Monday, March 30, 2015

Indiana RFRA Q&A

An attorney over at the Federalst does a question and answer session on the recent religious freedom bill passed in Indiana. A few things he points out:
  • Nineteen other states and the federal government already had similar laws, known as Religious Freedom Restoration Act(s). The federal one signed by Bill Clinton in '93.
  • The words "gay", "lesbian", or "sexual orientation" don't appear in Indiana's, or any of the other RFRAs.
  • No RFRA has ever been used to deny service to LGBT types in restaurants or other public accommodations after 20 years.
Someone commenting the other day here mentioned the religious use of peyote, although I believe it was in sarcasm. The author addresses the peyote vs. federal issue, as well.

One thing he doesn't address is whether the states that had the lawsuits we've heard about (wedding cakes and photography) had RFRAs and how that played out, or might have with an RFRA, in the end.

Historical Lunar Eclipse on April 4

Earth Sky News advises us of the shortest lunar eclipse of the century taking place on April 4. You may be able to see it here if you wake up early enough and it's clear out.

I've had Earth Sky News bookmarked for years, but rarely went there until a month or so ago to check on the location of planets in the night sky. That's when I noticed they had a daily e-mail you could subscribe to.

Be the first in your neighborhood to find out if a life destroying asteroid is going to smash into the earth by signing up today!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Public Accomodations/ Civil Rights Analogy

I wanted to let the thread on the Indiana Religious Freedom law die. I've got a time limit on how much I care to argue- usually after 24 hours I'm done. But, I got to thinking and came up with an analogy of sorts:

Let's say you owned a local restaurant in town that happened to have a banquet room. Let's also say a group that believed in white supremacy or separatism wanted to hold their annual convention there- Ku Klux Klan, or whatever. Would you accept their reservations and allow them to hold their convention in your establishment?

Let's say a black supremacy or separatist group (Yes, there are blacks who believe in separatism as well as supremacists) decided to hold their annual convention there. Would you accommodate them?

If so, why? If not, why not? 

Lost Horizon

We were watching a TV show last night. One of those History Channel ones dealing with ancient astronauts. They got into a thing for a while about caves and how some believe aliens might have lived in them. Seems a rather odd idea to me, but they showed a bunch of caves believed by locals to have mystical powers at least in part because of ancient aliens.

For some reason that got me to thinking about a movie I saw a long time ago where some travelers were trekking through the snow, found a cave, entered it and came out on the other side where there was a utopian hidden valley. Fun movie, from what I remember, but what was it called? The name Shangri La came to mind so I did a search on Shangri La this morning and it turns out the movie was called Lost Horizon.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry it seems the original movie was filmed in 1937. Wikipedia also lists a number later releases and remakes. I wonder which one I saw? It might have been the 1942 version, The Lost Horizon of Shangri La, if only because I remembered the Shangri La part. 

Anybody else see this one? I'm gonna have to keep an eye out and watch it again. Don't remember much except enjoying it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet Your New Senate Minority Leader

Well, maybe, but the Washington Post just sent out notice that New York nanny stater and U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer, is looking like the top choice to take over Harry Reid's spot after he leaves office.

Reason magazine takes a look at Schumer, a man I've passionately hated for years. I don't know that I ever felt much hatred for Harry Reid. He just seemed like a stupid old man to me. Schumer? He's the worst in both people and politicians.

There would be plenty more just as bad as Schumer if he wasn't vying for that spot, so he's nothing for me to lose sleep over.

That Indiana Religious Freedom Law

Those of you who pay attention to such things have probably heard the Governor of Indiana signed a law the other day protecting businesses from being forced to serve folks of gay and lesbian persuasion should they have religious objections for doing so. The problem as I saw it wasn't what some might expect, although it should be no surprise to readers here I support the right of non- association as well as association.

My problem with the law is it doesn't go far enough. One's religious beliefs are certainly an adequate reason to not get involved in business with someone, but there might be other reasons, as well. The law shouldn't be limited to just religion. My internet buddy, Tom Knapp, agrees.

I read a few comments yesterday from folks calling the move "bigoted" and so on. Some even seemed to think it was the same as saying LGBT folks aren't allowed to be served in Indiana. The law did no such thing and it wasn't bigoted. It simply provided protection for those who might object to serving LGBT folks for religious reasons. 

It did NOT force anyone to serve or not serve those same people, unlike the wishes of some within the LGBT community, many of whom who think businesses should be forced to serve them. It simply allowed religious folks to opt out of doing business with certain people.

Back in the day those signs that read, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" were fairly common, although I can't think of anyone ever taking advantage of them. We need to reaffirm that right for everyone again, but not only for religious folks. All people should be able to do business, or not, with whomever they choose.
Just as an aside, the only place I can remember seeing one of those signs in recent memory is the Bluebird Cafe in Hopland,CA. We stopped by there once years ago and I pointed out the sign, asking the waitress if they've ever refused service to anyone. She said they hadn't. 

I couldn't let that go and suggested maybe they should. Perhaps snag every tenth customer that comes through the door and tell them they won't be served, pointing to the sign for justification. After all, what's the point in having a sign like that if you're not really using it?

She didn't like my idea.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A GMO Labeling Plan I Can Agree With

Yahoo News reports House Republicans have introduced a GMO labeling proposal, although it doesn't label GMOs. It creates a new food certification similar to the USDA "organic" for foods that don't contain GMOs. It will be voluntary and supposedly only used by food companies that choose to use the label.

Who'da thunk my idea of years ago would be proposed in congress? I've wrote here and elsewhere umpteen times it makes little sense to label normal foods as being different- most foods contain GMO- 80% or more by anti- GMO folks' own admission. That makes them normal as I see it. 

It makes more sense to label those that aren't normal. Non- GMO food producers could use that as a selling point, it would seem to me, just as they do with organic food labeling.

What I don't understand is why this new law is needed in the first place? Can't non- GMO food producers already label their products as non- GMO? In fact, I've seen at least one can of beans at Winco that was labeled as having no GMOs. Anyone know?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Racist or Politically Incorrect?

I was chatting with my sister on the phone the other night and was disappointed to find out she is one of those politically correct types. I forget just how we got to the subject, but at some point I mentioned the word "negro"- mostly just to see how she'd react. 

She didn't get all pissed off but sounded kind of embarrassed. So I asked her if she thought negro was a racist term. She wouldn't answer that but acted uncomfortable: "Oh, Freeeeeed! I can't believe you...".

I've gotten more hostile responses using the word in the past. I recall playing Aces High some years ago when one of the other players got his panties in a wad over something another player mentioned in a text message. He claimed that fellow was racist by his comment. I didn't see the comment as racist, so asked the guy if he was a negro. He then goes off on me saying I'm racist for saying negro. Whatever. He never did answer me. 

So the question today is how many of you think the word negro is racist:

Is the term "negro" racist? free polls

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Inbred Humboldt

Humboldt County has been named the "most inbred county in the country", according to this Craigslist ad. I had no idea!

"The root cause of the inbreeding is fear of outsiders. Our county government works relentlessly to keep new people from moving to Humboldt. Several local businesses are afraid new people will bring new competition. Virtually all of our local officials are closely related.

Can this be true??? A guy told a joke on my online game, Aces High, a year or two ago:

"If mom and dad get divorced, does that mean they're still considered brother and sister?". Might that actually be a Humboldt joke?

Monday, March 23, 2015


One of those things that showed up on Facebook that had me going, for a minute anyway. I don't take much stock in that silly reality TV show In Search of Giants, but this a pretty good picture. The first thing to raise my suspicion was the title of the accompanying article where it mentions a CIA coverup. 

But, maybe it's true? All kinds of neat pictures on that page. Then I went back to Facebook and noticed a related article beneath the first. It was Snopes saying it was a hoax. Awww...shucks. Would have been nice if it could have had me wondering about this a little bit longer.