Wednesday, December 17, 2014

College QB Forced To Sue T-Shirt Company To Retain Eligibility

From Deadspin:

Just when you think the NCAA bylaws couldn't possibly become more ridiculously hypocritical, a story like this comes along.

Mississippi State quarterback Dakota "Dak" Prescott is suing a T-shirt company for using and profiting from his name without permission. Whether Prescott actually gives a shit about some guys making a few bucks off some T-shirts is unclear, because no matter how he feels about it, he has to sue the T-shirt company if he wants to retain his eligibility. 

More here.

I'm all for keeping college football as pure as possible. (Okay, stop snickering out there; I know it's all BIG MONEY.) But this seems a little unreasonable. Shouldn't the NCAA provide legal fees for this requirement, given how college football players don't get salaries? Or, at least, provide a lawyer pro bono or something?

Knowing the NCAA, I imagine free legal representation constitutes under-the-table pay, anyway. So screw you, Prescott.


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IF YOU SUPPORT TORTURE...

Cross-posted this from last week on facebook, and actually had a conservative or two show up to support torture.  Here's what I told an old friend from high school:

Anybody who supports torture has given up on being civilized. This cannot be understated. If you support torture, you cannot possibly be a Christian. If you support torture, you are not a good person. If you support torture, you are a barbarian scum bag.

This is evil we're talking about, plain and simple. Eric, you're my old friend, and otherwise a good guy. But not on this. Supporting torture is an act of evil, and I would be a bad person not to call you out on it. In fact, I am morally compelled to raise objections when people support evil. I hope you're not offended. But you've got me choosing between being a moral person and being polite. I have to choose morality.

Dude, you're evil to talk this way, evil to support torture. There is no gray area here. Torture is horrific. It's definitely a hardcore sin. You sully our nation and yourself to advocate it.
'Nuff said.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Monday, December 15, 2014

Louisiana Gov. Jindal’s Prayer Rally Handouts Blame Gays and Abortion for Hurricane Katrina

From Raw Story via AlterNet:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) plans to kick off his presidential candidacy in January with a stadium-sized prayer rally in Baton Rouge.

Right Wing Watch reported that materials being distributed ahead of the rally blame LGBT acceptance and legal abortion for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the devastating tornado system that leveled the town of Joplin, Missouri.


More here.

We've long known that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal is droolingly stupid. But now we have him combining his stupidity with callous cruelty to create a new level of assholery heretofore unknown in his administration.

Well, okay, rejecting the Medicaid expansion was worse. I guess this is par for the course, then. Bobby Jindal totally sucks.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Why Are We Obsessed With Declaring that America Is 'Awesome'?

From AlterNet:

Fox News may be the poster child of this infantile anti-intellectualism but the same sentiments can be found on the Washington Post’s neocon editorial pages or in  the higher-brow New Republic. If you dare point out that America or one of its favored “allies” has done some wrong around the world, you’re an enemy “apologist.” If you regularly adopt a critical stance, you will be marginalized.

That’s why so many serious national problems have lingered or gotten worse. If we don’t kill the messenger, we denounce him or her as un-American. 

More here.

When you purposely live in a fantasy-bubble, one that makes everything you love always right, it is necessarily impossible to examine, analyze, and improve everything you love.  Loving America, patriotism, whatever you want to call it, clearly embraced by the political, business, and media establishments which own and operate the nation, and continually rammed down the public's throat, has put us into this position.  We can no longer do the important work required by our democratic republic.  We cannot "promote the general welfare" and all the rest of that good stuff in the preamble to the Constitution when doing so is tantamount to opposing the nation.

Patriotism, as currently culturally constructed, is bad for the country.

Back when I was teaching, I gave a kid a failing grade on a six week progress report.  I didn't fail him for the semester; I just sent home a bad progress report.  This infuriated his parents, who freaked out on me because I hadn't notified them before the fact.  Instead of taking the opportunity to get serious with their son about his school work, they came after me, the bearer of bad tidings, first in a psychotic phone call, complete with a father/mother tag-teaming, and then later during a meeting with the principal.  "He's a good kid!" they proclaimed over and over again.  I told them he was hanging out with known sleazy drug dealers, which was completely true, and might very well be on drugs himself.  This just pissed them off all the more.  Their little darling baby was perfect, so it MUST have been all my fault somehow.

The kid eventually passed my class, barely, and I never heard from him again.  One of his drug dealer buddies, though, according to the local newspaper, eventually ended up stuffed inside a car's trunk at a nearby gas station, alive, thankfully, but definitely headed in the wrong direction.

That's how all this patriotic bullshit works.  It's the same thing.  You love something so much that you refuse to see the reality, and, consequently, doom that which you love.  It's bad parenting and it's bad citizenship.  And it's exactly how things have worked in this country, at least since 9/11, but its roots probably go back much further.  It's willful blindness, and anyone who points out the reality is an asshole, to be dismissed, if not beaten in the street.

It's no wonder we're going to hell in a hand basket.  We no longer want to be citizens.


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Saturday, December 13, 2014

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.





$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Friday, December 12, 2014

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Stella


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

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thursday, December 11, 2014

If Lebron's #icantbreathe T-shirt bothers you, you are probably a racist

From Daily Kos:
Yet, on sports talk radio all across the country, you'd think Lebron did so much more than this. White fans in droves are calling in with outrage and frustration that Lebron, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, and others are "ruining the experience," "abusing the privilege of being the NBA," "making sports political," and serving as a "distraction from what sports is really all about." If Lebron's T-shirt bothers you that much, you are probably a racist.

Does it bother you when players wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer?

Does it bother you when players wear American flags on their jerseys in tribute to fallen soldiers?

Did it disturb you when Washington Wizard point guard John Wall wrote "RIP Miyah" on his sneakers in honor of a six-year-old girl who recently died of cancer that he had befriended?

More here.

You know, the term "racist," as an epithet to describe an individual, has become extraordinarily problematic as far as getting down to discussing the nitty-gritty details of the politics of race in the US goes, so I'm not going to call anybody a racist for getting angry with these athletes making relatively quiet and subdued symbolic statements about the disturbingly high number of black Americans killed by police in this country.  But it's definitely worth asking why some white people get so incredibly angry about this.

I mean, really, it's no skin off your back.  Big deal if an athlete has a different opinion from yours.  You really think that's going to change the way the country is run?  Are you in danger or something?  I mean, sure yeah, disagree if you must.  But why the hell is this pissing you off?

I hear profound bullshit from the right wing on a fairly regular basis, day in and day out, and from time to time I do get pissed off, but not that often, really.  People are entitled to their opinions,
after all, no matter how ill informed and f'd up.  It's just pointless to be angry with people for disagreeing with me, generally speaking.

So I ask you, if these athletes piss you off, what's REALLY going on here?  For that matter, do Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson piss you off?  And what's up with that?  It's not like old school civil rights agitators are going to change your life or anything.  It's not like they're Sister Souljah talking about killing white people. But those two guys piss off white conservatives just when their names are mentioned.

Like I said, I'm not going to call you a racist.  But there's some weird shit going on here.  White people getting angry just because they hear stuff from black people they don't like.  It kind of doesn't make much sense.  So what if black people disagree with you?  What do you care?  I don't get it.


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ferguson Protester's Photo Gets Edited Into Racist Meme, Goes Viral

From the Riverfront Times:

When Jermell Hasson agreed to let Riverfront Times take his photo for a story about Ferguson protesters, he had no idea someone would later turn it into a viral and inflammatory meme.

Hasson carried a sign in front of the Ferguson police station that read: "No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he leaves home. #blacklivesmatter #stayhuman"

Months later, a doctored photo of him holding a sign that says, "No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he robs a store," has gone viral. 

More here.

At least one of my conservative facebook friends posted this racist trash uncritically and as fact, which just goes to show that if you already think black people are criminals, you'll believe any crazy f'd up shit seemingly verifying your belief. That is, this kind of vile racism clearly perpetuates itself in the minds of white Americans who are likely beyond any redemption.

It's not even a good photoshop job.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

CIA's Brutal and Ineffective Use of Torture Revealed in Landmark Report

From the Guardian via AlterNet:

The CIA’s post-9/11 embrace of torture was brutal and ineffective – and the agency repeatedly lied about its usefulness, a milestone report by the Senate intelligence committee released on Tuesday concludes. 

After examining 20 case studies, the report found that torture “regularly resulted in fabricated information,” said committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, in a statement summarizing the findings.

“During the brutal interrogations the CIA was often unaware the information was fabricated.”

The torture that the CIA carried out was even more extreme than what it portrayed to congressional overseers and the George W Bush administration, the committee found. It went beyond techniques already made public through a decade of leaks and lawsuits, which had revealed that agency interrogators subjected detainees to quasi-drowning, staged mock executions, and revved power drills near their heads. 

More here.

It is profoundly notable that arguments offered to "justify" the American torture regime are essentially the same arguments offered to "justify" the overabundance of black men killed by police.  

There's the "bad people" argument seeking to change the focus from the misdeeds of officials to the misdeeds of their victims.  There's the "regrettable but necessary" argument attempting to establish that police killings and torture HAVE to be acceptable because that's just how it has to be.  There's the "patriotic" argument telling us that the CIA and the police are protecting American lives, which always comes with the implication that questioning their behavior is somehow un-American, and you're a bad person for even wanting to go there.  There's the "drown it all in a million irrelevant details" argument, seeking to bury opposing views with minutia, suggesting that anybody who doesn't like it just doesn't understand what's going on.  And on and on and on.

The truth, of course, is that far too many black Americans are killed by the police.  And torture, needless to say, is deeply immoral, a crime against humanity, profane and obscene.  There is no justification for either of these very American phenomena.  But people treat these "justifications" as though they mean something, as though they're serious trains of thought.

It is now impossible to avoid concluding that there is a perverse, foul, and twisted sickness deeply embedded in the American soul.  And we have, as a people, become very adept at rationalizing our national sins and perversity.

I fear we are beyond redemption.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Monday, December 08, 2014

SJW Hate Mob VS a Lymeric

This stupid and racist joke below when posted online brought out, yet again, some liberal totalitarian tendencies going well over-the-line:

There once was a thug named Brown
Who bum-rushed a cop with a frown
Six bullets later
He met his creator
Then his homies burnt down the town.


More about the twitter mob here.

The joke was in poor taste, to be sure, but this kind of harassment is the sort of liberal mob "justice" that outrages me. These people should be protesting the Ferguson police, or the white power structure, or posting their own counter-tweets. But not this. This is NOT cool at all. Freaking mob mentality.

Sadly, all these "liberals" don't seem to understand that mob harassment isn't a liberal value. F'ing Stalinists. When your side refuses to live up to its own values, it's a problem, a big problem. I mean, it makes the entire notion of "side" extraordinarily problematic. On the other hand, these types don't give a damn what side you're on, anyway. Once they've decided they're right, then you better look out.

It's tough enough taking on conservatives in fair debate. This makes a mockery of free speech and the marketplace of ideas. Idiots. Idiots. And total dickwads.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Galleria stores close during protest inside mall

From Houston's ABC affiliate, KTRK:

Protesters took to one of the busiest intersections in Houston in order to get their message out about the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. But in addition to the street-side protest, about 100 demonstrators headed inside the Galleria mall.

And

Some stores, including Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, Microsoft and Macys, shut down temporarily. All the stores have since opened up.

Some shoppers questioned if this was really the best way to protest.
  


More here.

When I posted this article on facebook, there was the usual concern trolling about the disruption of commerce, lost money, etc.  Here's a bit of how I responded.

I think that, generally, the whole idea of protest is to disrupt the normal proceedings of life. Otherwise, people can just go about their daily business and totally ignore the whole thing, staying ideologically safe and sanitized in their bubble-of-privilege enclaves.

People who condemn protests for shutting down roads and highways, commerce, etc., wouldn't be talking about it at all without the disruption.

Changing the way people perceive "the way things are" cannot be pretty or nice. Toes must necessarily be stepped on. We're all in this together, whether we want to admit it or not. To start talking about small businessmen is to miss the point entirely.

Also, screw the Galleria. It's a luxury mall for high end retailers. This is exactly the place that needs disruption. Every day.
'Nuff said.

Another article on the Galleria protest here.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Saturday, December 06, 2014

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.





$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Friday, December 05, 2014

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING: Special Canine Edition!

Lola


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

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Protests erupt as cop cleared; feds to investigate

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

A grand jury cleared a white police officer Wednesday in the videotaped chokehold death of an unarmed black man stopped for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, triggering protests in the streets by hundreds of New Yorkers who likened the case to the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

More here.

If you refuse to address the fact that blacks are twenty one times more likely to be killed by police than whites, that a black man is killed by police or vigilante every twenty eight hours in this country, then I don't take anything you have to say about race seriously.

You're just a joke, as far as that goes.

And don't tell me it's because blacks commit more crimes or any other bullshit like that.  I'm pretty sure that's not true.  I'm certain it's not true as far as drug crimes go: whites do more drugs and at a higher rate than blacks, but blacks get busted WAY more often.

You've got to talk about how the American criminal justice system is aimed squarely at black people, and how "criminal" and "justice" don't have much to do with it.  You've got to acknowledge that fact if you want me to do anything other than laugh in your face or tell you to go to hell.

I'm sick of this stupid fucking dance.


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Bhopal disaster

From Wikipedia:

The Bhopal disaster, also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident in India, considered the world's worst industrial disaster.

It occurred on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals. The toxic substance made its way in and around the shanty towns located near the plant.


More here.

This, among a billion other reasons, is why capitalists are not to be trusted. Ever. It happened thirty years ago, but it, or something very much like it, will definitely happen again. Because, in the end, money trumps human life. We must never forget that. Unrestrained capitalism kills. In this case, tens of thousands, but in all its brutal totality, millions and millions.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

A BRIEF DEBATE ON "NAME-CALLING"

On facebook a couple of days ago I posted a link to a blurb about how some players for the St. Louis Rams made a visual statement before last Sunday's game in support of the Ferguson protesters, and then compared it to the 1968 Olympics black power salute.  You never can tell where these things are going to go, so I'll post the highlights for a debate on name-calling which then ensued in comments.

Here you go.

Meshell Yes, this is very cool. How confusing for cracker racists. Hee hee!

Ron I'd say cracker racists are in a continual state of confusion. And anger.

Mindy I think that phrase is redundant, Meshell.

Toni I just wish the non racists would stop saying cracker racists.

Meshell How do you know, Toni, that those of us saying "cracker racists" aren't, in fact, cracker racists?

Toni I'm of the opinion that derogatory terms, remain derogatory, regardless of who utters them. Therefore, I don't care. I also dislike the twitter feed dedicated to outing and getting fired those who spew racist hate, but also say shit like "kill that white bitch for her racist ways" not helpful.

Meshell Toni, my mom says much the same thing, and tells me that I shouldn't call people cracker. I respect that opinion, but I think cracker is a descriptive term for a certain type of racist prevalent to the rural South. I'm sorry that it bothers you.

Toni Thanks For The Apology

Brad I agree, Toni. Name calling is a juvenile and reductive tactic that only solidifies the barriers between people. Regardless of the source.

Meshell Ok, but I wouldn't call it an apology, just a respectful acknowledgment of your opinion, and an expression of mild unhappiness that my choice of words causes you any sorry of negative response.

Ron Okay. A couple of points on name-calling.

1. Personally, when I hear epithets about being white, I always think to myself, seriously, whatever, white people still run everything, this is an absurdity, who cares. That any white person is disturbed by "cracker," except, maybe, for some sort of normal recoil in reaction to anyone effectively saying "nyah, nyah," is truly beyond me.

I recognize that some people appear to be bothered by it, so I should remind myself to be sensitive. But I also put it in the category of people who correct me for saying "god damn." It's, like, man, really?

2. I think name-calling is not only acceptable but desirable in certain situations and within certain contexts. Ridicule and scorn can be legitimate. I think calling out racists is automatically up for consideration as far as that goes. I mean, maybe it's a bad idea if you're trying to persuade those racists, or maybe it might put off the people you're trying to get to listen to you, but it's not off the table as a rhetorical device.

COP - The fucking Nazi Party.

ELWOOD - Illinois Nazis.

JAKE - I hate Illinois Nazis.

I had really forgotten how funny this scene is.

Toni So.. name calling is ok as long as the people who are doing the name calling are subjugated? I feel like you're perpetuating the divisiveness.

Ron Look, sometimes name-calling is bad and sometimes it's good. It depends on the circumstances. Surely you agree that there are certain behaviors, ideas, etc., that are undesirable ought to ostracized, mocked, ridiculed. A blanket philosophy that name-calling is always bad is just absurd.

Toni Sure. Ideas, behaviors etc...but not people, and definitely not broad groups of people generally speaking. Sure, blanket philosophies are bad we've had that discussion before. But imagine, no...try to live in, a world where we don't label whole groups of people, especially negatively? Bitch about the behavior, mindsets, etc...but stop the rest. It's tiresome, divisive. Not conducive to peaceful living.

Meshell Nothing is off the table as a rhetorical device: censorship is oppression! Fight the Power! I find a lot of ideas offensive; I don't understand how a word like "cracker," which, really, doesn't have much power, can be that troubling, compared to ideas, expressed with varying degrees of obfuscation, that rape victims should have been more careful, or that poor people should "work smarter" or get better jobs, or that black men should expect to be gunned down in the street because they listen to rap music. Now, that is some offensive shit. However, people can say it, because we must allow for freedom to explore ideas.

Ron No, Toni, I'm going to make fun of people when I think it's the right time to do that. Name-calling doesn't CAUSE divisiveness. It's a symptom, if anything, but not a cause. So I reject your assertion as far as that goes. I just don't think it's true. And I can't have weird philosophies with which I disagree tying my hands when it comes to communication. You, of course, are completely free to refrain from name-calling. Hell, I'll even accept if you want to call me out for going too far or hitting below the belt. But not just for name-calling. No way. I have to be able to do that, in the abstract.

Brad If your intent is to shame people, then I think name calling is a perfectly legitimate tactic. But that doesn't make it any less reductive and juvenile. For what it's worth, I resort to it myself sometimes. I just take into account the fact that I'm removing the possibility of a mature debate once I open that door. And calling names usually only serves to reinforce the name caller's sense of superiority. Again, not very useful if the intention is to have mature debate. See how the introduction of one (fairly mild) epithet completely derailed this discussion?

Ron Brad, I almost fully agree, except that name-calling, insults, whatever we're calling it, can be juvenile OR a near art form. Just go read some Shakespeare to see what I mean. Again, it depends on what one is saying and under what circumstances.
There's only one way to end this post:



$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Monday, December 01, 2014

Bad Memories Down South

From Political Animal, courtesy of Eschaton:

I’ve just spent nearly a week back home in exurban Atlanta, and I regret to report that the events in and in reaction to Ferguson have brought back (at least in some of the older white folks I talked with) nasty and openly racist attitudes I haven’t heard expressed in so unguarded a manner since the 1970s.

More here.

As Atrios observed when he posted this at his blog Eschaton, you don't need to go back home to the South to see vile racism on display; just read the online comments for your local newspaper, and you'll see it in all its bullshit glory.

Of course, I don't generally read online newspaper comments so the reaction coming from a lot of white people on facebook to Darren Wilson's non-indictment took me totally by surprise.  I mean, in its scale; I expected to hear some bullshit, to be sure, just not so much of it from so many people.  It was emotional, visceral, and very, very angry.  There was hardly any calm, dispassionate discussion.  It was almost as though there was a need to squash any sympathy for Michael Brown, and to sweep under the rug the fact that black people are twenty one times more likely to be killed by police than white people.  At least, that's how I took it: for these white Americans, it's not about the massive epidemic of killing black people - indeed, to them, there is no epidemic of killing black people - but rather about supporting that massive epidemic of killing black people, which doesn't exist.

The problem with racism in this country is far, far, far worse than I had allowed myself to believe.  White people who are CERTAIN they're not racist concoct bullshit arguments in support of racism at the drop of a hat, and get really pissed off when challenged.


I fear we will not get beyond this in my lifetime.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Sunday, November 30, 2014

No One Wanted to Talk About Bill Cosby's Alleged Crimes Because He Made White America Feel Good About Race

From the New Republic:

Of course, patriarchal attitudes about sex and limitations around racial representation were not some special poison slipped into 'The Cosby Show,' any more than the privileging of white experience is exclusive to 'Girls.' These are messages baked into practically every iteration of popular culture (and politics) in the United States—from 'Friends' to 'The Sopranos,' from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama. They’re baked in because we’re a fundamentally racist and sexist country with persistently racist and sexist attitudes. The chilling lesson, perhaps, is that the cheerier, popular vision put forth by Bill Cosby was illusory all along.

More here.

An old buddy of mine sent me this link via private message on facebook. Here's the response I sent him.

Excellent essay.

And I keep making statements (like the one excerpted above) to the same effect, myself, but a lot of people not only disbelieve me, but they also get pissed off that I talk that way. I mean, not everybody, of course, but enough to make me think that such statements are entirely true. That is, we're so deeply underwater with racist and sexist notions in our culture, so accepting of the current state of affairs as being entirely normal, that it outrages people who perceive themselves as off-the-hook.

I mean, I'm not off the hook, myself. I have racist and sexist thoughts popping into my head much more than I'd like, and I am consciously anti-racist and feminist. If it's happening to me, it's GOT to be happening to a lot of people, especially those who are only moderately anti-racist or feminist.

It's all such a convoluted cultural and psychological mess, with so many people hostile to the discourse itself on this stuff, let alone familiar with and able to participate in that discourse, that it's difficult to imagine a way out. We have a massive cultural problem here, with massive economic and political ramifications, and we, as a society, can barely even talk about it.

But you know me from way back. That's just a challenge.
Excelsior!

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Saturday, November 29, 2014

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.





$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Friday, November 28, 2014

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Winkie


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

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thursday, November 27, 2014

THE "BLACK CRIMINAL"

The "black criminal" is an idea, a narrative, really, which was socially constructed, that is, invented by society, shortly after the Civil War as a means of giving justification for the all new, post-slavery means of controlling America's black population, the criminal justice system. And it is a strategy that has worked exceedingly well, even decades after the end of Jim Crow, as a way to keep black Americans marginalized and on the outside of mainstream American life.

I'm forty six years old. I was taught as a young white boy to fear black men. I carried this fear into my adult life, and it wasn't until I started working, living, and otherwise associating with black people that these fears started to diminish. But it's still there, deep in my bones, and it comes to the surface sometimes. I hate it, but I don't think I can ever truly eradicate it from who I am. I can only acknowledge that it exists, and be ever vigilant, always ready to push it back into the dark hole in my psyche, the place it has always dwelled.

That's bad, of course, but I think I'm in a much better place than what is probably a majority of whites who refuse to admit that this even exists, and who allow the social conditioning they've received all their lives, the deep seated and emotionally powerful image of the "black criminal," to rule their minds without question.

A lot of the time I fear we're just totally fucked. And the seeming triumphant reaction of so many white Americans to the non-indictment of Darren Wilson simply reinforces that.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

WHITE DELUSION

I posted this on facebook just now:

All of you. Another young unarmed black man has been shot dead in the street. As with Trayvon Martin, it was apparently entirely legal.

That so many white people have other things to talk about besides the many legal ways to kill black men in this country is strong testament to the absolute delusion in which most white Americans live. Listen to yourselves. It's almost as though you're happy about it.

I'm sickened and deeply saddened.
I don't have much more than that in me for blogging today.  The sense of white triumph with this has really got me depressed.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Did Cops Shoot 12-Year-Old Black Boy Brandishing Fake Gun?

From AlterNet:

But research proves that police officers or white people in general have a tendency to be more trigger-happy when confronted with a black suspect. A  2002 study revealed how undergraduate students reacted to video simulations in which they were asked to shoot if they thought a black or white person was armed. The white students had higher rates of error when it came to unarmed black suspects.  

For those who say this study doesn't apply because the Cleveland boy had a gun, a 2005 study by Florida State University researchers revealed that white cops were more likely to shoot an unarmed black suspect than a white armed suspect. 

More here.

So, okay, some real and serious research strongly suggests that whites are far more likely to shoot at a black person who is perceived to be armed than at a white person in a similar context.  And that's interesting, to be sure, definitely worth some more reading and consideration.  Of course, a couple of studies don't necessarily establish anything as fact, but they do open up some very real possibilities--lots and lots of studies, of course, still don't establish fact, but each time you get repeated results, you get a lot closer to fact.  So I'm not ready to say that whites are more trigger-happy when it comes to shooting black people, but I'm definitely willing to consider the possibility; I mean, there don't seem to be any studies out there suggesting the opposite or anything.

But here's something REALLY interesting to me: how many people out there just immediately dismiss such studies as being absolutely impossible, that such research results are complete bullshit, just because they "know" these studies have to be wrong?  I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that such people might have some racist tendencies within them, emotional stuff that doesn't quite manifest as "I don't like black people," but rather manifests in knee-jerk reactions that don't really make much sense.  No, I'm not calling these people "racists."  After all, who can look into people's souls and measure their worth?  And it's also been brought to my attention lately that calling people racist may very well be counterproductive when it comes to discussing race.


I am saying, however, that studies of this sort are real information.  Skepticism is a good thing, to be sure, but irrational skepticism, the kind that immediately dismisses such real information is NOT good, and may very well indicate what's going on at a subconscious level.

Also, global warming.  Evolution, too.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Republicans Finally Admit There Is No Benghazi Scandal

From Mother Jones:

Late on a Friday afternoon, when it would get the least attention, a Republican-led committee finally admitted that every single Benghazi conspiracy theory was false. There are ways that the response to the attacks could have been improved, but that's it. Nobody at the White House interfered. Nobody lied. Nobody prevented the truth from being told.

It was all just manufactured outrage from the beginning. But now the air is gone. There is no scandal, and there never was.


More here.

Okay, finally, the Benghazi "scandal" is over. But just as there are Republicans to this day who believe Nixon was railroaded, so, too, will there be Republicans who, to their dying breaths, will fully believe Benghazi was worth impeaching Obama over. Facts mean nothing to these people. All they have is their venom and bile.

Freaks.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Saturday, November 22, 2014

FRANK ZAPPA FRIDAY AND 70S POP MONDAY ON SATURDAY

Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.





$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Friday, November 21, 2014

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING

Sammy and Frankie



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

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saskatchewan mom stuck with $1 million hospital bill after she gives birth in Hawaii

From CBC Radio:

Only a week after Huculak-Kimmel checked into the hospital, she learned that Blue Cross was not willing to pay the medical bill. It eventually totalled $950,000.

She says the insurance company denied her coverage because it said she had a pre-existing medical condition. She had had a bladder infection four months into her pregnancy, and long before her trip, that caused bleeding. Blue Cross argued that made her pregnancy high-risk. But, she says, four days before her trip, her specialist gave her an ultrasound and cleared her to fly.

"He saw no reason for me not to go," she says. "He felt that my pregnancy was stable."
 
More here.

This is one of many reasons why the health insurance companies are EVIL: they take your money, take your money, take your money, and then do EVERYTHING THEY CAN to keep from giving you what you've already paid for. I can hardly tell the difference between what they do and a Mafia protection racket. Indeed, this is my main objection to Obamacare. The ACA works with the insurance companies, and, by and large, allows them to remain in charge. It is a crime against society.

It's a damned shame we aren't civilized like the Canadians with their socialized medicine. Stories like this remind the world of America's inferiority in this respect.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

High schooler suspended after preaching claims religious persecution, sues

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer via the Houston Chronicle:

An Everett high school student who claims he was wrongly suspended for loudly sharing his Christian faith has sued the school district, claiming his Constitutional rights were violated.

Michael Leal proselytized to his classmates at Cascade High School and passed out lengthy, mass-produced religious tracts, to the apparent annoyance of school administrators. Leal was suspended three times after he refused to tone down his freeform sermons and stop handing out Bible verses.

With the help of a national Christian rights organization, Leal filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Everett School District, his school principal and others. In it, he contends he was subjected to religious discrimination during a months-long fight with school staff over his sermons and pamphleteering.

More here.

You know, the only "disruptive" activity really mentioned in the article is that this kid used what the district describes as an "amplification device," even though it was at a "bonfire and car bash," an already presumably loud and raucous event, not a classroom or school assembly.

This is very disturbing to me for all kinds of reasons. We don't have "freedom from religion" in this country. We have separation of church and state. That is, schools cannot proselytize. But students aren't schools; they're citizens. Protected by multiple clauses in the first amendment, students in public schools definitely CAN proselytize. I mean, okay, there's a potential problem if a kid wants to preach at the same time his algebra teacher is trying to get across FOIL or some such, but this account in the Houston Chronicle makes it sound like it never even came close to that.

From personal experience, as both a teacher and a student, I know that when school officials start talking about "disruption" it can mean literally anything. Your Rolling Stones t-shirt is "disruptive." Your hair color is "disruptive." Your registering discontent with disciplinary policy is "disruptive." In actual practice, being "disruptive" in a public school setting means that you're doing something teachers and administrators don't like.

But whatever. Kids can preach, hand out tracts, save souls, whatever, as long as it's not truly disruptive, meaning making it impossible for teachers to do their jobs. Of course, we don't really know what's going on with this situation. All we have is a lawsuit and some statements issued by the district. But if I were a betting man, I'd put some serious money on this being a district overreaction.

Generally, schools are paranoid about religion, and they're paranoid about anything they don't control, and this kid's personal crusade appears to combine both paranoias. Whatever. He seems to be well within his rights. Schools are also paranoid about involvement in any and all public controversy.

Well, now they've got one. All because they're too afraid to let this play itself out. 


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"WE CONSERVATIVES ARE NOT RACIST, AND YOU'RE PISSING ME OFF!!!" II

And it continues from yesterday.  You can probably infer what it is to which I am responding from context.  Well, okay some context.  The whole thing was spawned by my sharing on facebook science fiction writer David Gerrold's status update asserting that the new Republican Congress is definitely going to impeach Obama.  In his comment, he compared House Republicans to monkeys throwing feces.  Anyway, the rest should make sense with that in mind.

Dani, I think threatening to default on the federal debt, and doing so in such a convincing way that the US bond rating was downgraded by at least one ratings agency is tantamount to monkeys throwing feces. It was that absurd, that pedantic, that mean-spirited and meaningless.

I'm not going to be nice about that kind of thing. Civil, sure, but not nice. The Republican Congress played chicken with the financial health of the government and the nation for frivolous reasons. This was beyond a bad call. It was near traitorous.

Also, poverty in this nation is, in fact, caused by the priorities of the super rich. We have the resources and ability to make sure that every individual in this nation has food, clothing, shelter, and health care. But we don't do it. Why? Because public policy clearly reflects the will of the rich, and this has been documented.

A few more notes:

1. How have I personally disrespected you?
2. Many conservatives are, in fact, wrong on the facts, about numerous issues, including but not limited to evolution and global warming.
3. Many conservatives, but certainly not all, are, in fact, racist, in the interpersonal way that I'm sure you abhor yourself. I know this because I've TALKED to such conservatives, and they've been very up front about it.
4. Many conservatives are hateful, too, and angry, but conservatives have no monopoly on this.
5. Lots of fundamentalist Christians among conservatives, most of whom believe that the earth is five thousand years old, that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God, and seemingly have never read the Beatitudes. Does that make them nutty? Having come from a Southern Baptist family, I would say "no," but I can also understand why others might think so.
6. Whether loving guns is foolish or not, it's very difficult to have discussions with people who think dead children are just the price we have to pay in order to be an armed society.
7. I am not a Democrat. I have many, many, many problems with that party, but they're criticisms from the left, so I won't bother you with them.
8. I agree that liberals should listen to conservatives much more often, and do so honestly. But do you really think I don't listen to what you tell me?
'Nuff said.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$