• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Sweet Sue on Getting ahead of myself
    CB on Getting ahead of myself
    r u reddy on Getting ahead of myself
    SouthernHon on Getting ahead of myself
    Ga6thDem on Bernie Sanders’ Good…
    r u reddy on Bernie Sanders’ Good…
    riverdaughter on Getting ahead of myself
    CB on Getting ahead of myself
    r u reddy on Bernie Sanders’ Good…
    r u reddy on Bernie Sanders’ Good…
    r u reddy on Bernie Sanders’ Good…
    Sweet Sue on Getting ahead of myself
    riverdaughter on Getting ahead of myself
    katiebird on Getting ahead of myself
    jenniferm on Wormtongues
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama big pharma Bill Clinton Chris Christie cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean Joe Biden John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    May 2015
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • As Palmyra Falls to ISIS, What Are The Syrian Government’s Prospects?
      So, yet another city falls, and the city has some very nice ancient architecture, which we will no doubt soon see sledgehammered.  Some Palmyrans apparently thought the international “community” might protect them since they’re a great cultural site. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so sad. ISIS has fought well and fought smart, and came into [...]
  • Top Posts

Getting ahead of myself

I have been busy, oh best beloveds. Busy, busy, busy.

The place where I am working is undergoing a phase transition. That’s the best way to describe it. They’re changing the way they work and it is getting crazy, KRAZZYE. I am like a Mag-lev train, a TGV, boys and girls, picking up more and more speed as we leave the station.

Honest to gawd, I didn’t realize what time it was this afternoon. Five hours passed in a blink. Woah, that went fast.

Cool.

Stuff outside of work is tending towards a chaotic state though. My Dropbox says it’s full. There are still bags of mulch on my flower bed-unopened. I guess it will keep the weeds down anyway, right? And the temp in the Burgh is getting up to almost 90 by Thursday and Friday. I have nothing to wear to work because I spent 25 years in jeans in a lab environment and now I have to wear heels. It’s just confounding. Well, at least for a little while longer.

Anyway, here’s to working in the zone and feeling your cheerios, like Brittany at 2:51:

What did you do today?

Bernie Sanders’ Good Points

Here’s an interview from Greg Sargent at WaPo’s Plum Line with Bernie. He makes some good points. Noted are his comments about Hillary’s ties to Wall Street firms. Very true. But if her ties were that strong and she was so willing to do what they wanted, why did they put their money behind Obama in 2008? He couldn’t have gotten the nomination without their help. So, if Hillary was so pliable and beholden to them, why didn’t they back her to the hilt instead of trying so hard to defeat her in the primaries? I’ve asked this question repeatedly since 2008 and the left has not given me a satisfactory answer. It’s like they’ve got their hands over their ears singling “La-la-la! I can’t HEAR you!”

(It’s called denial)

But point taken, Bernie. I would just ask everyone to read his answers very, very carefully because he’s not ruling out taking money from Wall Street either. He’s very good at avoiding the question but realistically, he can’t completely rule Wall Street money out. One of those firms might just wake up in time to see it’s in its best interests to, you know, not be so insanely, obscenely greedy because it’s a short term strategy that can’t last.

It could happen.

That being said, there’s a lot of good stuff in this interview that I like. Take this exchange:

PLUM LINE: Should the Democratic nominee offer a platform that goes considerably farther than what the president has done?

SANDERS: Yes.

PLUM LINE: What would that look like?

SANDERS: It would look like a tax on carbon; a massive investment in solar, wind, geothermal; it would be making sure that every home and building in this country is properly winterized; it would be putting substantial money into rail, both passenger and cargo, so we can move towards breaking our dependency on automobiles. And it would be leading other countries around the world.

PLUM LINE: You think the Democratic nominee should campaign on a platform like that?

SANDERS: Yes.

I couldn’t agree more. I would love to see more mass transit and broadband. I would include nuclear as well because I’m realistic. So, let’s hear a lot more about that from all the candidates.

Ok, I’m going out to cut the grass.

Later, taters.

The Hawk Debate

Back in 2008, I took the step to ban certain words here. For example, if you used the word “racist” in a comment, your comment was auto-moderated. The reason was that whoever was operating the Obama campaign had gone on the offensive and insulted and humiliated innocent bloggers and commenters in order to shut them up. They did this by calling the dissenters racists. It didn’t matter whether we had legitimate reasons for refusing to jump on the Obama bandwagon that had nothing to do with race. An accusation of racism is extremely powerful and they knew what they were doing.

There are a few other trigger words that will get you auto-moderated. I leave discovery as an exercise for the reader. Banning the words doesn’t mean you can’t discuss the issue here. It’s just that taking specific words out of the comments section meant that no one can take the easy way out. You can’t just come here, poop in the punchbowl, and leave thinking you’ve done your job putting the old, uneducated working class Roseanne Barrs who flock here (your perception, not mine) in their place. You know, drop the late consensus reality shaping meme, use the buzzword du jour, put mean spirited peer pressure on these people and watch as they all come groveling back to your side. Nah-gah-happen. We didn’t get to 52,000+ page hits per day during the height of the nauseatingly brutal 2008 campaign season because we took the easy way out and ate our poisoned mushrooms so we would fall into line like TalkLeft and Taylor Marsh and The Left Coaster and Digby’s Hullabaloo. No, we watched what was happening, were thoroughly horrified and took it without flinching. 

As time went on, and the insults and aggression piled on, I became even less likely to vote for Obama. So, there, guys (and you were almost all guys). Good job. You pointed out to me that there was almost no level of offense or character assassination that Obama would not sanction. It spoke volumes about who was supporting him and what he was prepared to overlook in the future.

So, now we come to the topic of the day. This is a debate I have been having with Monster of the Id, who I dearly love and have no intention of banning. It’s about the word “hawk” and why it is always applied to Hillary Clinton.

It has become another one of those words. I am getting ready to auto-moderate comments featuring the word. As stated before, you can argue all you want that Hillary is the biggest supporter of the military industrial complex on the planet. But you’re going to have to show your work. You will not be able to just fling that word around willy nilly because that’s what everyone is saying about her.

Let’s recognize this word for what it is. It’s a mental shortcut that bears little resemblance to actual reality. Here’s my latest comment to Monster after he tried, once again, to explain his ambivalence towards Clinton due to her perceived “hawkishness”:

You’re missing the point. You can vote for whoever you damn well please. For all we know, Arkansas will go D in 2016, or Green or Commie. You don’t know what will happen and I don’t either.

The point is, don’t make up your mind based on the consensus reality of your side. That’s what the left did in 2008 and look who got elected? Was Obama the liberal messiah the left wanted? It fell for the whisperings and mental maneuverings and dogwhistles of the Wormtongues.

Wormtongue says that Hillary is a “hawk”. Oh really? In what way is she a hawk? What does it mean to be a hawk? What are the qualities of a hawk? How many military engagements does a person have to vote for in order to get this designation? Why isn’t John Kerry also called a hawk? Is Hillary more or less of a hawk than John Kerry or John Edwards? To what degree? Is she more or less a hawk than Lindsay Graham?

I only ask.

That’s the problem. Too few people on the left ask. They just accept. Well, someone on the left must have studied the problem, some Juan Cole person must have dug up the records and figured it out. There is no doubt in their minds that Hillary is a hawk, based on some criteria, right? Some authority figure who the left trusts did the math.
But what if no one on the left actually did?

What if it’s just a clever earworm planted there by someone with less than honorable intentions? How would you know?

Consistency is key.

Don’t try to get out of the dilemma you’re in by claiming that your vote doesn’t count or making light of it. What counts is whether everyone has an honest, consistent, unobstructed, unfiltered view of the candidate without shortcuts that terminate the thought process with facile categorization.

If she ends up wanting after you have discarded the shortcuts, fine, at least you will have done your job. But don’t cop out and tell me you can’t trust yourself to make those calls on your own.

The left bungled it badly in 2008 because it didn’t bother to do its own thinking. It became as gullibly pliable as the stupid hicks on the right that it always insists are the authoritarian followers who will swallow any moronic, self-defeating message their right wing leaders throw out there. We Conflucians watched as previously smart people on the left fell for love bombing and conversion diaries, peer pressure and trigger words. They did not distinguish themselves.

Don’t let it happen again.

Like I said, you can vote for whoever fills out your dance card. Make a matrix, put the names of the candidates on the Y axis and the issues you care about on the X axis. Check off the boxes, based on what you hear directly from the candidates or have read about from the most neutral sources you can find. Then, vote for the person who gets the most checks on the grid.

One thing I will predict right now: you’re going to have to figure out what the definition of hawk really means before you check that box for Hillary.

Wormtongues

I read with dismay yet another stupid story in the NYTimes about Hillary Clinton this morning. It’s going to be a long 18 months.

This time, it was about how progressives are pressuring her to kiss their asses. I wonder why she is even bothering at this point to give them any attention at all. They’re never going to like her, trust her, believe her, even if she really is the best thing they’ve got right now. They can’t see her for what she is and can’t appreciate what she’s got to offer them. It’s almost as if they’re under some kind of spell:

If you ever wondered what happened to Wormtongue, he left Meduseld “to spend more time with his family” and went to work for the NYTimes after working for a marketing research firm on Wall Street in 2008.

This sentence cracks me up:

Mrs. Clinton cheerily welcomed Mr. Sanders into the race, even as she works to deny Mr. Sanders or any other liberal an issue on which to bloody her from the left.

Are you serious? Sanders entering the race is the best thing that could have happened to Clinton. Now, there is another credible person on the left. Sanders is passionate, he speaks well, he’s rational. He doesn’t have the air of dweeb about him like Kucinich and he doesn’t come off as being an unrealistic “knit your own sandals” type who is going to make us eat a raw vegan diet with a heavy emphasis on organic beets. His concern is primarily about the very real erosion of the standard of living of most working Americans today.

He adds weight to the left side of the field. The longer he stays in the race, the better for Clinton. That means it won’t be six silly nobodies trying to out-mean each other on the right sucking all of the air out of the room and one woman defending the left all by herself. It means that issues might actually get discussed that aren’t all on the ultra conservative right. It means she won’t have to be so defensive. It means there will be a clear difference between the two political sides.

Damn straight she’s cheery.

Duh.

But the left is convinced that she’s with the enemy. In a way, I kinda understand it. They were completely taken in by Wormtongue in 2008. That was a disaster.

Still, the real enemies have almost won. It’s bad out here. And here the left is, sitting in its golden hall, lapsing into a coma like some crusty old dude enchanted by some evil wizards. Utterly feckless and hostile to the people who are begging it to get its act together and fight back. It’s almost like someone doesn’t want people with a common cause to become allies…

Suit yourselves. I’m going with the white haired guy and the blonde lady.

Forth Eorlingas!

A call to action from John Dehlin: Are Sunday Assemblies enough?

Mormon Stories is a podcast and community created by John Dehlin who started  the podcast  when he began to wrestle with his faith in Mormonism almost ten years ago. Through the years, he has interviewed hundreds of Mormons, both faithful and apostate, and challenged the church to come to terms with gay Mormons and women who wanted equality in the church.

Recently, Dehlin was excommunicated and Mormon Stories has started to explore alternatives to religion. Or, is there an alternative to religion? This is the focus of his most recent podcast interview with Micah Nickolaison, former host of A Thoughtful Faith and also a former Mormon, now atheist. Together they discuss the recent trend in the New Atheism’s Sunday Assembly. They both like the initiative in the Sunday Assembly but feel something is missing. That missing thing is the glue that could bind a certain segment of Nones and former Mormons into a more cohesive unit and would provide them with an identification.

So, John’s latest podcast is a kind of call to action to anyone who is interested in taking it to the next level. He says, and I agree with him here, that the old bronze age religions are dying and this is reflected in the rise of the nones. But the psychologist in him recognizes that community is necessary for collective action and mental health. Also, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and the other Four Horseman may be doing atheism a disservice by not recognizing this need in most people.

John says we are at an evolutionary point. How do we evolve away from these old religions while maintaining the ritual and ceremonial aspects that bind communities? It’s a fascinating podcast for those of us in-betweeners who pretty much find Abrahamic religions silly and anachronistic but can’t do the full Dawkins.

Whatever it is that comes out of this, let it be a potent antidote to fundamentalism, which is the real threat to all of us.

Here are Dehlin’s conversations with Micah Nickolaison of Strangers in Zion on his transition away from Mormonism and brainstorming the next evolutionary level. (If you want to skip all the background story, go directly to part 3. But if you want to hear a gifted interviewer do his thing, listen to John lead Micah through in parts 1 and 2)

Music to Clean By

Or with.

The Treniers sing Ragg Mopp:

Add your favorite music to clean by in the comments.

Never Surrender

Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist gave a presentation in Australia during the Unholy Trinity Tour about violence, the end of the world and not giving in to fear, uncertainty and dread. You don’t have to be an atheist to appreciate his point of view.

Disclaimer: I am not an atheist though my concept of God is pretty abstract and I don’t believe in 3000 year old texts. If you do, knock your socks off. It’s none of my business. However, I do consider myself an enemy of any form of fundamentalism and I’m not afraid to say it.

I hope someday Seth will give a presentation on what various religions think the after life is going to be like. If there was one thing I looked forward to less than Armageddon when I was growing up it was the prospect of spending eternity with a bunch of  Jehovah’s Witnesses. In that New World, there would be no war, no competition, the lambs would lie down with the lions, blah, blah, blah. And people who survived Armageddon as unmarried would remain sexless and unmarried forever and ever and ever.

I was surprised to find recently that Mormons also have a similar teaching. If you’re unmarried when you die, you become like an angel and servant to the married in the one of the heavens you get to go to.

And this is supposed to be some kind of feature. So, let me get this straight. Married sex is so good that only married people are supposed to get it- even in heaven. Or is it so bad and sinful that even after you die, you have to remain virginal? Which is it? I’m confused.

But what really turned me off to the New World type after life was not so much that it was going to resemble a young adult fiction dystopia but that it was going to be so borrrrrring.

“So, what do you want to do today?”

“I don’t know, what do you want to do today?”

“Wanna go pick some perfectly ripe fruit again?”

“We did that yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that.”

“How about some kickball?”

“Not allowed. Too competitive.”

“Badminton?”

{{rolling eyes}}

“Hey, maybe we could go listen to Sister Edith play that hymn again on the piano.”

“You know, she’s had 3000 years to practice. How come she never gets any better?”

{{sigh}}

“Are we eating grass??”

And so on.

Here’s Seth from the Thinking Atheist talking about The Goodness.  Take it away Seth:

I don’t

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 511 other followers