The Mitt Gets Worse campaign

There’s an interesting riff on the It Gets Better campaign with regard to gay rights: Mitt Gets Worse. While Mitt Romney has several times proclaimed himself an ally to the LGBTQ communities, every time he’s had some chance to make life easier or more fair for gays, he’s done the exact opposite — take the story Julie Goodridge tells, where her partner couldn’t visit with their daughter when she was rushed to intensive care. His response to “what should I tell my daughter about how the governor of our state refuses to let her mothers marry?” “Tell her what you’ve told her for the past eight years.”

What a callous, unfeeling terror Mitt Romney is. I genuinely fear what might happen to any marginalized community’s rights if this man takes office. Religiously motivated bigotry will by all appearances run roughshod.

Microsoft adds “Big Boobs” to Linux; apologizes

There are a number of relatively new phenomena in the server world that Microsoft has been rather slow to catch up on. Server virtualization is one of them. Where companies like VMWare and Sun (now Oracle) had pretty much already built the defining server virtualization software, with a robust hypervisor (software that lets you run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server) in ESXi, and a great general-purpose software-based virtual machine in VirtualBox, Microsoft made their own hypervisor.

And in traditional Microsoft style, their server virtualization implementation required modifying the Linux kernel to get it to play nice. Rather than emulating the system hardware in such a way that the Hypervisor does all the heavy lifting, they chose to use OS-level drivers to “get the most out of” the hypervisor’s features.

This isn’t generally a bad decision, honestly. VMWare requires guest OS tools to be installed in order to do some stuff too. Microsoft’s actual failing, in this case, was in employing juvenile dudebro programmers who submitted kernel code that included a constant for the upper limit for virtual server guest IDs defined as 0xB16B00B5.
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Canadian families richer than American families — thanks, socialism!

A perhaps startling, but perfectly heartening piece of pro-Canada propaganda err, news from Bloomberg:

According to data from Environics Analytics WealthScapes published in the Globe and Mail, the net worth of the average Canadian household in 2011 was $363,202, while the average American household’s net worth was $319,970.

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Rush Limbaugh as The Penguin explains the Bat-Conspiracy against Romney

You have to admit, Oswald Cobblepot is actually significantly more sane-sounding than this normally. Jimmy Kimmel pretty much picked the perfect clips to show how ridiculous Limbaugh’s accusations are, because the clips of Bane are from an episode that first aired September 10, 1994. If there was a secret plot to make Mitt Romney look stupid and evil, it would have had to hatch eighteen years ago.

This evil villain was even in Batman and Robin, which I’m sure you’ve all scrubbed from your memories for Bane being such an ineffectual villain and for the existence of Bat-nipples. And yet somehow this was a plot against Romney — despite the fact that, when the first trailers for The Dark Knight Rises were showing up, we still thought Newt Fucking Gingrich was going to be Obama’s opponent.

Anyway, it’s ridiculous to say anything in the Batman mythology is politically tilted against Republicans in any way, frankly — it’s one long capitalist power fantasy. It’s Objectivism writ large, where the rich make the rules and personally destroy through physical violence and psychological terrorism any deviance from the script. Not that those fantastic elements don’t make for an entertaining story, mind you. I love the hell out of the Batman mythology, to be perfectly frank, even despite (and in some cases because of) it being so diametrically opposed to many of my own personal ideologies.

(Yes, I’ve heard about the theatre shooting. That’ll be a different post, please and thanks.)

Stoplight: “Marriage license and registration please?”

Spot the logical fallacy in this Christian anti-gay-marriage spot. It should be glaringly obvious.

I just don’t see why they can’t argue against gay marriage on its own merits, and instead have to postulate a totalitarian state where gays having the right to marry results in direct, overt persecution of Christians.

No, wait, sorry, I see exactly why. Because there are no arguments against gay marriage that pertain to the merits.

TAM’s harassment policy was secret. Why?

One of the biggest victories I was really, truly hoping for in the harassment policies campaign came to pass. But rather than crowing about it like I did with the American Atheists and CFI policies, I can barely fathom what’s going on and can’t bring myself to celebrate at all. TAM’s harassment policy appears to have come to pass in one of those strange “but you won’t like it” sort of ways, like we’d all been wishing on a Monkey’s Paw instead of making cogent arguments for these policies.

I honestly hoped that DJ Grothe and/or other powers-that-be at JREF would realize that the people DJ claimed are trying to hurt The Amazing Meeting by discussing the harassment they’d experienced, and proposing countermeasures, were instead trying to help TAM, and him, rectify the situation. I had hoped that DJ et al would come to understand that it was not about painting his specific convention as an “unsafe space“, but rather as a place that SHOULD be better than background levels of harassment but WASN’T.

But, until now, nobody has shown any indication that harassment was being taken seriously. In fact, it looked quite a bit like they’d decided harassment policies themselves were the problem, when they removed all mention of the weak-tea and toothless policy that had existed the year prior.

Then a tweet tipped us off.
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Amnesty International’s anti-torture video

Busy, full day, and I’m still down with the sickness otherwise. I just thought this video was important enough that you should watch it, so I’ll throw it up here with little extra to say about it. This video is an attempt to give you some idea what it’s like to be black-bagged and disappeared from your home, then tortured by the government.

You might not want to watch this if you have an overactive sense of empathy or if you’ve endured torture yourself.

The take-away message?

Nothing merits this. It wins us nothing. No friends, no reliable information, not even simple revenge.

How could anyone justify actions like these taken against another human being, no matter how horrible that human being is?

CONvergence: The Horror In Clay

I’m dyin’ of con crud here still. First day back at work, too. And I have a huge backlog of things to blog, but I’ll have to plug away at it as time allows.

I got to meet several FtB commenters at CONvergence, but one of my favorite new friends practically handed me a blog post within ten seconds of meeting. Niki M, who comments very infrequently but has started coming out of her lurker-shell recently, expressed adoration of me and Stephanie Zvan — while PZ Myers was in the room with us. She mentioned both of us specifically as people she reads regularly, while completely slighting PZ. This, needless to say, made me ecstatic and I had to shout “EAT IT, PZ! WE HAVE FANS THAT YOU DON’T!”
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CONvergence: Rebecca Watson ruins everything

I noticed something shortly after the very well-received Don’t Feed the Trolls panel at CONvergence’s SkepchickCON, once ZOMGItsCriss posted the video. People who otherwise have never seen the level of anti-Watson hatred that her mere existence incurs, were surprised and angered by the fact that the comments on Criss’ video largely ignored the fact that there were five other panelists present. As such, Watson only comprised a smallish fraction of the discussion — and yet, some folks’ comments ran along the line of “why would I listen to That Skepchick bitch whine hysterically about nothing for an hour? She should get raped so she loosens up, the prude whore.” (This is, of course, a composite of real comments on that video. Edit: For skeptics of this exceptional claim, like “…” in the comments, click this to see a Youtube comment that’s very, VERY similar.)

That sort of shit was exactly our point, and it appears to have catalyzed at least one bystander to radicalize against that sort of trolling.

The last night I spent in Minneapolis, Skepchick Kammy held a barbecue at her place for the participants of the SkepchickCON track. At one point, Kammy’s son pressganged his parents into moving the attendees into their driveway so they could set off the remainder of the fireworks (left over from the celebration a few days prior, when Minnesotans celebrate Three Days After Canada Day in a sweet, but odd, gesture to your neighbors to the north). We pulled our chairs out from their back yard and set them up to watch the firework display, and I found myself setting my chair up near enough to Watson to pronounce loudly:

“Well, I was really looking forward to seeing this firework display, but now that I’m stuck here next to Rebecca Watson, it’s just ruined for me. I mean, who wants to listen to her sit quietly for an hour?”
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The Rappin’ Bible

Sketch comedy from Connecticut from the 80s/90s? Okay, fine. Probably won’t be that funny.

Sketch comedy touted as the best and funniest that a morning radio show has to offer? Potential for comedy rising…

Oh. It’s about the Bible, starring three Connecticut white guys pretending to be Run DMC and rapping about the Bible, who don’t know that “sucka MC” is a pejorative — and all this in Jesus’ name?

Yeah, I’d classify that as funny.

Thanks again, Everything Is Terrible, for finding another piece of historical whargarbl.