Montana is California’s route to the sea

Dawn Duncan Harrell:

The problem is that we project our own definition of stupid, bad, evil, and satanic onto our Other (1 John 1:8). Then we can define ourselves as the opposite — smart, good, righteous, and godly — but within this tidy little package, we’ve created Satan in our own image (Rom 2:1).

Pro-life protesters:

Pro-life protesters in Chicago’s Daley Plaza on Saturday said that abortion was “worse than Hitler” and that President Barack Obama was a “Communist Nazi.”

“What children’s rights? They want to abort them before they can even become anything,” one protester told independent YouTube reporter DogStar7. “It is worse than Hitler. How many millions of people have they killed compared to Hitler?”

“He’s a Communist Nazi,” another protester [said].

* * * * * * * * *

George Marsden and Mark Noll on America’s Christian Roots.”

George Marsden: “I don’t think it’s ever a good strategy to exaggerate the facts, to change the facts in order to make a current point.”

The bad news for American evangelicalism is that this needs to be said at all. The good news is that we’ve got people as wise and knowledgeable as Marsden and Noll saying it. But then the bad news (again) is that they’ve been saying this for more than 30 years and don’t seem to be gaining any ground.

* * * * * * * * *

The first decade of the 21st Century — the Naughty Oughts — was the first (since the 1940s) that saw no such technological tsunami, making America rich enough to buy from the world.  As the internet boom petered out, we could have made sustainable energy our Next Big Thing. It was proposed, and the rate that China and Germany are getting rich off solar and wind is most impressive!

By coincidence, that was also the decade when the Fox War on Science hit full stride. When science became the right’s enemy number one.

David Brin

* * * * * * * * *

Matthew Soerens of the evangelical pro-immigration group (yeah, you read that right) G92 makes a bold statement:

I’m going to make a prediction that I don’t think is mere wishful thinking: 2013 will be the year that immigration reform finally passes.

I hope he’s right. Whether he is or not depends completely on what happens on Nov. 6.

* * * * * * * * *

This (funny) video highlights the barriers to healthcare women face in many parts of the world, such as in countries where a husband’s consent is required to get birth control.

The goal of this project is to help improve women’s access to health care around the world by working to remove such barriers. I’m worried, though, that someone like Texas Gov. Rick Perry will see this video and adopt its litany of obstacles to women’s health care as his legislative agenda for 2013.

Related: Christianity Today reports on glimmers of good news for women from Uruguay and Buenos Aires, mistaking it for bad news.

* * * * * * * * *

• Here’s one difference between England and American ca. 2012. In England, they have charming eccentrics whose fascination with unexplained phenomena and Forteana leads them to write books about local legends and to give the occasional lecture at the public library. In America, we have much angrier cranks who believe even stranger things, and we elect them to Congress.

• I don’t disagree with Dean Baker lightly, but the headline on this post of his is simply not true: “Not Just Tax Increases, but ANY Deficit Reduction Will Cost Jobs.” The substance of the post is fine, but that headline is just wrong. We’ve got 7.8 percent unemployment. That means that right now the best way to reduce the deficit is to put the unemployed back to work. Creating jobs is deficit reduction. And creating jobs will not cost jobs. Massive investment in infrastructure, right now, would reduce the deficit.

• “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all.”

• Josh Romney is a handsome fellow. Rebecca Schoenkopf thinks he has Patrick Bateman-like good looks, but I’d say he looks more like a young Robert Redford.

The Dude abides: “We must end our national problem of hunger through national and political leadership. Charity is nice for some things, but not as a way to feed a nation. We don’t protect our national security through charity, and we shouldn’t protect our families and children that way either.”

 

 

  • D9000

    It must be admitted that spelling wasn’t Admiral Fisher’s strong point, but he was only following precedence, his Dreadnought being the sixth of that name to serve with the Royal Navy. English words spelt correctly in English English by Englishmen cannot, of course, be misspelt. The clue there is in the name of the language :-)

  • EllieMurasaki

    How many ways did Shakespeare spell his own name? I’ve forgotten.

  • D9000

    It was the Liberal Party who wanted fewer Dreadnoughts, and the (Conservative &) Unionist Party who wanted more. I don’t think the Labour Party of the day wanted any at all. People who want to know more, and indeed anybody who wants to read a thoroughly entertaining and informative history book should hie them to Robert K Massie’s masterwork ‘Dreadnought’ (which really ought to have an e-book edition by now, but hasn’t, dammit).

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I haven’t seen anyone commenting on it other than to suggest that Team Mitt invest in a map.

    Just not a Fox News map.

     if it’s *that* Brin, I’d rather not warp my enjoyment of a fiction by getting to know an author too well.

    Excellent idea. Avoid his short online-only near-future stuff too, unless your blood pressure is dangerously low and needs a boost.

  • D9000

    5. In six known signatures. Other people spelt him even more variously. All versions are of course correct (for a given value of correct) except for those jackasses who spell it ‘OXFORD’.

  • Lauren

     I couldn’t even either. The absolute worst part, beyond the actual factual inaccuracy of it all, was the condescending tone that this guy used to explain how I had been indoctrinated by our liberal educational system that wanted to foist Nazism off on conservatives. If only I would just use my brain and do the RESEARCH, I would see the truth, just like he had.

    Of course, the guy is a respected pastor in my very small southern hometown. Hence, my original comment, about how infuriating it is to deal with other Christians sometimes.

  • Lauren

     That’s actually exactly the example I used. He had none of it. We don’t talk anymore.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What about the people who spell it ‘Elizabeth Regina’ or however she signed her name? ‘Cause I’ve seen that theory too. Not sure how plausible, considering that some Shakespeare postdates her death, but seen the theory.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Time Magazine articles back in the 30s almost always referred to it as the ‘National “Socialist” party’. They weren’t buying it either.

  • D9000

    Disqus ate my reply! Shorter version, all Shakespeare authorship theorists are conspiracy nuts, backed by nothing but numerology, spooky coincidences every logical fallacy you’ve ever heard of and (quite often) flat-out woo. See shalespeareauthorship.com for more.

  • D9000

    Eh, I’m sure you can spot the deliberate mistake there … I can spell, I just can’t type …

  • EllieMurasaki

    FYI to observers: the actual url is http://shakespeareauthorship.com/

  • Hawker40

    I’ve read R.K. Massie’s wonderful book, and the sequal “Castles of Steel” and really wish he would continue the series to cover the Washington Naval Treaty…

    The fact that I misremembered the correct political parties doesn’t detract from the books… or the bizarre compromise.

  • Hawker40

    I like to point out to people who use the ‘Nazi means’ example that while commuinst China and the United States are both technically republics, the United Kingdom is not… then I explain that the original meaning of ‘republic’ is ‘no inherited ruling class’.

  • vsm

    Isn’t Star Trek fiction a tad strange of a venue for propagandizing for Libertarianism?

  • D9000

    Indeed not. I was more interested in the geopolitics than the naval minutiae; is Castles of Steel worth reading if one is not into warships all that much?

  • Hawker40

    Castles of Steel is very much a naval history, but includes the political decisions that influenced naval ones… I’d have to say if you’re looking for the geopolitics of the great war, you’d probably do better elsewhere.  OR skip a lot of chapters.

    Winston Churchill doesn’t come out very well in it (micromanaging ships in the Mediterranean from London with early 20th century radios?)
    Nor does Admiral Beatty (if your battlecruisers find themselves confronted by the German High Seas Fleet, call your boss and TELL HIM, jerk!)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It is. The whole premise of TOS in particular stemmed from a kind of odd fusion of the ethos of the post-WW2 consensus and 1960s counterculture. It embraced attracting the best and brightest people into what was essentially a government-sponsored exploration/military/scientific arm of space exploration, stimulating their individualistic drive and competition with themselves and with others, but at the same time also embracing some fundamentally collectivist concepts and ideals, such as the very idea of a Federation, rather than an Empire.

    You can see the 1960s counterculture in the way money essentially disappears from the way society works, driven by a superabundance of energy drawn from the virtually bottomless matter-antimatter drives. Other futurists have posited that the instant humanity gains access to virtually unlimited energy, that’s when the very idea of scarcity will be nonsense and all economics goes by the wayside.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Other futurists have posited that the instant humanity gains access to virtually unlimited energy, that’s when the very idea of scarcity will be nonsense and all economics goes by the wayside.

    That doesn’t make sense. The energy’s only so much use without creativity to drive new applications for it, and surely creativity will be scarce and valuable even when energy and materials are not.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    I wonder if that “route to the sea” bit was a pro-Israel dog whistle, i.e. if Iran pushes militarily towards the Mediterranean, they pretty much have to go over Israeli land.

    Of course, that raises other questions, like why a US politician needs to use code words to slavishly suck up to Israel.

    Or why the *heck* Iran would want to push militarily towards the Mediterranean.

    Refusing to click the David Brin link simply because I recently picked up a used sci-fi book about space-dolphins that I am enjoying and if it’s *that* Brin, I’d rather not warp my enjoyment of a fiction by getting to know an author too well.

    Yes, that David Brin.  He’s perhaps best known for the long rant on how Star Wars is fascist that reveals he clearly did not understand Star Wars…

    capable of outgunning a dozen Klingon cruisers, or subduing a galaxy.

    I like how she writes ‘capable of subduing a galaxy’ as though that were merely impressive instead of utterly ludicrous.  

    They explained off the mass persecution and murder of Communists in the Holocaust as mere party-line differences.

    Stalin killed his share of fellow communists, too, but… that doesn’t change that fact that it’s pretty wrong.

    Isn’t Star Trek fiction a tad strange of a venue for propagandizing for Libertarianism?

     
    Yes.  Very much so.

    You can see the 1960s counterculture in the way money essentially disappears from the way society works, driven by a superabundance of energy drawn from the virtually bottomless matter-antimatter drives. Other futurists have posited that the instant humanity gains access to virtually unlimited energy, that’s when the very idea of scarcity will be nonsense and all economics goes by the wayside.

    Maybe a literally limitless energy source could do that… but pretty much anything is going to be limited by the rate at which you can extract power.  In the Federation’s case, it’s pretty clear they *are* economically limited – it’s just that limit is well over ‘pay living expenses for everyone’.  At least in theory.

  • D9000

    I dunno, that sounds fairly interesting, If I can snag a copy cheap I’ll give it a go. I know bits of the naval history of WW1, it would be good to fill in the gaps. Yes, Winston wasn’t much cop as First Lord in WW2, either … 

  • veejayem

    Uh … no?

  • vsm

    Invisible Neutrino:
    That tension between rugged individualism and 1960′s idealism is why I like watching TOS (never cared for the other series). There’s something delightful about an alpha male like Kirk espousing fuzzy humanistic virtues, like when he saves that silicon-based life form from the miners, or that delightful episode where he brokers peace between the two planets who exterminate their own populations based on the enemy’s simulated attacks by threatening to nuke them from orbit. I also like the disconnect between the show’s misogyny and commitment  to racial equality: Uhura is competent, while every white female crewmember seems to be waiting for her chance to betray the Federation for some Übermensch conqueror. Thus, the the message seems to be that white women cannot be trusted.

    BaseDeltaZero:
    Calling Star Wars fascist is obviously silly, but it is a rather elitistic series.

  • Donalbain

     You should see the names they call anyone who dares to oppose President Obama’s health care law.

    Damnit! I hate them.  I hate it when they say things like that.

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Yes, it’s the same David Brin. Startide Rising is reasonably good – but be aware that it’s book two of a trilogy, although the books are independent enough that you won’t be totally lost.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    It seems they’ve suddenly, conveniently, forgotten about that whole “Constitution is not a suicide pact” thing they were tossing around about a decade ago.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    Best Foreign Policy Ever >.>  It’s got elephants!  Jumping off buildings!  Lawnmowers!

  • Magic_Cracker

    Mock away, but wait till he actually says something on the thread. Otherwise, you’re just being a jerk.

  • Joshua

    Best not to know someone’s politics before I know their space-dolphins

    I happen to be rereading one of the novels in that series now. With space-chimpanzees. I’ve found the politics and view of human nature he espouses in the novels to be consistent with what I’ve read online, so I doubt you’ll be in for a shock.

    I enjoy Startide Rising. Space dolphins may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s good fun if you can suspend disbelief. It’s part of a series of six or seven novels of frankly diminishing quality – he’s succumbed to celebrity author syndrome IMHO. The first, Sundiver, is my favourite, although the popular opinion is that it is exceeded by its sequel. Uplift War, with the chimpanzees, is very worthwhile I think.

    The second trilogy in the series could be vastly improved by cutting out all the padding shit, which would leave you with a short novel worth reading. Otherwise, not. I don’t know about his most recent prequel.

    I think his best work is contained in the two volumes of short stories released earlier in his career. My favourite is Thor vs Captain America, which is very dark but very imaginative. He wrote The Postman, which was turned into a Kevin Costner “vehicle” (is it a vehicle if it doesn’t go anywhere?). The book is better than the movie, but that’s not the same as saying it’s great.

    … And he was so right about Star Wars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Yes, that David Brin.  He’s perhaps best known for the long rant on how
    Star Wars is fascist that reveals he clearly did not understand Star
    Wars…

    I find Brin’s Star Wars essays especially impressive because they don’t involve missing the point so much as going to great effort to avoid having to look at it. Such as his talk of Star Wars promoting fascist rule by bloodlines of “genetic overlords,”* or how in “The Apotheosis of Darth Vader” he very impressively managed to write pages and pages about the end of RotJ without using the words “redemption” or “sacrifice.”

    * I was greatly reminded of Brin’s Star Wars essays when RTCs attacked Harry Potter for advocating that “There is no good or evil, only power, and those too weak to seek it.” Apparently Brin shares their view that villains espousing a belief means that the work and the author endorse it.

  • Joshua

    In what way do you think that Star Wars doesn’t promote fascist rule by genetic overlords?

    Episodes V on establish that forciness is heritable, and every movie shows that having the force makes you invincible against anything apart from another force user, even if, like Yoda, you’re a complete moron.

    Force users seem to have been political powers in the story for tens of thousands of years, and periods where someone asks, “Why don’t I be in charge?” seem to have been common.

    My favourite way to conclude the movies, back when Lucas was talking about nine of them, was to have a storyline where a bunch of normal humans get sick of all the Jedi and Sith burning the galaxy to the ground every generation or so, and piss off to colonise another galaxy, which turns out to be the Milky Way. Linking the whole thing back to the opening words.

    Obviously, Lucas would never go for it.

  • AnonymousSam

    So in other words, you’re saying, “So what?  That was yesterday. Give a guy a sixty-third chance.”

  • vsm

    The genetic overlords bit was a reference to both the Jedi and the Sith, whose force-sensitivity is portrayed as at least partially hereditary. The system allows the fate of an entire galaxy to be largely dependent on the actions of a handful of special people, while the murder of an entire planet’s population is little more than a statistic. As for Vader’s end, Brin seems to understand the situation well enough, but doesn’t think the galactic mass murderer deserves redemption.

  • Joshua

    As for Vader’s end, Brin seems to understand the situation well enough, but doesn’t think the galactic mass murderer deserves redemption.

    Yes. What I have read of Brin on Vader, which might not be everything, is all about sacrifice and redemption. His sacrifice didn’t mean much stacked up against his crimes, and he did not deserve redemption.

    I’m not sure I fully agree, though. Vader’s sacrifice did allow him to kill Palps, which has got to be worth something. Palpatine’s wars and oppression probably add up to a lot more than a planet’s population, and it’s not like Darth Vader had much more to offer at that point.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I was greatly reminded of Brin’s Star Wars essays when RTCs attacked
    Harry Potter for advocating that “There is no good or evil, only power,
    and those too weak to seek it.”

    Did they miss the part where it was Voldemort who said that, and who is the bad guy in that series?

  • vsm

    I don’t have a problem with Vader’s redemption in principle, but the way Luke fusses over the state of his immortal Jedi soul while his friends blow up thousands of ordinary soldiers and construction workers does rather reinforce the work’s elitism.

  • Joshua

    It does, although he was the guy’s Dad.

    Cue that bit of dialogue from Clerks.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Unfamiliar with Clerks. What dialogue?

  • vsm

    The guys talk about how the second Death Star was still being built when it was destroyed, concluding it must have been filled with innocent construction workers. http://youtu.be/dGOVbXF7Iog?t=51s

  • EllieMurasaki

    Will watch at home. Thanks.

  • Joshua

    Randal Graves: [talking about the second Death Star] A construction job of that magnitude would require a helluva lot more manpower than the Imperial army had to offer. I’ll bet there were independent contractors working on that thing: plumbers, aluminum siders, roofers.

    Dante Hicks: Not just Imperials, is what you’re getting at… 

    Randal Graves: Exactly. In order to get it built quickly and quietly they’d hire anybody who could do the job. Do you think the average storm trooper knows how to install a toilet main? All they know is killing and white uniforms. 

    Dante Hicks: All right, so even if independent contractors are working on the Death Star, why are you uneasy with its destruction? 

    Randal Graves: All those innocent contractors hired to do a job were killed – casualties of a war they had nothing to do with. 

    [notices Dante's confusion] 

    Randal Graves: All right, look-you’re a roofer, and some juicy government contract comes your way; you got the wife and kids and the two-story in suburbia – this is a government contract, which means all sorts of benefits. All of a sudden these left-wing militants blast you with lasers and wipe out everyone within a three-mile radius. You didn’t ask for that. You have no personal politics. You’re just trying to scrape out a living.

  • Joshua

    Fantastically clever movie, although filthy as hell.

    If there is any kind of bad language or reference to sexual practices that might offend you, it’s probably in there. Not shown on screen though.

    Kevin Smith’s first movie, funded entirely with his own credit cards. A classic.

  • vsm

    The part that comes after that is what really makes the scene for me.

    I like Knights of the Old Republic 2 for essentially being a game-length criticism of everything the writer disagrees with in Star Wars. The villain is is an elderly ex-jedi/ex-sith who’s come to the conclusion that the force is a malevolent being that should be killed for what it keeps putting the galaxy through in its balancing act. She’s also a party member for most of the game and acts as a mentor to the main character, which allows her to criticize both Star Wars and CRPGs. She’s a very memorable character.

  • Joshua

    Yeah, but that’s where imdb finished the quote, alas.

  • P J Evans

    I remember a song about getting ready to tie up the boat in Idaho. Close enough?

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    For us it was fifth grade and I think we all used the Schoolhouse Rock song, but we just recited the lyrics rather than singing them. 

    We didn’t hear anyone else recite, though.  My teacher knew that hearing the Preamble 24 times would give that 25th kid an unfair advantage, so she tested us on it in the hallway.  She sat on a chair with her gradebook and we each went out and recited it for her.  Then she checked us each off and sent us each in for the next kid.

  • Jessica_R

    As for sci-fi authors and libertarianism I like Kim Stanley Robinson’s comment best, “That’s libertarians for you, anarchists who want police protection from their slaves. 

    And no Mitt, everybody knows it’s *Parmistan* that’s Iran’s path to the sea, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mkl9rtttog

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    It’s taken me all day to get back to a computer where I was able to like this comment…

    (Seriously – ever since I upgraded my phone’s software, it goes round *selecting* the “like” button so I can… copy-paste it? or something? …and I can’t convince it that I actually want to *push* the damn thing.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Up the Oxfordians! Are there any others here or have I just outed myself to awkward silence?

  • D9000

    Read Fred’s motto, and re-consider your stance (if serious … IMX most Oxfordians aren’t, they’re just trolling the Bard-worshippers, which is understandable).


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