lunadelcorvo: (Grrrrr!)
I don't want to be a drama-llama, but I think LJ has really screwed the pooch this time, and I'm done.

Read the lj_news posts here:
and here:

The upshot of this is: no matter what your layout is, you will now HAVE TO read your friends page in the default, ugly, LJ eye-wrenching blue and white site style. Had your layout customized for easy reading? Tough. Huge swatch of blank white space with dark type gives you a headache? Buy some fucking aspirin, sucker, 'cause we don't care. Spent hours laboring to get you layout just how you want it, so it makes you happy, is aesthetically pleasing to your soul? Too bad, aesthetics of for sissies; read it our way.

If that's not enough, LJ is also implementing a 'pay to promote' scheme, whereby you can pay to have your entries fasttracked to the top of your friends' reading pages. Oh, and if you've ever had your computer or browser lock up from one of those "infinite scrolling"sites like FB or tumblr? Get used to it, because LJ friends pages will now feature infinite scrolling.

If you think it sucks, comment on one of those pages, and/or fill out this poll:

Be warned, however, that LJ will flatly ignore you, like it has flatly ignored user outrage (and exodus) over every other lame-brained "update" they've crammed down our throats over the years....

So yeah, if this is implemented, I think I am finally out, done, gone. DW full-time. (And damn, I wish I had never gotten a perm account!)

:::ETA::: I'm not honestly sure this isn't what they want; for US/European users to leave. Read this:

End of an era of my life.... So, where can I find you all on Dreamwidth? I'm at Come on over and visit. THey are still invite-free, so anyone can sign up. If you've been putting it off, I think now is the time.
lunadelcorvo: (Demons I get People are crazy)
This is posted on Slacktivist, but I just HAD to share. Below is a screen cap from Left Behind II: Tribulation Force. This is one of the crappy movies based on the equally crappy, but wildly popular 'Left Behind' books by Tim LaHaye, all about the horrors of the apocalyptic nightmare those of us 'left behind' will endure after the 'righteous' are raptured up to heaven. In addition to comprising nearly a dozen novels which glory in violence and bloody chaos, they exhibit about as much literary quality and depth as Twilight. Apparently the movies follow the books quite closely, in all regards.

In this scene, we see a sign in Jerusalem, showing a message in English and Hebrew. Except, they didn't translate the message into Hebrew. They transliterated it. Well, sort of. They took the Hebrew letters to match the English sounds (dalet (ך) for 'd,' beth (ב) for 'b,' and so on) and strung them together letter for letter. This would be nonsense to any Hebrew reader under the best of circumstances; Hebrew phonetics don't work the same way. (Actually, they probably just tried to change it to a Hebrew font...) However, they also made one really, really, huge mistake (even bigger than just swapping out letters). Hebrew reads from right to left, not left to right. So it's not Hebrew, and it's backwards.

(*Seriously, maybe I should make this a weekly item. Goodness knows there's plenty of fodder out there....)
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: (Default)
Does This Dirt Field Look Muslim to You?

The Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pa., supposedly honors the brave folks who sacrificed themselves during an in-flight power struggle on 9/11. So why does its design include a huge Muslim crescent pointing at Mecca?.

A group led by the father of a Flight 93 victim will be running full-page ads this Friday and Saturday in a Shanksville-area newspaper, criticizing the perceived Islamic symbol it sees in the memorial's Field of Honor — the dirt circle in the top picture that resembles a topographical map.

At the center of the dispute is the Field of Honor, a circular, tree-lined landmass that will serve as the heart of the memorial, as well as a 93-foot Tower of Voices that will contain 40 wind chimes, one for each victim of the crash. Forty groves of red and sugar maple trees also will commemorate the victims, and ponds will be installed to serve as a natural barrier to the nearby Sacred Ground, the final resting place for the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

This design "controversy" was raised five years ago, has popped up occasionally ever since, and is finding new life during the 2010 War on Mosques. A few seconds of googling takes us to a 2005 Michelle Malkin post with an informative animated .gif, for those of you who cannot see the evil Muslim symbol within this secret terrorist beachhead.

Although the National Park Service changed the title of the ring surrounding the Field of Honor from the Crescent of Embrace to the Circle of Embrace and moved some trees and stuff around, just to be polite, critics aren't satisfied with this obvious 9/11 Victory Crescent:

"A more obvious tribute to the terrorists is hard to imagine," reads the ad, which will be published in the Somerset Daily American and was provided in advance to "It is not surprising, then, that the giant crescent would turn out to point to Mecca*, and be the centerpiece for the world's largest mosque."

(Text from article here:, thanks to a posting in[ profile] atheism.)

*Incidentally, the monument is oriented along the path of the downed flight. So I guess that means the American heroes were trying to go to Mecca!!!! *facepalm*
lunadelcorvo: (Grrrrr!)
[Error: unknown template qotd]No, I certainly don't. The entire celebrity machine (be it entertainment, sports, or music) is inane and vacuous, and strikes me as merely a lot of distraction to prevent people from realizing just how f*&^%ed up their world really is.

We are struggling with economic meltdown, mass unemployment, alarming numbers of people dying annually of imminently curable conditions merely because they can't afford basic healthcare, global hunger, poverty, corporate exploitation, and a humanity-threatening climate crisis. And we are paying movie stars and football players millions? I mean, seriously?!?!?!?!

And yet those who protect our streets, save our lives in times of calamity, and teach our children often don't make enough to live on, let alone raise their own families. Sometimes, the dumb is so overwhelming, that I mourn in advance for the fate of my species....
lunadelcorvo: (Wall of Separation)
"At best, a throwback to primitivism -- at worst, unconstitutional political posturing and manipulation..."

An Atheist public policy group denounced Sunday's "Day of Prayer" by Southern governors as a political stunt which is exploiting an environmental tragedy in order to win votes and promote religion and as, incidentally, a clear violation of Christian biblical principles.

"At best, this is a bronze age response to disaster," declared Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists. "This is just another example of how some political leaders use religion to win votes, garner public sympathy, and lead people to believe that superstition trumps the need for good planning and responsible public policy. These governors are plainly hypocrites as defined, allegedly in words from Jesus, in Matthew 6:5-6."

The Governors of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, along with the lieutenant Governor of Florida, all issued proclamations declaring Sunday, June 27, 2010, a Day of Prayer and urged citizens to engage in religious ritual in hopes of finding a solution to the growing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

"This is about as deep as you can get when it comes to promoting irrationality and faith-based superstition," added Dr. Buckner. "We have another example of public officials telling citizens when and how to pray, whether to pray, and what to pray for."

Dave Silverman, Vice President and Communications Director for American Atheists, said that prayer is never a suitable substitute for sound public policy, environmental safeguards, and sensible planning for catastrophic emergencies.

"I doubt that Jesus or some angel is suddenly going to descend from the sky with millions of feet of boom, or more barges to suck up the leaking oil," said Mr. Silverman. "If prayer really worked, why is it that so far, anyway, God seems to be ignoring the suffering all along the gulf?"

Dr. Buckner added, "Perhaps the politicians need to get up off their knees and spend more time mobilizing the resources to deal with this catastrophe. That should not include offering false hope or ridiculous suggestions for the people being affected by this event.”

Personally, while I certainly am in complete agreement with this denunciation of a backward and utterly unconstitutional thing, I am even more concerned and disgusted that it's even necessary. Honestly, these days, I find myself wondering with increasing trepidation, how the extremism building in the US can possibly be reconciled without massive violence, or at the very least, massive upheaval. It's not a pretty thought, but with the right/religious right so far over the sanity line, and the very real threats to our environment, our food supply, our health, our society- I just can't see it ending well.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.


American Atheists, Inc. PO BOX 158, Cranford, NJ 07016
Tel.: (908) 276-7300 Fax: (908) 276-7402

For more information, please contact:
Ed Buckner, President 908-499-9200 (cell) or 770-803-5353 (office/fax)
Dave Silverman, Communications Director 732-648-9333
lunadelcorvo: (Olivia)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Forget tolerance. Teach people how to think rationally, apply critical thinking, ask questions, formulate their own ethics based in reason not faith. Give them that, I suspect you'll find tolerance isn't an issue any more....

I know, it's been said all over my f-list. But given a wrangle I got into with a pair of particular idiots, I needed to say it again!
lunadelcorvo: (W T F? Kitten)
Insurers Required to pay for Prayer treatments

Insurers required to pay for.... for... PRAYER TREATMENT?!?!?!?!?!

*fzzt! pop! bzzzzzp!*

That was my brain breaking. For the second time in a week, albeit for radically different reasons...

Thanks to [ profile] doctoreon for pointing this out.
lunadelcorvo: (Zuko frustrated)
That was the sound of my head exploding. "Hitler gave good speeches, too?!?" Obama with a Hitler 'stache!?!? WTF? Are you fucking serious?!?

This health care nonsense has gotten to insane extremes. As the clip below notes, associating our president and the congress with Hitler and the Nazi regime goes beyond the pale. It is dangerous, as it is a blatant and clarion clear invitation to violence, just as the rhetoric connecting abortion providers to nazis provided, to those extreme enough to heed it, a sanction to violence, even murder. But it is also a travesty to the memory of those who truly were the victims of the Nazis, both civilian and military.

Rachel Maddow: Maddow: 'Nazism is not a metaphor'

(Click HERE if the embed fails.)

Rachel Maddow: 'Time to bring facts to the health care debate'

(Click HERE if the embed fails.)

I spent nearly an hour on the phone with a relative who called to 'warn' me of the 'true' content of the health care reform plan. She believes the euthanasia scare. She believes that senior citizens will be forced to die. WTF? How insane has this country gone when this kind of outrageous crap is bought, wholesale, swallowed hook, line and sinker? When lunatic fringe elements and panicked big business put out ideas that don't even *sound* reasonable, and people believe them? When they rise up in the thousands to fight against the phantoms of the paranoid?

lunadelcorvo: (W T F? Kitten)
Swim Club Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion"

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason.

Kids at Creative Steps Day Camp were thrilled to go swimming once a week at the Valley Swim Club. ( But after only one trip to the private club, they were asked to leave.

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded. "I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome. "They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell.

The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded: "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

While the parents await an apology, the camp is scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat.


Another source.

Thanks to [ profile] doctoreon and other who posted this. Spread it around, call the Club, write letters, etc.!
lunadelcorvo: (Stupidity brain hurts)
That's why there is no global warming/climate change!

Listen as an elected representative (Rep. Shumkus, R., Illinois) testifies at a recent House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing that since the Bible says "the Earth will not be destroyed by a flood," climate change is not a threat. Well, I'm so happy we got that all cleared up!

Oh, he also testified that carbon emissions are what keeps plants alive, and that the earth is actually a "carbon-starved" planet. See the entire train-wreck HERE.

lunadelcorvo: (Don't let the shadows take me)
I'd love to introduce this with something witty, but the stupid runs too deep for that. Stupid like this is just sad. And scary. I want to move to Finland, like NOW.

"Block African witchcraft curses against McCain and Palin NOW!
Jim Bramlett
Sep 28 2008 04:12PM

Dear friends:


Minutes ago I spoke with friend Dr. Norman G. Marvin, M.D. and he is so concerned at what he has learned about Barack Obama's family in Kenya that he is calling a special prayer meeting in his home to pray against the witchcraft curses attempted by them against John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Dr. Marvin sent me the below e-mail from Flo Ellers. Flo is credentialed with the International Fellowship of Ministries which is based in Washington State. She is also a member of EndTime Handmaidens and Servants of Jasper, Arkansas.



"Bree Keyton went and visited Obama's tribal people and she found out Obama is 75% Arab and his family are Muslims. Odinga is strill trying to become the President of Kenya. If he does, he will make a law forbidding all public preaching and institute Sharia Law. Bree K. said Odinga has made a pact with satan.

Bree K. also said when Obama visited his tribe in '06 and as late as Jan. '08 he went to every elder's home which has a "shrine" inside to worship the genie and asked for their blessing. She was told Obama and Odinga were both "destined" before they were born to be president/leader of their nation. They say "he is the chosen one". She said Obama's grandmother sacrificed a black and a white chicken to the "goddess of the river" so both whites and blacks will vote for Obama. All Islam loves and worships Obama. The world is mesmerized by him. Oprah's 200 million followers are out to elect Obama. Also, Dick Morris of Fox News was sent to Kenya to help Odinga run his campaign! I find that unbelievable.

The occultists are "weaving lazy 8's around McCain's mind to make him look confused and like an idiot". Bree K. said we need to break these curses off of him that are being sent from Kenya."


OK, yes, these are the fringe, the nutters (obviously) and the minority (hopefully). But they are adults, citizens of this nation, members of our culture, fer fukksake! They use computers, and the internet, and they are spreading warnings about curses and sacrificed chickens and witchcraft!!!!! What's next, blaming Barack when milk goes sour, when the cat gets fleas, when it doesn't rain often enough? WTF? How? Somebody tell me how? How is any adult this colossally stupid? HOW? And why are we not locking these people up and forcing them to get psychological help?
lunadelcorvo: (Default)

Not a clue what to say about this one. Wait....*thinks hard* Nope, still got nuthin.



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



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