SkeptiSys

March 20, 2011

Brooklyn man beat without mercy for being Gay

Filed under: News, politics — Tags: , , — skeptisys @ 9:18 pm

Six men beat  Barie Shortell senseless in Brooklyn NY 1 month ago, leaving him in need of 9.5 hour facial reconstruction surgery – because he is homosexual.

News report here.

Mr. Shortell has no medical insurance, so he will be liable for $100,000 in medical bills.  If you would like to donate to help with his bills, please visit this website.

To donate for LGBT rights, see ACLU.

If you want to protest, I recommend doing so at a catholic church or other organization that speaks against homosexuality.  We need to tell them to stop hating and start helping.

BarieShortellx390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.com

 

Update: April 2, 2011

I received an angry message from a Catholic supporter, John.  Usually I do not respond to these messages, but this one actually contains semi-coherent thoughts that may be universal enough to warrant response.  The parts I left out of John’s message were for coherency and do not change the meaning.

 

John: “right, so 6 men beat this guy up and you’d rather punish the catholic church then the people who did it?   why are you blaming churches for this again, considering there’s zero evidence that the guys that did it are even religious?  for all we know he was beaten senseless by 6 skeptic atheist fag-haters.”

A: No, I did not speak about punishment at all, purposefully.  I think this country punishes too much and does too little to help.  If the police catch these guys, they will punish them strongly (unless they are on the board of directors of Verizon), so protesting the police to catch them would do absolutely no good.  So, why do I think it would do well to protest at a catholic church or other organization that speaks against homosexuality?

The Catholic Church does not just preach against homosexuality to the deeply religious.  They also preach to the rest of us and go as far as to push for anti-homosexuality laws, which is quite unconstitutional.  When their hatred reaches federal and state law, it has long since ceased to reach only the religious, and affects all people who may be persuaded to hate gays, including non-Christians.  The religion of the attackers is irrelevant to me.  But protesting the Catholic Church may just convince them and their followers to see that their divisive speech causes violence, and just maybe they will care about humanity and preach against violence instead of hatred of homosexuality.  If we can do that, we will prevent more violence like this in the future.  That should be everyone’s goal.

 

 

 

May 26, 2009

Sotomenor – followup to Judge Sotomayor’s nomination

Filed under: law, News, politics — Tags: , , — skeptisys @ 10:24 am

When Judge Sonia Sotomayor was first mentioned as a potential candidate to the Supreme Court, I wrote my concerns here.  That article dealt with one manner in which PR firms for large governmental corporations manage to motivate the opposition to  support their corporate candidate.  Today, I would like to revisit that topic, mainly due to Glenn Greenwald’s just published article. It appears that Glenn Greenwald has fallen into their clever trap.

Although I disagree with Glenn in this one instance, I mean no disrespect towards him:

1. Glenn Greenwald is one of the best journalists in existence.  I read his work every chance I get, including his excellent books.  To paraphrase what someone once said of Noam Chomsky in The Nation, “not to have read Glenn Greenwald is to court genuine ignorance.”

2. The public relations industry has spent decades and trillions of dollars to influence public opinion and behavior.  Not one individual can claim they have not subconsciously been affected by such a large influence, except perhaps a deaf dumb and mute African tribesman.  Not me, not you, and not even Glenn Greenwald – whose endurance in this area is remarkable.

Today, the New York Times announced that President Obama will officially nominate Sotomayor for U.S. Supreme Court.  Sotomayor, originally appointed by former radical CIA director George Bush Sr, has made the following decisions (from ScotusBlog, linked to in Glenn’s current article.)

Privacy rights:  Sotomayor is against individual privacy rights.  From the article: “workplace conditions can be such that an employee’s expectation of privacy…is diminished.”  Here, she explained, the search was permissible because it could have revealed employee misconduct.

Sotomayor, however, is very compassionate towards governmental privacy: “In two cases involving requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Sotomayor wrote an opinion that declined to order the release of the requested information, explaining that she did not want to “unreasonably hamper agencies in their decision-making.”

Public health vs. corporate profits.  Sotomayor prefers profits, apparently.  She ruled against the EPA in its fight to enforce the Clean Water Act against power plants.  “Sotomayor wrote and opinion holding that the EPA was not permitted to engage in a cost-benefit analysis to determine “best technology available”; instead, it could consider cost only to determine “what technology can be ‘reasonably borne’ by the industry” and whether the proposed technology was “cost-effective”

Quotes from ScousBlog.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a sympathetic character, a minority female who is intelligent and inappropriately attacked by wacky republicans.  Instinctively, I want to side with her.  But I also want clean water and air, and I want an open government by and for the people.   I cannot support a dangerous corporate stooge.  We have enough of those already in the U.S. Supreme Court.

cover me with clean water blanket

cover me with clean water blanket

ChristyChurch pic.

March 16, 2009

Portland’s Soft & Gooey Center: Greg Oden, Bill Walton, Mychal Thompson, Sam Bowie, and LaRue Martin

Greg Oden getting some much needed therapy for his injuries

Greg Oden getting some much needed therapy for his injuries

Only 16 games remain in the 2nd NBA regular season of Greg Oden’s career – a good time for an evaluation of the talented player drafted #1 by the Portland Trailblazers in June 2007.  Let’s begin with the 2 unluckiest phrases you can possibly hear in connection with your name on NBA draft night:

1. “With the 1st pick, the Portland Trailblazers select…”

and

2. “With the next pick, out of Duke…”

Runner-up: “Don’t worry, either Jay Williams or Bobby Hurley can give you a ride home.”

I’ll leave the Duke post for another time, but as a quick partial summary of Duke high draft picks: Trajan Langdon at #11; JJ Redick also at #11; Sheldon Williams at #5; Cherokee Parks at #12; Jay Williams at #2; Bobby Hurley at #7; Grant ‘accident prone’ Hill at #3; Mike Dunleavey at #3; William Avery at #14; and Danny Ferry at #2. If you want to make a couple Sweet 16’s and have Dick Vitale fall in Chihuahua love with you – go to Duke; if you want a good NBA career – go elsewhere (like the European Pro Leagues or Wake Forest).

Portland has selected 4 centers with the NBA overall #1 pick; and 1 with the #2 pick (Sam Bowie).  How has that worked out for them?  Not too well, actually.

name games missed (1st 2 seasons) games played (1st 2 seasons) points (1st 2 seasons) rebounds (1st 2 seasons) PER* (highest for 1st 2 seasons) games, career total PER high, career
Sam Bowie 50 114 1206 983 15.7 511 16.40
Greg Oden 102 46 412 333 17.8 0 17.80
Mychal Thompson 91 73 1074 604 17.0 935 19.20
Bill Walton 78 86 1271 1122 20.0 468 24.80
LaRue Martin 37 127 584 539 14.0 271 14.00
*PER (Player Efficiency Rating) created by John Hollinger, is the best available (though far from perfect) single number evaluation of a NBA player’s value.  PER is computed using most commonly available data weighted by value to the creation of points, and adjusted for pace and season.   High is used here for 3 reasons: 1) blocks and steals were not counted in the NBA during LaRue’s 1st season (they stole the idea from the ABA in 1973; 2) the computation would take many hours to perform; and 3) the results would basically be unaffected by the additional computation.

From this table we see that injuries are the major issue with these high draft picks.  The healthiest(? or ! or : P) here are LaRue Martin (22.5% missed games) and Sam Bowie (over 30% games missed).  If Sam Bowie is at the top of your healthy list jus ahead of Bill Walton, you may have trainer problems.  In this respect, Greg Oden is even worse than his predecessors, missing 102 games so far (a staggering 69%).

Quality of play for Oden is a little more promising than his health – he has performed significantly better than LaRue Martin.  On the other hand, Bill Walton appears to be the outlier here – a far better player than anyone else on this list including Oden.

The best comp to Oden here is Mychal Thompson.  Mychal missed the most games in the 1st 2 seasons, other than Oden, and his PER is very similar to Oden’s (17.8 to 17.0).  Mychal was seen as a soft scorer, rather than a banging defensive presence like the others here (notice the points/rebound ratios above) and lack of defensive data defense is the main weakness of PER.  Mychal’s missed games were due to one singular injury, unlike Bowie, Walton, and Oden, whose injuries have been multiple, chronic, and recurring.  Mychal had a one time injury, similar to Michael Jordan in his 2nd season. I have not seen Oden’s medical records, but his injury pattern does not appear similar to those who recover from an injury to have a long healthy NBA career.  Oden reminds me injury-wise more of Pervis Ellison and not Jordan.

Conclusion.   Greg Oden’s game appears to be similar to Mychal Thompson’s efficiency combined with Sam Bowie’s defensive ability.  Although not at the superstar level of Bill Walton, that combination is very impressive.  If Greg Oden can stay healthy just for a couple seasons, I could easily see him join Brandon Roy and Nate McMillen in the NBA finals soon enough.

Bill Walton Sports Illustrated cover

Bill Walton Sports Illustrated cover

I want to end with a few quotes from Bill Walton.  We all know that Bill was a tremendous basketball player, one of the best of all-time when he was healthy.  What is mostly forgotten is that Bill Walton was also a superior patriot, who gave his all to make his country and the world a better place. At a time now when American  freedom of speech is strongly muffled and contained, it is surprising to see these quotes that were commonplace and punished neither by fines nor anything by the NBA nor the government.  In fact, Bill Walton said he had a clause in his Portland Trailblazer contract that “prohibits the club from interfering with my religious and political beliefs, as long as I don’t practice them on the court.  I don’t think they (the club) felt all I was going to do was come up here and bounce a basketball.”

Nowadays, most American sports players are too afraid of fines and their image to pursue higher social goals and amplify the voice of the quiet and oppressed.  Derek Jeter is the epitome of today’s athlete, where every statement sounds like a corporate press release or Miss America speech.  Notable exceptions to this are: Carlos Delgado and Steve Nash.

In Bill Walton’s own words:

On why he did not consider Gerald Ford to be President of the U.S.: “Government is supposed to represent the will of the people.  When it no longer does that, it becomes illegitimate and no longer serves it’s function.”

“It’s my belief that this government has done nothing to warrant the cooperation of the people it is supposed to represent.  I can’t emphasize enough that it’s not the American people that I dislike.  I just don’t think the present government represents these people.”

“My friends and I are nonviolent people.  But I think we have a responsibility to fight back –  not with guns, but with love, truth, compassion and education.”

“Our values are to learn that health, our bodies, and our lives are more important than the value of money.”

Bill Walton quotes from The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball, 1976 edition: edited by Zander Hollander – article Bill Walton Faces the Future by Ken Wheeler, Oregon Journal.

Bill Walton doesn't eat animals

Bill Walton doesn't eat animals

via: SI; Kyle Macaulay’s page; and LeBron please save NY. Pervis Ellison reference via Satan!

puppies of purgatory

puppies of purgatory

April 10, 2008

Bush administration/government initiated illegal surveillance of innocent Americans long before 9/11 attacks

Filed under: law, News, politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — skeptisys @ 7:19 am

bush quote lies

Article updated to fix links.

The Bush administration/government initiated illegal surveillance of innocent Americans long before 9/11 attacks of the World Trade Center.   The Bush administration and members of the mainstream media have made strong claims that spying on American citizens is necessary to protect from another terrorist attack.   However, the initiation of the illegal warrantless spying of American citizens began at least 6 months prior to the 9/11 attacks, and months before the email warning received by U.S. government officials that Osama Bin Laden was to attack the United States.

The former CEO of Qwest communications, Joseph P. Nacchio, testified under oath that the NSA approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans’ phone records.  The Washington Post report on the belated unsealed court records is here.  (late edit: Washington Post link is no longer working, so this is a link to Harper magazine’s article citing the Washington Post story) Nacchio also stated that Qwest refused the government’s request due to its “lack of legal standing”, contradicting the claims that telecommunications companies were beholden to act as the NSA and Bush Administration requested.

The Bush administration and large telecommunications companies have bypassed the United States Constitution 4th amendment to spy illegally on innocent Americans in order to gain political and financial control and power, and not as a reaction to a terrorist act – as falsely and repeatedly claimed.

head in the wall can\'t see

March 13, 2008

Around the world.

Filed under: Cool other, News, Strange — Tags: , , , , , , — skeptisys @ 9:40 am

potrait.jpg

What is going on around the globe? Here is today’s news briefs:

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the NSA has continued its illegal wiretapping actions, even after congress explicitly told them it was illegal. The NSA collected and scanned all emails and phone calls for ‘strange’ activity and patterns. A reader somewhere wondered, “maybe the NSA has the missing White House emails.”

The BBC reports that China is accusing the United States of double standards on human rights, only ordering beef with broccoli.

Random visual poetry can be beautiful The most hypnotic website is up, flickrvision. The site takes photos uploaded to a public photo site, Flickr, and displays them one at a time – from all over the globe.

This is Wally Ballou signing off.

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