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Below are the 13 most recent journal entries recorded in arvernian's LiveJournal:

    Friday, August 12th, 2005
    8:23 pm
    Heinlein is like unto a god.

    Ok so I thought maybe Starship Troopers was a little over rated, but both Friday (just finished) and Door into Summer (read years ago) were amazing. And I haven't yet read Stranger in a Strange Land (its on the list).

    So talking about Friday:

    -Amazingly compelling for a story that has a plot that is literally all over the place. The main character starts out in Africa and winds up on the far side of the solar system. There's a few things that don't make sense and a lot of gaffes in style. If you pay real close attention for example, the books seems to switch from being a memoir of stuff that occured a while ago, and a journal of things that are currently happening. I was very pleased that this in no way detracts in the enjoyment of the book. It is a tribute to Heinlein's skill that I could read the book without commenting on it until now. Good stuff.

    -Definitely not a book for the prudish. Borders on soft core Scifi Porn.

    -Not an amazingly coherent message or plot, a lot of threads are left loose at the end, but this is one to read because of Heinlein's mastery of craft. Jesus Christ if I could write one book half as good as this one I would be happy.

    On the side I should note I added Ellison's "I Have No Mouth, but I Must Scream" to the list. In an odd way it is kind of the reverse of the story I am planning. I may have to read this again. This is really a story thats more about the ideas and the language then the plot. Good stuff but I much preferred "Paladin of the Lost Hour".
    Friday, August 5th, 2005
    7:59 pm
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
    Also known as Blade Runner this is the novel by Phillip K Dick that I just finished reading.

    Good stuff. Compulsively bizarre and I must say, that this is the farthest from the original book that I have ever seen a movie diverge, and that includes Starship Troopers.

    Amazingly weird yet at the same time readable. Dick doesn't descend, as do some, into writing a story that makes no sense in order to prove a point. There is actually a plot, absurd as it may be.

    I say absurd in the existential sense of the word, pointing to the futility of everything we do in the face of the greater cosmic forces. I think the quest of the novel's hero, to destroy rogue androids in order to buy a real animal, is a fine example of this. The androids aren't hurting anyone on earth, though they did kill people to get there, and the animal will only die eventually anyway. What is the point of doing this? From an existential point of view, doing something is in itself its own purpose and reward. Of course this novel is blithely anti-existentialist at the same time, because the protagonist, who as a human possesses a fair degree of empathy (the novel's theme being what makes us human is our empathy for other sentient things) does not feel very rewarded at the end. In a bizarre way its kind of realistic in the end despite the fact that events would probably never realistically unfold as described. Whew.

    Not sure how much I can take from this for what I'm working on now, at least not from the perspective of craft, though I do seek to emulate wit be it from Dick, Ellison or whoever. Still I feel enriched having read it.

    Just began reading Heinlein's novel Friday. Good stuff. Heinlein is like unto a god.
    Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005
    9:55 am
    Reading Journal
    Ok so I've decided to become a professional science fiction isn't this random. That was originally written "try to become a professional science fiction writer", but like the muppet said "Do or do not; there is no try.

    Anywho I've come to the conclusion that this journal is best used to write about what I read, to get down my thoughts on the stories others have done, and perhaps to solicit advice from others on what to read in the future.

    Right now I'm reading cyberpunk and books on AI because I've got a great idea for a cyberpunk story about AI. No, I'm not going to post it here, but I will let you know when and where it winds up in print when its done.

    Thus far the reading list includes:

    Frankenstein (The original story about a human created intelligence)
    I,Robot (though I still need to find a copy)
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (AKA Blade Runner)
    Friday (The closest I could find to a Heinlein novel about AI)
    Neuromancer (more for the cyberpunk aspects then anything else)

    Thoughts on Frankenstein:

    I just finished it yesterday. It's a good book, though I'm guessing I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read abridged versions as a kid or seen the last movie adaptation (worth watching after reading the book for the performances by Kenneth Brannagh (the Doctor) and Robert DiNiro (the Monster). A lot of suspense is lost once you know what the plot is and who will and will not die. Fortunately most of the other movie versions are only loosely based on the book, so they won't spoil it that much.

    Frankenstein is definitely science fiction. Shelley makes it clear that Frankenstein (the Doctor) creates the monster using science, though the electricity thing is more the product of the movies. Taking a closer look at the creation of the monster and the education of Victor Frankenstein leading up to it, I have to say that the animation is accomplished through chemistry. On the other hand the book is supposed to be scary so it's horror as well. I would classify it in the same vein as Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or movies such as Alien or Event Horizon, stories that rely on an extension of scientific principles to scare.

    In terms of style, I think the book was harder to read then Dracula, though shorter and less plodding. Dracula is a more modern novel though and a lot of the vocabulary is easier. A good book to read for the ideas presented but trying to cop style from it today would be a disaster.
    Thursday, January 13th, 2005
    8:22 am
    Lowered Expectations
    Sorry I haven't ranted in a while (over two months!). Unfortunately I haven't seen too much that pisses me off enough to complain about it. Plus I've been busy reading Mark Twain.

    I thought however that the latest news flash from the Bush adminsistration is just too good to not laugh at.

    The Bush administration is telling us to lower our expectations for the upcoming elections in Iraq.

    Someone should explain to the president the meaning of the phrase "lower your expectations".

    Does anybody have high expectations for the elections outside of the Bush administration? Even most people I know who support the war (I'll include myself in this as I supported the aims of the war if the not the strategy employed) think that any elections held now will be an abysmal orgie of violence at best and the beginning of an al qaeda dominated stat at worst.

    On the plus side at least they're no longer doing an impersonation of the traffic cop in any given Japanese giant monster movie, standing in the middle of an intersection shouting "Don't worry we have everything under control" while Godzilla destroys the city.
    Wednesday, November 17th, 2004
    7:01 pm
    All moderates defect to the democratic party now.
    Greetings. First let me apologize to all those who actually bother to read this for not ranting since last Thursday. I've not been too motivated to complain about anything these past few days. This entry is an expanded version of a reply I wrote to Chaos_Cat on why we should stop trying to change the republican party.

    Simply put my feeling is that anyone who considers themselves moderate should leave the Republican party as soon as possible. I intend to do so once I get up the gumption to download the neccessary forms to register democratic. My reasons for this are many. In order to explain them I will examine two scenarios.

    Scenario One: The Status Quo: the majority of the moderates in the Republican stay where they are.

    The Republican party does not respect moderates. Just look what's been happening with Senator Arlen Spector. Last I checked Senator Bill Frist, the man in charge of the Republican legislative effort told Spector either support the President's conservative nominees or else. This year the party either bullied its moderates into supporting the President's re-election or else played on their sense of party loyalty (vis a vis Senator John McCain).

    If the present situation continues Moderates within the Republican party will continue to be marginalized and bullied into supporting the party platform whole hog especially if more appealing conservative candidates present themselves in their states. If the Democrats cannot retake the senate and/or house in '06, then the Republicans will have effectively turned the United States into a one party country.

    If the economy and the war in Iraq follow the present trend instead of the one that existed most of the years it is likely that the President will be able to hand pick a successor, thus issuing in the first stage in the decline from Republic to Empire.

    Scenario 2: Moderates drop the Republican party and become Democrats.

    First off if enough people in the senate and house do this it will shake up the republican's hold on the legislature allowing the democrats a better footing to compete against the conservative agenda.

    Second, it will bring the democratic party more towards the center, which is where it needs to be. President Bush has been great for recruiting to the left of the party, but in order for the democrats to take seats the center of the party has to expand allowing it a fighting chance in the Midwest.

    Third, the defection of the moderates will throw the Republican party into chaos. Future Republican candidates will no longer be able to reply upon the same level of support from Moderate leaders such as Senator John McCain, as that enjoyed by President Bush. This will in my opinion cause the next Republican convention to be the same kind of squabble that this years democratic primary was, with conservatives trying to look moderate, or else fighting over who is more conservative. In this situation all the democrats need to do is get behind a candidate early and they are off to a strong start.
    Thursday, November 11th, 2004
    6:52 pm
    Happy Vets Day
    Here in the US its veterans day, a day on which those of us lucky enough to work for the government, or to still be in grade K-12 have the day off to honor our living veterans.

    First let me say thank you to every veteran from those who lied about their age to storm the beach on D-Day, to those who were drafted into Viet Nam, to those who just wanted some extra money for college and found themselves in Iraq.

    With the continuing war in the Middle East, and the revelation of scandals such as Abu Ghraib, it looks like the treatment of our veterans will become an issue for my generation as it was for our parents. It is imperative that we do a better job then they did.

    The biggest problem with the public response to Viet Nam was when the anti-war movement became an anti-veterans movement. Veterans were blamed for atrocities and for losing the war. Alot lost jobs, many were spit on by protesters. WWII had proven to many people that "just doing your job" could not be used to excuse bad behavior, and our troops were by extension in their logic as bad as Nazis.

    I won't argue the moral issues of the Viet Nam war here. What I will say is that our Viet Nam vets are deserving of every bit as much respect as the men of Omaha Beach. Many joined beause they, like Senator Kerry, felt an obligation to serve the nation. Others, like my dad, had no choice. The army gave them basic training and sent them to fight an enemy that had numerous advantages. The fact that they held out as long as they did is reason in itself for praise.

    What I would like to point out with the Iraq war not likely to end anytime soon, and the draft on everyone's mind, is that we must be more careful then our parents were to separate the soldiers from the war. We need to separate the men who interpret the intelligence and give the orders from the troops that carry them out. Our troops are getting rocks thrown at them in Baghdad. Lets not greet them with the same in Buffalo.

    I had intended to write a list of grievances I have with the administration on the handling of the situation in Iraq, but now is not the day to do so. On veterans day of all days, tommorrows veterans in deserve nothing but my support, and the support of every patriotic American.
    Wednesday, November 10th, 2004
    8:26 pm
    Conspiracy Stupidity
    Today I feel it necessary to speak to all the crazy conspiracies that have been floating around in the wake of the election of one week ago.

    If you believe that President Bush only won the election because of rigged voting machines, racial discrimination, and the disenfranchisement of absentee voters that is one thing. If however you can come up with no better defense for your theory then it "defies conventional wisdom" please remove your tin foil hat and bite down on it to keep yourself from speaking.

    Were there irregularities? Yes. Were some of them probably engineered by the republicans? Maybe but what proof do we have?

    1) Exit polls: First off I don't think anyone takes the exit polling seriously as an indicator of how an election will run. I recall an entire week of anchors and pundits saying that exit polls could not be relied upon as an indicator. Jon Stewart's Daily Show did a great bit on it on election night. Finally the latest polls monday showed that the President was ahead of Senator Kerry by the same margin that eventually decided the election. Exit polls being non-scientific are not as accurate as the pre-election day polls. Therefore it is a logical fallacy to assume that simply because the exit polls are incorrect the election was tampered with, when the more accurate pre election polls predicted the actual out come.

    2) Early Returns: Come on people. The first polls to close were in the Northeast where Senator Kerry was the favorite to win the entire campaign. Due to the time zones most of the big wins for the President (ie Texas) wouldn't come in for at least another hour.

    3) Conventional wisdom: No matter who won this election, conventional wisdom would have been overturned. Had Senator Kerry won it would have been the first time that an incumbent had lost re-election during a war. Its also important to note that the conventional wisdom that undecided voters tend to vote against the incumbent also does not apply, due to the fact that most polls showed that only a very small portion of the total electorate was undecided as of last Tues. and was in the opinion of most people who know about such things, not going to be a critical factor in the election.

    It is kind of sad to think that there are people wasting precious zeal and creative energy making up these crazy stories.

    Whats even more sad is the fact that the republicans are already coming up with counter conspiracies.

    Today Rush Limbaugh stated that he believed the democratic leadership was behind this.

    While I admit that the democrats haven't done enough to quell the stupidity, come on. I really can't see Senators Kerry, Kennedy and Clinton meeting in the basement of the capitol and coming up with this schlock. Having seen the quality of the democratic smear campaign that was run in this election I think they could do better.

    The only real sinister presence involved in these stories as far as I'm concerned is the media. It is controversy that prolongs the election fever, and controversy ultimately produces ratings, which produce advertising revenue.

    My advice: Don't believe every whacko who wants to be the next Deep throat*, and don't rely on any commercial station for news. I advise listening to public radio.

    *Historical Note: Deep throat is the person who spilled the watergate story to Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein. The scandal eventually forced President Richard Nixon to resign under threat of impeachment. Deep Throats true identity is a secret.
    Tuesday, November 9th, 2004
    6:40 pm
    God Guns, and Gays pt 3: Gays
    And now the stirring conclusion....

    Gay marriage is a thorny issue. Personally I support the right of any consenting adult to marry whoever he wants so long as that person is willing. There are however two conflicting rights at stake: the rights of the gay couples themselves, and the rights of the churches who will be doing the weddings. Ultimately this is one issue that cannot be compromised on. One side or the other will go away unhappy, the other elated though the present situation is clearly intolerable. I do think however, that in discussing Gay Marriage with a more clear definition of terms will help the cause and the country immensely.

    Marriage has two components. The first is the religious component. This is the part that the religious right is anxious to ban homosexual couples from. This is, in my view, perfectly within their rights. No church should ever be forced to do something that is contradictory to their doctrine. Before you get all uppity, this has already been upheld. The Catholic Church, for example does not recognize secular divorces. If you are married by the Catholic Church (or even by another faith) good luck getting a priest to marry you without having the first marriage enulled. This is just one example. The benefit of religious marriage is mainly spiritual in nature. If you are properly married you don't go the hell (or suffer whatever other penalty) for fornicating with your spouse.

    There is also the civil component of marriage. This where you go to a city or county clerks office and they give you a license, which when completed and signed by someone who is able to conduct a wedding (priest, rabbi, ship captain etc) entitles you to the benefits of being married. If Jesus himself came down and performed a wedding ceremony in front of President Bush, you would still be legally single if you didn't have the marriage license.

    Being legally married has several beneficial effects. These include the ability to visit your spouse in the hospital and get copies of their medical information and other records (you are after all family). It also helps when matters of an estate come up. You may receive benefits as a spouse in the case of career related benefits such as health coverage. There is a marriage tax credit, but this is a new measure introduced by President Bush. Previously tax credits were given based on the number of dependents (ie children) though I believe it is possible to claim a non-working spouse as a dependent. It is also essential to be legally married in order to adopt children in many states.

    The problem is that the one and the other are linked. While it might not be a problem in a liberal state such as New York or California, without some form of compulsion you end up with a de facto ban in most of the south. The alternative is that you wind up interfering with religious freedom by forcing churches to marry gays and it is just as wrong for the government to impose its will on religion, as it is for religion to impose its will on the government. The first amendment cuts both ways.

    Now I don't think that most people, if the questions were posed properly would object to giving gay couples the same rights as straight couples. Do you think your fundie grandma would object to people being able to choose who could and couldn't visit them in the hospital, if you brought it up outside the context of anything gay? I think the first step we should take is separating the actual issues of marriage from the word which is too politically and culturally charged.

    Best case scenario in my opinion? The government forgets about marriage: the institution. Marriage is not an institution. Its a contract: an agreement between two people to be sexually faithful to each other, until the death of one or the other. The only roll the government should have in contracts is notarizing them so that they are legally binding. There should be no value judgement implicit in it. Ask anyone in entertainment, contracts can be horribly abusive, but they are still legal.

    Family is an institution, and as any functional child of a single parent can tell you, the institution is in no way dependent on the presence or absence of the contract. All this talk about marriage falling apart as the ruin of our society is really just a smoke screen.

    If I were gay I would fight for my rights, but stop looking at at a white wedding as some sort of holy grail, and start looking into the arena of real family values as some place I could compete in the argument.
    Monday, November 8th, 2004
    11:08 am
    God, Guns and Gays pt.2: Guns
    Continuing on in my series on the fundamental moral issues that we conceded to the republicans in the last election I give you : Guns.

    The fact that the Republicans could still run on an anti-gun control platform was laughable. While both President Clinton and Vice President Gore could be viewed as strong proponents of gun control legislation, Senator Kerry was a lifelong hunter. The biggest problem we face is that ideaologically our side, the side that values individual choice over government control of our private lives, should be pro-gun, yet politically the issue has become muddled by association with certain anti-gun loonies such as Rosie O'Donnel and Micheal Moore. The result is a guilt by association, that doesn't bring anyone over to us on Gun Control and in fact drives a lot of people to the other side. I for one, supported President Bush in 2000 due almost solely to the fact that Vice President Gore favored creating new laws to regulate guns instead of enforcing our existing statutes. I can't help but think how many people in Ohio felt the same way.

    So what do we do? Well simply put we need to first avoid bothering what the far left of the issue wants us to say. Giving them a voice only hurts the cause in the long run. Instead I think we need to approach the problem of gun violence from the opposite end. If getting rid of guns isn't what the american people want, lets make sure they know how to use them. I propose that we support legislation that brings guns into schools, as part of education. I believe that something similar to the DARE program where police officers bring fire arms into the class room, and teach kids that Guns can kill and that they are not toys, would be immensly helpful in curbing the number of accidental gun deaths in this country. I also think it is neccessary that we address the root causes of gun violence: Alienation and overcrowding among teenagers. I think that this program can be approached in a bi-partisan way, and ironically could promote some healing between Democrats and republicans.
    Sunday, November 7th, 2004
    12:58 pm
    God, Guns and Gays pt 1: God
    Too busy yesterday eve actually enjoying my freedom with Flarecarrot & Friends to make note of all the stuff thats wrong with the way we think about it. I strongly recommend everyone take at least one day in the week and appreciate the fact that, for now at least, you get to live in a country where you don't have to worry about being blown up as part of a political statement. Now on to part 1 of my promised rant on God, Guns, and Gays.

    While running for the democratic nomination Governor Howard Dean complained that he was sick of talking about God, Guns and Gays. I am paraphrasing a bit but the idea is essentially correct. The point of Governor Dean's comment was that he didn't feel discussing social issues like these was productive with the economy a shambles, and the war in Iraq preparing for a visit with the war in Vietnam in the septic system of failed American Foreign adventures. The Democratic campaign subsequently focused more on the war in Iraq and the economy, then on social issues.

    Big mistake.

    President Bush's clear victory in the election is a demonstration of the fact that he talked about these issues whereas Senator Kerry (with the exception of a few nods to the pro-choice movement) did not. This allowed the president to mobilize the religious right, whereas Senator Kerry had a hard time pulling the youth vote away from the X-Box (thanks for nothing P-Diddy and Ben Affleck, vote or die my @$$). President Bush won the election on his values.

    So how do we compete in aught six? We cannot afford to ignore God, Guns and Gays, but tackle these issues head on. We need to both draw in people from the middle to our side, explain ourselves more clearly to those on the right and draw in our own support from those on the left. This series of three rants will explore my feelings on these topics. Today we look at religion.

    First off I have no idea where the right got the idea that they are so high and mighty or how they managed to paint us so conveniently as a bunch of atheist pinkos. For god sakes Jimmy Carter is a born again christian who teaches Sunday school! I seldom saw President Carter during this campaign. Maybe its because he's an old man who didn't want (or wasn't able) to become too involved, but why didn't this man of almost unimpeachable reputation step to the fore when he was on camera and challenge President Bush's assertion that he was God's hand picked candidate.

    The answer to this is simple. I believe that the Democratic party perceived that it was too dangerous to allow or ask President Carter (or any one else for that matter), to speak about religion for they were afraid of upsetting the areligious among voters ( a group of which I count myself a member).

    This is understandable given the fact that we (the atheists, agnostics, and various others) have created an atmosphere that is extremely toxic to people of faith. Why we have done this is beyond me. We are not forced in school to say the pledge of allegiance, yet we find it neccessary to object to it on the grounds that "Under God" is included? People this is ridiculous. The argument is that a) children are taught the pledge with the words under god in it and b) it doesn't allow us to be patriotic.

    Here are my answers:

    a) if you want your kids growing up atheist, agnostic whatever IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT TO EDUCATE THEM. The right comes off as being goofy when they try to ban evolution, Harry Potter, and sex ed and you know what? It looks even dumber when you say "yeah well you can't say the pledge of allegiance!" Part of being a parent is instilling what you believe to be good values in your kids in spite of influences to the contrary. I urge every parent with a child in school who doesn't think the pledge is reflective of their beliefs to use it as an oppurtunity to open a dialogue with their kids about what the phrase " under god" means and why you don't believe it reflects what is true in the world.

    b) This is just stupid. If you think you can't be patriotic because the pledge of allegiance contains the word "under god" then you are not patriotic. Patriotism is a belief in one's nation, and its highest ideals, not in words. Belief in the literal meaning of words is religious fundamentalism I have always taken the phrase in the pledge to define the fact that we unlike, the soviet union, are free to worship if we please. Plus I will always have "My Country 'tis of thee", "The Star Bangled Banner" (though that does mention god, but only in a later verse almost nobody ever sings), Copland and Souza.

    In conclusion, what we need to do as non-believers, to ensure that we are heard and respected, is back off of people who share our beliefs in true separation of church and state step up to the plate and play whack a mole with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
    Friday, November 5th, 2004
    11:46 pm
    Defining the Culture Clash
    Entering a fight without defining what the fight is going to be about or how you are going to win would be stupid so I won't do that. Before I really start swinging in the culture clash, I want to make a few comments that will make clear precisely what I think its about, where I stand, and how we can win it.

    First off don't believe for a minute that this is a fight between the faithless and the righteous, the way the Republicans have tried to portray it. Lets face it as much as you may hate their guts, the republicans value more or less the same things we do. Even if they think you are going to hell because you're gay or worship Thor instead of Jesus, they don't think you are any less then a human, and were you to die in a terrorist attack, you could rest assured that most of them when singing "God Bless America" would not exempt gays, satanists, and unwed mothers. I know there are exceptions but I'm talking about the average person who felt President Bush was moral and Senator Kerry was not. If the majority of the country that won the election did believe this, then Harry Potter would not be the most popular children's book since Green Eggs and Ham, and Elton John would be lynched if he got within half a mile of the Mason Dixon.

    The fact of the matter is that we are in fact closer together in our core values then we have been at any point in history. Gays might not be able to get married but at least they are allowed to live in the open. Wiccans might not get Halloween as a paid holiday but then again they aren't being burned at the stake. For the most part the right of the cultural divide is remarkably accepting all things considered. This is because when you get down to it we all value the same basic things. The fact that family is important to almost every American, for example, is evident in the fact that gays want to get married at all. Why would they want to do so for negligible benefits if all they were after was hedonistic self gratification?

    The gap as I see it is that in the perception of the right, we are trying to push our views on them. This is understandable given the fact that though they hold congress and the white house we get the media. It is clear to me that they are not so much hateful as they are afraid, not afraid of what we are (be it atheist, gay, pagan whathave you), but what they see as our agenda. Ultimately the gap between left and right is over who gets to choose what the society believes. The right believes fervently that we are trying to tell them that what they believe is incorrect, and force them to our point of view. If this in fact what you personally are trying to do THEN STOP. Not only is it extremely counter productive, it is blatantly hypocritical. Think about what you are feeling contemplating four more years of President Bush pushing forward a conservative agenda. This how evangelical christians feel when we eroded their rights to pray in public because it offended us. Most people believe in some form of the golden rule and we should all start practicing it.

    As for how to proceed from here, the best strategy I can come up with is to take a step back and examine exactly what it is we want, that is what rights we feel our particular group is denied. Then we should try to find out how to get what we want without appearing to force others to except our values. I'll look at how I believe we can do this in my next three rants on God, Gays and Guns.
    Thursday, November 4th, 2004
    9:05 am
    Words of Encouragement
    Todays rant will take the form of an email of encouragement that I planned to send to one of my favorite writers. Unfortunately I could not find his email address. Hopefully through the vagaries of the internet this will find him somehow. If not you might find it of use. I've not named the author here out of respect, but those familiar with his work should know who I'm talking about:

    I noticed on your website the banner "mourning for America". While I certainly understand the feelings of disappointment (I feel them to after all), I cannot indulge myself in grief. Mourning is for soemthing that is dead. America is not dead. You wrote on your site about how books have offered you solace. Here is a lesson I've taken from some of Tolkien's: the darker the road becomes the harder it becomes to persevere, but the higher also are the stakes of turning aside before the task is come.

    You wrote that Winter is here for America. That may be so, but I'm from Buffalo NY, and in Buffalo we don't back away from snow and ice, and freezing rain, we weather it. You write characters of the frozen north well so I know you understand the mentality.

    I hope all this provides some comfort to you. If not at least it has made me feel better.
    Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004
    11:01 pm
    Move along lil' Doggies.
    Everyday from today until the next election, or the reinstatement of a draft that forces me into the army, I will be posting a rant in this journal. The primary goal is to provide constructive criticism and perhaps some inspiration, to those like myself who see themselves as members of the losing left in the culture war, democrat of republican. The topic for today: how to be critical and constructive.

    1) Don't whine!: Like it or not President Bush won the election fair and square. You may be mad. You may be sad. All this is just stupid self pity. I have news for you: It makes us look weak and childish! Doing this last time hurt our chances this time, by making us look like whimps to the big guys in those battlegrounds that went for Bush. It makes us look like effete city dwellers who eat caviar and sip champagne while driving around in our little sports sedans. I for one hate caviar, prefer beer to champagne and am planning on accepting the results of this election. Due to the fact that we lost, we are the ones who seem out of touch with the american mainstream. Lets accept this and work to change this instead of crying "am not" like a two year old. Here's another helpful hint: don't say your moving to Canada/UK/New Zealand etc unless you plan to do so. This is pointless and quite frankly if you're going to cut and run when the going gets rough, you are a weak link that only hurts the cause of promoting reason in America.

    2) Be polite: Don't refer to him as Bush, or Mein Fuhrer, or Dubya or anything else stupid. I know civilty may be a lot to ask in private and I'm sure as I write this I will slip up from time to time. Take a hint from the newspapers and refer to him as President Bush or Mr Bush. Why? A little thing called MORAL SUPERIORITY! How do you defeat the so called defenders of morality in our society? Make them look crude by comparison. What sounds better?

    A) Mr Bush won the election because he appealed to the values of his constituency.
    B) Kerry lost the election because he is a liar.

    Our side is supposed to be the one that is intellectual and articulate. DO NOT FORGET THIS CRITICAL FACT. If you cannot manage sophistication. better to be quiet and listen first, and state your opinions as plainly as you can. Don't shout, and don't seek out political arguments. Always leave yourself the flexibility back down, but have the courage of your convictions. Take some wisdom from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly and carry a big stick.

    3) Don't give up hope: We failed to get a grip on the executive branch. This is only a minor set back however. Say what they might, the Republicans really did not gain a strangle hold on the Senate. Mr Barack Obama of Illinois made it in, and from what I've read we can expect some good things from him. They still have only a very small majority. The House of Representatives is more of a problem. The Republican majority there is more secure. For now we still hold the Judiciary and despite what has been said we can hold it until the Senate Race of 2006, when we have a chance to break the republican hegemony. All is not lost unless you believe it is. While there is still the will to fight we can win.

    More tommorrow.