Rad Geek People's Daily

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Posts from October 2004

What do you get a Universe that already contains everything?

Today (or yesterday, depending on how you count these things) is the 6,000th birthday of the Universe, according to the calculations of Bishop James Ussher. I hope that Young Earth Creationists around the world are living it up over this sextamillenial weekend.

Well, not really: life, the Universe, and everything was calculated by Ussher to have been created around 6:00pm on Saturday, October 22, 4004 BC; and from 4004 BC to AD 2004 is actually not a round 6,000 years, but rather 6,007 (remembering that there is no year 0). The cosmos’s 6,000th actually passed us by at this time of the year in 1997. But if a preference for nice round numbers can make 2000 CE the time to mark the beginning of the second millennium, it can make 2,004 the time to mark 6,000 years from the Beginning.

In the meantime, you can celebrate the occasion with a delightful article about Pufferfish genomes from The Panda’s Thumb, or Roderick Long’s post on the shared premises of creationism and (state) socialism from earlier this year at Austro-Athenian Empire. (Let me just add that Long’s comments on socialism apply to state socialism but not to those of us whose flags are Black as well as Red. There is no place for central production boards or Five Year Plans here, and spontaneous unplanned harmony is no problem for us in nature or in politics–just ask Prince Kropotkin.)

How to use SimpleComments with dynamic publishing in MovableType 3.1x

You may or may not have noticed that Geekery Today uses the SimpleComments plugin by Adam Kalsey to combine TrackBack pings and comments into a single list (because, as Adam puts it, TrackBacks are comments–they’re not comments on your site, but they’re comments nevertheless). Recently, though, I upgraded to MovableType 3.1–I’ve had persistent problems with the amount of time that it takes large category indexes to rebuild when I create new posts, and so I wanted to take advantage of MovableType’s new dynamic publishing engine. At which point I ran into a big, fat problem: none of my plugins work on dynamically built templates. It turns out that MT‘s dynamic publishing engine does allow for plugins, but they need to be written in PHP, whereas all the MovableType plugins that you have used heretofore on your static pages have been written in Perl. Oops!

Well, I think that this was kind of a boneheaded design decision on the part of Six Apart, and if I were sticking to my ideological guns I’d just refuse to use dynamic publishing until the problem is fixed. But I don’t run MovableType for ideological purposes; I run it to generate a weblog. So I held my nose, cracked open the source code for Kalsey’s SimpleComments, and wrote my own port in PHP. If you use SimpleComments with MovableType 3.1 or later, then all you need to do is download the zip file, upload each of the PHP scripts therein to the php/plugins directory of your MovableType installation, and voil?@c3;a0;! you can switch templates from static to dynamic and back again without any change in your ability to use SimpleComments tags.

The current version of PHP SimpleComments is 1.31–so called because it mirrors the functionality of Kalsey’s SimpleComments 1.31. All of the tags and attributes are implemented–I think. You can download everything you need from the project page; let me know if it works for you, or if there are any lurking problems that need to be fixed.


Civic religion

(Link thanks to bean at Alas, a Blog 2004/10/15)

I don’t care about winning same-sex marriage privileges (for feminist reasons that I’ve laid out in comments and in my essay, The Cake is Rotten). But that doesn’t mean that I’m indifferent to electoral fights such as Oregon’s Measure 36, one of the latest rounds in the Religious Right campaign to write homophobia into federal and state constitutions. So I’m pleased as punch to have found (thanks to Alas, a Blog) the four arguments that M. Dennis Moore has managed to get published in the official Oregon voters’ pamphlet–in favor of the measure to ban same-sex marriage.

Yeah, you heard me. In favor. All of them are great, but my favorite by far is his fourth argument, Let’s Vote:


The recent OCA signature drive for the Divine Sovereignty Life Amendment, if successful, would have given Oregonians the extraordinary opportunity to vote on the existence of God, yes or no. Religious dogma would have been decided democratically by popular vote — essentially creating an official state religion with GOD ALMIGHTY enshrined in the Constitution as

Oregon State Deity!

Although this initiative drive failed, the Christian Coalition has now created a Commandment Amendment to the Constitution! Measure 36 ordains us to


of whether churches, synagogues, and temples shalt not be permitted to marry gays and lesbians.

And this election thus establishes the glorious precedent for democratic electioneering on ALL of the

Official Oregon State Dogma!


  • Shall churches, synagogues, and temples be permitted to marry divorced persons (Luke 16:18)? Let’s vote!
  • Shall baptism be by sprinkling, pouring, or dipping? Let’s vote!
  • Shall the Lord’s Prayer be translated forgive us our debts or forgive us our trespasses? Let’s vote!
  • Shall adulterers be stoned to death(Leviticus 20:10)? Let’s vote!
  • Shall obnoxious religious-right hypocrites be allowed to marry? Hell no! Let’s vote!
  • How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Hey, let’s just vote!

This is democracy! Religious beliefs belong on the ballot, and winning beliefs become public policy in the Constitutional Catechism! Minority adherents, straight and gay, should have the statesmanship to accept that religious freedom does not protect losing beliefs in a theological election.

Your special right to practice your moral beliefs (including marriage) is subject to the whims of popular vote!

It’s not discrimination, it’s electoral theology.

In Oregon, democratic dogma is inspired by initiative and referendum — in the

Holy Marriage
of the
One Official Oregon Church and State!

State beaches, the bottle bill, land-use planning, and now

(This information furnished by M. Dennis Moore, God for Oregon Deity-PAC [GOD-PAC], Family Alliance of God.)

Yes, that really will be going out on state letterhead to every voter in Oregon; you can confirm it at the Secretary of State’s website (the arguments he submitted are the first three arguments in favor and the next to last).

Electoral theology! Mmm, sacrelicious.

Further reading:


Some more from Tolkien’s letters, to go along with his comments on the horrors of war:

My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically conceived, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) — or to unconstitutional Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance at recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could get back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people. If people were in the habit of referring to King George’s council, Winston and his gang, it would go a long way to clearing thought, and reducing the frightful landslide into Theyocracy. Anyway the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

–letter to his son Christopher Tolkien, 29 November 1943. Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien #52

I suppose that Hans-Hermann Hoppe would like the kind words for unrestrained Monarchy. Otherwise, though, a lovely statement.

Suffer not the old King

In international politics, there is some good news and some bad news.

In international politics, the good news is that Cambodia’s king abdicated two days ago.

The bad news is that they’re going to get another one.

But even that cloud has a silver lining. Whatever the faults of quasi-hereditary monarchy, and whatever sort of political tool the new king may turn out to be, he is still someone other than old King Sihanouk.

BANGKOK — Southeast Asia’s wiliest political survivor yesterday completed his own intricately scripted exit from the stage. King Norodom Sihanouk, who first took Cambodia’s throne when Nazi-backed Vichy France controlled Indochina in 1941, stunned his subjects last week by announcing he would voluntarily abdicate and allow his untested son, Prince Norodom Sihamoni, to replace him.

The formal transfer, endorsed in yesterday’s unanimous decision by the country’s nine-member throne council in Phnom Penh, thrust the 51-year-old prince, a trained classical dancer based in Paris since the 1970s, into the international limelight and ended the reign of the only monarch most Cambodians have ever known.

It’s insufferable enough to read whitewashed obituaries of rotten people–let alone to read this kind of kid-glove treatment when the asshole isn’t even deceased yet. A certain degree of restraint toward the recently dead is one thing; shameless kissing of the royal rings is another. King Sihanouk spent the past 63 years as either a tyrant, a pretender, or a figurehead; during that time he consorted with and covered for the French colonialists, Imperial Japan, the Vietminh, North Vietnam and the Vietcong, the Khmer Rouge, and finally the United States and the United Nations. His “wily survival” consisted in murdering and suppressing political opposition, and ingratiating himself with the murderers of millions.

When communist fighters in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos achieved victory in 1975, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge immediately ordered all residents to leave Phnom Penh and all other cities overnight, inaugurating their killing fields regime.

But the king flew to New York in 1975 and told the United Nations that the Khmer Rouge evacuation of cities had been achieved without bloodshed and he convinced exiled Cambodian intellectuals, military officers and others to return home to support the new regime.

When they did, they were killed alongside more than 1 million other Cambodians, victims of the Khmer Rouge’s policies of mass executions, enslavement, torture and starvation.

After King Sihanouk’s return in 1976, the Khmer Rouge put him under house arrest and murdered several of his relatives.

Vietnam invaded in 1979 and ousted Pol Pot. In 1982, King Sihanouk lent his support to a loose, Khmer Rouge-led, U.S.-financed guerrilla alliance, to end the Vietnamese occupation.

The Washington Times describes such a man as Southeast Asia’s wiliest political survivor, a tough act … to follow, and a unique figure among world leaders (I suppose that Idi Amin was a unique figure, too.)

For Pete’s sake. Just what does a King have to do to get some disrespect around here?

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