May 2008


Gay Rights & Law & Privacy28 May 2008 12:26 pm

If you’re a straight person who thinks that the gay marriage issue isn’t really relevant to you, you should take a moment to consider one thing: The same people that have a big problem with what gay or lesbian people do behind closed doors have just as big a problem with what lots of straight people do behind closed doors.

I’m not talking wild and kinky stuff, like anything other than the missionary position. No, long before the religious right got up in arms about queers, they were trying to stop straight people from having non-procreative sex. And they were so successful that they had succeeded in banning the use of birth control in several states.

In Connecticut, there was a law that said: “Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned.” Further, any doctor, pharmacist or other person who “assists, abets, counsels, causes, hires or commands another to commit” the offense could be prosecuted and punished in the same way.

In 1965, in a landmark case called Griswold v. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there was inherent in the U.S. Constitution a core of rights around which glowed “penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.”

Although a right of privacy is not explicit in the Constitution, a broader right of privacy exists in the penumbra of rights like freedom of association, quartering of soldiers, prohibition on search and seizure, etc. In the judgment of a 7-2 majority of the court, the right of privacy extended to making decisions about whether or not you could attempt to control whether having sex resulted in reproduction.

On June 7, 2008, the 43rd anniversary of the Griswold decision, the religious right is working to mobilize a nationwide protest called “The Pill Kills Babies.” And just in case you had any question about whether they are talking about the famous “Morning After” pill, the logo on their website — http://www.thepillkills.com — includes the familiar round pill case containing one month’s dosing of the regular old standard birth control pill.

According to their website, every prevented pregnancy is an abortion, meaning more than 11 million “chemical abortions” occur each year, with more than 324 million “chemical abortions” — nearly the entire US population! — since 1973.

So, in case you think the fight against gay marriage isn’t relevant to you, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the forces of religious morality have in store for us all.

Please remember that when you talk to your friends and family about what those crazy queers are doing out in California.

Miscellany14 May 2008 10:31 am

I received this in my email today from the nitwits at United Airlines…

From: United Mileage Plus [mailto:email@info.united.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 8:55 AM
To: ray@*****
Subject: New policy for flights less than 500 miles

==========================================
United Mileage Plus(R)
==========================================

******************************************
Please note our new accrual policy, effective July 1, 2008
******************************************

Dear Mr. Raymond Everett,

To ensure that Mileage Plus miles earned toward elite status
and award travel on United are aligned with actual miles
flown, we are revising our base accrual policy. Beginning
July 1, 2008, for flights of less than 500 miles, passengers
will earn redeemable miles equal to the actual miles flown.
Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) will also be awarded based on
actual miles. Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) are not
affected.

This new mileage accrual structure will apply to travel on
or after July 1, 2008, regardless of when the travel was
ticketed. Flights of less than 500 miles flown on or before
June 30, 2008, will accrue Mileage Plus miles under the
previous policy of a minimum mileage accrual per individual
segment flown.

In other words, whenever I used to fly from San Francisco (SFO) to Las Vegas (LAS) on United, the actual air miles are 418. But to make things simple, United — and most domestic airlines — would round things up and give an even 500 miles worth of frequent flyer points. So on SFO to LAS, I was getting a bonus of 82 measly miles.

However, in United Airlines constant quest to alienate customers and generally behave in the most dickish manner possible, suddenly those 82 miles have become a bridge too far.

United used to be my favorite airline, now they’re just an absurd mockery of all that is worst about US-based airlines.

I will once again renew my call for the mass resignation of the brainless morons who run United Airlines. I am also renewing my call that foreign air carriers be allowed to offer domestic service within the US. I doubt ANA or Singapore Air would begrudge me those 82 miles, and they’d probably do it on time, in better quality, and without a chip on their shoulder.

Until that day, I need to check but I think Southwest and Virgin America will still spot me those 82 miles. I wouldn’t be surprised if other airlines would as well. If so, you can guess which airline will not be my carrier of choice for short flights!