No One Expects the Gay Bakery Inquisition

Of all the myriad ways that the social and political battle over gay marriage could have evolved, I don’t think anyone could have seen coming the gay war on bakeries; cake on cake, icing against icing.  But that’s the current battlefield; make of that what you will.Gay Inquisition

As to the latest battle in the ongoing cake war:

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, is facing a complaint from a customer alleging she discriminated against his religious beliefs.

According to Silva, the man who visited last year wanted a Bible-shaped cake, which she agreed to make. Just as they were getting ready to complete the order, Silva said the man showed her a piece of paper with hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake. He also wanted the cake to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them, Silva said.

She said she would make the cake, but declined to write his suggested messages on the cake, telling him she would give him icing and a pastry bag so he could write the words himself. Silva said the customer didn’t want that.

Clearly the guy ordering the cake was a troll trying to make a point, and no doubt the point will soon be made since the case was referred to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, but if you are anxiously wondering what, oh what they will decide, if their response is anything other than the allowing the baker to decline anti-Gay bigotry on her cakes, I’ll have a double helping of gay wedding cake with rainbow icing.  In fact, I’ll have a slice regardless of what the Colorado Civil Rights Division decides, because that sounds delicious.

However it will have to be on a “cheat day.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time this sort of trolling has occurred.  A Christian website called bakeries to see if they would make a cake with “Gay Marriage is wrong” written on it.  You can guess the results, but hey, there are some opinions a business owner can apply to his customers and others that he can’t.

Of course the original troll (of which there have been many copies) was the legal action taken against the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery for refusing to bake a gay wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The shop was run out of business and started a veritable war on bakeries by gays that quickly expanded into other wedding services.

In New Mexico, a photographer who declined a job offer of photographing a same sex commitment ceremony was sued by New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission even though New Mexico didn’t even have gay marriage or civil unions at the time.  The photographer’s defense was on First Amendment grounds, but the First is gradually joining the Second in Amendments the left no longer recognizes. So a totally made up thing; like a “commitment ceremony” becomes not just a civil right, but a demand on everyone else to support it. Now on the list of services that this photographer provides, I rather much doubt “commitment ceremonies” were listed on the price sheet. But someone decided to troll and harass this businessperson anyway.  There is also the more famous Washington State florist case.

These aren’t religious institutions, these are individuals, and it looks like individuals are having their rights peeled away.  I can’t be indifferent to gay marriage, or even merely tolerant of it, the law is gradually going to force me to love, love, love gay marriage.

Religious institutions will eventually get theirs.  The people on the left who say they support religious freedom sure were supportive of the Obama administration’s initiative to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception.  If they can do that, they will eventually force churches to perform gay marriages.  That already happens in Europe and will happen in the US eventually, First Amendment or no First Amendment.

The US has become a strange and confusing place, where “rights” have become a zero sum game. For someone to get “rights” someone else must surrender theirs.

When “rights” start to conflict, then you are no longer talking about rights, you are talking about groups that have political power dumping on groups that don’t; even at the cost of real, constitutional rights. It’s pretty clear in this example whose constitutional rights are being violated.

The battle against gay marriage has long been lost, and it’s inevitable that in time, it will spread out to all 50 states.  If West Point is hosting gay marriages, then the Vatican will eventually.  Marriage went from being a social institution to civil right with benefits and prizes.   But during that battle, I’ve been told over and over that it doesn’t affect me and it doesn’t affect my marriage.

Yet no sooner did the Court ruling tide turned, the story changed, and I was told gay marriage meant there is a new (gay) sheriff in town, and his name is Intolerance.

I knew the promise that someone else’s gay marriage wouldn’t bother anyone would turn out to be a lie, but I admit I’m surprised with how rapidly we’ve gone to, “I just want my partner and I to have what you have,” to “You’re not allowed to ignore me, you must provide services for my over the top marriage extravaganza!  And if you don’t, I’ll see you in court!”

For the record, if I were a baker I would have no problem with taking money to make gay wedding cakes. In fact, that’s probably true for 99.9 percent of bakeries across the US, but then, there would be no reason to troll me or the vast majority of bakeries happy to make fabulous gay wedding cakes would there?  Instead, the hunt would be on to track down and run out of business the few who did have a problem with it.

To me, the common sense solution is that no baker should have to provide services he fundamentally opposes, but that’s too simple an answer now.  One view has to dominate and drive out everyone else who opposes it.

 

 

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Free Speech Thoughts by Bill Maher

The post I wrote last week felt naggingly incomplete to me for some reason.  My purpose was to note that President Obama shouldn’t have gone to the Paris march since he of course wasn’t “Charlie” and had a record of being critical of satire aimed at Islam.  And also to note the irony that the world leaders who did show up at the march were not “Charlie” either.  They came from governments that restricted free speech in one way or the other.

It was another grim reminder on how rights can be taken for granted at the same time they are being quietly taken apart.  And this brings me to Bill Maher.

Maher isn’t in any way a favorite of mine, and the last time I watched him with any regularity he had a show on ABC.  Hey I wonder whatever happened to that…  But for someone who is part of the American left in the 21st Century, he still retains a little of the old 20th Century liberal in him.  Gather round children, because you may not believe it, but there was a time when liberals actually favored free speech, even when it wasn’t politically correct!  Even when they opposed the message!  I know, it’s hard to believe huh?

Of course Maher has had more reason than most liberals to care about freedom of expression as a concept, rather than merely as an obstacle that still allows enemies of the left to voice their opinions.  Just a few months ago he was heavily protested by his fellow leftists at a speaking engagement at UC Berkeley.

So it was not quite surprising when I ran across a Daily Caller story about Maher.  The story, written by Daily Caller writer Chuck Ross (who must be single handedly producing ¾ of the Caller’s content), was taken from Maher’s show Real Time in which he criticized  a group trying to organize a boycott of sponsors of the Rush Limbaugh show.  That’s what old time 20th Century liberals would do; defend, in Voltaire-like fashion, speech they hate.  I think Maher would much rather be on the attack Rush side than on the defense, but he’s mad at official liberalism right now so he’s firing back. Wait until he starts defending Palin….

The problem with Maher is that his liberalism hasn’t really evolved since the 1970’s. Liberals used to really care about free speech, and took seriously the Voltarian maxim that I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. But that’s when they perceived themselves as the underdogs against “the establishment.” Now of course, they are the establishment. And guess what? They don’t like free speech. That’s why they want to regulate the internet, regulate political speech, and that’s why they’ve been pushing the doctrine of political correctness. Whatever speech they can’t make illegal, they want to make it unacceptable.

I’ve been surprised just how quickly the left has abandoned free speech.  Social Justice and Identity politics will not compromise with the Bill of Rights.  They demand total allegiance.

Maher is a dinosaur, and when his kind passes over to…well nothingness since he’s an atheist, the only defenders of free speech will be on the right.

 

President Obama isn’t Charlie

“The Future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

President Obama 2012

Hey, is someone missing in that picture?

The President took a lot of heat this week for not showing up for the Paris March last Sunday.  And by heat I don’t mean talk radio, I’m talking about the President’s own Praetorian Guard, the main stream media.  When you lose both Jake Tapper (CNN) and Andrea Mitchell (MSNBC) you’ve goofed big time. But in retrospect, I think it was probably the right move not to show up.  After a few days introspection, I think that March was dishonest and there wasn’t a clear message that the President wanted to get behind.  Sure, I think it could be safely said that Obama opposes massacres of journalists, but he really doesn’t like satire against Muslims in general and Charlie Hebdo in particular.

In response to the publication of anti Islamic cartoons in 2012 by Charlie Hebdo, this was the White House response:

“We have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, while adding “it is not in any way justification for violence.”

“We don’t question the right of something like this to be published, we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it,” Carney said.

This is pretty much in line with the standard American left view of this, although as I’ve documented previously, the left and the First Amendment parted ways many years ago, and in Europe, it was never much more than a talking point anyway.  It would be hard to explain marching in support of Charlie Hebdo after the President’s histrionics about the YouTube video that the administration claimed caused the Benghazi attack. In that case, the administration tried to pressure YouTube to take down the video.

So much for standing up for free speech.  But let’s face it.  Obama is no more on board with the free expression than the rest of the left.

If President Obama marched in Paris, how would he answer a French Muslim that he’s marching to support free speech to insult his religion while at the same time, it’s a crime to question the Holocaust in France, as well as many other countries in Europe?  That’s why free expression is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.  Once you start creating carve outs to protect some group’s feelings, when do you stop?

Answer:  You don’t.  You only have free speech as long as it’s convenient to the government.  Of course that means that with the changing demographics of France, eventually Blasphemy against Islam will probably be criminalized.

And the French will still think they have freedom of expression.

 

 

 

The Media’s Five Steps in Dealing with Islamic Terrorism

I don’t have much to add to the attack on the offices of the Parisian satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.  I don’t want to say that we are exactly getting used to these sorts of things, but who is surprised that a magazine that mocked Mohammed, or as NBC news refers to him, “The Prophet Mohammed,” gets machine gunned?  That’s just the world we live in, a vibrant and confident Islam flexes its demographic muscles in areas where it’s been allowed to settle.  Meanwhile, a weak West, which believes in less and less, goes through its cycle of blame and recriminations.Charlie Hebdo

I don’t know exactly when I noticed it, but since yesterday, following the evolving news coverage of the shooting and aftermath, I was struck by how unsurprised I was at each step of the coverage.  It seemed to follow a fairly predictable pattern that resembles the Five Stages of Grief.  The only difference is that no progress is made when the media does it.  They never seem to get to acceptance.

Step 1:  We don’t know that Muslims did it.

You may think this step is prominent in the early moments of the crisis when we genuinely don’t know for sure who the culprits are, but it continues long afterward to deny who the culprits were.

Step 2:  OK they’re Muslims, but not real Muslims.

This is to separate Islam the religion, from Islam….uh…the religion.  Or at least it’s teachings.  Howard Dean was an especially amusing example of this when he insisted that the attackers were no more Muslim than he was.  Well Assalamu Alaykum Governor!   You’ll notice we’re near the end of stage two when you hear references to the Inquisition, the Crusades and Westboro Baptist Church.

Step 3:  Standing Together

This is where the media exhorts us to “stand together” with the moderate Muslims or with Free Speech, depending on the condition.  Sometimes it’s a mixture of both.  However nothing is more temporary than standing “with” anyone who is a target.  Ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali about that.

Step 4:  Root Causes

I’ve noticed that the root causes never have anything to do with the actual root causes.  In this case, the root causes were that Charlie Hebdo ran insulting Mohammed cartoons.  I mean, that is the real root cause.  But instead we’ll be treated to Islamaphobia, Imperialism, poverty, alienation, or whatever the left oops excuse me I mean the media, want to talk about.

Step 5:  Backlash

This is the real media worry, not continuing violent acts by Muslims, but that someone may actually be upset about it.  The New York Times put it perfectly:

LONDON — The sophisticated, military-style strike Wednesday on a French newspaper known for satirizing Islam staggered a continent already seething with anti-immigrant sentiments in some quarters, feeding far-right nationalist parties like France’s National Front.

This is a dangerous moment for European societies,” said Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. “With increasing radicalization among supporters of jihadist organizations and the white working class increasingly feeling disenfranchised and uncoupled from elites, things are coming to a head.”

A “dangerous moment for European societies?”  “Things are coming to a head?”  You mean more Islamic terrorism?    Ha!  Foolish mortal!

Anti-immigrant attitudes have been on the rise in recent years in Europe, propelled in part by a moribund economy and high unemployment, as well as increasing immigration and more porous borders. The growing resentments have lifted the fortunes of established parties like the U.K. Independence Party in Britain and the National Front, as well as lesser-known groups like Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West, which assembled 18,000 marchers in Dresden, Germany, on Monday.

In Sweden, where there have been three recent attacks on mosques, the anti-immigrant, anti-Islamist Sweden Democrats Party has been getting about 15 percent support in recent public opinion polls.

Yes the real threat is anti-immigrant attitudes!

We can’t have any of that.  So the stages of dealing with Islamic Terrorism do lead to an acceptance of sorts, that the terrorists are the real victims all along.

It’s like an O Henry short story.

Zinger.

And then there will eventually be a new terrorist act, and the process begins all over again.

 

My Lean Cuisine Low Carb Resolution

I have been “dieting” for a few years with some measure of success although I tend to lose the same weight over again.  I suppose I could claim that I lost a hundred pounds last year, but it was within the same 10 to 12 pound range.  Still, I managed to leave 2014 8 pounds lighter than when I entered it.

For the past few years I’ve been on some variation of a low fat diet, and it worked, just like any other diet, as long as you maintain it.  In terms of pure weight loss, I imagine all diets are pretty equal when it comes to losing the weight.  Maintaining the weight is another matter. But as virtually all diet gurus will say, you have to change your lifestyle.  I think on this regard, I’ve successfully accomplished that.

My cheat for that is that I’ve established a spreadsheet and I log in everything I eat based on fat grams or for this year, grams of carbohydrates.  Logging your meals establishes a discipline both to monitor your food intake, and it lets you know exactly where you are going wrong.  I do allow cheat days, when I don’t log at all, and that’s when the oopsies occur, but normally, the simple act of tracking keeps me on the straight and narrow food wise.

This year, I’ve decided to switch things around and try low carb.   What constitutes “low carb” probably can be anything from 150 carbohydrate grams per day all the way down to 25 grams.  For real weight loss, you probably have to keep it down to 50 grams a day but 150 grams is probably fine for most people.  I still have a few pounds to go to reach my goal weight, so for right now I’ll try to keep it down to less than 50 grams per day.

Since the beginning of the year is the time when everyone hops on the resolution bandwagon, the grocery stores are thick with sales for their “healthy” frozen foods.  This week, for whatever reason, it’s Lean Cuisine.  Lean Cuisine entrees’ are fairly decent all purpose meals for dieting and can be used in a wide variety of diets.  It even has Weight Watcher points on the box for those who follow Weight Watchers.   But when it comes to carbohydrates and sugars, you have to eyeball the each package and check the “Nutrition Facts” label. Lean Cuisine

To save myself some time I decided to go ahead and pre check the Lean Cuisine entrees ahead of time so I’m not some shlub standing in front of the frozen food section with the door open too long.  I made an arbitrary call to keep my meal selections to ones that were 30 grams of carbohydrates or less.  That way I could eat one of these meals a day and still be able to utilize other low carb items for breakfast and dinner without going over the 50 gram limit.

 

Lean Cuisine Meals under 30 grams of carbohydrates:

Baked Chicken                                30 grams

Beef Pot Roast                                 25 grams

Chicken Carbonara                         29 grams

Chicken Marsala                              23 grams

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce 28 grams

Glazed Chicken                               26 grams

Grilled Chicken Caesar                  30 grams

Herb Roasted Chicken                   20 grams

Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes    25 grams

Roasted Turkey & Vegetables       18 grams

Salisbury Steak                                23 grams

Shrimp Alfredo                                 29 grams

Steak Tips Portabello                      14 grams

Grilled Chicken Primavera             30 grams

Rosemary Chicken                          29 grams

Stuffed Cabbage                             28 grams

 

More of a Snack but still…

Broccoli Cheddar Dip with Pita Bread                29 grams

Cheese and Tomato Snack Pizza                        23 grams

Fajita Style Spring Rolls                                        20 grams

Garden Vegetable Dip with Pita Bread               29 grams

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls                                  24 grams

Pepperoni Snack Pizza                                         0 grams (?)

Spinach & Artichoke Snack Pizza                       24 grams

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Pita Bread              29 grams

Thai Style Chicken Spring Rolls                          23 grams

 

Having a full list ahead of time should save some time at the grocery store and it’s a pretty handy reference.  We’ll see how it goes.