7 things at 11 o’clock (6.21)

1. Jamie Malanowski says the United States of America should not have US Army bases named after people who declared war against the United States of America and took the battlefield against the US Army.

Good point. A while ago someone told me that slavery was “only part” of why the Civil War was fought. Now I’m trying to imagine the job interview where you explain that kidnapping, rape and torture are “only part” of your résumé. When slavery is any part of the agenda, it really doesn’t much matter if it’s the only part, does it?

2. Andrew Hackman on collapsing the transcendent into the immanent. (Hackman doesn’t use that phrase, but Richard Beck does, and says, “I’m very happy with this move.” I am too. So was the author of 1 John, ad nauseum.)

3. Emergency contraception is finally available over the counter. So is soy sauce. The big difference here is that soy sauce carries actual health risks.

4. I am shocked — shocked! — that good Christian people would lie about Planned Parenthood.

5. This is how you request a song at a concert. And here’s a music video from long before anyone talked about music videos. If (far less than) One Million Moms had been around when this came out, they’d have called for a boycott of Scopitone.

6. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska just became the third Republican senator to go on record in support of marriage equality. That’s big news. Or, I suppose actually, it’s not big news — but the fact that this news wasn’t greeted as big news, but with a kind of collective nod and shrug is itself a kind of big news. Her statement, titled “The Pursuit of Happiness — Without Government Interference,” might convince other Red-state Republicans that they can join her without the sky falling on their heads.

7. I have long held that the New Hampshire House of Representatives is too damn big. Tiny New Hampshire has 400 representatives elected from 204 legislative districts, and it turns out you can’t fill that many seats without letting in a bunch of unqualified, embarrassing whackjobs and goofballs. But even by the standards of the Granite State, it seems Rep. Stella Tremblay, R-Auburn, is too far out there. After continually pushing her theory that the Boston Marathon bombing was a government-sponsored false-flag operation, Tremblay was rebuked by a vote of the full House and resigned from the legislature.

“I just connect the dots,” said the unrepentantly dotty Tremblay. “Apparently, it is very dangerous to seek truth, or ask questions.”

Kudos to N.H. Republican Chair Jennifer Horn for responding unambiguously: “Representative Tremblay was unfit for public office and not welcome in our party. We are glad to see her go.” I know that’s partly just damage-control, but if the national party were willing to be that direct with the Gohmerts and Burgesses and Duncans and Franks (Frankses?) now dragging it down, it might be in better shape.

"Especially when you haven't even brought the kid back, and are just promising not to ..."

And his own received him not
"American Christianity suddenly has a lot more to answer for. Apparently, at least some of ..."

And his own received him not
"As expected. Let's make sure the deception doesn't stick."

And his own received him not
"As I said on the Daily Show video where Trevor is talking about that: You ..."

And his own received him not

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  • Alix

    Thank. You. If I heard one more person use that excuse, I was going to scream.

  • Those who earn wages are almost never slaves. Sweatshops≠slavery. Banana republics usually have little capability to protect property rights.

  • He doesn’t, Worker/Lee B.

  • Isabel C.

    Friends and I were talking about this last night: how perfectly nice words have become code for absolutely horrible people, and how we know in advance to avoid Internet people and organizations with certain words in their names.

    We got “Family,” “Freedom,” “Heritage,” “Liberty,” and, sadly, “Tea.”

  • I know what socialism means. Did not the Sapa Inca own everything in his empire? Did not the Old Kingdom Egyptian government conduct mining and quarrying operations in the Sinai and Eastern Desert? Did it not have royal estates? Communism is the abolition of private property. I do not see how my use of the phrase “Communist China” is in any way incorrect.

    Slavery is basically a form of legalized extortion and robbery, and legalized extortion and robbery are (at least partially) antithetical to capitalism. The main bits of “capital” the plantation economy relied upon were the cotton gin, farm equipment, and steamboats. That is only a few small steps above the level of technology that existed for thousands of years in China, the Near East, and Egypt. So, whichever way you look at it, it is difficult to see the plantation economy as a capitalist one.

  • Also, what was “that” in your first sentence?

  • EllieMurasaki

    There was an element of, “Your high school teachers didn’t tell you the whole story; college is where you learn REAL history!” . . .

    So, was he implying some sort of absurd conspiracy to keep students from hearing the truth or was he boasting about teaching remedial high school?

    College doesn’t have the school board requiring it to not teach things that offend the parents. Things like ‘Latina history’ and ‘queer history’ and ‘women’s history’ often offend the parents. To say nothing of why what happened, rather than merely what happened.

  • Alix

    Sorry – by “that” I meant your assertions about capitalism being inherently anti-slavery, though really, I’ll take sources on anything. Economic history is not my strong point, once we get past the invention of agriculture.

    Mostly I’m just curious how you came to your view, because it’s not one I’ve heard before and seems to be using nonstandard definitions, from the little I know.

  • Alix

    Welllll…. it seems to me that if you’re a plantation owner, your slaves are a form of capital as well. They’re not really employees, more like your livestock.

    It’s reprehensible, but that’s the mindset.

  • Alix

    See, from my perspective, despite all the technicalities, there’s not really any practical difference between a wage slave, a serf, or a real slave under any of the various forms of slavery. The systems just rely on different forms of hard coercion to enforce bondage.

  • It was the latter. He said K-12 teachers taught oversimplified and sanitized history (because children!), but college professors could get into the complexities of what happened and paint a more accurate picture.

    He was a huge fan of conspiracy theories, though.

  • J_Enigma32

    When I’m working 12 hours a day in unsanitary conditions and if I lose a limb or get injured I’m automatically fired and forced to die on the street – yeah. I call that wage slavery.

    And just because Banana republics have the capability to protect rights doesn’t mean they do. Here, wake up and take this test:


  • They said they were seceding over slavery. Over and over and over again, they said it.

    Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy, had this to say in what is known as the Cornerstone Speech:

    Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas [to the ideas of equality the founders of the U.S. had]; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.

  • Absolutely. If she’d said, “I used that word in the 50s and early 60s and I am deeply embarrassed and sorry about that now,” AND wasn’t racist AND didn’t defend her racist, sexually-harassing husband — well, okay. But then she wouldn’t be in this position in the first place, and she’d be a completely and totally different person.

  • But no one enslaved you in the situation you described. You chose to do such dangerous work. I find that site’s definition of slavery to be far too loose. How do they define “being economically exploited”? How do they define “unable to walk away”?

  • Daniel

    No… not… not “tea”… please not “tea”… I couldn’t live in a world where “tea” was a dirty word. I’d feel like I was in a Phillip K Dick novel if tea somehow became corrupted by association- like the whole thing was just a terrifying hallucination.
    Please, American lunatic right wingers, please just let us have “tea” back.

  • Daniel

    Charles Manson didn’t have a particularly right wing family.

  • Daniel

    or to “Fought Lee” to commemorate the Union troops.

    Puns are cool. I don’t care what anyone says.

  • But then I’d have to pretend I grew up around Flint, instead of about 45 minutes away! It’d be like a whole different life, completely alien to my experiences!

  • Oh, pfft. I’m quite comfortable with the spotlight on someone else. (Part of why my blog goes without updates so often…)

  • Daniel

    Please note: no sarcasm is meant in the following questions-
    What is it that make you certain there were no other causes? I’m quite ignorant about the US civil war, and to me it always seemed plausible that if a country fights itself there is usually more than one reason because it’s a bloody awful thing to do. So is it that slavery was the most significant (by however big a margin) and there were other causes, or is it that slavery pure and simple was the reason? Again, pleading ignorance, I’ve always assumed this was a retrospective view to salve a nation’s conscience after such a destructive event. Is there a grain of truth in that reading, or was it really entirely motivated by the slave trade?

  • themunck

    …Nevertheless, my raised warning flags remain prudent.

  • themunck

    Point made and taken. *Turns off the spotlight and moves on* :P

  • Daniel

    that’s sensible. Also, the Royal Family. I’d avoid that lot like the plague.

  • That’s utterly unhelpful.

  • AnonaMiss

    If it gets really bad you can always get a little more specific. I’m really into Chinese tea, for example. If tea became a form of doublespeak, that would probably make heads spin.

  • J_Enigma32

    When it’s either that or death, you have no choice.

    And we’re right back to you bullying these people into these unsanitary and horrible conditions under threat of starvation and death again.

  • J_Enigma32

    Clearly you don’t know what socialism means.

    Pharaoh was not a socialist. Sapa Inca was not a socialist. When one person owns everything, including the people, that’s not socialism. That’s despotism and totalitarianism.

    Furthermore, Egypt likely didn’t make use of slaves for their major building projects, as is commonly thought. I make this statement for two reasons:

    1: Pharaoh was god.
    2: The afterlife was more important than their actual life

    When Pharaoh is a god, Pharaoh can hook you up with a really good afterlife. Therefore, you’re going to do everything you can for Pharaoh, so you can land a sweet spot in the hereafter.

    Second, while some communist philosophies advocate the abolishment of both private and personal property, others – Libertarian Socialism and Mutualism – advocate only the abolishment of private property in concerns of production or the ownership of private property that does not assist in labor (i.e., credit, resources); personal property still remains. Again, learn what the hell you’re talking about first. Your “Communist China” is actually “Maoist China”, since it certainly wasn’t Trotskyist.

    Third, you have yet to explain to me why it’s not. I explained to you why it is. Slaves are a form of capital. They produce things, the means of production and the profit thereof are both owned by the plantation (i.e., business) owner, and he reaps all of the rewards. The ONLY difference between that and modern agribuisness models is that the workers were unpaid slaves. And even then, given the treatment of immigrants in this country, even that hasn’t gone away.

  • Daniel

    But I quite like Yorkshire Tea, and that might sound like some weird factional group in this horrific Orwellian world we’re creating here. I could shift to Twinings, I suppose, but that feels a little too “proper”. The Queen drinks that. I couldn’t hold my head up in respectable middle-class anti-monarchist poseur society again.

  • Yes, I do know what socialism is. You said so yourself -“Socialism is when the government steps in and controls some of the means of production.” You didn’t arbitrarily specify that the government not be ruled by a monarch.

    I didn’t say slaves were used on Old Kingdom Egyptian building projects. I said forced labor was used. I don’t have to be ridiculously specific to meet your ridiculous standards. I can say America is a republic without specifying whether or not its government is bicameral.

    You clearly haven’t read my second paragraph in my previous comment.

  • If Chinese tea would make heads spin, how about certified Fair Trade tea?

  • By “barfs on something,” do you mean that the cards sometimes won’t recognize certain food items as real food? That happens sometimes, usually when a store’s computer has the item in the wrong category (no, this can of tomatoes really shouldn’t be filed under “housewares”). In those cases, I’ve never noticed the problem being any worse than all those times people insist that their credit card couldn’t possibly have been turned down just now and it’s all the cashier’s fault somehow, or the times when people insist that that item that was rung up at $6.99 is only supposed to be 45 cents.

    The most noticeable Poor Folks at the grocery stores are WIC recipients, and I’ve never seen any of them trying to buy crab legs.

    I totally need to spend a couple months eating nothing but green cabbage, rice & beans just so I can save up to use my EBT card to buy crab legs.

  • Who’s doing the bullying?

    When it’s either that or death, you have no choice.

    -Sure you do. You have a choice between that and death.

  • There are people even TODAY who are intractably convinced that if the north had just let the south be, in a few decades, the invisible hand of the free marketr would have caused slaveowners to realize that it was better fiscal policy to pay their laborers rather than gaining their labor without paying them by use of violence.

    And since this would have led to the end of slavery with markedly fewer white deaths, it would have been an unalloyed victory*

    So it’s not all that outlandish for the founding fathers to have hoped that if they just ignored the problem, it would go away.

    Also, much like today, there was the pragmatic consideration that “Plus slavery is over”, like “And the new immigration bill will also extend rights to same-sex partners” would have been a dealbreaker with the delegates from the south, so it was not a question of “do we end slavery or let it continue” but rather “do we let it continue in our new country, or let it continue as we go back to being colonies of the british empire”

    (* Of course, there’d be extra decades of black people dying, being tortured, raped and exploited. But as those people did not legally count as people, the sort of person who advances this argument only counts their suffering as 3/5 of a white person’s suffering)

  • J_Enigma32

    Okay, I’m done here. I got what I wanted out of you – a reaffirmation that it’s okay to let people die.

  • Alix

    There are people even TODAY who are intractably convinced that if the north had just let the south be, in a few decades, the invisible hand of the free marketr would have caused slaveowners to realize that it was better fiscal policy to pay their laborers

    I always want to ask them just how many hundreds of years we’re supposed to give the free market to work.

  • Arresi

    Watch out for white supremacists while googling anything to do with vikings and viking mythology.

  • My immediate reaction to the king crab legs claim: receipts or it didn’t happen.

  • I recall reading elseweb a post from a woman who’d bought a day-old cake for her child’s birthday using food stamps, and the person behind her made some remark about their tax money being wasted buying cake… only to have the person behind them pipe up, “I can think of no better use for my tax money than to buy a poor child a birthday cake.”

  • Arresi

    I’m aware! I was mostly making a joke about the conspiracy movie style phrasing of that line.

    That said, there are a lot of people who do act like education (and pretty much everything else to do with government) is run by some sort of secret cabal. I hardly think it counts as a conspiracy when they announce their plans in public meetings.

  • Joykins

    Yes. Or the WIC recipients, who, as you say, may have a tricky time finding the exact food they qualify for. I’ve helped some of them on request to find the exact right cheese or whatever and it isn’t easy to tell.

  • Wait. You put $9 extra to cover food for the group, most of whom make significantly less than you do… and someone complained?

  • I suspect until the Great Depression. Remember, the agricultural sector in all sections of the country was stagnating from c. 1890 to c. 1933. By the Great Depression, conditions would have gotten so bad for even the richest planters, that they would have to had let their slaves go free, as slaves would merely have contributed to losses in severe depressionary conditions.

  • You are really claiming that slaveowning planataions were SOCIALIST?

    Do words have meanings AT ALL in your world?

  • You are really claiming that slaveowning planataions were SOCIALIST?

    -Not exactly. I’m saying that slavery is much more reminiscent of socialist economies than capitalist ones. And, yes, an individual slave plantation does have much more in common with a socialist state than with a capitalist one.

  • Alix

    Wouldn’t having to actually pay your workers be worse in a depression? I mean, half the point of slavery is that it’s about the cheapest labor possible, especially if you’re not terribly concerned about their well-being.

    Edit: or are you saying the plantation economy in general would’ve been beyond saving?

  • Well, there is this. This passes through FB quite frequently, NEVER accompanied by further information (like how the man was eventually charged with a crime).

  • Wouldn’t having to actually pay your workers be worse in a depression?

    As we didn’t have the scenario I described in the U.S. due to the War of Southern Secession, I cannot claim to know. Besides, in my scenario, both forms of labor (free and slave) would have been unprofitable in agriculture due to agriculture having become unprofitable due to low prices for farm goods.

  • Re-selling luxury foodstuffs? I had no idea that was even a thing. “Here, wanna buy a lobster? It, uh, fell off the back of an aquarium.”

  • Alix

    Ah, okay, gotcha. So if slavery were still around by the Depression, there would’ve been a sort of general collapse of the plantation system, resulting in the end of slavery.

    That’s an interesting counterfactual to consider. I wonder what would’ve happened post-Depression, or if the Depression might’ve gone on longer in the South due to unwillingness to free the slaves*.

    *Economic concerns aren’t the only ones, after all. Another thing the South had to fear was a slave revolt or a mass uprising.