7 things @ 9 o’clock (10.18)

1. Here’s an insightful piece by David Frum, examining what caused the recent Republican defeat and what his party needs to do to move forward. The fact that Frum wrote this piece on March 21, 2010, makes it even more insightful. (Depressing possibility: He could repost it again in a few months and have it be just as timely.)

2. I’m not at all surprised that a white evangelical House stenographer would interrupt legislators with an incoherent rant about godandamerica. I am surprised to hear that rant include anti-Masonic conspiracy thinking. That’s old school. (I think even Wheaton College has dropped its prohibition against membership in “secret societies.”)

3. “I got lambasted because I quoted the Bible and stuff like that on Facebook,” said Linda Oliver, mayor of West Union, S.C. But Mayor Oliver’s rant didn’t actually “quote the Bible” — she just implied that the Bible somehow justified her rant against “the queers.”

After indulging in some self-congratulatory fantasies about herself as a righteous martyr (“I know that following Jesus, I’m going to be crucified”), Mayor Oliver eventually conceded that her personal animosity toward LGBT people wasn’t due to “the Bible and stuff like that,” but was, rather, the product of a her stunted upbringing: “The way I feel toward homosexuals is how I’ve been brought up.”

Ah. Perhaps this could be a teachable moment — not just for Oliver, but for others as well. Confusing “how I’ve been brought up” with “the Bible and stuff like that” will always get you into trouble.

4. If the thought of what your God is going to do to most people is so horrifying that it makes you weep uncontrollably, that’s a pretty big sign that your God is not worthy of worship.

Related: “What Is the Point of Smashmouth Evangelism?” — “My guess is that this type of engagement is really just about point scoring.” That’s my guess, too. And truly I tell you, they have received their reward — points scored, but nothing else.

5. Here’s a story for our friend Al Mohler, young-Earth creationist: “30,000-year-old Brazilian artifacts throw wrench in theory humans first arrived in Americas 12,000 years ago.” Or, in other words, do the artifacts planted by the Devil to deceive us appear 24,000 years older than they really are? Or do they merely appear 6,000 years older than they really are?

6. Standard & Poor’s estimates the shutdown cost about $24 billion. Bryce Covert puts that in perspective, listing some other things that cost about that much:

  • The net cost of to the government from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP): $24 billion
  • The Department of Agriculture’s proposed budget: $22.6 billion
  • NASA’s approved budget: $16.6 billion
  • All air transportation programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, security, research, and other costs: $21.9 billion
  • The Child Tax Credit: $22.1 billion
  • The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (formally known as welfare): $17.7 billion
  • The cost of Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC) program combined: $25.2 billion

7. Cynthia Nielsen: “Douglass’s Political Philosophy of Mutual Responsibility or ‘Each for All and All for Each’

Yet his personal experience of unjust suffering did not result in a spirit of resignation or an acceptance of the status quo; rather, just a few years after his escape from slavery and his resettlement in New Bedford, Douglass not only participated in the abolitionist movement but became one of its leading and most profound voices. His own experience of brutal suffering and the social death he and countless others endured fueled his social activism and compelled him to develop and defend a political philosophy whose central components consist in mutual responsibility and a sense of obligation for the other’s good. Stated otherwise and drawing from an instance of Douglass’s reverse discourse par excellence entitled, “What is the Slave to the Fourth of July,” he writes: “the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday” are today “rendered more intolerable by […] jubilant shouts”—misplaced, triumphalist shouts proclaiming America’s tainted, blood-stained history as something of the past and that true democracy had finally arrived. For Douglass, the “mournful wails of millions” never grew faint but resounded repeatedly in his soul, piercing him with an existential memory that refused to celebrate half-freedoms, partial rights, and second-class citizenship.

The earth spins on and on and so much news is bad
Sunday WTF?
This day is not imagination's child
Congress sides with predatory lenders vs. military families
  • Lori

    Is this the article?


    Reporter following up on 3 couples who appeared on Hannity claiming that the ACA was going to hurt them.

    -First couple was either lying or very badly informed. They claimed that they were forced to cut the hours of their employees to keep them below full time status because of costs associated with the ACA.

    Their business has only 4 employees. As a business with <50 employees the only thing the ACA requires them to do is inform all of them of the existence of of the website for the exchange. When the reporter pointed this out the guy admitted that he wasn't being forced to do anything, he was choosing to do it in order to deal with increased ACA-related costs. When asked exactly what those costs were he bailed.

    -2nd & 3rd couple were suffering from a combination of 'winger stubbornness and, AFAICT, getting their chains yanked by Blue Cross. Basically their old Blue Cross policies weren't ACA compliant so they were being discontinued and they were told that the new polices were going to cost some staggering amount more per month. Neither couple had shopped on the exchange.

    One hadn't tried because she had heard about all the problems with the website (fair enough, I've also been holding off until things settle down a bit), however she also indicated that even when the website is working she may not check it because she doesn't support "Obamacare" and she's mad that it's forcing her to change polices. Note that due to a preexisting condition one of her children is not covered at all by the family's current policy.

    The other couple flat refuses to shop on the exchange because they don't support "Obamacare." Apparently they're just going to pay whatever bill Blue Cross sends to them, including paying for a bunch of coverage that they don't actually need. They either haven't asked their insurance salesman about getting a policy that doesn't include the coverage they don't need or he's flat out lying to them because he knows suckers when he sees them.

    The reporter went on the exchange and found polices for both families that are less expensive than their old Blue Cross policies, never mind the new ones Blue Cross is offering them. That included covering the child with the preexisting condition who does not currently have insurance.

    I strongly suspect that nearly all the stories of businesses being forced to screw their workers and families facing gigantic increases in their premiums are going to turn out to be just like these ones—the result of some combination of stubburness, stupidity, insurance company bullshit and employer greed.

  • Indiana Joe

    I’ll just have to put an, “X” on that.

  • Anon

    One possible model is that the earliest settlement of the Americas followed the west coast (and most of the sites are now below sea level).

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Except that the budget passed was lower than the budget the minority party CAMPAIGNED FOR PRESIDENT ON(and lost, hugely). That is exactly what “forcing your policies on the majority” looks like. Coerced consent is not consent.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    He didn’t give it to Ron, he had it reburied with Dumbledore.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No, he was too busy immobilizing Harry to protect from the Disarming Spell.

    The plan was for Voldemort to believe the power had passed to Snape, as Snape defeated him. But since that was worked out months ago, Dumbledore would have died “undefeated” and the power of the wand broken.

    Now, since Harry plans to die undefeated, the wand’s power will be broken.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Which is why Harry wisely chose not to go into a dangerous profession where he’d frequently be called upon to do battle with dangerous dark wizards.

    Wait, WHAT?

  • Baby_Raptor

    In the book, he willingly gave the wand to someone else. Wouldn’t that count as passing ownership?

    In the movie, he just broke it. And since it was the only wand that could repair other wands…Yeah. No real worries there, I think.

  • Baby_Raptor

    (Saw this after replying to other comment, will correct if needed after I have time to go look through the book again.)

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    The power of the wand was passed because it was taken in combat.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl


  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You know what’s interesting, though? Grindlewald stole the wand; he didn’t win it in combat. And it may have been implied that he deliberately threw the fight to Dumbledore.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Ah, but Dumbledore said he was never the true master of the elder wand. So that fits.

  • stardreamer42

    Please note that neither Fred nor Hexep spoke of such a deity as being “not worth loving“. They said “not worth worshiping,” which is an entirely different thing. You may want to examine the reasons that you conflate love with worship.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Yeah, but doesn’t the climax kinda assume that Harry having won the hawthorn wand from Draco after Draco disarmed Dumbledore was close enough for the Elder wand to refuse to kill him, and then later perform miraculous wand repairing?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    IMO, that doesn’t mean Draco couldn’t become the true master by defeating him. He actually said he eventually mastered it(the meanest of the Hallows), I got that line confused with the one he says about the Cloak.

    But it still makes sense, that if Grindelwald did surrender instead of fighting him, that it would take years to master it, not having won it’s allegiance in combat as both Draco and Harry did.

    Even if Voldemort discovered that Draco had won the wand’s allegiance, through a reveal spell or something, killing him as Voldemort would have done, wouldn’t have won the wand’s allegiance. He’d have killed him out of hand, not in combat, and he, like Grindelwald and Dumbledore would have needed years to master it.

  • Daniel

    Addendum and request:
    I have finally got round to borrowing some books from the library about the US Civil war, but there is a very limited selection. I was wondering if anyone could recommend an author I should look out for on the subject? I’m more interested in the political and social history of the war rather than the nuts-and-bolts military history of tactics, weaponry etc. So if anyone could help out I’d be grateful.

  • Lori

    Instead of recommending books which you may not have access to I’ll recommend an online course—-David Blight’s class on the Civil War and Reconstruction era, which is available through Open Yale and IIRC also as an iTunes podcast. Both the lectures and the reading list are very good. (That’s the opinion of history profs, not just me.) They’ll give you a solid grounding in the topic and if you wish to go further you’ll have enough information to move on.


    I’m not one of those people who thinks online courses are the be all and end all of the educational future, but if I was teaching US history to high school kids I’d use Blight for the Civil War.

  • Daniel

    Thank you kindly.

  • Lori

    You are very welcome.