An Apology Because I Don’t Trust You

Dr. Robert Spitzer has apologized to the gay community for a ten-year old study which claimed some gays could, through reparative therapy, go straight. He now says the study was flawed because how can one know for sure if the people who claimed to have changed were actually telling the truth. He says this despite earlier believing that certain aspects of the accounts couldn’t simply be dismissed. All fine and well. Except for one thing. If we can’t trust someone who claims they have gone straight, how can we trust someone who says they are gay?

Does he think the people who claimed they had changed were lying, confused, deceived, pressured? Why can’t those same criteria be applied to those who say they are gay? I know, I’ve heard it before, why would anyone claim to be gay and undergo such backlash by family, friends, the church? Why humans put themselves into situations where they are persecuted is multifaceted. But what is clear by a cursory view of human behavior both now and throughout history is that humans often do things for inexplicable reasons that bring them trouble. And they often do things for inexplicable reasons that allow them to remain “safe” and out of trouble, as is claimed of those who were changed through reparative therapy.

To say that those who were changed from gay to straight were wrong—for whatever reason—invites the same query of those who claim they are gay in the first place. For good or ill, this conversation needs to have a level playing field.

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Tree Obituary

MSNBC is now running obituaries new stories about trees. At least it seems that way, “The Colorado blue spruce passed away ‘due to complications resulting from transplant shock….’ Born on a tree farm in New Jersey…”

I don’t mind knowing that the National Christmas Tree died. I would even say it was newsworthy; the lighting of the National Christmas Tree has been a tradition since 1923. But to be quite honest, it seemed that the personification of the tree with phrases like “passed away” and “born” gave it an almost comic feel. Surely that was not the intent of the author.

Rationalization, Sort Of

A fourteen year old girl is upset because she doesn’t appreciate Seventeen magazine doctoring their photos. “I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that is supposed to be for me.” I won’t go into the potential problems with that statement because I want to focus on the justification of the writer of the article of Seventeen altering photos.

The writer of the article justifies the behavior of the magazine saying, “While we agree that excessive Photoshop work is indeed a problem in the magazine world, Seventeen is hardly the biggest culprit.” The author also goes on to say that the airbrushing they do is minimal. Whatever you think about the pros and cons and the business side of the decision (and it is a business decision), to rationalize a choice by saying it is not as bad as what others do and by saying it’s really minimal, is missing the point entirely. The author should have just spoken the truth by saying that Seventeen feels they have to airbrush in a world where everyone is doing it.

The Integrity of the Sport

I have taken a self-imposed hiatus from blogging this semester to focus on other, necessary things (this is a side-line isn’t it?). But I read something today that I can’t pass up. In an age where people are only sorry if they get caught, it refreshes my soul to see someone do the right thing when they aren’t in danger of being caught. J.P. Hayes realized he had used an illegal ball in his round while qualifying for his tour card. He DQ’d himself. In this day and age, people don’t do that. They wait until caught, then deny it, spin it, blame others, and if faced with overwhelming evidence, might read a pre-prepared statement apologizing for their behavior—nothing like an apology in a monotone voice. 

Not Hayes: he realized he did the wrong thing, made a phone call that could conceivably cost him millions of dollars, and in the end new all was well. May his tribe increase.

Texas vs. The World

The World Court has ordered the U.S. to stay the execution of some Mexican Nationals, one of which is Jose Medellin. It seems Mexico appealed to the World Court on behalf of this (and others) confessed murderer and rapist of two teenage girls because he and his gang buddies were denied help from their consulate following their arrest. Texas, however, has thumbed its nose at the World Court and President Bush. The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with Texas, telling Bush he has no authority to tell a state court to comply with a ruling from the Hague. 

The article ended saying the World Court had no authority to enforce its rulings. I wonder how long that will last.

Saving money or loving others?

I read an interesting article here and a fuller article here about the practice of hypermiling (adjusting one’s driving habits to achieve optimal fuel efficiency). While hypermiling can certainly save lots of money and gas, I have some serious reservations about the methods used. While the article did bring up some safety issues in regards to using your cruise control instead of your gas and break, turning off the engine at various times during your drive, and taking turns at high speed instead of using your break to keep momentum, the overriding message of hypermilers was “save money at any cost.”

On my way into school this morning, I was thinking about the article and my driving habits. I’m not one to speed or practice jack rabbit starts, but as I was driving, I wondered about the effect on other drivers if I put into practice some of the tricks of the trade of hypermilers. One, which doesn’t appear to be a safety issue is coasting for as long as possible, especially when you see a red light in the distance. Certainly, if this were practiced with consistency, mpg’s would rise. However, another issue came immediately to mind. I was a good distance from a light and wondered what it would be like to coast to it instead of having my foot on the gas the whole way and then applying the break at the last minute. A car was sitting in the left turn lane facing the opposite direction waiting for me to pass. Had I taken my foot off the gas, the cars behind me would have caught up to me enough to prevent this person from turning left after I passed. 

I would have saved a little dough, but I would have inconvenienced another. That is not driving in love. The attitude of the hypermiler who was interviewed seemed  to be that his saving money and gas and thus the environment was more important than someone else being inconvenienced. He commented on how he sees how long he can coast (at a slower and slower speed) as he approaches his house on the way home despite the line of cars behind him. 

Nor was he concerned about taking the off ramp at 50 mph to allow him to coast a greater distance even though the speed limit was 25. Boosting mpg’s trumps traffic laws I suppose. While I would certainly be in favor of adopting some of the recommendations in the article, being a good driver does not mean I am only concerned about my mpg’s. It also means I am concerned about those around me. Just because someone doesn’t see the need to conserve energy, doesn’t mean I can be unconcerned about them as I drive.

If they hypermilers are so obsessed with increasing mpg’s, can I suggest a bicycle?