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?