3.23.2010

Why I Support Gay Marriage

1. No law or government regulation should limit rights based on gender

This is the crux of my position: one side wants two people, regardless of gender, to be able to share rights and responsibilities under a legal contract, and the other wants to make sure that rights are only afforded when specific gender conditions are met.

2. There is no good argument not to

a. Tradition

Our government is founded on the principal that our principals can be amended to fit ever-developing morals and social structures. Anyone who claims that a moral code should stagnate instead of evolve with the people it serves is, at heart, a bigot. Woman's suffrage, civil rights, etc. all were, at one time, against tradition. Adjusting law to better serve and protect its citizens has not morally bankrupted this country.

b. Harms the "institution" of marriage

Until divorce is illegal, until marriage licenses require at least as much education and testing as drivers licenses, then the "institution" of marriage has worse threats to address. And divorce will always need to be legal, to protect the rights of the individuals within the marriage.

c. Government will force churches to gay marry

Equal rights for women has yet to force the catholic church to allow female priests. The relatively recent hubbub for altar girls was a decision made within the church from pressures of its parishioners, not any government. Similarly have various denominations chosen to allow female pastors following internal pressures and schisms.

Separation of church and state, remember? Historically, and presently, the government has been more detrimentally affected by religion than the other way around.

d. Gay parents aren't as good for children as straight parents

Many problems faced by the children of gay parents are likely due them living in and struggling against an intolerant society. I imagine children of mixed-race couples had a harder time than their peers as well.

Another thing is that sexual preference has nothing to do with ones ability as a parent; straight parents can have children they don't want by accident. Never happens with gay parents.

e. Why not civil union?

Separate but equal is never just. Either the government stops issuing marriage licenses at all (marriage being the responsibility of the various churches) and only issues civil unions to everyone, or they issue marriage licenses to everyone.

f. Slippery slope towards polygamy

And if we don't allow gay marriage, it's a slippery slope towards letting no one marry! Slippery slope arguments are useless cliche trash, this generation's domino theory (and look at all the countries that fell to communism!).

3.  I want to be able to look at the progress made during my generation with pride, not shame

Anyone who refuses to see parallels with the civil rights movement is being willfully blind. No, it is not the same, but it is most certainly analogous.

And if we don't allow gay people to marry, they will just get dangerous, back-alley marriages.

3.11.2010

Post-Apocalyptic Go Bag

I've been thinking of some "It's the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Like Living, Dammit" survival gear. This list leans more towards the universal tools, eschewing any mention of shelter or attire, which would be highly dependent on the environment of a post-cataclysm earth. (Nuclear winter or baked earth from an unstable sun? Decrepit urban environment, or planet reclaimed by nature?) The attire you'll definitely need that I didn't include is footwear: police tactical or combat boots will fit the bill, but these are best pried off the mummified corpse found in a forgotten bunker, at least according to the movies.

Hunting/scavenging implements for food are dependent on personal skill sets and what kind of extinction event happened.

Suggested additions are welcome.

The first item is why I made this list.



Item: Halligan Bar
Price: ~$200
Where to get?: Firefighter suppliers
Alternative: Stanley FatMax Xtreme 55-120 FuBar III ($80)
Already own: No
Usefulness: Very
Able to survive harsh environments: Yes (solid, unibody steel/titanium)
Awesomeness: Off the charts

The Halligan Bar/Halligan Tool is the official forced entry tool of the NYC Fire Department. As long as it isn't a safe or welded shut, this Hulked-out crowbar will open it, enabling the post-apocalyptic scavenger access to all but the most secured food stores and shelters. As a weapon, The curved metal spike at the end of 12 lbs of steel is as terrifying as a table leg dipped in tar and broken glass, and much more reliable. Requires no ammo or formal training, just swing it at what you want gone. I imagine that after the nuclear ash settles a lot of basement ninjas will be found dead, having accidentally severed their own femoral artery or blinded themselves with shrapnel from a shattered discount katana.

And now, the rest:




Item: Inova X5 Flashlight
Price: ~$40
Where to get?: Everywhere
Already own: Yes
Usefulness: Very
Able to survive harsh environments: Yes (aircraft-grade aluminum, crush-proof up to 2,000 lbs., -20°F to 140°F, waterproof, batteries have a 10-year shelf life, 20 continuous hours of use)
Awesomeness: Pretty awesome




Item: Leatherman Wave
Price: ~$50
Where to get?: Anywhere
Alternative: Gerber 2Black Diesel ($50)
Already own: Yes
Usefulness: Very
Able to survive harsh environments: Yes (May wear out with abuse)
Awesomeness: Meh




Item: Water Purification Tablets
Price: ~$5
Where to get?: Camp Stores/Military Surplus
Already own: No
Usefulness: Necessity when not able to boil the water
Able to survive harsh environments: Within the bottle, sure.
Awesomeness: Zero





Item: Tabasco
Price: ~$3
Where to get?: Anywhere
Alternative: Hot sauce of your choice
Already own: Yes
Usefulness: Unless you like the taste of mutant dump rat or feral cat, extremely
Able to survive harsh environments: Within the bottle, sure.
Awesomeness: Actually, pretty cool.




Item: Nalgene Bottle
Price: ~$15
Where to get?: Everywhere
Alternative: Any durable waterbottle/canteen
Already own: Yes (the BPA-flavored version)
Usefulness: Necessity
Able to survive harsh environments: Yes.
Awesomeness: Zero





Item: High-quality beach towel
Price: ~$20
Where to get?: Anywhere
Already own: Yes
Usefulness: Necessity
Able to survive harsh environments: Weak against tearing, but pretty durable
Awesomeness: All the way.





Item:
Firesteel
Price: ~$15
Where to get?: Camp Stores/Military Surplus
Already own: No
Usefulness: Necessity
Able to survive harsh environments: Yes, unlike matches/lighters. Lasts 12,000 strikes, or probably like 1,000 fires.
Awesomeness: Pretty awesome





Item:
Fiskars Pro Chopping Axe
Price: ~$30
Where to get?: Camp Stores/Building Supply Stores
Alternative: Hatchet of your choice
Already own: No
Usefulness: Useful for creating fires/shelter. Should get a sharpener too, especially if you forgo the Halligan bar and use this as a weapon.
Able to survive harsh environments: Fiberglass-reinforced toughness
Awesomeness: Pretty Awesome.





Awkward admission: Fear of a sudden apocalypse is partially why I got laser eye surgery. I saw that Twilight Zone and it scared the shit out of me.

3.05.2010

Man Crushes.

1. Jason Statham
2. Jon Stewart
3. James Roday/Dulé Hill
4. Paul Rudd
5. Stephen Fry