Monday, December 19, 2011

Newt Is Nuts

One of the more profoundly wrong-headed and dangerous (and boy is that saying a lot) things to come from a Republican presidential candidate this time around is Newt's assertions about the courts. Scott Lemieux, one of the LG&M bloggers, has this to say about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We Are Not On The Gold Standard

One simply cannot pretend to understand issues of macroeconomics (the so-called "debt crisis" chief among them) if one does not understand this fact and its significance. Please read this.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why Faith Is Dangerous

The kind of thinking that allows a person to hold on to a belief or opinion when the premise of the belief or opinion is demonstrably false is dangerous. It undermines rationality, and I submit it undermines a central part of what makes us human. I make no comment here on the notion of spirituality, or on the wise and useful teachings of religious traditions. I'm attacking the "faith" that things that demonstrably aren't true, are in fact true. Nonsense, and magical thinking and belief in the patently false are not only absurd intellectually, I think they represent a major impediment to the progress and improvement of human life.

For example, the story of Adam and Eve is simply false. This isn't opinion, it is scientific fact.

The linked post discusses how people who do, or ought to, know better, accommodate the false beliefs of religious people. I think they are doing those people a great disservice.

National Fraternities: Shaping The Male Leaders Of Tomorrow [Updated]

[UPDATE: I forgot to source this. The discussion thread at the link is interesting.]

Shaping them into what is the question. My sense is, frats are breeding grounds for alcohol abuse, regressive attitudes towards women, homophobia, narrow-minded group-think, and generally help propagate a social order that should be ripped apart ASAFP.

Case in point.

Based on my personal experience, this sort of thing very much represents  fraternity culture. Not to say there are no positives (I don't know what they are, but I won't say there are none), but I think the harm to society handliy outweighs the good.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

German Lesson

From the excellent site Futility Closet:

Useful German:
  • Feierabend: a festive frame of mind at the end of a working day
  • Drachenfutter: (“dragon fodder”) a peace offering to a wife from a guilty husband
  • Fachmensch: a narrow specialist
  • Fingerspitzengefühl: (“fingertipfeel”) intuitive sensibility, confident sureness of touch
  • fisselig: nagged and flustered to the point of incompetence
  • pomadig: “like hair oil,” able to slip through difficulties
  • Verschlimmbesserung: an intended improvement that has made things worse
  • Stammplatz: a favorite usual spot, as a table at a café
  • Torschlusspanik: (“gate closing panic”) fear that time is running out to act
  • Zivilcourage: courage to stand up for what is right
  • Zwischenraum: the space between things
The contraceptive pill is the Antibabypille. “I can understand German as well as the maniac that invented it,” wrote Mark Twain, “but I talk it best through an interpreter.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cultural Sensitivity

A company, who shall remain nameless, sent the following in a Holiday Newsletter:
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for
eight days and nights. It begins on the 25th of
the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with
late November-late December on the secular*
calendar. This holiday commemorates the rededication
of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following
the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.
“Hanukkah” is a Hebrew words[sic] that actually means
“dedication” or “consecration.”
Immediately under that was this quote:
The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not
Christmas in his heart. - Helen Keller
OK then. As this followed an e-mail from a manager noting that he's bringing "ham for sanatwiches[sic]" to the Holiday Pot Luck, I think we can draw some conclusions. Oy vey!

* - The "secular" calendar was named after a pope, and uses "Before Christ" and "Anno Domini (The Year Of Our Lord)" to mark dates. Can you feel the secularity?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Drumming I Like, Pt.1

Post title says it all.

So smooth, so funky, so in control


An under-appreciated machine. I mean that in a good way.

Holy guacamole.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Apple Is OK With Killing Chinese Workers...

But not with helping women exercise their rights.

[via LG&M]

Voter Suppression: It's What's For Dinner

[via LG&M]

I have no idea what the title of this post is supposed to mean.

But I do know what this means. I struggle to think of anything more profoundly un-American. The far-reaching efforts at suppressing the vote of those who don't support them might just be the most heinous criminal act of the right wing. I don't know if it is fear of losing power, or a cynical, aggressive grab for more power, but in any case, the people behind these sorts of things ought to be in prison.

I am sure the Democrats do shady stuff, and history certainly shows they have done some very shady stuff, but I am aware of no concerted effort by the Democrats to systematically deny a basic (and arguably the most fundamental) civil right. Why do they hate America?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spending Priorities

[via LG&M]

It is true that cutting defense spending will cause job losses. This should surprise no one. What might surprise you is all the ways the money could be better spent, from the POV of job creation. And don't bother with the comments in the linked article, a lot of stupid, hateful right-wing blather.

My take is that I'd like to see money spent in the most efficient and productive ways possible. I have yet to be convinced that we need to spend as much as the rest of the world combined in defense. I am also not convinced that it is best for us to do so. I am not for making cuts to the Federal budget, nor do I favor net tax increases. However, if we are going to cut, let's cut where it hurts us the least.

Monday, November 7, 2011

She Doesn't Have A Penis, Either. Does This Mean She CAnnot Really Represent Men?

Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ, is there anything more idiotic than Politico?

By the way, I told you to read Charles Pierce every day, didn't I?

WINAD, Explained

Just read this. And next time someone says the Dems are the party of the Left, try not to die laughing.

The Best Research Money Can Buy

Charles Pierce hits yet another bulls-eye. This time, he takes on the absurd notion that teachers are over-paid. That conclusion was foregone reached by a study from the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Both of these outfits exist solely to put a pseudo-academic gloss on what conservative politicians choose to believe anyway. They are not "think-tanks," if that buzzy phrase ever had a real meaning. They are talking-point factories. They exist so that people like Michele Bachmann can appear to be smart. Their "research" is given mainstream credibility only because the people who run America's major communication conglomerates would cut out their own spleens rather than be called "liberal." Heritage and AEI produce "research" the way the Fox News Channel produces "journalism." It's propaganda with data points.
Read the whole post here.

QOTD 11/7/11

"You know, when you're done working on the Hill, we'd very much like you to consider coming to work for us." Now the moment I said that to them or any of our staff said that to 'em, that was it. We owned them. - Jack Abramoff
And that, my friends, is a big reason why you have such a corrupted Congress. Notice there is nothing about campaign donations here. Not to say that isn't part of the problem, too, but I think the energy being invested in trying to overturn Citizens United and limit campaign donations ought to be put on this topic. Serve in Congress, take your pay and your pension, and forgo the chance to work in any industry your votes affected. I'm pretty sure there are better-stated versions of this idea, but the key is we have to stop the "a cushy job is waiting for you" form of bribery.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Behind Every Great Fortune, There Lies A Great Crime

One of my college professors passed that line along to us. If I were unemployed, in Greenland, I'd do a post (or series) on the crimes behind the fortunes (trust me, there is no shortage of examples). Via Balloon Juice, here is yet another example. Sure sure, innocent until proven guilty. But I find it extremely unlikely that charges would have been filed if there wasn't solid evidence. This kind of case is not like the cops arresting the nearest black guy that someone ID'd from 100 yards away in low light.There is almost certainly a very solid paper trail, if not witnesses willing to testify in excruciating detail about the fraud.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Is What Abusing The Court System Actually Looks Like

New Variations on the Patent Scam

Innovatio is also suing Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread and other stores offering free Wi-Fi because they claim that they have some kind of patent that covers Wi-Fi. They’re looking for settlements in the range of $2,300-$5,000—in other words, they’ve priced their lawsuit at nuisance value and hope that these companies will just pay them to go away, and do so before their whole scam gets tossed out of court. 

The Other Evil Is Really, Really Evil

Over at Balloon Juice, John Cole had this to say:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best Three Point Shot

I'm reading the excellent, extremely entertaining "The Book Of Basketball" by Bill Simmons. In it, he claims the following is the greatest three-pointer ever:

However, in looking for the clip, I found this:
Now, contestant number one was a game-winner, and clearly of greater significance. But which shot is more amazing to you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Goodbye Bork Pie (Ass)Hat

[via LG&M]

Robert Bork Has Good News for All the Ladies

How about the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment? Does he still think it shouldn’t apply to women?

“Yeah,” he answers. “I think I feel justified by the fact ever since then, the Equal Protection Clause kept expanding in ways that cannot be justified historically, grammatically, or any other way. Women are a majority of the population now—a majority in university classrooms and a majority in all kinds of contexts. It seems to me silly to say, ‘Gee, they’re discriminated against and we need to do something about it.’ They aren’t discriminated against anymore.

Why does Robert Bork even matter? "Bork is currently an adviser to Mitt Romney." Eep.

Racism In Italy

The caricatures are something, no? Translates to something like "Guess who has the last right to housing, health care and work?" And which stereotype is holding the knife? I think it is the Arab, but I'm not sure.