Poetry: Robinson Jeffers “Shine, Perishing Republic” April 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Poetry.
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To wrap up national poetry month, one of my favorite political poems:
Shine, Perishing Republic
While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots
to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence;
and home to the mother.
You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly
long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
shine, perishing republic.
But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there
are left the mountains.
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant,
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught – they say –
God, when he walked on earth.
Day by Day remix April 27, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Humor, wingnuts.
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Okay, the remix isn’t that funny, but at least it has the first ingredient of successful comedy: observation. The original can’t even claim that. It’s about as funny as Family Circus, and even more offensive! Behold my crappy MS Paint skills below the fold.
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Pam Spaulding has a really interesting post on Patrick Henry College, which turns brainwashed ultra-conservative Christian homeschooled kids into brainwashed ultra-conservative Christian homeschooled lobbyists. One part in particular stood out to me:
[School Chancellor] Farris, a Baptist minister, has publicly expressed views that have shocked some professors and students.
“He said St. Augustine was in hell,” said Root. “I heard it with my own ears.” Other professors and students said Farris has repeatedly disparaged Calvinist theology.
“There is a sense that you face antagonism as someone who is theologically Reformed,” said Bates, who sparred with Farris over a speech he was planning to deliver at the college’s annual Faith and Reason Lecture, and again over the use of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology textbook. According to Bates, Farris considered it “too Reformed.”
“We are put in a hard position,” said Bates. “We’re told this is an open dialogue, but if you engage in open dialogue, you’re in trouble. It’s infuriating because you’re an academic and want to engage in ideas.”
I hope that even the most conservative religious folk get the message here: there will always be someone just as devoted to their belief system–even to one very close to what you believe–who thinks you are a wicked apostate, probably bound for hell and certainly misleading the flock.
Unfortunately, the absolute belief that God is on one’s side has the tendency to blind one to the possibility that they might lose to other theocrats.
That infuriates me, because those who are sincerely devoted to their faith should be the first to stand up for religious freedom, for every faith has a history of being oppressed at times. Biblical literalists in this country should remember their own history and ask if letting humans decide how other humans must worship is really a good idea.
I can’t wait! April 27, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Humor, News and politics, Science, wingnuts.
Roy Comfort, of Bananas are Proof of God’s Existence fame, is at it again. This time he’s been given a television forum to debate the existence of God (is anyone else starting to suspect you only get to be a pundit by being systematically stupid?).
“Most people equate atheism with intellectualism,” Comfort added, “but it’s actually an intellectual embarrassment. I am amazed at how many people think that God’s existence is a matter of faith. It’s not, and I will prove it at the debate – once and for all. This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists.”
We all know that Comfort is an idiot, but what makes this especially funny to me is how it mirrors the “science” of the ID movement:
1. claim you’ve “proved” or “demonstrated” something.
2. never, ever publish said proof in a respectable, peer-reviewed publication
3. hold forth on said proof before friendly audiences
4. ask why evil scientists won’t take you seriously
5. shift ground whenever you are called on it
6. make another dumb claim based on the shifted ground
7. goto 1
That’s all for me! I’m off to eat nature’s other miracle: a peach!
Blaming everyone for the VT massacre April 26, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in language and lit, Morality, News and politics.
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I’ve been lobbying against the “find someone to blame” school of thought since the shootings took place, but it seems I’ve severely underestimated the number of groups blamed for the shootings. My favorite? Collective Soul. I could see how Shine might make someone sit all day smoking weed, but a shooting spree?
New Theme, and a bit of metaphysical commentary April 25, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging.
I know, you noticed already. But I needed to comment on one thing: the image is of Saturn with the sun providing the backlight. And that speck of light in the left hand corner? That’s us. That’s Earth, from a billion miles away.
May it provide us all a bit of context.
[h/t to Bad Astronomy Blog for the tip.]
From the “racism isn’t a problem anymore” files (#7863102) April 25, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, News and politics.
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Which brings me back, among other things, to the question of whether white America would let Obama become president. This is strong evidence against racial equality or anything close to it. On the other hand, would a Democrat have carried Georgia in any event?
Put another way, do you think Obama could carry the states Kerry did in 2004, plus Ohio? I’d say it’s a definite possibility.
Ed Brayton on the SCOTUS late-term abortion case April 24, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, News and politics, reproductive rights.
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Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars is generally a thoughtful commentator on legal matters. Even when I disagree with him, I find his opinions worth reading, and I greatly appreciate his strong stance on the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment in particular.
And that is precisely why I find his (lack of) comment on the SCOTUS decision upholding a federal ban on an important medical procedure so distressing.
Brayton makes some good points in his post, but he’s obviously dodging the larger issue. By picking out one bad pro-choice argument to dissect, he’s avoiding the larger issue at stake. Brayton has said previously that he does not like to talk about abortion, despite being pro-choice, because he feels it never persuades anyone. But that silence is increasingly untenable, given the framework of this most recent decision. But what is the extent of Brayton’s comment on the SCOTUS ruling?
[The SCOTUS] decision may be right or wrong and I’m more than willing to entertain arguments on both sides [...]
I believe Brayton is letting his distaste for this issue cloud his judgment and his commentary. Two things about the decision should terrify any supporter of individual liberties, even if they are personally opposed to abortion:
1. SCOTUS has ruled that a complete ban on a procedure that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believes is medically necessary in many situations:
The Act defines “partial-birth abortion” in a way that encompasses a variation of dilatation and evacuation (D&E), the most common method of second-trimester abortion, in which the fetus remains intact as it is removed from the woman’s uterus. The Act’s definition also encompasses some D&E procedures in which the fetus is not removed intact.
Over 95% of induced abortions in the second trimester are performed using the D&E method. The alternatives to D&E in the second trimester are abdominal surgery or induction abortion. Doctors rarely perform an abortion by abdominal surgery because doing so entails far greater risks to the woman. The induction method imposes serious risks to women with certain medical conditions and is entirely contraindicated for others.
What rights should the courts protect, if not the right for a woman and her doctor to choose the best procedure to protect her health? If a procedure can be banned even when it is important to protect the health of a patient, then what procedures are safe? Why do the courts believe the State has a right to ban legitimate medical procedures?
2. Furthermore, Kennedy’s argument–that many women regret abortions–is terrifying in its implications. Taken to its logical conclusion, it would mean the government should play parent to all of us, banning us from making any choice we might otherwise regret. SCOTUS isn’t meant to make its rulings based on what choices people might make and later regret, but on whether the government has the right to restrict those choices.
The majority opinion flies in the face of decades of rulings upholding the need for a health exemption to any abortion ban, and places what by any standard must be an unreasonable restriction on a woman’s right to choose. If heath exceptions are not required in any abortion restriction, what limits would the court honor? What could possibly be a more important exception than health?
I have trouble seeing how this decision can be anything but an approval of State control over personal liberty in medical decisions. I suspect Brayton knows that better than anyone, which makes his silence disturbing indeed. Put simply, this is an issue of our basic freedoms under assault, and if Brayton can’t be bothered to take a more vocal stand on abortion, I would hope he would at least recognize the potentially far-reaching implications of this ruling beyond abortion rights.
Bill O, in response to Dawkin’s point that science is humble about things it does not (yet) know: “Being humble is a Christian virtue.” My irony meter just exploded.
There are other choice moments as well: Bill O asserts that it takes more faith to be an atheist because of the tides, and argues that it doesn’t matter whether his faith is true because “it’s true for me.” And yet those of us on the left are accused of being the moral relativists. I’d like to see Bill O defend that point.
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This just in: more assholes finding anyone to blame for the VT shootings but the shooter. We start with Newt “Adultery is evil when Democrats are doing it” Gingrich, who blames liberalism for the shootings, just like he did after Columbine. That guy’s all class.
Then we have genius who think the real problem is with a “crisis of masculinity”:
Paglia, who has taught in American universities for 35 years, describes America’s residential campuses as vast “islands of green and slack conformity where a strange benevolent and tyrannical paternalism has taken over. It’s like a resort atmosphere”.
Paglia believes the school Cho attended would have been no better equipped to deal with frustrated young males. “There is nothing happening educationally in these boring prisons that are fondly called suburban high schools. They are saturated with a false humanitarianism, which is especially damaging for boys.
“Young men have enormous energy. There was a time when they could run away, hop on a freighter, go to a factory and earn money, do something with their hands. Now there is this snobbery of the upper-middle-class professional. Everyone has to be a lawyer or paper pusher.”
Cho is a classic example of “someone who felt he was a loser in the cruel social rat race”, Paglia says. The pervasive hook-up culture at college, where girls are prepared to sleep with boys they barely know or fancy, can be a source of seething resentment and alienation for those who are left out.
Just like when we heard all about “the girl who led to massacre,” we find out that is’ womens fault!1! And it’s because they have sex, but not with Cho. And that made him a mass murder. Right? Yeah, that must be it. After all, women who have sex are sluts, unless they don’t have it with you, in which case they’re bitches.
Amazing how everything comes back to what people do in their bedrooms, isn’t it? No reason it could be, you know, Cho’s fault. It must have been the victims‘, somehow.
Mutherfucker. Why can’t people deal with this tragedy without trying to find large groups of people to blame?