FROM CITY TO FARM or I'VE GOT THE COCK, NOW WHAT .... Ramblings political, humourous, opinionated and/or creative writing from a man in flux


plus ça change ....

In other words, the South Dakota court thinks, and I use the term loosely, that their myth-based belief system trumps common law, common sense and facts.  Who'd a thunk it?

In a blow to judicial prudence and common sense a South Dakota federal appeals court ruled 7 - 4 that it was indeed legal to require doctors to tell abortion patients the day before their procedure that they will be at risk for suicide. The warning of suicide that doctors are now forced to give has never been medically or scientifically proven. Because of this, opponents call it nothing but a scare tactic.
The ruling overturned a previous decision made in September 2011 that said the requirement was not within the realms of the law. That decision was in response to a 2005 law which required all abortion practitioners to notify in writing, "all medical risks of the procedure" which allegedly included "risk of suicide." Again, the claim was made without evidence.
This matters not to the South Dakota court. The statistics quoted by the state were investigated by the American Psychological Association and found to be misleading. In nearly every caseof suicide after abortion the patient was afflicted with a variety of mental factors including a history of domestic violence, mental illness, drug use, young age, and poor family life. None of the underlining [sic] conditions were taken into consideration.
Instead the court wrote a bizarre ruling claiming that "conclusive proof of causation is not required." Therefore the court acknowledges that the ruling was not based on fact and not based on medically sound advice -- but rather for what was emotionally convenient for them.


illuminating myth-based hatred

I found this interesting.  In some cases, my responses would be slightly different, but I think this author has pretty-much called it on this one.  Why is it that so many conservative questions use such pejorative forms?

[ copied from ]:

Are You a Pro-Gay Bigot?

I came across this list of twenty questions on a conservative web site under the title, “Are You a Pro-Gay Bigot?”  The questions reveal quite a lot about about the author’s mentality.  Here are the questions, with my own answers to each.
1. Do you believe in free speech about homosexuality for everyone except conservatives or Christians?
No, I believe in free speech for everyone.
2. Do you participate in name-calling of those who object to homosexuality — names like bigot, hate-monger, etc.?
No.  It takes more than an objection to homosexuality.  Here are the people I call bigots:
  • People who bully, assault, and kill gays because of their sexual orientation.
  • People who think gays should be imprisoned or put to death.
  • People who devote their professional lives to stripping gays of their rights.
  • People who make sweeping generalizations about the character of gay people.
  • People who automatically believe any anti-gay statement they read, while shutting their eyes to contradictory facts and evidence.
3. Do you believe ‘gays’ have been deprived of the right to marry? Doesn’t pretty much everyone have the right to marry now — to a person of the opposite sex?
a.  Yes I do.
b.  No they don’t.  Here are three responses:
  • Do you really think we’ve achieved equality and freedom just because I have the right to do what YOU want me to do?  That’s not equality or freedom — that’s putting you in charge of me.
  • Your question is based on the principle that if everyone has the same rights, then everything must be okay.  But does this principle hold true?  Apply it to religion:  Suppose we passed a Constitutional amendment shutting down all non-Christian places of worship.  Your principle would suggest that no one has been deprived of their rights because everyone has the same right to enter a Christian Church — and if everyone has the same rights, then we’re fine.   That would be ludicrous, so your principle is flawed.
  • If only same-sex marriages were allowed, and all opposite-sex marriages were invalidated, would straights think they’ve been deprived of their right to marry?  I’d like to see someone do on a poll on that question.
4. Do you believe those who object to homosexuality are motivated by fear or ignorance? Do you believe they could never be motivated by compassion for the people involved, and if they say so, they must be lying?
a.  For the most part, yes.  I was raised to be afraid of gays and was kept ignorant of the facts by my parents (who were trying to “protect” me and had themselves been taught untruths), by my church, by my public school teachers, and by the media.  I think this is true of most people, not just me.
b.  I do believe some anti-gays are motivated by compassion — a compassion based on ignorance and fear.  They’re trying to “rescue” me from something they fear, they know nothing of, and they’ve been lied to about by people they trust.
5. Do you believe some people will just inevitably be homosexual, and that there’s a set percentage of the population that will always be ‘gay’, and that this won’t increase, even if a culture embraces ‘gay’ sex? Do you think homosexual experimentation could never become ‘chic’ and popular? Is there no risk for the people involved or our culture if this happens?
a.  Of course.  There’s me, so that’s at least one.  And while it’s possible that more people will engage in gay sex if the culture embraces it, we won’t see an increase the number of people who are actually gay.
b.  Anything could become “chic and popular.”  Especially if it has the lure of the “forbidden” around it.
c.  All sex carries a measure of emotional and physical risk.  That’s why we need realistic and genuinely useful sex education, not “abstinence” programs that lead kids into risky behavior (like unprotected anal sex) because that way they can still think of themselves as virgins.
6. Do you automatically dismiss any conservative comments about homosexuality without listening? Do you believe you are well-informed, while refusing to learn about what homosexuals actually do and the risks involved?
a.  No.  I dismiss lots of conservative comments because I do listen.  And then I write a blog post detailing the factual and logical errors.
b.  I do believe I am well-informed, despite the best efforts of conservatives to deceive the public about what homosexuals actually do.
7. Do you believe that the tragedy of any suicide by someone involved in homosexuality is the fault of conservatives? Is the best solution to these tragedies to demand that everyone in America accept homosexuality?
a.  No.  People — straight and gay — commit suicide for many reasons.  I do believe, however, that quite a few suicides (especially teen suicides) are the fault of those people — liberal or conservative — who perpetuate lies about homosexuality.
b.  I believe many teens now dead would still be alive if their parents (and our culture) were more accepting of homosexuality, rather than telling kids that all gays are despicable, selfish people who prey on children and can never know love.
8. Do you automatically dismiss the idea that anyone could be a former homosexual, despite the hundreds of groups started by ex-‘gays’ and the thousands who live in America?
Please define “former homosexual.”  Many ex-gay groups say they cannot take away your homosexual urges but can help you stop acting on them.  That’s an odd definition of “former homosexual.”  Sounds like a celibate gay to me, and yes, I do believe some gays are celibate.
9. Do you believe that homosexuals are born that way? Do you refuse to consider the evidence against this claim? Have you ever looked at the connection between child sexual abuse and later homosexual attraction?
a.  I don’t know.
b.  The “evidence against this claim” tends to be weak.  People point to a lack of definitive evidence in favor of the claim, and erroneously call that evidence against it.  They also say things like, “We’ve mapped the human genome without finding a gay gene, so it doesn’t exist,” which does nothing but illustrate their ignorance of what genome-mapping means.  Or they assume “born that way” means “100% genetic” and ignore research on things like pre-natal hormones.
c.  Have you ever looked at the connection between child sexual abuse and later heterosexual attraction?
10. Do you believe that only churches that accept homosexuality have interpreted the Bible in the ‘correct’ way? Do you feel it isn’t necessary to read the relevant Bible passages yourself, all of which are straightforward in condemning homosexual acts? Do you believe it’s impossible to be “kind” and oppose homosexuality?
a.  I only have access to a translation of a copy of a copy of the Bible, so I can’t speak on the correct interpretation of the Bible.
b.  Again, I can’t read ancient languages, and even if I could, no one has access to the original documents, so no one can really read the relevant passages themselves, much less claim they are “straightforward.”
c.  No, I think it’s possible.  There’s so much deception from the anti-gay leadership, it twists the kind impulses of some people into tragically ugly statements and actions
11. Are you quick to say “Judge not, lest you be judged” ( Matthew 7:1) and similar passages, without understanding the Christian theology behind it, and all the while being very judgmental yourself?
12. Do you sincerely believe Jesus would have accepted homosexual sex acts? Do you believe Jesus is cool with whatever anyone wants to do? Do you believe there’s such a thing as ‘sin’ and if so, how is it defined? Are you the one who defines sin for yourself? Do you have no need of a savior and if not, wasn’t Christ’s death and resurrection pretty pointless? Despite all these contradictory and self-constructed beliefs, do you consider yourself a “Christian”?
a.  I don’t know and neither do you.
b.  No.
c.  I think of sin as a religious concept that differs from religion to religion.  I do believe in right and wrong, and I think “wrong” is defined by treating others as objects and things for your disposal rather than as human beings who deserve the same kindness, generosity, and respect  you would want for yourself.
d.  Life is hard and we all long for a savior sometimes.  Christ’s death wasn’t pointless because it gave rise to a religion that has, in various times and various places, inspired humanity to greatness and led it to horrific acts of evil.  I don’t have evidence that the resurrection happened.
e.  I do not consider myself a Christian.  But what contradictory beliefs are you talking about?  You didn’t even know the answers to my questions when you wrote that.  Is this a thought-provoking questionnaire or merely yet another listing of stereotype and prejudice?
13. Do you believe sweeping stereotypes, like that all ‘gay’ people are innocent victims or that all conservatives must be mean and stupid?
No.  Do you believe the many negative sweeping stereotypes about gays?
14. Do you close your ears and figure it’s a conservative plot if you hear that at least 2/3 of all the HIV transmission in the United States still involves males having anal sex with each other?
No.  But if conservatives believe this then I have to wonder why so many of them oppose realistic sex education.
15. Do you believe anyone who objects to homosexuality is automatically “hateful,” while you seethe with hate yourself?
No.  And I’ve written at length to that effect.
16. Do you believe it’s okay for thirteen- year- olds to learn at school that they have the right to have homosexual sex with each other? Do you close your ears when concerned parents are outraged? Would you call such parents “ignorant” and accuse them of “censorship”?
a.  I don’t know what you mean by “they have the right.”  I do believe that thirteen year-olds should be taught the information they need to protect themselves from doing permanent harm to themselves, and I’m amazed anyone could advocate otherwise.
b.  No.
c.  I would call the parents ignorant if they were ignorant, but not if they weren’t.  I don’t throw around the term “censorship” lightly.
17. Do you believe that, after several thousand years where most cultures have prohibited homosexuality, only now the ‘real’ truth is emerging? Do you believe this is not an arrogant, narrow or immature position?
a.  Have most cultures prohibited homosexuality?   Certainly ancient Greece and Rome, from which our own culture derived, did not have blanket prohibitions on homosexuality.  And what do you mean by “prohibit”?
b.  No, for two reasons.
  • I do not think it’s arrogant, narrow, or immature to think for yourself.  I find your question appalling, frankly.
  • I also find it a bit frightening that you think it’s arrogant, narrow, and immature to move beyond the moral code of our ancient ancestors, who once believed it was fine to rape women as long as they belonged to a different tribe.  Do you think we were arrogant, narrow, and immature to outlaw rape?
18. Do you believe that ‘gays’ are the target of widespread violence that goes unpunished in the United States? Do you understand that hate crimes stats don’t support this claim and that laws already exist to punish all crimes, no matter why they are committed? Would you be unconcerned about overall civil liberties if trumped -up charges of so-called “hate speech” were used to silence people?
a.  Yes.
b.  No, I do not understand that hate crimes stats “don’t support” this claim.  Yes, I do understand that laws already exist to punish all crimes — do you realize that this statement is an empty tautology?
c.  I am in fact concerned about countries in Europe outlawing hate speech against gays, Christians, and so on, and I’ve written to that effect.  Fortunately, in the US, there is no such thing as a legal charge of “hate speech,” and the First Amendment prevents such a thing from happening here.  I wish conservatives understood that, too.
19. Do you believe that conservatives are making a big deal out of a behavior that has no harmful effects on individuals, families, communities, or societies? Do you scoff at any claims that serious public health issues are involved, like sexually transmitted diseases or risks to children?
a.  I believe that many conservatives are making a dishonest deal out of something — not a behavior, but an intrinsic human trait — that can be a source of joy and of harm (just like heterosexuality).
b.  I do not scoff at serious public health claims.  I believe we need realistic sex education about sexually transmitted diseases and risks to children associated with sexuality in general (not just hetero or homo).
20. And–very big question: Is your need for other people’s approval greater than your appreciation of truth? Do you refuse to consider an unpopular viewpoint because it might make you appear unenlightened to some people? If your mind and heart changed about this issue, would you have the courage to be a rebel for a worthy cause, to speak up and inform family, friends–and fellow humans who are involved in homosexuality?
a.  We all struggle with this issue throughout our lives.  You can be sure an openly gay person has struggled successfully at least once, by coming out of the closet and living in truth rather than hiding for fear of losing the approval of the people around them.
b.  No.
c.  Yes.  And in fact I get enormous satisfaction from being a small rebel in a great and worthy cause — the crusade for truth, dignity, and equality.  Wait — are you people claiming to see yourselves as rebels?



I have been whingeing lately about the lack of support for teachers - and education in general - in the 'conservative' platforms in Canada.  I started at a school in Edmonton which had an advanced learner's programme, in which we were basically told:  here, learn stuff.  I don't think that this was a privileged-class phenomenon; there were a couple of kids from each grade in one room with one teacher, and we appeared, at least in my memory, to be from all kinds of families and every race.  And it certainly was not something that my family could have afforded to pay for, my father was working part-time and attending University.  When my father graduated at the age of forty and moved the family to a small town in the north, I was miserable for the rest of my school 'career' because the new schools weren't prepared to deal with advanced students.  I managed to not get into too much serious trouble, and learned to think for myself despite the lack of support.  I had one barely-qualified teacher try to fail me in grade eleven because she was so ill-prepared for and or so hated her job that I was too much of a challenge.  Didn't happen, due to the intervention of people who were her superiors and or my parents.

Anyway, many years later, I started the pre-qualifying classes at a community college in northern California in order to become a nurse, a profession that would help me qualify for legal status in the Untidy States so I could legally live with my partner.  Didn't pan out the way we planned, but the relevant-to-this-whinge thing about the process was that I was required to take a low-level English class, a mostly remedial programme in actuality.  The same thing has been happening in Canada, by the way, as many Universities started - in the late 1980s early 1990s - requiring incoming first-year students to take remedial English as they weren't being taught it in high school.  No big deal, one does what one must.  The professor wrote on my first graded assignment:  congratulations to the Canadian educational system.  I got a 100 per cent grade for the class for the semester. I initially resented the credit going to the school system, but hey, I did/do in fact owe a lot of thanks to the system and to individual teachers.

For some unknown reason, the Texas school system sets the standard for a lot of, if not all of, the rest of the USA.  It manages to influence the content and availability of textbooks throughout the country.  I came across this post from  I can't be bothered to correct all of the grammatical stupidity - 'fail' is not a noun -  as it's a battle against an unarmed opponent,  but the actual content of the state party platform should terrify the hell out of you.

[quoted from] Mindy Townsend:

As if we needed more evidence that the GOP wants to keep people stupid, the Texas Republican party has made it all but explicit. The state party platform is about as anti-education as it gets. To wit:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

There is so much fail in the quoted paragraph. They oppose teaching critical thinking skills. They oppose teaching critical thinking skills. As Valerie Strauss points out in The Washington Post, it’s not clear whether critical thinking skills can be taught, but, come on, I wasn’t born yesterday. That’s not what the Texas GOP is talking about. How do I know? Check out that last line. They oppose teaching programs that “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs…”

[Valerie Strauss is an idiot, of course critical thinking can be taught.  Does she think we spring fully-educated from the ashes of a previous Einstein??  The WashPost is mostly a Republican mouth-piece anyway, so ...]

Challenging “fixed beliefs”

What the what? The only education worth providing will challenge a student’s fixed beliefs. What is the point of going to school if you don’t learn new things from different perspectives? And, evidently, students in Texas can forget about thinking critically about the perspectives from which information is taught! They might as well just hang out at the mall.

[And they do]

However, this really isn’t even consistent with another plank in the platform. Later in the document, the Texas GOP says this:

We support school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems. We support curricula that are heavily weighted on original founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Founders’ writings.

Ohhhhhhkay. But what if a student is Buddhist, or Jain, or – Thor forbid! – atheist? Those Judeo-Christian principles would challenge that student’s fixed beliefs. I guess those beliefs aren’t as important as the correct Christian beliefs.

So the blog-o-sphere went kind of nuts when the platform was published earlier this month. As a result, the party has said that the whole thing was one big mistake.

Um, excuse me for using my critical thinking skills, but really?  Someone had to propose this plank, write it down, and then the party had to vote on it. The party voted to make this the platform, you guys! They signed their name[s] to it! Mistake my foot. Their only mistake was thinking that no one would notice.

It gets(even) better

However, this implausible excuse only really applies to that one particular plank. Let’s take a look at some of the other droplets from this fountain of ignorance:

American Identity Patriotism and Loyalty – We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

College Tuition – We recommend three levels of college tuition: In-state requiring proof of Texas legal citizenship, out-of-state requiring proof of US citizenship, and nonresident legal alien. Non-US citizens should not be eligible for state or federal grants, or loans.

Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

Early Childhood Development – We believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development.

Educational Entitlement – We encourage legislation that prohibits enrollment in free public schools of non-citizens unlawfully present in the United States.

Parental Rights in Education – We believe the right of parents to raise and educate their children is fundamental. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from any specialized program. We urge the Legislature to enact penalties for violation of parental rights.

Sex Education – We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.

Religious Freedom in Public Schools – We urge school administrators and officials to inform Texas school students specifically of their First Amendment rights to pray and engage in religious speech, individually or in groups, on school property without government interference. We urge the Legislature to end censorship of discussion of religion in our founding documents and encourage discussing those documents.

School Health Care – We urge legislators to prohibit reproductive health care services, including counseling, referrals, and distribution of condoms and contraception through public schools. We support the parents’ right to choose, without penalty, which medications are administered to their minor children. We oppose medical clinics on school property except higher education and health care for students without parental consent.

These are just the most egregious bits in the education section of the platform. Excuse me. My brain has just exploded from all the fail.

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recently retired to southern Mexico from Canada