“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
Art is powerful. Through art nations have been swayed toward greatness … and toward Obama. Via the arts souls have been lifted and wars have been waged. There’s no mistaking the mighty leverage art wields on people and lands.
For instance, on a personal level, my buddy Hambone Tweedle lives in a house that his wife has decorated with Hello Kitty swag, ubiquitous doilies and posters of fat baby angels who look like they’re stoned out of their gourd on Robitussin. His flat ...
In February 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder said America is a “nation of cowards” on race because we don’t talk about. So let’s talk about it.
Progressives are up in arms over the prospect of voters being required to show something at the polls they must show regularly to function as a productive member of society – a photo ID. It’s because progressives, particularly progressive Democrats, have a vested interest in preventing as many people as possible, especially minorities, from becoming productive members of society.
Productive members of society – and ...
Demographic forecasts generally take the form of predicting more of the same.
Old people have been moving to Florida for the past several years, and old people will move there for the next few years. Immigrants have been streaming in from Mexico, and they will continue to do so. You get the idea.
Most of the time these forecasts prove right. But sometimes there are inflection points, times when some trends stop and others begin. My read of recent demographic data suggest we may be at such a point right now.
These inflection ...
Newsweek Writer: “We have this ‘liberty’ business completely backward in this country, and if Bloomberg can start rebalancing individual freedom and the public good, God bless him, I say.”
In a stunningly awful
column, Newsweek/Daily Beast contributing
editor Michael Tomasky
continues his war on the libertarian-conservative fetish for
"liberty" by charging that Americans have far too much of
the stuff already:
There’s only one way to say something like this, and it’s loud
and proud and without apology: I wholeheartedly support Mike
Bloomberg’s war on sugar. It’s unassailable as policy. Refined
sugar is without question the worst foodstuff in the world for
human health, and high-fructose corn syrup is little better. We are
a fat country getting fatter and fatter, and these mountains of
refined sugar that people ingest are a big part of the reason. The
costs to the health-care system are enormous, so the public
interest here is ridiculously obvious. Obesity is a killer. Are we
to do nothing, in the name of the “liberty” that entitles
millions of people to kill themselves however they please, whatever
their diabetes treatments costs their insurers? We have
this “liberty” business completely backward in this
country, and if Bloomberg can start rebalancing individual freedom
and the public good, God bless him, I say.
It’s a policy designed to guide people toward a certain kind of
behavior. This talk of “freedom” is absurd. No one’s freedom is
being taken away. When the rule goes into effect, probably by
September, assuming the city’s board of health votes it through
(it's appointed by the mayor), New Yorkers will still be able to
buy these beverages. And those who really feel that they will
perish unless they have 32 ounces of Mountain Dew Code Red can
simply buy two. Nothing is being banned, and no one’s being
Are bacon-cheeseburgers next? As a practical matter, no. Sodas
are an easy target because there is nothing, nothing, nutritionally
redeeming about them. But might there come a day when the New York
City Department of Health mandates that burgers be limited to, say,
four ounces? Indeed there might. And why not? Eight- and ten-ounce
burgers are sick things.
We have a health crisis in this country. A country with half of
its adults living in a condition of obesity is a sick country,
quite literally, spending probably not billions but trillions on
the associated illnesses and maladies. Under such conditions, the
state has every right to take action on behalf of the common good.
We once had an epidemic of traffic deaths. We didn’t ban driving.
But we came up with a device that is a minor inconvenience at most.
And so seatbelts became mandatory, and now the epidemic has
receded. A few people still foolishly oppose seatbelts. But
most of us accept them and understand that whatever little dollop
of our freedom is taken away as we latch up is more than
countervailed by the practical upside.
The kicker is the best part:
One day, if the country comes to its senses, we’ll reverse the
obesity trend and, just as we now chuckle at the prevalence of
smoking on Mad Men, we’ll say, “Can you believe
people used to peddle this treacle in 64-ounce doses?” We will not
only have done something about obesity. We’ll have won an important
victory over Libertarianism Gone Wild, a far bigger threat to
society than even Sunkist Orange.
Tomasky railed against the "right's 'freedom fetish.'" I
quote: "This 'freedom' business is simply paranoid and delusional.
I defy anyone to name for me a specific and precise freedom that
Obama has taken away from the American people. You can’t. When
they’re not just invented out of whole cloth by multi-millionaire
propagandists, all such laments are based on ignorance about what
freedom actually means and an equal ignorance about how our system
of government works."
With a gruffer yet equally
well-reasoned defense of Bloomberg's soda ban, here's Drew
Magary at Gawker:
New York city residents were already fully aware that Bloomberg
was prone to implementing drastic public health measures, like the
2003 ban on smoking in bars. And yet, they re-elected him. In other
words, New Yorkers were FREE to vote for the man who installed laws
that they apparently considered both sane and reasonable. That's
how democracy works. Democracy is not OH MY GOD THESE LAWS WILL
MAKE US PUSSIES! Democracy is people working together to sort out
just what the rules of society should be. Obviously, this process
is labored and often hilariously corrupt, but that's what living in
a "free country" is supposed to mean. It doesn't mean that you get
to grab a gun and storm City Hall just because you think a soda ban
is some kind of sign of the End Times. It's fucking soda. Don't be
such a pussy that you can't live without a 42 oz. cup of the shit.
If you're the type to flip out just because you can't have that,
then who's the real pussy?
For something more sensible, read liberty-loving freedom-fanatic
Baylen Linnekin on Bloomberg's history of "regulating
city residents within an inch of their lives."
Last Monday, a shopping center in downtown Nairobi erupted into chaos when a bomb exploded, killing at least one person and injuring dozens. While the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab has not claimed responsibility, evidence, according to Kenyan officials, indicates that the attack was carried out by al-Shabaab or one of its sympathizers. More sophisticated than the recent spate of grenade attacks, the escalation of violence was not entirely unexpected. Last October, the Kenyan government...
Click the title to read the full post.
Some interesting happenings at today’s Wisconsin’s Brown County Dairy Breakfast*:
[Democratic gubernatorial recall candidate Tom] Barrett was greeted warmly by some of the breakfast-goers — at least one man told him Barrett he was voting for him, prompting Barrett to joke, “Give him a lot of really good food” — but others reacted differently, telling Barrett they were voting for [Republican Governor Scott] Walker and not shaking his hand when he extended it.
Asked if he got this kind of reaction when he ran against Walker in 2010, Barrett said, “No no, this is a newer occurrence.”
Ann Althouse chalks this up to combined voter fatigue/revulsion; I agree, but I do want to take mild exception to BuzzFeed’s title (“What It’s Like At America’s Most Polarized Dairy Breakfast“). “Polarized” implies a reasonably even split; and, judging from the article itself, there was no even split. People at that breakfast were portrayed as being generally tired of the recall, and by implication being generally tired of Tom Barrett, and by implication being generally tired of the Wisconsin Democratic party. I can’t imagine that the anti-Walker forces are going to be happy about any of that.
Honestly? The Democrats should have thrown in their cards when the Wisconsin primary results came in, and it turned out that Scott Walker – despite not actually having an actual primary opponent – managed to get almost as many votes as the entire Democratic slate combined. Admittedly, that would have meant that the Democrats would have to have confessed that they had thrown away tens of millions of their supporters’ money – money that could have gone to other candidates; candidates that could have won – but as it stands Wisconsin Democrats have merely thrown away that money anyway. There’s a certain moral courage involved in not throwing good money after bad…
…oh, right, I forgot. We’re talking about the Democratic party leadership, here.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: I need hardly say to my Wisconsin readers: Go Vote On Tuesday. That’s because I know that my Wisconsin readers are already eagerly counting the days until Tuesday, and that they blocked out their visit to the voting booth months ago.
*This is one of those American local political traditions that generally get ignored by inside-the-Beltway types, right up to the point when there’s an actual election and it turns out that such events are often accurate harbingers of DOOM.
Obama's tax and spending problem isn't just an economic issue, it's a moral issue as well. “I only care about the moral issues.” If I’ve heard that phrase once, then I’ve heard it a few hundred times. It’s a common response among social conservatives during campaigns and election cycles. And this year, as [...]
What is happening at the Bilderberg meeting this weekend and who is attending? They may be violating the law. Not much really needs to be said in this particular column. For decades, Americans have been speculating about what takes place behind the closed doors of the secret meetings of the Bilderberg Group. This weekend, the [...]
A Turkish criminal court this week indicted four Israeli military leaders in absentia for their alleged killing of nine Turkish citizens during the Free Gaza Flotilla in 2010, a police source in Israel told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
The indictment affidavit from Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Ekinci was given to the court last week and its approval Monday begins the trial process, even though none of [...]
Many poor women have abandoned marriage for welfare-state economic advantages. Too many women will marry each other for the additional economic advantages, not to mention the impenetrable matriarchal legal structure that same-sex marriage is designed to establish.
Marrying the welfare state to big government “Marital responsibility” is the priceless institution greatly missing in [...]
Women always like to put your shoe on their foot until they break their ankle.
Once again it is not the traditionalist Republicans but the wide-open minded Democrats who are waging a war on women. Although this time they are looking to put women in war, in active combat positions. They want to further [...]
Today we have a classic tale of a dim-witted conspiracy theory, made up out of thin air and totally unsupported assumptions, factually wrong yet believed by thousands of wingnuts.
This is the tale, my friends, of the dreaded "Twitter Gulag" -- the wingnuts' grandiose self-pitying name for having their accounts suspended for harassing, stalking, and spamming liberals, which, in their alleged minds, is exactly like being imprisoned in a communist forced labor death camp.
This persecution fantasy is spelled out in a ludicrous blog post at "The Trenches:" #TwitterGulag : How It Works... and What to Do | the Trenches.
For anyone familiar with the Conservative communities of Twitter, the hashtag #TwitterGulag is probably familiar by now. If you’re not familiar, it’s the term adopted after a spate of accounts began to be suspended for barely discernible reasons. Users brand new to Twitter who looked to be part of the Conservative community, and even some that were relatively well established, fell victim to the fun little system exploit that a select group of Lefties discovered and began to spread among their circles. It’s been an ongoing problem that Twitter is well aware of. Brooks Bayne originally wrote about this exploit in 2008.
How it Works:
Thanks to the work of Twitter user @SemperBanU (SBU) (give a follow, if you feel like it), the exploit, and how it was disseminated among Lefty’s [sic] has become apparent. According to SBU, what the Lefty jerks discovered is that the “block and report for spam feature” IS COMPLETELY AUTOMATED. There is not a human sitting at the other end to review the reports, there’s just a computer, and like any machine, it can be fooled.
OK, let's start by pointing out that the claim made in the bold section above is... well, it's completely false. As in, wrong.
Here's what the official Twitter Blog has to say about the "Block and Report" feature: Twitter Blog: Help Us Nail Spammers.
Folks can now help us conquer spam by calling our attention to a profile they find questionable. Click the “Report as spam” button under the Actions section of a profile’s sidebar and our Trust and Safety team will check it out to see what needs to be done. No automated action will be taken as a result of reporting a user as spam (in other words, it can't be used to incite an angry mob against an account you don't like.)
In other words, the right wingers who claim that "Lefty jerks" are exploiting an automated feature that suspends accounts without human intervention are simply... wrong. Mistaken. Hoist with their own petards. There is no "COMPLETELY AUTOMATED" system.
What's more, the "Block and Report" feature was specifically designed by Twitter in order to prevent exactly the kind of organized blocking campaigns about which the #TwitterGulag morons are hallucinating.
The page titled How to Report Spam on Twitter at the Twitter Help Center confirms that accounts reported as spam are reviewed by their Trust and Safety Team, not automatically suspended by computer systems, and that "blocking and reporting" does not guarantee an account will be suspended:
What Happens to Reported Accounts?
After you click the “report as spam” link. We’ll do the following:
You may not immediately or definitely see this account suspended.
Returning to that incredibly dumb post at "The Trenches," they continue on to claim that this nonexistent campaign to put conservatives in concentration camps is being organized by... me. Yes, because I am just that evil, people. (Insert villainous cackle.)
According to SBU, the originator of this attack seems to be one Neal Rauhauser. (Shocking I know). At the beginning of April, Rauhauser began to contact Charles Johnson (@lizardoid and of Little Green Footballs fame), an unholy alliance if there ever was one. Rauhauser passed this fun little exploit along to Jazzytail (Charles – see: his ponytail), and Jazzytail passed it along to HIS followers and comrades, with the specific intent of targeting conservative types.
None of this ever happened. Nobody ever "passed an exploit" to me, and I never passed it on to anyone else, because there is no exploit. This whole scheme exists only in the feverish imaginations of right wing fanatics and stalkers.
I won't bother responding to any more of this trash -- I'll just point out that the anonymous person who's being cited as an authority on Twitter, "SemperBanU," (formerly known, charmingly, as "ButFukChuk") is one of a gang of obsessed right wing weirdos who have been stalking me online for years. He uses my name as his Twitter screen name, and a crude caricature (that I assume is supposed to be me) as his avatar, he tweets about nothing except how much he hates me, he stalks and harasses anyone I follow on Twitter, and he comes from a website run by someone who admitted publicly to committing violent hate crimes against Muslims, a website where videos are posted that praise the neo-Nazi book, "The Turner Diaries," one of the inspirations for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
These facts could possibly explain why SemperBanU's account has been suspended multiple times by Twitter's Trust and Safety Team.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is
seeking to invoke class warfare in his sinking recall campaign
against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Dustin Hurst writes, and to
prove the governor favors the interests of the rich and powerful
over ordinary citizens, he's brought in a former president with a
net worth of more than $80 million. Bill Clinton lashed out at
Walker during a visit late last week, saying common sense calls for
“shared prosperity” in good times and “shared sacrifice” in tough
times. But even fond memories of the late-nineties economic boom
couldn't put much juice into Barrett's claim that Walker is "making
the wealthiest people the happiest people” or explain why the
current president is not setting foot in the Badger
Peter Collier has written a tremendous chronicle of the life of one of Ronald Reagan’s essential colleagues.
Quintessential American and true intellectual, she brought common sense to the crazy-quilt world of international politics. She gave no quarter to strong men pursuing her agenda to bring down tyrannies, in the process helping formulate what [...]