Friday, February 11, 2011

Dear God

My Twitter feed alerted me to this post from Digby:
Grayson tried to do that and used the "T" word, which is out of bounds because apparently Americans can never be compared to anything evil, whether historical or contemporary, even if the analogy is extremely apt. He got hammered not only for being imprecise in his ad but for taking on his opponents fringe religious views at all. I'm sure it was noted by other politicians and it will be a cold day in hell before anyone does it again. And that's too bad because Grayson was right. Webster is a member of a fringe, patriarchal cult that is as far out of the Christian mainstream as the Taliban is outside the mainstream of Islam...
It also includes a link to this disturbing profile of right-wing evangelist Bill Gothard. Both are worth the read*.

What amazes me is that there are people who possess the strength to break free from these closed worlds. How hard must it be to leave a lifetime of belief and your closest friends and family who remain believers? It's a wonder that it happens at all.

(*on the same subject, I'd like to point you towards yesterday's POI, which includes a link to The New Yorker's profile of Paul Haggis, a former Scientologist)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Points of interest


"But now that they have a majority in the House, Republicans certainly have the power to ignore nature."
If you don't believe climate change is a problem, then most of these new carbon rules are pointless. And, within the Republican Party, the belief that global warming is a made-up non-problem has become thoroughly ingrained - so much so that it's no longer even worth justifying.
"The Chamber of Commerce and the President of GE Have a Plan to Restore Business Confidence and Create Jobs, 1931 Edition."
His Swope Plan is considered one of the main documents for the idea of an associationalist economy, or what we would now call a corporatist economy.   Let businesses collude and form price-fixing organizations, and in response they’ll hire more workers and even provide a social safety net for those workers.  The government will need to suspend all anti-trust laws first, obviously, before all the sweet growth and jobs show up.  Many socialists at the time realized that this was asking for trouble for obvious reasons of rent-seeking and businesses not following through and fighting any type of regulatory oversight.
"By making it harder for borrowers to avoid paying credit card debt, [the 2005 bankruptcy law] made it more difficult for them to pay their mortgages, so foreclosure rates rose."
Despite opposition from public interest groups, the 2005 law easily cleared both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. In a paper released Tuesday, New York Fed researchers Donald P. Morgan, Benjamin Iverson and Matthew Botsch determined that the law sparked about 116,000 additional subprime mortgage foreclosures a year after going into effect.
"My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead."
The insider was asked whether Fox News should be considered a legitimate news outlet. After laughing, the person explained, "I don't think people understand that it's an organization that's built and functions by intimidation and bullying, and its goal is to prop up and support Republicans and the GOP and to knock down Democrats. People tend think that stuff that's on TV is real, especially under the guise of news. You'd think that people would wise up, but they don't."
 The anti-gay evolution of Tim Pawlenty.
In light of last year’s Pentagon study, which concluded that “the risk of repeal … to overall military effectiveness is low,” Pawlenty’s stance on gays in the military cannot be justified with the customary nod toward ‘unit cohesion.’ In fact, his new position should be seen as part and parcel of the Governor’s evolving view of gays, which, over nearly two decades, is sometimes nuanced but generally regressive...
"The Apostate" (lengthy article alert)
He had read a recent exposé in a Florida newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, which reported, among other things, that senior executives in the church had been subjecting other Scientologists to physical violence. Haggis said that he felt “dumbstruck and horrified,” adding, “Tommy, if only a fraction of these accusations are true, we are talking about serious, indefensible human and civil-rights violations.”

Also: Friends in high places.
The church has had, throughout its history, plenty of friends on both sides of the aisle. Or, at least, plenty of people willing to cash its checks. Few prominent politicians, that I know of, have said much about the things we've learned about the church more recently.
Matchmaking on Twitter.
The "baby talk" and emoticons inspired by Twitter's character limit can be nauseating. We don't even need to talk about the usernames. But while the correspondence above is not exactly sophisticated, it's meaningful because a connection was made.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Points of Interest


"What this tells me is that the emphasis is on 2012 — on politics, not on policy."
Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R), who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Bush administration, said that her party's focus during its first month had tended more toward placating activists in the party. 
It's not the 'center' if the solutions you are pushing are the same ones the Republicans were proposing two decades ago.
...a growing number of outside groups are vying to fill the space that the leadership council occupied for more than two decades, betting that an appeal to moderation, rather than polarization, is the best way to win over fickle independent voters.
"Ron Paul Versus the Kochtopus."
He’s also going to make Paul Ryan look reasonable instead of someone who is both uninformed and terrible on monetary policy. In each case he’s building on problems people are experiencing and pushing them further to the right. Do liberals have any type of counter-narrative rather than relying on discredited technocrat expertise?
"Loser people and loser organizations..."
Grover Norquist closes the curtain on the groups that have showily boycotted the conference over annoyance at the gay Republican group GOProud, the business transactions of ACU's David Keene, or the participation of Muslim Republican Suhail Khan.
"National governments and the international community must urgently address this issue in a proactive manner."
Existing migration patterns expected to accelerate, the study says, include rural-urban migration, especially to large cities; cross-border migration to India; migration of semi-skilled laborers to Middle East and Southeast Asian countries, as well as the continued "brain drain" of educated and wealthy people to developed countries.
In a future remake of the movie Red Dawn, a battle cry of "Wolverines!" won't make much sense.
Built for the cold, wolverines make their homes mostly in the northern forests and tundras of North America, Europe, and Asia. The carnivores are rarely found in places where temperatures get higher than 72 degrees F (22 degrees C).[...]

The new study shows that climate change might endanger wolverines in the mainland U.S. by eliminating springtime snow and significantly increasing summer temperatures.
I guess it depends on whom you are trying to appeal to.
While the modest increase in the inflation rate in many countries may have some negative impact on the standing of central bankers, their failure to stem the housing bubbles that brought on the worst downturn since the Great Depression would be a more obvious explanation for their loss of status.

Dewey defeats Truman.

(picture at the link)