essentialsaltes: (pWNED!!! by Science)
 Remember when I suggested that scientismists would require Queen Elizabeth to pump out hundreds of eggs a day? That's pretty close to this guy.

given the great demands placed on the female body during homo sapiens’ lengthy gestation and lactation period, would it be wrong for me to suggest that encouraging males to select mates based on characteristics that enable the female to generate wealth independent of a mate rather than on their ability to bear children may have long term negative effects on the species. or is that just the crazy in me talking?

essentialsaltes: (internet Disease)
"I never could stomach these nationalists," he exclaimed. "The destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing, you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees."




"I see what you think you mean," said the magician, "but you are wrong. There is no excuse for war, none whatever, and whatever the wrong which your nation might be doing to mine -- short of war -- my nation would be in the wrong if it started a war so as to redress it. A murderer, for instance, is not allowed to plead that his victim was rich and oppressing him -- so why should a nation be allowed to? Wrongs have to be redressed by reason, not force."

[Sir Kay probes the argument.]

Merlyn was annoyed.

"Only because you want it to seem so," he said. "Obviously Lot would be the aggressor, for making the threat of force. You can always spot the villain, if you keep a fair mind. In the last resort, it is ultimately the man who strikes the first blow ... if there is nothing else to decide by"

essentialsaltes: (mr. Gruff)
It came from the Christian Forums...

Moron: "a single volcanic eruption releases more polution than all of mankind has throughout our history combined"

me: False (provides evidence)

Moron: The problem is that a lot of the data surrounding human CO2 output has been based on lies and misinformation over the years, so there's really no way to affirm they are using reliable and factual data. They may be right. No way for either side to know for sure.



It must be very curious to live in a world of nebulous clouds where nothing can be known.

Luckily we are not in that position. Just as a for instance, "In 2016, about 143.37 billion gallons (or about 3.41 billion barrels1) of finished motor gasoline were consumed2 in the United States"

Very few people are using it to fill their swimming pools, so if it is combusted in motor vehicles, each gallon of fuel produces "About 19.6 pounds of CO2"

(140 billion gallons) times (20 pounds of CO2/gallon) = 2800 billion pounds = more than 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

From my first link, "A 2013 review attempted to estimate the annual contribution of CO2 emitted from all volcanoes (active and passive) and other tectonic sources on Earth per year, coming up with a figure of 540 megatons per year" i.e. 0.54 billion tons

So the US consumption of motor fuel alone produces more CO2 than the output of all the world's volcanoes.

This is how we can know that your original statement is just false, and there is a way to know for sure.
essentialsaltes: (that's not funny!)
"The book is regularly listed as one of the best non-fiction books of the 20th century."

But I gave up. I couldn't take any more. (Speaking of giving up, I'm slowly figuring out what to do and where to go with the journal. I mean, just about everyone's gone already, and the new Russian TOS is not inspiring confidence.)

I really found the writing style(?) uncongenial. I think my main beef is that Arendt is primarily a political theorist and philosopher, and not a historian. So there are airy passages of theses and ideas, but I found it not tied enough to supporting factual detail. Often a reasonable story was being spun, but it all felt like a free-floating structure, moored only by tenuous lines to shore. And worse.

The book is organized in three main sections: Antisemitism, Imperialism, and Totalitarianism.

The most interesting idea I found in Antisemitism was that, in the feudal age, Jews could be categorized and understood as the Other. It was easy. Sure, there's an enclave of Jews in Paris. But we're Franks, and they are Jews. Or we are Teutons, and they are Jews. As the modern nation-state developed, suddenly everyone had to be categorized as citizens of some nation. What? We're all French? But they're Jews, they're not French! (I don't think Arendt mentions it, but it occurs to me that another state-less people that had maybe even more difficulty getting tied down to a world of 'nations' were the Romany.)
Many, many pages are devoted to the Dreyfus Affair, but I found it maddening that it mostly talks around the Dreyfus Affair, and not really about the Dreyfus Affair. I mean, it's a good thing I knew the basic details, because you will learn more about Zola than Dreyfus (the first foreshadowing of what ultimately made me throw the book across the... okay, okay, to snap my iPad shut quite forcefully).

The most interesting idea I found in the first 75% of Imperialism, was that one of the things that led to imperialism was there was excess capital in the major European countries, and there was nothing much to invest in. And there was some excess labor force in these countries with nothing to do. And imperialism is the outlet for this. Betraying some Marxist tendencies, Arendt sees this as an unnatural alliance of capital and mob-labor to go exploit the world.

There's a discussion of imperialism in Africa with a lot of focus on South Africa, but also long quoted passages from Joseph Conrad. As her attention turns to Asia, she delves a bit into The Great Game, and then inevitably to Kipling. And then it really started to bother me -- the discussion is light on facts, but heavy on allusions to works of fiction. However much they may reflect the zeitgeist of imperialism, I can't take this seriously any more.

Now it's time for the home game: what author is about to become inevitable? How long into the passage does it take you to identify him?

The Home Game! )
essentialsaltes: (facegouge)
My rhetorical question appears to have been answered.

If one cannot bring oneself to punch a lady Nazi in the face, you should pepperspray her in the face.

Now, it's almost too good to be true that she had just finished saying "I'm looking to make a statement by just being here and I think the protesters are doing the same. Props to the ones who are doing it non-violently, but I think that's a very rare thing indeed."

So, if you're of a conspiratorial bent, this is a false flag operation or something. But I think it's fair to say that there were plenty of anonymous violent troublemakers there. The police are of the opinion that they were 'outside agitators' (a phrase I knew we would see more and more of) and not Berkeley students. Which is probably the case, since I'm now hearing all about these experienced antifa activists. Who are these experts all of a sudden and where did they get their expertise? There hasn't been a fascist state to fight in some time, and never in the US, so I find myself suspecting that these are just people who like to have fistfights with skinheads. Whoever they are and whatever their movement is about, they know squat about working against the excesses of a Trump Administration.

Instead, of course, they are falling into the trap.

Now some have correctly pointed out that neo-Nazis can be experts at using 'the System' to quash opposition. "Oh, we're the victims, save us, save us, Law & Order!"

So then I ask: Why the fuck would you fall into their trap by punching people on the street? Are you stupid?


Berkeley was literally the origin of the Free Speech Movement and Sproul Plaza is Free Speech Central.



The university did the right thing in not preventing the speech, and they (or the UCPD who made the call) did the right thing in shutting it down for safety reasons.

Of course the Donald had to weigh in on Twitter:

"If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?"

This is literally one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Even among Trump tweets, this is a doozy.

But remember my warning "Fortunately, we on the left are waaaaay too smart to be manipulated by Russian propaganda. Right? Right? No one would be suckered in by the idea that democracy or free speech are inherently flawed concepts"

Don't be down on Free Speech, just because Trump says he likes it. This is exactly the kind of emotional response thing that Trump apparently uses to perfection. Of course, it only works on stupid people. So don't be a stupid person.



Anyway, I'm reiterating my distaste for Nazipunch and the flawed philosophy behind it.

And again I'm warning against falling into the trap.

Because if not, something terrible is going to happen, and years from now, some kid will be walking with his grandfather on the campus, and grandpa will point to the pocks of bullets in a wall and say something like, 'And over there in that field is where it happened. It was a terrible thing those kids died. But these outside agitators (communists or anarchists or some such) came in and caused a lot of trouble, and stirred things up. Setting fires and so forth. Had to restore Law & Order.'

Because no shit that's exactly what my grandpa told me 40 years ago as we visited Kent State.
essentialsaltes: (that's not funny!)
Many people have recently opined about the justifiability of punching a Nazi(*) in the face. A surprising (to me) number of people are for it.

(*)To clarify, unless we're talking about these six Nazis, at best there are 'neo-Nazis' these days, or 'jerks with hateful ideas who are dangerously close to the levers of power'.

I test the Nazi punch hypothesis out in my own mind, and I just find it hard to accept. I mean, what if it was a lady Nazi? In Romeo Must Die, Aaliyah wisely observes that "in America, if a girl is kicking your ass, you do not have to be a gentleman." Honestly, I'm egalitarian enough that if a boy or girl is kicking your ass, you do not have to be a gentleperson.

And yes, if a boy or girl is kicking that helpless person over there's ass, this probably requires some intervention.

But these rules are not just about kicks and asses. They should be good for punches and faces. "Hey you! Anonymous coward punching an unsuspecting guy in the face! What's wrong with you?"

Anyway, some dudes may have some archaic patriarchal misgivings about punching a lady Nazi. Perhaps they could do something else generally considered illegal or antisocial? Maybe they could throw rocks at them or grab their pussies? This new moral hypothesis opens up so many interesting questions!

But it's fraught with so many logistical difficulties. I mean, not every neo-Nazi will go to the trouble of tattooing 88 on his forehead. They might look like anybody! If only we could form an organization that could identify them based on objective criteria and make them wear distinctive clothing or something, so we'd know who to punch.

But there seem to be deeper flaws that worry me. A lot.

If we decide that, for a certain class of people, we no longer have to treat them with the usual rules of civility and humanity, it would seem (to avoid being hypocrites) that other people could use this same hypothesis to justify treating other classes of people as sub-human.

Wait a moment! Have I fallen into Bizarro world? Nazis treating certain classes of people as sub-human is one of the justifications for treating them as subhuman. I have it all backward! It's not that we would be hypocrites to NOT allow other people to think this way in the future. It's that other people thinking that way in the past made US start to think like them.

You can't fight an ideology by implicitly accepting its tenets. You are strengthening it by making it the only way of looking at the world.


Now some have correctly pointed out that neo-Nazis can be experts at using 'the System' to quash opposition. "Oh, we're the victims, save us, save us, Law & Order!"

So then I ask: Why the fuck would you fall into their trap by punching people on the street? Are you stupid?

The good guys also have some experts at using 'the System', from politicians to judges to civil rights lawyers. I'm neither, but I expect they would advise you to refrain from punching people in the face.

Because it does play into their trap. Punch a few Nazis, set fire to a building, and the system might restrict the rights to "habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, the secrecy of the post and telephone". In the name of security. To protect the crybabies.

And what is the goal of Nazipunch? What positive result is achieved?



When Obama was elected, the racists were gnashing their teeth, and afraid, and the left held out its hand and said:



And the dummies on the right were afraid Obama was going to grab their guns and put them in FEMA camps.

And so they hid in their bunkers, clutching their guns and bibles, despising the left, falling into their own groupthink, biding their time until... well, until their savior appeared. And they voted for him, to the astonishment of all those who thought they were safely and silently encapsulated in gun-lined bunkers where their unchallenged ideologies couldn't possibly hurt anybody.

And you know what? As dumb as they are, they played by the rules. In the state houses, the governor's mansions, the House and Senate, and now the White House. It's true that "democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time".

Now the shoe is on the other foot.



And the other side is afraid Trump is going to grab their pussies and put them in death camps.

It's all very familiar. Not all that different.

Now this is not to say that everything is fine. Trump's actions have real effects on pussies and Syrians and so on. But do you know how many pussies get contraception coverage on their insurance when you punch a Nazi?

Zero.

If anything, it plays into the hands of crybaby Nazis.


If you are conspiracy minded, well... probably you have already written me off as a closet Nazi, but consider this.

We know the Russians want to create chaos in our country.

We know the Russians have worked hard to get the dumb-dumb right to distrust the government, distrust the mainstream media, and listen only to RT.com and Breitbart.

Fortunately, we on the left are waaaaay too smart to be manipulated by Russian propaganda. Right? Right? No one would be suckered in by the idea that democracy or free speech are inherently flawed concepts, and are better replaced by punches in the face. Angry moron Trump voters wanted to blow up the system. Only idiots would want to blow it up bigger.
essentialsaltes: (beokay)
Why Violence Has Declined takes a long, long, too-long look at rates of violence over the past umpty-thousand years from our hunter-gatherer forebears to today. Pinker has marshalled a shitload of facts and statistics, and though there may be some niggling details here and there, on the whole, he's pretty convincing that rates of murder, war, and violence have declined per capita. This does require an explanation, and I think Pinker certainly outlines many ideas that contribute, but he doesn't seem to present a very strong thesis for an explanation. Rather he takes us on a plodding journey through the museum of ideas that every political philosopher has considered. The book plods so much that I found much of it a chore to get through. Reading through the outline in Wikipedia is good enough -- just feel certain that each point is held up by a few hundred footnotes each.

One of the ideas that did stick with me was that many violent acts are considered acts of justice by their perpetrators. They are not doing wrong, they are taking justice into their own hands. That bitch stole my man -- smack. That driver cut me off -- blam. Obviously, these solutions are not terribly rational, and generally frowned upon by Leviathan. I think it could extend to larger actions -- riots in Watts and LA. It doesn't make any fucking sense, but there was some ache for a justice that was not going to come from traditional channels.

Now, I have plodded so slowly through the book that that idea lodged some time ago. And then as I mulled it over in my mind, I considered the Trump voters in the lead-up to the election. Can a vote be an act of violence? A stupid plea for justice when you're aching for a justice that was not going to come from traditional channels? Mmmmm... no, I can't quite bring myself to consider a vote for Trump to be an act of violence. And then the vote actually happened, and Trump won. I still can't quite elevate it to an act of violence. But I think a lot of my friends may consider it to have been an act of violence. And certainly we have seen (even given some level of pernicious fakes) that some Trump supporters have been emboldened to enact actual violence. And we've also seen protests of Trump that have also risen to the level of violence.

Now I have to tread carefully here, because I think there are significant differences between the two sides. It is not just that I am trapped in my bubble and not their bubble (and I'll get to the bubble later, especially since almost everyone who will read this is in my liberal bubble). At the same time, the people (considered as people) in the two camps. Are not all that different.

Now apparently the worst thing I could possibly do is to suggest that we should reach out and hug the other side and unite. Which is fine, because I'm not suggesting that. When Trump has rotten plans, they should be fought. And many of his plans are rotten.

But possibly I'm saying something even worse. That people are people. And people on both sides are not all that different. And to realize that, it definitely helps to spend time outside your bubble.

Many of you know of the long years I've spent in the mission fields of Christian websites, spreading the good news of rationality and fact-based argument. It is not easy work, because they are beset by demons that deceive them. And again, it's not about compromise -- I think the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and they think it's 6,000 years old. I'm not looking to compromise at 2,250,003,000 years old. Wait, I'm rambling a little too much, but maybe we'll come back to this.

Another bit of bubble escape was listening to the infuriating drive-time talk show on a Christian radio station, though I haven't in many years. Until election night. As I drove home, feeling pretty confident that it was going to be close (my prediction: Hillary 278 EV) but would go blue, I turned that station on hoping for election news and... delicious Christian tears. Because that's a thing now. Enjoying people's tears. And because I'm a bad person.



And I got those tears. But I did not find them enjoyable. pout

A young Latina called in to the show. Her voice shook with raw emotion, clearly crying. Hillary was going to win, and as everyone in the conservative Christian bubble knew (as did I since I'd been visiting), Hillary believed that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs have to be changed". And as it was being spun in the bubble, this young woman knew that President Hillary was going to forcibly change religious beliefs in America. She was genuinely, fearfully afraid that hers was the last generation that was going to hear the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

All bullshit, of course. But the tears and pain in that bubble were real. Just like they were real when Obama was elected in 2008 and was going to take everyone's guns.

Anyway, fast-forward a few hours, and suddenly the tears were on the other foot. (Shut up.) There were organized cry-ins. And, and... the other side mocked it. They were enjoying those tears! How could they be so cruel?



Not all that different.

But they're all racists!

Yes, half of Trump voters hold implicit bias against POC. And only a third of Hillary voters do.

Not all that different.

But Trump's spouting ugly racism!

Well, yeah. Again, I don't want to rest on any false equivalencies. But if you want to characterize the GOP as full of racists, then you should step inside the other bubble and look at yourself.

You support murdering babies. You literally want doctors to crush the skulls of infants with forceps.
You want perverts to molest our delicate American girlhood in the bathroom at Target.
You want religious expression to be locked inside the walls of churches.
You let the biased(*) lame-stream media do your thinking for you.

[* I'm too tired, but to its credit, the media finally decided that he said/she said journalistic equivalency was no longer valid. Trump was lying. They called him on it. They endorsed Hillary. But... it does feed the narrative that the media is biased against Trump.]

You want them to stop being racist and join the correct party? Well, maybe you should stop killing babies, and join the correct party.

You scoff when people say they aren't racist, but voted for Trump? Well, what do you think of Tim Kaine, who personally opposes abortion, but stood for VP of the Democrat Party? And he's by no means alone. There are Democrats who think abortion is murder. If you can be against baby-murdering, and vote for a baby-murdering candidate, then surely you can be a non-racist and vote for a racist candidate. Sure, it must be a terrible internal conflict. Sucks to be them. But they got their racism/baby-killing just like the people-of-yesteryear got Skinemax with the package.

Not all that different.

But they are so very fact-challenged!

Well yes. That's what I combat the most. You give them a snopes link, and they don't believe snopes. You provide the links on the snopes page to the NYT, and they don't believe the NYT. There are some people there whose solitary (it appears) information source is infowars(*). They were primed and ready to believe crap like a Kenyan born Obama, or a Jade Helm takeover of Texas. Because it fits their narrative.

(* I'm too tired, but if you're getting info from occupydemocrats or Huffpo... Not all that different.)

In our bubble, the narrative is that Trump is a sexual predator. And I'm morally certain that Trump has grabbed more unwilling pussies than trans people have assaulted anybody in a bathroom. So the woman who accused Trump of raping her when she was a teenager fits the narrative. But when the press conference was announced, my baloney detector started beeping. Because (for better or worse) before I am a Democrat or a liberal, I am a skeptic. A court of law is where these things are decided, not at press conferences or FBI memos. And when the press conference was cancelled due to 'threats', my suspicion grew. It was not impossible that threats had deterred some poor woman, but I was not buying it at this point. But a lot of other people were. They railed against the Trumpeters who had cowed this woman. Maybe Trump had bought her off. How many millions did it take him? And then two days later, she dropped the suit. No cause given. Bought off? Full of shit? We may never know. But a retracted anonymous accusation is not much to hang something on, unless the narrative is more important than evidence.

And if you point to snopes articles showing that some cases of 'postelection Trump supporter racism' are imaginary... some people don't want to hear that shit. It doesn't fit the narrative.

I've showed dozens of snopes articles to conservatives, and know what it feels like to be ignored. So when it comes from the other side, it just shows that...

Not all that different.

We all laughed (I did, I'm a bad person) at that stupid bint who cut a backwards B on her face.



But we were also mad. She perpetrated a pernicious lie to denigrate a particular political candidate.

We were furious. She lied to say a black man did this. I hate her.

And now Trump supporters tore the hijab off a woman. Stole her wallet. That feeds the narrative.
But it's bullshit. All a lie.

C'mon now, everyone. Let's laugh at her. And hate her. C'mon. She made a pernicious lie to denigrate a particular political candidate. She lied to say white men did this to her. I hate her. I really do. But more importantly...

Not all that different.

As promised, this book review has devolved. Let me pull it back, at least briefly.

"According to Hofstede's data, countries differ along six dimensions. One of them is Long-Term versus Short-Term Orientation: 'Long-term oriented societies foster pragmatic virtues oriented towards future rewards, in particular saving, persistence, and adapting to changing circumstances. Short-term oriented societies foster virtues related to the past and present such as national pride, respect for tradition, preservation of 'face' and fulfilling social obligations.'"

Those are not bad descriptors of the two societies living in their bubbles that exist within America. The liberal and the conservative.

One of my regrets about the election is that so much was about the personalities and less about the issues. I have read that the Clinton campaign gamely released insightful policy statements to the media, but they never reached me. Since the Donald sucked all the oxygen in the primary fight, one would have thought that the Clinton team would strive harder in the general to make sure its message got out, but it didn't. Honestly, perhaps I'm giving them credit for having a message, because from my standpoint, most of what I heard from the Hillary campaign was...

It's her fucking turn. She cashed in her chips to keep the competition away. Only that asshole Sanders and McWhatever didn't get the memo. "Trump is awful. I'm not Trump."

Though true, this is not compelling. She could've done better with "I will be the third Obama term."

Anyway, one of the few policy things that did come out (because I watch closely) is for the coal miners of America.

HuffPo:

"Hillary Clinton has a $30 billion, 4,300-word plan to retrain coal workers that covers everything from education and infrastructure to tax credits and school funding.

Donald Trump’s coal plan is a duckface thumbs-up in a miner’s hard hat and a rant about hair spray, President Barack Obama and China."

Retrain coal workers? That's "adapting to changing circumstances". That's a Long-Term society strategy. And it's right.

A duckface thumbs-up? Well, if you can see through the HuffPo bias, that's a strategy oriented on today. Short-term. For the white working class families that are struggling.

And now, for you in my liberal well-informed bubble. Surely you are cognizant of the current spot price for coal.

No? Well, there are lots of reasons for it, but coal prices have tripled recently. And although US miners have not (yet) seen much of a boon, due to the horrible EPA, and Obama rules about coal-fueled power plants, a Trump presidency is clearly going to change that. Yes, there are certainly problems with burning coal like there is no tomorrow, but... if you are a part of an unemployed coal-mining family in Pennsylvania or Ohio focused on today... then you are part of the Short-Term Society, and I can see reasons other than racism to vote for Trump. And they did. And they are legitimately mad when we say their votes were racist.

In conclusion:

WE'RE ALL A BUNCH OF APES WHO ONLY RELATIVELY RECENTLY LEARNED TO WEAR CLOTHES AND NOT KILL EACH OTHER SO MUCH.
essentialsaltes: (poo-bush)
While I don't want to minimize how awful this is, it reminds me a lot of 2000 when we also elected an incompetent moron. All that cost us was our budget surplus, one or two hundred thousand dead brown civilians, and a few thousand dead American soldiers. We got through that, right? Right?

essentialsaltes: (diversity)
Some of the same researchers involved in the 2003 American Mosaic Survey have released results of the 2014 study.

There a really glaring result relating to when people were asked to agree/disagree with the following statement across a variety of demographics:

This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society

Atheists 39.6% 41.9%
Muslims 26.3% 45.5%
Homosexuals 22.6% 29.4%
Conservative Christians 13.5% 26.6%
Recent immigrants 12.5% 25.6%
Hispanics 7.6% 17.1%
Jews 7.4% 17.6%
Asian Americans 7.0% 16.4%
African Americans 4.6% 16.9%
Spiritual, but not religious — 12.0%
Whites 2.2% 10.2%


First number is from 2003.

All of the numbers have increased. Some by quite a lot. Even white people, who are totally awesome and chill, went from 2.2% to 10.2%. Disagreement with conservative Christians nearly doubled to 26.6%. The previous study was not long after 9/11, but disagreement with Muslims jumped from 26.3% to 45.5%. Immigrants doubled. Hispanics, Jews, Asians, African Americans... all jump from single digits to double digits.

This is what polarization and demonization look like.
essentialsaltes: (facegouge)
It will likely cost $260 million more to create the much needed high speed rail link for travellers to get from Merced to Bakersfield. This is a 5% increase on the initial $5 billion segment.

"The construction is running more than two years behind schedule, though the rail authority has said it has enough “float” to complete the work on time. Its own funding plan shows that it will not finish until 2019. The original plan was to compete the work in 2017, when federal grants expire."

But at least the project has raised $0 in private funding. Of course, such funding is not expected until "the system is generating positive cash flow." I should live so long.
essentialsaltes: (diversity)
Step 1: Get Supreme Court to invalidate part of the Voting Rights Act.

Step 2: Implement Voter ID law.

Step 3: Increase Driver's License fees by 54%.

Step 4: Close all satellite DMV locations in the state.

"“Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one,” Archibald explained."
essentialsaltes: (unleash the furry)
A bidder with 0 feedback won two of my videogame auctions. During the auction, he cancelled a $90 bid on one of them, which is not a problem, other that it shows that he doesn't know what he's doing. After winning the two auctions -- he made several bids on that item, and only retracted one of them -- here are a selection of his messages over the next 6 days, each line a separate message.

I told uto cancel them
Im sorry but i dont want them i all hmhave them i for got to tell u i been so busy working sorry
U can sell them ti tge next person
I ma pay u for this next friday ok thanks
Cancel it mistakes rong system


At this point I cancel both auctions. Unfortunately, the bidder has to confirm the cancellation (to confirm that he hasn't paid money).


I told u next friday u blinde
Next friday
Friday. Ok
Cancel the shit


I started the cancellation process. You have to confirm it.


I did i check with paypal its ok


You have to confirm it on ebay. Check your messages From Ebay.


U have to do it i check





So I spent ten minutes on the phone with a nice gentleman at an Indian call-center, who seems to have sorted things out for me. Although he said that he was going to send a message to the bidder to explain the process, and that the bidder would have to confirm, I suspect he (mercifully) made the cancellation happen by fiat, because they were cancelled by the time I got off the phone and refreshed my account.
essentialsaltes: (diversity)
Subtitle: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University

It tells the story of a Quaker student at Brown who spends a semester at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in 2007. OK, yes, it's a bit of a stunt, but at least it's an interesting one, and Roose definitely throws himself into the role, a lot more so than, say, Jason Rosenhouse in Among the Creationists. Roose enrolls at Liberty and presents himself as a Christian (At Liberty, "Christian" is synonymous with 'born again Christian') and (awkwardly) fakes up a recent conversion story to explain his presence (and why he has so little knowledge that he would flunk Sunday school for six year olds).

In short he comes to, generally, like the students and staff at Liberty, and a little Stockholm Syndrome sets in I think, and he finds himself simultaneously defending them, and disapproving of their (fairly common) homophobia and the one-sidedness of some portions of the 'education'. He even comes to have some appreciation for Jerry Falwell. And in "you can't make this shit up", he scores a one-on-one interview with Falwell for the school newspaper, gets praised for it by Falwell himself in convocation (I mean, what's not to praise, it was a puff-piece in the Liberty newspaper; the hard-hitting exposé uncovered the fact that Falwell had a peach Snapple every day at 3pm, which he slammed down in 6 seconds). A few days later, Falwell's dead, and this Quaker mole has published the last print interview Falwell ever gave, which comes to have a life of its own as it is reprinted in the memorial for the funeral.

I have once again abused the highlight feature of the Kindle...

if you click here, I'll reward you with Larry Flynt's parody ad featuring Falwell that led to a Supreme Court case )
essentialsaltes: (Shoot)
Police: Zimmerman accused of threatening driver

[Obviously, we're not talking about Zimmerman.]

"A driver says George Zimmerman, the man acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, threatened to kill him, asking 'Do you know who I am?' during a road confrontation in their vehicles, a police spokeswoman said Friday.

...
"George Zimmerman was the driver, and they were threatening to kick my ass and to shoot me," Apperson told a police dispatcher in a 911 call.

Apperson told the dispatcher that he pulled into a nearby gas station to use the phone since he didn't have his cellphone, and the truck followed him. Zimmerman drove the truck up to Apperson's car, blocking him in, Apperson said.

"He almost hit my car and he said he would shoot me then," said Apperson, who told the dispatcher that he never saw a gun in Zimmerman's truck. "Both of them were threatening to shoot me and kill me."

Apperson called police from the gas station, but the truck was gone by the time officers arrived. Apperson, who has a concealed-weapons license, was carrying a firearm at the time, according to the police report."


"Officers told Apperson that without other witnesses or clear video identifying the driver as Zimmerman, it would be difficult to make a case, the police report said. Apperson said he didn't want to press charges."

It was at this point that I was like. Ok, maybe Apperson is just someone with a hate on for Zimmerman, making up a story.


"On Thursday, Apperson said, he saw Zimmerman in his truck outside the disability benefits business where Apperson works.

"It seems like the guy is sitting there, waiting for me," Apperson told a dispatcher in another 911 call. "It's disheartening to see him lurking around here.""

OK, now I'm thinking, 'This guy is maybe paranoid or delusional and thinks 'Zimmerman' is out to get him. As if Zimmerman would go follow someone around with a gun over something trivi...' [smacks forehead]


"Officers who responded to the call confirmed the truck driver was Zimmerman. In a police car video of two police officers questioning Zimmerman, an officer pulls out a gun from Zimmerman's waistband. Zimmerman shows him what looks to be a license."

I apologize for ever having doubting you, concealed carry licensed guy who did the right thing!
essentialsaltes: (atheist teacher)
Great article on the history of Elevatorgate and other episodes of misogyny and the war about misogyny in the atheism/skepticism movement - on Buzzfeed of all places. [See also my earlier journal entry]

In related news, I'd also like to point out, for the local Southern Californians, that there is an art exhibit opening up at the Center for Inquiry Hollywood tomorrow night (Sep 13).

A Woman's Room Online:

"A Woman’s Room Online is an installation art exhibit created by Amy Davis Roth in conjunction with The Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group (LAWAAG) and hosted at CFI-Los Angeles.

This installation consists of thousands of real sexist and threatening messages sent to only a handful of women who work in online arenas. The viewer enters a small freestanding room, an office space that has been completely transformed and plastered with messages, a paper-trail of hate, sent electronically to the contributors starting in July of 2011 until today."
essentialsaltes: (Wrong)
I was invited to a small FB group for political discussion - just a couple dozen members, and not that many active ones. While there are some reasonable people there, there are also a couple people that I would like to think were trolls or paid shills of the Koch Brothers or something. But I fear they are sincere. And these are probably people who vote. If you would like to stare at them, as at a freak show or psychological experiment, you can ask me to invite you into the FB group (if we're FB friends -- I'm using LJ mainly so I can format stuff below). I beg you not to.

Examples of what passes for 'argument'.

Experimental Subject #1: Mahar... What a scumbag

Me: Ad hominem

Experimental Subject #1: Okay he's a dick

Me: Ad hominem

Experimental Subject #1: He is the King of all you liberals

Me: [SUBJECT NAME], an ad hominem is where you attack the person instead of the person's argument. Do you want to discuss what Maher has to say, or do you just want to call him names?

Experimental Subject #1: I want to call him names...he's a liberal nut job


TL;DR Example #2 )

So, like I said. I can invite you into this group. Do not, under any circumstances, take me up on this offer.
essentialsaltes: (Secular)
First the North Carolina school wouldn't allow the Secular Students Alliance club to form.

Then the school would allow it to form.

Then due to threats and verbal abuse against her and her family & friends, the would-be club founder has decided not to form the club after all.
essentialsaltes: (Devilbones)
Sixth-grade [Louisiana public school] teacher Rita Roark has told her students that the universe was created by God about 6,000 years ago, and taught that both the Big Bang theory and evolution are false, according to the lawsuit. She told her students that “if evolution was real, it would still be happening: Apes would be turning into humans today.”

One test she gave to students asked: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The correct answer was “Lord,” but C.C. wrote in something else. Roark responded by scolding the boy in front of the entire class.

When informed that C.C. was a Buddhist and therefore didn’t believe in God, Roark allegedly responded, “you’re stupid if you don’t believe in God.”

When the outraged parents confronted Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb about the incidents, she allegedly told them “this is the Bible belt” and that they “shouldn’t be offended” to “see God here.” Ebarb advised that C.C. should either change his faith or be transferred to another District school where “there are more Asians.”

The lawsuit claims that other teachers and faculty members also push Christian beliefs on their students. Prayer is often lead by teachers in classrooms and during school events. Religious literature that denounces evolution and homosexuality has been distributed by faculty members to students. The school’s hallways are filled with Christian iconography and electronic marquee in front of the school scrolls Bible verses.


In possibly related news, Shreveport, Louisiana is ranked the 5th Bible friendliest city in America.

Providence, RI, home of HP Lovecraft, takes the honors as least Bible friendly. Out of the 100 metro areas ranked by the American Bible Society, Los Angeles comes in at #73.

ETAThe ACLU complaint contains lots of other horrifying information:

53. Another display in the main foyer of the school informs students that “ACTIONS
SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.” It features several posters, including one of a child praying
that instructs students to “Pray,” another that urges them to “Worship,” and another that
encourages them to “Believe.”

essentialsaltes: (Herbert West)
This book is the result of investigating the possessions of institutionalized patients from Willard State (Mental) Hospital in New York. Possessions left, forgotten, in an attic for decades. In addition to the book, there is actually a very nice website with a fair amount of information and photos. The authors have done a great job sleuthing down the identities of the owners, and building up as much of a biography as is possible. Most of them were institutionalized in the first half of the 20th century, though a few lived on into the 60s and 70s. So collectively, they lived through treatment changes from 'warehousing', to occupational therapy, to shock therapy, to antipsychotic medicines.

The variety of stories is impressive. A Filipino who came to the US in 1907, an Italian lady who thought she was a princess, an African American veteran, and the guy who had a Jesus complex and also a Secret Service record for being arrested outside the White House, since he had an idea that he was married to President Truman's daughter.

A lot of it makes for very interesting reading. However, the book actually angered me quite a bit here and there. Now, I am probably the last person who needs to be convinced about the shortcomings and abuses in the treatment of the insane in the early 20th century. I wrote the book on it. OK, a book on it.

But author Darby Penney "is a national leader in the human rights movement for people with psychiatric disabilities" and this comes through as a real bias in the book. At every turn, she minimizes the very real mental problems these people had. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. I mean it's one thing to point out things that people at the time should have known, but Penney takes the hospital to task for keeping a person institutionalized merely for hearing voices, pointing out the existence of the Hearing Voices Movement, which takes it as a foundational point that "Hearing voices is not in itself a sign of mental illness." Not only is this anachronistic, but even today the HVM is a fringe movement at best in mental health.

Here's an illustrative excerpt:
[quotes are from medical observations of patient: Marie] "At times is assaultive," "usually remains alone," "smiles and responds when spoken to," "has a sexual trend." In December 1920, things seemed to take an even more bizarre turn. She began to claim that "there were live chickens inside her hatched from eggs she had eaten." Becoming more suspicious, especially about the food given to her, she took to scraping her bread carefully before eating it. And on March 24, 1922, she had a physical altercation with two female attendants, "pounding (one) severely" and nearly tearing the uniform off the other one, which landed her on a more 'secure' ward in Chapin Hall. We can't know what prompted this altercation, which was described as an 'assault' on the staff member. Such attacks are rarely unprovoked.


(My emphasis.) I mean, if someone gets pounded severely, surely that's an assault, with no need for scare quotes.

For the record, the Taint of Madness game stats for Willard State Hospital are: 94% survival rate (per year), 32% cure rate, 4% release rate. It looks about average for NY state, which was one of the better places to be in the country. The mismatch between the cure rate and release rate does support one main theme of the book -- that patients who seemed to no longer have significant symptoms were still kept institutionalized, rather than being released. but it's hard to trust the book's selective quotations. Just as another example, you can see where the focus of attention is in this sentence, "Aside from repeating psychopathological terms such as blocking, ideas of reference, paranoia, defective insight and judgment, and hallucinations, he was noted to be a good worker and more pleasant and agreeable than before."
essentialsaltes: (PKD)
Edge collects a number of essays published primarily by Future Life (before it folded) and the LA Weekly in the early 80s. I hoped it would be something like the Glass Teat, which I remember fondly even though the media references are mostly before my time -- speaking of which, let me drop in a link that John Tynes shared about millennials watching the Thanksgiving episode of WKRP -- whereas early 80's would be something I know more about. Unfortunately(?), Harlan instead rants about whatever's on his mind at the moment (occasionally including media) and many of the essays are more about Harlan being Harlan (or at least, posing as 'Harlan' the towering figure of misanthropic bile) than about giving the topic a fair presentation. He's generally right (Paul Schrader's remake of Jacques Tourneur's Cat People was a needless, horrible example of "egregious chutzpah") more often than he's wrong (John Carpenter's remake of Howard Hawks' The Thing was a needless, horrible example of "egregious chutzpah").
Right or wrong, he's always been controversial, and the book includes some of the letters attacking and defending him. A couple of the latter were penned by one J. Michael Straczynski.

Just a snippet to sort of set the chronological stage... "If the year has been as burdensome for you as it's been for John Delorean and the NFL and tourism in Lebanon and the makers of Tylenol..."

Perhaps he was never so controversial as when he entered the war of taste between Hydrox partisans and Oreo aficionados:
Consider the Oreo cookie. Mealy. Chocolate only in the same way that an H-bomb blast-effect is a suntan. Mendacious, meretricious, monstrously mouth-clotting... it is an anti-cookie, the baked good personification of the AntiChrist.

OK, maybe that's not one of the great controversies of our time, and for better or worse Harlan was on the losing side.

Maybe more meaningful is his discussion of Kathy Merrick, schoolteacher of Winifred, Montana. Ms Merrick used "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" in her sophomore English class, and the school board later "refused to renew her contract, ... because she was teaching godless pornography, and they cited my story as the chief example." Coincidentally, Harlan was at a fundraiser to get funds to show People for the American Way's Life and Liberty for All who Believe, a documentary about the rise of the religious right/Moral Majority, shown on TV. While Paul Newman and Goldie Hawn were donating money to cover airtime in big cities, Harlan found himself pledging $1500 to get it shown in Billings, Montana. Turns out, Merrick's area was served by the Missoula-Butte market, but Harlan put out a call to his readers who ponied up the $744 for that.

One of the surprises was finding that Harlan was a fervent supporter of the ERA. He honored NOW's boycott of states that hadn't ratified it, only speaking in those states if a donation to support the ERA were in the offing. He mentions it a few times, and then writes a requiem for the Amendment, which finally expired during this period.

Which makes for an interesting juxtaposition when he discusses his experiences judging the 1983 Miss Tush of the Year Lingerie Contest -- alongside fellow judges including Chuck Norris -- held at the Proud Bird restaurant. Although his only excuse is "it seemed like a good idea at the time," it's actually a very insightful piece.

I think Harlan's dead wrong (so to speak) about Norman Mayer, the antinuke activist who drove up to the Washington Monument with a van full of (he claimed) a half ton of dynamite, and got shot in the head for his trouble.

One of the last entries is his legendary takedown of the Empire Strikes Back videogame, a Sisyphean task that goes on until you lose. "Kindly refrain from kvetching that a ten-year-old can become more proficient at one of these twiddles than I, an adult at least in years, could ever be. Yes, he or she very likely can beat me 99 out of a hundred times; but no ten-year-old I've ever encountered can write MOBY DICK, create a Sistine Chapel fresco, or fuck with any degree of expertise."

As full of himself as he is, Harlan can also turn on the lasers of brutal self-honesty, as when he excoriates himself for being a schmuck to George Pal, just before his death.

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