lunadelcorvo: (Episode badly written)
I am, at best, a peripheral comics fan. I more or less know the 'verses, and I like the characters (admittedly more via the films and fan-created media than the comics themselves), but I am by no means a core fan. But seriously? 'Hydra Captain America,' and comic shop employees wearing Hydra t-shirts? Seriously? In THIS political environment, in the era of Trump, Bannon, and Richard Spencer; THIS is what you think is a good idea?????? Oh, fuck no!

For those of you not familiar with this controversy, there is a summary (from this article) below the cut: )
lunadelcorvo: (I meditate and I still want to choke...)
1. Being told how to feminist, how to call out racism, and how to phrase my critiques lest I drive away potential allies. Really? Like being an ally should be conditional on getting ego strokes and cookies! If you want to be a gorram ally, then be one! If my being angry AF b/c black boys are being killed and women are getting assaulted every damn day makes you not want to be an ally? Guess what, jackass, you weren't one to begin with, so take your sexist/racist arse the hell outta my way.

2. Being told that I am angry at god and cannot be moral/ethical b/c as an atheist. Punk, which one of us needs a book and an invisible sky-nanny to tell us right from wrong? (Spoiler alert; it ain't me!)

3. Explaining over and over, using as many one-syllable words as possible, why Tantrump is a disaster, and Sanders is neither a progressive nor a Democrat.

4. The weather flailing wildly about from 40 to 80 in a matter of hours. My sinuses are seriously about to explode. OMG, staahhhp!

5. Humana's customer phone service. OMG, just shoot me now! How can any one company have such dedicatedly bad service and make so many completely ridonkulous mistakes and still be the 800-pound corporate gorilla that it is astounds me.

6. Probably a bunch of other obnoxious garbage that I don't want to think about long enough to list. I am going to take a nap and then play games with my kid. Because reasons.

XOXO
lunadelcorvo: (Resist Defy Unlearn)
In case anyone is getting distracted by the Russian spy drama, North Korea, Bill O'Reilly being fired from Fox News, etc. the following bills have been introduced to Congress:

1. HR 861 Terminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the U.S. Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right To Work (this one ends unions)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran

Please copy/paste and share widely. Call your House Representative and ask them to not only vote "NO"...but to speak up for our rights, health & safety, and our beautiful country.

If your senators and reps aren't saved in your phone yet, text your zip code to 520-200-2223. You'll get a text back with everyone's contact info. It gives you Federal and State.

PASS IT ON (copy and paste to share since you can't share from form this page)
lunadelcorvo: (Abstinence doesn't work)
(X-posted to a few relevant communities; please pardon me if you see this more than once, but do feel free to share!)

I've been trying to find some of the migrated communities that concerned themselves with the religious right in the Bush era, and found a few, though they seem to have gone dormant since, well, about when Obama took office. I guess we stopped worrying for a while.... But things have changed; a lot.

I do hope that they will revive themselves (I've been trying to contact admins, and not gotten much response), but in the meantime, I have gone ahead and started [community profile] anti_theocracy, a new community dedicated to gathering resources & information on theocracy and the activities of the religious right in the post-Obama era.

It is more imperative than ever that we be aware of what our politicians, religious and cultural leaders are up to, and what they stand for. I hope to make [community profile] anti_theocracy, a clearinghouse and resource for anyone concerned with religious overreach both in the US and abroad.

Please come by and join! I hope to have some solid informational pieces up in the next few days, and I welcome contributions from members.

Here is our Profile Page that has posting guidelines, and a little bit about the purpose of the community.

It's open for everyone to join, so I hope to see some folks there!
lunadelcorvo: (Embarrassed by USA)
The US military has dropped an enormous bomb in Afghanistan, according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission.

A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the "mother of all bombs," was dropped at 7:32 pm local time Thursday, the sources said. A MOAB is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition that is America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb...Officials said the target was an ISIS cave and tunnel complex and personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.

We bombed a cave.

He's mad. He's utterly fucking power-mad. We have let an insane child run loose in the world's biggest arsenal.

THe story on CNN here.
lunadelcorvo: (President is an idiot)
What a week (and it's only Wednesday!) Tantrump's got Korea rattling its own sabers in response to his threats and swagger routine, he's authorized oil drilling on the Atlantic seacoast, he (or one of his muppets, DeVos - I'll do a whole post on her, soon), overturned protections for student load borrowers, and the nation's first female Muslim judge, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, was found floating in the Hudson River Wednesday afternoon after she was reported missing.

If it were less terrifying, it might be amusing to take bets on which way Tantrump and his GOP puppet show will get us all killed first..... *sigh*

I promise I won't go all doom (or politics) all the time, but there will be political posts (hopefully mostly more analytical than ranty, but...)
lunadelcorvo: (Jo Harvelle Badass)
I've been trying to get back to LJ lately (with mixed success; I doubt I'll ever use it or DW as much as I did 'back in the day'), but now it seems it has become a bit of a Russian police state. Lovely. So I suppose I will keep my liberal, democratic socialist, Tantrump-hating commentary here instead. Now the question is - do I delete that journal, or leave it? It sucks b/c I have a permanent account, and this one costs. Like I need another expense these days. Grrrrr.

But OK, then, here I am. :)

P.S. We need new moods! I need 'rebellious' and 'defiant,' just for starters....

P.P.S. Anyone know of any friending things? Anyone out there at all, come to think of it?
lunadelcorvo: (Buffy Training)
:::Edited to clarify at the asterisk:::

In conversation with someone I respect today about the #YesAllWomen, I mentioned the “M&M” analogy (imagine a bowl of M&Ms. Only 10% are poisoned. Grab a big handful. No? What’s your problem? Not all M&Ms are poisoned….) as a counter to the “NotAllMen” response to YesAllWomen. I was informed that viewing every male I encounter as a possible threat, as potentially hostile, and as a potential rapist/attacker/abuser/harasser was “not a productive way to establish relationships.”

No kidding, ya think? Tell me something I don’t know!

While this person is someone I respect tremendously both in terms of intellect, reasoning, ethics, and all around decency, to get this response from him was painful and disappointing.

It is true he (yes, he) was not in my life when any number of relationships went bad, and I feared for my safety, feared getting hit, was hit, was stalked, was verbally abused either in the relationship or for ending it; but he has heard all these stories. He also was not in my life when the tow truck driver who had my car on his truck and was driving me 135 miles through the middle of nowhere spent most of that time telling me in graphic detail what he wanted to do to me with the hand from which he’d lost the outer two fingers, but he was with me three years later when I next needed a tow in Chicago and the same man showed up, easily recognized by that hand. Although, come to think of it, he told me then he’d never really believed me until he saw the man himself.

He was, however, in my life when I was almost driven out of my Master’s degree following rumors of impropriety between myself and a male professor with whom I had dared be friends. He was in my life when I woke up in the middle of the night to find a stranger with a knife and a flashlight standing over my bed trying to pull the covers off of me.* (I never knew who he was; and I never felt comfortable in that neighborhood again.) He was in my life when my elderly disabled mother was traded by her roommate to a drug dealer to rape in order to pay off a $50 debt.

So it was a shock to me that he could still protest, almost 20 years into our friendship, that approaching every male I meet as potential threat was a problem *I* had, a flawed approach on MY part, failure of MY reasoning skills, and yes, unfair to men. As enlightened as I otherwise find this person, he pounced on my approach to men as a problem; because Not All Men. *sigh*

Yes, of course I know that this dynamic is a poor way to begin relationships, be they personal, professional, of transitory. EVERY woman knows this. But, as #YesAllWomen has so poignantly shown, we also know the price for rejecting this approach. We are told as young girls to be careful of every man we meet. We are told not to do a thousand things that will put us at risk. And I’m not talking about sex without a condom or skydiving, here. I’m talking about all the things large and small that woman calculate all the time. It’s late; should I find someone to walk me to my car? I need to be sure to let my friend or family know I have arrived safe and didn’t get raped going home a few blocks at night. I pay attention to how I walk if I’m alone at night; remember, don’t walk like a victim. Keep your keys between your fingers so you have a weapon. Yell ‘fire’ if you are attacked, because you have a better chance of actually getting help than if you yell ‘rape.’ We all know the drill.

And let’s not even start talking about the professional world. I have never, in any of the jobs or careers I have had, been assured of fair treatment as a woman. I have been harassed, marginalized, underpaid, “gal-Friday’ed,” propositioned, threatened; the usual litany. All women have experienced some kind of misogyny or discrimination. That’s what #YEsAllWomen means!

That is the reality that men cannot ever truly grasp; no more than I, however much I may care and want to make it better, can ever really grasp what it is to be a person of color. It’s just not my reality, and the best I can do is accept that it is a reality in which I will never participate, and accept that I do not deserve to be above suspicion in terms of my behavior on race until and unless I demonstrate that I’m not racist. I don’t have the right to co-opt the discussion of race by defending my not-racism. And I sure as HELL don’t have the right to tell a person of color that viewing all white people with caution is a “poor way to move in the world.”

Not that I haven’t done just that. I have “but not all white people’d” with the worst of them, with the best intentions. I have been guilty of this as surely as I have been guilty of racism, in ways I could have understood had I been paying attention, and in ways I probably could never understand because I live inside white privilege. But that’s just it. If you live inside a privilege, you don’t get to tell those who don’t share that privilege that their fear, caution, or misgivings are a “poor approach.” Very few people wear signs identifying them as racists. No one wears a sign identifying them as a rapist, an abuser, or a misogynist. And like racism, sadly for both, misogyny can be dangerous, even fatal. So yes, women do, and at present, have to assume that because 10% of the M&Ms are poison, this M&M could, in fact, be poison.

And no, that doesn’t mean I hate men, or view them all badly. Is it unfair to men? Hell yes, it is. Misogyny hurts men, too. But I’m not going to bet my life and safety to assuage the butthurt of some man that’s offended because I regard any male I don’t know as a possible threat. Don’t like it, my male interlocutor? Be the change. There was a kerfluffle a few years back about a police department that had lost the trust of the community because they had not acted to remove corrupt officers. I think this is much the same situation. Nobody WANTS to live in a world where they can’t trust the police, and of course, no one thinks every police officer is corrupt. But as long as some are, you just can’t know. As long as some are, this one *might* be. As long as people who report corruption are ignored or disbelieved, do you really feel comfortable trusting any random officer with your life?

But remember, only 10% of the M&Ms are poisoned. Eat up!

* Just to be clear, while this was a terrifying incident that stayed with me for years, I was not assaulted. I woke up, and with all the good temper I usually show when woken in the middle of the night, began cussing the guy out and demanding the get the &*^% #$@! our of my house right the hell &*^%$ now. Not the response we are taught to have, I know, but in this case, it clearly derailed his power fantasy, and after backhanding me across the face, he fled into the night, letting out my four cats in the bargain. And it does not escape me that had I followed the advice we are given for how to handle such circumstances, which is "don't fight back, survive." I would have been raped....
lunadelcorvo: (Whammy?)
Anyone who’s read me for any time at all likely knows that I have little patience for either anti-science superstitious hysteria, or ‘one-world’ government, Illuminati conspiracy hysteria. In this category of intellectually offensive and ridiculous nonsense I include things like creationism, anti-vaccers, aromatherapy, micro-chipping, the Bilderburg conspiracy, chem-trails, black helicopters, and so on.

That said, there have been plenty of times that a new technology hailed as the greatest thing ever, the wave of the future, FDA-approved, and perfectly safe has been anything but. Cigarettes, DDT, lead paint, RBGH, and frakking come easily to mind; there are plenty of others. These things, once ‘scientifically verified’ as safe and beneficial, have since been proven otherwise. And certainly, early protests against these things were critiqued as being anti-science, conspiracy hysteria.

So clearly not everything government and/or industry tells us is safe actually is safe. Mistakes are made. It then becomes something of a minefield to navigate the fine line between unreasoning hysteria and recognizing and revealing a genuine threat. Enter the GMO.

One the one hand, progressive and pro-reason icons like Dawkins and ScienceBlogs roundly condemn GMO opponents as little better than anti-vaccers. Even the DailyKos published an article entitled “GMO Truthers need to be kicked out of the Progressive movement.” The article offers both a strident condemnation of GMO-related “anti-science,” and a short list of refuted claims. And there is certainly a lot of hysteria about GMOs that does mirror the anti-vaccer rhetoric, including claims that GMOs cause autism, or all the studies in favor are industry funded, to name only two.

On the other hand, a lot of profit relies on this technology, and not just in terms of food production for the starving of the world (though there are other, arguably better solutions that involve changing our entire culture of food, but that is a related, but different topic; next post perhaps). But to what degree IS it reasonable and rational to hold corporate stakes as determinative in assessing the relative safety of a food technology? And while the mere fact that other nations have enacted partial or full bans on GMOs is not a testament to their safety in and of itself, consideration of which nations have done so gives one pause. Of the 26 (as of late 2013, almost double the 14 in 2012), many are progressive nations whose overall approaches to issues like sustainability, health, and the environment are admirable: Germany, France, Australia, Japan. These are not nations known for their hysterical, superstitious tendencies (like the US). And while the main consensus is that GMO foods do not produce nutritional harms, there are significant questions about environmental impact, both of the crops themselves, the impact they may have on insect populations, and even more significantly, the impact of the chemicals and pesticides these crops are so often engineered to withstand. Round-up ready crops mean Round-up will be used, in abundance. We know that both herbicides and insecticides can have serious negative consequences. There are also questions about adaptability, seeding, and loss of native species (both crops and the ‘weeds’ that such crops are designed to resist). While some of that may technically be a licensing and patent issue, it is nevertheless inextricably tied up with the question of GMOs as healthy for not just our bodes directly, but our environment, our economy, and our world. So perhaps a GMO tomato won’t hurt me. But what happens if one company ends up owning the vast majority of crops? Corporate monopoly is, I think it is safe to claim, never a benefit to anyone but the corporation.

Mind you, you will not see anything in this post about ‘meddling with nature,’ or anything of that sort. This is not, from the tomato’s perspective, an ethical issue. However, it might be an ethical issue an far larger scales. So perhaps the claim that eating a ‘conventional’ cucumber will give you cancer IS hysteria. But I am not convinced that the question of the safety of GMOs is as simple as that. I think it’s a far more nuanced issue, with much farther reaching implications and questions. And on that level I take some exception to the notion that raising those questions puts me in the same camp as the anti-vaccers and chem-trail believers (or Oprah, for that matter!)

What are your thoughts? Is this an issue for you, and if so, on which side? Why? For those outside the US; how is this issue perceived and debated in your milieu?
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
In the last week or so, I've come across two largely unrelated news items that have gotten me thinking. I suspect they are not unique, nor are the they sort of headline that typically gets everyone talking. But I can't help but think these are terrifically important, both in their own right, and as a mark of something fundamentally wrong.

The stories are as follows:
160 year-old Documents Intentionally Destroyed in Franklin County, N.C.
The basic story (full story at the link) is that an entire roomful of historic documents (whole shelves of record books along with boxes of wills, deeds, photos, letters, etc.) was discovered in a previously sealed room under the Franklin Co., NC courthouse. Researcher, overjoyed as such a find had just begun the slow process of sorting and cataloging them, when they were told to cease doing so. After some weeks of red tape, an as-yet-unamed local government agency swooped in, took the lot to the basement, and systematically and intentionally burned them in the incinerator.

The other story, halfway across the world:
Lebanon Library Torched, 78,000 Books Burned By Islamists
In this story, a historic library in Tripoli was burned by arsonists after a pamphlet considered offensive to Islam was found tucked into one of the books. The library contained thousands of rare historic texts and manuscripts, from both Islamic and Christian history.

So what do these have in common, aside from the obvious destruction of historic materials? I think that the connective thread here is simply that: that there exists the idea that destroying the past is a good thing. That the destruction of history in the furtherance of one's current ideology is acceptable. And I think this is the worst, deepest, most fundamental kind of violence.

George Orwell, in his masterwork of political tyranny and destroyed history, Nineteen Eighty-Four, wrote the following:
"If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened — that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death? And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

Who controls the past, controls the future. An odd truth, but a powerful one. One of the deepest horrors of Orwell's dystopia is that the past has no meaning, there is no past but that authored by the Party. Ellie Wiesel, writing so often of the holocaust, demands that the past be protected from violence. Because in doing violence to the past, all violence is allowed.

And so, these news stories represent the very worst kind of violence; violence to truth, violence to the past. The author of the first story conjectures (with reasonable foundation), that the records were destroyed to hide the shady doings they might reveal done by the forefathers of someone currently in political power. Islam has a long record of destroying the past, from the Buddhas of Bamiyan to the proposal to destroy the Sphinx. In the second story, we don't even need an ostensibly offense pamphlet to see the destruction of a library, a historic library at that, as a purely brutish sweep against knowledge, agaisnt the past, any past, and record that things might ever have been other than as they are now.

The Christian right attempts violence to the past regularly, with its ongoing attempts to rewrite the past of our own nation, making of its Enlightenment progressive deists a crew of Christian fundamentalists; Thomas Jefferson recast as he Sam Brownback of his day (there's a terrifying thought!). And this is, ultimately, the mark of the unsustainable worldview. When your doctrine requires that there be no past, only a harsh glare of a bright. unchanging, ever-present NOW, you have, in essence, become The Party of Orwell's Oceania.

And once there is no past, no truth, no objective reality, then all violence is possible. This hated enemy has always been hated, has always been the source of all our ills, and must be eradicated. And once gone, they never were. Without the past, without memory, there can be no genocide, no holocaust. There are no 'atrocities,' because there is no 'never again.' When the past has no meaning, and is rewritten at will, there is no wrong, for what was done, was not done.
lunadelcorvo: (Can it be A time now?)
This is sort of out of nowhere, but it's actually a long comment I left in response to a poll by "templeghosts" over on LJ. I ended up spending a bit of time on it and thought I'd share. I'm also curious as to your thoughts on this generally.

- I think everyone should go to college, if for no other reason than (here in the US, at least) elementary education has become astonishingly dumbed down. My son has been lucky enough to get into some of the best schools in our area (largely because of where we live; he is still in the public system), but the education he has received throughout has been rudimentary and shallow. As a professor, I also see freshman every year, and their lack of basic reading, writing, and thinking skills together with their overall lack of cultural literacy is appalling. The "basic education" one used to get by the end of high school now requires college. Someone mentioned an MA now being considered the benchmark that a BA used to be? Given the dearth of actual education students receive by the end of high school, that makes perfect sense.

- I also think that there should be some kind of mandatory waiting period BEFORE going to college. Nobody knows themselves well enough at 18 to decide the course of their own lives, and they often don't have a clue about how the world works. Make them go live on their own for a while, travel, practice being a self-sufficient proto-adult, THEN college.

- I do think tuition should be if not free, then affordable. The ways in which universities bilk students for ever more money makes me see red, especially in light of the cash cow that is college sports. Too often, the "academic side" of a university never sees a penny of that sports cash.

- I also think that NO degree program should be without foundational humanities/gen ed content. Yes, pre-med students DO need philosophy, pre-laws do need art, business majors (maybe more than anyone) need history. Maybe Plato and Napoleon have no direct bearing on performing surgery or negotiating a corporate merger, but I don't want to trust my body or my economy to myopic 'vocationally trained' automatons that have never heard of Plato or Napoleon...(or cracked a work of literature, or studied a painting in context). The same goes for basic science, literature, composition, logic, etc. The lack of education in these broad, general, culturally foundational areas is why we have politicians who have no clue what evolution is, or how climate change works, or how women get pregnant.

- No, I have not 'pushed' my son towards college. With two professors as parents, both of whom have completed at least one degree in his lifetime, I think it's inevitable; he sees, first hand, that education is its own reward, and already observes the disastrous lack of education in our public figures. He's also painfully aware of how little actual education he's getting (and he's even in the advanced program, which I note not to brag, but to point to the lamentable state of education at large), and is often frustrated by it.
lunadelcorvo: (Foucault Power)
In commenting on the upcoming Day of Reason announcements (which have popped up in a number of places, but the one in question was Charlotte, North Carolina), Penny Nance, the CEO of Concerned Women for America, a right-wing women's policy group, said on FoxNews:

"You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust…Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation."

I kid you not. CWA boasts approximately 500K members. It was founded by Beverly LaHaye, long-time right-wing activist and wife of Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series, a violent fiction series about the struggles of Christians against the anti-Christ's world government. They consider themselves the opposition to National Organization For Women, and are explicitly not only Christian dominionists, but overtly anti-feminism.

Given my familiarity with the group (read their profile here) this comment from their CEO does not surprise me. It seems to be just the most recent in a string of outright inversions of reality of "black-is-white" magnitude that have become part of the discourse lately. It happened gradually, but it is deeply significant, and goes a long way to explain how the rabidly faithful constituents of the Religious Right/GOP consistently, repeatedly, proudly vote against their own interests.

The Right has been stunningly, bafflingly successful at convincing incredible numbers of people to not merely believe, but staunchly defend and act upon things which are demonstrably, factually false. And I'm not talking the kind of demonstrably false that requires an advanced science degree, I'm talking things that are quite easy to verify. The following it a list of core principles in the right-wing, and each of them is simply false:
  • Abortion causes breast cancer
  • Birth control is abortion
  • Abstinence only education prevents pregnancy and diseases
  • Condoms don't prevent STDs
  • Atheism is the same as moral relativism
  • Climate change isn't real
  • Obama has taken more vacation days and spent more money than any other president
  • Homosexuality is a choice, and 'fixable'
  • Hitler was an atheist, and the Nazis were atheists (or gay)
  • Rape does not cause pregnancy
  • The bible/Jesus is against the minimum wage
  • America was founded as a Christian nation
  • Public schools 'teach' homosexuality
  • Obama was not born in America
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The problem here is that this is not the radical fringe, this is a HUGE chunk of the population. (Remember, less than half of the US population thinks evolution is true.) They believe a huge array of things that are just flat-out not true, and they believe them passionately, militantly. Even aside from any opinion you may have about the dangers of religious thinking (itself based on belief in factually indefensible claims), these people have gone far beyond even religious credulity to inhabiting an entirely unreal world.

The implications of this are terrifying. A population that will believe anything...well they will believe anything. They can be made to do anything, accept anything, regard anything or anyone as evil. And the people who construct the messages then have virtually unlimited power.
lunadelcorvo: (Elizabeth Warren)
"Look: The modern national Republican party is a hot mess, a simmering pot of angry reactionaries driven by selfishness and willful ignorance, whose guiding star is not governance but power, and whose policies and practices are tuned to build an oligarchy, not nurture a democracy. Its economic policies are charitably described as nonsense and its social policies are vicious; for a party which parades its association with Jesus around like a fetish, it is notably lacking in the simple compassion of the Christ. There is so little I find good or useful in the current national GOP, intellectually, philosophically or politically, that I genuinely look on it with despair and wonder when or if the grown-ups are ever going to come back to it. Before anyone leaps up to say that the modern Democratic Party has problems of its own, know that I do not disagree. But if your practical choices for governance of the country are between the marginally competent and the actively malicious, you go with the marginally competent.more here, if you want to read the whole thing )

I didn't write the above, but I wholeheartedly agree with it. It is much like Bill Maher's astute assessment: "There is a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy. Of course the Democrats are disappointing. That's what makes them Democrats. If they were any more frustrating they'd be your relatives. But in this country they are all that stands between you and darkest night. You know why their symbol is the letter 'D'? Because it's a grade that means good enough, but just barely. You know why the Republican symbol is 'R'? Because it's the noise a pirate makes when he robs you and feeds you to a shark."

Don't love Obama? Fine. But DO NOT stay home on Nov. 6th" - do not hand us over to the actively malicious GOP because Obama isn't quite as wonderful as you'd hoped in 2008. Welcome to real life - few things are as wonderful as we hope. Jobs, grocery stores, cars, vacations, you name it - life is a constant balance between expectation and disappointment. But you can't sit out life, you have to make choices, find the best alternatives and work with them. You can't sit out the political process* because it isn't all you want it to be either. Do we need to drastically overhaul the electoral system? Hell yes! Should we outgrow the two-party hegemony? Long overdue! But does that excuse each and every person from the responsibility of participating in the system in the meantime? Hell no!

Go vote, and vote Obama!

(* and like it or not, at this point, a third party vote might as well be staying home. Do I like this? No. Is it the reality? Yes. Imagine if all the 3rd party votes in 2000 had gone to Gore.... It sucks, yes, but [once again, welcome to real life], a 3rd party vote might as well be gift-wrapped for the GOP.)
lunadelcorvo: (Kim Possible)
Romney & the GOP keep saying Obama hasn't done anything, that he doesn't have a record to run on. Well, here's a list of what he HAS done. It's a pretty damned amazing list of really important accomplishments (especially considering he's has a Congress with the stated goal of obstructing his every move).

Read the list and tell me - doesn't it make you want to see what we can accomplish if we let him finish his to-do list?

1. The first bill President Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to help women fight back when they don't get equal pay for equal work.

2. His Recovery Act supported millions of jobs and helped to stave off a second Great Depression.

3. He pushed for and won middle-class tax cuts that benefitted every American worker, and saved the typical family $3,600 in taxes over the last four years.

4. President Obama rescued the auto industry, and now GM and Chrysler are healthier than they've ever been. The American auto industry has added nearly a quarter of a million jobs since June 2009 -- and they most likely wouldn't exist right now without President Obama's leadership.

5. He doubled funding for Pell Grants, helping to make college more affordable for nearly 10 million families.

6. His student loan reform ended billions in subsidies to banks serving as middlemen and reinvested those savings directly into students.

7. The President established the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth up to $10,000 over four years of college.

8. His Race to the Top Initiative helped spur nearly every state to raise academic standards.

9. His tax cuts, social-welfare programs, and economic policies lifted nearly 7 million Americans above the federal poverty line in 2010.

10. President Obama has signed 18 tax cuts for small businesses since taking office.

11. We've seen 5.2 million new private-sector jobs over the last 31 months.

12. The unemployment rate is at the lowest level since President Obama took office.

13. Health care reform -- passed after decades of failed attempts by every previous President -- provides affordable health coverage to every American and will lower premiums by an average of $2,000 per family by 2019.

14. Obamacare expanded access to lifesaving preventive care such as cancer screenings and immunizations with no out-of-pocket costs for 54 million Americans.

15. Obamacare ends insurance discrimination against the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

16. Because of Obamacare, over 3 million more young adults have health insurance today than would if the new law hadn't passed.

17. The parents of over 17 million children with pre-existing conditions no longer have to worry that their children will be denied coverage.

18. President Obama has ordered the overhaul of federal government regulations to make them smarter, practical, and more efficient. Just a fraction of these commonsense initiatives will help save businesses $10 billion in the next five years alone.

19. His historic investments in clean energy have helped more than double the amount of electricity we obtain from wind and solar sources and helped increase biofuel production to its highest level in history.

20. President Obama is doubling fuel efficiency standards, which will save drivers more than $8,000 at the gas pump, not to mention lessen the impact of automobiles on our environment.

21. President Obama has taken unprecedented action to address climate change, reaching historic international agreements to curb carbon emissions, and taking action here at home to reduce carbon pollution from our vehicles and promote clean energy production.

22. He has taken historic action to protect our environment -- signing one of the largest expansions of protected wilderness in a generation and putting in place standards to reduce toxic air pollution that will save thousands of lives.

23. President Obama fought for and won landmark Wall Street reform that reins in the abuses that led to the financial crisis and ends the era of taxpayer bailouts and "too big to fail."

24. Wall Street reform created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the nation's first federal agency focused solely on consumer financial protection -- and the Bureau is already protecting families from unfair and abusive financial practices from Wall Street banks and shadowy corners of the financial industry.

25. As part of President Obama's commitment to transparency, the White House has posted its visitor records online for the first time ever.

26. President Obama's all-of-the-above approach to energy has helped cut the United States' dependence on foreign oil to its lowest level in 20 years.

27. President Obama responsibly ended the war in Iraq.

28. He announced a plan to end the war in Afghanistan and transition security responsibility to the Afghan people.

29. President Obama sent the largest security assistance package to Israel in history and funded the Iron Dome system, which is protecting Israeli homes and schools from rocket attacks.

30. President Obama rallied the international community to implement the toughest sanctions on Iran in history.

31. Through the President's historic increases in Veterans Affairs funding, he has expanded and improved healthcare and job training access for our returning veterans.

32. President Obama negotiated the New START Treaty with Russia to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in both countries. At the same time, he also secured commitments from dozens of other countries to lock down nuclear materials.

33. His administration naturalized 11,146 military service members as U.S. citizens in 2010; more than in any year since 1955.

34. President Obama set a bold new plan for the future of NASA space exploration, using the skill and ability of the private sector for short trips to the International Space Station, while building a new vehicle for exploration of distant space, and doing everything in his power to support the economy on Florida's Space Coast.

35. President Obama recognizes that tourism is one of America's largest economic engines; he's worked to encourage international visitors to come here, maintaining our security while keeping millions of Americans in good, paying jobs.

36. He has affirmed his personal support of marriage equality, directed the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA in federal courts, and took the practical and compassionate step of extending hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners.

37. He fought for and won the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, allowing gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly for the first time in history.

38. When Congress failed to fix our broken immigration system, his administration did everything in its power to improve it, streamlining the legal immigration process and announcing a policy that lifts the shadow of deportation from hard working young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

39. Oh, and he gave the order to send troops in after Osama Bin Laden -- and has decimated al-Qaeda's senior leadership.
lunadelcorvo: (Academic Terms)
I still, despite my resolve, have not been posting as much. For one thing, I don't really have much to add to the political discourse these days. I mean, really, the satire pretty much writes itself these days. And I have gotten a little burned out on it. One can only keep up the incredulity and outrage for so long. Call if outrage fatigue, if you will. Sadly, I think this is one reason the whackos get away with as much as they do. They spring something outrageous, everyone goes apeshit, so they wait out the uproar and then do it anyway.

Classes are going pretty well. It's funny how I have the same exact class as last fall, still with 1st semester incoming freshman, and it's a whole different dynamic. They talk! It's pretty wonderful, really. It's also funny how little different juniors are from freshman, which is somewhat less wonderful. Reading the first round of essays by my 300s was, I must confess, a bit of a let-down.

Then there's my own classes. Feels weird being a student again. Of course the fact that I am really in no sense in tune with this discipline doesn't help. Comm tends to lead the pack in trying to emulate hard science, which is a methodology I don't speak. I mean, I get it, and when it comes to things like global warming, reproductive legislation (how wrong is it that this is even a term?) evolution, etc., I'm all in favor of it. I'm just not convinced statistics, focus groups, and data tabulation have much use in studying Dante, ya know?....

Alas, just as I get typing a real entry, the alarm reminds me it's off to class..... Cheers, all!
lunadelcorvo: (I will taunt you!)
A few months ago, I met up with an old friend from way back in my early days in the SF Con & Ren Faire scene. It was so great to look back to the books we read, the things we valued... *enter needle screeching over the record* Turns out she'd gone far right GOP/Tea Party. The following is an open letter to her, and all those like her. (And yes, a few of you may know to whom this letter was originally penned, but I suspect even more know someone to whom you've felt similar sentiment.)
(Cut for length) )
lunadelcorvo: (Casavir (NWN2))
A lot of people whose opinions I respect are actually quite furious that the PPACA/Affordable Care Act/Obamacare was upheld. Their chief complaint seems to be the objection to only one thing: that the government requires individual citizens to purchase a product form a corporation, and can penalize that citizen for failure to do so.

This is also accompanied by the concern that there are no minimum standards for that product, and no protections from things like price-gouging, and corporate abuse of a 'captive market.'

Well, no, not really. There ARE standards and protections, as well as expetions and subsidies for low income Americans. There are also provisions that make employer-provided care easier for small companies to offer, and which make basic care co-pay-free and therefore far more accessible. Here's what it REALLY does:
  1. Guaranteed issue and partial community rating will require insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to most pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use). This means that while all Americans are required to purchase coverage, they cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. This is HUGE.
  2. A shared responsibility requirement, commonly called an individual mandate, requires that all persons not covered by an employer sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare or other public insurance programs, purchase and comply with an approved private insurance policy or pay a penalty, unless the applicable individual is a member of a recognized religious sect exempted by the Internal Revenue Service, or waived in cases of financial hardship. Insurers must be approved, and exemptions will exist for those in financial distress.
  3. Medicaid eligibility is expanded to include all individuals and families with incomes up to 133% of the poverty level along with a simplified CHIP enrollment process. This expanded eligibility means that many who can't afford coverage, even under the ACA, will still be covered.
  4. Health insurance exchanges will commence operation in each state, offering a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare policies and premiums, and buy insurance (with a government subsidy if eligible). Again, there will be assistance with coverage, and active steps toward fostering actual market competition to offer better services.
  5. Low income persons and families above the Medicaid level and up to 400% of the federal poverty level will receive federal subsidies[27] on a sliding scale if they choose to purchase insurance via an exchange (persons at 150% of the poverty level would be subsidized such that their premium cost would be of 2% of income or $50 a month for a family of 4). Can we really argue that $50 for a family of four is abusive, especially when set against the grim realities of the millions of uninsured who have no coverage at all?
  6. Minimum standards for health insurance policies are to be established and annual and lifetime coverage caps will be banned. Minimum standards, there they are. These standars mean that no, companies will not be able to offer pointless 'compliance only' policies that do not actually provide for health care. (I wish auto insurance had the same standards!)
  7. Firms employing 50 or more people but not offering health insurance will also pay a shared responsibility requirement if the government has had to subsidize an employee's health care. This will help more people get coverage through employers, reducing the number forced to purchase health coverage privately.
  8. Very small businesses will be able to get subsidies if they purchase insurance through an exchange. As above.
  9. Co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles are to be eliminated for select health care insurance benefits considered to be part of an "essential benefits package" for Level A or Level B preventive care. It's a no brainer that basic preventive care is essential to cutting costs of lifelong health care AND improving overall health and quality of life; this will make that basic care much more easily accessible to those who need it most.
  10. Changes are enacted that allow a restructuring of Medicare reimbursement from "fee-for-service" to "bundled payments."
  11. Additional support is provided for medical research and the National Institutes of Health.
I do understand the concerns about government forcing private citizens to purchase a product, but I think that to argue that this is the first step towards any corporation or industry being able to obtain similar positioning is a massive slippery slope. The ACA is NOT the first step towards 'government mandated' purchase of sneakers, cigarettes, or anything else.

(No, the icon has no relevance except *pretty!*)
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] jennybliss at All U.S. Internet Providers will be policing downloads by July 12, 2012
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] marguerite_26 at All U.S. Internet Providers will be policing downloads by July 12, 2012
I'm seeing variations of this all over my flist and damn, it does not look good.

(this is an edited version of [livejournal.com profile] lk737's post here)

According to this article, dated March 15, 2012:
http://www.digitaltrends.com/webnews/major-isps-turn-into-copyright-police-by-july-says-riaa/

"File-sharers, beware: By July 12, major US Internet service providers (ISPs) will voluntarily begin serving as copyright police for the entertainment industry, according to Cary Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The so-called “six-strikes” plan is said to be one of the most effective anti-piracy efforts ever established in the US."

The article goes on to give details. After six notices, internet providers will decide to throttle a person's internet speed, or cut it off altogether. No more downloading eps of your favorite shows for vidding, gifs, or fanfiction art. No more downloading screencaps possibly.

Fox news confirms this:
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/17/us-isps-become-copyright-cops-starting-july-12/

Youtube video explaining this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5OG0R-yS-c



Well, it's nice to know all that SOPA protesting made a difference.... I'm hoping this is misinformation or hype, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were not. I'll post updates if I see anything new on this.
lunadelcorvo: (Civil liberties)
From ZDnet:
PayPal’s new aggressive campaign wants to stop independent e-book publishers that use its service from including certain kinds of erotic content in their catalogs.

On Saturday February 18, PayPal began threatening indie book publishers and distributors with immediate deactivation of the businesses' accounts if they did not remove books containing certain sexual themes - namely, specific sexual fantasies that PayPal does not approve of.

PayPal told indie e-book publishers and retailers - such as AllRomance, Smashwords, Excessica and Bookstrand - that if they didn't remove the offending literature from their catalogs within a few days of notification, PayPal would close their accounts....
Read the article HERE.

Whatever your stand on erotica, porn, whatever, the fact remains that this kind of manipulation of markets is absolutely unacceptable, and if not stopped here will establish precedent for similar draconian limits in the future. PayPal operates like a bank. Just like your bank honoring your check, or your Visa card company, they process transactions between merchants and buyers. Imagine if your bank told you they would no longer process payments at certain retailers? Or if they said 'Sorry, we won't handle payments for this type of item.' You may not like porn, or sex toys, or rainbow kitten calendars, but as long as they are legal items, it doesn't mean it's OK for a financial institution to tell you you cannot spend your money on them, or retailers that they can't sell them.

Now I realize that this may sound like the classic slippery slope. However, this is how the Right has operated for decades. Find some out of the way place and try Move X. If it isn't stopped, try it somewhere else. Pretty soon you have legal precedent. The Right is all about incremental warfare. Look at the abortion battle - they gave up on forward assault on Roe a long time ago. Instead, they have found hundreds of ways to come at it sideways, from parental consent to the width of clinic hallways. Having observed this for so long, I think it is not at all unreasonable to ask, if this move by PayPal flies, what's to say it will only be erotica that payment processors are allowed to censor?

What would stop them from deciding they won't process payments for booksellers who sell 'subversive' literature? Why stop at books? Is it really so hard to imagine big banks, in cooperation with GOP insanity (of which we've seen plenty recently), deciding not to process credit card transactions to Planned Parenthood? Or payments for contraception? Or any of a zillion other things they may decide they don't like?

I don't know as I write this if there are petitions or actions pending on this, but if there are, I'll add them here. If there aren't, I'll start them. meanwhile, I encourage everyone who uses PayPal to contact them now, and tell them censorship is never acceptable.
ETA: There is some indication (unproven as yet) that this is being instigated BY credit card companies, and PP is the first big processor to be feeling pressure towards censorship from above. In which case, damn I hate being right....
ETA 2: Some good links for more info and petitions are below:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/7/stop-internet-censorship/
http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-censorship-2
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
Everyone is screaming their heads off about Obama's mandate that employer-provided health insurance include contraception, as though this is some new innovation/outrage (depending on which side you're screaming from). Thing is, it's not new. more than half US states already HAVE such a mandate, and others come very close. So while this will be helpful in making all states follow the same policy, it's not new. In fact, it seems that, not only are a majority of Catholics in favor of contraception (on account of living in the real world, no doubt), most major Catholic universities and hospitals already comply with the standards Obama set out.

OK, so the Right having conniptions over something as if it's new is, well, nothing new. And it did seem like taking this stance was a good move for Obama, helping provide a (minor) boost to his popularity on the progressive (to say nothing of female) end of the spectrum. However, what I find both fascinating and disturbing is that now Obama is talking about 'accommodation' on the birth control issue.

How completely f'ed up would it be, if after staging this mandate as though it were breaking bold new ground, and then offering 'accommodation,' Obama actually managed to end up with a net loss in terms of women's access to healthcare and contraception? Watch this one closely folks - Orwellian political theater doesn't get any better than this. Now, does anyone remember what the chocolate ration was last week?
lunadelcorvo: (It's All A Damned Lie!)
What Can You Do To Avoid Monsanto's New, Deadlier Neurotoxic Sweetener? Very Little

Read about Monsanto's new aspertame replacement: 'neotame.' It's sweeter, deadlier, and has no labeling requirements at all. None. It can show up in meat (and maybe milk?) as it's fed to cattle, it can show up in both conventional and organic products. About the only place it will never show up is on a label. Bon appetit!
lunadelcorvo: (I'm going to write can't help it)
What Can You Do To Avoid Monsanto's New, Deadlier Neurotoxic Sweetener? Very Little

Read about Monsanto's new aspertame replacement: 'neotame.' It's sweeter, deadlier, and has no labeling requirements at all. None. It can show up in meat (and maybe milk?) as it's fed to cattle, it can show up in both conventional and organic products. About the only place it will never show up is on a label. Bon appetit!
lunadelcorvo: (Episode badly written)
A very funny, witty, and spot on post from Daily Kos.
If there is one thing America is still very, very good at, it is moralizing about sex. Long after the manufacturing jobs have all left America, and after we have drilled out the last drop of oil, and after we've abandoned Arizona to either climate change or some new mutant form of racist old people, we'll still have at least two major industries. The first is the fast food industry, which will never die. The second is the omnipresent industry of deciding who should have sex, when they are allowed to have it, and how much they should be punished for it.

So this was a good week in America. We were able to have lots and lots of conversations about Our Great Defining Issue, the only one that really seems to motivate us anymore. No jobs? Yeah, Congress might get around to that someday. Economy sucks? Meh. Hey, I think we're still at war, right? I think? Hmm, hard to tell. But start talking about penises and vaginas, and everyone in political discourse immediately wants in on that. That's right in our wheelhouse. We're good at moralizing about other people having sex.


Read the rest here at Daily Kos.
lunadelcorvo: (Reason is out to lunch)
::I'm reposting this in light of the recent surge* in Santorum's popularity over the last few states.::

(The list is not mine, it comes to you courtesy of ThinkProgress.org; the original article is HERE.)

1) ANNUL ALL SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: Arguing that gay relationships “destabilize” society, Santorum wouldn’t offer any legal protections to gay relationships and has pledged to annul all same-sex marriages if elected president. During his 99-country tour of Iowa, Santorum frequently compared same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs, beer, and paper towels and even tried to blame the economic crisis on gay people. As Santorum explained back in August, religious people have a constitutional right to discriminate against gays: “We have a right the Constitution of religious liberty but now the courts have created a super-right that’s above a right that’s actually in the Constitution, and that’s of sexual liberty. And I think that’s a wrong, that’s a destructive element.”

2) ‘I’M FOR INCOME INEQUALITY’: “They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality,” Santorum said during an event in Pella, Iowa in December. “I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.”

3) CONTRACEPTION IS ‘A LICENSE TO DO THINGS’: Santorum has pledged to repeal all federal funding for contraception and allow the states to outlaw birth control, insisting that “it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

4) GAY SOLDIERS ‘CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN CLOSE QUARTERS’: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in October, Santorum defended his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by arguing that gay soldiers would disrupt the military because “they’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.” He also suggested that “there are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore.”

5) OBAMA SHOULD OPPOSE ABORTION BECAUSE HE’S BLACK: During an appearance on Christian television in January, Santorum said he was surprised that President Obama didn’t know when life began — given his skin color. “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people,” he explained.

6) WE DON’T NEED FOOD STAMPS BECAUSE OBESITY RATES ARE SO HIGH: Speaking in Le Mars, Iowa in December, Santorum promised to significantly reduce federal funding for food stamps, arguing that the nation’s increasing obesity rates render the program unnecessary.

7) ABORTION EXCEPTIONS TO PROTECT WOMEN’S HEALTH ARE ‘PHONY’: While discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban in June, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony.” “They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective,” he said.

8) HEALTH [CARE] REFORM WILL KILL MY CHILD: Santorum, who claims that Obamacare motivated him to run for president, told reporters in April that his daughter Bella — who was born with a genetic abnormality — wouldn’t survive in a country with “socialized medicine.” “Children like Bella are not given the treatment that other children are given.”

9) UNINSURED AMERICANS SHOULD SPEND LESS ON CELL-PHONE BILLS: During a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in August, Santorum said that people who can’t afford health care should stop whining about the high costs of medical treatments and medications and spend less on non essentials. Answering a question about the uninsured, Santorum explained that health care, like a car, is a luxury resource that is rationed by society and recalled the story of a woman who said she was spending $200 a month on life-saving prescriptions. Santorum told her to stop complaining and instead lower her cable and cell phone bills.

10) INSURERS SHOULD DISCRIMINATE AGAINST PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: Santorum sounded like a representative from the health insurance industry when he addressed a small group of high school students in Merrimack, New Hampshire in December. The former Pennsylvania senator not only defended insurers for denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, he also argued that individuals who are sick should pay higher premiums because they cost more money to insure.
Now, I don't really think Santorum is going to be the nominee. (Then again, taken individually, I'm not sure I can actually see any of them as an actual presidential candidate, but one of them must be. I just think this one is a little more outrageous than most.) However, I think that his near-miss in Iowa is informative on many levels. In 2008, Huckabee won Iowa, and look where that got him. Nevertheless, now, as then, I think that as non-predictive as these early caucuses may be, they bear noting, in that they tell us something about where the discussion ranges, about whether or not there are actual people who will go so far as to say "I think this is the best man to be the President of the United States."

Regardless of whether Santorum is as current in two month's time as Huckabee was in his turn after Iowa, he got this far. So did Ron Paul, come to mention it (whole post on that another time). I have tried to refrain from primary commentary (it's hardly been needed - all this lot needs is microphones, and the satire writes itself!), but I have been watching all of the GOP hopefuls and what they have been saying in the primaries (because we will, of course hear a totally different tune from whoever ends up the actual candidate. It's good to have notes to look back on to see what they've said to their own...)

What are your thoughts on Iowa, the primary at large, and the upcoming Nov 2012 election?

(*Why is it that so many, many words just sound *wrong* when used vis a vis Santorum?)
lunadelcorvo: (Shocked WTF Bugs Bunny)
1. GOProud - a GLBT group that says right on its home page that any of the GOP candidates are an improvement. Have you listened to a single word any of these yokels has said? Can't you get it through your heads that THEY HATE YOU! They want to limit you, enshrine the right to bully and mistreat you, marginalize if not criminalize you, blame you for the ills of the world present and past, and brainwash you by any means possible into being 'normal' e.g. straight. So tell me again why you support the GOP?

2. Anti-abortion activists that are also against contraception and sex ed. Do these people even know HOW pregnancies happen? It's a little like trying to prevent automotive fatalities by outlawing seat belts and driver's ed.

3. Low-income adults with no education railing against education, and in favor of kids leaving school at the first low-wage, menial job that comes along. Can you think of a better way to return to the days of a peasant class? Let's reinstitute the practice of apprenticeships too, and send our 10-year-olds to learn trades. (Oh, wait, Gingrich already proposed that.) Universal education is what brought us out of the 'dark ages,' and now you are not only rejecting it, you are fighting for the right to be ignorant?

4. The hue and cry over the abused sensitivities of Catholic institutions being forced to provide birth control as part of employee health insurance. But the majority of Catholics favor this. The only demographic that opposes offering birth control is evangelicals, who are apparently outraged over the mistreatment of Catholics who don't seem to feel mistreated. Many of these are doubtless the same evangelicals who think the Pope is the antiChrist, and the RC is the Whore of Babylon.....

I know none of this is new, and it's not the whole of it (or even, sadly, the worst of it) by a long shot. But tell me, when did we as a society, go completely batshit crazy?
lunadelcorvo: (Can it be A time now?)
(reposted from This DailyKos story.)

Slate has produced a Romney income calculator that lets us find out how many hours or days it took Mitt Romney to match our incomes in 2010, and it is good fun to plug in different numbers to get multiple perspectives on just how ridiculously rich Romney is. (Find it HERE)

For instance, in 2010 it took Mitt Romney 10 hours and 40 minutes to earn the median individual income of $26,400. It took him 16 hours and nine minutes to earn the mean income of $39,959. It took him three days, eight hours, and 53 minutes to earn the $200,000 that by some measures puts you in the top 1 percent; or five days, 19 hours, and seven minutes to earn the $344,000 that puts you in the top 1 percent by another measure.

Conversely, if you earn a low-to-modest income of $40K, it would take you 541 years, 6 months, 12 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes, and 9 seconds to make what Mitt made in 2010.

And don't forget, however much more money Romney makes than you, he also quite likely pays a lower tax rate. So make your next stop the DNC's Romney tax calculator, to compare your tax rate to Romney's and find out how different your taxes would be if you paid at the rate he does. (Not included in the calculation is the cost of all the accountants and lawyers he pays to help him avoid paying taxes.)

So, how long does it take Mitt Romney to make your income, and how much would you save on taxes if, like him, you only paid 13.9 percent?

post

January 25th, 2012 07:47 pm
lunadelcorvo: (Computer Geek Willow)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] cantarina1 at post
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr



This entry was also posted at http://cantarina.dreamwidth.org/131889.html. (comments: comment count unavailable)
lunadelcorvo: (Religion = Freaky)
I love this: Religious Intolerance, or 'What I Want to Say When Asked Why I Have a Problem with Religion.'
(You don't HAVE to read the post before this, but it will make a bit more sense of you do...)

I know this may really make some folks mad, particularly if you happen to be a religious literalist of any stripe. But I just can't keep forgiving the constant harm done by the childish refusal of my species to give up its fear of the dark and its need for a fairy-tale... (I have stated my position on that previously here*.) And I know what the argument in response tot he post linked above will be: people like this aren't 'real Christians (or Muslims, or jews or whatever).'

Sorry, nuh-uh. For one thing, that's a very basic fallacy of argument, known as the 'no true Scotsman' fallacy. You don't get to say that someone who does something awful in the name of Christianity isn't a Christian because you don't like what they did, or the way they understand your good book. You don't get to sneak out from under the atrocities done in the name of religion (like Crusades and Jihad and Hitler and misogyny) by saying those examples don't count.

There is a (terrifically important) difference between placing responsibility on religion as a social/cultural institution and placing responsibility on every religious person. The Catholic Church carries the blame for an ongoing pattern of child molestation, but that doesn't make every Catholic a child molester. That fact does not absolve the Church as an institution for those harms however. (Nor, incidentally, does whatever good it may have done absolve it from responsibility for harm it has done.)

Which beings me to the second point. The people in every one of the examples above did what they did based on their belief in the same god, the same book, the same basic doctrine. Their actions, however abhorrent**, can be and are grounded, defended, and supported from their source texts and doctrines. Regardless of the text in question, for every verse anyone cites showing that dreadful things are not to be done, there is one that says they should. So I submit that the problem is not with the interpretations of the doctrine after all. The problem is with the doctrine itself.

Why? Because it's ALL interpretation. Because it's all a bunch of archaic, vague, contradictory folklore gathered over centuries that can be used to justify pretty much any damned thing anyone wants it to. And because no one has the slightest whiff of evidence that *this* way of interpreting it is 'The Right Way.' But inherent in the very core of the idea is that 'my way' MUST be right, because if it's not, I lose. And at the end of the day, if one way *has* to be right...you see where I'm going here, don't you? So the very doctrine at it's core is predisposed to allow, justify, reify, and even mandate every one of the examples in the post referenced above. And THAT is why I have a problem with religion.
*It's not often one can really say they stand behind a post made on a rant 5 years previous!
**This means their direct actions and/or their defense of their actions (e.g. the Church vis a vis child molestation, for example).
lunadelcorvo: (Civil liberties)
(The list is not mine, it comes to you courtesy of ThinkProgress.org; the original article is HERE.)

Read the whole list here )Now, I don't really think Santorum is going to be the nominee. (Then again, taken individually, I'm not sure I can actually see any of them as an actual presidential candidate, but one of them must be. I just think this one is a little more outrageous than most.) However, I think that his near-miss in Iowa is informative on many levels. In 2008, Huckabee won Iowa, and look where that got him. Nevertheless, now, as then, I think that as non-predictive as these early caucuses may be, they bear noting, in that they tell us something about where the discussion ranges, about whether or not there are actual people who will go so far as to say "I think this is the best man to be the President of the United States."

Regardless of whether Santorum is as current in two month's time as Huckabee was in his turn after Iowa, he got this far. So did Ron Paul, come to mention it (whole post on that another time). I have tried to refrain from primary commentary (it's hardly been needed - all this lot needs is microphones, and the satire writes itself!), but I have been watching all of the GOP hopefuls and what they have been saying in the primaries (because we will, of course hear a totally different tune from whoever ends up the actual candidate. It's good to have notes to look back on to see what they've said to their own...)

What are your thoughts on Iowa, the primary at large, and the upcoming Nov 2012 election?
lunadelcorvo: (Hero Elizabeth Warren)
"There is a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy. Of course the Democrats are disappointing---that's what makes them Democrats. If they were any more frustrating they'd be your relatives. But in this country they are all that stands between you and darkest night. You know why their symbol is the letter 'D'? Because it's a grade that means 'good enough, but just barely.' You know why the Republican symbol is 'R'? Because it's the noise a pirate makes when he robs you and feeds you to a shark."
- Bill Maher

I love Bill Maher. That is all.
lunadelcorvo: (Some things you die for)


"Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness,” he added. “If their pledge [is] to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember the last time I checked, the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we make to uphold the Constitution.”

“We’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kind of loopholes saying this is just class warfare. I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate at a plumber or teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the the right thing to do."

About damn time, Mr. President, about damn time! Keep it up! Exciting times...scary, but maybe a little bit hopeful too!

Obama has also echoed Elizabeth Warren's statements (referenced in my previous post)
What’s great about this country is that any of these young people here, if they’ve got a good idea, if they go out there and they’re willing to work hard, they can start a business, they can create value, great products, great services. They can make millions, make billions. That’s great. That’s what America is all about. Anybody can make it if they try.

But what’s also a quintessentially American idea is that those of us who’ve done well should pay our fair share to contribute to the upkeep of the nation that made our success possible -- (applause) -- because nobody -- nobody did well on their own. A teacher somewhere helped to give you the skills to succeed. (Applause.)

Firefighters and police officers are protecting your property. You’re moving your goods and products and services on roads that somebody built. That’s how we all do well together. We got here because somebody else invested in us, and we’ve got to make sure this generation of students can go to college on student aid or scholarships like I did. We’ve got to make sure that we keep investing in the kind of government research that helped to create the Internet, which countless private sector companies then used to create tens of millions of jobs.
lunadelcorvo: (Some people are like slinkies)
Let's talk about society for a moment. We hear this panicked cry of "Oh noes! It's Socialism!" all too often lately, and I think there is a very deep misunderstanding working in this. There is a quote (that I find sensible, admirable and entirely on point) from Elizabeth Warren that is getting both praise and outrage (including some of the typically neanderthal violence we have come to expect from the Tea Party types). Here it is:
"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you!

But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea — God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."
-Eizabeth Warren, Sep 2011
One of the big sticking points here is the term "social contract." Now, first of all, let's just take a moment and recall that "social" is not an evil word. It simply refers to things that pertain to a society. I think, generally speaking, we would all agree that society is a good thing. It is far more advantageous for humans to live in social groups than it is for each of us to live entirely unaffiliated with our fellow humans.

When we choose to live together instead of singly, we find that we receive all sorts of benefits, but that we must also surrender certain freedoms we might have retained had we remained solo operators. For example, we surrender the freedom to kill anyone who crosses our path, to go any place and take anything that strikes our fancy. It is the existence of society that makes these 'murder' or 'stealing.' Were we not in a social group, we would call this 'defending' or 'foraging' or something. But this is a primitive example. So let's consider the social group as we live in it.

The benefits we enjoy from society are legion, once we consider them. And the more advanced our technology, the greater the benefits we get from society. After all, I doubt many of us could develop and manufacture a computer, a refrigerator, a car, even a flashlight entirely on our own. There is a reason humans did not begin to develop technology until we developed social structures.

Today, we have roads, schools, parks, cities, libraries; all kind of things that are considered 'public.' These things cost resources, and require that we surrender the freedom to say they are ours alone, to destroy them, and so on. But we also have the ability to interact, to share skills, to trade. We don't have to grow our own food, make our own clothes, housing, furniture, etc. We don't have to defend ourselves from every single other human that wants similar things. However, these trades also depend on limitations, and on things which we consider public. Take the very idea of money, for example. It takes a society for money to have any meaning. We don't lug a cow to the mall in order to trade for a pair of jeans. But without a socially shared understanding of money, scraps of paper are just scraps of paper. Further, without society, how would money be produced, to say nothing of valued?

Laws are social; we give up the freedom to drive on whichever side of the road we like in order that all of us may drive safely. Language is social; we must agree that certain words have certain meanings - I must give up the freedom to insist that this thing with four wheels is called a 'glub' and call it a car in order that I can communicate effectively. Everyone depends on these socially agreed-upon conventions. That I was not personally consulted as to which side of the road *I* want to drive on, or what word *I* want to use does not free me from the necessity of abiding by what has been decided upon, and frankly, to whine about it smacks of a petty sort of entitlement.

This exchange of some freedoms for the benefits of living in a society IS an agreement, it is a contract, and it requires all participants to honor the rules, to do their part. It is not explicit, but it is understood. We obey laws because we understand that if no one obeys laws, there is chaos; social order fails. This is the 'social contract.' It is the implicit agreement by which we all understand that the roads are for everyone, that money has value, that things we want must be paid for not simply taken. All of these things limit our freedom, it is true, but who really wants to live a sole entity, defend your own home, make your own food, pave your own roads, make your own clothes, and so on?

Furthermore, I submit that one of the benefits we enjoy from living in a social group, is support of our fellow humans. If we lived in a 'dog-eat-dog, everyone for himself' setting, we would have no reason to care about the fate of others. In fact, we would possibly seek to remove others, as every other presents a threat. However, in a society, we are all better served when the group is stronger. There is no advantage, and in fact, considerable disadvantage in eliminating members. And there is, of course, the ethical question of human suffering; free from the ever-present need for pure self-preservation by our membership in a society, we no longer need measure the good of the other against our own survival. The group is served by looking after all its members.

So Warren's point goes to the very foundational idea of a society. All those things which are 'public,' but which we nevertheless utilize, cost money. While it is true that what money we earn is earned by our labor, it is also the case that no one labors alone. We are employed by others, we employ others. We are able to spend our day working to earn money because we do not have to spend our day growing our food. This is because we live in a social group. The ability to pursue what work we choose is itself one of the benefits of the social contract. The value of the money we earn is a benefit of the social contract.

It is absolutely the case then, that those who benefit more, by using more of the resources of society, have an obligation to put a proportionally greater amount back into the society. Is it solely up to them? Of course not! But surely the manufacturer whose distribution logs millions of miles on the nation's roads in furtherance of his business ought to make a larger contribution to the upkeep of those roads than the person who logs perhaps a thousand miles in the same time period. It's not about anyone doing more than their share, it is about making everyone DO their share. Benefit some, put some back. Benefit a lot, put a lot back. It's not complicated, it's not sinister, it's not some radical notion. It's just the way societies, or at least successful ones, work.

So what are we to make of those who react to Warren's statement by urging violence? (As did the conservative blogger who wrote "When I hear the word 'contract' I reach for my revolver think of two unique definitions — formally, a legally binding mutual agreement made between two or more parties, or idiomatically, an attempt to hire an assassin to kill one or more of your enemies.")

We must conclude that either they simply don't understand the way societies work, or else they are simply anti-social. I am certain this blogger uses the roads in his community, I am certain he uses money, buys food grown by someone else, calls the police if he is threatened in his home. Certainly he is happy to make use of perhaps the greatest manifestation of the social contract ever - the internet. So he (like the rest of us) clearly partakes of the benefits of living in society. I think, however, that he does so in ignorance. Or perhaps he thinks all the benefits he enjoys from his social milieu are owed him for some reason, and that he, or certain others are not obligated to contribute according to how they benefit.

In any case, my suggestion to him then, if he is really so repulsed by the idea of social living as a reciprocal arrangement, is that he take his revolver, and he go away. He is welcome to leave society, to defend his own land, grow his own food, make his own clothes, and so on. If he really wants to defy the social contract he can devise his own linguistic system, his own laws, his own money (though he will have no one with whom to use it, having rejected the notion of the social contract). He will have a hard time getting on the internet, but I don't think society will suffer for his absence.
lunadelcorvo: (Mulan determined)
Voter disenfranchisement is happening. Voters, especially those likely to vote against the GOP, are being barred from the polls by unneeded laws, by intimidation, and by deception. It's happening now, it's happening in many states, and it is not even remotely a bi-partisan measure. It is a blatant, obvious, and deeply egregious assault by the GOP to limit the voting rights of those who would vote against them. It's robbery, it's tyranny, and it is real.

If you are have not been watching so far, look closely to see what is happening in your state. Will you be kept from voting? Will someone you know be kept from voting? See what your state is doing, and fight for the rights of every citizen to vote.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

lunadelcorvo: (Unclear on the Concept)
This article at DailyKos presents a sobering view of what America has, in art at least, become. The reality of life in the face of spiraling medical costs, insurance costs, unemployment, disenfranchisement of voters, renewed oppression of women and other minorities is a brutal one. That so much validity is given to the notion that assistance to those who need it is somehow evil, and that the notion that the government should exist to take care of all its people is considered corrupt and craven makes of us, all of us, a cold and brutal nation. The most obvious recent example is Ron Paul's dodge of the question of whether an individual without insurance who falls ill should be allowed to die.
To his credit, Paul did not say a sick person should be left to die, if they showed up at the hospital unable to pay. That was left to the audience. I am sure the audience, too, had seen the same jars on the same countertops time and time again, but on them it made no impact. I am sure a good portion of them attended church on Sunday, and perhaps heard a plea for a sick member of the congregation that had stopped attending church suddenly, and there may have been talk about transplants or rehabilitation or family, and perhaps they gave $10 and felt a sense of satisfaction in it, and a clean conscience.

We are not socialists, here in America. We are not like all the first world countries in Europe or Asia that believe caring for citizens in need is the duty of a government and its people, and not just a whim to be met sporadically according to our moods. We are religious, and our religion dictates that we will help only who we want, when we want, and the others can either die or be reduced to lifelong poverty. That will still grand us a clean conscience, it seems: We can show up for church on Sunday, then go to a political debate during the week and shout for the poor and the sick die already, rather than pay a penny to save them.

That is what I find so cold in Ron Paul, and in the other freedom-lovers that share the stage with him, and especially in those members of America that they so feverishly wish to cater to. They can see that their solution does not work: The evidence is in every town, every day, but it still does not matter to them. They will poke their fingers out at you, and lecture on how churches or friends or neighbors will take care of it all; if you note that churches and friends and neighbors have never, ever been able to take care of it all, they will scoff, and mutter something about freedom; if you press them on what freedom means in such a context you will, eventually, come back around to the darkest response, which is let them die.

It is cold, and dark, and miserable, and mean, and tribal, and cruel.

It never ceases to amaze me, the emotions that we will wrap up in a flag and call patriotic if it suits us. A large swath of America is made up of very cruel people, people who value their own self-indulgence over the welfare of their neighbors, and they seem uniformly to be the most pompous in their exhortations of both patriotism and godliness. They are here to defend the nation from monsters who would parcel out a modicum of support to all citizens, and not just ones they personally know of or approve of: If they help their fellow man, they want to see the person grovel for it a bit, and helping an anonymous soul is deemed not just a pointless exercise but an insult to their very freedom.

Let them die does not make a very good slogan for a bumper sticker, and so even true believers tend to shade it a bit. But even in the boldest, cruelest state, it will be applauded.
More disturbing than Paul's dodge, however, was the affirmative roar of the crowd. It was disturbing enough when the mob cheered Perry's nonchalance when asked about the number of executions in his state, and his cavalier denial of any concern over the innocence of any of those executed. Similar tirades seem to draw the same bloodthirsty furor out of audiences no matter the topic. Muslims, gays, liberals, atheists, socialists, people of color, even those 'horrid, lazy, dissolute unemployed' seem to be equally subject to the condemnation of the mob.

"Christian leaders" blaze the trails of hate and oppression. Pat Robertson advises a man to divorce his wife with Alzheimer's, because she is "all intents and purposes, already dead." Oklahoma legislator, Sally Kern, a known religious right affiliate, calls gays worse than terrorists. Massachusetts State Rep. Ryan Fattman believes that rape and abuse survivors ought to be afraid to report their assault, assuming they are undocumented. Teens are bullied to the point of depression and suicide, and the Christian right opposes measures to combat such harassment. When women are raped it's their own faults because they go out at night dressed like sluts. Black people breed too much. Kick out the Muslims, kill the gays, let the poor ask for handouts from their church or die. Gabrielle Giffords. Dr. Tillman.

The uniting characteristic of America today is blame, vilification and retribution. America loves to hate, we seem to feed on it these days. Hate drives more passion, more action, more political force than does anything else, save perhaps fear, and really, how far apart are they? How long before the rallies calling for the wrath of God to smote the unrighteous, the protests harassing those who seek reproductive freedom, the vilification of gays - how long before we recognize these as the "Two Minutes Hate" of our time?
lunadelcorvo: (Clio Muse of History)
I really want to say no. I really want to insist that the 'Texas has the right to secede,' 'I'm proud of how many people I've executed, never mind if some of them were innocent,' NAR/Dominionist Perry is too far right even for the Tea-party-crazed, ever more radical right wing to nominate. I'd like to, but I can't. Because I'm not certain he isn't going to end up being the Republican nominee.

This article on DK is a better overview of why than I could assemble: The Republican Debate: Rick Perry may be the candidate the GOP has been looking for (though look to see a long post about Perry of my own drafting soon).

The ultimate question in the face of a Perry nomination then, is whether he is sufficiently outrageous and repugnant to bring out the left, despite feeling abused, ignored and forgotten by our representatives, including the President. In part, I think that will depend on how closely the left is watching the GOP field now, in the run-up to the primaries, and how long their memories are once the nominee rewrites his (or her) entire rhetoric to aim towards the center for the election itself.

Which is why I think it is really important for everyone with even the slightest lean to the left being rational, sane, or reasonable to watch closely what these candidates are saying now, when they are speaking to their own.
lunadelcorvo: (Default)
THanks again to Talk2Action, a really good article that clarifies a lot of the 'media muddle' that the recent discussion of dominionism and the New Apostolic Reformation has stirred around the airwaves. Fairly short, but detailed and readable. Definitely worth a look.

| Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy
lunadelcorvo: (Celtic Queen)
Just wanted to boosT the signal on this excellent piece on National Public Radio's Fresh Air:

The New Apostolic reformation: The Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual Warfare

It represents what I believe to be the first serious, relatively mainstream, piece on the New Apostolic Reformation to hit the airwaves. As such it is a terrifically important piece of journalism in terms of (hopefully) opening up some real dialog on what motivates the current crop of religious right movers in politics. Give it a listen: there is a streaming version and a PodCast version, or a transcript online if you'd rather read it.
lunadelcorvo: (Atheist Scarlet Letter A)
Paranoia and the Progressive Press: A Response to WaPo’s Religion Columnist's Article "Beware False Prophets who Fear Evangelicals"

This is an excellent article that deftly refutes the Washington Post's OpEd column accusing the "liberal media"* of paranoia and scare tactics in their reporting on the extreme religious views of candidates like Bachmann and Perry. However, the author also puts the realities of dominionism in today's political arena in perspective: as a real entity, with significant support, that needs to be taken seriously by meeia and voters on both left and right. Give it a read!

(*One of these days I'm going to have to make a "right wing commentary drinking game" based on every assertion that the media is liberally-slanted! [If only!])
lunadelcorvo: (Don't let the shadows take me)
Anders Behring Breivik, a clean cut, attractive Norwegian 32-year old has set off a bomb that killed 7, then went to a summer camp, and gunned down (at last count) 85 people, including kids age 14-19. There is clearly no way this is not simply horrible. The first blush of "Why?" seems to point to hard conservative, Christian, anti-Islamic sentiment. Allegedly, he frequented right-wing Christian sites, and commented often. he has also written essays against Islam, "marxim" (why is it no one seems to know what that word even means these days), and multiculturalism. His FaceBook page (now deleted, but mirrored here) seems to support this, but also supposedly showed an image of him in Freemason garb.

Naturally, I expect the New World Order/Freemason/Illuminati loons will have a field day with this, just as the religious talking heads will denounce this as only the expected consequence of an atheistic society.... Here's something that bugs me, though. The FB was created July 17, less than a week ago. Can we really use this as a gauge of his real motives, opinions or attitudes? Even if it were months or years old, how much of what it on Facebook is authentic for anyone? I mean, really, a newly minted blog, with nothing more substantive than music videos, and an almost pre-fab set of political allegiances? Smells fishy. So far, no one in the media that I have read has commented on this, aside from noting the FB was recently created.

All that aside, I am left anticipating that this will serve to energize the right worldwide, here in the US in particular. 'The evils of secularism' will be, I expect, a phrase bandied about often in the upcoming weeks. I will confess, the notion that this attack may have been fueled by Christian zealotry makes me want to rail all the harder against the perils of a faith that is, after all, founded on blood sacrifice and retribution. But for my side as well as the other side (or sides), the fact remains that in all of uproar, the realities will be lost - the realities of the dead, the grieving, the pain and loss, and the reality of a man that seems to have been simply not sane, regardless of his beliefs.

So my deepest sympathies to the survivors, my silent (and honestly, essentially useless) solidarity to a nation rocked by unexpected violence, and my hopes (likely in vain from the start) to the world that all sides will respect the losses, and resist the urge to use this as a political flog.
lunadelcorvo: (Violets & Letters)
Fight Over Worship at Schools Puts Bronx Church in Spotlight
The Bronx Household of Faith has held services in PS/MS 15 for the past nine years.

When the leaders of Bronx Household of Faith, an evangelical Christian congregation based in University Heights, first approached the city, in 1994, about using its public schools to hold worship services, they didn’t think much of it. They certainly did not think they would find themselves, 17 years later, fighting for freedom of religion and speech as part of a back-and-forth legal case that could end up in front of the Supreme Court. (the entire story is here: http://www.bronxnewsnetwork.org/2011/06/fight-over-worship-at-schools-puts.html)


In short, the church group is claiming discrimination since they have been denied use of the school, while other groups can use it. There is much hand-wringing(as I read it) over the light of the members and how hard it is to find a space to worship. All in all, it all sounds a little fishy to me, like this is a manufactured case intended to test limits of legislation. How does a small church group, too broke to be able to rent, share, or buy space have the money to keep fighting a legal case like this? If the Alliance Defense Fund (a conservative Christian legal group dubbed the “the ACLU for Christians”), are footing the bill, it's even more fishy in that regard; this seems the perfect sort of banner case for a Neo-con group like the ADF.

In any case, I don't think that they can really cry discrimination based on the fact that non-religious groups (e.g. Boy Scouts) are allowed to use the space. Were it a question of a group of one religion being granted access while they were not, then there would arguably be discrimination at work. However, the decision to refrain from allowing ANY religious group does not discriminate based upon religion, it merely maintains separation between the school system and any religious group or denomination, as it should.

That this group chose to 'found' a church without having adequate space available is irrelevant to the question of their right to access. As I've seen on buttons and bumper stickers, 'Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency.' In other words, their lack of space to worship does not seem to give them any kind of special entitlement to access. While it is indeed unfortunate that they have been unable to procure an appropriate space, perhaps the members of this group should take this into account in their consideration of whether the leader of the group is indeed qualified to lead such an organization.

I wonder how this will play out, and what sort of precedents will be set here....
lunadelcorvo: (Clio Muse of History)
And I don't mean that as a pun. Coal has no upside, no good side. This may not be a topic many of you hear about in some parts of the country, or abroad. But here in KY, we hear about coal ALL the time. So let me give you a little overview of the realities of the coal industry.

::EDIT:: I just found out one of the sites I quote here is spoof site. SO, yes, I was a bit punked, but the actual response to that site from its target, Peabody Energy is almost as outrageous, Check back for updated info soon!::

This is a bit long, but worth reading, and very, very important. )
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
Another very disturbing dimension of the recent legal maneuverings in Michigan is that it's not alone. There are a significant number of the current crop of governors and state legislators enacting, or trying to enact, strikingly similar legislation. We have seen this with the union-busting measures in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states, and it's looking like Scott Walker may try to enact a the same emergency powers arrangement in Wisconsin as well.

Now none of this seems too far fetched for the Tea Party. However, it is interesting when one takes a step back and wonders exactly how did all these state-level politicians all come up with the same legislative initiatives at the same time? If you're thinking they must have some 'sooper seekrit' neo-con policy handbook, you're not too far off.

Introducing the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC). A conservative legislative policy group, they provide boilerplate ideas designed for implementation by state legislators and aimed at dismantling unions, regulation, pretty much everything they don't want to have to contend with. Membership is open to state legislators (for an affordable $100 a year), but boasts an impressive cadre of corporate sponsor/members as well (for the far more significant $5,000-50,000 per).

So what, right? After all, industry folks flock together at conferences; it's what they do. It's as inevitable as geese flocking in the fall. Chiropractors, shoe salesmen, grocers - they all have organizations where they compare notes, show off, trade ideas. What's the big deal?

Well, let's look at who founded ALEC, and who the big names are. ALEC's founders include:
-Paul Weyrich, a long time Right Wing activist, and one of the founders of the Moral Majority, founder of the Heritage Foundation, and known for his dominionist leanings.
-Henry Hyde, of the Hyde Amendment fame, another long-time conservative stalwart, and a banner bearer in the Clinton impeachment proceedings, internet censorship, and other Religious Right causes.
-Lou Barnett, former Political Director of the American Conservative Union, National Director of Reagan’s Political Action Committee, "Citizens for the Republic, and central to the revival of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The real clincher is the big money though. ALEC, in 2000, collected $56,126 in dues from members who were legislators. However, their total revenues were $5,685,299, almost 100 times that much. That money comes from big money corporate interests. Represented among the big money contributors and members? Amoco Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland , Koch Industries, Coors Brewing Co, Verizon Communications, Inc., PhRMA (Big pharmaceuticals), Pfizer Inc..... it's a regular Who's Who of corporate America.

According to reports from people who've been in these conferences, the agendas tend to run on two tracks: enabling corporations (by union-busting, stripping regulations, etc. ALEC was also behind the recent bills criminalizing attempts to expose cruelty or unsanitary conditions at factory farms.) and social conservatism (opposing health care reform, global warming denial, anti-environmentalism, anti-immigration, etc.). Groups like Family Research Council and the Pro-Family Legislative Network are represented in ALEC as well.

Read more on this story at these links:
SmartALEC: Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows
ALEC fingered as source of coordinated anti-union, anti-immigration legislation
Creating a Right-Wing Nation, State by State
American Legislative Exchange Council - Source Watch.org
American Legislative Exchange Council | Right Wing Watch
Gov Rick Snyder Sellout? Prefabricated Corporate Michigan (Government) Courtesy of Koch & ALEC
FORTUNE - The big political player you've never heard of
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
Another very disturbing dimension of the recent legal maneuverings in Michigan is that it's not alone. There are a significant number of the current crop of governors and state legislators enacting, or trying to enact, strikingly similar legislation. We have seen this with the union-busting measures in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states, and it's looking like Scott Walker may try to enact a the same emergency powers arrangement in Wisconsin as well.

Now none of this seems too far fetched for the Tea Party. However, it is interesting when one takes a step back and wonders exactly how did all these state-level politicians all come up with the same legislative initiatives at the same time? If you're thinking they must have some 'sooper seekrit' neo-con policy handbook, you're not too far off.

Introducing the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC). A conservative legislative policy group, they provide boilerplate ideas designed for implementation by state legislators and aimed at dismantling unions, regulation, pretty much everything they don't want to have to contend with. Membership is open to state legislators (for an affordable $100 a year), but boasts an impressive cadre of corporate sponsor/members as well (for the far more significant $5,000-50,000 per).

So what, right? After all, industry folks flock together at conferences; it's what they do. It's as inevitable as geese flocking in the fall. Chiropractors, shoe salesmen, grocers - they all have organizations where they compare notes, show off, trade ideas. What's the big deal?

Well, let's look at who founded ALEC, and who the big names are. ALEC's founders include:
-Paul Weyrich, a long time Right Wing activist, and one of the founders of the Moral Majority, founder of the Heritage Foundation, and known for his dominionist leanings.
-Henry Hyde, of the Hyde Amendment fame, another long-time conservative stalwart, and a banner bearer in the Clinton impeachment proceedings, internet censorship, and other Religious Right causes.
-Lou Barnett, former Political Director of the American Conservative Union, National Director of Reagan’s Political Action Committee, "Citizens for the Republic, and central to the revival of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The real clincher is the big money though. ALEC, in 2000, collected $56,126 in dues from members who were legislators. However, their total revenues were $5,685,299, almost 100 times that much. That money comes from big money corporate interests. Represented among the big money contributors and members? Amoco Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland , Koch Industries, Coors Brewing Co, Verizon Communications, Inc., PhRMA (Big pharmaceuticals), Pfizer Inc..... it's a regular Who's Who of corporate America.

According to reports from people who've been in these conferences, the agendas tend to run on two tracks: enabling corporations (by union-busting, stripping regulations, etc. ALEC was also behind the recent bills criminalizing attempts to expose cruelty or unsanitary conditions at factory farms.) and social conservatism (opposing health care reform, global warming denial, anti-environmentalism, anti-immigration, etc.). Groups like Family Research Council and the Pro-Family Legislative Network are represented in ALEC as well.

Read more on this story at these links:
SmartALEC: Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows
ALEC fingered as source of coordinated anti-union, anti-immigration legislation
Creating a Right-Wing Nation, State by State
American Legislative Exchange Council - Source Watch.org
American Legislative Exchange Council | Right Wing Watch
Gov Rick Snyder Sellout? Prefabricated Corporate Michigan (Government) Courtesy of Koch & ALEC
FORTUNE - The big political player you've never heard of
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
For those of you who may still be able to delude yourselves into denying that the RepubliCorp Party is screwing the poor so the rich can get just a tiny bit richer, I hope this will settle the question.

If you don't know this, the state of Michigan recently passed legislation allowing the governor to declare "financial emergency" in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services. Under the law whole cities or school districts could be eliminated without any public participation or oversight, and the elected officials of such a town or city may be rendered powerless under the authority of an "Emergency Manager."

This law has been touted as a dramatic measure needed to save communities in dire conditions, and stop corrupt local governments from hampering effort at revitalizing renewal effort. It has, however, been put into effect for the first time in Benton Harbor, a small predominantly black town in SW Michigan. While it's true that this town has been in trouble for decades, this is not the 'saving the town' measure the Repubs may want you to think it is....

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



AND... we are going to arrest anyone who objects, First Amendment be damned, our legally elected official be damned.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



This is infuriating beyond measure. Can we really look at this and not see shades of totalitarianism? Is this where we are now? And from all indications, a similar measure is being drafted in Wisconsin....
lunadelcorvo: (Oceania)
For those of you who may still be able to delude yourselves into denying that the RepubliCorp Party is screwing the poor so the rich can get just a tiny bit richer, I hope this will settle the question.

If you don't know this, the state of Michigan recently passed legislation allowing the governor to declare "financial emergency" in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services. Under the law whole cities or school districts could be eliminated without any public participation or oversight, and the elected officials of such a town or city may be rendered powerless under the authority of an "Emergency Manager."

This law has been touted as a dramatic measure needed to save communities in dire conditions, and stop corrupt local governments from hampering effort at revitalizing renewal effort. It has, however, been put into effect for the first time in Benton Harbor, a small predominantly black town in SW Michigan. While it's true that this town has been in trouble for decades, this is not the 'saving the town' measure the Repubs may want you to think it is....

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



AND... we are going to arrest anyone who objects, First Amendment be damned, our legally elected official be damned.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



This is infuriating beyond measure. Can we really look at this and not see shades of totalitarianism? Is this where we are now? And from all indications, a similar measure is being drafted in Wisconsin....
lunadelcorvo: (Don't let the shadows take me)
Just when I think I've seen the worst this country can conjure up, we go just a little bit lower.

http://hubpages.com/hub/The-United-States-Locks-Babies-Up-In-Prisons

I should write an essay abut this, sum it up, comment... I just... I got nothing. I mean what the fuck is there to say about this? Just read it. Here's an excerpt:
The United States Locks Babies Up In Prisons

The T. Don Hutto "Residential Center", a 512 bed Medium Security Prison, in Taylor, Texas, was opened in 2006 under a contract granted to ICE (the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency formed under the Bush Administration after 9/11) and signed off on by Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis, to house immigrant families.

Most of Hutto's inmates are in the process of applying for political asylum, refugees from violence-plagued and impoverished countries like Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Somalia, Palestine, Lithuania, Romania, Iraq, or some other one of 41 countries in the throes of political turmoil or war, or suffering the effects of climate change.

There are around 490 detainees there at any given time, and they come from many different countries. They have not been charged with a crime against the United States, and are locked in cells and forced to wear prison uniforms.

The inmates are immigrants, or children of immigrants who are in deportation proceedings, or who are applied for asylum and waiting for decisions. It can take up to a year or more to receive an asylum decision. Many detainees die as prisoners before they reach the end of their waiting time, due to untreated medical conditions or abuse.

Nearly half of Hutto's residents are children, including infants and toddlers. Most of the rest are women, many of them in varying stages of pregnancy. The women receive little or no prenatal care whatsoever. The children are dressed in prison garb, eat very unsatisfactory prison food, and only receive one hour of play time, and one hour of schooling per day, in English only. The kids are getting sick from the food. There were complaints of lack of a pediatrician on site, lack of privacy in the bathrooms, rotten food, lack of age-appropriate toys, nothing to write with, etc, etc. It was also reported that children were threatened by guards that harm would be inflicted on their parents if they didn't behave, among many other abuses, including rape of female inmates in front of their children.

The detainees are not violent, nor are they criminals, and sometimes there is no reason for them to be there other than that during a ICE raid on a factory, they had the misfortune to be found without their papers on them. After being detained and imprisoned, they are powerless to obtain the papers or evidence necessary to prove their innocence of any wrong-doing. Besides not having an opportunity to prove their innocence, they are also denied legal representation. And most of the time, their families are completely unaware of their whereabouts. They are not allowed any visitors and speaking to them is prohibited. In fact, entrance to the facility by the United Nations for inspection purposes was denied.

The families are only allowed to be together in their pods during the day time, but in the evening, the children are separated from the mothers, and locked into individual cells. If a baby or a small child is ill, or crying, the mothers are not allowed to go to their children to take care of nor to comfort them.

The kids have no toys, can not run and play outside like other children, and live in a constant terror that their mothers will be taken away by the jailers, and that they will never see them again. They do not understand why they are being punished. They receive little, if any, medical or dental care. They are not allowed to have even a stuffed animal to snuggle at night.
Yes, this is here, in America. We started an illegal fucking WAR on the premise that Sadam was doing this to his people. But it's OK for us to do it here, why? Oh, yeah, these poor people were dumb enough to think that America represented something decent. Next time you hear the Right Wing GOP crowing about their great Christian nation, remember this. This is what a Right Wing America looks like.
lunadelcorvo: (Civil liberties)
Courtesy of DailyKos

http://feeds.dailykos.com/~r/dailykos/index/~3/KM1ZP7J14S0/-Assault-on-student-voting:-Just-the-latest-GOP-overreach

The right to cast a ballot and choose one's representatives in government from alderman to president is viewed as a quintessential and inalienable right of the American democratic experience. The expansion of this right to an ever-wider range of previously disenfranchised populations has been a cornerstone of all the great civil rights movements in America. And not coincidentally, these expansions have been opposed by conservatives at every turn.

The original American conservatives were the Tories, who opposed the very idea of a free America and wanted to ensure that the only "voter" who mattered was the King of England, but their undemocratic ideas were defeated by a popular revolution and the radical notion of Thomas Jefferson that people should be able to choose their leaders—or at the very least, the white landowners who were the only ones really considered people at the time. Subsequent generations saw a gradual expansion of the franchise: to those who did not own land, to blacks, to women, and finally, to young people between the ages of 18 and 20 who had the obligation to fight in our country's wars, but did not have the right to vote for the people who got to declare them.

At every step of the way, these movements were opposed—often with violence—by conservatives who wanted to keep things exactly the way they were and leave the decision-making in the hands of the people who most resembled them, rather than see rights be expanded to entire groups of people who just might have a different political perspective. Not coincidentally, these groups of more recently enfranchised voters tend to vote far less conservatively; it's a natural instinct, after all, not to vote for the politicians who promise to follow in the footsteps of those who actively sought to curtail hard-fought freedoms.

Because of this, many conservative politicians have done their absolute best to limit the voting rights of the types of people who would generally vote against them—most often black voters or young voters, since these two groups are the ones most likely to vote for Democrats. (If conservatives could successfully attempt to restrict the rights of women to vote, they probably would, but women are evenly distributed throughout the population, while black voters and young voters tend to live in more concentrated areas such as particular neighborhoods or college towns, making their usual voter-caging and voter-suppression tactics far more actionable.) Stringent voter ID laws have been introduced in several conservative-leaning states under the premise that they are urgently needed to prevent voter fraud, even though only a handful of cases of voter fraud are ever prosecuted in a given year.

The real objective of these bills, of course, is to make it harder for Democratic-leaning voters—poorer people, immigrants, and young voters especially—to cast a ballot. This real objective was never explicitly stated, of course—until now. New Hampshire State Representative Gregory Sorg recently sponsored a flatly unconstitutional statute to eliminate the right of New Hampshire's college students to cast a ballot where they go to school. But most crucially, his argument against the franchise for students was not based on their residency, but based on the decisions they made when voting:

In prepared remarks, Sorg referred to students as "transient inmates . . . with a dearth of experience and a plethora of the easy self-confidence that only ignorance and inexperience can produce."He wasn't alone: these same sentiments were echoed by New Hampshire House Speaker O'Brien, who also felt that younger voters should be disenfranchised until they learned to vote his way:
New Hampshire's new Republican state House speaker is pretty clear about what he thinks of college kids and how they vote. They're "foolish," Speaker William O'Brien said in a recent speech to a tea party group.

"Voting as a liberal. That's what kids do," he added, his comments taped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students lack "life experience," and "they just vote their feelings.
Conservatives have always wanted to do this. They have always felt that students and minorities should not be able to vote because they don't make the same decisions. But until now, they have never had the temerity to come out and say it. Similarly, conservatives have always wanted to destroy public employee unions. They have long chipped around the edges and made hints and rumblings. But until now, they have never dared to do what Gov. Scott Walker has done in Wisconsin. In like fashion, conservatives have always wanted to roll the clock back on women's rights. They have gradually restricted abortion rights in all the ways they possibly could under the constitution, and hinted that birth control was a net negative for society. But now they dare to openly change the definition of rape and defund the vital family planning and cancer prevention services that so many women of lesser means rely on.

Just like the all-out conservative assault on women and on public employee unions, this new assault on the voting rights of our youth is an example of the type of overreach that will once again doom the GOP to minority status in the years to come. Voters were frustrated with Democrats in 2010 that not enough progress had been made on jobs. They did not vote for the GOP because they truly wanted to see the elimination of the labor movement, access to birth control, and voting rights for college students. The biggest mistake made by conservative politicians is a fundamental belief that their skill in messaging and winning elections truly translates into real support for their actual policy ideas. If they keep going down this road, they will soon find out the truth—the hard way.
lunadelcorvo: (Medieval Scholar)
My personal contention is yes, it is. And I'm getting really tired of everyone from academics to mainstream media spouting this whole "The Religious Right is dead, the Tea Party is the thing now" business. To ignore the religious underpinnings of the Tea Party is dangerous, because in all the ways that matter, they are the same thing. Perhaps not down to every supporter on the ground, but the big movers, the big issues, and the big goals are overwhelmingly the same. So firstly, how much overlap does there need to be before it becomes a concern to anyone who opposed the growing extremism of the Religious Right? Secondly, how much overlap do we need until it no longer matters what name we call it, only what it's doing?

In my opinion, we are long past having enough overlap to get us there. The Tea Party is to the Religious Right what Intelligent Design is to Young-Earth Biblical Creationism; an attempt to use rhetorical smoke and mirrors to disguise a religious cause as a political one, and thereby draw allies from those with similar concerns (in this case social and political conservatism) who might otherwise be put off by the overt religious nature of the core movement.

Look below the cut for the details, beginning with some info and articles from the last year that seem to support my hypothesis. )

So we can say this: the Tea Party certainly does not seem to be strictly libertarian, nor are its aims purely economic; they extend to social issues as well. We know Sarah Palin, the Tea Party darling, is deeply tied to the Religious Right, and so are two of the most visible libertarians, Ron Paul and the Tea Party poster boy, Rand Paul. All three, and the Tea Party itself show a closer alignment to the Constitution Party, which we can easily see has an overtly religious stance.

So what do you think? Tea Party = Religious Right? Yeah, me, too.
lunadelcorvo: (Ask the devil to behave)
Read this: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/21/947947/-The-Koch-Brothers-End-Game-in-Wisconsin

No, really, I mean it; read it. This union thing? It's a shell game, a diversion. A Big, loud, straw man. Not that it's not important, far from it! Selling out the infrastructure workers anywhere is not just bad business, it's monumentally stupid. Not that Walker won't take whatever concessions he can wring from the unions along the way, and be damned happy about it; we all know he will. But let's review a few things:

Wisconsin HAD a budget surplus when Walker came into office.

Wisconsin lost that surplus almost immediately to "business tax cuts" (I'm guessing I know which kinds of businesses benefitted from those cuts, and it's NOT the local, small businesses....) and a health care bill that Walker put in place.

NOW Walker has this mad crisis to offset the deficit (which he created.)

So enter the deunionizing schtick, which everyone knows won't help the budget, but will only hurt more or less everyone.

Now, let's pause here, and look at Walker's big supporters. To whom does Walker owe his office? It's not a new or unknown name, and it's no surprise either. Koch brothers, directly, and through the sort of money-shifting voodoo they do so well, pretty much bought this guy the Governorship.

OK, here's where it gets dicey, but stick with me a minute more. Why does this matter? What do the Koch brothers or their interests have to do with unions in Wisconsin? Well, not much, and that's just the mystery. Until one looks closely at the REST of the budget Walker is pushing.

Say Walker concedes on the union issues, and admits defeat. The Dems come home, the budget passes, and there is much rejoicing. But what's in the rest of the budget? How about this little gem, so far unnoticed, and unremarked:

"Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state."

I hear you saying "Huh?" What this little bit of jargon does is allow the state government to sell off any public utility or power plant to a private entity anytime, for whatever price it likes, with no oversight. Let that sink in a second.

By sneaking this provision in under the union kerfluffle, Walker can now hand over Wisconsin's public utilities to anyone he likes. And who do we suppose he likes? The folks that put him in office, of course. Considering the assets already owned by the Kochs in Wisconsin, this could create a staggering monopoly.

So if Walker's budget, even with removal of the anti-union component, passes with this provision, the only thing keeping such a monopoly from happening would be Walker's sense of fair play and desire to protect the citizens of Wisconsin from being raped at the hands of a massive corporate monopoly.

Anyone want to take any bets on that?

Didn't think so.

Spread the word, pass this around.....

Profile

lunadelcorvo: (Default)
: : : L u n a d e l C o r v o : : :

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Page Summary

Miscellanea

InboxIcons
Customize

Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities

Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom