Dream of the Dragon

Tag: monsters

On Same-sex Marriage

by Justin

Today’s personal revelation, hot on the overturn of Proposition 8 in California (the Cali kids should have known better from the beginning), emerged when I realized that I don’t understand the arguments against same-sex marriage. My belief in equal rights and my opposition to archaic judeo-christian ideals were always enough to bolster my support of gay marriage. Really, it seemed like common sense and a belief in the Golden Rule would be enough to silence the debate.

But I thought to myself, with no expectation of being swayed but in hopes of better understanding what I deemed to be an enemy of freedom, maybe I should read the secular or ‘liberal’ cases for the preservation of marriage as a strictly heterosexual institution. For all I knew, I was mirroring the ignorance I condemned by refusing to understand the opposing view. So I spent an hour reading through the popular arguments against same-sex marriage. I’ll save you the suspense of reading through the whole post to discover my conclusion: they’re more ignorant than I imagined. It’s willful ignorance in the extreme and ultimately falls under one of two headings: zealous adherence to religious dogma or paralyzing fear of change. (Quick note – those are really sides of the same coin, and paralyzing isn’t the right word as the fearful are remarkably well mobilized against the threat to their beliefs.) Read the rest of this entry »

Making Rape More Dangerous

by Justin

This beast speaks for itself: http://www.antirape.co.za/intro.htm. Rather than explaining the way it operates, I suggest getting the info direct from the source – complete with an uncomfortably straight-forward animated gif.

The anti-rape condom is being given out in South Africa right now in an effort to curb the grotesque and effectively unchecked prevalence of sexual assault in the country. In 2002 South Africa ranked second globally for instances of rape followed by arrest with 54,000, though it ranks 26th for overall population – the same site ranks it number one per capita. The United States has nearly double the number of convictions, but ranks 3rd in total population and 9th per capita. What’s worth noting is that in the US we have a broader definition of what constitutes rape, significantly more effective and accessible venues to report sexual assault, and a far less corrupt justice system. It’s worse in South Africa than the numbers suggest.

A 2009 study by South Africa’s Medical Research Council produced more revelatory results after anonymously polling 1738 men: Read the rest of this entry »

Gulf Spill Rollercoaster

by Justin

In the past few days as BP launched its ‘Top Kill’ plan to plug up the oil billowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the news has reversed from high hopes in the morning to despair again at sunset. Both BP engineers and officials on the scene get optimistic about the chances for success, issue reports to that effect, and then eat their words. I don’t have a sense of the science involved so these errors in judgment may be excusable, maybe all signs did point toward success early on. But seriously, why not hold out for some concrete news on the efficacy on your mud? I can’t imagine how frustrating those reversals are to the people along the Gulf coast whose livelihoods are immediately effected.

The latest accounts from the Times distilled the week’s desperate attempts pretty well:

The failure of the top kill procedure, which was thought to be the company’s best option for stopping the leak, was announced after about 30,000 barrels of mud was injected into the well and three attempts were made at what is termed the “junk shot,” a procedure that involves pumping odds and ends like plastic cubes, knotted rope, and golf balls into the blowout preventer, the five-story safety device atop the well.

That’s right, golf balls. Read the rest of this entry »