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: (devilbones)
The Discovery Institute "is a non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, best known for its advocacy of the pseudoscience intelligent design."

Although the DI has tried to hold the party line that Intelligent Design (ID) is just about the science (although it may have 'philosophical implications'), it is a poorly kept secret that the goals of the organization (as outlined in the Wedge Document, for instance) show it to be a religious organization devoted to affirm "God's reality".

This is all prelude to say that the NCSE now reports that the the DI is merging with the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, which was founded for the purpose of "proclaiming, publishing, preaching, teaching, promoting, broadcasting, disseminating, and otherwise making known the Christian gospel and understanding of the Bible and the light it sheds on the academic and social issues of our day."

FTE is also notable as being the publisher of creation science textbooks, including Of Pandas And People, the famous missing link between creation science and intelligent design literature ("cdesign proponentsists"). The book featured prominently in the Kitzmiller trial and decision, which coincidentally celebrated its 10th anniversary a few days ago. Merry Kitzmas!
essentialsaltes: (quantum Mechanic)
I always associated the New Math (not the new new Math of today) with oddball things like matrices, different bases, and an emphasis on abstract relations like commutativity. But apparently another new-ish thing of the New Math was 'borrowing' in subtraction. Although the idea of borrowing is centuries old, apparently many older Americans were taught an algorism to follow that involved 'carrying the one' onto the lower number. Obviously the result is the same. And they were abjured from additional tick marks, or actually adding tens (i.e. borrowing) so that (rather illogically) they were taught "3 from 2 is 9" rather than "3 from 12 is 9".



I only learn this news by careful watching/listening to Tom Lehrer's "New Math", in which it looks like there were two different methods, not that it makes much difference.



The horrors of the New Math was that it wasn't just a mechanical process, but we were supposed to learn that one ten is the same as ten ones. And this is good. It adds some sense to the algorism, since the older version is somewhat more arcane (to me anyway).

The new new math, as I understand it, continues this process of making it clearer what the association is. You start from the lower number, and basically count up to the larger number. This establishes what the difference is between them.



Probably one could determine which is the most efficient, or which produces the fewest errors, or which is the most 'true' to the underlying mathematics. None of these mean much in the end, so stick to what you love.
essentialsaltes: (whiskey Tango but no Foxtrot)
"If a gay couple was to come in and they wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no... We are a Christian establishment... We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything. We definitely agree with the bill. I do not think it's targeting gays. I don't think it's discrimination. It's supposed to help people that have a religious belief."

No, that's what the word 'discriminating' means. Differentiating between different types of people and treating them differently. You do want to discriminate. You just want to legally discriminate. And you're happy this law will give you some cover.

"Why should I be beat over the head because they choose that lifestyle?"

Beat over the head? Beat over the head? Making fucking pizzas for paying customers?

This touches me deeply since we served pizza at our wedding.

PS "anyone has the right to believe in anything"? Such a trenchant rallying cry for the Hoosier booboisie. Put that on some protest signs and march.
essentialsaltes: (islam)
So a Vegas wedding chapel where you get married by an Elvis impersonator refuses to perform same sex marriages.

Less sensationally, a couple of ministers in Idaho who run a wedding chapel have filed a lawsuit calling for a temporary restraining order. For some reason, many religious media have incorrectly characterized the situation as the city suing the couple.

Anyway, the point really comes down to the fact that a wedding chapel is not a church. It is a for-profit business.

“The difference between a church and a place of worship and a wedding chapel, is that a wedding chapel is a business so that is covered under the Public Accommodations Law of Nevada,” said Tod Story of the ACLU.


Obviously, it's complicated by the fact that the employees of this business are ministers, but I can't help the fact that they decided not to carry out their religious activities in their church, but rather have prostituted them by opening a storefront where they do their mumbo jumbo (possibly Elvis-clad) for strangers who walk in off the street and give them money.

An analogy occurred to me, strengthened by a coincidental rhyme.

A few years back, there was a flap when Muslim cabbies in Minnesota were refusing to take fares if the people had alcohol with them. They lost their legal fight.

And in both cases, it seems like they are the victims of their own choice of employment.

If these people didn't want to carry people who had alcohol, they shouldn't have gotten into the business of carrying people.
If those people didn't want to marry people of the same sex, they shouldn't have gotten into the business of marrying people.
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: (narrow)
Six years ago, a Methodist minister performed the wedding ceremony for his gay son. He told his superiors and didn't hear anything from them, so we went ahead with it. Only recently has a parishioner complained, leading to a trial by his church. In support of him, 50 Methodist ministers solemnized the vows of a gay couple.

Cheers to the (many) religious people in favor of marriage equality!

Update: Guilty.
essentialsaltes: (Diversity)
While I'd like to be optimistic about the (effective) removal of the preclearance requirement of the VRA, the examples of relatively recent naughtiness pointed out in Ginsburg's dissent are not very encouraging (refs removed):

In 1995, Mississippi sought to reenact a dual voter registration system, “which was initially enacted in 1892 to disenfranchise Black voters,” and for that reason, was struck down by a federal court in 1987.

Following the 2000 census, the City of Albany, Georgia, proposed a redistricting plan that DOJ found to be “designed with the purpose to limit and retrogress the increased black voting strength . . . in the city as a whole.”

In 2001, the mayor and all-white five-member Board of Aldermen of Kilmichael, Mississippi, abruptly canceled the town’s election after “an unprecedented number” of African-American candidates announced they were running for office. DOJ required an election, and the town elected itsfirst black mayor and three black aldermen.

In 2006, this Court found that Texas’ attempt to redraw a congressional district to reduce the strength of Latino voters bore “the mark of intentional discrimination that could give rise to an equal protection violation,” and ordered the district redrawn in compliance with the VRA. ... In response, Texas sought to undermine this Court’s order by curtailing early voting in the district, but was blocked by an action to enforce the §5 preclearance requirement.

In 2003, after African-Americans won a majority of the seats on the school board for the first time in history, Charleston County, South Carolina, proposed an at-large voting mechanism for the board. The proposal, made without consulting any of the African-American members of the school board, was found to be an “‘exact replica’” of an earlier voting scheme that, a federal court had determined, violated the VRA.

In 1993, the City of Millen, Georgia, proposed to delay the election in a majority-black district by two years, leaving that district without representation on the city council while the neighboring majority white district would have three representatives. DOJ blocked the proposal. The county then sought to move a polling place from a predominantly black neighborhood in the city to an inaccessible location in a predominantly white neighborhood outside city limits.

In 2004, Waller County, Texas, threatened to prosecute two black students after they announced their intention to run for office. The county then attempted to reduce the availability of early voting in that election at polling places near a historically black university.


In principle, I guess Congress could come up with a new criterion for picking places that need to have continued preclearance oversight (not a bad idea) but I'm guessing that's not gonna happen (a bad idea).
essentialsaltes: (Empathyormurder)
Read this multipart story on the worst charities in the US.

"Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.

Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.

Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity's operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations.

In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity's founder and his own consulting firms."


"America's Worst Charities" is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the Tampa Bay Times and California-based The Center for Investigative Reporting, the nation's largest and longest serving nonprofit newsroom dedicated to watchdog journalism. CNN joined the partnership in March.
essentialsaltes: (Shoot)
Jury acquits escort shooter

Gilbert's actions were justified, [his defense] argued, because he was trying to retrieve stolen property: the $150 he paid [the escort]. It became theft when she refused to have sex with him or give the money back, they said.

The escort "died about seven months after she was shot in the neck and paralyzed."

Quoth the killer: “I've been in a [entirely metaphorical] mental prison the past four years of my life. I have nightmares. If I see guns on TV where people are getting killed, I change the channel.”

Boo-fucking-hoo.
essentialsaltes: (Psychic)
Amanda Berry goes missing in 2003.

In 2004, on the Montel Williams show, Sylvia Browne tells Amanda's mom "She’s not alive, honey."

In 2006, Amanda's mom dies of heart failure:

The ordeal had taken a toll as her health steadily deteriorated in recent months, family and friends said.

...

Activist Art McKoy befriended Louwana Miller during her ordeal. He said he could tell that the stress and heartache were wearing her down. The visit with the psychic was the breaking point, he said.

“From that point, Ms. Miller was never the same,” McKoy said. “I think she had given up.”


Today, Amanda Berry went home.

(See also this and this)
essentialsaltes: (Grinch)
when whites have murdered a couple federal prosecutors and scared another one off the case, it may be time for racial profiling and stricter government surveillance. I know some of you liberals will want to paint these terrorists as white "extremists", and suggest that the vast majority of white people don't share their views, or murder innocent people. But here we're talking about a direct attack on our government; we just can't go all soft on whitey in these circumstances.
essentialsaltes: (Christian Disposal)
The professor who carried out the class exercise to have students step on the word Jesus, in order to demonstrate the power of symbols and cultural sensitivities, has been placed on leave.

For safety reasons.

"'One of the threats said that I might find myself hanging from a tree'"

Shouldn't the Christian response be to allow people to step on the other side of the paper as well?

Also: "Poole is a member of Lighthouse Worship Center Church of God in Christ, Fort Lauderdale, where he belongs to the congregation's usher board."
essentialsaltes: (Dead)
For you impatient millenials, skip to the last sentence of the middle paragraph.

essentialsaltes: (Dorian Gray)
#1: buy a delapidated house with an outbuilding full of thousands of paintings and drawings by an unknown artist, who "never received critical recognition during his lifetime."

#2: work for years to get some of the work exhibited in the gallery "where he had always dreamed of exhibiting."

#3: Get an art historian to declare the artist "one of the best abstract painters of his era."

#4: Profit.
essentialsaltes: (poseidon)
"A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a public library in Missouri to unblock access to “occult” websites, which included websites about Native American religions and the Wiccan faith.

...

Salem [har] Library Director Glenda Wofford told Hunter the websites could only be unblocked if she had a legitimate reason to access them. The library director allegedly also said she had an “obligation” to call the “proper authorities” to report people who wanted to view blocked websites."
essentialsaltes: (essentialsaltes)
Colleague and friend of Dr. Tiller works to reopen his Wichita abortion clinic:
“We can’t let fear rule our lives,” Ms. Burkhart said, her cowboy boots clopping loudly as she walked through the clinic.
essentialsaltes: (FSM)
Some interesting insights in an interview. I think my favorite detail is the role played by a much ignored institution...

In December, she went to a public library in Lawrence, Kansas. She was looking through books on philosophy and religion, and it struck her that people had devoted their entire lives to studying these questions of how to live and what is right and wrong. “The idea that only WBC had the right answer seemed crazy,” she says. “It just seemed impossible.”
essentialsaltes: (atheist teacher)
This is not about guns, silly.

Two news stories just hit my eyes in short order, and everyone knows that two things make a trend.

First up, an Indiana state senator introduces a bill that calls for a mandatory reading of the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of every public school day. Unconstitutional on the face of it, so this is not likely to go anywhere, but shouldn't our law-critters know that?

Whereas in Arizona, a whole passel of Republican lawmakers have called for a loyalty oath as a requirement to graduation:
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose or evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God.

I'm a little curious how freely students can take this obligation, when it is a requirement for a diploma. And that little appendix could cause some problems.

Profile

essentialsaltes: (Default)
essentialsaltes

July 2017

S M T W T F S
       1
23 45678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 02:53 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios