Majority

I’m a big believer in facts. Numbers matter but context matters just as much. It seems to be a common tactic these days for people to throw out a number and then try to twist it to fit an ideal. While sometimes the confusion could be forgiven, when it is obvious the fact is presented after the ideal as validation, one should be suspect. lol

Point and case, I got into a debate with a conservative person the other day over marriage rights. It was online and the topic diverged into a discussion about Fox News and said person’​s argument, ‘if Fox news is so bad, why does it routinely rank very high in viewers?‘ Said person was quite smug and very matter-of-fact about how the ‘majority’ of Americans got there news from Fox.

No, no, and just no. The failure in logical reasoning here is the assumption it is a one or the other choice. It isn’t. The rest of us aren’t limited to just one other option. We have a plethora of outlets to get our daily consumption for what passes for news these days. The idea that Fox is somehow the voice of Americans due to a large viewing base is categorically false. What it does show is that the extremists have limited choices and Fox is pretty much it. Not surprising, said person then resorted to typical diversionary tactics to avoid further debate.​

*

On a side note, Fox news went to court in 2003 on whether it was required to report factual news. Fox won as the judge ruled there was no legal requirement for them to do so!

I’ll just let that sink in for a bit.

Because there is no actual law that requires news agencies to report factual news, they don’t have to? Where is the moral and ethical obligation? Concurrently, Fox has since gone from a reputable news agency to a propaganda arm for extremist views. Welcome to “murrica”.

Bait

No, I’m not dredging up stories of child hood fishing trips or late night trolling for booty. I am referring to the out of control click-bait you see polluting most social media sites these days.

Headlines are written to provoke a click. It doesn’t matter if the headline isn’t true or so twisted to barely represent the story, as long as you ‘submit’.1 Most of the time said person sharing the click-bait hasn’t even read the link. It it is annoying to the point that I’ve started unfollowing people who do it a lot.

It is one thing if it is specifically related to you or your life. Beyond that, I don’t care what animal you are. I don’t care what cartoon character you are. I don’t care what your wanna be porn name is. I don’t care what character in any movie ever made is. I don’t care if you are a unicorn who burps glitter and shits rainbows. And here is a news flash, no one else does either!

And you people who share fake stories or scams “just to be safe” need to be punched in the dick!  Knock. It. Off!  No Bill Gates and Yahoo are not joining forces. No, the IRS is not sending the sheriffs to your house to arrest you unless you send them money. No, the quadrillionaire in [insert county here] did not die and leave all his money in limbo so his [insert relative or estated holder] can ask your help in getting the money. No, VI@gR@ will not help you ‘get the girl.’ No, “if you are a real ______, you will share this like I did.”  And for fuck’s sake, NO YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A LOT OF MONEY BY MAGIC IF YOU POST THIS TO 10 OTHER PEOPLE’S PROFILES.

Now get off my lawn!




  1. Reference to a very funny Simpsons episode btw []

PSA

I thought I’d provide a public service announcement today. Let me attempt to clarify (and edify) you on the differences between belief and bigotry.

Belief (or faith) in your [deity of choice] is soley your choice in life. Under the freedoms granted to you in our democracy, you are free to believe and celebrate (thru prayer, church, communion, etc) said belief thru its given dogma any way you choose. While I may or may not agree with your belief(s), you are entitled to them and I respect that. You are free to believe that being gay is an abomination.1 You are free to hate me for being gay. Hate is not illegal. You are free to think that I will be transported to a magical place of fire/brimestone upon my death. You are free to ignore the fact that I was born gay. You are free to disagree with the later statement verbally. You are free to say your beliefs and share them with others by proselytizing2. These are your rights.

What you are not free to do is enforce your belief onto me, thru laws or otherwise. You are not free to commit a crime against me based on your hate. When you attempt to enforce your belief(s) onto me you are engaged in bigotry. You are not free to discriminate against me based on your belief when you provide public accommodations. You are not free force me to live your way. You are not free to prevent me from having the same rights as any other human being simply because I’m different. We do not live in a theocracy. And no matter how you might wish we did, we still do not. Your belief does not shield you from persecution when you cross over into being a bigot. And calling you out for your bigotry does not make you a victim of persecution. And no amount of cognitive dissonace, conflation, or twisting the english language will ever make it so.

Now you know. Go forth and edify others; so it is my commandment to you this 17th day of October in the year 11 of Moby’s blog.




  1. So is eating shell-fish. Where is the outrage over shrimp? I mean just look at those nasty little buggers! They have ‘demon’ written all over them! []
  2. witnessing []

Duty

​I’ve gotten more than a few inquiries on my thoughts regarding the Missouri incident.  In a word, it’s a mess. You have a citizenry that is under-educated and have all but abandoned their civic duties. Granted, they can’t be blamed so much for that but looting your own community demonstrates a level of ignorance that is becoming more and mor prevelant in this country.

I come from very poor means. It is hard to care about community involvement when your sole existence is about survival. But, if we hope to stop problems like this we have to encourage said communities to be and do better. We need to shift our priorities away from the accumulation of wealth and to the betterment of people. Education is a huge component. An educated community is often more involved. Of course, the powers that be want you to be dumb because you are easier to control.

Then you have a police force in a small town that has all the authority and very little oversight. This is not unusual per se. Visit any small rural area and you’ll see similar stories. Does that mean all rural depts are bad? No, of course not. But as the facts unfold, it is glaringly obvious the agency is lacking in any sort of oversight or accountability from its citizens. The abundance of hard-core military grade gadgets is simply crazy.

At the end of the day a young man lost his life. His implied guilt or innocence is not a valid reason on its own for his death. And as the facts are told and clarified, there is a larger cloud over the agency vs the officer involved. The often inflammatory (and even sometimes inaccurate) reporting from many media outlets hasn’t helped the situation. And of course, the emergent mob-mentality of our social media commentary is just icing on the cake. If social media is your only source of news, you are part of the problem. If you don’t know the details of a story or incident, keep your mouth shut until you do. Don’t share links you haven’t read because of a link-baiting headline. And you f**kers who share every story with the idea “it can’t hurt“, need a serious ass-whooping. /rant

Are there bad officers? Of course there are. But for every bad cop, there are easily 100 more you never hear about. Why? Because cops doing their duty don’t generate sensational headlines or ad-clicks.1  A few bad cops do not make them all bad and isolated stories of abuse do not paint an accurate picture.  Yes, our law-enforcement should be held to a higher standard, but humans are fallible no matter their position in life. To avoid the corruption we as the citizenry must be involved.

And speaking of, our citizenry is becoming ill-educated every day it seems. Subjective validation is often more important than facts or reason. Religious fanatacism and personal greed have trumped our morals. We’ve gone from ‘what can I do for my society‘ to ‘what can society do for me?‘ The idea of civic duty or responsibility is a foreign idea to most folks these days. A citizenry that abandons it’s overseers is quickly overrun by their own indifference. Absolute power corrupts absolute as the old adage goes. You cannot give away your power thru inaction and then wonder why the abuses keep happening. Proclaming your outrage on social media and demanding change does nothing to help and only serves to feed the problem.

Perform your civic duties. Vote, serve on jury duty and most of all, be involved in your community. Go to community meetings. Know your local policy makers and pay attention to their actions. Only then will your actions carry weight and effect change. Otherwise, you end up just being another sheep being guided by those in power, often to your detriment.




  1. Poor comparison but I see the same mis-characterization in my volunteer work with animals regarding pitbulls. []

Observed

In the vein of my last post I thought I share some follow up observations. Pride as a celebration/protest/march/event has changed. It continues to change every year. This should not be a surprise as our community has seen the fastest change in acceptance of any civil rights struggle in the last century. What Pride means to me is different from someone experiencing Pride for the first time. And of course, Pride as an event as always been a bit subjective. For some it is a celebration, for others it is a protest, and for some still it is an act of defiance.

The Pup and I did our first Pride together this year and I still found myself getting a little choked up. To my surprise, he mentioned to me later that he had as well. I often spend as much time looking out across the see of attendees as I do the parade participants. Looking out across the sea of people still gets to me every time. It reminds me of where I came from and where we are headed. It doesn’t matter if they represent me or look/act like me. No matter our differences in life, I always feel connected to them in a common thread that is humanity. We are all but mainstream now. For some that is a blessing and others see it as a curse. Either way, our often treasured events are no longer just ours. They are shared by others, some who just come to party. I don’t begrudge them.1  For me, Pride will always be a celebration of that dawning realization I was not alone.

That being said, the Pride of the 70’s/80’s/90’s is gone. As with life, all things change and as fast as we change, so does our celebrations. I do lament that many of the younger generation will never take the time to know the struggle of those before. They won’t know the pain, the heartache, and even death of the many souls who fought for us to be seen as humans; deserving of the same respect and treatment as our straight brethren. But having freedom doesn’t mean others should comply with my way of thinking or acting. The alphabet of letters we’ve assigned ourselves and others are all welcome at the table. Just as freedom should not be contingent on compliance or conformance, neither should equality.

*
Many of my frustrations with Pride (and other gay events) has little to do with us as a community and more with society as a whole. We devolving in many ways. If we don’t pull away from the indifference, selfishness, and anti-intellectualism that is plaguing our society, we are in big trouble. I fear for ‘our’ celebrations because of this. But I digress. Our own alphabet community, while tied together in common struggle, is beginning to unravel and fight against itself. Having tasted the sweet fruit of equality, we are abandoning our tolerance and acceptance of our differences. We see the world thru the lens of black and white and anyone who would disagree, even in the slightest, is often labeled the enemy.

There is an emergent polarization erupting in our rainbow colored spectrum. We have those who embrace our newfound equality and those who rail against it. The former are labeled sellouts and conformists and the latter are labeled freaks and anarchists. While both labels may be true in some instances, such overly broad generalizations are not helpful. Some of the antics from both sides in the last year have made me ashamed to be called gay.

Each of us is responsible for our actions. We can choose to mire ourselves in the obscurity of the masses because it is easy and comfortable. Or we can choose to lead a path of truth, even when it isn’t always convenient. You have to ask yourself, which path are you on?




  1. Even if I begrudge some of their drunken antics []

Less

I find that I spend less time on social-media sites these days. One, I’ve been super busy so less time and two, it just seems to be more and more tedious and boring. There is so much crap and filler meant to generate ad-clicks, it just gets to a point where the purpose is lost. It is no secret I loathe FB but it does allow a connection of sorts to friends. I’ve threatened to dump FB in the past and still might but it is more likely I’ll just end up posting less and less until it becomes a place-holder.

Part of my frustration is witnessing the dumbing down of America. And it is getting worse. Our indifference to anything outside our immediate environment is contributing to the decay of our society. Integrity, honor, respect, honesty, truth, it’s all becoming buzz-words. Social media was meant to unite and bring us together and it seems to be doing just the opposite. I can’t say I wanna be a part of that. Don’t even get me started on the whole anti-intellectualism movement again. OMFG! 

Then you have the “stories” that often catch on like wild-fire that turn out to be hoaxes or flat out lies. Almost every day now I encounter stories that are fake or have just enough of the truth to seem plausible. And of course, no one can be bothered to check around or fact find, they just read a story and assume it is true and then continue to spread the ignorance. Even credible news outlets have been falling prey to this.1  As my maw-maw always used to say, “…believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.”

Unlike previous moods, I’m not saying I’m leaving vs just expressing a growing dislike for said sites. They have some use but I’m finding the cons are out-weighing the pros more and more.




  1. One has to look at the recent Turing Test story going around about a supercomputer finally crossing a threshold of believability as a human. Total fabricated story but it spread to even many of the tech sites []

PrEP

So I’m diving head first into a topic of news lately regarding PrEP. *This is a bit of a long post today so grab some caffeine*

If you aren’t familiar with the term PrEP, it stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylactic.1 The drug Truvada has been on the market to treat HIV since the late 90’s. It was recently approved to help with the the prevention of HIV transmission for individuals that are HIV negative. This news has been received with some very mixed reviews from within the community and the fight over it rages on.

The disturbing part is not that the decision is contentious but that there have been attempts to silence or shame anyone who has embraced the option. I must say I don’t really understand the latter. Even worse, much of the criticisms are based on ignorance and baseless (so far) assumptions. I get the advice for caution and concern but the level of vitriol and condescending attacks is unnecessary and counter-productive. If you don’t understand something don’t ramble on about how awful it is because ‘you know someone will abuse it.’ As often turns out, you don’t know and that ignorance can cause real harm in this instance. You have zero right to demean anyone who would choose a path that may help prevent them from getting HIV, even if that path doesn’t line up with your personal preferences.

I blame some of it on our conditioning in Western culture to hate our bodies and/or any idea of sex outside of coupling. We are institutionalized from birth on 1man+1women=babies. Well, that social construct doesn’t apply so well for us same-sex lovin’ folks. And having moral apprehension to a method to prevent the transmission of HIV is perfectly fine for yourself. Sex is not dirty, wrong, or shameful. And this continual shame based approach to sexuality is reprehensible. Frankly, it should dispel any remaining allusions that we are in any way unique or more evolved than our straight brethren.

This particular argument isn’t about personal standards. It is about the prevention of HIV transmission. Infections are once again on the rise at an alarming rate.2 And while HIV may not be the death sentence it once was, it is still incurable. It is time to branch out and embrace more ways to combat the spread. The ‘you should use a condom’ argument has soundly failed, as evidenced by the continual rise in infections from a generation that missed the mass die-off in the beginning. And why we of all people continue to fall prey to this failed ideology escapes me. The ‘you should’ method has never worked. If it did, we wouldn’t have teen pregnancies, drunk drivers, continued HIV transmission, or even wars for that matter. You are right, people should use a condom. Many do but many more don’t. It is time to fight the transmission from a different angle and from as many angles as we possibly can.

There are some pros and cons to going on PrEP. It isn’t for everyone based on your risk-factors, health, eating/drinking habits, relationship status, etc. If you have questions or concerns, ignore all the hype and drama. Talk to your health care professional about it. At the end of the day, what I or anyone else thinks you should do is irrelevant. You should act to protect yourself and if this would help you, then you should consider it.

*

For my own view, I support the approach to limit the spread based on sound statistical evidence. So far, the studies are showing that PrEP is truly effective in preventing the exposure and spread of infection.

One big argument I hear has been people will use condoms less. Statistically, so far that proves to be inaccurate. Two of the studies (which use blind testing – meaning you never know if you are getting the real drug or a placebo) showed that overall condom use did not decrease. But let us assume for a moment that people did. How many times have you trusted a complete stranger to be honest about their status? And how many times have you engaged in riskier sex based on that belief? The way I see it, we have several scenarios3 where HIV transmission can occur:

Both partner’s know they are neg.
This is a fallacy. You should never assume someone who has sex with others besides you is neg. But let us assume for the moment, both partners think they are neg. You aren’t in a monogamous LTR and you engage in unprotected sex. Not being on PrEP means you are at the highest exposure rate for transmission. Being on PrEP would mean the ratio of transmission is reduced significantly (As much as 95% without a condom according to the efficacy rates of the studies so far).

One partner doesn’t know his status.
I would argue most of new transmissions via sex happen when one partner doesn’t know his status or assumes his status hasn’t changed. Again, if one of you are on PrEP, the exposure rate is reduced significantly.

Only one partner is neg.
Usually this means the poz partner is already on a drug regimen and undetectable. (You should still ask)  Plenty of sero-discordant couples already weren’t using condoms prior to PrEP. In an LTR or not, now the neg partner has an extra layer of protection and assurance he is not at risk. Not only does this reduce the transmission, it also de-stigmatizes the fear that comes from being with a poz person. Knowing you can be with a poz person and not put yourself at risk helps many who want to get past the mental mind-block, overcome their fear, and move forward.

Both partner’s know they are poz.
These are the least of your worries. These guys know their status and sero-sort on purpose. Primarily, to avoid the afore mentioned stigma that comes with being poz. I’d argue the only time this becomes an issue is when you get into assuming again. “We’re barebacking so he must be neg”, meanwhile, the other guy is thinking “We’re barebacking so he must be poz.” Never assume anyone is neg.

So which category do you fit in?

There are some cons and real concerns to consider. The biggest concern so far is the idea that guys will go on it inconsistently and cause resistance. Keep in mind resistance is only relevant if you sero-convert to being positive. Adherence to the daily regimen is key to the drugs efficacy. But think on this for a moment. The drug is already used for post exposure. Say you aren’t being very consistent with taking it daily. Then you have an exposure. How many of you reading this wouldn’t, out of that same fear, start taking it every day after an a possible exposure?

So far, the medical community is much more worried about resistance from folks that are using it as treatment, not preventative care. And let’s be real, people who spend the time, energy, and money to get on it as PrEP aren’t being cavalier. I’d argue they are doing just the opposite. It isn’t just a simple prescription. You have to visit your doc every 3 months, at least for the first year, for regular checkups and blood work. That decreases over time but you see my point. And when has a doc ever given you a prescription with an unlimited refill amount? See, when you think it thru you start unraveling some of the preconceived notions.

Another issue is cost. Fortunately, most large insurers already cover it so if you have insurance, chances are higher they do cover it vs not. I won’t even entertain the conspiracy theories I’m heard on this one.

And then we get to side-effects. The are some rare but sometimes very serious side-effects that can come from long term use of the drug. That again, is why you discuss it with your doctor and get regular blood work. Almost two decades of use show overall it is well tolerated by most. Even still, you are not given a prescription and never return. The hype over some of the more serious side-effects has been quite dazzling. I encourage you to go to WebMD.com and do a search for both Truvada and the little blue pill.4 No one is up in arms over the side-effects of the latter, which by definition aren’t much better. You can choose pretty much any drug site of choice to do a comparison.

In the end, you have to decide for yourself if this is right for you. If you are someone who uses a condom without fail (pun intended) then it may not be the choice for you. However, if you find that you aren’t 100% consistent and/or just want an extra layer of protection, then it might be for you. Talk to your doctor. Talk to others who are on it, regardless of their status. Decide for yourself if PrEP would be an additional way to combat the spread of HIV for YOU.

/rant




  1. Not to be confused with PEP, Post Exposure Prophylactic. The same drug is used for both []
  2. Ironically, many don’t stigmatize the treatment of other STDs, like Gonorrhea or Syphilis, that used to be considered terminal. []
  3. excluding needle sharing []
  4. I don’t want to attract the bots so I’m not spelling it out. lolol []

Rants

For a long time I tried not to talk too much about politics or current event sort of subjects on le blog. I just didn’t want to beat a horse that everyone else was beating. I go off on some things from time to time but I’ve always kept the focus of the blog squarely on myself.

These days, I find less and less need to fight my personal demons in this space. And while I’ll continue to blather on about my personal development, I feel it is time to start branching out. I think I have a good perspective on much of the happenings in the world. And as I love to harp, I’m good at seeing subtle but often important distinctions in things.

I guess what I’m saying is you, dear reader, should expect to start seeing more current event type rants here. Not everyday and certainly not the focus but I like to think it will add a good mixture to the chronicle that is my life.

Freedom

wpid-bondage-duck-300x300.jpg

image

The recent fallout over the PR lady poking fun of AIDS in Africa and the phoney character from that stupid duck show both illustrate my point.

First of all, freedom of speech in our constitution is meant to protect citizens from government censorship. The first amendment is not relevant to either of these situations so whining about their ‘freedoms’ being violated just shows a lack of understanding. It also shows cowardice in trying to hide behind biased comments as “freedom of speech” in an attempt to avoid any repercussions for said speech.

If you’ve been living under a rock, a PR lady for a rather large umbrella company posted a tweet making fun of going to Africa and inferring she wouldn’t get AIDS because she was white. She was fired from her job for it. Many felt she deserved it, others felt she didn’t really say anything wrong. The latter being based on an erroneous belief that Africa has a large percentage of HIV+ individuals that are black. As if that makes her heinous comments about being white ok.

The other example, a completely contrived character from a ‘reality TV’ show went on a long nasty tirade about gays and religion in an interview for a magazine. He was kicked off the show for it. Several side drama stories have ensued as well. The show might even get canceled because now the other phoney characters are threatening to boycott filming. Oh what a tragedy to our national IQ that would be. /sarcasm

Getting fired from your job for making racist or homophobic comments, however innocent you might have meant them in your ignorance, is not a violation of your first amendment rights.

The moral boys and girls?
Words have consequences, good and bad. Think before you speak.

Gene

I’m on a bit of a ramble today so try to keep up with my logic jumps as I muddle thru this.

I’ve been reading all the fall out on Dirk Cable and Jesse Jackman having a picture of them kissing flagged on FB.  Then Jesse getting banned for 12 hours. The  outrage over it went a bit viral and then finally the HuffPo picked up the story.

While reading thru many of the comments (it’s always fun to read the hate, bigotry, and flat out ignorance), a general pattern of stupidity emerges based on religion. Of course, if you take religion out for the equation all of those against it lose their arguments, save one and that being propagation of the species. For some reason every time this comes up my brain bounces back to the Hubbard guy who viewed gays1 as an aberration that must be rooted out. In case you are unfamiliar, he was the founder of the Science cult church, whom I won’t even do the honor of a full reference here for search engines.

Anyway, I’ve always found his wording intriguing. Not so much his hatred for gays (he had a gay son apparently) but his thought lines. He specifically and more than a few times referred to it as an aberration. Well for anyone who knows anything about evolution and biological progression, aberrations are not always bad. Whether an aberration survives in a species is often determined on any positive benefit it gives the species. That’s how evolution works. We also see in some species if the population breeds too quickly or over breeds, a switch happens and suddenly only one sex ends up being born in much larger numbers for awhile. This obviously leads to population control. What if humans, as a species, have a similar mechanism in our genome? In essence, the gay gene (or genes now based on more recent studies) would serve as a form of population control.

Are you still with me? lol  There are now over 7 billion people on this planet and the number is growing exponentially. Frankly, we are killing this planet. There are just too many of us for our natural resources to last. Not only are we over-breeding but because of modern medicine many more are living much longer lives. In my mind, it makes perfect sense that our genome is now producing abundantly more gay people. It serves as a mechanism to keep the species in check. Being a bit of a science geek, the idea hit me at a very early age. And it has never quite gone away. Obviously, I have no proof.  It is just an observation that rings true ‘to me.’  I’m not a scientist or even educated enough in genetic research to know but it certainly would explain a lot.

So even though he was a bit crazy and homophobic, he may have hit the nail on the head, just not in the way he expected. Now wouldn’t that be a kick in the rubber pants?




  1. And pretty much any deviation from sex for procreation []