Thursday salmagundi

Gotta use up all the links in the fridge before this stuff goes bad.

• The headline on this Consumerist piece is misleading: “Study: Errors Found in as Many as 26 Percent of Consumers’ Credit Reports.”

Yes, credit records are filled with incorrect information, but those are not “errors.” That’s the business model of the credit-rating agencies. They don’t want accurate information. If they used accurate information, they would have no basis for shaking down consumers through various “protection” plans and “free” (not free) credit report services.

• That time when Babe Ruth and Reinhold Niebuhr were teammates.

How’s that church renewal plan coming along?

• BuzzFeed’s Jessica Misener offers “33 Ways You Know You Were a Youth Group Kid.” I already knew I was a youth group kid. So what this list really tells me is that I’m about 10-15 years older than Jessica Misener.

• According to a new survey by the Barna Group, 42 percent of white evangelicals went to see The Avengers in theaters this summer.

(Cackles nefariously, rubs hands together.) Yes, yes, the Whedonization Plot is all going according to plan …

• “Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?” Walmart discovers that bank subsidies, austerity and deficit-fretting can’t make the economy grow — that takes customers spending money. The key word is “spending.”

• I’m not a cardinal, or even Catholic, so I don’t get a vote for the next pope. But if I did, I’d happily vote for Jan Phillips. Everybody says they’re in favor of revival, renewal and the rebirth of our churches, but when someone like Phillips spells out what that might actually look like, they all back away. Everybody wants resurrection, but nobody wants to die.

Teach the controversy!

• Your periodic reminder that if you’re part of the religious right, then being an AIDS-denying racist won’t get you fired, marginalized, or condemned by your colleagues.

• “In Billy Graham & Me a new book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise that was released [Feb. 12], 101 people who have met Graham on the public stage share their private memories of the 94-year-old preacher.”

It would be a tremendous privilege to sit down with Billy Graham and get to ask him, in person, the one question we all most want to ask: “So, what was Johnny Cash really like?”

• Caleb Wilde: “11 Worst and Best Things to Say at a Funeral

• Can we not agree that it would be wrong not to avoid commending Lowering the Bar for not failing to find this sentence unpleasing? (via Jay Lake):

The grounds of appeal announced on Monday state Justice Sifris erred in not finding Mr Goldberg was wrong in failing to set aside the summonses.

• If you are a resident of Maricopa County, Ariz., and you travel anywhere in the world other than Maricopa County, Ariz., then the first thing you say to anyone — the very first thing — must be, “… but I have never voted for Sheriff Joe Arpaio.” Otherwise you will be treated with an appropriate mix of disdain, suspicion, revulsion and pity.

  • http://postmodernprodigal.wordpress.com/ AJG

    Just for the record, I have been a resident of Maricopa county for over forty years and I have never voted for Joe Arpaio.

    Next!

  • aunursa

    I assume that most residents of Maricopa County, when traveling, identify as hailing from Phoenix or the Phoenix area.  Few people outside of Arizona would realize that Phoenix is in Maricopa County.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    • “Where are all the customers?
    And where’s their money?” Walmart discovers that bank subsidies,
    austerity and deficit-fretting can’t make the economy grow — that takes
    customers spending money. The key word is “spending.”

    I saw a bit on this on the news. Wal-Mart is up in arms because they only had 8.9% growth this quarter, and sales are down.

    So, despite low sales, they still grew by almost 9%, and that’s unacceptably poor performance.

  • aunursa

    The Best Things to Say to Someone in Grief

    6. My favorite memory of your loved one is…

    I greatly appreciated the heartfelt and amusing stories that my brother’s friends and our relatives shared during and after the service.  I wished there was enough time for me to go up to each of the hundreds of people at the celebration* and ask them to share a story about him.

    * My brother had planned his own funeral, wanting it to be a happy celebration of his life.  Consequently we had a Mardi Gras-style party, complete with masks, beads, and a jazz band.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    I don’t care. I’m still not shopping there.

  • LL

    Yeah, Walmart ain’t hurtin’. No matter what they say to the contrary. And what that exec said about the payroll tax – LOL. I guarantee you probably 85% of the American public (at least) have no effing clue about the change in their payroll deduction. 

    I’m sure if you asked them about it, specifically mentioning the payroll tax “increase” (in advertising, we call this “aided recall”), many people would say, “Oh yeah, I spend way less now that the tax has gone back up.”

    But if you didn’t mention the payroll tax and asked people why they spent less in February, they’d say something like, “All my Christmas bills came due at once” or “The electric/gas bill was really high because of the cold” or somesuch. 

    Corporate America really does think we’re all a bunch of idiots. Maybe they’re right. 

  • AnonymousSam

    I avoid Walmart because they brag about their child labor. That’s pretty much the mark of evil right there. Cain would be envious.

  • AnonymousSam

    For our Catholic friends around the world, this may be of interest: http://www.catholics-united.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=17&reset=1

  • Lori

    It would be a tremendous privilege to sit down with Billy Graham and get
    to ask him, in person, the one question we all most want to ask: “So,
    what was Johnny Cash really like?”  

    I suspect we actually got the answer to this question when Rosanne Cash told the story about her dad and The List.

    For those unfamiliar, when Roseanne was 18 she went out on tour with her dad. It was the early 70s and she was a fairly typical teenager, so she was into the Beatles and Southern California rock. Johnny was rather appalled that his offspring had so lilttle apparent connection to her roots, but rather than giving her crap about kids these days he went off and spent several hours writing something. When he finished he brought her The List—100 songs he felt that she needed to know to understand her heritage. It started with Applicaian folk ballads and Woody Guthrie and went up through things that were current at the time. In interviews she’s talked about the fact that it demonstrated a real understanding of the development of country music, but that it was mostly about love. Johnny loved the music and he loved Roseanne and he wanted those two loves to meet, so to speak.

    She released an album a while ago of 12 of the songs from The List, but AFAIK she’s never made the entire thing public. I understand why, it was something personal that her dad gave to her. I’d still love to see it though.

  • cjmr

    Actually, I know two divorced moms who were living paycheck to paycheck last year as it was, who are now keeping their houses at 45 degrees when their kids aren’t home and only eating when their kids are there in order to try to make it on their new, lower, take-home pay.

    The payroll tax reverting to normal is really screwing the people for whom that is pretty much the only tax that gets taken out of their paycheck because they don’t make enough to have much income tax taken out (if any).  

  • ReverendRef

    From the link:

    Large numbers of evangelicals turned out to see
    summer blockbusters like “The Avengers” (42 percent of evangelicals
    reported seeing it) and “The Hunger Games” (36%). Fewer evangelicals
    reported seeing “Skyfall” (12%), “Argo” (3%), and “Lincoln” (3%).

    Imagine that . . . only 3 percent of evangelicals surveyed turned out to see movies about loosing the bonds of captivity, fighting oppression, ending slavery and a man ahead of his time on helping people become equal.

    /snark

    *Now turning to the confession in my BCP

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Herrera/100000106872183 Matt Herrera

    I was just talking to a guildmate in Star Wars about Sheriff Joe last night.  While he didn’t vote for the man (THIS time…no word on if he has in the past), he doesn’t support the recall effort on the grounds that he won reelection.  I can respect not wanting to recall him on purely political grounds.

    Now all the legitimate reasons to recall him, on the other hand…

  • Lori

    Even for those moms, the fact that they don’t make enough money to pay federal income tax is the real problem, not the payroll tax. The payroll tax situation is, as you say, a reversion to normal. A person who is working should be able to pay normal levels of payroll tax and still eat and have heat. Walmart is one of the major offenders in terms of paying their employees too little to live on, so for them to point the finger at the payroll tax reversion is just straight up self-serving bullshit.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Well, the really horrible thing in this is that if their stock prices went up 8.9% while sales declined, that means that that 8.9% (plus however much sales went down) comes from cutting costs. So that’s 8.9% fewer paychecks, 8.9% lower benefits, 8.9% more products of chinese slave labor, etc.

  • aunursa

    he doesn’t support the recall effort on the grounds that he won reelection

    I agree with him.  I oppose recalls in general … unless the office-holder has committed a felony or other serious crime.

  • Carstonio

    Any thoughts on why evangelicals would prefer The Avengers and The Hunger Games and snub Argo and Lincoln? I would think the politically conservative ones would adore the pro-US theme in Argo and abhor the feminist aspects of the Katniss story. The lack of Lincoln viewers makes sense for Southern white evangelicals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    Re: the “Teaching the Controversy” link.  A thought occurs to me. If Evangelicals have the right to force science teachers to cover creationism as a topic, then shouldn’t history teachers be allowed to discuss the lack of evidence for the historical existence of Jesus?

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s only controversy when the persecuted minority is trying to tell people the truth they don’t want to hear. So in this case, it wouldn’t be the lack of evidence for Jesus, it would be the Biblical evidence for Jesus.

  • Gotchaye

     Not to pile on, but 2% of income matters.  Even at minimum wage that’s more than $200.

    And it doesn’t really matter if people living paycheck to paycheck realize that they’re taking home less money.  They’re spending less because they’re spending everything they get, and they’re getting less.  That alone accounts for about 20% of households.

  • vsm

    I think it’s just that The Avengers and Hunger Games are blockbusters, which seem to appeal to Evangelicals, since they also liked The Hobbit. You’re probably right about Lincoln, which was markedly less popular among Evangelicals than other groups,  but Argo wasn’t all that popular among any group other than the Boomers, of whom 10% saw it. Interestingly, Les Miserables was more widely seen by Evangelicals than any other group.

    http://www.barna.org/culture-articles/607-superheroes-presidents-and-a-girl-on-fire-2012-at-the-movies

  • Veylon

    Argo is far too intellectual, complex, and morally ambiguous for Evangelicals to truly enjoy. It’s the same issue with Oscar Schindler. The so-called “hero” works within the system, drinks, swears, lies, does shady backroom dealings, puts himself in mortal danger, and never so much as picks up a weapon.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Yes, yes, the Whedonization Plot is all going according to plan …

    One female hero defined by her sexuality, in a group with six men, none of whom are defined by their sexuality. Yeah. Wonderful. 

  • stardreamer42

    When I die, I don’t want a funeral. I want a private memorial service for immediate family — and then I want a WAKE, where all my friends can come eat and drink and laugh and cry and remember together.

  • Monty

    Youth group kid: Yep, my Christian music is easily 15 years older than those, my youth pastor had a mustache not a soul patch and I owned a New American Standard bible (soon to be the most popular version!, well not so much…)

  • vsm

    The same seems to apply to Mosaics (those between 18 to 28, 5%), Busters (those between 29 to 47, 6%) and Elders (those 67 and older, 6%).

    I didn’t particularly like Argo. It was good enough, but nothing special compared to the classic thrillers they used to churn out in the seventies. I hope it doesn’t win Best Picture next Sunday, but I’m not really sure who I’m rooting for instead. Zero Dark Thirty was probably the best of the nominees I’ve seen, but I’m really not comfortable cheering for it. I guess I’ll go with Amour for trolling purposes.

  • P J Evans

    unless the office-holder has committed a felony or other serious crime

    Sheriff Joe has. Including not investigating 400 cases of child molestation.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And what that exec said about the payroll tax – LOL. I guarantee you
    probably 85% of the American public (at least) have no effing clue about
    the change in their payroll deduction.

    85% of the public don’t read their pay stubs?

  • EllieMurasaki

    When I die, I don’t want a funeral. I want a private memorial service
    for immediate family — and then I want a WAKE, where all my friends can
    come eat and drink and laugh and cry and remember together.

    Yeah, this, except my wake would kind of have to be on the Internet, because that’s where all my friends are.

    Also I am getting cremated and put in an Eternal Reefs (or whatever the company’s called) thingajig and dunked in the ocean somewhere coral needs a base to grow on.

  • flat

    That walmart article was interesting, I didn’t know that happened.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    On the Barna research :

    1. I can’t caution strongly enough against reading too much into the findings they describe. Their sample size is small, their definition of different faith groups is bogus, and they insist on comparing groups while ignoring the differences in their makeup. For example, they show that movie-going habits vary quite considerably with age and income, and from what I understand of US demographics the age and income profile is *not* the same between various faith groups and people with no religious faith. They didn’t look at rurality, which strongly affects the types of movies you have access to. If you want to convince me that faith identity is the driving factor behind which movies were popular with their “faith groups”, you need to standardise for age, sex, income and geography first.

    2. Continually talking about a group of which one is not a member in a generalised, disparaging way doesn’t sit well with me at all. Evangelicals don’t like intellectual entertainment or anything with a vaguely feminist message? I expect that’s not true of Fred, and I expect he’s not on his own. Criticising your group from within is radically different from constantly (and even exclusively) going on about how awful, stupid, mean, ignorant etc etc another group is.

    3. Those graphics are crap. They line up age groups with “evangelicals”, which is not a separate category to the others.

    4. The authors of the article don’t know the appropriate use of the word “amount”. This is my petty peeve of the decade.

  • Turcano

    If anything, that’s probably a conservative estimate.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’s horrifying.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Was Black Widow really defined by her sexuality? There’s the name, obviously, but apart from that? Even the outfit isn’t that different to Cap or Hawkeye.

  • Raymond

    I pretty much thought that Thor was defined by his sexuality too…

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

     

    And it doesn’t really matter if people living paycheck to paycheck
    realize that they’re taking home less money.  They’re spending less
    because they’re spending everything they get, and they’re getting less. 
    That alone accounts for about 20% of households.

    This is part of what really pisses me off about the “increasing minimum wage will hurt the economy” lie. People working minimum wage will put that additional money directly back into the economy, not into Cayman Islands accounts.

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

     I’ve seen a number of people comment on how the first shot of Cap seemed to focus on his ass rather than on him punching the bag.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That seems to me to fall under ‘fanservice’ targeted at the straight woman, the gay man, and the bisexual anybody (rather than the usual fanservice targeted at the straight man, with lesbians and bisexuals in the splash zone), not under ‘defining the character by sexuality’.

    Which I disagree that Natasha is, incidentally, but the thing where she’s the only woman on the more-than-two-member team is a Major Problem. So is the thing where Avengers fails Bechdel and all they’d have had to do is have Maria give Natasha an order and Natasha acknowledge.

  • AnonymousSam

    A slightly more coherent argument I saw today was that if we raise minimum wage, then we also need to raise the wages of people presently making more than that. If one job is worth $7.15/hour and one is worth $14.30/hour, then raising minimum wage decreases the value of the job worth $14.30 unless those wages rise accordingly. Therefore, more skilled workers won’t be hired as often and their jobs will decline and blah blah blah the world ends.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Raising the pay of people who currently make $9/hr to make them still paid a couple dollars more than minimum wage when minimum wage is $9/hr strikes me as an excellent idea, for the same reasons the minimum wage increase is itself an excellent idea.

    $9/hr is too low, though. I believe the local living wage is $12ish/hr, so no lower than that.

  • Carstonio

    Speaking of comics, did you hear that Capt. Maggie Sawyer is engaged to Batwoman? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you! How unnatural! Sawyer shouldn’t be marrying a cape. The first lesbian wedding in the DC universe should have been Sawyer and her longtime partner Toby Raines.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I know nothing about comics.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Sheriff Joe has. Including not investigating 400 cases of child molestation.

    Ah, but in Republicanland, elected officials being utterly incompetent at doing their jobs isn’t an impeachable offense, it’s the desired result.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m in agreement. However, their endless protest is that we’re not talking about multimillion dollar companies being hurt by this (although, oddly enough, they’re always the first to cry foul). According to them, it’s everything from Mom & Pop stores to smaller chains that get hurt, causing them to layoff workers or even close their doors.

    I think there could possibly be some truth to this, but it ignores the idea that once workers have more money, they’ll also be spending more money, which means more profits for the businesses.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I haven’t gotten a physical paystub in years, and I read approximately two of them a year when I did.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Mine are all digital and I read them.

  • Shaenon

    The worst thing you can say at a funeral is what the priest at my grandma’s funeral said to my grandpa.  My grandpa told him that they’d been married for 48 years, and the priest said, “If you’d prayed harder, maybe you could have made it to 50.”

    He also made the homily all about the evil of interfaith marriage, because my grandpa was a Protestant.

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

    Speaking of comics, did you hear that Capt. Maggie Sawyer is engaged to
    Batwoman? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you! How unnatural! Sawyer
    shouldn’t be marrying a cape. The first lesbian wedding in the DC
    universe should have been Sawyer and her longtime partner Toby Raines.

    What is this I don’t even. And now DC is hiring Orson Scott Card to write Adventures of Superman. DC, this is how to NOT get back a fifteen-year reader who quit your company in disgust after Flashpoint.

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

    Oh, lord.

    There is no palm that can encompass the magnitude of my facepalm.

  • Carstonio

    Card is obviously challenging Jerry Pournelle for the title of science fiction’s most reviled reactionary. I knew he was a Mormon but I didn’t know that he sits on NOM’s board. I imagine him writing Sawyer as using the SCU to recruit teenage girls into lesbianism.

    I never read Flashpoint. How bad was it? I’m normally a fan of the Elsewords type of stories, particularly Kingdom Come and Red Son.

  • Tricksterson

    Dont want a wake, doon’t want a funeral, just burn me and throw me away.


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