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      MANDOS POST Take a look at Joe Biden—he appears to have, for now at least, considerable staying power in the Democratic primary opinion polls (although, of course, this may change as the actual primaries come through). If your model of political psychology can predict a strong core of popular support for Trump without also predicting […]
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Super Bowl Pre-Pre-Game Open Thread


What Super Bowl was the best ever? I say it was SB XLII

The Patriots were only the second team in NFL history to go undefeated in the regular season, and the game against the lowly Giants was supposed to be just a formality. But someone forgot to tell Eli Manning he wasn’t supposed to win.

Will tomorrow’s game be a boring blow-out or a 4th quarter nail-biter?

The other reason people watch the BIG GAME is the commercials. Some of the best and funniest commercials of the year will be premiered mañana.

What was the best/funniest Super Bowl Commercial ever?

This is one of those open thread thingies.

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A 16-year-old is buried alive, nobody cries

I’ll bet that girl did, but apparently nobody heard her. Here’s the story:

Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an “honor” killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys. The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-meter hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman. … Media reports said the father had told relatives he was unhappy that his daughter – one of nine children – had male friends. The grandfather is said to have beaten her for having relations with the opposite sex. A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.

Yup. A sixteen year old girl was buried alive for talking to boys and nobody gives a shit. I mean, seriously, who cares? Tiger Woods porked a Porn Star! Angeline is bored with Brad!

The always reliable Peter Doau tells it like it is:

First, let me say this: the brutalization of women and girls cuts across all religious and cultural boundaries, so this isn’t just about dis-‘honor’ killings, though few things are more heinous than a father murdering his daughter (after dispassionately discussing it with other family members). It’s about the things males do to females and will continue to do unless the outcry is loud enough that the world begins to take notice.

I have no patience for anyone trying to blame this hideous act on Islam. None. If you want to get on an anti-Islam soupbox, do it somewhere else, where people who aren’t ignorant don’t have to listen to you. This is not about Religion. This is not about class. This is not about Race or Origin or Ethnic background or location, this is about that girl and millions of others like her who suffer and die because they have a vagina. This is about the human spirit, and the simple fact that women are not viewed as human beings in our society, and haven’t been viewed as human beings for a very long time. What happened to that girl isn’t an isolated incident. It is pervasive, like an ancient and sickening disease. And it is everywhere.

Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, cannot bear to listen to the stories his patients tell him anymore. Every day, 10 new women and girls who have been raped show up at his hospital. Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair. “We don’t know why these rapes are happening, but one thing is clear,” said Dr. Mukwege, who works in South Kivu Province, the epicenter of Congo’s rape epidemic. “They are done to destroy women.”

[…]

I could post thousands of these and it wouldn’t capture the depth and breadth of the problem. It comes down to this: there simply isn’t sufficient public outrage about gender-based violence to spur political action.

[…]

Sometimes I feel like we were all born into an alternate universe, a psychotic, twisted, perverted version of what life should be. Our existence is marked by unimaginable violence, hideous acts of evil against the most innocent among us. It’s like living in a perpetual horror movie.

Setting aside the existential conundrum, one thing I know for certain: we can’t stop jumping up and down, screaming at the top of our lungs, donating money to organizations that help women, telling our friends and families, doing everything in our power to stop these male monsters from continuing their savagery against women and girls.

Hmmmmm… do any of you know anyone who jumps up and down, screams at the top of their lungs, donates money to lady friendly organizations, and tells all of their friends about violence against women and girls? I don’t.

And maybe its time we do.

As a Wiccan I’m often asked why folks like me carry around the burning times as chips on our shoulders. They ask this as if the burning times are over. Nobody is burning at the stake (at least not very many) but that’s only because its so passe. Genital mutilation and stoning is much more effective these days.

SOD did a series about Male Social Dominance and how it effects women and girls. Attitudes like these do stem from Male Social Dominance, but some argue that Male Social Dominance isn’t as ingrained into human nature as you might think.

If you ever read The Chalice and The Blade, by Raine Eslier or When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone or In Search of the Sacred Feminine you would know what that means. They and others make the case that human beings aren’t, by nature, violent and warlike, and cite archeological evidence of Pre-Helenic Egalitarian societies as proof.

One common misconception is that women back then were “worshiped” in “fertility cults” because of their reproductive powers, but the truth is much more practical and economical. Nobody was monogamous those days and they didn’t have paternity tests, so societies were matrilineal, meaning property and possessions were passed down through daughters instead of sons, because there was never any way to know who the father of the children were. Women were thus in control of their bodies and independence, so men and women lived together in peaceful harmony.

Archeologists have discovered no evidence of the glorification of violence and war from the civilizations that existed on the Islands of Crete and Thera for at least a thousand years. They were neolithic, so they didn’t hunt and didn’t evolve by eating meat, therefore physical strength, which is where men usually have the advantage, wasn’t very important. People from those societies generally had a different view on life than we do today. They had no human or animal sacrifices. They were highly advanced, and they didn’t have written word because it wouldn’t have made sense to them. Paragraphs are linear and they had no concept of time, for them everything went in a circle. Obviously they weren’t perfect, and they were the way they were because men and women chose to coexist instead of dominating each other.

Their way of life eventually died out because non-neolithic indo-europeans invaded from the north and Hebrews invaded from the south. Those tribes were violent and patriarchal because they came from areas that were to cold or warm to grow food, so they survived by hunting and conquest. That supposedly happened around five thousand years ago, and women have been subject to violence ever since, because to violent societies past and present women are akin to livestock or booty.

(It’s also worth noting that the Aryans were one of the Indo European tribes that invaded those egalitarian societies, and Hitler cited them as superior human beings.)

If you really think about it, all of the world’s problems go back to women’s equality. That’s how it all started. I highly doubt that any of the men in Congress or men in the White House are going to be bringing more attention to gender based violence any time soon.

So, as usual, its up to us to do something about it.

Chris Bowers opens mouth, inserts foot. Again.

We're not laughing *with* you, Chris

So, someone wrote an editorial at WaPo asking why liberals are so condescending and Chris Bowers wrote a post upholding the right of liberals to be condescending jerks.  He cites scientists as his models of excellence:

Less than 10% of scientists consider themselves Republicans or conservatives.  Why shouldn’t liberals consider their positions to be based on fact and reason, and see conservative views as largely illegitimate?

And the public largely praises the efforts of scientists, too.  Only 6% of Americans think science has had a negative effect on society.

Science is both the most popular, and the least conservative, institution in America.  What the public doesn’t know is that a very small percentage of scientists consider themselves to be conservatives.  But, it is something that should be pointed out whenever conservatives whine about how condescending and “fact-based” liberal positions are.  Without liberals, and their emphasis on science, reason and facts, conservatives couldn’t even use things like the internet, or even television, to continue their whining.  They would still be stuck in the frakking middle ages, which is maybe what they wanted all along.

Ok, I’ll handle this.

So, 9 out of 10 scientists do not consider themselves to be Republican or conservative, eh, Chris?  Let me tell you something about the scientists I know, since I am one and work with them all fricking day long.  Most of the scientists I know voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary of 2008.  Yeah, they used their abilities to reason and examine the facts to determine that when it came to a choice between Obama and Clinton, the choice was clear.  There was NO DATA TO SUPPORT OBAMA.  We looked and looked and looked and all we could find were missing data points.  He was tofu.  You and your creative class wannabes slapped some progressive special sauce on him and called him a savior.   We looked at his anti-war creds, which is all you guys seemed to care about, and there was no there there.

New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, states with a high number of extremely bright, scientific people, did not vote for Barack Obama in the primary of 2008.  Asian scientists, and they are the bulk of our scientific minds nowadays, went for Hillary by landslides.  And the ones I talked to told me the same damn thing: they thought he was a phony.  They knew in advance that he was a sweet talker because(and this is just my theory) English is not their native language.  So, they paid attention to body language and really spent time deciphering his words instead of being bowled over by his image.  I had colleagues stopping by my office throughout the primaries telling me the same thing.  They had concluded that Obama was a charlatan who was not in Hillary Clinton’s class.

It was all about presentation with us, Chris.  We spend our lives listening to our colleagues present their work and we know when they’ve actually got game and when they’re just bullshitting their way through their slides.  We ask questions about what presenters say.  We ask questions about what presenters *don’t* say.  We know when the data supports what they’re saying and when it doesn’t.  That’s why we didn’t vote for Obama.   You should have been paying better attention to us in 2008, Chris and you wouldn’t have made such a bone-headed mistake.

You are not a scientist, Chris, as your stupid pick of weakling president shows.  Please don’t try to be one of us.  And as for condescension, the country doesn’t venerate us or give a damn what happens to us.  We are losing jobs left and right.  Our scientific infrastructure is being decimated.  Pretty soon we will go the way of the dinosaurs as we wait for Democratic lawmakers to get their shit together and stop the hemorrhage of our jobs to India and China.  And the last thing we needed was for snotty, know nothing Chris Bowers types to act like we working class scientists are somehow above it all.  We are one with the rest of working class America, Chris. Get a clue.

And get off your frickin’ pedestal.

Lazy Saturday News and Views: Snowpocalypse!

A Washington DC neighborhood yesterday


Good morning Conflucians!!!!

It’s a repeat of last weekend–only worse–for those in the Mid-Atlantic states and stretching west all the way to Ohio and Indiana. Coastal areas are experiencing blizzard conditions and record snowfalls in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia and all the way up to New Jersey and New York. Let us know how things are going where you are. I hope everyone is safe and warm and doesn’t lose power. Stay inside until this think winds down. I speak from experience. There’s no use fighting it, just surrender and enjoy being snowbound for a little while.

From Weather.com:

A punishing winter storm will continue to blast an area from the eastern Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic coast today.

The focus for the heaviest snow today will continue to be near and along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Heavy snow will stretch from eastern Pennsylvania to southern New Jersey through the Delmarva Peninsula into the early afternoon hours.

An additional six to as much as twelve inches of snow will fall today bringing snow totals in this region up to the eighteen to twenty-four inch range with locally higher amounts possible.

Washington Post: Snowstorm’s intensity has D.C. region hunkering down

The full weight of winter brought life in much of the Washington region to a standstill Saturday as a storm predicted to be one of the most powerful on record dumped 12 to 21 inches of snow overnight.

New York Times: East Coast Is Hit by ‘Potentially Epic Snowstorm’

WASHINGTON — One of the largest winter storms the Mid-Atlantic region has seen in decades swept into Washington and Baltimore on Friday, grounding flights, closing schools and government offices, and sending residents racing to stock up on groceries and rock salt before the snow accumulated to what are expected to be record-setting depths….

Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parent agency of the weather service, called the blizzard “a potentially epic snowstorm” that could rival the 28 inches of snow that a January 1922 storm dropped on the capital.

“The National Weather Service has been very clear that this is a storm to take very seriously,” she said. The halls of the Capitol building were quiet, and the federal government sent many workers home four hours early on Friday. Dr. Lubchenco said she was making contingency plans for all government offices in and near the capital to be closed through Tuesday.

“If it is as much and as heavy as they are forecasting, it may be a number of days before people are actually moving around again,” she said. “This is a serious storm.”

Here are some gorgeous snowstorm pics donated by our own Indigogrrl:

A Mama Cardinal

Two Downey Woodpeckers

Just breathtaking! And here is a picture contributed by Riverdaughter:

RD's neighborhood in anticipation of blizzard conditions

We’d love to hear more reports from Conflucians in the hard-hit areas. I’ll be glad to post more photos too. Be careful out there!


THE ECONOMY

Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz has an article in the Guardian this morning: Obama’s muddled solutions. Stiglitz argues that the message of Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts is not for Democrats to move even further right. Instead he says that voters are sending the same message they sent to Bill Clinton and that he was smart enough to act on: “It’s the economy, stupid!” and “Jobs, jobs, jobs”

The US economy is in a mess, even if growth has resumed, and bankers are once again receiving huge bonuses. More than one out of six Americans who would like a full-time job cannot get one; and 40% of the unemployed have been out of a job for more than six months.

As Europe learned long ago, hardship increases with the length of unemployment, as job skills and prospects deteriorate and savings gets wiped out. The 2.5-3.5m foreclosures expected this year will exceed those of 2009, and the year began with what is expected to be the first of many large commercial real-estate bankruptcies. Even the Congressional budget office is predicting that it will be the middle of the decade before unemployment returns to more normal levels, as America experiences its own version of “Japanese malaise”.

Just as Dakinikat predicted way back at the beginning of the financial crisis.

Stiglitz also has a new book outFreefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. More from the Guardian piece:

Continue reading

Tea Parties are for Mad Hatters

Tom Tancredo


For several months now we’ve had people telling us not to be closed-minded about the Tea Party Movement, that they aren’t a Republican operation, they’re independents and we should join forces with them.

Bullshit.

Republican Tom Tancredo (who ran for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2008) gave the kickoff speech at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville:

The opening-night speaker at first ever National Tea Party Convention ripped into President Obama, Sen. John McCain and “the cult of multiculturalism,” asserting that Obama was elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.”

The speaker, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., told about 600 delegates in a Nashville, Tenn., ballroom that in the 2008 election, America “put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House … Barack Hussein Obama.”

Tancredo did not stop at the Democratic president — ripping McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, for shaping up to be a repeat of “Bush 1 and Bush 2.”

“Thank God John McCain lost the election,” he said, voicing his belief that McCain would have presided over big budgets and lacked a tough stand against immigration.

Tancredo served 10 years in the House of Representatives and made a name for himself with his ardent opposition to immigration. He believes the 2008 election served to galvanize the right.

“This is our country,” he told the crowd. “Let’s take it back.”

But wait, there’s more:

In a bid to advance the tea party movement from holding rallies to holding office, the leaders of the anti-establishment groups announced a new political organization Friday that they say will “endorse, support and elect” conservatives across the country.

Mark Skoda, chairman of The Memphis TEA Party, made the announcement at a news conference in the middle of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. Though he said the group — Ensuring Liberty Corporation and an affiliated political action committee — is “distinct and separate” from other parts of the tea party movement, including convention organizer Tea Party Nation, the announcement was the closest thing so far to a national organizing strategy for the upcoming 2010 midterm elections.

“Let us not be naive here. The notion of us holding up signs … does not get people elected,” said Skoda, who is poised to become president of the new group. Skoda said the organization would take in small donations as well as corporate donations.

According to a written statement, the group would work to build a “sustainable coalition of elected officials” on the national level and in state and local races that might not be getting the attention of the Republican Party establishment.

The announcement came with an official platform that could help define what the multi-faceted tea party movement stands for and expects from the candidates it supports. The group’s leaders plan to support candidates who stand for a set of “First Principles.”

Those principles are: fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less government, states’ rights and national security.

Prospective political candidates will be expected to support the Republican National Committee platform. If a particular candidate meets the proposed criteria he or she would be eligible for fundraising and grassroots support.

Once elected to office, members would be expected to join a congressional caucus of “like-minded representatives” who attend regular meetings and are held accountable for the votes they cast. Those who stray from the tea party path would risk losing the new organization’s support and a possible re-election challenge. (emphasis added)

Down with socialism and multiculturalism, up with states’ rights and literacy tests for voting! For anyone who spent the past 50-60 years in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar on Funk&Wagnalls’ front porch, “states rights” was the argument used by the pro-segregationists during the Civil Rights era, and literacy tests were used back then to prevent blacks and other minorities from voting.

I’ve repeatedly attacked the notion that somehow every criticism of Obama is a dogwhistle for racists, but these guys are doing everything except wearing white hoods and burning crosses.

Let me be clear – I don’t think that every person who ever showed up at a tea party rally is a member of the RepubliKlan party. But whatever grassroots spontaneity may have existed at the beginning is being squeezed out by GOP-led organization and funding.

We do not need to join the action of the mad hatters. We need to apply Sir isaac’s Third Law and create an equal and opposite reaction.