet, we expect them to come out "reformed."

This presupposes that the only thing that keeps a "normal" person on the straight and narrow is fear of punishment. However that's not true. Most people really do behave well enough to get by because they understand that it is the right thing to do. There are people who don't understand this, and if we knew why we could help them to understand.

I imagine that in the future we will accept social illness in the manner we currently accept physical illness and mental illness. People who do not understand how to be law-abiding will be helped and healed instead of segregated. Physical confinement will be reserved only for the tiny portion of the population who are so ill they cannot change and really cannot be trusted not to bring physical harm to others.

Garbo: Boo fucking Hoo! Are we supposed to have some kind of sympathy or compassion?

Yes, but not for their sake. For your own. Having sympathy and compassion for others makes oneself a better person.

Garbo: Sorry still no compassion. All of my compassion is used up on people that deserve it. Not worthless killers, rapists, kidnappers, robbers, and other scum in prison.

I'm sorry to hear that.

07-11-08 7:11  •  Children and Religion

Gretchen: Would you make your child follow the same exact religion as you, or would you let them have a choice?

I grew up in Phoenix and my upbringing was entirely secular. I didn't have any religion and neither did anyone I knew.

However now I live in an area that is entirely and intensely Christian. I was in the process of raising my kids in the simple secular fashion that I had been raised, but we were encountering brutal prejudice from the students and even the teachers at my son's school. People here cannot accept a family that is "no religion" and my son was bullied, taunted and repeatedly assaulted by Christians for his "non-belief."

My husband, however, is Buddhist, and we both practice aspects of Buddhism such as meditation and the principles of non-suffering. So we have decided it's fairly accurate to call ourselves a family of Buddhists and have told our son that he can call himself that. We have begun to instruct him on the Four Noble Truths, Five Precepts and the Eight-fold Path. It's pretty solid stuff.

The principal of the school has agreed that my son has a constitutional right to be a Buddhist and she will try to see that the teachers and other kids respect that. There was no such guarantee for "no religion" so perhaps this will be an improvement.

Gretchen: That is absolutely horrible that your son had to go through that. And I don't see how all of a sudden he has rights now and he didn't when he was a non believer. What kind of bullshit is that?

It's the Bible Belt. Christians (at least around here) are not taught to accept the beliefs or non-beliefs of others. They are taught that anyone who is not Christian is a hell-bound unrepentent sinner.

That probably goes for Buddhists too, but I find that simple people fear most what they do not understand. I imagine the teachers at least have probably heard of Buddhism and so that should be a little less frightening to them.

05-28-08 8:14  •  Drug War

BlueOne: We need to step up the Drug War! Drugs are stupid. It'a about time we did something about all these druggies.

Alcohol is among the stupidest of drugs you can use. It impairs every level of functioning. But making alcohol illegal did not solve any of the problems of alcohol. In fact, it made them worse by removing all reasonable checks and controls on alcohol use and turning everyone who wanted a drink into a criminal.

BlueOne: It's not that people abuse themselves with drugs...it's that the detrimental effects spill over into society.

Making drugs illegal does not stop people from using drugs and it does not prevent the detrimental effects from spilling over into society. In fact it makes the detrimental effects much worse, by taking people who aren't doing anything else "wrong" and turning them into criminals.

Some drugs are pretty bad, but the drug war is not an effective way to address this. It doesn't work.

BlueOne: Drug users are responsible for all kinds of crimes! I was a corrections officer for nearly 10 years. I have many horror stories of what people did while on drugs. Horrible disgusting things.

Law enforcement officials encounter mostly worst-case scenarios. The people who are not having problems are not crossing your path.

BlueOne: If using drugs only affected the drug user then I'd have no issue with that, but the truth is it affects us all.

Making drugs illegal is doing nothing to ameliorate those effects.

BlueOne: Drugs affect more than just the user! You are ignoring that fact.

Making drugs illegal is not helping with that fact.

BlueOne: And making them legal will help how?

1. By not turning people with no problems into criminals.

2. By not turning people whose only problems are with drugs into criminals.

3. By not taking people away from their families and their jobs and every positive influence in their life and penning them up with a bunch of violent crazies.

4. By not burdening people with a criminal record which will block their every attempt to improve their lot.

5. By giving people with addictions access to support groups, counseling and medical treatment instead of a jail cell.

6. By draining away the main source of revenue for organized crime syndicates and restoring billions of black-market dollars into the legitimate economy.

7. By relieving the overburdened court and prison systems from having to deal with hundreds of thousands of non-violent people who are no more of a danger to society than your average beer drinker.

8. By making it possible for terminally ill and hurting medical patients to use effective medications to relieve their suffering.

9. By relieving the tremendous racial bias in drug enforcement which is serving to further disenfranchise minorities.

10. By creating a strong taxable market which could generate the revenue to pay for programs addressing abuse issues, as well as many other worthy causes.

11. By providing regulation and oversight, similar to alcohol regulation, which serve to minimize underage use, driving under the influence, etc.

12. By making it possible to draw distinctions between the risks and dangers of various substances, allowing people to make informed decisions about use.

13. By acknowleding Cognitive Liberty and the right of adults to make their own recreational choices in exactly the same manner we currently do with alcohol.

14. By restoring public confidence in criminal justice and alleviating systematic disregard for the law, in the exactly the same manner as occured when the bloody Prohibition of the 20's was repealed.

BlueOne: But...there are *awful* things done because of drugs. Legal or illegal, they happen. What do we do to stop those?

There is nothing we can do to completely stop those, and it is just a crazy delusion to think that we ever could. We have to face the fact that people are not perfect and we cannot keep them from making mistakes.

However it's possible to minimize the harm caused by these mistakes. See especially numbers 5, 10, 11 and 12 above.

Look at it this way. Alcohol causes more death, illness, accidents, domestic violence and general stupidity than all other drugs combined. But, practically no one thinks that alcohol should be illegal. Why? Because it doesn't help.

BlueOne: People who are locked up for drugs are guilty of many other crimes.

Benson, Bruce L, et al. Part 1. Independent Policy Report: Illicit Drugs and Crime.

"Section III explores the coincidence of drug use and other crime, explaining that, in sharp contrast to the conventional wisdom, most users of illicit drugs do not commit large numbers of crimes against persons or property. Therefore, increasing enforcement efforts against drug offenders cannot be justified on the ground that these same offenders are inevitably also perpetrators of nondrug crimes."



There is no evidence to support your claim. Unless you can provide some kind of corroborating statistical correlation, your continued unsupported assertions are meaningless.

Even if it was true, however, then it would still be a horrible miscarriage of justice. If people are guilty of "other crimes" then the "other crimes" are what they should be arrested, tried and convicted for. Locking up a person for one crime to punish them for another is highly immoral. It's called "vindico nefas vitium" and it is an offense against the entire concept of due process.

BlueOne: I have over ten years experience with what drugs do to people! I worked as a prison guard! What's your experience?

My experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I am a professional electronic artist and I have performed at many raves and dance parties. I have seen people who are using marijuana, ecstacy, lsd, mushrooms, etc. I have never seen anyone overdose, I have never seen anyone go on a "bad trip," I have never seen a fight break out, and I have never seen a raver harm another person. These are festivals of joy and uplifting to the human spirit.

But, I'm not considering this a representative sample, and I wouldn't expect you to accept it as such simply on the basis of "my experience." That is why I rely on statistical evidence instead of anecdotal accounts.

BlueOne: Have you never heard of the raver's who's bodies are literally burnt up from the inside out due to Ecstasy?

The risk of death from Ecstasy use is extremely low. Between 1988 and 1997 some 50-100 UK deaths have been connected to Ecstasy use. The current rate is 7 deaths per million users per year. More people die fishing or eating peanuts.

The US figures are much lower, only one death per million users, largely due to the enduring preference for warehouse or outdoor parties rather than hot packed-out nightclubs. There is also less of a booze culture amongst American kids. Most E-related deaths are related to alcohol-consumption and over-heating.



Being imprisoned is far more detrimental to a person's life and health than this.

The entire world is not a one-in-a-million worst-case-scenario.

BlueOne: Drugs cause paranoia!! Do you know what paranoia does?!

Well, one symptom seems to be viewing the entire world as a one-in-a-million worst-case-scenario. However I don't think drugs are even involved here.

05-25-08 7:34  •  One True Religion

CooksWife: Would you like to know what the one true religion is? because I happen to have the answer: The one true religion is which ever one you believe it to be. YES they all believe themselves to be true. And to each follower, they are. What is wrong with that?

So, if somebody believe the earth is flat, does that make it true? Is the earth actualy flat for them? I mean, if they sailed out in the sea, would they actually drop off the edge?

What if they were sailing with people who believed the earth was round? Would just the flat earth guy drop off and the rest keep sailing? How does this work?

CooksWife: As long as we are not hurting each other, what makes this a bad thing?

People are hurting each other.

CooksWife: How do you explain the unexplained in your life? What do you have faith in? Because there are a great many things that cannot be answered.

So? It's not important to have answers to everything. I find "I don't know" to be a perfectly acceptable answer if it's true.

CooksWife: But you must have a faith of some kind, in Karma or maybe scientific theories that have not yet been proven.

Actually I don't. It's not necessary to "believe" in scientific theories. They are not required to be true, only accurate. As far as they are found not to be accurate they can be changed.

CooksWife: But people need to have faith, and their faith makes it true for them. Why not believe what makes you feel good and brings you comfort?

There is a serious problem with the whole "if it makes you feel good and brings you comfort then it's true for you" approach. The problem is that this can only exist in complete disregard for what is actual.

After 9-11, it made people feel good to believe that we were ridding Saddam of his weapons of mass destruction, and it brought people a lot of comfort to think that we would be getting revenge on Osama Bin Laden by attacking Saddam. How did that work out? Well, Saddam did not have WMD and he was not linked with Bin Laden. These are the actual facts and they were as available then as they are now. But we let "believe whatever brings you comfort" take precedence over actual reality. And it turned around and bit us in the ass. Why? Becuse what is really real matters.

But in the "believe whatever brings you comfort" mentality, no one is required to regard what is really real, what can be shown, and what can actually be understood with any more respect than a bunch of groundless speculation. As long as the groundless speculation "feels good" and "brings comfort" people act like that's a good enough reason to believe it.

This approach is not working. I don't pretend to know what's "out there", but other people are pretending they do know and that is creating serious problems.

CooksWife: My faith is not just to have answers because I simply cannot be without them. It is about not having to have control of everything. I don't have to have control in everything, nor do I need all answers. God has them and that is enough for me.

Pretending that "it's okay as long as Someone is in control and Someone has the answers" is not any different from "I simply cannot be without them." It is having control and having all the answers by proxy.

As far as anyone can demonstrate, NO ONE is in control and NO ONE has all the answers, but that is too frightening for many people to accept.

CooksWife: Oh yeah? Well, what would you prefer over religion for mankind?

I would prefer that what can be shown to be actual be given precedence over unsubstantiated speculation.

CooksWife: Would you prefer to abolish religion from our culture all together?

Not every religion is based on unsubstantiated speculation. Zen Buddhism is a religion which posits no gods, no soul, no afterlife, nor any other supernatural speculation. Zen is all about getting your shit together right here and now, and doesn't require any kind of faith to practice.

Similarly, I know people who call themselves Christians because they try to conduct their lives following the teachings of Christ. They consider Christ an enlightened person who knew a thing or two and passed it on. These Christians consider the supernatural elements superfluous to Christ's actual message of how to be a good person.

CooksWife: You may prefer "real" over "speculation." I disagree. But at least you know what you want.

It's not outrageous. It was precisely this distinction which separated the Renaissance from the Dark Ages.

05-23-08 7:34  •  One Flaw

Jeri: What would you say is your one biggest flaw?

I would say my biggest difficulty is that I feel very shy and socially awkward. I worry ahead of any kind of in-person social interaction outside my family, and I find such encounters very draining. Afterwards, I'm completely exhausted.

This really surprises people when they learn of it. I'm a leader in our community, and most people think I'm a picture of friendly confidence. My husband says that I have honed smooth social graces into an art form. All I can say is, it had better look good by now, I've been working on it for fifteen years! I attained my CTM in Toastmasters and sought out every opportunity to practice. Yet, I still wrestle with it.

I think the worst thing I deal with now is "La pensιe sur les escaliers." That's a French saying that means "the thought on the stairs" and it refers to how you always think of the perfect thing to say...on the way upstairs, after the party is over! If I could change one thing, I would stop re-hashing social encounters afterwards in my head, trying to see if I could have said something better. It's such a waste of mental energy.

That's the great thing about text conversations, I have time to think very carefully about exactly what I want to say before I hit send. And I've been known to go back and use the 'edit' button. If only I had one for real life! :-)

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