Monday, December 20, 2010

Jesus said we only have to love those who deserve it

"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we've got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit that we just don't want to do it."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat
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Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>March to Keep Fear Alive

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The word "principles" means something different in Rightworld


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lame-as-F@#k Congress
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LATE ADDITION: What do you know -- sometimes shame works. Senate Passes 9/11 Health Bill as Republicans Back Down - The New York Times

With the eyes of oxen: irrationality is the new American zeitgeist

When we hear about an alleged culture war, we tend to think of it in political terms like gay marriage or abortion. The truth goes deeper. ...[O]ur real battle is for a critical thinking. It is about our fundamental approach to the universe, and is nothing less than a line in the sand between the logical and delusional.

America's Addiction to Belief - The Humanist

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Too big for fraud

Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners - Rolling Stone
"When you meet people who are losing their homes in this foreclosure crisis, they almost all have the same look of deep shame and anguish. Nowhere else on the planet is it such a crime to be down on your luck, even if you were put there by some of the world's richest banks, which continue to rake in record profits purely because they got a big fat handout from the government. That's why one banker CEO after another keeps going on TV to explain that despite their own deceptive loans and fraudulent paperwork, the real problem is these deadbeat homeowners who won't pay their fucking bills. And that's why most people in this country are so ready to buy that explanation. Because in America, it's far more shameful to owe money than it is to steal it."

The only ones who can afford to smile

Winning the Class War - The New York Times

Friday, November 12, 2010

Is a dream a lie if it don't come true?

This piece has a lot to say, I think, about the fundamental disconnect between our humanity and what the System too often demands of us.

The Promise - Joe Blogs

Friday, October 29, 2010

What the right gets wrong

Every American (fuzzy-thinking Tea Partiers in particular) should read this. Twice.

When Tea Party Wants to Go Back, Where Is It To? - Washington Post

In all fairness, here's what the Dems AND the right get wrong:
What Happened to Change We Can Believe In? - The New York Times

Maybe the party's new motto should be "Democrats: The Lesser Evil."

LATE ADDITION: Our Banana Republic - The New York Times

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A people without rules

Now an angry group of Americans wants to be freer still—free from government agencies that protect their health, wealth, and well-being; free from problems and policies too difficult to understand; free from parties and coalitions; free from experts who think they know better than they do; free from politicians who don’t talk or look like they do (and Barack Obama certainly doesn’t). They want to say what they have to say without fear of contradiction, and then hear someone on television tell them they’re right. They don’t want the rule of the people, though that’s what they say. They want to be people without rules—and, who knows, they may succeed. This is America, where wishes come true. And where no one remembers the adage “Beware what you wish for.”

The Tea Party Jacobins - The New York Review of Books

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

The poor work as hard as you

Good stuff:
Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short: New Findings on the Challenges Confronting America’s Working Families (2008) - The Working Poor Families Project

One highlight:
Myths and Facts about Low-Income Working Families
MYTH - Low-income families do not work.
FACT - 72% of low-income families work.
MYTH - Low-income families do not work hard.
FACT - The average annual work effort for low-
income working families is 2,552 hours,
roughly one and one-quarter full-time jobs.
MYTH - Low-income working families are headed
by single parents.
FACT - 52% of low-income working families are
headed by married couples.
MYTH - Low-income working families are headed
by immigrants.
FACT - 69% of low-income working families have
only American-born parents.
MYTH - Low-income working families have very
young parents.
FACT - 89% of low-income working families have parents between the ages of 25 and 54.
MYTH - Low-income working families are overwhelmingly minority.
FACT - 43% of low-income working families have
white, non-Hispanic parents.
MYTH - Low-income working families are dependent on public assistance.
FACT - 25% of low-income working families receive food stamp assistance.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Failure here will break us

The Cost of Doing Nothing on Health Care - The New York Times

The GOP: Working to boost the number of dead Americans

Access, Access, Access - The New York Times

Reasoning without knowledge

Why Do Conservatives Think They Own the Constitution? - AlterNet

This observation lies at the heart of the piece (and of the larger problem -- the seeming futility of trying to reason with so many on the right today):
[I]t is difficult to engage the Right and its populist wing [on any issue] because in keeping with the meme that all opinions are created equal (regardless of fact, documentation, or scholarly consensus), there is a deep hostility towards expertise and/or expert knowledge.
Consequently, the truth is what the Right wing populist “intellectual,” blogosphere, talking heads say it is on any given day because the know-nothing foot soldiers feel it to be true, and the phrases “I think,” “I believe,” or “I feel” are held as empirical realities. Thus, these “truths” are immune from rebuttal or critical engagement by conventional standards. Most pointedly in the rhetoric of the moment, those “experts” are cast out as “elitists” or “liberals” who dare to insert fact, history, or precedent into our political discourse. How arrogant those experts must appear with all their fancy book learning and reading when viewed through the lens of the Tea Party populists.

How Tea Partiers are tricked by the rich

Santelli on Predatory Lending: ‘You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man’ - True/Slant

The ugliest Americans

Disgusting: Tea Party Protesters Heckle Man With Parkinsons - AlterNet

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
– John Kenneth Galbraith

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When public knowledge is only skin deep

Seeking A Public Opinion of Substance - LA Times

One caveat: informational "fact presentations" as described by the author would seem hard to pull off given our present-day epistemic crisis, in which everyone lays claim to their own "facts," and in which there seems to be no agreed-upon rules to establish what counts as fact.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Bizarro party: more blather, less decency

Senator Bunning’s Universe - The New York Times

Who put the LSD in the tea?

Or, how a financial crisis caused largely by an anti-regulatory and pro-greed philosophy, combined with the poor evaluative skills, gullibility, and low information levels possessed by the unreflective, have been half-baked into a noxious mix of paranoia and misdirected anti-government rage. (Hint: what they really should oppose is the prevalence and effect of money in the political system -- proposals to limit which are usually birthed by Democrats and killed by conservative Supreme Court justices. A blind No-Government-At-All stance is a formula for chaos and the product of stupidity -- or at least a product of the "I haven't given the consequences of my position even a half-second's thought" approach, which is essentially the same.)

Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged - The New York Times

Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right - The New York Times

LATE ADDITION: An Irish Mirror - The New York Times

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Critical thinking skills FAIL

Poll: Fox Is The Most Trusted Name In TV News - Talking Points Memo
A generation ago you would have expected Americans to place their trust in the most neutral and unbiased conveyors of news," said Public Policy Polling president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "But the media landscape has really changed and now they're turning more toward the outlets that tell them what they want to hear.

Bingo.

Reports like these make me glad the audience for all the news channels is so small. Framing it a little differently, one might argue that Fox is the top news station for those who watch the most TV -- a demographic about which you may draw your own conclusions.