Posts tagged “Controversial

The Past is History…

…the future is a mystery, but today…
today is a gift.
That’s why we call it the present.

Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), Kung Fu Panda

One thing I hear a lot—one thing I’m sure all astrologers hear a lot—is that astrology is fake. The trouble is that the “evidence” they use to draw these conclusions isn’t very sound in itself.

 

“Astrology isn’t (and/or can’t be) scientifically proven!”

Sorry, but how many people on this planet believe in some deity (any deity) whose existence can’t be scientifically proven, yet churches, mosques and temples still dot the world…? (Also, can I find a calculator that can count that high? •chuckle•)

Based on Wikipedia (and I’m referencing that because of too many individual citations), and excluding secular and those that don’t believe in a specific deity or group of deities (such as UUs, who emphasize knowledge), that number is something in the nature of 6.9 billion people. And that doesn’t even include agnostics, who generally believe there’s some sort of deity, but not much beyond that.

That’s more than ninety percent of the planet that believes in something you can’t replicate scientifically.

And you laugh at me for believing in astrology, the numbers of whom are probably a great deal smaller?

‘Scuse me while I laugh right back!

Astrology can’t predict shit!

Isn’t it interesting…

❧ …how a meteorologist can make a prediction based on available evidence and it’s called “a weather forecast”;
❧ …how a scientist can make a prediction based on available evidence (and sometimes not, depending on what they’re studying) and it’s called “a hypothesis”;
❧ …but an astrologer can make a prediction based on available evidence and it’s called “fake”?

So who died and made skeptics the authority on the difference between a hypothesis and bullshit?

 

(I was going to write at least a medium-length rant on how the future is malleable and no one gets it right and so forth, but I think I’ve said quite enough.) (Except I forgot about pointing out that there was a time where generals and kings never went to war without consulting an astrologer, and even saints practiced it once upon a time—check out Saint Augustine.)

The stuff in the newspaper/magazines…

…is pretty much junk and I wonder why they even bother publishing it?

I think most people get the idea that astrology is fake from these alone, and—to be quite honest—I don’t blame them.

 

What you see in periodicals is your sun sign (that I refer to by the Greek name of Helios), which most say describes your inner self. The reason that it never feels like the whole you is because it has never. Once. DEPICTED THE WHOLE YOU!

Even by itself, it doesn’t tell you enough, because where Helios is in the sky (or not, in the case of night births) also factors into your personality. If you’re lucky enough to meet two people who were born hours apart, you can see dramatic differences even without their charts. I went to school with a guy who was born approximately three hours earlier and we were as different as night and day! (Bit of a pun there, since being born in January means there was a literal difference of night and day.)

Depending on what the astrologer puts into their charts, we’re looking at steadily decreasing percentages of the whole picture:

❧ The luminaries are always present – the sun (Helios) and Earth’s moon (Selene)
❧ Modern and Hellenistic (ancient Greek) include the original planets (and exclude us): Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn
❧ The former also includes Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (unlike NDT, we actually consider Pluto viable!)
❧ Western astrologers usually include the ascendant [eastern horizon], the midheaven [zenith], the descendant [western horizon] and the lower heaven [nadir]. (I’ll be referring to these as the four vertices below.)
❧ Not to mention asteroids, Arabic lots (including the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit), the North/South Node and whatever else they want to throw up there

The average Hellenistic chart uses 2 luminaries + 5 planets + Part of Fortune + 4 vertices, which equals 1/12 (8.3%).

Even though I’ve been working on that form lately, I use 2 luminaries + 8 planets + 4 vertices in my basic charts, which equals 1/14 (7.14%).

At the most extreme is everything I mentioned above: 2 luminaries + 8 planets + 2 nodes + 2 basic lots (Spirit and Fortune) + the 4 “most important asteroids” (Ceres, Juno, Pallas and Vesta, who I guess were all planets for thirty-seven years) + 4 vertices = 1/22 (4.54%)

Good grief!

If you could only read 4.54% of a book, watch 7.14% of a movie or 8.3% of a television show, wouldn’t you think it’s absolute crap too?

Let’s break that down (and round up) using popular media:

❧ 5% of The Hunger Games is 19.3 pages of the print version. (I don’t know about you, but I make my decision within the first fifty pages, if not sooner.) In my digital copy (with the font and margins set how I like), that doesn’t even get you to Effie drawing Prim’s name.
❧ A New Hope (Star Wars IV) is 121 minutes long. 7% of the movie is 8.47 minutes. Shockingly, that actually gets far enough to introduce you to Vader, Leia and the droids! But not Luke or Han. And no lightsabers, either. (I skimmed through this video to the 8.5 minute mark to get an idea.)
❧ My new favorite competition show is Crime Scene Kitchen, which is an hour long. That’s only 4.8 minutes—barely longer than one of the commercial breaks!

If you can’t make a decision on something to read or watch with that small of a percentage, how is trying to adjudicate your future that way considered sane?


I could go on about how astrology isn’t fake because there is no such thing as a coincidence (but I’m too lazy to look up the calculations) and there’s often more than one significator in the sky when something big happens (Mercury rules transportation and was in retrograde during the Miracle on the Hudson, but not during the Challenger disaster, which means something else was going on), but I don’t have the patience.

And none of that would convince the skeptics, anyway.


This Amendment Will Not Run and Hyde

Here is the letter to the editor that spurred this editorial, and the short version for when I finally delete the image is that a local pastor (and known homophobe) is concerned that a forty-seven year old budget addendum is suddenly not going to be included anymore, despite surviving this long.

Below is the properly cited edition of my response, complete with formatting, (possibly) more pictures, links…and the last paragraph, since I kind of feel like they’re going to take it out, feeling it’s an attack on men.

What is the Hyde Amendment?

A follow-up to Roe v Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) that, “…blocks federal funds from being used to pay for abortion outside of the exceptions for rape, incest, or if the pregnancy is determined to endanger the woman’s life…” (Salganicoff et al., 2021—hereon referred to the Kaiser Family Foundation, or KFF, outside citations). The amendment has never become law, according to KFF; rather, it is a rider appended to the appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services each year.

Is it true that President Biden wants Congress to stop adding the rider?

While the president made such a statement during the 2020 campaign season (Salganicoff et al., 2021), the decision is not ultimately up to him. KFF says, “While campaigning during the 2020 presidential election, President Joseph R. Biden called for the removal of the Hyde Amendment from congressional appropriations bills. While the president may have a position opposing the Hyde Amendment, any change to the policy would require approval by Congress.” (Salganicoff et al., 2021) Meaning that—theoretically—as long as there are lawmakers who are against the government paying for abortion, the Hyde Amendment will continue to be enacted if said lawmakers can find sufficient support.

 

The next question is not in my original draft because I didn’t think about it until after submission. (Plus, they cap you out at three hundred words.)

Doesn’t Biden have the power to veto the Hyde Amendment if (say) Joni Ernst were to add it to the budget and garner enough support to get it passed?

CIVICS LESSON!

The president has ten days to make a decision on any bill as presented to him by Congress (excluding Sundays), at which point, he can sign off on a general veto or simply pocket it. (Line item vetos were discontinued in 1998; more on that in a minute. [Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives, 2021])

A general veto requires the president to return the bill in the ten day period, often writing a note expressing his disapproval. (And it has to be within ten days, or it will automatically become law. [Historian, 2021]) Pocket vetos, conversely, are sat on by the president until Congress adjourns. In that case, the adjournment has to be session and not vacation, as the court system has repeatedly supported Congress on that issue (Historian, 2021).

Continuing to use Senator Ernst as our pro-life example, if Biden were to veto a budget bill with the Hyde Amendment attached, the Historian writes that the senator would have to muster a ⅔ majority in both chambers in order to “veto the president’s veto” (2021).

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the president can no longer kill the Hyde Amendment by itself and leave the budget bill intact, as decided in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998) (Cornell Law School, n.d.). In Clinton, the Supreme Court declared that President Clinton’s vetoes of portions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 were unconstitutional after six members of Congress failed to persuade the District Court for the District of Columbia of the rightness of their case. (Cornell Law School, 1998)

Is Planned Parenthood the leading abortion provider in the United States?

PolitiFact agrees in a 2017 article that that is the case; however, it’s important to note that, “There’s no complete, centralized database that tallies abortions, much less breaks that number down by providers” (The Poynter Institute, 2017). Furthermore, Planned Parenthood’s 2019-2020 report (the most recent available) points out that only 3% of their services are abortion, while 52% centered around testing and treatment for STDs (Planned Parenthood, 2021). So unless Pastor Royston and his ilk are suddenly concerned with the “abortion” of chlamydia, HPV and others, there is no provable way to determine who racks up the most each year.

As for whether Planned Parenthood is “wealthy”, bear in mind that thirty-three states and the District of Columbia abide by the strictures set out by the Hyde Amendment, leaving women no choice but to use low-cost providers. In sixteen other states, the Department of Health and Human Services (or whatever each state may call it) has its own budget allotment for abortions, which means that low-cost clinics may not make as much money (Salganicoff et al., 2021).

What probably won’t survive is the question of how many men are in Congress.

Why is this important? A complaint I’ve heard time and again is that male lawmakers are pushing laws that make decisions about female bodies without any consideration toward women’s autonomy. Sure, it’s not their fault that 75% of the Senate and 75% of the House is made up of men (for a total of 405 [Congressional Research Service, 2020]), it’s their constituents’; but when you consider that any man has any power at all to make decisions about women’s bodies, the idea is galling.

 

For more information about the Hyde Amendment, select the KFF link in the references section.


References

Congressional Research Service. (2020, December 4). Women in Congress: statistics and brief overview. Federation of American Scientists. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43244.pdf

Cornell Law School. (1998, June 28). Clinton v. City of New York (97-1374). LII / Legal Information Institute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/97-1374.ZO.html

Cornell Law School. (n.d.). Line-item veto. LII / Legal Information Institute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/line-item_veto

Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives. (2021, January 1). Presidential vetoes. US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. Retrieved June 19, 2021, from https://history.house.gov/Institution/Presidential-Vetoes/Presidential-Vetoes/

Planned Parenthood. (2021). Planned Parenthood 2019-2020 annual report. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/67/30/67305ea1-8da2-4cee-9191-19228c1d6f70/210219-annual-report-2019-2020-web-final.pdf

The Poynter Institute. (2017, May 15). Glenn Grothman says planned parenthood is leading abortion provider. PolitiFact. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2017/may/15/glenn-grothman/glenn-grothman-says-planned-parenthood-leading-abo/

Salganicoff, A., Sobel, L., & Ramaswamy, A. (2021, March 5). The Hyde Amendment and coverage for abortion services. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/the-hyde-amendment-and-coverage-for-abortion-services/


Start Your Engines!

Warning: I'm new to the astrology game, but I wanted to try this because it involves some things I've been studying and I wanted to treat it like a school assignment.


The word goes out that Kim and Kanye are headed for Splitsville. You're a newbie astrologer who only understands a few divorce signs on a transit chart and got a 55% on your zodiacal releasing quiz. What do you do?

Use both methods to come to a conclusion and publish it on Twitter, of course!

(That and keep studying to improve my score, of course. *chuckle*)

 

Okay, the first thing I did was check Astro's databank for birth information for both of them. Since Kim is the only one with a birth time, I chose to work only with her, so the next thing I would do is erect a chart for her in Solar Fire. (Below is how Astro has it, with her chart adjusted to whole house signs. Click to make it bigger.)

Usually, I'd be concerned that the subject (known in the art as the "native") has moved since birth when working with transits, but I'm going to guess Kim hasn't strayed too far from Los Angeles, so it's going to be easy to erect the transit chart. I'm setting the time for 6:45p my time, because I saw the tweet before I laid down for my nap. Here are the transits (also clickable):

I found this guide back in November, and (lucky for me), there are a handful of things Psychic Scoop mentions that even a newbie like me can handle. The first thing they suggest looking for is,

1. Transits or progressions through the 1st or 7th house by Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.

The first house is empty, but the seventh house contains Jupiter and Saturn, which gives us a point.

But we're not done with the seventh house, because the second step I can handle is:

2. Jupiter believe it or not tends to bring on divorce – this is due to its expansive nature and if one has been in what they feel is an oppressive situation, they will feel optimistic enough to “break free” at this time – this would be seen by transits to the 7th, ruler of the 7th.

On one hand, I like finding the evidence I'm looking for. On the other? Poor Kim! (Two points.)

Clue number three reads:

3. Dual bodied signs on the 7th cusp (Gemini, Sagittarius, Pisces)

6/7 cusp is Aquarius, but I consider both and 7/8 to be valid, and what do we have on the latter? That's right, Pisces. (We're 3/3.)

Then in number four:

4. Ruler of the 7th in a dual bodied sign

Here's our first loss—the seventh is ruled by Aquarius. (But we're still 3/4.)

In five, we read:

5. Venus in aspect to Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus or Pluto

This one gives us a lot of leeway, as it doesn't say what kind of aspect, just "an aspect", and four planets to choose from. Since charts of any sort are invariably a web of lines, I turn to the list of aspects, which has really tiny font. (Alas. There's probably a way to fix that, but I'm too lazy to ask about it.) This one moves us to 3/5, because the only aspects Venus has in this transit are to Selene (the moon), Mercury and Mars.

Actually, we end up washing out totally, because six and seven say:

6. Moon in the 7th house can make one “restless” in relationships, especially if it aspects Uranus

7. Many planets in the 7th house

Moon's in three and there are only two in the seventh, so the final score is 42%. Dismal.

Even though I'm still not the best at ZR, I'll give it a shot. The calculators at Astro Seek tell us that the formula for the Arabic Part of Divorce is Ascendant + Venus – 7th House, which in Kim's chart gives us Aries in the fifth house. Since calculating parts beyond level two is tricky, I'll setup Solar Fire to release from Aries and see what happens. (Clickable, as usual.)

Since the object of this game is to release as close as possible to the present without going over, I clicked 23 June 2003, and discovered that the nearest level 2 hit 21 October of last year and it's a loosing of the bond.

Oops! And what does Professor Brennan say about LBs?

"[They are] a major transition/change in trajectory." (from his ZR keyword list in unit 13 of his Hellenistic Astrology program)

I probably didn't need to go beyond level two once I saw that bond marker, but I wanted to see how close I could get to today's date, so I clicked on 20 November in level three and…do you see that blue mark in the picture?

You got it: a second loosing just arrived Sunday morning at 9:46a.

Which means that even though she scored badly in the transit department, Kim definitely has the indicators of major life changes right now. The door's open for her departure—whether she walks through it is up to her.


Confessions of the Giftless

or: “I was a Fraud, Therefore, Everyone Else Must be, Too”

I recently reread this article after first encountering it over a year ago, and I must say, the idiocy is astonishing. It’s like…you have no gift so you decided to smear the rest of us? Why the hell did you even start if you didn’t care about what you were doing? If you want to play party games, play party games—don’t make a profession out of something that you don’t actually give a damn about.

Here’s some of the crap The Guardian saw fit to print:

I started off with the cards, but then I found out reading people was just as effective.
Congratulations! Cold reading is exactly what bullshitters like you do. Are you proud of yourself for figuring that one out?

I discovered that most of the time, people didn’t want their future told, they just wanted a listening ear.
So are you telling us that you practiced therapy without a license under the guise of fortunetelling? Did you really just admit to breaking the law? ‘Cause that’s what I’m hearing. (Once or twice is being friendly. Doing it every damn day with most—if not all—of your clients is dangerously close to therapy.)

♑☉ + ♌asc + ♐☾

Astrology is just a word association game. It’s not that hard.
No, but your brain apparently is—only an extremely dense person would think it’s “easy”.

She’s apparently never read through an astrologer’s Twitter feed. It’s a completely different language, with different dialects based on what kind of astrology the person uses.

I don’t know why astrology follows a geocentric model when everyone else went to heliocentric centuries ago.
Because it’s based on what’s in the night sky, you bafflingly brainless bitch! You don’t calculate conjunctions, oppositions, trines, etcetera of the Earth because you’re riding on it!

Just like when we manage to colonize the moon or Mars or whatever, some software developer is going to have to remove the celestial object we’re riding on at the time and replace it with Earth. Only then will the Earth have aspects to the other luminaries.


I hope my future commentary on astrology (and divination) will be a lot better. Hopefully I won’t run into any more morons!

 

Note from 120520: after being introduced to my astrology software, I’ve since learned that a heliocentric model is used for some calculations. However, this woman was complaining about it in terms of “everyone and their brother knows the Earth revolves around the sun”. (Not to mention that a woman who thinks astrology is about “word association” sure as hell isn’t going to be doing complicated heliocentric calculations!)


A Manifesto of Goodness

One of my dad's coworkers had the audacity to claim that he wasn't a "Good Catholic" because he didn't support Trump.

I don't think a person's politics should define whether they're "good". Which is why I wrote this.

Some (maybe not many) Wiccans, Witches and other Pagans believe that angels are independent agents, rather than being assigned to the Abrahamic god.
Me too. Makes life more interesting, I think.

A good person, whether they be Christian or of another faith, does not deal in absolutes. A good person does not say, “I would think you would follow this politician or that because you’re of a certain religion.”

A good person realizes that the fight for life does not end at the delivery of that life into the world, but that the fight must continue for that life until the Powers that Be declare that life is over.

A good person does not follow someone who declares themselves to be a good person, but who has allowed over 200,000 people to die because of ignorance and inaction.

A good person does not separate families who have struggled to come to this country in a search of a better life simply because they weren’t able to follow the rules due to the government’s neglect of what is often a dire situation.

A good person does not live in fear of words like “socialism” because they were once used in a negative fashion in non-democratic countries.

A good person knows that healthcare is not a privilege but a right, because a good person is a font of compassion.

Miller Fountain at Western Michigan University
(They've redone it since I was last there!)

A good person supports ideas like universal healthcare because it hurts their heart to see someone bankrupted because of medical bills.

A good person doesn’t fight back against things like higher minimum wages and a universal basic income, because a good person does not wish to see others hungry or homeless.

A good person hopes that tuition will one day be lowered or eliminated because no one should be stopped from pursuing their dreams due to their financial situation, nor should they be saddled with unconquerable debt simply because they attempted to be a positive contribution to society.

A good person does not allow the desire for money to override the need to preserve the environment.

This is the tree I named my kitty after!
(It's a Linden.)

A good person does not hate anyone for being transgendered, homosexual or anything else, because a good person loves their neighbor as they love themselves.

A good person does not discriminate against those who are different than them, because a good person understands that we are all equal.

A good person follows good people and trusts fellow good people to do the same, without resorting to attacks or coercion.

 

Most importantly: a good person does not have to be taught how to be a good person, because they are already doing these things themselves.