How to Waste Time and Money

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill making it illegal for sex offenders to play Pokémon Go. Because they might somehow use it to molest kids. Somehow. In some way. But…how exactly?


“Who can say?”

Does it even need to be…no, I need to stop asking that question. Yes, it apparently does need to be said that this is a very, very stupid idea. From what I can tell, this sounds like it’s only targeted at sex offenders who are still on probation, but it’s still stupid.

First, by far the vast majority sex offenses against children are visited upon them by friends or family. This does nothing to deal with that.

Second, this is a waste of time and money that I’m sure could be better spent elsewhere.

Third, couldn’t any sex offender simply create a completely different email address from any that the police might have on record and use that to play the game? I have a friend who isn’t on any lists, but he maintains two different game accounts.

Lastly, tell me exactly how this is supposed to work for a sex offender, please. So, what, Herbert from Family Guy goes out to play Pokémon Go, sees some kids doing the same, and…what? What happens here that couldn’t happen if those kids were skating, walking, riding on the bus, or just hanging out in a park? Why is this game different?

One possible problem I’ll admit could come up is that the Pokémon are distributed randomly, so you could easily have a sex offender’s home that features tons of rares right outside. Or a gym across the street. Or similar. But this law does nothing to address that; it’d have to be handled by the game’s publisher. They’re based in California. I’m pretty sure they can just ignore any requests based in New York.

Bottom line: this is pandering to the worst, most baseless fears in our society, does nothing to alleviate those fears, and fails to address any real problems.

So well done, Cuomo, well done.


Can We Not Start Doing This?

Two police officers were shot and killed yesterday by someone who apparently went out looking for cops to shoot, in some sort of apparent revenge for the recent shootings of unarmed black men by police officers. I have a couple of thoughts here.

First off, the shooter, who then killed himself, was pretty clearly around the bend. He also shot his girlfriend before heading out the door. I’m inclined to suspect he was just in a murdery mood, for lack of a better phrase.

Second, let’s not start blaming the (largely peaceful) protesters or people like New York City’s mayor. Rather, let’s blame the guy who did the shooting. Remember, Fox News crowd, if Sarah Palin, whose PAC had a graphic of various congressional districts with crosshairs over certain Congresspeople, wasn’t responsible at all for Gabrielle Giffords being shot, which she wasn’t, then the protesters and the like aren’t responsible for these two police officers being shot. So let’s not blame them, and instead blame the guy who did the shooting.

The 9/11 Cross Issue

Well, as you may have heard, an atheist group is filing a lawsuit to stop the display of a cross at the 9/11 Memorial. The cross itself was a piece of the World Trade Center that happened to form a cross shape and land in a cross-like position. It’s utter coincidence and I’m sure there were many of these, but, well, you know Christians.

Here’s my thoughts on this, and they’re pretty simple: If it’s on private property, the atheist group needs to knock it off. You can display whatever you want on private property. If, on the other hand, it’s on public property, that’s a different matter. Under previous court rulings, you can indeed display religious icons and such on public property, but if you do, you have to allow all religions.

Now I actually think that would be an ok compromise for a memorial. You can have a Christian cross, a Jewish star, a Muslim crescent, a Hindu wheel, a…oh, wait. A Muslim crescent?

Yes, let’s imagine the hue and cry that would errupt from that. You think it was bad during “Ground Zero” “Mosque” “Debate”? Just imagine if you had a Muslim symbol at the 9/11 memorial! Never mind that a lot of Muslims worked in the towers and died along with everyone else. I think Fox News would collectively explode.

So bottom line: if this is on private land, the lawsuit needs to stop. If it’s on public land, the cross needs to go away or you have to allow all religions, including Muslims, to display their religious imagery. I’m comfortable either way.

And Now New York

It is done. New York has become the sixth state to allow gay marriage. DC also allows it, meaning that if you live there, you don’t have real Congressional representation, but you can at least get married to a gay. So, yeah.

Anyhow, it’s hard to overstate how important this is. With one swift move, the number of same sex couples who are free to marry in this country has doubled. And it did so with a Republican lead state legislative body, and a couple Republicans breaking ranks to vote yes. That alone is amazingly important. While the Republican Party as a whole is continuing to spiral downward into a “we hate gays!” situation, some brave members of the party are willing to stand up and do what’s right.

It’s also worth noting there were some very stupid religious concerns that were addressed here. These protections allow churches to refuse to marry same-sex couples, but big deal. The Catholic Church already refuses to marry formerly divorced people, so clearly there’s no problem on the chuchy level.

So it is done. 44 states and six territories remain. Let’s hope they fall soon, too.

Murphy Can Indeed Has Congress

I find the American version of the Green Party to be laughably silly. I’m not quite sure why. I can agree with most of their platform, but I think there’s just a bit too much granola going on, if you get my meaning. I know also that part of the problem with them is that, well, America likely won’t ever have a viable third party. I think the Greens efforts, energy and money would be better spent moving the Democrats back to the left where they belong.

That said, if there’s anything that could motivate me to go Green, it’s this video.

Good luck!

Carl Paladino, Professional Moron

As I wrote the other day, it’s not easy being gay. If Carl Paladino, bestiality-porn enthusiast and Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York, has his way, it’ll be even more difficult. Here’s some lovely things he said recently about the gays.

I just think my children and your children would be much better off and more successful getting married and raising a family. And I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.

Charming. He was addressing an Orthodox Jewish group when he said this. Gee, who thought you could gain traction by slamming on gays to a bunch of religious nutjobs?

Of course he was called-out on these stupid comments and blamed the media for it rather than ‘fessing up and taking it like a man.

“When I talk about issues such as this, I talk from my heart,” he told NBC, “and I expect that the press will properly interpret my remarks. If they don’t interpret my remarks correctly … that’s wrong.”

OK, so it’s the media’s fault? How many ways can we interpret the line “And I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.”? You said it, jerk-face. Man up and say that, yes, that is what you meant or no, it’s not what you meant. Don’t blame the media for playing your exact quote on the news.

This of course highlights a larger problem within the Republican party and that’s the fact that the party is still very anti-gay. Yes, they’ve gotten better in the last few months, but that doesn’t make up for the damage they’ve done in the past. While it’s true that the Democrats are not as enthusiastic in their support of gay rights as I’d like them to be, I have never heard of any Democratic candidate dumping on gays as a way of getting votes. I’ve certainly never heard them cite their opponent’s participation in a gay rights parade as being a valid reason to not vote for said opponent.

Paladino is a jerk on many levels. I’m unclear as to why anyone supports him. I take some comfort in the fact that he’s behind in the polls and likely won’t get elected. I take significant discomfort in the fact that he’s the party’s nominee.

No Soda For You!

New York City is putting forth an effort to stop people from buying soda with food stamps. The idea here is that only uneducated, unhealthy, poor people would want to drink soda, and that drive is so strong that the government must stop them from doing so if they are using food stamps.

This is a bullshit argument. I’ll be the first to agree that drinking soda constantly is not healthy and not something you should do. But I don’t think the government should tell people what food and drinks they can and can’t buy with food stamps (beyond alcohol, which is already prohibited). I’ve been on food stamps in the past. I bought soda when I had them, but it wasn’t a huge part of my expenditure. I spent far more money on pre-prepared frozen dinners and the like.

Even now when I buy my own food and drinks, I seldom buy all that much soda, except…

Well, except that I like my caffeine. Every day on my way into work I get a Diet Coke refill of my giant 54oz mug. I almost never actually drink more than half of it, but it’s good to have and helps keep me going. I don’t like coffee and I don’t like tea, but I do sometimes want the jolt of caffeine, and soda is the way I get it.

Now I note with great interest that no one seems to be suggesting we ban coffee or tea from being bought with food stamps. But those don’t carry the same stigma as buying soda with food stamps, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t. They aren’t necessary beverages, after all, and I think most people who drink coffee do it for the buzz.

As far as I’m concerned, if we’re going to ban things because they aren’t as healthy as they might be, let’s ban soda, coffee, any cereals where sugar is the first or second ingredient, any snacks, including chips and cookies, sugar itself and basically anything other than fruits, meats and vegetables. Well, except that there’s people who think meat is bad and unhealthy, so let’s ban that, too.

Ultimately food stamps are a very good thing and while I think there’s legitimacy to banning people from buying alcohol with it, anything else that’s food or drink should be left alone. People, even the poor, will generally make decent food choices if they know what those choices are, have access to them and know how to make them. Perhaps a better idea would be to mandate a course on smart-shopping and basic cooking before getting food stamps. That’d be a hell of a lot more productive.