Shorter Peter Thiel April 28, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics.
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- Every Democracy in the world has rejected aspects of my ideology and its contempt for poor people and women. Libertarians will only be free once we escape to space or our own island nations, where The Market can finally thrive. And when King Arthur rides* by, we’ll be too busy gathering filth accumulating wealth to notice.
I honestly don’t know which part of this piece is the most absurd. I’m leaning towards the failure to recognize woman’s suffrage might be a blow to one’s ideology might suggest said ideology isn’t really about “freedom” at all. Or maybe it’s the idea of freedom from government IN SPACE. There are lots of candidates, which is why I’ll be pointing to Thiel’s essay whenever someone yabbers on about how great Libertarianism is.
* Technically, he walks by while Pasty bangs two empty halves of coconuts together.
Quote of the Moment April 27, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Religion, wingnuts.
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“One-Minute Prayer: Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Which is more likely: that Klingenschmitt doesn’t realize the absurd contradiction here, or that he’s seriously making the argument that he tried to bless his enemies, but they’re just so darn mean that he has to pray for their deaths?
Or maybe he just isn’t familiar with what the Bible actually records as Jesus’ teaching about how Christians should respond to their foes? Hypocritical Christianity strikes again!
R. S. McCain: women are things! now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me put up a smokescreen to conceal it April 24, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, sex, wingnuts.
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As many of my readers will have already observed, there’s some high quality misogynist wingnuttery being emitted from R. S. McCain. Like someone embarrassed to have passed gas, McCain first puts up a post that clearly works under the assumption that women are merely objects to be used by men. When this is pointed out, he fires off some updates to his post, all designed to shield him from the accusations he brought upon himself by his overtly despicable original post.
His original scenario has already been thoroughly torn down at the links above, so I won’t bother elaborating there. Instead, let’s have some fun “unpacking” his first update, to use McCain’s own words. He writes,
Rosenau continues to trounce Martin Cothran’s arguments. April 24, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Science, wingnuts.
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Josh Rosenau obviously has more tolerance for dealing with dishonest hacks than I do, because he’s still explaining the myriad problems with Cothran’s arguments, and doing so expertly. It seems that his extensive experience dealing with creationists has helped Rosenau immensely.
This time round, Rosenau is taking Cothran to task for first approvingly citing Pat Buchanan’s work and doing so on Yom HaShoah. Cothran’s bumbled through a couple of replies, but as usual, offers nothing but strawmen, dishonesty and incomprehension. And this from an instructor in logic, no less!
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In the national security equivalent of BillO inadvertently revealing he thinks gay people should be ashamed to be gay, Pat Robertson has discovered the shocking truth: there are queer people and liberal people in the government! Shocking!!!!1! MUST CREDIT PAT ROBERTSON ZOMG ITS A SMOKING GUN!!!
It — it shows somebody down in the bowels of that organization is either a convinced left-winger or somebody whose sexual orientation is somewhat in question.
Oh NOES! They have found out that people who don’t agree with them still have some power! And Pat Robertson sure does seem with “bowels” here, doesn’t he? Just sayin’.
Elections have consequences, Pat. Suck on it.
“Uncomfortable Plot Summaries”: Red Dawn April 17, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, Humor.
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A friend of mine sent me a link to this list of “Uncomfortable Plot Summaries.” They’re often funny, sometimes quite insightful, and occasionally extremely offensive (you’ve been warned). But one of them is absolutely perfect:
RED DAWN: Despite shock-and-awe tactics, a superior occupying force is no match for a tenacious sect of terrorist insurgents.
Andew Sullivan lauds Charled Murray April 16, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in education, News and politics.
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I frequently disagree with Andrew Sullivan, as you might expect since he’s conservative and I’m progressive. But I’ve consistently found him to be among the most thoughtful and interesting public intellectuals on the conservative side: he tends to be thoughtful and enlightening, even when being oh-so-wrong.
Which just makes posts like this one all the more painful:
As always, the less educated:
The overall unemployment rate for the more educated is only 4.3 percent. Individuals with a high school degree, but no college, have a 10 percent unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted). The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is 15.5 percent. Moreover, the unemployment rate gap between the most- and least-skilled is widening, not narrowing. Between February and March, the unemployment rate for college graduates increased by one-tenth of a percentage point. Among high school dropouts, the unemployment rate increased by four-tenths of a point.
Charles Murray was onto something, wasn’t he?
Sigh. It takes a really twisted worldview to see stats that clearly correlate education and achievement and use them to argue that they really demonstrate that poor people are really dumber than rich people. The most charitable thing I can say about such an argument is that it is a highly implausible reading of the data. When I’m feeling less-than-charitable here, I’m inclined to believe that the argument in Murray’s The Bell Curve functions as a conservative creation myth of sorts, providing a pseudo-scientific justification for conservative and “libertarian” systems which maintain cultural hierarchies.
Or maybe I’m not being fair to Sullivan: perhaps he really doesn’t mean what this short post seems to mean. After all, when you follow up a link to a story with a pithy comment, you always have the out, Instapundit style, of pointing out that you didn’t say anything too specific and therefore your critics are misreading you. Perhaps Sullivan will clarify.
Until then, though, I see no option but to conclude that Sullivan believes the link between lack of education and high unemployment is a function not of fewer economic opportunities for the uneducated, but of the poor’s innate inferiority.
(Aside: I suspect most of my readers won’t be the least surprised by my analysis, as I’ve been here before. But if you’re not convinced, read Gould’s Mismeasure of Man. He lays out quite plainly why arguments based on IQ are deeply flawed, and discusses the history of how they have been frequently used (as Sullivan seems to be using them) to justify one’s prejudices. )
Congratulations on being the creator of a new Evil Plan ™! April 11, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging.
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Your objective is simple: World Domination.
Your motive is a little bit more complex: Love (Yes, it works)
To begin your plan, you must first expose a rich and powerful ceo. This will cause the world to sense a grave disturbance in the force, unsettled by your arrival. Who is this evil genius? Where did they come from? And why do they look so good as a dark gunslinger?
Next, you must seize control of the moon (ooh, tides!). This will all be done from a obsidian citadel, a mysterious place of unrivaled dark glory. Upon seeing this, the world will gibber like madmen, as countless hordes of alien life forms hasten to do your every bidding.
Finally, you must prepare your arcane ritual, bringing about an unending cacophony of screams. Your name shall become synonymous with fuzzy bunnies, and no man will ever again dare interrupt your sentences. Everyone will bow before your mystical abilities, and the world will have no choice but to make you their new god.
Ross Douthat: eager to defend the Pope’s stupidity April 9, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in Religion, sex, wingnuts.
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Amanda Marcotte has rightfully taken Douthat to task for his recent column of supreme douchebaggery, where he offers a veiled defense of the Pope’s hideous pro-AIDS comments under the guise of “partnership reduction,” complete with a bunch of barely-masked racism. And he does all this to reach a fascinating and intellectually dishonest position:
This doesn’t mean that conservative Catholics should turn around and suggest that the AIDS establishment has blood on its hands for privileging condom distribution over cultural change. That kind of rhetoric is inappropriate and stupid, period. All I’m suggesting is that there are many more shades of gray to this story than you’d think from the way that the media likes to cover it.
In case you’ve forgotten, the “story” that has so many “shades of gray” is that the Pope said condom distribution “increases the problem” of HIV/AIDs. The rest of Douthat’s argument (in which he implies that health activists should do more slut-shaming and speaking out against Africa’s supposed monolithic cultural biases against monogamy) is nothing more than a illusionist’s cunning use of misdirection. He obviously hopes his readers are to distracted to notice that what the Pope said was flat-out wrong and dangerous and that his position contributes mightily to the problems facing the fight against STDs.
Thanks for that, Mr. Douthat, you douchebag apologist for those who advocate for making the AIDS problem worse. Kindly take your “shades of gray” and stick them where the rest of us don’t have to see them.
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As someone who has no intention of ever getting married, I can appreciate some of the sentiment behind Miriam’s argument.
I still think that it would be best for everyone if married people (straight or gay) weren’t given special rights (tax, health care, inheritance or otherwise). Do I think it will be easier to dismantle these rights if gay people can get married too? Probably not. Honestly, it might even be harder once queers can marry. The main problem is there are few people fighting to reshape the institution of marriage and the state benefits attached to it. Why? Because not very many people want to give up their privilege for the benefit of others.
So while I have a very emotional response to the good news about gay marriage, it’s coupled with a tinge of ambivalence and worry that this will be the end of our fight.
While it’s legitimate to argue that there are rights and privileges associated with marriage that are misguided in terms of public policy, I have a fundamental disagreement with Miriam here, in that I think the best way to combat privilege is not to try to remove the privilege, but raise the non-privileged toward greater equality. Miriam is correct that people aren’t going to want to give up their privileges, and so any course of action designed to fix these kind of inequalities needs to focus not on stripping right from married couples, but extending those rights to LGBT people, unmarried partners, and other non-traditional family groups.
Miriam seems to agree, as she notes in the comments:
In taking away those rights, I mean they shouldn’t be limited to who you are married to (in the eyes of the state).
If one of my health insurance benefits is that I can extend those benefits to someone, what if instead of needing to be married to them, I was simply allowed to choose who got those benefits?
Same thing for hospital visitation. Shouldn’t I get to decide who visits me, regardless of their relationship to me in the eyes of the state?
All of these things would help us expand our ideas of how family is defined, and not only benefit people in particular types of relationships.
But this seems a different argument than the one she’s making in her post, and this isn’t merely a matter of semantics. There is a big difference between “dismantling” marriage rights and extending those rights to a much broader conception of family. There is, I would argue, a legitimate state interest in encouraging strong, supportive families,* which is one of many reasons why it is so important to fight for gay marriage. Everything from insurance to retirement to inheritance to child care rests on legal rights associated with marriage. Our best course of action–and the only one I can see that is both progressive and can reasonably work–is to extend these rights in exactly the way she suggests in the comments.
I suspect I don’t actually disagree with much of anything that Miriam actually wants to accomplish, if her comment is any indication. But I do respectfully suggest that her framing of the issue is unhelpful. The more that the state recognizes the importance of supporting (broadly defined) families, and the importance of understanding a much broader conception of family not based merely on genetics and rituals, the better off we will all be. And if we want to achieve this, it’s important that we don’t give credence to the idea that this somehow hurts heterosexual marriages: we Miriam’s comment proposes would actually be a huge benefit for families of all stripes, and a benefit for society.
Any discussion of this issue needs to be framed with such concerns in mind.
*As a progressive, I strongly support the need for a social safety net. Such nets are much more likely to work when people can receive legal recognitions for spouses, significant others, children, relatives, and many other members of one’s family, broadly defined. Take hospital visitation rights: as a matter of policy, there must be some restriction on who can see a patient. It’s in the best interest of those patients to have as much say over who qualifies as “family” as possible. Making it easier to form legally-recognized families improves lives, offers additional security, and helps protect social stability, all of which strike me as both good ethics and good public policy.