T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, goes to discredited stereotypes and challenges the patriotism of those who decline to join the conservative march. One bromide is that liberals believe rights do not exist unless granted by government. No need for a counterpoint. Turns out it had already been submitted here.
Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues reviews wasted opportunities and complacent attitudes that cause Americans to let down ourselves and each other.
Debra Dickerson is back (Yay-y-y-y-y) with a very funny not quite Sinatra via Denis Leary. Turns out to be very, very good. The dark side of American complacency. Manifesto Joe, sort of, set to very good music.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame starts by covering an unfortunate Fox television exchange and ends up taking it personally, contrasting real people he has taken the time to meet with well paid TV personalities who entertain audiences by making fun of the desperately poor.
James Wigderson hosts a popularity contest that does not, or maybe does, predict who Republicans want as their next Senator from Wisconsin. Click to find out who's winning, or maybe to find out who's even running.
Our favorite John Myste is a bit dormant at John Myste Responds. His past writing is timeless and more than worth revisiting. He has been on this site, however, in full battle regalia fighting the good fight against ... well ... me, actually.
Ryan gives Secular Ethics a brief rest (a shame), visiting at our site in order to slowly and carefully explain to me why he is against charts in debate. He even uses small words. For all his devoted effort, I still don't get it. Fortunately, he possesses a steady temperament and remains a most patient instructor.
- Infidel 753 has the most detailed, scientific explanation of Higgs Boson delivered via rap. Wow. Dancing to the dark mass.
Our favorite John Myste at John Myste Responds takes a well deserved rest from attacking the intellectual dishonesty of a mendacious blogger, who turns out to be ... well ... me, actually, to contribute his thoughts here at FairAndUNbalanced at the dishonesty of the Apostle Paul and, before him, Jesus of Nazareth.
At Why do we have to do this, Sir?, our friend, erstwhile spiritual leader disguised as middle school teacher, investigates angels through the thought processes of teenagers
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, got me to thinking. I've always liked the Stones, still going strong after all these years. I don't know how Fred and Barney do it. Anyway, Myers has scheduled a podcast about Creationism. I sense a bit of skepticism.
It turns out that Ryan at Secular Ethics was singularly responsible for this week's Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. Ryan would be quite justified in expressing a degree of pride, but he remains self-deprecating about it. Ryan is also an increasingly generous contributor at Fair and UNbalanced.com. Although he is too modest to mention it himself, nobody has ever seen Ryan and Superman at the same time. Coincidence? I don't think so.
James Wigderson begins with a light slap at Nancy Pelosi, repeating a frequent conservative Breitbart reediting of a remark she made about Obamacare during the amendment process. James continues with a variation on Justice Anthony Kennedy's slippery slope speculation that government will make him eat broccoli, which he doesn't like. James is afraid that agents will take away his stash of Snickers bars. I'm with James on this outrage. Forget death panels. They can have my Snickers when they pry it from my cold dead lips.
Infidel 753 does a Dewey vs Truman accounting of initial wrong reports on Obamacare. Jean Schmidt (R-Lameduck) was recorded reacting to the wrong reports. A video shows her launching into the upper stratosphere. As radio signals reach her with a news correction, she explodes in fury. Remnants can still be seen in the evening sky from most of North America.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame has video of the irrational exuberance at the wrong news just before Representative Schmidt received a corrected version, got sprinkled with Holy water, and melted into an angry pool of boiling rubber. Okay, so mixed-metaphors-are-us. I'm getting old. We all live with it.
Mark at News Corpse watches the frantic efforts of FoxNews to recover from their gleeful initial reports on the overturning of Obamacare. They quickly reported on the sharp downward reaction of stock prices in reaction, but didn't know what to do when, minutes later, stocks surged and surged and surged. Up 278 points by close of business. Did I mention Jean Schmidt?
T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, laments that Obamacare is legal. Justice Kagan had been a professional advocate for Obamacare so she should have recused herself. She wasn't and she shouldn't. Ginsburg hates the Constitution and should have been impeached. She doesn't and shouldn't. All sides in oral arguments insisted the mandate was not a tax. True and so what? Saying something is so don't make it so.. Obamacare will explode the deficit. It won't. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the opposite. And on and on.
Vixen Strangely at Rumproast examines the unusual decision by Congressional Republicans that Attorney General Eric Holder holds them in contempt. As I understand their logic, they have no evidence of any wrongdoing. Since they know there was wrongdoing, despite the lack of evidence, that lack of evidence means that Attorney General Holder is engaged in a coverup. The lack of evidence of wrongdoing is the evidence of wrongdoing.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger, has an angry piece at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST chronicling Darrel Issa's refusal to allow testimony that would contradict conspiracy theories. Republicans in this Congress operate by ratchet rules. Evidence is allowed only in one direction.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster channels Nomi Azulay of the New York Times, making a case that voters would participate more if elections were non-partisan.
- The Heathen Republican compares President Obama's popularity the moment he took office with his support today. He finds that support has fallen in every demographic. I dunno. I suspect every President starts at an extraordinarily high point that will seldom be attained again. Plus, Heathen uses charts to illustrate his data, which will horrify John Myste. And he does it as an advocate for a point of view, which makes him intellectually dishonest. I would not have believed that it demonstrated anything but intellectual diligence until my friend John explained it to me.
A few friends dance to Star Wars
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, posts a protest against Biblical literalism. In defeating the outrageous passages, he has defeated Christianity. "Most Christians don’t read this book that they claim is the divine and holy word of an omniscient being, which would be odd if they actually believed that," he writes. My take was written a year and a half ago. How's that for time travel?
Infidel 753 has done more than a little homework. He tells us the story behind the story of the economic crisis in Greece.
Betty Cracker at Rumproast wonders why the right is wound up in a weird direction about a gun running sting operation gone tragically wrong, then figures it out with the help of public statements. My take is similar.
Max's Dad notes the blatant irony of Michigan lawmakers insisting they do really treat women with respect while their leader explains the need for giving one a "time-out." Yeah, he really used that phrase. We're just giving her a time out because of what she said. Max's Dad recalls a few instances that involved no penalty at all. Not even a few minutes in the corner.
Favorite conservative T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, compares leaks about bin Laden's below-sea-level residence to the outing of a CIA agent by the Bush administration. He is right to compare them, but he gets the comparison backward.
Our John Myste from John Myste Responds contributes this week to our site with an attack on a dishonest blogger who ... uh oh ... turns out to be me. Eeeeg. But I do respond ever so contritely. I'm not saying he is entirely wrong. I'm just saying I'm entirely right. On the other hand, he is a genius, and I'm not.
The Heathen Republican concedes that not everyone on the left is anti-war, but points out that we are all anti-war if a Republican is President. I don't recall the post-9/11 era that way. Many of us were even pro-Iraq invasion until it became obvious we were lied to. So maybe his observation is a little overstated?
Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues plays an Amy Goodman interview with a prescient Gore Vidal in 2008. I don't much care for Vidal. He too frequently thinks he has won some great battle after biting his betters on their kneecaps. Amy Goodman shines, though. Camera time is limited, but she keeps the conversation on track.
- Ryan at Secular Ethics is an occasional generous contributor here. He posts not often, but well. It may be less frequently now. When Ryan posts, he can pretty much count on a mention here. And readers can count on a quality link. He is very good at educating us on logic and fallacy, and he always enlightens with entertaining examples.
Slant Right's John Houk correctly wonders if Syria might become a proxy war between the US and Russia. It won't, at least for a while, because there is no solid group for the US to back. The opposition is too diffuse, like nailing a cloud to a wall. John goes on to mindlessly ascribe Russian policy to a continuation of Communist expansionism. Next week, perhaps John will explain how the Italian economic crisis is another plot by Julius Caesar.
Vixen Strangely at Rumproast has a recording of a right wing reporter heckling the President during an announcement of interim immigration action. Remember when such actions were evidence of unruly lack of simple patriotism?
- On the ho-hum dog-bites-man-what-else-is-new side of journalism, Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame reports another blatant Mitt Romney untruth. But Tommy also comes up with a pretty good encapsulation of how public employees help the economy:
Cops, firemen, and teachers don’t shop in public-sector Gov-Marts, they don’t protect and educate the citizens of Public-O-Stan, and they don’t get paid in ObamaBucks. Their 700,000-strong absence from the workforce has terrible ripples in the private economy, and on private life.
Jerry Critter at Critter's Crap breaks out the data and examines the last government jobs program. John Myste may want to cover his eyes. Jerry actually uses graphs to visually display ... you know ... data points.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger, has a cautionary piece at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST about the voter suppression efforts of Florida Governor Rick Scott. The Governor has gone past photo ID laws to actually knocking voters off the rolls if they have similar name spellings of illegal immigrants or dead people. A large number of legitimate, very much live, voters have been documented to be on the Scott list. But knocking actual voters off is a small price to pay to prevent any potential illegitimate voters from casting ballots, even though the number of such attempts so far has been zero. On the other hand, most of the actual voters to be taken off the rolls by anticipated accident would have voted for people the good Governor doesn't much like. So a bug becomes a feature.
Ned Williams at Wisdom Is Vindicated contrasts J.P. Morgan's mismanagement of funds with California's deficits. He concludes we are jumping toward becoming Greece. He is right in the same way that if we jump we are closer to walking on the sun. An apple is a pear is an orange and Ned's message is a pome to missed comparisons.
Michael John Scott, first among equals at Mad Mike's America, pays attention to Michigan Republicans. Seems they first legislated restrictive abortion laws, then silenced women who had been elected to the legislature because those women mentioned by name the lady parts that Republicans had just regulated. "Vagina" is such an ugly word.
Why do we have to do this, Sir? ruminates on Jeremiah, a prophet who didn't write on a subway wall, but came pretty close for his day. Our erstwhile spiritual leader speculates about modern guidance given by the Lord. My own thoughts can be found here.
If you didn't spend several hours a couple of weeks back staring at the transit of Venus, you are doubly lucky. Infidel 753 has the NASA version, sped up and repeated with several spectral versions. And you didn't go blind from looking at the sun. Spectacular video.
James Wigderson sometimes irritates me. I don't mind his conservatism. In fact, I like his presentation of ideas with which I disagree. But this week, as he goes on vacation, he essentially writes about close to nothing. An entire piece on the fact that he and his wife have planned a trip. That's it. And he makes it entertaining, fun to read!! It isn't fair.
- SJ at RANDOM THOUGHTS may be retiring. His touching last (maybe) entry is about his grief at the death of a wonderful friend. SJ makes us sad for his loss, and perhaps a little envious because we never knew Ezra.
Slant Right's John Houk is ticked off at a judicial decision prohibiting the outing of gay kids who formed a club. Included is a rant against what the Bible calls an abomination, and a dictionary definition of the word "abomination." Oddly enough, John is not referring to the eating of lobsters and crabs which is covered by passage after passage in Leviticus. Rather, his preoccupation is homosexuality. You have to wonder about his fascination with the sexual orientation of others. But whatever fantasies get John through the dark lonely hours of his restless nights are up to him, I guess, regardless of whether they weird some of us out.
Ryan at Secular Ethics continues the debate that he and T. Paine began at FairAndUNbalanced.com while he was helping us out with a series of thoughtful contributions. He examines how excess turns the rational into rationalization and transforms freedom into self-serving anarchy.
T. Paine is a friend and an occasional contributor here even when he is not debating with our Ryan. It's kind of entertaining to see both friends in a contest of ideas. At Saving Common Sense, T. Paine has fun with elected delegates to the Massachusetts Democratic convention being required to produce photo IDs to get into the hall. After all, isn't it a bit of a double standard, since many of us don't much care for requirements intended to block voting rights? Actually, if delegates are licensed drivers, they'll get in. If not, they'll be provided with credentials. Not the equivalent of efforts by Republicans to keep minorities, young people, and the elderly from casting ballots in order to prevent non-existent voter fraud. Dumb idea in Massachusetts for its symbolic value, however. The temptation of false equivalence is irresistible to those motivated enough to cloud an issue.
Peter Lake, writing from Mad Mike's America, considers Florida Governor Rick Scott's campaign to shut out voters from ... you know ... voting and discovers a mystical connection from a half century ago with another governor into denying basic rights.
Scott Walker won Wisconsin's recall election on Tuesday and James Wigderson is still break-dancing on the sidewalk outside his palatial home in Waukesha, with a little help from Jon Stewart via video. Okay, I made up the part about Waukesha. And I made up the part about break dancing. And I made up the part about the palatial home. Still, James seems very happy.
At Rumproast, Vixen Strangely ponders yet another instance of Governor Romney saying what he knows to be flatly untrue. In this case its a direct quote from a book accusing President Obama of sabotaging the economy on purpose to get health care passed. The author of the book chases Romney around, telling eveyone who will listen that it isn't true, that the book doesn't say that, that he never said that, in print or out. But the candidate keeps repeating the false quote.
The Heathen Republican was quite taken years ago with The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. It is the basis for Heathen's offer of advice for President Obama. It is a remarkable book, a trip into the darkest part of the human soul by a latter day Machiavelli, teaching readers how to mislead, disarm, and destroy the opposition. Amazing insight, kind of like Paul's epiphany on the road to Damascus, discovering that The Heathen Republican once read a book.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster brings mixed reactions to the impact of independent voters in Calfornia's new election system. Well, they did have an impact.
- Debra Dickerson is back (Yay-y-y-y!!!). She finds a commencement address about pursuing professional dreams, a speech that blows her mind. What is more mind bending is her introductory rant about unintentionally revealing peeks across the racial and economic divide.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame brings a strangely inhumane moment to our attention as Governor Romney calls events in Syria a ray of sunshine.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST recounts the newest instances of candidate Romney reciting the opposite of documented fact. The press tends to adopt the new journalistic ethic of never fact-checking these things, reporting them only as he-said-she-said. But they are a part of the public record. How can we think of them as anything but ... well ... lies?.
YAFB at Rumproast examines allegations of pro-Obama bias. Seems the President has not been properly vetted. So we don't ... know ... what ... he'll ... do ... if ... he ... becomes ... President. Or something.
It's not all that unusual for ambition to involve making enough to retire early. At some point in life, it is not unheard of for wealthy folk to decide that making more and more gets to be empty. Some go to other creative pursuits. Some go to self-fulfillment in some sort of bucket list. Some go to public service. And some go to making more millions. It's all part of freedom. President Obama made a speech a few weeks back and added this:
We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money, but you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or you’re providing a good service.
The point, and a very legitimate point, was that some in the banking industry managed the blunt force accomplishment of making a ton of money while screwing folks. They sort of skipped over the good product or service part. So, naturally, some latter-day Breitbarters chopped the speech down to "I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money" and produced a caricature of the anti-free market chief executive. Sean Hannity and others started this newest smear which went briefly around the blogging sphere then died from eventual exposure to the truth. Our friend The Heathen Republican is late to the game, posting the partial, very partial, quote as part of a menagerie of such constructs. Well documented, though. He heard them all on Rush Limbaugh's show.
This is not the spectacularly failed Americans Elect. Nancy Hanks at The Hankster brings us more news of independent voters including a new, not Americans Elect, online gathering site. It's not Americans Elect.
Max's Dad was raised and educated as a Catholic. He still loves Jesus, doesn't care for the Church. Tells us why. Not so much in a reasoned dissertation as in an entertaining rant. Meant more to vent, I imagine, than to convince. In fairness, ex-Methodists could undoubtedly conduct a pretty fair tirade against my church. A friend I admire greatly told me I was a participant in organized hypocrisy. I protested, of course. "That's not fair ... We're not organized!"
Slant Right's John Houk wonders why leftists like ... well ... me, I suppose, want to ally with Islamists. When it comes to freedom of worship in the United States, I suppose it has to do with basic fairness. When it comes to international relations, I suppose it has to do with alliances to crush terrorists. When it comes to peace, I suppose it comes to not killing innocents. John comes to a different conclusion. Has to do with destroying Christian and Jewish religion. Oh my. Busted. I just hope our pastor doesn't find out what i've been up to.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, has opinions about the role of women in religion. He finds himself challenged on the science of his observations. So he vivisects his detractor on the methods of science. Off-beat, but substantially entertaining.
- Why do we have to do this, Sir? looks around him and is possessed by the sudden compulsion to review British summer wear. Funny. Painful, but funny.
At Rumproast, Betty Cracker is amused that the organizational heirs of smear artist Andrew Breitbart have discovered a new way to attack President Obama. It seems transfer students, on average in 1981 were thought to be below the average of transfer students in other years. Barack Obama was a transfer student in 1981. Therefore, President Obama's academic record is suspect. Betty Cracker has a brief, pithy, reaction.
The mild mannered Press Secretary to the President suddenly becomes Superman. Okay, just Sam Kinisan. Anyway, Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame gives us the whole entertaining story. Seems the issue is the he-said-she-said-phone-it-in ethic that passes as modern journalism. Tommy has a transcript, a partial recording, and a Rachel Maddow wrap.
Max's Dad observes the simplest of reasons that Joe Ricketts, an incredibly rich guy in Chicago hates President Obama.
Papamoka at Papamoka Straight Talk takes that same Joe Ricketts to the woodshed for enriching himself with government help he is anxious to deny to those in need.
The Heathen Republican produces a very good explanation of the traditional conservative argument against any minimum wage laws at all. Interference with the market. Also, like every government action that does not benefit the wealthy, it actually hurts those whom it is intended to help. Don't think for a moment that compassionate conservatism is dead.
Anyone who criticizes Mitt Romney is anti-success. Anyone who attacks any of the practices of Bain Capital is against venture capital and free markets. Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, profiles a venture capitalist who should be popular with anyone.
James Wigderson is pretty happy this week. Predictions are a failed recall of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. We'll see.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster reports on an anti-democratic (with a small d) legacy that was an anti-minority, anti-Republican election rigging from long ago days when conservative segregationists were mostly Democrats.
Erin Nanasi of Mad Mike's America brings us the true story of a life irreparably altered by a false accusation and a coercive plea bargain. It is one more reminder of a flawed system of justice that fails too often.
Vincent of A wayfarer's notes runs an errand. Vincent's errands, like everything else about him, represent endless possibilities. He pauses, takes a breath, looks around him, and provides us a glimpse of everything that can be in the moment.
Why do we have to do this, Sir? offers his own very personal reconciliation of evolutionary human development and a belief in God. I like the cartoon slam at those of us who believe.
Slant Right's John Houk takes us through Islamic verses to prove the inherent violence and terror of Muslims. The ritual killing of children for minor disobedience, the death sentence for sexual orientation, the condemning of people for eating the wrong food, the "divinely" ordered genocide of civilians after military victory ... oh wait. I lost my train of thought. That's not in John's piece. That's in the literalist acceptance of Judeo-Christian scripture. The version John says must be followed. Sorry about that. You were saying about Islam?
The very first docking between a private commercial spacecraft and the International Space Station has finally happened, and Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot goes minute by minute in live blogging to walk us through the excitement. As always, Tim gives us insight, education, and fun.
- Ryan at Secular Ethics schools us on a few rules for constructive debate. Seems to me he implicitly explains the difference between debate and argument.
The late Andrew Breitbart's old crazy-mates finally come up with the goods on illegal alien Obama, Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame comes up with a great account of their excellent adventure, ending, alas, in bitter disappointment, and someone comes up with the best headline of the week.
Why wait for mere elections? The Heathen Republican looks back fondly on 2012 and President Obama's loss of the Presidency in November.
Chuck Thinks Right remembers his beloved grandmother and the nurses who cared for her. Touching, but unaffected, writing. Readers will like his grandmother very much, and will share his gratitude for the caregivers.
Papamoka at Papamoka Straight Talk tells us what makes America exceptional and how immigrants prove it. Kind of like we were taught in school in those innocent days before nativism came back into style.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster has dreams of a prevailing tide of politically independent voters, but reports a bad day in California rules, and the failure of Americans Elect to find a candidate.
Our favorite John Myste at John Myste Responds lambastes ... well ... me, in our comments section. John is enlightening and entertaining even when ... ummm ... wrong. I mean, he does disagree with ME.
Ned Williams at Wisdom Is Vindicated reviews the losses of JPMorgan Chase & Co and just can't understand why a too-big-to-allow-to-fail company should suffer the yoke of regulation. After all, only the company got hurt. . . . this time. Reassuring to taxpayers who may get walloped next time, like we were last time.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, connects the dots, those dots being Bain, J.P.Morgan, regulation, and television ads. Great group of dots, and they do connect.
James Wigderson has more on the ever continuing Guitar Art Project of Waukesha, Wisconsin. He covers it as a sort of scandal in the making. I think that aspect is overshadowed by its inate weirdness. A scandal involving giant displays of guitars?
Dave Dubya relates the Mitt Romney mindset, in as much as it can be reasonably interpreted, to a 2008 interview by John Dean on the authoritarian mind. An online book about post-WWII studies is now available free online. I dunno. I'm suspicious of clinical studies of legitimately held political positions. I do acknowledge that some of my conservative brethren are into some strange stuff.
Holding anyone accountable for the cruelties of teenage years is unfair. However, the past can offer a chance for public redemption as acknowledgement, genuine regret, and growth are expressed. Youth, after all, is at least partly for learning how to live with a decent respect for others. At Rumproast, Vixen Strangely is less than impressed by Governor Romney's youthful pranksterism.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame notes a Mitt-didn't-do-it-and-so-did-Barack reaction from conservatives. While Mitt Romney does not recall the incident and chuckles over what he calls a prank, Obama clearly recalls an incident from the fifth grade, and as an adult expresses shame and regret.
Andrew Sullivan gave an eloquent and emotional reaction to President Obama's endorsement of marriage equality. "There is something about hearing your president affirm your humanity that you don't know what effect it has until you hear it." Gwendolyn Barry with New Global Myth comes close to matching it.
Relatively new resident at Mad Mike's America, Gregory Gonzalez ponders well documented Obama Derangement Syndrome, looks for the reason, and believes the reason for the hatred is hidden in plain sight.
Ned Williams is back (Yaayyy) at Wisdom Is Vindicated where he notes a Washington Post article crediting President Obama with specific steps to increase support for CIA intelligence gathering capability. Ned is skeptical and wants to know the sourcing. Sounds like a fair expression of curiosity.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, gives us evidence of the logical extremes reached when those who have the power of incredible destruction (that would be us) deny the humanity of others (that would be those of a different religion).
Slant Right's John Houk is distraught that former Swiss citizen Michele Bachmann has suffered in redistricting. He joins her appeal for help. My own reaction to Representative Bachmann includes her recent brief expatriation.
Chuck Thinks Right takes delight in the fact that she is only 1⁄32 Cherokee. Not noticed by Chuck is that Bill John Baker, the elected chief of the Cherokee Nation, also happens to be 1⁄32 Cherokee. I'm sure Chuck will get a laugh out of that. Tee hee.
James Wigderson notes the primary nomination of the Democratic opponent Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin's recall election, with the hope that the defeat of Walker's opponent will end possible recalls of other anti-Union officials. Walker, as you may remember, has consistently claimed that he has had no intention of busting unions except for his honest attempts to balance Wisconsin's budget. A pre-crisis video has surfaced of Governor Walker describing his divide and conquer plans to ... destroy unions in Wisconsin. No reaction from Jame yet, but his site has been experiencing connection difficulties. Maybe later.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST regards the ousting of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in recent elections as a repudiation of austerity measures that don't seem to be working. Efforts to starve the patient back to health have temporarily killed recovery in Europe in an almost perfect inverse ratio of severity of those measures to economic well being. He points out that Republicans urge the US to go the same path.
Ryan at Secular Ethics defines as fallacy the Appeal to Nature argument. His take down is brief. Restating it is pretty much enough. I sometimes call the fallacy let ill enough alone. Other times, I think of it as libertarianism, but that's mostly when I'm in a bad mood, and I get tempted by snark.
- Good discussion of Economics, Statistics, and Truth in Comments section more interesting than the initial topic. Ryan, Tim McGaha, and John Myste are three of the most entertaining intellects around. Take a look.
Black holes are where reality as we think about it ends. Kind of like the GOP. Okay that was a cheap shot. In Mad Mike's America, Chris Buescher acknowledges the complexity of explaining the point where common sense ends, kind of like the Republican Party. Okay, that was a low blow. He then goes on to use standard English to make it all almost comprehensible. At least as comprehensible as anyplace could be where light can't get out and time goes backward. Kinf of like ... you know.
Three famous pundits argue about whether opposition to gay marriage is a key indicator of anti-gay bigotry. One of the three, Tommy Christopher of Mediaite, takes the obvious position: duh, of course!! And Tommy is right. Along the way, he mentions related topics: President Obama's evolving position, and the Romney campaign's more creationist reaction to right wing sputtering. They fired a gay guy.
Chuck Thinks Right chronicles a silly and sad episode involving an anti-bullying activist who attacks the Bible and those Christian students who walked out as he spoke. Dan Savage has since apologized, probably because of Chuck's disapproval.
The Heathen Republican writes about the death of bin Laden. His point is that he sees no point to all the talk about bin laden. Nothing to see here folks. Let's move on. A tired-of-people-talking-about-what-I'm-talking-about piece can be amusing.
Yesterday I posted my own reaction to the bin Laden exchanges, an examination of the out-of-context quoting of Mitt Romney by the Obama campaign. I suggested that the context actually made Governor Romney look worse, and reflected an important policy difference. I sent an advance copy to several writers whom I respect. Slant Right's John Houk graciously re-posts my argument with his own partial rebuttal. He does include a bit of a slam at us liberal types for our lack of respect for the troops defending our right to verbally attack them. I just hope our family's young Marine in Afghanistan doesn't discover I have been doing such a thing. My thanks to John Houk for his generous posting of my effort and his rebuttal. That was nice, John.
Ryan at Secular Ethics examines the philosophy of utilitarianism from several perspectives. Greatest good for the greatest number multiplied out quantitatively. Thought-provoking, as usual. Ryan's virtual classes are kind of like real classrooms, except Ryan's are more fun. Which may make them a better fit within a utilitarian philosophy.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster promotes a talk by Lenora Fulani on over-taxed, underserved poor and working class people who are excluded from the American political process. Nancy's focus is on those who choose not to join a political party. We might also consider newer restrictions designed to prevent non-drivers (bus riders, the elderly, students) from voting at all.
James Wigderson covers a visit to Wisconsin by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Lots of video. He mentions apparent media bias and also the "fight with President Barack Obama about mandatory abortion coverage by insurance providers." No mention of contraception, which is what the fight is actually about. Interesting illustration of media-based spin.
- Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger, at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, uses brief quotes from wise figures through the ages as a response to conservative talking points.
A few days ago, Robyn Lee had posted about the burger reincarnation of a pizza that Pizza Hut in the Middle East has created in their murky pizza laboratories. In her words:
In the Middle East, Pizza Hut's new Cheeseburger Crown Crust Pizza goes beyond the typical cheeseburger pizza construction—topped with chopped-up cheeseburger ingredients—and nestles mini burger patties into a modified "crown" crust. The rest of the pizza is topped with burgery ingredients of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, special sauce, cheese, and beef nubs.
Today, having grabbed lunch at a Pizza Hut branch in Dubai, I'll tell you what the cheeseburger pizza construction actually tastes like.
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A couple of months ago, Ryan at Secular Ethics began a wonderful discussion on the tension between truth and belief, that is to say belief as a part of evolutionary determinism. That's my interpretation, not his. The theme is how to move beyond our desires and beliefs to a more objective view. The discussion rages still. Entertaining, wide-ranging, informative. Ryan knows how to put these things together, as evidenced by his generous contribution yesterday on our site.
Our favorite John Myste at John Myste Responds does his part in the debate/discussion Ryan hosts breaking off into a separate piece on critical thinking, using, in part, controversies about gay equality to illustrate the pursuit of intellectual honesty. All in all, pretty heady stuff. Still, I will be at worship service tomorrow.
Slant Right's John Houk proclaims his Christianity and targets those Jesus wants him to despise. Tiresome. Houk quotes Deuteronomy. When he gets back to Leviticus and discovers shellfish are an abomination, we can speculate on whether he will rage against Red Lobster restaurants. I'll feel better after worship tomorrow.
In Mad Mike's America, Erin Nanasi reports that Pat Robertson wants Christian kids to stop bullying gays. Erin is getting an ulcer over having to agree with Pat Robertson. So it really is okay to worship tomorrow?
Why do we have to do this, Sir? reviews his sermon for tomorrow, on Sanctuary Sunday and the providing of sanctuary to those in need. Like maybe we should stop looking in a spiritual mirror, look outside the sanctuary windows, and maybe go out to help? That seems one more good reason to go to worship tomorrow. Besides, you know, praising God.
Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues considers a campaign in which Mitt Romney's long, journey into night with a puppy tied to his car roof, and the Republican response that Barack Obama, as a little kid, obediently ate the dog meat that was put in front of him. Apparently Politics is going to the ... you can take it from there.
At Rumproast, marindenver considers the latest conservative alarm at President Obama's weakness in the face of countries that no longer exist and evil forces that have been gone for over two decades. The edges of right fringes? Nope. These are the folks candidate Romney embraces as his guides to foreign policy. Rip Van Winkles do come to life, I suppose. Every 20 years, like cicadas do every dozen, they awake and give their wisdom to Republican candidates. They give good advice about days long gone.
The Heathen Republican applies his keen analytical mind to the November election and jobs. If you are unemployed you should vote for people who will get tough on you. Has to do with incentives, I suppose. It seems you will have a job if Republicans get to end your benefits. Some keen analysis there, Heathen. Kind of like you'll keep your balance for sure because the safety net has been removed. I dunno. Maybe he was really, really busy when he got to his keyboard that day.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster has a mess-o-news on the world of political independents, including money in politics, Illinois laws that keep you from running as an Independent for a while if you voted in a party primary, and more.
When Scott Walker took office as Governor of Wisconsin, nobody suspected that he planned to make collective bargaining by many public employee unions unlawful. He had not mentioned it during his campaign. James Wigderson reports that Recall candidate for Governor, Democrat Tom Barrett, is warning that Governor Scott Walker will do it again, and turn Wisconsin into a Right to Work state. James says it's all a lie, and points to the Governor's assurances that he has no plan to do that. After all, if he planned to destroy unions, he would say so in advance, right? Right?
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger, at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, provides a list of links he promises will be a good start as rebuttal to conservative talking points, courtesy of TomCat at Politics Plus.
Papamoka at Papamoka Straight Talk kind of likes solar panels on roof tops. Governments, state federal, and often local, offer incentives. They tend to improve home value, and they look really neat. He gets impatient with occasional home owners' associations that put obstacles in the way. Pointless strutting of small time authority.
Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot goes back more than a century and a half, digs up the worst President ever, and somehow develops warm fuzzies for James Buchanan. Okay, maybe just mild sympathy. It's part of his remarkable, readable, series on the Civil War.
Chuck Thinks Right disagrees with enforcement of a school dress code that has the incidental effect of keeping kids from wearing support-the-troops tee shirts. I'll ask our young Marine's mother to send a note to him in Afghanistan to find out if he especially cares about the school controversy.
At Why do we have to do this, Sir? it's the faculty's turn to go insane as rumors flow of classroom reorganization within the building. Our erstwhile spiritual representative in Britain keeps on keeping on, waxing Shakespearean.
How ever does he make these random wanderings so entertaining? How does he bring them together at the last moment into a coherence that reminds one of a high wire circus performer saving himself at the last breathtaking moment? Vincent of A wayfarer's notes ponders what to reveal and what to keep private in biography and blogging, veers into adventures at an unusual worship service held by the Jubilee Church.
Michael Hawkins of Mad Mike's America takes on believers like ... well ... me, explaining gradations of agnosticism and atheism, but follows this with a cogent defense of atheism as a default position. The burden of proof is on believers. My own thoughts to a similar proposition can be found here.
I remember hearing of a preacher ranting against the popular image of "a namby pamby Jesus," suggesting that a carpenter's son must have been physically powerful and should be portrayed as such. PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, takes a similar approach to a cute-as-a-kitten ad for atheism, and suggests a heartier approach. Yikes.
Ryan at Secular Ethics evaluates each of the seven deadly sins from the perspective of an atheist. Pithy, instructive, entertainingly written, as usual. Ryan is worth a click and, for the discerning, a bookmark.
Infidel 753 traces human morality to biology. The Ten Commandments are a path to reproductive success.
Slant Right's John Houk is unimpressed with anti-Israel rhetoric that presents the frequently embattled country as an apartheid nation. Actually, if settlement policies don't change soon, the country will face either a future of becoming an apartheid nation, or of losing its Jewish identity. It's a matter of mathematics.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame, brings up a racial double entendre used by the Romney campaign, allows that it may have been unintentional, and is called a racist by Fox News personalities because he noticed it. The logic is, if you catch onto a racial reference, you must be racist for thinking it refers to race.
As Fox targets Tommy, Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic Monthly captures the phenomenon earlier this week:
The conservative movement doesn't understand anti-racism as a value, only as a rhetorical pose. This is how you end up tarring the oldest integrationist group in the country (the NAACP) as racist. The slur has no real moral content to them. It's all a game of who can embarrass who. If you don't think racism is an actual force in the country, then you can only understand it's invocation as a tactic.
YAFB of Rumproast unpacks Romney's slogan by tracing its literal roots, policy message and the actual results in the country of origin. Tough message, meaner policy, harshest result. Severe conservatism can hit pretty hard.
Mike Tyson launches an irresponsible rant wishing deadly violence on accused Trayvon murderer George Zimmerman. Chuck Thinks Right sees it as a summary "all of the geniuses on the left" and, on that basis, decides his opinion of the killing itself. Why look at evidence or consider logic if you take Mike Tyson as an opposing guide?
Several years ago, in a chat room, I had an internet confrontation with a participant who was a little too violent in his rhetoric about George W. Bush. I asked him if we should be concerned about a potential threat to the President. He got the legal implication and quickly shifted his direction. I confess I was angry. It was not the first time. Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues is more gentlemanly as he takes Ted Nugent to task.
Dave Dubya contrasts popular reaction to Hilary Rosen's loose cannon rhetoric about Ann Romney with Ted Nugent's violent rants about the President. Threat? Threat? Who said I was actually gonna DO anything?
The Heathen Republican excoriates President Obama for arguing against, but not abolishing, increases in income gaps between wealthy and middle class. Actually, he quotes Obama's April 14 address arguing for tax fairness rather than income redistribution, but why quibble over mere facts? He does accurately remember an argument he himself made a while back, offering stats on filibusters to "prove" Republicans don't filibuster inordinately. A look under the hood pretty much destroys Heathen's filibuster arguments, but he repeats them anyway. Like a house of cards, discredited filibuster arguments are used to shore up income inequality arguments that are misapplied to a different tax fairness address . . . until, like London Bridge, the dominoes all fall DOWN.
James Wigderson believes the Wisconsin recall of Governor Scott Walker is hurting Democratic chances in the coming US Senate race. He casts it as Democratic effort that miscalculates the political effect. His analysis of the actual policy-driven anger by more than partisan participants appears in other articles.
- Papamoka at Papamoka Straight Talk has a girl friend (good for him) who has AT&T and had a routine request. Turns out to be an unexpected madcap adventure. Papamoka is unimpressed with AT&T.
The Heathen Republican holds forth on judicial activism, defining the term as going against the plain language of the Constitution in ruling for or against constitutionality "purely through interpretation of the Constitution." Since pretty much any reading of anything, even of "plain language," involves interpretation, his definition tends toward the cloudy. Partway through, after Heathen posits that judicial actions do not automatically connote judicial activism, you can get a sense of his drift with this: "If so, no one can rationally argue that overturning a law is automatically judicial activism, as President Obama has argued." It is hard to believe that even a partisan would reinterpret in that way the plain language of anything President Obama has said. Kind of like blogging activism. What the President actually did was to explicitly remind conservatives of their own long held definition of "judicial activism." We know Heathen can do better than this, because he so frequently does. At least that's been my interpretation.
Chuck Thinks Right finds an article published by AP that is devoted to a thin, low benefit, low cost, alternative within Obamacare. The theme of the article, backed by quotes, is that the Supreme Court oral arguments did not seem to reflect the existence of this part of the program. Chuck is upset. Thinks it should have been published as an opinion, not as news. Many journalists agree with Chuck's ethic, that balance between viewpoints is the goal of news, and that facts and documentation should go to the opinion pages if those facts fail to support both sides equally.
Betty Cracker at Rumproast poses an obvious question about Ms. Rosen's recent critique of Ann Romney. I suspect the real point should be that it is rarely good form to attack a candidate's spouse. A better commentary, one completely open to Hilary Rosen, might have been Mr. Romney's definition of their domestic relationship. He has his wife report to him regularly on women's issues. It would have been fair for Hilary Rosen to speculate on whether Governor Romney requires his wife to salute.
A conservative officeholder unwittingly answers Ms. Taylor. Papamoka at Papamoka Straight Talk has video of an annoyed Republican legislator who offers to speak to a woman reporter using simpler words. It's not really a war on women. More of a cold war. On. Women.
Slant Right's John Houk reminds us of a conspiracy to have the UN remove humans from the earth. The plan is called Agenda 21. This sort of thing went viral in 1992, before the internet became ubiquitous. President George H. W. Bush and 177 other leaders started an initiative to help local governments promote economic growth. John brought this up last year as a plot to take over the world's farms, and the year before as a conspiracy to control international commerce. Next year, John will discover it again as an evil plan to commit something just awful. He tries to believe something new and amazing every day, but sometimes he runs out. When his crazed aunt forgets to tell him what she has read in the Globe, he has to recycle.
Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues is back. (Yaaayyyy!!) He vivisects Allen West's poor attempt at faded McCarthyism. "I believe there are about 78 or 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party."
James Wigderson recounts the story of a conservative whose writing appeared on a racist website. Attacks by liberals followed. Problem is the article was not itself racist, the writer did not know the racist website would be carrying the article since it had been written for another site, and the author attempted to get it removed. Lessons for leftists like ... well ...me: Let's be careful. Let's apologize when we get it wrong. Life is hard enough. OH! One more thing. Good work, James.
An old falsehood of the extreme right contrives a connection between President Obama, Eric Holder, and the New Black Panthers. Tommy Christopher of Mediaite takes notice when Sean Hannity claims to have a photo of a face to face meeting, which he keeps promising to show to his audience. Tommy finds the photo explodes the story and explains why Hannity isn't showing anything. Anything. But, hey! They're all black, so how can there not be a connection? Good work, Tommy.