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    • The Role of Character and Ideology in Prosperity
      I want to take readers through some of my previous writing on ideology and character, and how they help form the societies we live in.  Taking the time to read these articles (a short book’s worth), should vastly improve your understanding of the world and the articles to come. It should be worth your time [...]
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Sunday: Even a jerk occasionally asks a good question

Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women

So, this guy, James Poulos, writes some esoteric piece of fluff in The Daily Caller called What are Women For and stirs up the tender feelings of the left.  Digby featured a clip from Chris Hayes’ show from a couple of days ago where Poulos attempts to defend himself from Bob Herbert and Michelle Goldberg.

If the abstract rights of man will bear discussion and explanation, those of women, by a parity of reasoning, will not shrink from the same test.
Mary Wollstonecraft

The gist of this argument seems to be that the right has never made any attempt to deceive when it comes to their perception of the role of women in society, politics and culture.  To the right, women are the famous helpmeets.  They do the dirty work and they play second fiddle, unless the menfolk want them to play first fiddle- to help the menfolk.  I guess the right is pretty confident that Sarah Palin was not a radical feminist who would have had an epiphany the minute she got into the Oval Office.  “Wow, *I*, a woman, am now in charge here.  Well, there will be some changes made, I’m telling you now.  No more of this unequal pay shit, and free birth control for all!  Starting with Bristol.”

The divine right of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger.
Mary Wollstonecraft

Even the most committed conservative can have a change of heart.  Look at David Frum, fighting gallantly to keep a tiny slivver of credibility for his side while succumbing to the irresistable pull of dark side logic and sensibility.  But then there’s also Phyllis Schlafly who has built a very successful independent career as an educated lawyer whose sole goal seems to be keeping other women from ever attaining the status of independent, successful career women and educated lawyers. So, you know, they already understand what women are for.  Women are supposed to use whatever talents God gave them to uphold the social hierarchy of men on top.  The right is pretty clear about that and no one should be surprised when they pull out the anti-contraceptives gun.  It’s also a great political strategy for the right, simultaneously pulling in the working class men, who secretly expect that it will be some other guy’s wife who will get pregnant and have to stay home with the kids and free up a good paying job, while wedging the old Democratic base of traditional liberals from the Obama Democratic base of African-Americans, Evangelicals and eggheads.  Eggheads, it seems, are concerned more with theoreticals than actual effects on the population at large.  Theoretically, voting for a schmoozer with so little political experience and ability to serve as a president during a catastrophic economic downturn was a bad idea- but not for them.

I love my man as my fellow; but his scepter, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.
Mary Wollstonecraft

Anyway, we know where Republicans are coming from.  That’s why we choose up sides and decide to either join them or fight them.

The problem is, what happens when you decide to fight them and then find out that the allies you picked are not really on your side?  What if your side gives lip service but behind your back revives newly buried cultural norms to undermine you? Is it still your ally?  Don’t you have the right to call it to reveal itself?  Who is it working for?  Shouldn’t you know what it is you’re signing up for?  Don’t you have the right to demand more than an absent or anemic response to the aggressive sexism of the right before you give it anymore of your time, money or votes?  What if your party is so intent on winning that it pricks primitive ids and is willing to destroy everything you’ve worked so hard for for 40 years.  Because that’s what happened.  For 40 years:

Biology was not destiny

Sex became less frightening

Women became very well educated

Women became leaders

Women became persons

And in less than one year, in the service of one man and the financial and religious institutions he promised to serve, all of the foundation of modern feminine emancipation that was bitterly fought over, carefully tended and vigorously defended, was put in jeopardy and swept away like it never even happened.  If Hillary Clinton hadn’t been defeated, we might never have been made aware of just how tenuous our grip on emancipation actually is.

If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?
Mary Wollstonecraft

So, Poulos’ question, as loathsome as it is, deserves some attention and there is no time like the present for the party on the left to declare itself.  It either defends women’s rights now, before the election, or it never, ever will.  If you can’t depend on it to put its power to work for you when it needs your votes, you will not get it to put its power to work for you when it doesn’t.  You will have no leverage.

I’m not sure the panel that Chris Hayes assembled was the best one to discuss it, though he seems well intentioned.  His female guests are too young.  They know that something is wrong but they seem confused and bereft of clear argumentation.  They remind me of internet age children during a power failure trying to navigate the world the way it used to be. They grew up with no real sense of what came before so all of this “What are women for?” bullshit caught them by surprise.  Even I am too young, although women my age were closer to the “before time” and still had to put up with the subtle and not so subtle assumption that we were not quite as accomplished in certain subjects as men and were unlikely to get any encouragement or mentoring. It’s been a long hard slog and just when we thought we saw the top, some bunch of financial psychopaths used a chair lift to get their guy to the pinnacle while using a bulldozer to push us back down the mountain.

But even though women my age didn’t fight the hardest battles, we sure as hell know what we have lost.  Mostly, we have lost the unity with other women to know who is on our side and who has our best interests at heart.  And it is not the men who run *either* party.  When it comes to those guys, the parties are indistinguishable.  Women serve one purpose- they are helpmeets for the men who will run things with their assistance.  All of a woman’s talents are to be directed towards whatever goal the men set for everyone.

Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.
Mary Wollstonecraft

I don’t know why modernity seems to have skipped the United States of America but suspect that religion has the bigger part of the blame. Other developed countries and even some of the world’s most repressive when it comes to gender, have had female heads of state.  But in *THIS* country, we are still asking ourselves “What Are Women For?” as if the fact that they may have personalities, skills, talents, drives and ambitions to change the world, invent new technology, cure cancer, fix economies and solve social problems is still a matter of debate.

Slavery to monarchs and ministers, which the world will be long freeing itself from, and whose deadly grasp stops the progress of the human mind, is not yet abolished.
Mary Wollstonecraft

At this moment in time in our nation’s history, neither party is committed to seeing women as equal persons under the law.  One party believes this is due to nature; the other is just taking advantage of tradition to score political points.  And the problem is more crucial on the left because until someone holds the perpetrators accountable for the sexism that continues to persist, and more alarmingly, seems to be growing, women will continue to lose ground.  There’s nothing that can be done to influence the right.  It is going to continue to treat women like second class citizens until their older population dies out and their younger working men get a fricking clue and turn on the money men who keep their wages from rising.  I have some hope for the former but the latter will take a longer time.

It’s the left, that still has a veneer of fighting for equality and has the more powerful females that should be doing a better job of policing its own.  And the worst thing that those females could have done was let the misogyny of 2008 go unchecked.  They instantly undermined their own position.  Now, we are stuck trudging back up that mountain when it was so unavoidable.  It’s like we almost got to the top of Mount Everest in 2008 and at the last minute decided the last 20 feet were too much trouble.  Or did they decide that getting to the top wasn’t that important after all? Or did they mistakenly assume that reproductive rights in the absence of true constitutional equality was enough?  This is the reason why I think Hayes’ panel was too young.  They have lost sight and perspective of the landscape they are on.  They were their own worst enemies.  In any case, the result has been deadly for all women.

Women are degraded by the propensity to enjoy the present moment, and, at last, despise the freedom which they have not sufficient virtue to struggle to attain.
Mary Wollstonecraft

Neither party is advocating for the rights of more than half of the population.  We are not a minority and we aren’t a special interest group.  The question we need to ask our own side of the political spectrum is do we still subscribe to the principles of the Enlightenment?  Do we still believe in equality and certain unalienable rights and agree that these are also bestowed on women?  Does reason govern our lives or are we still slaves to religious superstition, tradition and political expedience?

The numbers are not in our favor.  Right now, women are a pathetic 16% of the legislative body.  We *lost* representation in the 2010 election and here in New Jersey, the state hasn’t elected a single woman to our Congressional delegation in decades.  This  state is the densest by population in the entire country and we don’t have even one woman representing us in Congress or the Senate.  Until we pump our numbers up in all states, we will continue to devolve and be forced to deal with stupid questions about what we are for.

Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.
Mary Wollstonecraft

There is only one correct answer to that question: We are for MORE WOMEN.

The beginning is always today.
Mary Wollstonecraft

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

Don’t forget that Enlightenment 2.0 kicks off on March 24, 2012 at The Reason Rally.  Mary would approve.

This video isn’t for the Reason Rally but I liked its message so much that I thought I would post it here.  It’s from Evid3nc3, who documented his deconversion from devout Christian to Positive Atheist on youtube.  You can witness his deconversion testimony here.  Highly recommended.  He’s brilliant, sincere and deeply philosophical.  The guy really needs to write a book.  More on him in another post.  He deserves to be famous.

This video starts out with a persecution rant from a Christian.  Very topical.

Saturday:

InterrogationThe kid was nominated by her foreign language department for a summer study program in Germany. She passed the exam and the essay section of the application process. Today, she’s going for the oral interview. The interview starts at 2:00pm. We are ready, er, we think.

Wish her luck.

A little late night ditty for Ron Paul

Before Jane Birkin had a bag named after her…

Ooo, look what I found

This is one of HRC’s appearances on the morning talk shows during the financial crisis of 2008. This entry is dated September 23, 2008. It was almost a month after the nomination so nobody was listening to her anyway. You might have missed this if you had been waiting to hear what the lightbringer would say.

Here’s another video from the Today Show from the very same day:

And another from Morning Joe. Well, no wonder no one was paying attention to her. All she wanted to do was bailout homeowners and hold the banks accountable. That’s all she said all fricking day long, over and over and over again. Booooooring.

And here’s one from CNN’s American Morning. Homeowner mortgages, nag, nag, nag. Conflict of interest provisions for the Treasury Department officials who will oversee the bailout money? Please. (Anyway, it was just a lucky guess on her part.)

Must be really frustrating to know what has to be done and have some schmoozer and his financial backers standing in the way of the controls. Kinda like one of those heartbreaking scenes in a blockbuster movie when the good character gets killed off and the not-so-good character has to undergo a crisis of conscience deciding whether to carry on the legacy- and then doesn’t. It’s a dark, dystopian film with lots of rain or scary looking men in long black cloaks.

Well, we don’t all get the government we deserve but we sure do get the one we voted for.

Thursday: Fantasies of a Lab Rat

What happens at the lab when the managers and the MBAs go to an international meeting and leave the labrats in charge of themselves:

Can we get an Amen?

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

True Story:  Last week, I was standing in front of a halal grease wagon in Philadelphia waiting for my baba ganouj, when some African American dude selling a book started chatting me up.  Much eye rolling ensued but he was actually kinda of interesting and I had some time to kill.  I wasn’t interested in buying his book because I told him I was out of work and trying to save money (yeah, yeah, I should have brought my lunch but I had a yen for roasted eggplant.  So sue me.)  He asked me what I did and I told him I was a drug designer of oncology drugs.  Oooo, he said, does that mean your companies have figured out the cures for cancer and are just sitting on them?  I hear this kind of uninformed opinion all of the time, that the pharmas are sitting on some big cancer cure and they’re holding out in order to, um, to, well, hell, I don’t know.  This accusation never did make any damn sense to me.  If the pharmas had THE definitive cures for cancer, they’d be screaming and jumping up and down at the FDA to approve them right away.  Cancer is big business and there’s a lot of potential extortion money to be made.  People who are frantic to survive to see their kids grow up will pay just about anything for a cure.

Sadly, there is no cure for cancer yet, mostly because cancer is not just one disease but many diseases.  You would think that with all of the work that is left to do to cure cancer and all of the discoveries that we are making in cell biology in the past decade that every scientist in the world would be overwhelmed with work instead of getting laid off and scraping together a meager existence.  But the truth is that those of us who should be working round the clock to do protein expression, structural biology, genomics and medicinal chemistry are falling out of the middle class and into the realm of a precariat existence while cancer goes uncured and the amount of resources thrown at is is parsed into “need to know” CRO operations in foreign countries.

So, when I saw Derek Lowe’s morning post on the hope of curing cancer, I got a little wistful.  Derek ends his post:

But I’m operating on a different time scale from Eschenbach. Here he is in 2006, in The Lancet:

 

“Think of it”, von Eschenbach says, “for thousands of years we have dealt with cancer working only with what we could see with our eyes and feel with our fingers, then for a 100 years we’ve dealt with cancer with what we could see under a microscope. Now, we have gone in 10 years to a completely different level.” This new science “is going to change how we think, it’s going to change how we approach things; it’s going to change everything.” 

. . .He points to the example of testicular cancer. The development of treatments for this cancer was a great success, von Eschenbach says, but one that “took decades of trial and error, one trial after another, after another, after another”. That hit-and-miss approach is no longer necessary, von Eschenbach says. Now, if 10% of patients responded to a treatment, he says, “you take the tools of genomics and go back, reverse engineer it, and ask: what was different about that 10%? Well, they had an EGF [epidermal growth factor] receptor mutation, ah ha!”

 

Ah ha, indeed. Here’s more in a similar vein. The thing is, I don’t disagree with this in principle. I disagree on the scale. No one, I think, knows how to eliminate deaths from cancer other than the way we’re doing it now: detailed investigation of all sorts of cancers, all sorts of cellular pathways, and all sorts of therapies directed at them. Which is all a lot of work, and takes a lot of time (and a lot of money, too, of course). It also leads to a huge array of dead ends, disappointments, and a seemingly endless supply of “Hmm, that was more complicated than we thought” moments. I don’t see that changing any time soon. I’m optimistic enough to think that there is a bottom to this ocean, that it’s of finite size and everything in it is, in principle, comprehensible. But it’s big. It’s really, really big.

There are people who defend goal statements like Eschenbach’s. Such things force us to aim high, they say, they focus attention on the problem and give us a sense of urgency. Taken too far, though, this point of view leads to the fallacy that what’s important is to care a lot – or perhaps to be seen to care a lot. But the physical world doesn’t care if we care. It yields up its secrets to those who are smart and persistent, not to the people with the best slogans.

Or the best MBAs that money can buy.  I guess the pharmas really are sitting on a cure.

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

Speaking of Amens, our poll shows that an awful lot of us (about 76%) are heathens with a naturalistic worldview.

Alright!  {{high fives}}

Oh, sorry about that, believers.  We’ll try to be nice.

If you haven’t had a chance to declare your godlessness or semi-godlessness, as it turns out, check it out here.

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

Sounds like it was “Rick Santorum has cooties” night at the Republican playground debate last night.  I didn’t know that Romney supported Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey. I like the end of this article for its “I know you are but what am I?” flavor:

Mr. Romney, who has struggled to win the trust of party activists, is under intense pressure to prove his conservative bona fides. He was asked about a recent statement that he was “severely conservative” when he was governor. He defined his meaning as “strict,” saying he empowered state police to enforce immigration laws, pushed English language immersion programs and “stood up and said I would stand on the side of life.”

Mr. Paul, in response to a question about the biggest misconception about him, complained about the perception that he could not win against Mr. Obama in the general election, pointing to a recent poll that showed him closer to the president than the other candidates.

When Mr. Romney was asked to describe a misconception about him, he demurred, borrowing from Mr. Gingrich’s debate-the-moderator playbook and saying sharply, “You know, you get to ask the questions you want; I get to give the answers I want.”

But the discussion kept returning to Mr. Santorum.

When the moderator asked Mr. Paul why he was running a new television advertisement calling Mr. Santorum “a fake” conservative, Mr. Paul answered simply, “Because he’s a fake.”

“I’m real, I’m real, I’m real,” Mr. Santorum said, shaking his head.

Oooo, I think the debate game has run its course (about 15 debates ago) and everyone is getting a little testy.  For Pete’s sake, can we just have Romney appoint Santorum as his VP running mate and get on with it already?

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

Speaking of Santorum, I LOVE his condescension of other religions, even other Christians, as being inferior to Catholicism.  Whoo-hee!, too funny!  Evangelical Fundamentalists do that to more liberal brands of Christianity all the time.  Presbyterians are just posers to them.  It’s kind of amusing for some Pennsylvanians who are Santorum admirers to get a taste of their own medicine.  You’re nothing to Rick if you’re not a Pope toady.  Papists rule, Protestants!

Pass the popcorn.

Coming out of the closet as a non-religious person

Digby’s back to her usual quotable self today, lamenting why it is that the religious get all of the respect.  With respect to a doctor’s concern with his freedom to treat women in a Catholic hospital according to his professional judgment, Digby writes:

He points out that the Catholic Hospital system has been growing as they take over more and more community hospitals around the country. He also points out that they receive many millions of taxpayer dollars to do it. So, what about my conscience? It is truly offended by this behavior and I’m not being facetious. Why does this only go one way?

This isn’t just about lady parts, although they are as obsessed with them as ever. This is about dying with dignity as well, another extremely personal decision that these religious people take out of the hands of individuals and their families and insist on their own religious practices, regardless of the medical necessity among other extremely personal issues.

I find that story morally reprehensible and I deeply resent contributing to such practices. Maybe it’s time for non-believers and those of other faiths to seriously start challenging this with their own arguments. Many of doctors who’ve been forced into these institutions chafe at what they are required to do as well. Perhaps they should invoke the Hippocratic oath and stop doing harm as well.

[…]

Maybe we should be thinking about ways to change that mix.

Well, there’s always The Reason Rally that’s coming up on March 24. Richard Dawkins and Adam Savage will be speaking there.  The rally is intended to be a demonstration of the growing numbers of secularists in America.  You don’t have to be an atheist to attend.  You just have to want to protect our secular government and the separation of church and state.

But now that I’ve brought it up, how many people have come out of the closet about their religious beliefs?  The podcast, TheThinkingAtheist, hosted by Seth (whose last name I can never find), takes calls from many people every week who have come out to their family as non-believers and get a similar reaction to coming out as gay.  Their families reject them or treat them as sub-adult.  What’s really annoying is that the religious refuse to confer the same respect for the non-religious believer’s worldview that the religious demand from everyone else regarding their belief in God.  Some out of the closet non-believers have been disinherited.  You can even lose your job or custody of your children if you’re an atheist.  In many respects, it really is like being gay.

But the numbers of non-believers is growing and there is some safety in numbers.  I’ve really been surprised by the number of non-believer outlets out here that have sprung up in just the last couple of years.  There are worldwide conferences as well.  For some strange reason, Australia seems to host a lot of them.  Maybe that has something to do with their single, white, female, atheist prime minister.  But even here in the US, freethought societies and atheist associations are springing up all over the place including the south, where being an atheist might be hazardous to your health.

This new cohort of non-believers are all ages, all sexes, all socioeconomic groups.  There are more women and they’re not the Madelyn Murray O’Hare types of the 60’s.  They’re people like Annie Laurie Gaylor of FFRF, Cristina Rad, and atheist minister Margaret Downey.  And Seth gets calls from young and old, cosmopolitan and good old boy.  Suddenly, it’s getting safer-and apparently a lot more popular, to be a non-believer.
This bunch of non-believers are not rejecting God so much as thriving in a naturalistic worldview without God.  It’s a return to nature.

We’re not a majority.  The religious still outnumber us by a wide margin.  But our numbers are not insignificant anymore and we are a growing voting bloc.  Whether this is a natural evolution of the human condition, part of a step from totems and anunna spirits, to polytheism, to monotheism, to something else, or just a reaction to the non-stop, shoving of 13th century BCE traditions down our throats to the point where they have a choked the life out of our modern American culture is a question that will only resolve over time.  But whatever it is, it’s not going back in the bottle.

So, what’s the membership like these days?  Can we get a show of hands? (BTW, there’s no way for me to know who you are if you respond to this poll.  Your secret is safe from me)  

My resident atheist was mildly curious about my recent interest in the atheist community.  “Are you ready to come to the dark side?”, she asked with a grin.  “We have cookies.”

I have to admit that the prospect of hot chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk is very tempting…

Wednesday: I don’t like this

Aside from an Occupy march or three, my life is unexciting.  I’ve never had a speeding ticket, never been arrested, don’t do drugs.  But if I *wanted* to smoke a joint in my backyard, I’d like to think I could do so without some drone hovering a mile overhead watching me do it.  Don’t they even make little drones that look like insects and birds and stuff or did I read that in a Michael Crichton book?

This article in The Atlantic should have all of us pretty pissed off.  There’s a limit to how much surveillance we need to keep everyone on the straight and narrow:

Drones, in my mind, make it clear how many of our feelings about privacy rest on the assumption that surveillance is time consuming or difficult. If someone smokes a joint in her backyard, she is making the (pretty good) calculation that a police officer is not watching. In our cars, we assume we can quickly send a text message at a red light or not wear our seatbelts for a few minutes or drive a few miles over the speed limit. We don’t expect that someone is watching our every move and that gives the law some give, a bendiness that reflects it’s a human construction.

But these little flying video and audio recorders, paired with powerful data analysis tools, make previously unthinkable levels of surveillance possible, even easy. Before the Internet, tracking someone’s reading and shopping activities would have been nearly impossible without a private detective. Now, new online tracking tools make it possible to easily capture every page that you visit on the Internet. So companies do. Technology doesn’t create entirely novel privacy questions, but it tilts the playing field towards or away from increased privacy without many citizens (or courts!) really noticing that anything had changed.

Let’s look at one example of how drones change the privacy equation. We tend to think of our homes as having a perimeter. Property maps are two-dimensional, we talk about property lines as if they were burned into the ground. There are access points in two-dimensional space — paths and roads — that channel visitors through a small number of places. We can build fences or plant hedges and they need not be high to mark the territory out.

A flying drone with a zoom lens, though, makes that whole sense of two-dimensional privacy an anachronism. If one wanted privacy from the government or other citizens, one would have to defend the entire volume of airspace reaching up from one’s property to several hundred feet up, if not much farther. This vastly increases the cost of physically hiding one’s activities. And, vis a vis law enforcement, the idea of “plain sight” hardly even makes sense anymore, as Jonathan Zittrain pointed out yesterday:

“The prospect of constant government surveillance of citizens through cheap drones tests the “plain sight” doctrine by which, under our Constitution, police are generally allowed to scope out whatever is in plain view, without requiring a warrant. Supercharged technologies face some limits — extra-sensitive remote microphones, or heat signature detectors of the sort that might be pointed at the wall of a home to detect marijuana-growing lamps in use inside.”

Anyway, the concept of a drone is sort of what my concept of biblical God is.  Doesn’t God have better things to do with his/her time than watch ordinary people do things that shouldn’t be illegal?  And what kind of life do you have when everyone is afraid to step out of line even a fraction of an inch for fear of being fined or jailed?  Isn’t that like being a cow or some other dumb animal?  You get up in the morning, go out to a pasture, chew some cud, go home and go to sleep.  What would be the point? I’m sure the apocalyptic evangelical fundamentalist crowd would see this scenario as some kind of earthly paradise but what about the rest of us?

On the other hand, all of those people who are looking for houses with a lot of “privacy” from their neighbors might as well give it up.  You’re never going to get a chance to have a threesome in the pool with your wife and that personal fitness instructor that you’ve been fantasizing about.

The writer of the Atlantic article thinks the additional surveillance (just because we can) will prompt citizens to run screaming to their legislatures and courts demanding legal protections and that the backlash will include things we don’t even think about now, like various internet giants tracking our every move through the web.  I don’t care if they check out where I’ve been but there is a limit to how much information I’m willing to share with the outside world and the world right now is pushing it.  And giving an entity this much power is an invitation to abuse.

One other thing that’s worth noting is the effect this will have on our most innovative, artistic, and politically useful people.  If everyone is forced to conform as if they live in a fanatical townhouse association with the Staasi for neighbors, then we’ll get the same cookie cutouts running our elected offices too.  Nassir Ghaemi, author of A First Rate Madness says that in times of crisis, the last thing you want is some normal dude or dudess who has no mental abnormalities and has never tested the bounds of what is socially acceptable, which is why it should come as no surprise that George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been such disasters. Monogamous, normal, sane, conformity minded people make the worst leaders in times of crisis and make horrendous decisions.  In fact, it helps to have had a mental health crisis of some kind or to have broken some social taboo.  Think Winston Churchill and his cyclical political career, JFK and his affairs and illnesses, Abraham Lincoln and his depression and atheism and finally Steve Jobs and his LSD use.  If there’s a drone watching you and listening in to every conversation, it’s much harder to think out of the box and do what needs to be done without fear of severe reprisals.  In fact, you may never get the chance.  Drones are going to nip a first rate madness in the bud (no pun intended).

Maybe the world works best when there’s a little bit of unravelling, a soupçon of testing the limits.  Sometimes you have to go up in energy to overcome some barrier.  That involves a certain amount of risk taking that others may not approve of.  As Nucky Thompson said, “We all have to decide how much sin we can live with.”  With a drone buzzing up above, that decision may be made for us.  And that’s not a good thing.

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The People’s Party considers non-violence:

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In other news: Chemists are screwed.  The statistic in this article is old.  The pace of job losses has accelerated in the last two years for chemists.  You know, I can’t think of a more depressing prospect for a chemist than to have spent at least 4 years stuffing my brain with all this complexicated nollij and then be stuck in a CRO lab doing the same damn thing, day after day, like some low level factory worker, never being involved in the design of the compound or asked to participate in a project.  So, maybe it’s better if we just didn’t have American chemists at all.  Yeah, let’s all devolve.

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The only guy who could compete with Jon Stewart, George Carlin, takes on the pro-life (actually, the pro-dirty, illegal abortionist) position:

It’s hard to believe he’s been dead for 4 years because he could have written this material yesterday.

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