Hump Day Craziness

I read this yesterday and it lead me to some interesting questions.  Well, they were interesting to me anyway.  I’ve been fascinated with the different factions of the Republican Party and the increased number of Libertarians who primarily seem to vote Republican when there is no Libertarian around to vote for.  This piece mentions the possible break between Evangelical Christian Republicans and conservative Catholics over the new Pope’s recent comments regarding gays and poverty.  It appears to me that Libertarians have also broken with the Christian wing of the Republican Party over many social issues.   I’ve learned from our discussions here that Libertarians seem to be for both open borders and abortion, in some cases “on demand”, even I don’t believe in either of those suggestions, so is that to the left of me?

I guess I’m wondering where all this will eventually lead.  How hard will it be for Libertarians to vote for a Republican of the evangelical sort?  Is it just a case of voting for the lesser of two evils in a Presidential election, or even a local election?  When do your votes and principles collide?  I swallowed my objections and voted for Obama because of health care, and a couple of other accomplishments I supported,  rather than third party, which is what I normally do.  A big fat wasted vote either way really.

My thoughts rambled from the original piece but I wanted you guys to see how it got me thinking.  I’m finding it somewhat interesting that I tend to vote social issues and for the preservation of things such as Social Security, Medicare and other safety net protections.  There doesn’t seem to be that much difference to me in the reality of economic policy between the parties or for that matter even foreign policy now that many conservatives seem to be more isolationist than they were in the past, but I’m guessing the Libertarians/Conservatives here don’t agree and vote their pocket book, or is it all big vs small government and the demolition of the safety net that motivates y’all.  I’m curious.  It seems to me that the differences between us are more along the lines of priorities.  I think we all value similar things but just place more weight on some than others.  Or maybe I’m delusional.

I think it is a safe bet that if Pope Francis I lives more than a few years that Catholics will soon be kicked out of the Republican Party and resume their previous status as the semi-black race. The reason is simple. Pope Francis I is on the opposite side of the political divide from Pope John Paul II. The Polish pope was a Cold Warrior who basically took the Reagan-Thatcher line on left-leaning political movements in the Third World, including in Latin America. The Argentinian Jesuit pope isn’t a communist, but he advocates for the poor without any apology.

For now, conservative American Catholics are trying to parse the distinction, but it isn’t going to work. They are not going to be able to embrace The Slum Pope who wants to “make a mess” of the established order within the Church by encouraging young people to shake up the dioceses and force them to embrace the convicts, drug addicts, and the truly impoverished.

Our country is uniquely unable to appreciate this change specifically because our right wing succeeded in categorizing the left in the Third World (and, to an extent, even in Europe) as communist in sympathy. The right assumes that the Vatican is an ally in all things, but that is no longer even close to being the case. On so-called family values, the papacy is still reliably conservative, even if it can’t be counted on anymore to demonize homosexuality. But on economic issues, the papacy is now a dedicated enemy of the Republican Party.

Before long, the right will have no choice but to break from the pope, and then their opposition will grow to a point that the alliance between Catholics and evangelicals will not hold.

There sure has been a lot of talk lately about women.  I’ve been troubled by some of it as it seems we’re going backwards in some respects.  There are too many stories to link but between all the states enacting TRAP laws, all the strange definitions of rape, the mayor of San Diego’s bizarre harassment and who has and has not shielded him from investigation, the treatment of rape victims in the military,  USC redefining rape as not rape if there is no ejaculation (my personal favorite), who is and isn’t hot enough to either run for office or other more nefarious activities, etc. etc. that I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on.  Maybe nothing ever really changed.  I’m concerned that so much of it has become political football.  I thought this piece on the subtleties of how a woman can succeed in the financial industry was pretty troubling.

Our youngest is working in another male dominated industry and is constantly trying to determine how to proceed on her merits while most of the men are attracted to her looks.  She has a few male mentors who seem to take her seriously so she’s focusing on that and trying to stay away from the guys who want to date her and stay focused on her work.  She’s discovering it’s an interesting dynamic that has many challenges.  She faced numerous challenges as a grad student but that was nothing compared to what she’s dealing with now.

It doesn’t help when other women give this kind of advice.

New details have emerged from a bias lawsuit filed by three former employees of Merrill Lynch against the company, which alleges that during training they were instructed to read a book called “Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics From a Woman at the Top” and emulate its advice.

The tips in the book, published by New York Magazine’s The Cut, are truly shocking. “I play on [men’s] masculine pride and natural instincts to protect the weaker sex,” says a section of the book advising women on how to get men to do their work. “Unless he is morbidly obese, there is no man on earth who won’t puff up at this sentence: Wow, you look great. Been working out?” suggests a portion on diffusing tense situations.

On a lighter note the Anthony Weiner story is in another realm altogether in my opinion.  I guess I’d like to know why his wife is standing by him but it’s none of my business really.  Otherwise it seems to be a case of “consenting adults” which doesn’t bode well for his marriage or his candidacy but otherwise is just more creepily entertaining than anything else.

I wish I could share all the “Carlos Danger” jokes my husband has come up with, they’re hysterical, and just pop out of his mouth at the most inconvenient times.  He’s a true comic and I’ve thanked my lucky stars more than once that he makes me laugh.  Anyway we’ve had a lot of fun at Anthony Weiner’s expense around here.  I saw this and couldn’t resist.

Anthony Weiner Forever

Weiner forever

Weekend Open Thread—Religion………yikes

I’m very interested in religion and religious views, although I’d prefer to read what others have to say than share my own thoughts……….hah.  Seriously, religion has always been a highly personal thing for me and I don’t generally discuss my views.  In some ways it’s because they’re always evolving so what I say today I may not actually agree with tomorrow and I don’t like to be held to a standard of consistency.  Consistency isn’t something I’m well known for anyway, just ask Scott (that’s a joke btw).

I guess if I were to describe myself religiously it would be as an agnostic who enjoys attending church, but only very specific types of churches and each one for very different selfish reasons.  I also consider agnosticism as a true cop out but there I sit nonetheless.  I’m neither an atheist nor a Christian but I found this article on atheists, and agnostics to a lesser extent, enlightening if you will.

What kind of atheist are you anyway?  I think everyone will recognize me right away but I’m curious about the rest of you atheists.  Number six was my favorite but it’s not me.

6. Ritual Atheist/Agnostic. While you might think the anti-theist is the non-believer type that scares Christians the most, it turns out that it may very well be the Ritual Atheist/Agnostic. This group, making up 12.5 percent of atheists, doesn’t really believe in the supernatural, but they do believe in the community aspects of their religious tradition enough to continue participating. We’re not just talking about atheists who happen to have a Christmas tree, but who tend to align themselves with a religious tradition even while professing no belief. “Such participation may be related to an ethnic identity (e.g. Jewish),” explain researchers, “or the perceived utility of such practices in making the individual a better person.” The  Christian Post clearly found this group most alarming, titling their coverage of this study “Researchers: ‘Ritual’ Atheists and Agnostics Could Be Sitting Next to You in Church,” and giving the first few paragraphs over to concern that people in your very own congregation may not actually believe in your god. The atheism, it seems, might be coming from inside the house (of God).

Another subject that interests me, and one I’ve been reading an awful lot about lately especially in the context of politics, is ageism.  I don’t agree with everything in this piece but I did find it thought provoking.  As a ‘B Word’ boomer it’s always in the back of my mind of course that a lot of us are much worse off financially that we imagined we’d be (not me necessarily) and that we’ve become so reviled (hopefully that’s too strong of a word) by younger generations.  Republicans, and even some Democrats, are certainly using Hillary as an example of someone who is too old to run for President and it’s becoming pretty pervasive so I’m wondering who agrees.  I’m not a Hillary fan, and I’ve stated publicly that I hope she doesn’t run, but it’s only partially because I’d prefer to see someone younger run.

Anyway, I thought this showed a unique perspective on us boomers and you millennials as well.  For the rest of you……meh.  And true to form for my posts, there’s obviously something for everyone to hate in this piece.

It’s corruption, stupid. Like the majority of ’60s radicals, who came from liberal families, millennials feel betrayed by their parents’ generation. Instead of placing the blame on the doorsteps of K Street lobbyists, many see government as the problem.

“Government has obviously become a place where opportunistic people go to get rich,” said a 32-year-old Internet entrepreneur. “Most millennials know only Bill Clinton, who seemed kind of cool until it turned out he was a shill for corporations and the banking lobby, and Bush, who was unabashedly awful as we all know. Then there’s Obama, who seemed great until he turned out to be a lying, spying, bailer-out who gets all his advice from the same lobbyists he promised over and over ‘will not work in my White House.’ ”

That disenchantment is emerging in voting numbers. In 2008, Barack Obama won the 18-29 vote by 34 points. But in 2012, as disappointment with his performance rose, Obama’s edge among these voters dropped to 23 percent. The erosion of support wasn’t lost on Republicans. Like Latinos, the millennials are considered up for grabs in 2016.

Although the feeling of betrayal is understandable, there is something regressive and childlike about ascribing so much power to your parents. Viewing history through the lens of a generation has its limits. Idealists are always flawed, and every generation has its complement of hustlers, toadies and arrivistes. Historical forces larger than the individual determine winners and losers: in this case, globalization, technology, and America’s rise and fall as an imperial power.

And just for fun:

friend

obamacare

Sunday Funnies and Open Thread

I’m not going to say “I told you so” but I did have the feeling this was going to happen somewhere.  I just don’t think all civic responsibilities lend themselves that well to private enterprise.

It would be interesting to uncover what is happening in other states.  Maybe it’s going better than in these three.

Because the private sector can do everything better, more efficiently, and therefore more cheaply than government, many states have outsourced their prisons to private prison companies to generate cash, and to save money in their budgets. However, three states have now dumped the largest private prison company in the U.S., due to numerous, serious issues. According to ThinkProgress, Idaho cut ties with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), while Texas closed two CCA prisons of its own, and Mississippi ended their relationship with CCA as well. All of this happened within the last month. The problems these states were seeing ranged from inhumane conditions (including the use of prison gangs, denying access to medical care, bad food and sanitation, widespread abuse by guards, and more) to financial problems, such as falsifying hours to extract more money from the government, and deliberately understaffing the prisons.

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Ralph Nader says it’s not just about privacy when we consider the NSA story, it’s about privatization of what were and maybe should still be government functions.

This is a stark example of the blurring of the line between corporate and governmental functions. Booz Allen Hamilton, the company that employed Mr. Snowden, earned over $5 billion in revenues in the last fiscal year, according to The Washington Post. The Carlyle Group, the majority owner of Booz Allen Hamilton, has made nearly $2 billion on its $910 million investment in “government consulting.” It is clear that “national security” is big business.

Given the value and importance of privacy to American ideals, it is disturbing how the terms “privatization” and “private sector” are deceptively used. Many Americans have been led to believe that corporations can and will do a better job handling certain vital tasks than the government can. Such is the ideology of privatization. But in practice, there is very little evidence to prove this notion. Instead, the term “privatization” has become a clever euphemism to draw attention away from a harsh truth. Public functions are being handed over to corporations in sweetheart deals while publicly owned assets such as minerals on public lands and research development breakthroughs are being given away at bargain basement prices.

These functions and assets—which belong to or are the responsibility of the taxpayers—are being used to make an increasingly small pool of top corporate executives very wealthy. And taxpayers are left footing the cleanup bill when corporate greed does not align with the public need.

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And last, I hate that Paula Deen story.  I don’t follow her cooking show or know too much about her but I have watched her a few times when my husband flips through the channels.  She always seemed like a bit of a character to me.  If what everyone’s saying is true it sounds like she made some pretty inappropriate and even racist comments and then botched the apology.  Sheesh, I grew up with people who used the “n” word which was completely cringe worthy and caused a lot of family arguments and even tears on occasion.  But, and this is a big but, there are ways and then better ways to comment or make your point.  I thought this story had a perspective we don’t see in print very often.  It’s something I think about a lot.

When the story broke, media coverage was almost tabloid-like. Not surprising, considering it was the National Enquirer that broke the story. In this day and age, when people want easily digestible bites of information rather than well-detailed and supported fact-based news, many saw the titles and nothing more. Titles such as ‘Paula Deen Admits To Using The N-Word’ and ‘Paula Deen’s Apology for Using The N-Word Is Ridiculous.’ As a result, reactions weren’t much better. As one of my colleagues said, it’s as if someone popped the lid off Ugly and let it all spill out. On Facebook, one page posted a picture of Deen with the text of the alleged comment, captioned “Racist Tw*t… Yes you are.” The ensuing comments on the post ranged from civil discussion to “racist white trash c*nt,” “C*nt fucking retard,” and “shove a stick of butter up her ass.” Really?

There were cases where people made offending remarks about her weight, about her diabetes, about being southern. People called for her to be hanged and lynched. People called her a “cracker,” a “honkey,” and other vulgar, racist words for whites. People called her a bigot, a racist, a bitch, all while calling her that most vile word you can call a woman– a c*nt. I won’t even spell it out, I find it so offensive. Since when did it become socially acceptable to skewer someone with the same type of ignorant language you are accusing them of using?

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I so want to write this kind of long(ish) sentence sometimes……haha

economic cartoon

evidence comic

women comic

Father’s Day WEEKEND Open Thread

That’s right, we celebrate the whole weekend at our house.  But then we celebrate our birthdays for at least a week (sometimes longer) and Christmas for at least two.  And since this place is heavily populated by men I would be remiss if I didn’t wish all of you Dad’s a Happy Father’s Day.

I lost my dad when I was 56 and I miss him every day.  I think I’ve mentioned before that we had a pretty rocky relationship while I was in my 20’s but we found our way back to each other  and a big part of the reason we were able to do so is because he was my best friend when I was a child.  He worked really hard and very long hours but nearly every free moment he had was spent with his girls and we loved it.  He always knew I was a little sponge and so he filled me up with values and lessons that are still a huge part of me to this day.

And luckily for me I’m also blessed with a terrific husband who could easily win a “Best Father of the Year” award.  So I appreciate fatherhood and hope y’all have a great weekend with your kids if they’re around or at least that you are acknowledged gratefully by them if you’re separated by some miles.

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And a few links for those of you who check in……………….feel free to add your own.

Income inequality in the United States—already well above that experienced in other advanced economies—has surpassed Gilded Age levels, and the Great Recession and ongoing jobs crisis will exacerbate this trend until full employment is restored. While market forces are the primary driver of rising inequality, recent economic research suggests that tax policy has contributed as well, both by exacerbating after-tax income inequality since the late 1970s and by spurring a shift of pretax income toward high-income households.

Facebook became the first to release aggregate numbers of requests, saying in a blog post that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data in the second half of 2012, covering 18,000 to 19,000 of its users’ accounts.

Warningdon’t read this if you’re eating, prone to sudden bouts of queasiness or unable to even think about Un Chien Andalou without simultaneously bursting into tears and dry-heaving. Believe me, I’m speaking from experience here.

And last but not least:

Comic

Sunny Fundays

In the tradition of his talking cigarettes and joints, Gary Trudeau has added a new character, Jimmy Crow, to anthropize the voter disenfranchisement trend.

You expect this sort of pointed political commentary from Doonesbury, but you don’t expect Marmaduke to be doing topical pointed election humor.

In this case, they are clearly making fun of the recent news stories about household pets getting voter application notices.

For our more finance and market oriented ATiMers, can there be a more succinct explanation of the Greater Fool theory than this comic:

Finally, I will not pass comment on the veracity of the assertations in this strip.

See you in the funny papers.

Bits & Pieces (Wednesday Night Open Mic)

The days fly by. Already hump day, and I haven’t finished the stuff I meant to get done on Monday.

Startfire Sure Wears Less Clothes Than She Did When I Read Teen Titans (of course, she's not in the Teen Titans anymore).

The 5 Most Ridiculously Sexists Superhero Costumes.

Scientists say sugar is as toxic as alcohol, and there should be a drinking age for soda.

Some fly-by-night web startup called Facebook filed their IPO, which values the company at $100 zillion dollars.

Republicans direct police to detain documentary crew to keep them from filing a hearing on natural gas. Oh, that doesn’t make them look like a collect group of mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplashes.

And right under that on Dvorak, do you think Big Brother should be watching everybody? Well, now there’s an app for that.

Back to Starfire. How would someone even wear something like that? It would have to be painted on. Sheesh.

That’s it. Blessing and karma to all! — KW 

Moderately Funny Open Thread

Happy play off Sunday all.  Today I’m a SF fan, what are you?

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