Observations on Being Liberal
Apr 04, 201302:02PM
Based on several recent conversations with friends:
Rule 1: Don't assume you know the background of the person you're talking to. Judging someone by their appearance isn't fair, nor liberal. Disabilities don't always show. Culture, religion, background rarely show, nor does gender orientation. Pigeonholing people is not very tolerant, nor liberal.
Rule 2: Anyone can discuss an issue. They may not be correct, or they may not agree with you, or some of each or both. Telling people they don't get to discuss an issue is not going to convince them you're right. It's only going to convince them you're conceited.
Rule 3: If it's a technical subject, such as firearms, reproductive biology or even a religious faith, the technical knowledge is a necessary part of the debate. Don't claim to be "informed" if you can't answer basic technical questions on the subject. In such cases, it would behoove you to acquire some technical knowledge, or to consult with someone who does. Here's the tough part: You have to assume they know what they're talking about, and believe their statements, much as you would a professional in any field. If the facts make your position uncomfortable, then perhaps your position needs to change. You are entitled to your own informed opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts. And if your opinion is not informed, you're still entitled to it, but no one is obligated to take you seriously.
3A: If you don't trust a person's technical opinion, why did you ask for it? Getting a second opinion is fine. Asking other people who are ignorant of a subject to fact check the expert is not only insulting, it indicates you need to re-read this rule. If most of the subject matter experts tell you you're wrong, maybe you are. This doesn't mean you have to like the conclusion. You only have to accept it.
Rule 4: Once you've demonstrated bias through ignorance, your credibility on any other matter drops fast. See Rules 1 and 3.
Rule 5: It's entirely possible for someone to have the same or different sources, be informed, and come to a different conclusion. This does not mean either you or they are wrong. Few issues are binary in nature. This offers an opportunity to debate, share information, and improve your position, even if you never fully agree with the other party. And that's okay, because liberals are tolerant of dissent.
5A: Don't assume that someone disagreeing with you must be ignorant of the subject. Ask questions. Learn why they have their position.
Rule 6: If you are absolutely sure the other party is wrong by your interpretation, remember that you also don't know everything, and even matters of common knowledge change with time. This person may be comfortable in a previous or foreign culture, or they may be ahead of the curve and ready for a future society. More likely, the answer lies somewhere between.
Rule 7: Activists don't have to compromise. They're expected to be extreme. If this applies to you, remember it also applies to others. They're entitled to the same focus and drive you are.
Rule 8: Skin color only matters to people who care about skin color. A person with dark skin may be from somewhere Africa, the Caribbean, or the US or anywhere else. Each of these people will have a different background. Their skin color only affects how you treat them, and how you treat them affects how they respond as a person. If you make assumptions about them based on their skin color, you're being presumptuous. Likewise, a white skinned person may be from the US, from Europe, from Australia. They're not going to all be the same, either. In fact, even American geography matters. However, it's likely that two Americans (or Canadians, Aussies, Greeks, Chinese), even of differing appearance, will have more in common with each other than with two people who look the same from different nations. If this is a revelation to you, you may not be as unbiased as you like to think you are.
8A: If you're a middle class white American, lecturing people on how middle class white Americans shouldn't lecture people on race/color/culture, you may have run into a recursive logic failure. Also, if you're assuming from visual cues that the person you're debating with is a middle class white American just like you...see Rule 1.
Rule 9: Telling someone else how they think or feel is conceited, derogatory, and wrong. Please don't do it.
Rule 10: You know how the popular press always gets your subject wrong when they discuss it? You know how the opposing press leaves out key facts through error or deceit and presents you in a bad light? It's a good idea to assume the same thing happens with other subjects and to other groups. See Rule 3.
Rule 11: Epithets like "right winger" and "wingnut" and even "troll" don't encourage the other parties to continue discussion. They're also neither liberal nor tolerant. Unless you plan on exterminating or outbreeding the dissenters, you need to patiently try to persuade them. Some won't be persuaded. This is not your fault. It may not be their fault, either. All you can do is try.
Rule 12: Selection bias doesn't help. Seek out opposing viewpoints. You may change your own. You may strengthen yours. You may change or strengthen theirs. Worst case, you'll know how the opposition thinks and feels, and so will your allies. Holding carefully monitored discussions with your friends isn't a bad thing and has its place. But it's not an open discussion. Keep private matters private, and allow public discourse to be open. And echo chamber is not very useful.
Rule 13: If you're thinking of deleting, blocking, shutting down a dissenter or a thread because you don't like how the discussion is turning, you may not be as tolerant as you like to think you are. Certainly there are absolute trolls who contribute nothing. But a dissenter is useful under Rule 12.
Rule 14: Shocking fact: These same rules apply to conservatives. You may in fact find fora where you're tolerated and treated with respect. You also may find some where you're insulted and called a troll. You can complain about this...if you haven't committed the same act yourself.
Rule 15: Nothing is binary. There are pro-gun gays and feminists. There are anti-abortion atheists. There are black racial separatists. There are pro-gay Muslims and Pentecostal Christians. There are polyamorous Republicans. See Rule 1.
Rule 16: Even among people of the same general background, individuals have different experiences and perspectives. What's wrong for you may be right for them. Or it may simply be they're a product of their experiences.
Rule 17: If everyone agrees with you, you need to widen your circle. If you're not angry at something at least once a day, you're probably not learning anything.
Rule 18: Yes, it gets frustrating re-hashing the same material. If you've adopted the mantle, you have to try to be patient. Unfortunately, it's the only way. See Rules 11 and 13.
Rule 19: Some of your opponents will love you even though you're wrong. Try to extend them the same courtesy.
Rule 20: There is nothing morally wrong with apologizing. If you were perceived as offensive, or lost your temper, or even just misunderstood, apologize and try again. Often, that will make more progress than any number of graphs and charts.
Has Anyone Else Done This Mod?
Mar 01, 201307:27PM
If you put an M4 style accessory stock on your AK, you have this AR extension tube on the back, with nothing in it:
So, with a bit of lathe work, you can turn it into storage space.
I'm thinking of calling it the Butt Plug.
The Additive Property of Bacon or Chocolate
Nov 26, 201202:03PM
Take an appropriate food--eggs, chicken, steak, or pie, cake, fruit: X
Adding bacon, or chocolate, makes these food MORE AWESOME: X + Bacon = X(qty bacon) or X + Chocolate = X(qty Chocolate)
Eventually, 100% bacon or chocolate is achieved. This is the maximum coefficient of awesome: MCx(W00t)
The problem comes upon reaching MCx(W00t), some people lose track of the asymptote.
"I should add something to bacon/chocolate to make it MORE AWESOME!"
Sorry, but this doesn't work. Once maximum awesomeness has been achieved, adding anything else dilutes the awesomeness: MCx(W00t)-W00t = MCx(W00t)/W00t
Nor does the combination. In that case, MCx(W00t) X MCx(~W00t) = MCx(blah)
The math proves it.
Maintain your awesomeness. Don't dilute it.
MY AWESOME DRAGONCON SCHEDULE
Aug 20, 201209:47AM
MY DRAGONCON SCHEDULE FOR NEXT WEEK, 31 AUG TO 3 SEP
4:00 PM5:00 PMMilitary SF: Current vs FictionalRegency V - Hyatt(FICTION HAS TO MAKE SENSE)
4:30 PM5:30 PMBaen Book SigningLarry Smith (Bookseller) - Marquis Ballroom -Marriott(I WILL ONLY MAKE THE LAST FEW MINUTES)
7:00 PM8:00 PMBelief Systems in SF 101Fairlie - Hyatt(I'LL BE PLAYING THIS ONE BY EAR)
~8:30 PMBrazillian BBQSal GrossoPRIVATE EVENT, CONTACT ME)
1:00 PM2:00 PMBaen Slide ShowRegency V - Hyatt(COME SEE WHAT'S NEW FROM ME AND OTHER BAEN AUTHORS. THERE ARE SOME FREEBIES FOR PARTICIPANTS)
2:30 PM3:30 PMGood war/Bad WarGreenbriar - Hyatt(IF WE WIN IT'S A GOOD WAR. OKAY, NOT NECESSARILY)
4:00 PM5:00 PM9000 Years of Edged Weapons Pt 1 (Mod/MC)Kennesaw - Hyatt(COME SEE SOME OF MY COLLECTION AND THE HISTORY BEHIND THEM)
7:00 PM9:30 PMDragon*Con BanquetRegency VI-VII - Hyatt(PAID BANQUET GUESTS ONLY)
11:30 AM12:30 PMAutograph SessionM301-M304 - Marriott(I DO NOT CHARGE FOR MY AUTOGRAPH, AND I BRING SPARE COPIES FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE MY WORKS. THOSE I CHARGE FOR)
12:30 PM2:00 PMBaen Brunch(WHERE I HANG OUT WITH THE SECRET AUTHOR CONSPIRACY)
2:30 PM3:30 PMBaen Book SigningLarry Smith (Bookseller) - Marquis Ballroom - Marriott(I'LL SIGN ANYTHING, BUT I PREFER IT BE BOOKS I WROTE)
4:00 PM5:00 PM9000 Years of Edged Weapons Pt 2 (Mod/MC)Kennesaw - Hyatt(MORE SHARP MAYHEM)
5:30 PM6:30 PMThe World is Coming to An End!Vinings 1-2 - Westin(TWO EXPERTS, 75 MINUTES, Q&A ON DISASTERS)
7:00 PM8:00 PMZombie 501: The Messiest Ways to Kill a ZombieVinings 1-2 - Westin(THE TITLE SAYS IT ALL)
I've been hanging smurfs by nooses outside my Pennsic tent for a decade. Everyone is amused.
During a rainstorm this Pennsic, I open the tent to see some woman untying them and putting them down in the mud. I asked her WTF she was doing, because she was getting them muddy.
"It's no worse than what you're doing to them."
Well, actually it is, because they AREN'T ACTUAL CREATURES and mud hurts them worse than hanging from a rope.
She actually tried to hinder me from putting them back up.
"It's wrong to do that. Children don't need to see that."
Apparently, she's not aware that the children's archery shoot often features Barneys, Smurfs, etc, to be gleefully riddled with arrows.
I told her I'd been doing it for a decade, and no one, including the event staff had ever had a problem with it.
"It offends me," she said as she stormed off.
I said, "So go buy your own damned smurfs and cut them down."
Something I'm supporting.
Jun 15, 201203:07PM
This is my wife's aunt. She's an interesting artist, a good person, and very supportive. Her art is vivid and colorful, and she'll paint you something original for helping out.
Donate $100 and I'll make you a supporting character in a book.
Donate $250 and you can choose the deaths for the supporting characters,. (subject to rules of the book's milieu)
For $50, I'll send you two signed hardcovers. When Diplomacy Fails... and whatever else I have that you like.
A New Game From the Inimitable Skippy
May 02, 201203:02PM
Visit alien planets. Make love to beautiful aliens. Kill all your expendable crewmen.
Some movements[which?] associated with healthier lifestyles recommend women wear skirts or dresses whenever possible and avoid wearing jeans or slacks.
It is especially recommended for women suffering from infertility or otherwise struggling to conceive to wear skirts or dresses. Though no scientific studies have conclusively proven that wearing skirts increases the chances of getting pregnant, there have been some surveys showing women who abstain from wearing pants are less likely to struggle.
Mike: phrasing fail?
(11:19:55 PM) csadn: Phrasing EPIC FAIL.
(11:20:48 PM) csadn: Dare I ask where you found this ill-considered phrase?
(11:21:17 PM) mike: Wikipedia
(11:21:28 PM) csadn: Much is explained.
(11:21:30 PM) mike: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_wearing_pants
Create A Character For The Hell Universe
Nov 22, 201110:02PM
Perseid Publishing and Zauberspiegel Announce a Contest to Submit a Character for a Story in the Heroes in Hell Series:
Submit a Character to be written into Hell
In the next volume of the Heroes in Hell series, the winning character will be included in either a new Janet and Chris Morris story, if the winning character is of sufficient depth and importance, or it will be included in an existing story.
Starting Dec 1st 2011, you will have the chance to contribute to the next volume of the Heroes in Hell series - "Adventurers in Hell." The contest ends Dec 23rd 2011, 23:59 central european time.
Write a text of 200-400 words describing the character you are nominating: Why should this particular character be included in a story in Hell? What errors did the character make in life that will be punished in Hell? Extra credit for appropriate (and innovative) punishment in line with the character's life on earth.
The number of words is not the determinative criteria for winning; rather, it is the character itself and your description of the character's personality and behavior while living; your personal reasons why the character should be included in a hell story. All prospective characters must have been real living people and they must have died before 1950.
Only one story per person.
There will be three prizes awarded as follows:
1st prize: Janet and Chris Morris write a story featuring the chosen character, or the character will be included in a story, already in process, for the next volume of the Heroes in Hell series and an autographed copy of the book containing the Winner's character when released.
2nd prize: an autographed copy of the most recently published book in the Heroes in Hell series and the appearance of the 2nd place character in the next book in the series.
3rd prize: an autographed copy of the most recently published book.
The jury is: Janet Morris, editor/author, Chris Morris, editor/author, and the Muse of Hell: Sarah Snyder Gray Hulcy.
Attention: No author who has ever been published in the Heroes in Hell series may submit a character. No present or former employees of Perseid Publishing, Kerlak Publishing or Zauberspeigel is eligible to participate.
Submit entries to the following email address: [email protected] and please include your full name, address, email address, phone number, website, etc.
Texts are accepted in English and German.
Help Me Throw An Officer Off a Building!
Oct 02, 201112:29PM
You can help me help Special Olympics too, by making a donation using this fundraising page.
All I'm asking for is "Ten Cents a Foot!"
The hotel is 289 feet tall, so that's $28.90 (or any other amount--greater or smaller--you feel called to contribute). It’s simple, fast and totally secure, and gets me that much closer to going Over the Edge. Only kicker is--I didn't find out about this until yesterday! I have less than one week to hit my goal! So I ask for your help, to make this happen.
This thrilling event is a unique opportunity for SOMO fans to support more than 2,900 local Special Olympics athletes by rappelling down the The Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place in St. Louis on October 7. I'm joining the 3rd annual group of only 100 participants who are fan enough to take this challenge.
Chuck is a retired officer, all around good guy who helped me and others with retirement issues at National Records, a fan (who was the CO for Sgt Mel Butler, credited in "Freehold," which is how we met and they reconnected), and I did say good guy, right?