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[links] Link salad is having a good time

Un dernier recueil de nouvelles pour Jay Lake — (Via Sangoire De Terre d’Ange.)

The Privilege of Assuming It’s Not about YouHaley Morris-Cafiero is an artist, a photographer, and a scorned body. Aware that her appearance attracts disgust and mockery from some, she decided to try to document people’s public disdain. The result is a series of photographs exposing the people who judge and laugh at her.

World Press 2014: Signals from Djibouti — Rather science fictional and more than a little sad. (Via David Goldman.)

Tau Boötis b: A ’3-D’ Look at Star and Planet

Climate Change Deniers Lose Their Cool — You guys are going to have a lot to answer for when our grandchildren want to know why we didn’t do something sooner, while we still could have.

Climate change deniers have grasped that markets can’t fix the climateBut climate change denial is also about ideology. Many deniers have come to the conclusion that climate change is some kind of leftwing conspiracy – because the scale of the international public intervention necessary to cut carbon emissions in the time demanded by the science simply cannot be accommodated within the market-first, private enterprise framework they revere. As with most conservative positions, the ideology comes first, followed by a search for supporting evidence, what George W. Bush called “the true facts”. Which makes it very hard to change your position when you by definition reject non-compliant evidence, such as all those other pesky facts that don’t mean the conservative definition of “truth”. That was the whole point of the BEST project after all, and look how an intellectually honest conservative review of the evidence turned out. The template for this is of course evolution denial. (Snurched from Scrivener’s Error.)

Darkening of Melting Arctic Amplifying Global Warming from CO2One of nature’s key defenses against global warming—the reflection of the sun’s rays away from Earth by Arctic sea ice—has fallen victim to… global warming. And according to a study published Monday, the vicious feedback loop is worse than previously thought.

Health Care Horror Hooey — Paul Krugman makes the same point I was making a few days ago, about unforced errors in the GOP’s anti-Obamacare initiative.

I’m embarrassed by Ted NugentWhen did conservatives become prisoners to idiotic vulgarity? I ask that question as someone who self-defines as conservative and who is sick and tired of being embarrassed by Ted Nugent. Let me remind you of a little something called the Southern Strategy, as well as its post-Nixon incarnations. Not to mention the GOPAC memo. So-called “good conservatives” getting the vapors now is about four or five decades too late.

Fun With Metadata

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

Military Spending Cuts and How They Are Being Distorted

?otD: Won’t you stop me now?


2/25/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.o hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes
Weight: 233.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad grumps awake

Redressing the translation imbalance — Aliette de Bodard reaches out to non-Anglophone writers. I love this.

Classic literature in Lego – in picturesFrom a bloody battle in George RR Martin to a sensual scene from Jane Austen, Waterstones has been recreating setpieces from great literature in toy bricks to coincide with the release of The LEGO Movie. Take a child’s eye view of classic books here.

Aardman Animals Talk Art — Plus a link to “Creature Comforts”!

Roentgen Objects, or: A Device Larger than the Room that Contains It

It Looks Like An Ordinary Piece Of Wood. But Trust Me, It’s Going To Blow Your Mind In A Minute.

When Doctors Need to Lie — Uh, no. This whole article is paternalistic overreach, disguised as compassion. As a patient with a terminal illness who’s endured years of setbacks and complications, no, I don’t want my doctor deciding when it’s okay to lie to me.

Mysterious polio-like illnesses reported in some California children — Uh oh. (Via David Goldman.)

A Brief History of the Typewriter — (Via [info]threeoutside.)

New ‘pomegranate-inspired’ design solves problems for lithium-ion batteries — (Via David Goldman.)

The Koreas at NightNight lights illustrate dramatically the relative economic activity of cities and countries.

Why You Can’t Keep a Secret — This is interesting and a bit strange.

11,000-Year-Old Settlement Found Under Baltic Sea

Oldest Rock Speck Zeros In On Earth’s Cooling DateThe oldest remaining grain of early Earth’s original solid rock crust has now been confirmed to be a 4.374-billion-year-old old zircon crystal from Jack Hills, Australia.

A Death Cult run by billionairesMy question to climate change deniers is this: what if you’re wrong? The only thing that will happen if the world addresses climate change will be a somewhat orderly change in the way we use energy, some economic reorganization and a whole lot of jobs and business being done to switch to different energy sources. The changes that are being proposed to mitigate climate change are far less cataclysmic than the changes that would be imposed by unaddressed climate change itself.

Climate change goes back to the Supreme Court

21 varieties of traditional African homosexuality

George Takei Blasts Arizona Bigots, Threatens Boycott In Epic Condemnation of Anti-Gay ‘Jim Crow’ Laws

Arizona Goddam — Jim Wright asks what Jesus would do in Arizona. I suppose it depends on whether you’re asking about smug Republican Jesus, or the man actually depicted in the New Testament as the Son of God. Those are two very different people.

The ‘Christian’ movement that tells husbands to SPANK their wives ‘to correct misbehavior’ — BDSM for Christ?

This is a Powerful Way to Combat a Christian Speaker at Your University — Hah! (Via [info]danjite.)

How I lost the religion of my childhood My parents raised me as Christian missionaries. When I finally opened my eyes, I made a stunning realization. A wonderful piece about faith and childhood. The headline notwithstanding, this is not an anti-religious article, but rather an interesting meditation on having grown up as a missionary kid. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

One Of The Best Comebacks I’ve Ever Heard Was Made In A Single Word — Hah!

The 50 states, redrawn with equal population

Our Sinister Dual State

Anatomy of the Deep State — (Via [info]danjite.)

?otD: Got sleep?


2/24/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes
Weight: 233.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad is alive with the sound of music

Whoops — A perhaps NSFW and absolutely tasteless piece of hilarity from McSweeney’s. You were warned. (Via David Goldman.)

The Policeman’s Beard is Half-Constructed — Language and computers.

Last surviving member of Trapp Family Singers dies aged 99Family’s story of escaping Nazi-occupied Austria told in The Sound of Music

Clowns Aren’t Cool? Fewer Young People Don The Polka Dot Pants — (Via [info]garyomaha.)

Absurd Creature of the Week: This Fish Swims Up a Sea Cucumber’s Butt and Eats Its Gonads — Uh. (Via David Goldman.)

USPTO issues patent for fraudulent stem cell procedureRetracted papers, prison sentence apparently didn’t tip patent examiners off.

A Cockroach Tour of the Science Museum — (Via [info]threeoutside.)

World’s 10 weirdest medical museums — Oooh! Pick me! (Via Dad.)

Haunting Photos of the Abandoned 1984 Winter Olympics Facilities

What Happens to Olympics Infrastructure?

Alcoholics Anonymous, Without the ReligionThe boom in nonreligious A.A. represents another manifestation of a more visible and confident humanist movement in the United States, one that has featured public figures such as Bill Maher, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens. Yet this recent trend within A.A. also marks a departure from the organization’s traditional emphasis on religion.

More Americans Have Died From Domestic Gunfire Than All Wars In U.S. History — Because guns make us all safer.

Arizona State Senator Says He Opposes Common Core Because… It Promotes Algebra — The Republican Party has adopted Poe’s Law as its primary platform, apparently. (Via David Goldman.)

No Nugent is Good NugentThere’s been hand-wringing and eye-rolling among the Texas GOP this week over Ted Nugent calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” The real question is, why now?

The Deep State is Vulnerable to People Power

?otD: Tell me you didn’t sing the same damned songs for a thousand years?


2/23/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 20 minutes (recovering)
Weight: 234.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad fires its lipstick taser

Inside Amtrak’s (Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers — I hope this bears fruit.

Is truth stranger than fiction? Yes, especially for science fiction — (Via John Sapienza.)

Is entanglement real or is there a super-deterministic cosmic conspiracy?Researchers use quasars to kill off the last of the quantum hidden variables. This article made my head hurt. In a good way.

Traveler’s Table: Dumplings around the world

Map: How Wrong Is Your Time Zone — This is pretty cool.

Facebook won’t change privacy settings when you die, allows Look Back video requests for memorial accounts

Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed ItMartini, a one-term Republican congressman from New Jersey, was appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2002. Previous critiques of his judicial conduct have been unusually blunt and public, including repeated rebukes at the appellate level and the local U.S. attorney’s describing him in court filings as “misguided” and “irrational.”

Pastor tells ‘White Christians of Florida,’ that ‘stench from your houses of worship is wafting’ across AmericaA Baptist pastor from Washington has penned an open letter to “White Christians of Florida,” condemning them for not standing united against that state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.

Are Republicans even trying? Another Obamacare horror story bites the dust Given how horrible Obamacare supposedly is, it’s bizarre the GOP has such a hard time finding real victims. Kind of like years ago when the GOP was campaigning to eliminate the estate tax because it broke up farm families, and they could not find a single farm family that had been broken up. The really weird thing is that there are plenty of problems with the Obamacare rollout, and a significant number of people struggling with balancing premiums and subsidies. In other words, there are plenty of real hard luck stories to tell. Why does the GOP continue to lie?

My Night in Solitary — The world would be a different place if law-and-order types had to experience criminal justice from the inside.

Tenn. official ‘threatened’ blacks with skin ‘trophy’ he saved from 1896 lynching — Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

?otD: Do you declare your weapon?


2/22/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid until someone poked me awake in her sleep)
Body movement: 15 minutes (recovering)
Weight: 233.2
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad drank up all the money, yes it drank up all the money

Cover Reveal for Jay Lake’s The Last Plane to Heaven

The Most Ridiculous Mashup Ever – SpongeMen SquareWatch — Totally depraved. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

WTF is that on her head?Vintage ads featuring women with inexplicable stuff on their heads.

Spend the Night in a Giant Anus — Because you can! (Thanks to @dratz.)

Girl Scout sells 117 boxes of cookies in two hours outside Marijuana clinic — I have a pretty firm policy of never linking to FOX News or any of its affiliates, because FOX, but this headline was too good pass up. (Via Lisa Costello.)

She wasn’t being rude — Just a story about a veterinarian, a woman and a dog. Very much worth the read.

80 women go topless in New York: photos by Jordan Matter (NSFW)

Christopher Ryan: Are we designed to be sexual omnivores? — A TED talk. My answer is duh, yes.

Finger Computer Reads Books Aloud

Extraterrestrial Dispersal VectorsIf human civilization is to extend itself beyond our planet, it will need to take with it the plants, animals and microorganisms that can sustain a living ecosystem.

Brain Scans Show Striking Similarities Between Dogs and Humans

Cities, Networks, and the Counterintuitive Nature of SuicideThe new science of cities shows that suicide may be a more complex social phenomenon than previously thought, say computational anthropologists. Me, I was fascinated to learn of Kleiber’s law while reading this piece. (Via David Goldman.)

The Dark Power of FraternitiesA yearlong investigation of Greek houses reveals their endemic, lurid, and sometimes tragic problems—and a sophisticated system for shifting the blame. This just in: water is wet. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1980s, where criminal acts by fraternity members, up to and including rape, theft, vehicular assault, arson and several suspicious deaths, routinely went uninvestigated and unprosecuted because of the political influence of frat legacies who held power in all levels of local and state government. Boys will be boys, after all. There is nothing whatsoever surprising about this.

A Brief Meandering About the Polar Vortex — Which for some reason climate change denialists continue to insist against all evidence is a scare word made up by the liberal media. Of course, if they were willing to accept evidence, they wouldn’t be denialists.

A Great Freeze Over the Great LakesIce cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent in mid-February 2014—levels not observed since 1994. The average maximum ice extent since 1973 is just over 50 percent. It has surpassed 80 percent just five times in four decades. The lowest average ice extent occurred in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze.

Clerics Issue Fatwa: Muslims Can’t Live On Mars — Uh, ok. Though in fairness, this is specifically about the proposed one-way trip being seen as a form of suicide. Which is still quite a stretch to my view. Is it suicide to emigrate somewhere?

Gay patient says Catholic chaplain refused him last rites — You will know that they are Christians by their love. (Via John Sapeinza.)

Kansas Christianists seek monopoly on worldly honors and emolumentsSlacktivist Fred Clark explains the wider context and profound anti-American shame of the currently-tabled Kansas bill legalizing Christian discrimination against the LGBT community. You know, the truly horrible bill that no one in the conservative blog, media and political world seems willing to comment on. My view of “good conservatives” is rapidly eroding.

Arizona Legislature approves controversial religion bill — Arizona joins Kansas in shaming itself, the nation, and Christians everywhere.

[GOP Senate Candidate] Bevin: Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead To Parent-Child Marriage — Because being conservative means never having to be anything but cracking batshit bugfuck insane. And people vote for this shit.

DeLay: Americans Have Forgotten That God Wrote The Constitution — Because being conservative means never having to be anything but cracking batshit bugfuck insane. And people vote for this shit.

“He Will Rule Them With An AR-15”Retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin believes when Jesus comes back, he’ll have an AR-15 assault rifle in hand. Every time I read about a prominent Christian like this, I get down on my knees and thank the Lord God Almighty that I am an atheist. This crap makes my skin crawl.

?otD: How’re you going to get around in this sleazy bedroom town if you don’t put yourself up for sale?


2/21/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 5.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 10 minutes (feeling poorly)
Weight: 233.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad carefully observes the First Law of the Sea

In defence of unnecessary words

An Animated Guide to the Economics of Sex

What all the stylin’ white boys were wearing on their heads in the 1950s — Is it wrong that these all look the same to me? And I am a white boy.

200-Year Old Douche Discovered Under NYC City Hall — I didn’t realize Mayor Giuliani was that old.

Star Wars actor dies: His ‘disturbing’ Star Wars role outshone a long careerStar Wars actor Richard LeParmentier died this morning in Austin. “Every time we find someone’s lack of faith disturbing, we’ll think of him,” said his family in a statement. Awesome quote in the subhead on this piece. (Via David Goldman.) ETA: While still amusing, it has been pointed out to me this is very stale news. My apologies, I did not check the date.

Comet Lovejoy over the Great Wall — The explanatory text includes some lovely poetic detail.

Old Arctic Ice Is Disappearing, and Taking the Rest of the Ice With ItIt’s not hard to see that over the past few years, the oldest ice has melted away, and over time the ice gets younger. That’s not good: Older ice is thicker and tends to hang around longer; young ice is generally thinner and melts away every summer. That means that the year-round amount of ice is dropping, and dropping rapidly. As the Arctic warms, its ability not just to form ice but to keep it wanes.

Politician wants to raise greenhouse gas limits, for the plants — The stupid, it burns. But it also gets elected.

Other Agendas “Frozen” Is Subtly Forcing Into Your Child’s BrainFeminist Mormon Housewives with a truly hilarious response to some criticism from another Mormon blogger who is deeply unhinged.

GOP Lawmakers Want To Define Anti-Gay Discrimination As ‘Religious Freedom’ — I have never seen a logical argument as to why barring discrimination compromises religious freedom.

Religious Liberty Or Anti-Gay Animus?For me, with devout Catholics, the acid test is divorce. The bar on divorce – which, unlike the gay issue, is upheld directly by Jesus in the Gospels – is just as integral to the Catholic meaning of marriage as the prohibition on gay couples. So why no laws including that potential violation of religious liberty? Both kinds of marriage are equally verboten in Catholicism. So where is the political movement to insist that devout Catholics do not have to cater the second weddings of previously divorced people? Yup. Nails it.

Homophobia Takes Years Off of Your LifeThat’s the conclusion of a new study that compares death rates with Americans’ attitudes toward gay rights. A small price to pay for being one of the GOP’s core of angry white guys, I am certain.

Arkansas man ‘shot dead cheerleader after prank’ — Because guns make us all safer. And you can’t make a safety omelet without breaking 30,000 eggs per year.

Social Identity Markers are NOT a proxy for left wing social policies — (Via [info]goulo.)

Racializing Politics: We don’t say “Slav” Democracy troubled in Ukraine, why Talk about “Arab” Failures?

Hyperlocal Neighborhood Maps Reveal the Chaos in Aleppo — Wow. I never would have thought of the bakery thing. (Via David Goldman.)

Let’s get straight who is paying for whom — More on the ridiculous belief among rural conservatives that they are somehow being bled dry by taxes to pay for the big cities. You know, those liberal “facts” and “data”. I especially like this bit: But it’s very, very tiresome to watch a bunch of delusional narcissists taking urban tax dollars to pay for their rural infrastructure and safety nets (most SNAP recipients are white, remember) elect a bunch of jokers to Congress who prevent the people who actually pay the bills from solving big problems like climate change, healthcare, privacy, wealth inequality, poverty, and financial corruption.

Watch This CNN Anchor Stop The Spin On The Minimum Wage — Every time we’ve tried to raise the minimum wage, conservatives have trotted out the same job-killing, anti-business opposition. Every time they’ve been wrong. Why would they be right this time?

?otD: Metalbeard? Is that you?


2/20/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 10 minutes (feeling poorly)
Weight: 234.4
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad knows that everything is awesome when you’re part of the team

How my husband forgot sexWhen we were younger, he was the one who taught me to explore. Then he had cancer surgery — and came out a virgin. Sigh.

A Rainbow Pileus Cloud over Zimbabwe

Why Mount Hood’s next eruption will be like a big blob of toothpasteMixing of hot and cold magna can bring a volcanic eruption in as little as 60 days. Volcanic eruptions at Mount Hood occur when cold magma, stored like ‘peanut butter in a refrigerator,’ mixes with hot magma from deep within the Earth’s crust, say researchers. That would be Portland’s friendly neighborhood volcano.

Kitties teach scientists a thing or two about geneticsCats, the patron saints of the internet, are typically not thought of as being at the forefront of genetic research. Their lack of opposable thumbs really limits their ability to run a proper DNA sequence, after all.

Hole-y Phobia May Have Evolutionary Origins Images that induce trypophobia, the fear of holes, share visual features with images of certain venonmous animals, implying that the aversion has an evolutionary basis. Trypophobia?

After 400 years, mathematicians find a new class of shapes

“Don’t Buy Shirts in Herat”: the Lost World of the Hippie Trail — Oh, man, to have lived this.

Rethinking a Zero Tolerance Approach to “Female Genital Mutilation” — Wow am I having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

Drug site Silk Road wiped out by Bitcoin glitch

World’s Smartest Company: Illumina — These guys did my Whole Genome Sequencing.

Capital One says it can show up at cardholders’ homes, workplacesThe credit card company’s recent contract update includes terms that sound menacing and creepy. Not “sound menacing”. “Are menacing.” World’s creepiest company.

National clown shortage may be approaching, trade organizations fear — There’s always the GOP congressional delegation to draw from as deep bench. (Via [info]danjite.)

Who Believes that Astrology is Scientific? — A paper on the correlations between belief in astrology and political affiliation. Which, surprisingly, show liberals to be the bigger idiots. Just what this country needs: further validation of non-evidence-based thinking. (Via [info]ericjamesstone.)

Bill Nye Science Guy to Debate GOP Rep Gohmert on Gravity

Obama’s Tea Party Cousin Who’s Running for Senate Compared President to Hitler — Running on the Godwin ticket, I see.

The evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality — Fascinating.

May a Man Marry a Man? A Medieval Debate — The alleged logic of opposition to same-sex marriage hasn’t really changed since. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Kansas Gets Their Hate OnBut don’t call it discrimination.

Noose tied on Ole Miss integration statueThe FBI on Tuesday was helping investigate who tied a noose around the neck of a University of Mississippi statue of James Meredith, who, in 1962, became the first black student to enroll in the then all-white Southern college. Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

What Information Are Stun Guns Recording? — It’s sort of the equivalent of putting serial numbers on bullets. I wonder how long the reservoir of these tags lasts. (Via David Goldman.)

After background checks were scrapped in Missouri“This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence,” Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and the study’s lead author, said in a news release. “There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri’s handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed.” Moar guns, to make us all safer!!

VW workers may block southern U.S. deals if no unions: labor chief — I find this whole ongoing VW-in-Tennessee story a little weird.

One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society

America’s First President Was The Tea Party’s Worst Nightmare — But, but, tricorn hats!

Remember that thing called the Unitary Executive Theory, Republicans? Obviously not.

UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law — A proud day for civil liberties.

?otD: Are you living the dream?


2/19/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (feeling poorly)
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad checks into the Tabard in Southwark

35 Nerdy Cards Against Humanity Cards To Add To Your Deck

Digital Steamboat Willie — Uh…

Lincoln Blimp: 1930

A Map of the World’s Most Dangerous Countries for Drivers — The headline is misleading (the headline editor clearly did not read the whole piece), as this article draws an inverse correlation about cause of death around the world that is fascinating.

The Shrink & The Sage: Should we fear the worst?‘People cope with what they consider disasters much more positively than they would have guessed’

Tracing Ancestry, Researchers Produce a Genetic Atlas of Human Mixing Events

Intel’s Sharp-Eyed Social Scientist

For Mice, and Maybe Men, Pain Is Gone in a FlashResearchers find a way to turn pain on, and off, with a beam of light.

Glass, DarklyFor its wearable computer to be accepted, Google must convince people that the device isn’t creepy.

Promoting Public Policy Programs…with Puppets

Woman Arrested Nine Years After Failing to Return Rented Video

Kerry Blasts Climate Denialists, equates Climate Change with Terrorism, WMDs

This is what actual ‘religious liberty’ looks like

The Changing Face of Christian PoliticsAmong 16- to 29-year-old non-Christians, Christians were viewed as “anti-gay” (91 percent), judgmental (87 percent), hypocritical (85 percent), sheltered (78 percent) and—surprise—”too political” (75 percent). In 2010, respected academics David Campbell and Robert Putnam’s landmark book, American Grace, concluded that partisan politics was directly to blame for the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans. Interesting read. Unfortunately, this article is far, far too kind to the Christian right and measured by its words and deeds, such as the recent Kansas anti-gay bill.

Breaking the DichotomyIn the wake of Prop 8 and the LDS church’s continued political involvement opposing same-sex marriage in several states in the US, a lot of members find themselves in a very difficult position. It’s more than just embarrassment, and it’s a question that a lot of people outside the church have asked with varying degrees of reasonableness. If you disagree with what they’re doing so much, why do you keep supporting them? A similar question comes, regrettably, both from outside and inside. Why don’t you just leave? A reflection from Feminist Mormon Housewives on a question I’ve often (as an outsider, obviously) wondered about.

Black Boy InterruptedOn the unfinished life of Jordan Davis. Ta-Nehisi Coates is bitterly brilliant, again.

George Zimmerman Refuses to Say Whether He Regrets Killing Trayvon Martin“Certainly, I think about that night and I think my life would be tremendously easier if I stayed home.” You mean like the 911 operator told you to? I doubt Zimmerman ever reflects how much easier, and longer, Trayvon Martin’s life would have been if Zimmerman had stayed home. Ladies and and gentlemen, your gun culture, where the power to conduct your summary execution can be tightly gripped in anyone‘s hands.

I’m anti-carThere are people who really love their cars too but don’t think that having to pay to have a license plate means that the government has become a fascist dictatorship determined to take their vehicles away from them — yet otherwise intelligent people will use that exact same argument when talking about guns.

GOP operative asks judge to delay trial until after electionsClaiming key GOP campaign strategies could be “exposed” before this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races, a Queens Republican operative wants his federal corruption trial delayed until after November’s elections. Wow, does that take some stones. What do good, honest, moral conservatives have to fear from the light of justice anyway? Look, over there, ACORN! Well, never mind. I made the mistake of expecting better of non-conservatives, but the Democrat involved has also asked for a delay for the same reasons.

Congressional Republicans focused on calming their divided ranks“We don’t have 218 votes in the House for the big issues, so what else are we going to do?” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), an ally of House Speaker John A. Boehner. “We can do a few things on immigration and work on our principles, but in terms of real legislating, we’re unable to get in a good negotiating position.” Poor GOP. Trapped in the majority, stuck with controlling the House, and unable to advance their agenda. Why would anyone vote for a political party this utterly dysfunctional?

?otD: Will you tell your tale?


2/18/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (feeling poorly)
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[politics|culture] Some more coherent thoughts on Kansas House Bill 2453

I am still wrestling with this whole Kansas anti-gay thing, their state House Bill 2453. Andrew Sullivan encapsulates a lot of what I’m thinking quite well in his comments here. But, still.

It’s like this. If a bunch of Christ-hating, liberal, atheist, Socialist, Pacific Northwest hipsters had sat down to come up with the worst example of the raging, paranoid anti-gay, Christian stereotype that drives liberals and progressives crazy, they couldn’t have done any better than good, honest religious conservatives in Kansas did all on their own in complete seriousness. It’s like one of those life-imitates-The Onion stories. That’s what I was trying to get at with my Poe’s Law comment yesterday. Heartland conservatives have managed to transcend parody, becoming cartoonish imitations of the worst version of their own public image.

This validates every liberal-progressive image of conservative Christians in America as oppressors, as persecutors, as unpatriotic and unConstitutional in their furious fixation on denying legal and civil rights to their fellow citizens. This is everything my conservative friends often take me to task for claiming to see in the American Right, everything my conservative friends label as paranoid liberal fantasies.

This is the real deal. Religious conservatives in their own words.

Nowhere in this country would you see a similar bill legalizing a wholesale denial rights to Christians. Nowhere.

Maybe I’ve missed it, but I haven’t seen any conservatives in my social media stream, or in the blogosphere, or in the media, or in politics, speaking out against the Kansas bill. A lot of silence, no one standing up for American values or the integrity of the Constitution. No conservative Christian standing up for basic Biblical principles, such as Galatians 5:14, For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Or Luke 6:31, in Christ’s own words, And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

I have a very simple question for my religious conservative friends. Is this how you want to be known, by your own worst stereotypes, as plainly expressed in the words and deeds of your fellow religious conservatives?


Note: Yes, I’m aware that the president of the Kansas senate walked this back. But if you read her actual statement, she only walked it back a little bit on procedural and legal grounds. She neither denied the bill’s basic intentions nor its objectives, merely raised an issue about accessibility of government services. She’s asked for the bill to be redrafted and sent back, still referring to it as an honest effort to protect religious freedom. This hardly represents redemption, or even an outbreak of common sense. It’s a recognition of the legal quagmire the bill opens, little more.

[links] Link salad wakes up in its own bed for a change

Arriving late to the Sous-Vide partyJersey Girl in Portland on cooking.

The Singularity is Still Closer than it Appears — A response to Ramez Naam.

Effects of bullying may add up in kids: study — Also, this just in: water is wet! Bullying sure played a huge part in my 1970s childhood, and the adult response was largely what we would now call victim-blaming. It’s shaped my whole life. Luckily for me, I wound up in a high school where I could hold my own.

Twenty-five percent of Americans don’t know the Earth revolves around the Sun, survey finds — Sigh.

Following a long road to ancient DNASvante Pääbo, the man behind the Neanderthal genome, tells his story.

How Wolves Change Rivers — I’ve run into this before. It’s still damned cool. (Via David Goldman.)

Santa’s revenge: Arctic ice may be putting US in a long, deep freezeEvidence is mounting that a warming Arctic has set the jet stream loose.

Becoming A Moral MinorityJim Hinch tracks the decline of conservative religion.

Snake Salvation pastor dies from snake bite — Uh, yeah. That’s what happens when you convince yourself that faith trumps reality. Reality doesn’t care about your sincerely held beliefs.

Dear GOP: Top 5 Biblical Marriage Moments far worse than Gay Marriage — Ah, Biblical marriage. Conservative America really doesn’t read its own faith text at all.

Seriously, what is wrong with Kansas?It’s all about ginning up feelings of persecution among so-called “values voters” … over having to surrender the long-held prerogative to persecute. Lacking any grace or humility, these demagogues won’t leave the scene until they’ve discharged all their poison into our politics.

It’s the gunsHumans get into arguments, they get in each others faces and they sometimes come to blows. There is no way to ensure that will not happen. But these minor beefs — like texting in a movie theater — would very rarely be deadly if people weren’t packing heat! That’s the real issue here. The gun nuts like to say that an armed society is a polite society. That’s just another way of saying that if you are carrying a gun you can make people do what you want them to do — stop texting, stop playing music you don’t like, stop walking through the night with with some candy and a drink from 7-11, even “that’s my parking spot.”

Stand Your Ground is simply an invitation to more killing, not less crimeWe found that homicide rates in states with a version of the Stand Your Ground law increased by an average of 8 percent over states without it. Actual research, with actual “facts” and “data”, firmly backing what I and many other liberal-progressives have long thought about Stand Your Ground laws. This will of course mean nothing to gun rights enthusiasts, whose right to use deadly force at their sole discretion trumps my safety and yours.

White Men’s Freedoms and Black Men’s LivesThe research found that [Stand Your Ground] laws increase the likelihood that a homicide will be considered “justified,” but only in cases where a white person is accused of killing a black person.

A Bitter Valentine’s Day — A letter from inside Guantanamo Bay prison. Your tax dollars at work. (Via [info]danjite.)

?otD: Sleep well?


2/17/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful and in pain)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[personal|culture] Valentine’s Day

I was one of those kids in grade school and junior high for whom Valentine’s Day was a torture. You know, getting the “pity Valentine”, or one from the teacher but none from the students. Almost always the new kid who’d just come in to the class, socially and physically awkward, mouthy, too smart and not wise enough to hide it. So this is a holiday that’s never pleased me much, because it always seemed to be as much about exclusion as inclusion.

That being said, as an adult, I’m glad there’s a celebration of romance for those people who have romance in their lives. Hooray for love, right?

But romantic love isn’t binary, and romantic love isn’t exclusive, and romantic love isn’t as simple or enduring or fulfilling as almost all our cultural reinforcement would have us believe. Even at its best, romantic love is complicated stuff, and it is hard work. All the more so if you don’t fit the mold.

In truth, who does fit the mold?

I know the desperation of fading hope, and I know the fulfillment of a well cared-for heart. Especially these days, thanks to Lisa Costello, who stands by me in the face of overwhelming adversity.

But really? Love yourself today. Remind yourself that in taking care of you, first, you make yourself available to any partners, current or prospective, to your kids and pets if you have them in your life, to the world as a whole. We all ought to send ourselves hearts and flowers first. Then we’ll be ready to love one another.

From the kid in the corner being giggled at behind the hands of the rest of the class, you are not alone. And it can be better.

Happy Valentine’s Day, whatever that means to you.