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The Doomsday Code

I noticed a common thread on twitter tonight was from adults who were brought up in evangelical families.  That’s because one of the “signs of the end” is that the world would turn against Israel.  Evangelicals operating within a zionist eschatological framework have been waiting for this as a sure sign that the rapture, tribulation and second coming are upon us.  Many of us who have had to tolerate this stuff for years have been aware of how dangerous this kind of thinking is.  The reason it’s dangerous is because these religious zealots will tolerate, and in some cases, even promote, all kinds of evil because the worse the world situation is, the nearer their own salvation.

George Bush starts a crazy war?  Sign of the end.

Israelis bomb Gazans to smithereens?  They’ll all start converting to Christianity pretty soon.

Plutocrats rob billions from innocent people, leaving them impoverished in their retirement years?  There’s nothing we can do to stop corruption.

It’s just a symptom of the evil system of things that we live in.  They actually seem to be glad of all the suffering because it means their own salvation is nigh and, anyway, anyone who dies before the tribulation gets a second chance!  Isn’t that wonderful??

No. It’s demented.  Let’s not kid ourselves and be respectful of these lunatic beliefs that have the potential to propagate evil behavior without any checks.

If any of you are interested in learning about the Doomsday Code and why your Christian neighbor is looking especially anxious and giddy this week, look no further than this comprehensive documentary by Tony Robinson. Robinson has a thorough understanding of the code and spells out what it means to the rest of us towards the end of the video.  It’s long but it will tell you all you need to know and what the end timers are looking for in the near future. Why, Yes!, it is scary as all get out even if it is selfish, wishful thinking on the part of some very misguided people.  Imagine having the living daylights scared out of you 24/7 when you were a kid.  These people are not safe, their religion is more unhinged than Scientology and there are a lot of them in America.

Enjoy!

 

About Kos and Netroots Nation

Please fade away

I’m embellishing a comment I made in the last thread and moving it up to the front page.

This is not specifically about Netroots Nation and Markos Moulitsos, the founder of DailyKos, and why he won’t go to Arizona next year.  However, I went to the first two YearlyKos events so I can comment on this whether they like it or not.  The first YearlyKos in Las Vegas was amazing.  The second was just weird in ways I can’t even describe.  The “vibe” was off and I started to feel coerced in a way that was not dissimilar to the kind of emotional manipulation you might find in a fundy evangelical tent revival meeting.  It was deeply unsettling.  So, maybe I knew after YearlyKos2 that I didn’t really belong anymore.

But now I hear that Kos is onboard with getting behind Hillary and telling his droogs to fall in line.  I don’t know because I don’t go to DailyKos and haven’t for going on 6 years now.  But I did read his self-righteous little screed about why he wouldn’t be attending Netroots Nation in 2015 and here’s my take on it:

For the presidential campaigns of 2016, Kos should STFU. Seriously, it was Kos that forced us (Clintonistas posting at DailyKos) out of our tribe and then lead the social psychology storm troopers to quell stifle smother kill dissent on the left.  If I recall correctly, he referred to us as a “shrieking band of paranoid holdouts”, or something to that effect. (Katiebird may remember the lovely term of endearment better than I can) Let’s examine Kos’s moral authority to make pronouncements about 2016.

Did Kos support Florida and Michigan voters in 2008? Um, no.

Was Kos a Hispanic leader defending the rights of primary voters who were locked out of Texas caucus sites? Um, no.

Did he defend the little old ladies who were silenced in Kansas? How about the primary votes in NJ that were handed over to Obama at the convention without so much as a “by your leave” by that paragon of virtue, Jon Corzine? Did he question the precedent the Democrats were setting when the most successful female candidate in the history of American politics was humiliated by being denied a legitimate role call vote at the convention?

No, No and, most emphatically, No.

His behavior was egregious and extraordinarily un-democratic in 2008 but no one challenged him. Well, WE did but then his flying monkeys accused us of racism.

So, I’m sure that Kos now flatters himself as a man of principle by refraining from entering Arizona. But he sold those principles to the highest bidder in 2008 giving us a president who I am convinced will go down in history as the Nero of our republic. In the process, he helped to invalidate the primary system, promoted the ends justifying the means, and allowed misogynism of the most vile and opportunistic kind to flourish on his blog.

So, fuck Kos with a 2″ diameter test tube brush.

He’s done enough damage. The best thing for Democrats to do is to get the hell out of the way and let people have choices in 2016.  A legitimate primary where real issues are discussed in detail by women who are familiar with policy, and can extrapolate policy outcomes, would be a very good thing. The party’s obsession with trying  to decide what is the best for us (and I am being generous with my words here) backfired stupendously in 2008.  It needs to back off now.

Just stop tinkering with the election process. Most Democratic voters know who is going to work for them. They don’t need to be corralled like sheep.

Update: So, I went over to the Big Orange Satan to see what they’re up to and it’s worse than I thought.  They are playing with dangerous things.

Update2: Maybe it doesn’t matter whether Kos attends Netroots Nation.  But we should never forget the atmosphere that he created in 2008 or dismiss the idea that it can’t happen again.  It can if we aren’t vigilant.  IMHO, Democrats should start with a fresh slate in 2016 (not necessarily fresh candidates) and evaluate candidates more dispassionately than they did in 2008. (yes, I know I’m dreaming)  As far as I can see, we did not learn our lessons and safeguards are not in place in the primary system or online to prevent a repeat.

Part time work and Obamacare: Why some Americans hate the Democrats right now

The New York Times has an article on the perils of part time work this morning.  In short, employers expect people to be on call all of the time with very unpredictable hours.  If you ask for more consistent hours, you might find your hours cut even further.  Just go read it.  It’s a nightmare.

Couple that with Obamacare.  You HAVE to have an insurance policy or pay a penalty.  But if you don’t have a consistent income from week to week, you don’t have the money to pay for the policy.  And if you don’t make enough money, you don’t get a subsidy, as I found out earlier this year.  So, to recap, the precariat worker is doubly screwed, triply screwed if they live in a state that doesn’t expand Medicaid.

So, to all of you lefties out there who just can’t understand why the working class is not enamored with the expensive, low coverage plans that they can’t afford anyway, wake up before it’s too late.  This is a disaster in the making.

Stop blaming the victims for being insufficiently grateful.

About those migrating kids…

Maybe I missed something critical to fully understand this story but isn’t it odd that these kids have been coming here suddenly out of nowhere?  They’re being chased out of their home countries by gangs?  Where did THEY come from?  Are these gangs motivated by politics, drugs, economics?  Why are they singling out kids?  What or who is stirring this pot?

Don’t get me wrong.  Americans shouting at helpless kids to go home are ugly and mean and those are not American qualities that I want projected around the world.  And it’s not fair to these kids that so many states are turning them away when they need a place to stay if only temporarily.

But something about this story seems really improbable.  It feels like the emotional side has been fed an extra dose of steroids. It reminds me of some of the worst Hollywood sentimental tear jerking movies.  Or a little bit like this:

 

Yeah, Iraq shouldn’t have invaded Kuwait but while I was listening to that girl testify, all I could think about was what were the chances that the tiny country of Kuwait would have so many premature babies in incubators.  The numbers just didn’t add up. Call me a cold hearted cable TV viewer.  On the other hand, if you’re going to lie, I guess you should go big.

Still, gangs in central America chasing so many kids out of their countries to take a dangerous trek to America?  What are the odds?  What’s really going on and what is it they want us to do without thinking this through?

Sign me, Not Fallen Off the Turnip Truck

This week in STEM: Annnnd a NEW round of job cuts!

This morning, Microsoft announced a new round of job cuts.  It recently acquired Nokia and that seems to be where the bulk of the 18,000 hits are going to come from.  Let’s try to parse why they’re doing this, shall we?  Here’s an explanation from new CEO Satya Nadella:

The larger-than-expected cuts are the deepest in the company’s 39-year history and come five months into the tenure of Chief Executive Satya Nadella, who outlined plans for a “leaner” business in a public memo to employees last week.

“We will simplify the way we work to drive greater accountability, become more agile and move faster,” Nadella wrote to employees in a memo made public early Thursday. “We plan to have fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, to accelerate the flow of information and decision making.”

The size of the cuts were welcomed by Wall Street, which viewed Microsoft as bloated under previous CEO Steve Ballmer, topping 127,000 in headcount after absorbing Nokia earlier this year.

“This is about double what the Street was expecting,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. “Nadella is clearing the decks for the new fiscal year. He is cleaning up part of the mess that Ballmer left.”

The goal is to simplify the work process.  That sounds good.  Everyone likes simplicity.  It makes work easier to deal with if the path forward is cleared of unnecessary complexity and clutter.  But that’s not really why they’re simplifying, is it?  The goal of the simplification is actually to “drive greater accountability”.  On the surface, this also seems reasonable until we stop to consider, accountable to whom?  If you’ve been paying attention in the last decade, this usually refers to shareholders.  Shareholders want greater accountability.  Does that mean they want a bunch of reports and retrospective analyses to peruse at their leisure to make sure everything is being done with an eye towards simplicity, agility and speed?  Probably not.  Accountability is generally a code word for shareholders wanting to see that they’re not spending a penny more on people than they absolutely have to so that they can increase the amount of money they can hoard get for their shares.  It will be up to these 18,000 people to account for their existence.

It sounds like they’re going to get rid of management- everywhere.  Good luck with that! </snark>

Finally, we see that Steve Ballmer left a mess.  Not sure what that’s all about since I’m not in the software side of tech and I only use Microsoft products under duress.  But just because the company now has 127,000 people doesn’t mean that some of them necessarily have to go.  Unless they need to be accountable, of course.  I’m sure this comes as no surprise to the workers at Nokia but no one forced Microsoft to buy them.

So, to recap, Microsoft buys struggling cell phone manufacturer Nokia, drinks its smooth and tasty patent milkshake and discards the worker bees because they are no longer sufficiently accountable.

If anyone is still wondering why the US doesn’t make anything worth exporting, look no further than this layoff announcement and the rest of the carnage happening at IBM, Cisco, Intel and Hewlett-Packard.  It looks like a bloody hemorrhage this month.  There will be a lot of tech workers hitting the virtual pavement.  Contrast this with the way Germany handles its STEM workers.  When times get tough, they reduce their hours to part time and keep their wages high.  That way, when the economy recovers, they can rev their engines up again and work productively with a work force that has not lost its critical skills.

German shareholders and the government work together in a smart way to ensure they have the skills to compete in the market later.  American shareholders and government?  ehhhhhh, not so much.  Finland (the home of Nokia) must be thrilled with Microsoft’s announcement, even though they must have been expecting it since the acquisition.

Someone should tell the Microsoft people to stop referring to its workforce as a “mess” that needs to be cleaned up.

In the meantime, Derek Lowe wrote another post about the prospects of new Chemistry PhDs.  It looks like the number of post docs has gone down in recent years and the number of unemployed PhDs has gone up.  So, to recap, you spend 4 years as an undergrad and about 5-7 years getting your PhD in a very difficult subject that demands sharp, innovative thinking and many thousands of hours of lab work and what do you get for your hard work?  Not much.

Paraphrasing what a former colleague told me in 2009, when it comes right down to it, the reason why employers say they can’t find good help anymore is because what they want, what they really, really want, is a new graduate with 25 years of experience.  I would add, and someone who they can make accountable whenever they please.

Hey, did you hear about the CDC losing track of influenza and smallpox vials?  Funny what persistent underfunding and a round of sequestering will do to your disease control mechanisms.  I’m not surprised after what I heard during my trip to Cambridge, MA in May.  A recent visitor to the CDC said that the place is demoralized and disorganized with co-workers not even knowing who was in their groups.  I don’t blame this on government since the CDC didn’t used to be this FUBARed.  No, I blame it on the authoritarian nut cases in the Republican party whose intractable, unyielding, “take-no-prisoners”, never compromise, never surrender attitude and actions are putting the rest of us at risk.

We need to hold them accountable.

Oh, by the way, congresspersons who vote for more H1B visas in the immigration bill before the excess glut of American STEM workers are re-employed should be vigorously primaried.

 

Book Review: Salvage (Or what Jill Duggar should have read before her wedding)

I was looking for a good cleaning/renovation distraction story when I saw Salvage by Alexandra Duncan in the Editor’s Picks section of Audible.  It sounded like an interesting sci-fi story about a girl from space stranded on earth.  In this case, it’s less Ursula LeGuin and more Young Adult but intriguing in it’s own way.  In fact, it brought back some old memories but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Salvage is the story of Parastrata Ava, a “so-girl” on a deep space merchant ship who commits an unpardonable sin.  A so-girl is something like an assistant manager but in this case, Ava can only manage other women.  That’s because the deep space merchant ships have been in operation for so long that each one of them has become its own little polygamous tribe.  Think of it like a cross between the Taliban and the FLDS church traveling the Silk Roads of the galaxy.  Every now and again, two merchant ships will dock at a space station above Earth for some genetic swapping, er, marriages.  This involves sending some young 16 year old girl as a bride to the other ship.  She has no idea who she is going to marry or whether she will be a first, second or fifth wife of her husband.  There’s no choice in the matter and she’s not supposed to ask questions.  Virginity is highly prized and, as you can imagine, sometimes these weddings go disastrously wrong.  Without giving too much of the plot away, this is what happens to Ava and she is forced to flee the space station or face an honor killing via the airlock.

In spite of the fact that Ava has never been on earth before and has no cardiovascular conditioning, she manages to survive her abrupt introduction to gravity.  Ava’s story starts to resemble many hero narratives complete with a wise guide character who teaches her some basics and then dies tragically, leaving her to figure the rest out for herself.  Ava has been raised in a fundamentalist religious society but it’s remarkable how quickly she manages to discard all of that indoctrination.  I think it’s the fact that she is forced to survive on her own that makes it so easy for her to see how useless the religious dogma is to her new circumstances.

One such revelation occurs when she tells a young earth friend one of the foundation myths of her ship.  It’s about a ship on a voyage that was trying to hide from a marauding ship in the vicinity.  One of the women was singing and the men on the ship told her to shut up or she would attract the attention of the pirates.  But the woman said that was nonsense and kept singing.  Sure enough, the pirate ship found them and havoc ensued.  And that’s why women on deep space vessels were forbidden from singing on penalty of death!  Ava believes this story like it’s Eve’s curse until her young friend points out that her science book says that sound doesn’t carry in space.  Then it dawns on Ava that the myth was just another clever way to blame women for everything and keep them in their place.

It also dawned on me that there are a lot of silly myths that women are supposed to swallow without question even today that are intended to keep them in their place.  The Genesis creation story is just one.  The biblical obsession with virginity is another.  Maybe 3000 years ago it was important for inheritance rights, because, after all, you could only be sure of who your mother was back then and even up until blood typing, you could never be 100% sure who your father was.  But in the 21st century, we have genetic testing to keep everyone honest.  The notions that a woman must guard her virginity or be considered worthless coupled with all of the societal baggage that goes with being a female just seems antiquated in the light of new technology and contraceptives.  It does make you wonder who it is that fundamentalism is trying to protect. It also makes me cringe when I see even women on the left who claim to be feminists consistently deferring to men, ignoring their own concerns.  The indoctrination is very, very deep.

Anyway, I immediately thought of Jill Duggar, Duggar family valedictorian, now Jill Dillard, when I read this book.  As many of you may know, she is the first of the Duggar girls to get married.  She and her hubby tied the knot on that non-Christian holiday, Midsummer’s Night Eve, and they saved their first kiss for the altar.  A lot of people think that’s correct and virginal and special but I think that saving such an intimate thing as a kiss for a spectacle in a church full of a 1000 people who all but “hubba-hubba!” and cat-call in the pews, is a bit on the obscene side and looks like a violation of their privacy. Rather than looking uber Christian and sacred, it reminds me of something pagan, barbaric and tribal.

Yeah, I think the so-called Christians out there should know what some of us see during these Quiverfull weddings.  We have a completely different interpretation of what we are witnessing and it’s vaguely horrifying, not spiritual.  What did we miss?  The parading of the blood stained sheets the next morning?  Was there a contract to return the bride to Jim-Bob if Jill’s hymen turned out to be too easily ruptured?  Why not actually watch to make sure the marriage is consummated like royals did thousands of years ago?  These people are way too involved in their children’s private lives.  A Duggar wedding, while preceded by a chaste courtship that’s supposed to be all about getting to know your future spouse’s character, turns out to be focused almost entirely on sex and not companionship.  It seems strange and the reverse of what most everyone we know does these days.  We know that when it comes to relationships, the thrill is gone all too quickly and it’s only when you decide there are other things to keep you together that you get married.  That’s the sacred that the Duggars seem to miss.  And it’s not like the Quiverfull movement doesn’t have it’s share of miserable marriages and those that end in divorce.  Vyckie Garrison of No Longer Quivering is a testament to the failure of these unions and the destruction they wreck on the young people forced into them.

I remember when my Jehovah’s Witness friend H. got married at the tender age of 17.  She and her boyfriend B. abstained until their wedding night but we all knew that the reason they married so young was because they couldn’t be normal unmarried teenagers and do even a bit of snogging without getting disfellowshipped.  Two months later, she was sitting in my living room with her head in her mother’s lap, suffering from morning sickness.  She was a changed person in every way and no longer the happy, confident friend I knew.  It was shocking.  Her youth was spent in just a few weeks.

Parastrata Ava turns her back on all of that and focuses with laser like intensity on the future where she controls her own destiny and whether or not she even wants to have sex and with whom.  What I really regret was that Jill didn’t get a copy of this book smuggled to her before the wedding so that she knew there was something out there besides a life of never having a minute to herself and babies and men telling her to stop singing all the time (even if her hubby, Derick, does look like a reasonable guy who might even let her wear pants someday).

Recommended.  4 sponges.  There are some parts of the middle that drag a little bit and the ending, while satisfying, could have been more satisfying and ended all too soon.  Hoping for a sequel.  This character has earned one.

Confirmation bias and bias

Someone on the internet is wrong.  That someone is Melissa at Shakesville.

Earlier today, she tweeted about the case of the unfortunate mother who was jailed for leaving her 9 year old daughter to play at a local park while she was working.  You can read a commentary on this case at Reason by Lenore Skenazy of Freerangekids.com.  Melissa and I had a difference of opinion about this case.  She seems to think race was a factor in the mother’s arrest.  I do not.  Here’s why.

As Lenore has documented over the last several years, the arrest and detention of parents because their children were left unattended is ubiquitous.  There have been cases where a mother has been pursued by family services and taken to court for leaving her kids off at the mall with a 12 year old sibling.  There have been numerous cases of mothers arrested for leaving their kids in the car while they dash into the grocery store or post office for something.  There are many other cases of mothers getting fined and served and investigated for letting their children walk to school or ride their bikes by themselves. By the way, nowhere in Lenore’s commentary does she mention race as the reason for the arrest.  That’s because it’s not the common thread that holds these instances together.

I have two personal experiences with the rampant crackdown on mothers.  The first happened when Brook was in first grade when she innocently told a Lifeskills volunteer that I had forced her to drink wine.  When the principal called me to tell me he was calling DYFS on me, I had no idea what he was talking about.  Was the kid slurring her words?  Falling off her chair?  Asking for something to treat her hangover?  I don’t keep that much alcohol in my house.  What the hell was she talking about?  Then I remembered the Easter at my mom’s house when Brook had the zooms and was driving everyone crazy and I joked about giving her a swig of my chardonnay.  That was it.  That right there nearly got me a permanent record with the state of NJ and the potential lost custody of my daughter.

In the second experience, it was about 11 am on a Sunday in November when I got a knock on my door.  There were two policemen there.  They were responding to a report that there was a mentally disabled boy wearing an orange shirt, jeans and bare feet wandering around the neighborhood doing strange and suspicious things.  They asked me if I knew anything about it.  I had no idea what they were talking about.  Then they hinted darkly that they were on the alert for that kid and left.  Then I turned around and saw my 10 year old Brook with her short hair, orange shirt, jeans and bare feet standing in the doorway trembling.  What the heck were you doing, I asked?  She burst into tears.  She got up that morning and wanted to make an art project out of acorns.  So she went out to the back of our row of townhouses without her shoes on and was looking under the trees for them.  She was very upset and neither one of us could figure out which one of the neighbors was mean enough to report her for something like that.

Butcha know, people do it all the time.

As for the case that has hit the news, I have some problems with attributing this to a race problem.  First, we have no idea who reported the kid to the police.  Are we assuming that the conscientious citizen was white and was deliberately targeting an African American mother?  We have no evidence on this.  The report doesn’t say who did the snitching or what was the race of the arresting officers or even if such a thing would have mattered in the least.

Secondly, if this were a case of race, we would have to disregard the countless reports from women all over the world who have been put through the same process.  The perps come in all shapes, sizes, colors and socio-economic groups and the punishments are all pretty much the same.

But that doesn’t seem to stop people from assuming this is a race issue or that, yes, it is primarily directed at women but maybe it’s harder on African American women or some such nonsense.  If that’s what you want to see in this case, you would be a victim of confirmation bias.  You want to see a racial angle to this when it’s much more insidious than that.

If you had been a long time follower of Freerangekids, you would see that the problem emanates from “stranger danger”.  My bet is that the person who reported that kid neglected has been hearing a steady drumbeat of stories of violence against children ever since Fox and the local news channels figured out that their audiences loved to be terrified.  Like the anti-vaxxers, it is impossible to reason with these people, particularly older white women, that the rate of violent crime has actually done down in the past 30 years.  All they see are rapes and murders of little kids on TV 24/7.  Lenore points out that the chances that your kid will be snatched is infinitesimally small but people have a hard time reasoning when their logic boards have been short circuited by violent sexual imagery.  It’s emotional, not rational.  This is what I think has happened in this instance as well.  Little girl, left in park by herself for hours playing, something I would have done when I was her age, now looks like a sitting duck for any male who can walk by to prey upon her and satisfy his filthy secret lusts.  Where is her mother??

So, if it’s not race, what do these cases have in common?  They almost always involve mothers.  You rarely hear of a father getting this treatment.  These mothers are almost always in a hurry, alone, busy, sometimes single or divorced, or simply ignorant of the unlikely possibility that their kids are going to be snatched.  What they aren’t is sheltering their children 100% of the time with their bodies, protecting with a maternal force field 10 feet wide at all hours of the day and night.  I’ve even read on some blogs that new mothers are afraid to take a shower while their newborns are sleeping because “something might happen” while they’re shampooing their hair. How did homo erectus escape the savannah??

We might speculate why the current culture in America, England and Australia, in particular, are coming down so hard on mothers but since Fox and other cable news sources seem to be popular media features in each of these countries, we can’t discount the idea that the effect that so many child rape/murder stories have on the audience is intentional.  Couple this with the attack on women’s reproductive choices and it sure looks to me like someone(s) is trying to get women to embrace motherhood or else… That is the message they send anyway.  We come down on mothers like a hammer if they step even a teensy bit outside the rigid rules of acceptable behavior that are prescribed to them.  If women give up their careers to stay home, it shouldn’t be surprising that they find it too hard to be the bodyguards to their children and work too.  Socially, they need to project full engagement with their children even when those kids don’t need it or be tagged the “bad mother” on the block.  If you’re the kind of mother who doesn’t care what people think, you may change your tune when DYFS pays you a visit.

As for women vs race, I got a little annoyed with Melissa when it was suggested that somehow we need to spread the problem around to include race.  Aren’t African American women still women?  And don’t women have the right to demand attention to the tribulations they face without having to sweep up every fricking non-priviliged group in their train?  Doesn’t that dilute the issues that women have to deal with simply because they are women?  Isn’t it about time for the African American community, the LGBT community, the Native American community to give something back?  Isn’t it time women stopped apologizing and sacrificing their primary concerns as women in order to let some other group steal the microphone?  Isn’t it enough that the accused in these cases are just women?? I only ask.

Well, I guess this makes me a racist again because I see no reason to stop championing the cause of the majority of people in the world who neglect themselves for the sake of others. Nor am I going to give in to confirmation bias because that is what my tribe would expect of me.  That’s what NOW and NARAL have done in the past and where are they now?  Seriously, where ARE they?  Why aren’t they all over these arrests?  Or did they cede too much to others and neutralize themselves?

The instances of arrest for “bad” motherhood are not going to end until women start to recognize it as another threat to their autonomy.

*****************************************************

Only slightly off topic, this advertisement from Pantene struck a chord with me.  How many times a day do women apologize and what makes us do it?

 

Finally, please remember that the word racism is not to be taken lightly lest it lose it’s true and serious meaning.  Use of the word will result in automatic moderation until I can fish you out of the queue.  It’s a leftover from 2008 but still a useful one.

 

Clarification and Meeting this morning on Women’s Reproductive Rights

The comment thread from the last post evolved into a discussion on whether the Democrats are going to try to ram another historic candidate down our throats in 2016 and whether her iconic status is sufficient reason to vote for her. The answer to that is yes and maybe.  I have a couple of things to say about this, assuming that you’re interested.

1.) You should only vote for the best candidate.  That candidate, in my humble opinion, should possess a combination of characteristics based on experience, knowledge, ability to convey his or her message and another quality that Winston Churchill was said to possess.  That is, a “built in gyroscope”, or a worldview that orients the bearer regardless of circumstances.  One might call it morality or ethics or scientific method or a mix of all of these things.  This quality may have something to do with the internal vs instrumental motivations that were described in a recent NYTimes Op/Ed.  In other words, ambition and desire for external rewards make a bad president if they are not balanced by an internal drive to shape the country to one’s worldview.  You can draw your own conclusions about what that says about our current resident of the oval office.

2.) I absolutely do believe that the country needs to elect a female as president.  That is because a woman will have a worldview that is distinct from her 40 something predecessors and this worldview is going to be important to the majority of the population of this country who also happen to be women. I think women have a right to demand this. However, we have seen from the present president that that might not mean diddly-squat without those internal motivations mentioned above.  It isn’t enough to want to be number one.  You need to have a plan for doing stuff once you get there.  So, once again, being a woman, though extremely desirable to about a zillion of us, is not the most important thing ever.  She has to want to be there for a very specific reason.

Now, I realize that there are people out there who could give a flying fig about the concerns of women and find it all a big yawn.  You know who you are.  And you don’t want to get pressured to vote for a woman like you were pressured to vote for Obama.  I completely understand the desire to not get pressured.  It’s like being forced to vote for homecoming queen because a certain clique of people have decided that they are going to pick the winner for you and they have some teachable, schlocky, sentimental rationale for doing it when really it all comes down to who their friends are or money or both.  I get that.  And Obama has not really improved the lives of African Americans so you have to wonder why he gets so much support from them and why he was sold as such a great civil rights leader and cherry on the top of the civil rights movement.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and, in my opinion, it wasn’t there.  What was there was a billion dollar Charlotte’s Web campaign.  Terrific pig, maybe, but not a terrific Martin Luther King Jr. whole hog.  Let’s not kid ourselves.

But your boredom with women candidates and their urgent concerns coupled with your insistence that a certain female candidate jump even higher bars than any other male candidate on earth has ever had to do just plain pisses me off.  And, frankly, I’m tired of hearing your lame excuses as to why you won’t vote for “that woman”.  Come to think of it, I might not vote for “that woman” either if she doesn’t turn her fricking gyroscope on soon and start making her worldview known, whether the masters of the universe like it or not.  But that’s not the point.  If it turns out that “that woman” is the absolute best candidate we have, I expect you to get behind her. Not because she is a woman but because you may not find anyone better, male or female, that is able to get close enough to the top to command the kind of money to actually, you know, run.

If you’re going to hold her to a particular vote, hold all of the candidates accountable for the same votes.  If you’re going to whine about campaign fund raising, do the same for all of the candidates.  If you’re going to expect certain levels and types of experience from her, expect it from all of the other candidates.  |female candidates| = |male candidates| Don’t single women politicians out for special expectations because that just comes off looking sexist and neanderthal and ornery and not worth any of my time to read about.  In short, stop being a jerk.

Ok, I’m done.  You get my point.  Don’t do it again.

***************************************

The Senate is holding a hearing on:

S.1696, The Women’s Health Protection Act

It starts in about 10 minutes.  Probably on C-Span.  I’ll link to it when I find it.  Could be interesting.

Update: Well, here’s the link.   Not sure when this is going to air.

My advice, whether you want it or not- 1

I’m dispensing advice to the blogosphere.  You’re welcome.

1.)To Digby, Corey Robin, et al, regarding whether the recent set backs in the rights of women in America have something to do with protecting the influence of the traditional hierarchy in the home, you’re not quite seeing the whole picture.  The backlash against women started about the time that more women were moving into the workforce, competing with men who used to get all the good jobs, frequently with little more than a high school diploma.  This was also about the same time that african americans were moving into the middle class.  It also roughly corresponded with a lag in wages compared to productivity.  We should do more research to find out if there is a correlation and what it is.

I think the push to put women “back in their place” has less to do with protecting the home than to protecting the traditional privileges of the workplace.  How can we decide which is the case?  We can look to countries with better and worse gender equity scores than the United States and do some comparisons of what cultural and legislative changes they have made in the past 100 or so years.  My gut feeling is that we are experiencing a backlash because we have rewarded the persons who promote it via their outsize representation in the media and through their culturally protected religious affiliations.  It is OK these days to say racist things and insult women by referring to them as sluts.  No harm done, says Limbaugh and the Fox News team.  There’s no law against being an ignorant bigot.

In other words, the language is being used in the service of the previously privileged.  It was and always will be the economy, stupid.  When money gets tight, women should get the f^&* out of the way and go home.  Making it hard for her to get out of the house when she’s tied to babies and lacks good childcare serves the guys very well indeed.  They’re just all hoping it’s the next guy who has to put up with the domestic situation, not them.  It’s purely opportunistic.

2.) Countries that have had a history of secret police and neighbors spying on neighbors in a manner that lead to mass murders and ruined careers tend to have a negative reaction to their allies spying on them for unknown purposes.  It’s just freaks them out in a way that Americans cannot fathom (yet).  Think twice (or thrice) about doing it.

From the NYTimes article on the expulsion of US spies from Germany, we get this nugget and advice from Angela Merkel:

As is usual with intelligence matters, the United States Embassy had no comment on the expulsion request. But in a statement, the embassy also said it was essential to maintain close cooperation with the German government “in all areas.”

“Our security relationship with Germany remains very important,” the embassy statement said. “It keeps Germans and Americans safe.”

Ms. Merkel, speaking two hours before the expulsion request was announced, said in response to reporters’ questions that spying on allies was “a waste of energy.”

“We have so many problems,” she said. “We should focus on important matters.”

Waste of energy indeed, not to mention money.  Money that could be used on mass transit and infrastructure improvements that the Republicans seem to think are unnecessary.  I guess it’s OK if New Jersey looks like Mississippi.  Mississippi might be what America looks like to Republicans and NJ is just being uppity.  How would they know the difference?  Come to think of it, I’m tempted to start a “…You might be a Republican” thing.  Like, If your friends would describe you as a greedy old prick, you might be a Republican.  Or If they would describe you as a grumpy old prude, you might be a Republican.

Wait, I’m getting off topic.

Yeah, don’t spy on your friends.  It’s unnecessary.

3.) With tensions and rockets flaring in Israel, be prepared for your local fundamentalist Christians to be almost ready to pee themselves with delight at the impending rapture.

4.) To the Republicans who are itchin’ to impeach the president- DO IT!  Yes, by all means, find something to nail on him.  Tie him up with congressional hearings.  But please, do it Blitzkrieg style, ok?  Don’t waste any time drawing the whole procedure out.  Wrap it up quickly.  Better yet, take Biden down first.  Then we can appoint Hillary to VP while you guys go for the jugular.  Then when Obama is forced out, Hillary can step up to the presidency.  It will save us a lot of money in 2016.  And it’s what everyone wants anyway.  You’d be doing us all a big favor.  Oh sure, we’ll have to put up with your nonsensical grandstanding and foaming at the mouth over a guy who is mostly ineffectual rather than criminal but when has reason ever curbed you and your destructive waste of legislative privilege?  Just do it and make it quick.

5.) When you’re planning your next kitchen renovation, do yourself a favor and pick the refrigerator first.  Make sure that the one you want will fit through your doorways and won’t bang into the expensive teak cabinets you just had to have above the refrigerator.  Because once those cabinets are up and you’ve spent thousands of dollars getting the look you want, you are going to have a hard time taking them down to accommodate the behemoth refrigerators that appliance makers are manufacturing these days.  If you have a small kitchen made smaller by those annoying cabinets that are only good for seasonal ice buckets and Rubbermaid containers, you should know that appliance makers don’t really make a lot of nice refrigerators in the small to medium category.  Yes, they are still living in 2008.  Adapt accordingly.

 

Why is this man struggling??

Correct Dope Slap administration

Jesus Christ on a Cracker, Obama is angsting over whether to sign an executive order to make sure that the LBGT community is not discriminated against in federal contracts.  The religious leaders involved, RELIGIOUS leaders who you would expect to be above petty shit like this, are demanding to be excluded from working next to people who do “unnatural” things with each other in bed.  That would include almost everyone, gay or straight, married or un, over the age of consent.  Yes, Rick Warren, married heterosexual couples engage in sodomy of one kind or another.  You might even be one of them.

Obama might not be in this predicament if he hadn’t made use of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives to give taxpayer money to churches like Warren’s in exchange for favorable sermons to the parishioners before election day.  The rest of us were very skeptical when Obama made an alliance with evangelical leaders in 2008.  Remember how women were supposed to consult with their clergy before getting an abortion?  Remember how we all were concerned with the signals that Rick Warren’s inaugural presence would send to the LGBT community?

Ok, nevermind all that now.  We’re dealing with a crisis situation.  We can’t go back and dope slap Obama and his short- sighted campaign droogs, although I did mention back in 2008 that the scorched earth policy against women was going to come back to bite us.

Here’s the correct response to these so-called “Christians”, and I do use that term very loosely.  Sign the damn order for the following reasons:

1.) It’s the right thing to do.  Treating people like dirt and unequally to make people in your tribe feel superior is the signature hallmark of narcissists.  It’s just wrong morally and ethically.  It’s very strange for an agnostic panentheist non-Christian like myself to be pointing this out but, what can I say, the country is in the grip of some weird juju right now and the people who should be upholding the rights of others, I’m looking at you Rick Warren, have lost their fricking minds.

2.) It’s for their own good.  Slight digression: Alan Turing was a code breaker extraordinaire and computational genius.  He was also gay.  Without Turing, it would have been very difficult for England to triumph over the Nazi’s.  That guy should have been a national hero until he died.  Instead, Alan Turing’s life was destroyed by some very nasty anti-gay laws.  He was barred from serving his country and his security clearance was denied.  He committed suicide.  Congratulations, Britain.  If Obama doesn’t sign the order because the Rick Warren’s among us stamp their little feets and threaten to hold their breaths, he will be denying the rest of us the talents and gifts of American gays and lesbians. It’s just not a very smart, long term move.  But then, when have we ever seen Obama and his campaign guys look to the long term?  Amaze us for once.

3.) It’s none of their G-d damned business.  Seriously, these evangelical so-called “Christians” need to learn to respect other people’s boundaries.  Or at least be consistent.  If it’s sodomy they object to, they need to find out what their married employees are doing too.  If they don’t like to contemplate what other people are doing in bed, they need to demonstrate some self-control and STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.  Get a life.  I guarantee you that the liberal side of the spectrum does not drive itself crazy thinking about all of the permutations of what body part goes into what orifice.  We drive ourselves crazy thinking about the melting point of the earth and whether we have passed the point of no return.  We stay up nights worrying about more important things we can, you know, actually do something about.  Ending gay sex forever does not rank up there among our insomnia inducing scenarios.

4.) Ignore the evangelical so-called “Christians”.  Obama doesn’t have to run again.  And the people who are really freaked out by the fact that might have to work cheek by jowl with people whose cheeks and jowls might have been touching the cheeks and jowls of a same sex person the night before are never going to vote for you anyway.  In any case, they will never respect you if you give in to them.  That’s because they have been encouraged to become narcissistic and any ground you give will just encourage them to exceed their boundaries in other areas.  Today it’s gays, tomorrow they’ll threaten not to vote for you if you don’t eliminate evolution from the school curriculum everywhere. Trust me, they don’t know there is a line.  You need to make them see that there is one or the establishment clause will become meaningless.

Like you’ll listen to me.  You’re the one who gave us the ACA and how did that turn out?  I don’t mean, “how is the propaganda spinning the ACA?”.  I mean, how did the ACA actually turn out for the little people who have to deal with it.  (Don’t even get me started.  It’s a disaster.  Someday, the brain trusts are going to correlate the falling GDP with that piece of crap legislation.  Mark my words.)

But signing this executive order to protect gays and lesbians is a no-brainer.  It’s the right thing to do.

Therefore, I predict Obama will screw it up somehow.  He’ll qualify it just enough that he will plant the seeds for further evangelical so-called “Christian” mischief down the road.

 

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