Saturday, April 25, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.



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Friday, April 24, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Sammy


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Actors' Equity Implements $9 Minimum Wage For LA's Small Theaters

From NPR's All Things Considered:

Less than a week after union members in LA overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to make small theaters pay their performers minimum wage, Actors' Equity decided to go ahead and implement it anyway. Many say the move could force many 99-seat theaters in LA to close.

Read or listen to the rest here.

As many of you know, I am an incredibly strong supporter of organized labor. After all, collective bargaining is just about the only kind of leverage that workers have when dealing with capitalists who generally hold all the cards and dictate the rules of the game. But I'm also a pragmatist. I don't believe it's a good idea to try to squeeze blood from a stone. It's an even worse idea for a union to escalate the death throes of an already dying industry.

That is, Actors' Equity has long performed a vital service for professional stage actors, representing them, making sure they can make a fair and decent living working in the theater. But they seem to be stuck in the nineteenth century, too, seemingly in deep denial about the fact that theater, for the vast majority of American cities, for several decades now, is no longer a viable economic venture. All that squeezing small theaters does is to finish off the smoldering remains of this once thriving art form.

How does this benefit actors?

I mean, okay sure, Equity is still doing good work for the ever shrinking group of people who are blessed enough to actually get some employment as actors. But this is like making sure the wealthiest passengers on the Titanic are comfortable, happy, and well fed while the ship is going down.

Why isn't this organization doing anything about the fact that the industry in which it functions is probably going to disappear almost completely in the next fifty years or so? That's the real crisis. And putting theaters out of business only makes it worse.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Study links swarm of quakes in Texas to natural gas drilling

From the AP via FuelFix:

With real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection.

In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking. It’s an area that had no recorded quakes for 150 years on faults that “have been inactive for hundreds of millions of years,” said SMU geophysicist Matthew Hornbach.

More here.

This is kind of so obviously true that it doesn't really even merit comment. On the other hand, the petroleum industry has massive legal departments that eat entire towns for breakfast, and even then, pretty much the entire Ledge is ready to run interference in Austin for all their oil cronies. That's why there needs to be solid unimpeachable evidence that fracking causes earthquakes. For, you know, a bunch of lawsuits that will hopefully be filed really soon.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Media's Failure With the Biggest Story in the World

From TruthOut:

The failure of the media to resist the carbon lobby's propaganda has been expressed by Eric Pooley, one of America's leading journalists, by means of a parable:

Suppose our leading scientists discovered that a meteor, hurtling toward the earth, was set to strike later this century; the governments of the world had less than ten years to divert or destroy it. How would news organizations cover this story? Even in an era of financial distress, they would throw teams of reporters at it and give them the resources needed to follow it in extraordinary depth and detail. After all, the race to stop the meteor would be the story of the century.
Having suggested this scenario, Pooley explained that in his parable, carbon-using humanity is the meteor, which is threatening to destroy civilization. This threat is, Pooley said, "the great test, and the great story, of our time. But news organizations have not been treating it that way."

More here.

I first learned, in painful detail, about the weird news media organizational incentives leading to such slanted and factually incorrect coverage in Eric Alterman's 2003 book "What Liberal Media?" The long and short of it is that conservatives have been so persistent, so loud, so overwhelming in their "LIBERAL MEDIA!!!" accusations, that reporters, editors, and publishers have effectively been cowed into this false "balance" thing they do, you know, "Shape of the Earth; Opinions Differ."

That is, when trying to be "balanced" in their political coverage, truth and facts necessarily take a back seat. As long as the conservatives aren't screaming bias, everything should be just fine. Of course, it doesn't really work that way. Conservatives will ALWAYS whine about bias unless the corporate media report the news exactly the way conservatives want it, their "facts," their framing, their emphases, etc.

Fox News is the ONLY major corporate news source conservatives like. Because Fox tells conservatives exactly what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

So this news media attempt to placate conservative critics, this bullshit "balance" approach, not only doesn't placate conservatives, but it also warps reality in clearly destructive ways, the political implications of global warming being only one issue of many. Of course, this particular news media failure very likely stands to be the most destructive of them all, in that global warming may very well destroy civilization as we understand the term today.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

1.5 Million Missing Black Men

From the New York Times:

African-American men have long been more likely to be locked up and more likely to die young, but the scale of the combined toll is nonetheless jarring. It is a measure of the deep disparities that continue to afflict black men — disparities being debated after a recent spate of killings by the police — and the gender gap is itself a further cause of social ills, leaving many communities without enough men to be fathers and husbands.

Perhaps the starkest description of the situation is this: More than one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Becky Pettit, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas.


More here.

White conservatives, you really want to know why so many people are so constantly pissed off at you when it comes to talking about race in this country?

It's because you treat fact as though it was opinion. You also treat your opinions as though they are facts. Then you run with those "facts" coming to false conclusions which often verge on racism, if not going into straight up racist territory. When challenged on these false conclusions, these "facts," you inexplicably act like YOU'RE the victim, even though your rhetoric makes you the obvious oppressor.

And it pisses people off.

You want to make every racist incident in the news all about that incident and only that incident, always divorcing it from context, always trying to blame the victim, or calling it a one-off or a "bad apple." You'll say anything you can to deny the reality. You'll drone on forever about single mothers, or the "culture of poverty," or the "black criminal element," whatever it takes to get you and the white power structure off the hook.

Well, you're wrong. Obviously wrong. And it pisses everybody off.

Because when we're able to get away from your word games, your stupid f'ing sophistry, your love for white supremacy, that's when the REAL conversation about race happens. That's when we can see the devastating numbers. That's when we can see that the American black community, historically oppressed, CONTINUES to be oppressed, obviously oppressed, even while I write these words. That's when we can see just how racist, how insulting, how UTTERLY WRONG your bullshit criticism of black people is.

When you tell people that the solution to black poverty is that black women need to get married, it's, like, fuck you, man. When you tell black people to just go out and get a job, it's a racist slap to the face. When you react to the totally justified outrage when unarmed black man after unarmed black man is killed in the streets by police, as though all cops are just like the friendly harmless cops in Norman Rockwell paintings, you might as well be pissing on our faces.

You're wrong. Dead wrong. And when you expect us just to agree with your totally racist bullshit, it pisses us off. You need to pull your heads out of your asses and look at the data.

I'm sick of this shit.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Faith vs. Facts

From the New York Times op-ed section:

And yet a broad group of scholars is beginning to demonstrate that religious belief and factual belief are indeed different kinds of mental creatures. People process evidence differently when they think with a factual mind-set rather than with a religious mind-set. Even what they count as evidence is different. And they are motivated differently, based on what they conclude.

More here.

My proselytizing atheist friends, I think, might want to go back to the drawing board. I mean, it's sort of intuitively obvious that when believers think about, well, what they believe, they're not approaching it in the same way scientists approach understanding physical reality. But now scientists are making such conjecture about belief into scientific fact.

That is, if you really want a more rational world with a more rational people, "no physical evidence for God's existence" just isn't going to cut it.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.



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Friday, April 17, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Winkie


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

In Defiance Of Federal Law, Tennessee’s GOP House Votes Bible As ‘Official State Book’

From Addicting Info:

If at first you don’t “secede”, try, try again. That must be why Tennessee state House Republicans just voted to pass a bill declaring the Bible the “official state book.” Separation of church and state? They don’t need no stinkin’ separation of church and state.

But in this case, News Channel 5 reports even state GOP leaders think this Bible-as-state-book bill goes too far.


More here.

Needless to say, this appears to be a pretty in-your-face violation of the first amendment's establishment clause: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." And because the fourteenth amendment made the Bill of Rights apply to the states, well, Tennessee just can't do this.  No state can make the Bible, or the Torah, or the Koran, or ANY religious book its "official book."  Totally against the law.

But even if you don't care about the law - maybe you're very, very religious or something, and believe that your interpretation of the Bible supersedes whatever you want it to supersede - you're still barking up the wrong tree when you support this sort of thing.

Here's a good Bible verse.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."

- Ephesians 2:8

When you support using the government to force Christianity on people, you're not getting any of those people into Heaven.  I mean, it may very well feel really good to think about ramming Jesus down people's throats, but it's all for your own vanity and nothing else.  Because without faith, it's all a waste of time.  And what's worse, the more you do this sort of thing, the more "official" you make Christianity, the more you up the incentive for people to pay lip service to Jesus without any faith at all.  A nation of people who say they're believers, but really aren't. 

A joke "Christian nation."  


Just because you really dig using the government to force your religion on people.  There's just no other way to see this than as a lose/lose scenario.  No upside at all.  Really, all this leads me to believe that the so-called "Christians" who want prayer in school, special social privileges, etc., really don't give two shits about anybody's soul.  They just want to lord it over people.

Bunch of dicks, if you ask me.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bloomberg Politics National Poll Finds Deep Partisan Split on Israel and Iran

From Bloomberg courtesy of Hullabaloo:

Israel has become a deeply partisan issue for ordinary Americans as well as for politicians in Washington, a shift that may represent a watershed moment in foreign policy and carry implications for domestic politics after decades of general bipartisan consensus.

Republicans by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 say the U.S. should support Israel even when its stances diverge with American interests, a new Bloomberg Politics poll finds. Democrats, by roughly the same ratio, say the opposite is true and that the U.S. must pursue its own interests over Israel's.


More here.

Having once been a conservative, myself, I usually understand why conservatives take the positions they do. I mean, I disagree, but I understand. But this. This is something I don't understand at all.

How is it possible that some sixty six percent of Republicans believe the US should support Israel OVER OUR OWN INTERESTS?!? I mean, leaving aside the entirely problematic question of what actually constitutes our national interests, this, in the abstract, is deeply disturbing.

You know, I like Israel, too. I believe in Israel. I believe in our longstanding alliance with them. I admire Israel. I definitely think that we should support Israel. But, in the end, whether you like it or not, Israel is another country. It's not the fifty first state. It's not America. Their interests often overlap our interests. But not always.

And when their interests are not the same as our interests, it's a no-brainer. Americans should support America.

But that's not what Republicans think. They think that when there is a difference in interests, Israel should take priority. I don't know what to call that, but it's certainly not patriotism.

The Republicans for many years have been coasting on a reputation for foreign policy expertise. Even after the neocon takeover of the party during the Bush era, and the numerous foreign policy disasters that came with it, the GOP continues to be considered the "grownups" when it comes to dealing with other nations. I think this poll might very well have destroyed that undeserved reputation they've had for foreign policy. That is, if you're serious about how this nation conducts diplomacy, do not, under any circumstances, vote Republican. They value the interests of other nations over our own.

They cannot be trusted.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bill O’Reilly’s insane persecution fantasy: Hillary is the frontrunner because it’s “open season” on white men

From Salon, courtesy of Hullabaloo:

“If you are a Christian or a white man in the USA. it’s open season on you,” he said. “Therefore, Hillary Clinton has an advantage. She can run a general campaign — first woman in the White House, and I’m going to help you by increasing the entitlement society. It will take a very articulate and tough-minded Republican to defeat her.”

More here.

I imagine he means it's open season on white Christian men for liberals, that liberals are the hunters in this O'Reilly construction. So, as a liberal, I've just got to take a moment to break this down.

As a man, I don't feel men are under the gun at all. Indeed, I've got a great deal of unearned privilege just because I'm a man. People take me more seriously, for one thing, just in general. People tend to think I know what I'm talking about. And that's just my personal experience. Then you get into the statistics: men continue to be paid higher wages than women for the same work; men continue to dominate mid and upper level management in businesses from coast to coast; most of our political leaders are men, and so on. If it's open season on men, the hunters aren't terribly good with hitting their targets.

But wait; there's more!

As a white man, I don't feel whites are under the gun, either. For instance, in any and all encounters with the police, I feel like I have a MUCH better chance of walking away with my life and liberty intact. Indeed, I feel absolutely privileged as a white man. The dominant culture is the white culture, so I never ever at all feel like I'm somehow culturally out of my element. I mean, America is a white world, after all. Nobody with any real power is out to get me precisely because I'm white. Really, as a white man, I've got it totally made.

But there's also this business about CHRISTIAN white men being under attack.

Here's the deal on that. The vast, vast, vast majority of Americans self-identify as Christian. So if we are to accept that it's open season on white Christian men, we have to accept that it's open season on an enormously large percentage of the population. Such a large percentage that we would all definitely see it if commie liberal weirdos really are on the hunt. You'd see them on your street; you'd see them at work.

But where are they?

The reality is that you can't be elected to dog catcher in this country if you don't profess to being a Christian. How can it possibly be "open season" on Christian white men when that's virtually all of Congress?

Right, exactly. This is just more of O'Reilly's usual psycho bullshit. Never mind what this has to do with Hillary, a white Christian woman married to a white Christian man. There's just no real world evidence that it is "open season" on white Christian men in this country. O'Reilly's a total paranoid weirdo nut. But I guess that makes for good television.

If there is ANY truth to O'Reilly's paranoid ravings, it's that a lot of Americans are sick to death of ASSHOLE white Christian men. I mean, I know I am. But it has a lot less to do with gender, race, or religion than it has to do with the asshole part. In fact, I would say this has NOTHING to do with gender, race, or religion. It's all about the asshole.

And it's quite interesting, indeed, that O'Reilly's likely the biggest asshole in the entire country. No wonder he's paranoid.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Report Shows US Invasion, Occupation of Iraq Left 1 Million Dead

From TruthOut:

"Initiatives such as the IBC ... only count deaths which are considered civilians directly killed through war-related violence," he said. "So not only are combatants not included in the statistics but also everyone who died from indirect fallouts of the war, such as lack of basic health care, hunger or contaminated drinking water. In most wars, that kind of victim exceeds the number of those directly killed. Without detailed on-site surveys, it is hard to reliably determine either whether a dead person had been a civilian or combatant, or the exact cause of death."

More here.

This is why I oppose virtually all war. I mean, I'm no pacifist. Sometimes you just have to fight, and that's that. But in the modern world, in the era of America's overwhelming military superiority over the rest of the globe, those times are so rare as to be near non-existent. No, killing for oil is not one of those occasions, either, not when alternative energy independence is just over the horizon. By the same token, fighting to keep the world safe for capitalism is sick, twisted, and foul.

Here's what happens when we wage war on a nation. Their civilization is totally upended. Things people take for granted for survival are no longer there. When civilization is gone, people die. Lots of people die. And it is directly the fault of the people who have waged war on them. That is, we killed a million people in Iraq. As the study authors quoted in the linked article observe, that's approaching genocide. And we did it.

I can't think of anything justifying genocide. If we were a nation of responsible citizens, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc., would all be serving life sentences. Sadly, we are not a nation of responsible citizens. Consequently, we have the blood of a million on our hands. And none of us seem to care.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sweden’s feminist foreign minister has dared to tell the truth about Saudi Arabia. What happens now concerns us all

From the Spectator:

Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden’s EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her. A small Scandinavian nation faces sanctions, accusations of Islamophobia and maybe worse to come, and everyone stays silent. As so often, the scandal is that there isn’t a scandal.

More here.

It's far easier to pick on a disenfranchised and oppressed minority in your own country than it is to take on the God King Emperor of oil, and all the industrialized democracies who kiss his ring, no matter what his foul practices are. That is, "Je suis Charlie" was something of a sick, f'd up, and cruel joke. This is the real deal. And this brave woman will, in all likelihood, lose her career for her display of integrity and morality.

Our supporting the Saudis is dealing with the Devil, as sure as our support for Israel is. But the oil. Oil, oil, oil. We're choking on it in more ways than one.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.




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Friday, April 10, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING: ANOTHER CANINE SPECIAL EDITION

Lola


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

Chris Rock Takes A Selfie After Cops Pull Him Over For The 3rd Time In Less Than 7 Weeks

From HuffPo:

Chris Rock took a selfie after being pulled over by police while driving Tuesday, marking the third time in seven weeks he's posted while being stopped by a cop.

Rock posted the photo to his social media accounts early Tuesday, writing: "Stopped by the cops again wish me luck." In the shot, the comedian can be seen behind the wheel of a car with blue police lights shining through his rear window.


More here.

No, it's not simply about economics these days, although there's clearly a great deal of overlap. And no, if you're white you really would NOT gladly trade places with a rich and famous black man like Chris Rock--millions of dollars are simply not worth the ongoing indignity and oppression. Racism is real. It exists. It is far more widespread and insidious than most white people will allow themselves to believe.

I bet one of you racism deniers is going to try to tell me that this is because he's always speeding or something stupid along those lines. I mean, like ALWAYS. White racism deniers ALWAYS try to come up with reasons that the black guy had it coming. White racism deniers ALWAYS deny racism.

You know what? Denying racism IS racism. Cut that shit out.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Top 16 Anti-Gay Activists Caught Being Gay

From Ranker.com:

In light of it recently being revealed that Republican North Carolina Senate candidate Steve Wiles once performed as a drag queen, and proving once again that conservative, anti-gay activists aren't always what they seem, this list is now 16 conservative anti-gay activists who turned out to be gay, or certainly not anti-gay themselves.

Oooh!  Now it's sixteen!  Click here for the slide show.

Not that any of this is recent news, but it's definitely worth mentioning right now, as the right wing ramps up its continuing hissy fit about the mainstreaming of gays in American society.

What's always particularly fascinating to me, in light of these anti-gay, but secretly gay, hypocrites, is how so many homophobic voices talk about gay sex as something that's a temptation, a choice one might make, sort of like going over to the dark side of the Force or something, when everybody else thinks it's either something you like or something you don't like. It makes me wonder if this is how these obviously emotionally suffering hypocrites construct their own gay desires, and, by extension, anybody else's gay desire.

That is, if they think Darth Vader is making them want hot gay sex, then it must necessarily follow that all gay people are working for Darth Vader, even though it's obvious that they'd be much better off working for Yoda. Or something to that effect.

No, it doesn't make sense at all, but isn't Star Wars great?

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

THE BULLSHIT SIDE OF "RELIGIOUS FREEDOM"

Here's the bottom line. All these "Christian vendors," whatever you want to call them, don't want to opt out of serving gays for religious reasons. I mean, it's all just a lie. Instead, they're opting out because they don't like gay people.

Seriously.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." That means EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER THEY SERVE IS A BIG HUGE HORRIBLE SINNER. Every single one of them. But none of these vendors refuse to sell their services to, say, divorced people getting remarried, or single people getting married who have had premarital sex, or drinkers or drug users, or people who have lusted in their hearts, or who have dishonored their parents, and on and on and on.

It's not about the Bible, Jesus, God, whatever. It's bigotry, plain and simple. I mean, it's really an impossible stance to take consistently, anyway. If you don't serve sinners, you have no business. But they can single out one group of sinners if the hate is strong enough, so that's what they do.
I just don't buy this "religious freedom" thing when it comes to stiffing gays. It's total bullshit.

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Monday, April 06, 2015

After Kentucky’s loss: fires, fights and arrests

From the Wichita Eagle:

On State Street, which had been the epicenter of previous post-game celebrations, downcast expressions and stunned silence quickly gave way to chants of "(expletive) Wisconsin."

Bottles were thrown into the air and fires were set and quickly extinguished by firefighters, who asked for police escorts into the rowdy crowd.

There were several reports of assaults, and fights, and reports of people with minor injuries, such as facial lacerations, a head injury and a foot injury from broken glass.

City officials said 29 people had been arrested, and at least three people had been taken to the hospital. The city said police used pepper spray to break up some fights, and the city brought street sweepers in to defuse the crowd around 2 a.m. City officials described the crowd as "rowdy, and at times hostile."


More here.

Anybody who knows me knows that I'm not usually one to criticize anybody's freedom of expression or political speech, I mean, criticize their right to do it, instead of the content of the expression. But this thing in Kentucky is quite something else. I just don't understand why these people would set fire to their own community, why they would engage in assault and vandalism. Yes, speaking out on important issues is, well, important, but I think what these people are doing is just turning off anybody who might be sympathetic to their message. And, you know...

...wait, these people are WHITE?!? And it's about sports, not politics?!?

Never mind. This is just fine. Everybody move along. Nothing worth talking about here. No problem at all.

(Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)

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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Fox News Kicks Off 2014 Coverage Of The "Unholy War On Easter"

Media Matters has a nice clip of Fox News trying to establish a new right-wing meme, the "War on Easter."  Just as absurd of the "War on Christmas."  I mean, it's just a woman from the Freedom from Religion Foundation explaining why they feel it's important to match public property displays of religious symbols with their own displays.  Same old thing.  And now it's a "war."

Click here for the silly video.  Here's what I said about it on facebook:

So we're supposed to be at war with Easter now, too? Why don't the liberal sites I frequent ever tell me about this stuff? Why must I have to go to Fox to learn what I'm supposed to be doing as a liberal? I tell ya, lefty internet writers better pick up their game and start telling me about these kinds of things. I'm getting sick of Fox scooping them.
Excelsior!

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Saturday, April 04, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.




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Friday, April 03, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Frankie


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Racism’s sinister word games: What a white-supremacist talking point tells us about modern politics

From Salon:

It’s important we understand such rhetorical tactics not simply as forms of racism, but as part of an important history that parallels, and lives symbiotically off of, the history of racism: the history of denying the existence of racism. Whether it’s borrowing the multiculturalist language of discrimination in accusations of 'reverse-racism,' or expropriating the term 'racist' as a symbol of white pride, the perpetrators subject themselves to a double-bind: They respect the idea of race-based discrimination when they themselves feel embattled or diminished as whites, but deny the same when the victims of discrimination are minorities.

More here.

Denying racism IS racism. Intentionally confusing the word "racism," which has a very specific meaning, and includes both personal behavior and institutional action, with the more generalized terms "bigotry" or "discrimination" is ALSO racism.

That is, if you're attacking "race baiters" or going on and on about "playing the race card," there's a very good chance that you are aiding and abetting traditional American racism. I'm quite certain, however, that you will never admit this, to me, or anybody else, or even yourself. This is deep psychological weirdness that wants to have a racist cake while eating it at the same time.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

AZ Senator: Church attendance should be mandatory

From KPHO in Arizona:

Allen explained that without a "moral rebirth" in the country, more people may feel the need to carry a weapon.

"I believe what's happening to our country is that there's a moral erosion of the soul of America," she said.

"It's the soul that is corrupt. How we get back to a moral rebirth I don't know. Since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth," she told the committee.


More here.

Never mind the severe problems this idea has with the first amendment. What does church attendance mean when you have no choice? Absolutely nothing. Some "moral rebirth" we'll have when the government mandates going to church. Kind of the same thing as having to say the pledge of allegiance in school.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Statehouse Republicans embarrass Indiana. Again.

From the Indianapolis Star op-ed section:

Let's call it what it is. It's discrimination wrapped up in a legislative bow. It's divisiveness painted as something holy. It's tired and cynical politics weakly masked as a principled stand.

Sure, it is cleverly labeled with a market-tested name (the Religious Freedom bill), but please don't be fooled: This is nothing more than a government endorsement of discrimination. Yes, in this land of liberty, our state's government is prepared to push into law a measure allowing one group of people to tell others that they are not equal and not welcome at their businesses.


More here.

I feel oppressed every time some Churchie McChurch hassles me for saying "god damn it." But I don't think we should pass a law making me free to say "god damn it" without being hassled. That's basically what this is about, but for Churchie McChurch instead of me. For that matter, how is this even slightly Biblical? Jesus broke bread and associated with all manner people, saints and sinners alike. Except for politicians. It seems like he only associated with politicians when they were condemning him to death, which ought to tell us a lot about Mike Pence and Indiana Republicans.

Really, this is just shameful.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

WHY YOU PISS US OFF ON GLOBAL WARMING

A comment I left on a facebook discussion thread:

When you say something like this, "I don't buy it. Funny that is was global warming but when they figured it was not really warming like they thought they changed the name to 'change' I think the hypocrisy is laughable," which you said above, you're effectively demonstrating for pretty much everybody that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about on this issue, and, at the same time, disqualify yourself from having an opinion worth taking seriously.

That is, it's still global warming. That never changed at all. Indeed, global warming is what causes the climate change. While slightly different in meaning, cause for one, effect for the other, we're essentially talking about the same thing with both phrases, using different emphases. I thought it was a bad idea to bring the newer phrase into the political debate for fear it would cause the same kind of confusion you're displaying here. But I'm not in charge of such things, so I didn't get a vote.

But the point is that you clearly have done absolutely no legitimate reading on the subject or you would have never made that really silly assertion. I highly recommend that you bone up on this stuff, if only for your own credibility in these discussions, or no one will take you seriously at all.

More generally, however, the reason conservative views on global warming are so frustrating to liberals is because it's settled science. We might as well be debating whether sodium and chlorine in the right amounts create table salt. So to deny global warming, climate change, whatever, is to say you don't think the scientific method is a good way to understand physical reality. I mean, conservatives don't admit this, but they don't need to do so.

So when a conservative denies global warming, it's just laughable, or stunning, or infuriating. Because conservatives are just plain wrong. There is no debate about this. The only reason conservatives deny it is because it casts doubt on a lot of stuff they believe otherwise, capitalism, certain fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible, etc. And everybody knows this. Even conservatives. But the conservatives can't or won't admit it to themselves because they have too much to lose if they do so.

So forgive liberals' hostility on this. You guys really are testing people's patience when you expect everyone to do the equivalent of believing in unicorns.
Excelsior!

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

SUCKY AMERICA TO CONTINUE

When workers make more money, consumers purchase more, which causes business to expand, creating more jobs and prosperity for everybody. The reverse is also true. When workers make less money, consumers purchase less, which causes business to stagnate, creating fewer jobs and less, or no, prosperity for everybody.

We've been pursuing the workers-make-less-money strategy since I was in high school, insanely calling it a good idea. We double down on failure year after year. Because the entire political establishment, Democrat and Republican alike, thinks that destroying demand is good for the economy. It's not. That's why everything sucks today.

And nobody in power has the slightest inclination toward changing things. Expect America-the-Suck to continue for the rest of our lives.
 
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.




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Friday, March 27, 2015

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Stella


Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!

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