30 March 2012

The Infidel is [OUT]

I will (probably) be without internet access for a couple of days. The link round-up will appear late Sunday or perhaps Monday. Update: There will not be a link round-up for this weekend -- it will be back as usual on the 8th.

29 March 2012

Fire from the Heavens

I already posted the American trailer for Prometheus here, but different trailers can give a subtly different view of a film, or at least glimpses of a few different scenes.

British trailer:

Russian trailer:

It looks like it's basically going to be about this guy:

Called the "Space Jockey" by fans, this long-dead creature appears early in the first film, and it's later obvious that he and his ship were earlier victims of the titular Alien, but he's never mentioned again. The fan discussion site has a lot of speculation about the storyline and the relationship between Space Jockey species, the Aliens, and humanity's origin, but clearly the trailers don't reveal as much as they seem to.

I do hope this movie isn't going to be wasted on just another trite "message" about technological hubris and "there are things man was not meant to know (or do)" clichés. That's been done to death a thousand times over -- since the Greek tale of Icarus, in fact. Science fiction, and the Alien saga especially, are capable of being so much more. I have a feeling the story will be more imaginative than most are expecting.

28 March 2012

We can't afford complacency

Watching the Republican primary clown show, the deranged forced- ultrasound laws and other anti-women legislation and gaffes, polls showing massive public support for Medicare, Social Security, and higher taxes on the rich, etc., it's easy to assume that we're looking at a landslide win in November. Unfortunately there's not much evidence of that at the moment. Consider:

Most polls have been showing Obama with only a narrow lead over Romney, occasionally even trailing Romney.

The latest poll shows the recall effort against Walker losing, though by a very narrow margin.

Until last week, Warren was trailing Brown in Massachusetts.

A lot more Democratic Senators than Republican ones are facing re-election this year.

Yes, a third candidate might split the right-wing vote, but the same danger exists on our side.

Republican rhetoric about socialism, "liberty", greedy unions, the rich as "job creators", etc. has a lot of resonance among the paranoids and LIVs isolated from reality in the Fox/Drudge bubble.

And there's still a small but significant number of idiots bleating that "there's no difference between the parties", as if Republicans would have put Kagan and Sotomayor on the Supreme Court, passed the ACA (imperfect as it is), removed DADT, etc., etc., etc. Anybody who still believes such nonsense is probably beyond persuasion; there's no one more naïve than a cynic.

It's hard to know why exactly the Republicans aren't doing worse in the polls, considering how unpopular most of their positions are. True, with the election so far away, many voters aren't paying much attention yet. A bigger factor, though, is that not many people actually decide whom to vote for on the basis of those issues. The huge unpopularity of the forced-ultrasound laws, for example, will have little impact on the election unless large numbers of people who would otherwise have voted Republican switch to voting Democratic because of them, and I've seen little hard evidence of that (most of the people who are really outraged would have voted Democratic anyway, so the outrage didn't change their votes).

In the current economic situation, the biggest vote-swayer is going to be jobs. The fact that most people still blame the recession on Bush rather than on Obama isn't as big a positive as we might think. They're much more interested in who can bring the jobs back than on who is to blame for the problem. If anything, the Republicans have probably been most hurt by the fact that they just talk too much about other issues (the deficit, birth control, etc.) instead of about jobs -- but Democrats have also failed to focus on jobs to anything like the extent that they need to.

Bill Maher is right
-- Obama could lose. And this is not just about Obama. Congress is equally important. Personally I think our side will, in fact, win by a big margin -- but I'm far from certain of it, and those who want to claim the contrary can point to plenty of evidence backing up their position.

The point is, we can't afford complacency. Everyone needs to do as much as they can and donate as much as they can. No matter what we believe will happen, we must fight every fight as if defeat were a real possibility and as if everything depended on winning (and there is a great deal at stake). If you know someone who thinks we've got this in the bag and plans to waste his vote on this year's Nader, give him a good talking-to. There'll be time to relax after we win.

[Image at top from Politics Plus]

27 March 2012

Video of the week -- how to honor your wife

Found via Maryam Namazie. An "imam" is a religious leader. If you assume such barbarism is unthinkable in North America, read this (sent by Republic of Gilead).

25 March 2012

Link round-up for 25 March 2012

Beware the black magic sperm hunters.

There's already a huge discussion forum for the Prometheus movie.

They were the 99%.

Show your support for Romney with a shirt.

No -- it's your friends who deserve the credit.

A Pennsylvania blogger looks at Santorum.

Productivity is up, but most of the gains aren't going to the producers.

Here's an entertaining example of the squabbling about religion that divides the right wing (start around comment 29).

Love, Joy, Feminism looks at pregnancy.

It's not "moderate" to compromise with lunatics.

Yes! Warren surges ahead of Brown in the polls.

Hold religion responsible for the cruelty and suffering caused by its teachings (found via Republic of Gilead).

Looks like we'll need women voters to save the country.

If you get sick in Pennsylvania, your doctor may not be allowed to tell you what it is.

How big of a deal is the etch-a-sketch gaffe?

My state is an epicenter of dangerous anti-vaccine crackpottery.

The best thing about this post on young people abandoning religion is the first comment.

Trayvon Martin wasn't the only person to be killed recently for "existing while black".

Part of the blame lies with phony "under-news".

How are rightists dealing with the Martin killing? Here's a sample -- and here's Gingrich's spin.

The "stand your ground" rule is not relevant to the case.

Why are so many conservatives taken in by global-warming denialism? Religion plays a role.

Santorum is too Vatican for American Catholics.

The Ozarks exemplify conservative values.

Republic of Gilead reports on the right wing attacks on the Violence Against Women Act, here and here.

As the election approaches, Obama gets tougher.

Yes, birth rates are plummeting, but right-wing alarmism about it is nonsense.

Can foreign learners help save Irish Gaelic?

The Catholic Church castrated boys in the 1950s to "cure" homosexuality.

Despite renewed threats from Argentina, Falklanders are optimistic about the future.

Russians have a more mature attitude toward changing political views than we do.

There's no room for political correctness when confronting religious fanaticism.

16-year-old Amina Filali committed suicide -- and the reason will shock you.

It's dangerous to be an emo in Iraq.

Will rising sea levels threaten your area?

TYWKIWDBI posts Jefferson's famous letter to the Danbury Baptists.

The CIA once conducted LSD experiments on unknowing Americans -- so what's it doing now?

24 March 2012

Quote for the day -- on not seeing

"That's one of the great frustrations of African-American life, those times when you are standing right there, minding your business, tending your house, coming home from the store, and other people are looking right at you, yet do not see you.

They see instead their own superstitions and suppositions, paranoia and guilt, night terrors and vulnerabilities. They see the perpetrator, the suspect, the mug shot, the dark and scary face that lurks at the open windows of their vivid imaginings. They see the unknown, the unassimilable, the other.

They see every thing in the world but you.

And their blindness costs you. First and foremost, it costs your sacred individuality. But it may also cost you a job, an education, your freedom. If you are unlucky like Trayvon Martin, it may even cost your life."

Leonard Pitts Jr.

22 March 2012

The Alien is back

Science fiction is my favorite literary genre. No other has such potential to explore ideas and stimulate new thinking. The first science-fiction novel ever written, Frankenstein, dealt with possible ethical problems arising from the creation of an artificial sentient being -- an issue we may soon actually find ourselves dealing with, two hundred years later. On film, however, science fiction too often means big, flashy pictures full of noise, explosions, overblown special effects, trite messages, and implausibly human-looking (and sexy) aliens -- and devoid of ideas. Science, too, is generally given short shrift, with scripts showing a distracting ignorance of basic concepts.

So the rare exceptions are all the more to be treasured.

Alien (1979) superficially looks like just another movie about a monster running amok and killing off a trapped group of people one by one; hundreds of those have been made, released, and forgotten over the decades. There's obviously more to it, though, otherwise the titular beast would not have achieved its iconic status in popular culture.

Most obviously, there's the monster's method of reproduction -- inspired by certain wasps which actually lay their eggs inside live caterpillars, with the larvae later eating their way out. Who's to say that such a parasite, large enough to use humans in the same manner, might not have evolved elsewhere in the universe? There's the arresting form of the monster itself, designed by the great HR Giger. There's the disturbing sexual undertones saturating the film, many of them too subtle to register on a conscious level. There's the whole distinctive look of the film, never quite matched before or since -- even by its own sequels, impressive though they were in their own right (I'm of course excepting the Alien vs. Predator atrocity, which I couldn't even bring myself to watch).

Which brings me to my point in writing here, the upcoming "prequel" Prometheus, to be released in June. Original director Ridley Scott is back, and -- well, see for yourself:

This looks like it could go either way. The Alien sequels were good precisely in that they took the risk of going beyond the first film into original territory of their own, and this one certainly looks as if it's going to do that. On the other hand, I'm disturbed by the nods to von Däniken (past alien intervention in human evolution is a perfectly valid SF topic, but it simply isn't true that "a little help along the way" is needed to explain that evolution, and von Däniken is a flagrant fraud). There's a hint of visual spectacle capable of overwhelming the story, the curse of so many modern SF films. And I have to wonder, in an age of hundred-million-dollar production budgets and nervous Hollywood executives who necessarily view such a huge investment as much more business than art, whether even Scott would be allowed to develop the kind of quirks and texture and depth that he worked into that much smaller and more under-the-radar film a third of a century ago.

But it looks great. And Scott is the man who, Alien aside, created the greatest science-fiction movie ever made. And in an age of movies adapted from ever-more-obscure comic books and kids' cartoons (I'm waiting for the first $200 million film adaptation of a bumper sticker), I can't help but feel encouraged at the arrival of such a work. I don't know whether Prometheus will be great -- but it could be, and I'll be there to find out.

20 March 2012

Video of the week -- in their own words

18 March 2012

Link round-up for 18 March 2012

Republicans rally around Romney (found via Progressive Eruptions).

Salamanders are cool.

The box is infallible.

They don't make Republicans like Eisenhower any more.

The right wing is vetting Sandra Fluke. And making stickers (more here).

What's on Romney's mind?

PZ Myers looks at another nut who thinks science and religion are compatible.

Mario Piperni laments the end of a 244-year-old tradition.

Ramona's Voices looks at the right-wing war on women.

Some homeowners are stopping foreclosures by using banks' own shoddy practices as a legal weapon against them.

The weird Republican primary is partly a legacy of Michael Steele's blundering tenure as party chair.

NPR is ripping off bloggers, apparently.

The number of armed hate groups in the US has exploded since 2008.

Romney wants to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood.

Texas law forces doctors to hurt people.

Bradlee Dean spreads primitive misogyny at an Iowa school.

Bill Maher responds to being compared with Limbaugh.

Jessica DelBalzo speaks truths about abortion that others won't.

Here's an interesting discussion among conservatives on Santorum's anti-porn jihad. Note especially comment 87 and comments by "Susan" -- yes, people like this really exist.

The killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, and the police response, illustrate the continuing problem of racism. More here.

Obama is the only recent President who hasn't increased government spending.

The author of that Rhode Island prayer banner is now bitching about Jessica Ahlquist's scholarship.

De-regulation and union-bashing will just mean more abuses, not more jobs.

Obama is starting to get the truth out about health-insurance reform, while Republicans lie about the costs.

Being stupid about elections has consequences.

Virginia drags its feet on exonerating the wrongly-convicted (sent by Mendip).

Polls on a Romney-vs-Obama race are still all over the map.

Minnesota school officials practice invasion of privacy worthy of fascists.

We shouldn't fear tax increases.

Defending Christianity on the basis of the Ten Commandments is stupid.

Arizona Republicans come up with yet another way to torment women. Wisconsin Republicans are no slackers either.

The war on women is really a war on sex -- especially birth control.

Limbaugh's ugly ranting may cost him his current beard.

The Romney-Santorum fight is just getting uglier.

Want to compare atheists and fundamentalists? Bring it on!

Santorum ignorantly blunders about science. No wonder Alabama and Mississippi Republicans went for him.

Here's the British Prime Minister's assessment of Obama.

The US isn't the only country with dumbass right-wing science-bashing.

It's impossible to defend Santorum's lies about the Netherlands.

Disease proliferates as austerity policies drive Greece toward Third World status.

Russia's "it girl" joins the anti-Putin movement.

Little Green Footballs and Stonekettle Station look at right-wing reactions to the mass killing in Afghanistan.

If this survey is accurate, it doesn't bode well for progress in Islamic countries.

Tim McGaha looks at Civil War technology.

A Canadian study on pornography fails, for an interesting reason.

The CFC ban worked -- the ozone layer is recovering.

Toxins in seafood may be fueling a rise in nervous-system degeneration -- including Alzheimer's.

Doctors are getting tougher on dangerous quackery.

Scientists in California have developed a way to repair mutations in mitochondrial DNA -- an important component of the aging process.

17 March 2012

Quote for the day -- work

"I can recall the 80s-era campaign to elasticize the 40-hour work week. For the most part, that campaign originated with a handful of Silicon Valley Randroids who were, at the time, considered very clever and very hip. The buzz word, then, was 'excellence.' And now? Now, America is not known for the excellence of its products or institutions. Germany is. In the words of the Sham-Wow guy: "They always make good stuff." Germany has prospered by specializing in high-end manufactured goods. And Germany has long had a 35 hour work week. Germans also get at least a month of paid vacay every year. We could be living like that, if not for the libertarians."

Joseph Cannon

And this is a must-read.

Video of the week -- for St. Patrick's Day

Celtic Thunder performs "Ireland's Call" in Dublin.

15 March 2012

Island haven?

The right wing argues that raising taxes back to historically-normal levels will have disastrous results; rich people will flee the country, jobs will not be created, etc. We're all aware of the historical counter-examples: taxes on the rich were much higher under Reagan than today, and in the 1950s and 1960s they were far higher even than that, but unemployment was low, the economy was growing well, and rich people were not fleeing the country -- while job creation has been mediocre ever since the huge Bush tax cuts.

But there's also a modern test case which is often overlooked: Puerto Rico. The island is a US territory and has most of the benefits that come with being part of the US, but it's entirely exempt from federal income taxes. If taxes are really such a problem, Puerto Rico should be an economic boom zone, and rich Americans should be flocking to reside there to escape federal income taxes.

Is that the case? Well, no. Almost half the population lives below the US poverty line. And there seems to be no flow of wealthy people leaving the mainland US to take up residence there.

Right-wing claims about the disastrous results of restoring normal tax levels are just another case of a hypothesis that sounds superficially logical but isn't supported by what happens in the real world.

14 March 2012

Quote for the day -- the babble of infancy

11 March 2012

Link round-up for 11 March 2012

Monopoly reflects a past era.

Negged by a PUA? Neg back!

Here's Romney summed up in one T-shirt.

Look at this left-wing pinko socialist.

Books and TV work differently.

The universe doesn't care.

Another world? No, England.

The Paultards have ruined some good words. But Limbaugh is giving us some words back.

Check out Audri Clemmons's monster trap (found via Mendip).

Sleestak has husband-hunting tips from the good old days.

It takes a humor site to tell the truth -- nobody succeeded all on his own.

If only these cops had been there for Seamus.

Anne Frank finally made it to Heaven.

Our financial parasite class doesn't even have this kind of style.

Romney is not the capitalist his father was.

Jamie Dimon thinks journalists are over-paid -- he should talk.

Dumbass newspaper editors refuse to run Doonesbury's attack on Texas's new anti-abortion law, thus guaranteeing it broader publicity (but kudos to the Dallas Morning News for running the strips).

Don't forget all the positive things that are happening.

They are out there, and they're coming for your children.

If older Americans ever actually understand the Republicans' plans for Social Security, they're toast.

Kirk Cameron has a very nasty friend.

Where are the real welfare bums?

Behold the arrogance and entitlement mentality of the financial parasite class. These are the people the Republicans insist we can't raise taxes on.

Moderate Republican Lisa Murkowski is alarmed at her party's contraception craziness. Our side should exploit this to the hilt (found via Republic of Gilead).

Limbaugh's choice of words wasn't the issue -- the substance was. Don't be misled by false equivalences with men like Bill Maher -- the left holds its spokesmen to a higher standard. Now the disgust with Limbaugh is affecting other right-wing shit-spewers too.

I don't know enough about Breitbart to write an obituary, but Plutocrap fills the gap.

Romney is not just broadly unpopular, he's losing a key Republican-leaning demographic.

In Ireland, atheists win a victory against religious lies.

Strauss-Kahn beat the rap, but people aren't forgetting.

The Sabatina James case illustrates the conflict between traditional culture and modernity.

Greece's plight shows the effects of the kind of policies Republicans support.

There was one thing that Himmler refused to tolerate.

Europe's last dictator is a nasty character.

Russia's election was marked by blatant fraud, and Moscow is seething. So what comes next?

Libya's new government will go after the religious bigots who desecrated non-Muslim graves from the World War II period. In Afghanistan, things look worse.

China is clearly slowing down. How much of a threat is it?

China and India have a long way to go to catch up with the Anglosphere.

Christianity foments witch-hunting, even today.

Ice coverage on the Great Lakes has declined massively over the last 40 years.

Sex workers need legal rights, not hysteria.

Creativity is stimulated by breaking established patterns -- which is why the right kind of immigration can help.

Collection of posts on Europe

These are my main posts on Europe and the European Union -- list to be updated as necessary.

8 May 2012:  Europeans are turning away from austerity and stagnation toward socialism and growth.

24 April 2012:  France leads the way toward the liberation of Europe.

16 April 2012:  As more and more leaders and parties openly challenge austerity and EU hegemony, Europe's liberation becomes inevitable.

15 Feb. 2012: The French Presidential election this April will be won by a socialist at odds with EU austerity policy.

26 Dec. 2011: Radical change is inevitable in Russia.

11 Dec. 2011: Britain defies EU schemes to undermine its economy.

3 Dec. 2011: EU elites' dreams of a common European identity are based on absurd misunderstandings of human nature.

19 Nov. 2011: The EU is openly attacking democracy in its member countries.

25 Oct. 2011: The British government's rejection of a referendum on EU membership contrasts oddly with rising democracy in the Arab countries.

19 Oct. 2011: Europeans' protests against EU austerity policies dwarf the Occupier demonstrations in the US.

17 Oct. 2011: Pat Condell has a great summation of what's wrong with the EU.

12 Aug. 2011 The shocking summer riots in Britain showed no signs of being political.

19 July 2011: Ireland is breaking free from Europe's other great evil institution: the Catholic Church.

29 June 2011: Popular resistance to EU policies grows in both northern and southern countries.

23 June 2011: In the Netherlands, freedom of expression wins a big victory.

18 April 2011: A Finnish election shows how the domineering EU is provoking political radicalism.

28 March 2011: A local election in Germany shows the unpopularity of the country's conservative government.

15 Jan. 2011: Europeans realize that the EU was an anti-democratic project right from the beginning.

09 March 2012

Video of the week -- Satan!

Santorum says this dude is behind all the progressive social change of the last few decades -- so maybe he's really the good guy?

08 March 2012

The Republicans' race problem

It's been argued that the Republican party is doomed in the long run because of demographics -- groups which strongly tend to vote Democratic are inexorably growing as a percentage of the US population. This argument is most commonly made about racial minorities, especially Hispanics.

The standard Republican response, of which this essay is a good example, is that minority voting patterns aren't set in stone -- that over time more minorities will come to vote Republican as they move up the economic ladder and their perceived self-interest changes.

Let's leave aside for a moment the question of real self-interest -- people do, after all, vote on the basis of perceived self-interest -- and assume for the sake of argument that this claim is valid as far as it goes. Large numbers of poor and middle-class white people, especially the less-educated, do hold conservative economic views for whatever reason -- so let's assume for the sake of argument that large numbers of poor and middle-class blacks and Hispanics, especially the less-educated, could eventually be persuaded to do the same. Does that make them likely Republican voters?

I don't think so. Not unless the Republican party changes profoundly.

In a sense, we already have a test of the hypothesis in the social-issues area. There's some evidence that a higher percentage of blacks and Hispanics than of whites have at least somewhat "socially conservative" views (more religious, more anti-gay, etc.), and these issues are a strong motivator for the existing Republican base. Indeed, some Republicans argue that their party will eventually attract more minority voters on this basis. So far, though, it doesn't seem to be happening.

The reason is obvious enough: racism. Most minorities won't vote for a party they perceive as racist, or even as harboring racists, even if they agree with that party on other questions. The less obvious issue is that the right wing misunderstands the nature of the problem it has here.

The usual Republican response to accusations of racism is that most Republicans aren't racist. This is true, but it misses the point. I've never believed, for example, that teabaggerdom, or the virulent hatred of Obama, or the fervor about curbing illegal immigration, are primarily motivated by racism -- there are other reasons for those things which are more important to most of the people pushing them. But that misses the point.

The point is that there's clearly a racist element at work which the party and the mainstream conservative movement seems unwilling to repudiate as forcefully as it needs to. Oh, yes, savvy politicians will condemn a forwarded e-mail about Obama's father being a dog or the While House lawn planted with watermelons, but that isn't enough. There are too many "dog whistles" designed to appeal to the racist vote while maintaining plausible deniability -- and plausible deniability isn't good enough. Not with racism. You can't have it both ways.

For example, a hard line on illegal immigration isn't inherently racist. Most Hispanics in the US aren't illegal aliens, and many illegal aliens aren't Hispanic. Every country in the world has rules controlling immigration, most far stricter than ours. But when state governments write such laws in a way that makes them obviously likely to be enforced in a racially-discriminatory fashion, or when the people supporting them have ties (however tenuous) to white-supremacist figures -- well, a reasonable suspicion has been created. And it's not enough to split hairs and maintain plausible deniability. You have to bend over backwards to make it clear that the minority citizen will be treated no differently than the white citizen, and that the law will be applied as forcefully to an illegal alien from Norway as to one from Guatemala. You must, in other words, explicitly wipe out the dog-whistle effect. And they never do that. Because they can't.

Similarly, everybody with a good grasp of US history -- not just the good ol' boys at whom the dog whistle is aimed -- knows the real meaning of "states' rights" or circumlocutions designed to evoke same. If you're not using states' rights as a racial dog whistle -- if it's just that you genuinely believe a law which is onerous at the federal level suddenly becomes less onerous when it's an individual state enforcing it (an odd position, to be sure), then plausible deniability, again, isn't good enough. You need to explicitly acknowledge the historic meaning and repudiate it -- explicitly wipe out the dog-whistle value. And they can't. Because the racists, while a shrinking minority of the base, are still a significant part of it.

And as long as that's the case, the right wing won't win over minority voters in significant numbers. In fact, even if the party does someday decide to explicitly purge itself of all racist pandering, there will be a long probationary period before it's deemed trustworthy.

06 March 2012

Limbaugh speaks out!

Rare footage of Limbaugh speaking in public:

Super Tuesday!

Four men enter.....

.....one man leaves? Sorry, Republicans, you're not gonna be that lucky. First, Ron Paul is in for the duration, come Hell or high turn-out. Second, Gingrich's ego won't let him quit; even if all he wins is Georgia, he'll claim that as a basis for staying in until Texas, which is months away yet. Third, even if Santorum quits, that will make the mess worse, not better, since the anyone-but-Romney vote will finally unify behind Gingrich and pose a more effective challenge to Romney.

Ten states vote today: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. Romney should win most of the states, but Georgia is Gingrich's home state, and Romney could well lose Oklahoma and Tennessee or even Ohio, which is being billed as the critical contest of the day. Virginia would have been a good possibility for Gingrich or Santorum if their campaigns hadn't been too incompetent to get them on the ballot. Even Paul has a chance in Alaska and North Dakota. And most delegates are being allocated proportionately rather than winner-take-all, so even if Romney wins in most places, everyone will pick up delegates.

I'm betting on Santorum to fade due to resentment over his robocall dirty trick in Michigan, and on Gingrich to do well enough to stay in despite the party establishment wishing he'd go away and get this thing over with. The Nutty faction of the Republicans is still not reconciled to Romney.

It's most interesting to follow the race on the right-wingers' own forums. Here are the ones I use to track commentary by the different factions:

Sane faction: Race42012, David Frum

Nutty faction: RedState

Ron Paul cult: Daily Paul

Unless, of course, there's another debate.

So have at it, and may all four of them lose.

05 March 2012

Quote for the day -- the power of sexuality

"It's the power of human sexuality — and the exercise of that power free of religious or political constraints — that frightens the right wing. That it has a patriarchal mindset is merely a truism. And nothing threatens that patriarchal control as much as female sexuality. For centuries the Christian church taught that women were wild sexual beasts, put on earth to tempt hapless males from God's path. Nocturnal emissions were the work of succubi, female demons sent to drain men of their essence. Woman was the source of all of man's ills, stemming from Eve's initial disobedience, and her temptation of Adam into the same disobedience..... With every advance that women make — sexually, politically, economically — the patriarchal mindset suffers another defeat, another existential blow. It's on its last legs, at least in the West, and in its death throes thrashes about like a dying lion. But it's not a lion in the prime of his life, killed in a hunt; it's an old, toothless, limp animal, feebly striking out, its blows failing to land, looked on with pity if not laughter. While women have every right and reason to react with anger at the ire being directed their way by the likes of Rush Limbaugh for wanting contraception covered by all employer health plans..... they should take comfort and more than a bit of satisfied joy that the majority of their fellow citizens don't view female sexuality as the right wing does. It's one more nail in the coffin of the conservative movement. And it's one that they hammered in themselves."

Liberal Librarian

04 March 2012

Link round-up for 4 March 2012

It took a while, but he kept his promise.

Stonekettle Station gets funny hate mail.

Hmm, maybe holy books can serve a purpose after all.

Here are some animals right-wingers won't like.

Payback's a bitch.

Racism on the right wing just got a little further out of the closet.

They're not from Scotland.

Here's the teabagger creed.

Wyoming takes disaster preparation to a whole new level -- a nutty level (found via Mendip).

Santorum keeps an eye on things.

On education, Democrats and Republicans have differing visions.

Why are there so many atheist comedians?

Here's a glimpse into a Republican America -- and here's six views of a Republican Congressperson.

Even a funeral is no refuge from religious bigotry.

You tell 'em, sister!

Did the past week represent peak wingnut?

Human-rights struggles naturally reinforce each other (poster here).

If you don't support Obama, why not?

Santorum is wrong again, this time about cell phones.

Anne Hathaway gets it.

Controlling sexuality means controlling identity.

Ignorance in Tennessee may hurt Romney almost as much as Obama.

The truth about health-insurance reform needs to come out.

In defending contraception, make no concessions to the enemy.

Conservatism's emphasis on identity politics show that it's a culture in decline.

An economist looks at the mentality -- and money -- behind global- warming denialism.

To some, any atheist message is too controversial.

Green Eagle looks at what the right-wingers are saying these days.

Any liberal who would consider voting for Ron Paul over Obama is an ignoramus.

Don't be misled by the "narratives" about Europe's crisis -- the problem really is the euro.

The EU's destruction of socialism in Europe is opening the door to extremism, perhaps even Communism.

Germany pays the price for standing aloof from the Libya intervention.

Forget the Iraq clichés and face reality about Iran.

A British convert to Islam creates jihadist headaches in east Africa.

More and more successful Chinese are achieving their fondest dream: getting the hell out of China.

Rail guns move closer to reality (found via Mendip).

Mitchellville is a piece of Southern history that deserves to be remembered.

These riddles were real thigh-slappers back in ancient Babylonia, apparently.

Here are some bullet impacts (long-term readers may recall this video). And here's one more bullet.

[Image at top found via Politics Plus.]

02 March 2012

Limbaugh and Fluke

Rush Limbaugh's latest revolting outburst has been well covered by bloggers such as Smartypants, Progressive Eruptions, Plutocrap, and Gothic Atheist. But I was especially struck by Limbaugh's subsequent remarks:

So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.

I really doubt a guy as rich as Limbaugh is at all hard up for sex videos of whatever genre he finds appealing. But he knows his audience. His suggestion is perfectly crafted to appeal to the dirty, smutty, sniggering, nudge-nudge wink-wink attitude about sexuality which is typical of the repressed prudes who listen to him, vote for Santorum, and otherwise feel at home on the modern sexophobic right wing. The fact that it was also a degrading and invasive slap at a woman who dared stand up to the prudish patriarchy made it all the more lip-smackingly salacious to that type. It doesn't matter that Fluke's testimony wasn't even about her own sexual history (not that most Limbaugh listeners probably even watched it) -- she was made a stand-in for the unapologetically sexual kind of modern women they find so threatening, and targeted as such.

But as a columnist cited by Progressive Eruptions notes, "If Limbaugh hasn’t gone too far this time, then 'too far' no longer exists." It's long past time for this bloated gasbag to meet his Hindenburg moment. President Obama himself called Fluke with thanks for speaking out -- well merited too, given the guts it takes to brave the vomitous cesspit that the right wing has become. Parsley's Pics has posted the names and contact info of companies that still buy advertising on Limbaugh's show, and I suspect they'll be hearing from plenty of people.

Limbaugh, at least, need not fear pay-back in kind. I can't imagine anyone wanting to see videos of whatever he gets up to down in Puerto Plata.

Quote for the day -- a voice of earnest scolding

"Sandstorum had entered the presidential race hoping to improve his time slot with Fox. He had in mind scolding much of the country for bad behavior, endearing himself to that sliver of society that is strongly attracted to the scolding of miscreants, and, to his surprise, attracted several milllion similarly inclined scolds. Scolding, in America, can earn you voter support, not just Freddie Mac contracts. Several Republican groups, abandoned by Sarah Palin, were roaming the countryside of America, their votes with them. These disembodied spirits were looking for a voice, a voice of earnest moral superiority. A high-pitched, whiney voice. A voice of earnest scolding. They possessed first one, and then another, and then another of the candidates. Each non-Romney seemed plausibly not Mitt for office. Like swine herds cast out, they pitched violently forward, ever forward, till there was no one left but Brick Sandstorum. Here they would make their stand. Here they would lite, not to be cast out again."

Race42012 commenter "Watchinitall". I'd attribute much of the appeal of today's Republican party as a whole to the same mentality.

01 March 2012

Video of the week -- Seamus's ride

A dog's-eye-view, found via Dogs against Romney. Should a man so weirdly devoid of compassion be given the power of the Presidency?