Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving March 29, 2012

Tonight I think no poetry will serve

“He was a giant and his influence was felt across the music world.”

Violence against women is as American as apple pie.”

I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”

“Common to human experience, [Jürgen] Moltmann proposes, is the experience of godforsakenness.”

“Moltmann’s theology is based on the idea that God is fundamentally in solidarity with the human condition.”

“What’s clear from Philadelphia and Kansas City, however, is that when push comes to shove, the apologies can turn out to be lip service.”

“We must admit that there might be elements of the ‘Catholic culture’ that have contributed either to the abuse or to the poor response to abuse.”

“Robert George sits on the board of a foundation that contributes to at least three extreme anti-Islam organizations.”

“The attacker is a non-state actor that inflicted violence on an innocent civilian to send a political statement intimidating the American Muslim and Arab communities.”

“According to the flier, people should boycott the American Cancer Society because the group supports ‘the Marxist Obamacare plan’ and is insufficiently ‘pro-life.’

“That’s because — being death panels, after all — she believed imaginary grim reapers masquerading as bureaucrats would order women to have abortions rather than carry a pregnancy to term.”

“Members of the Christian right continued doggedly spreading stories of Girl Scout-sponsored, Planned Parenthood-funded sex workshops.”

“I wish conservatives would just say ‘we disagree with the Girl Scouts’ position on gender equality‘ or ‘we disagree on the Girl Scouts’ support of comprehensive sex education’ and just leave it at that.”

“They do not believe in the regulation of rates of businesses. That’s communism. I will be standing in support of this business and the need that they have.”

“Why do politicians prefer to talk about fixing Social Security? It’s precisely because it’s so easy to fix.”

“It is essential that faith leaders equip themselves with an understanding of immigrant rights, so they can share information with their congregations and provide immigrants with the confidence to regain control over their decisions and affirm their human rights.”

“That’s the sort of choice people are having to make in Bangladesh these days, because almost everything that climate change is expected to bring is already here.”

Speaking of Jubilee prohibited in House of Representatives.

(Post title from “The Galaxy Song,” by Eric Idle, who turns 69 today.)

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  • Tonio

    About the woman opposed to the American Cancer Society, what is the exact meaning of the “social engineering” euphemism? Gender essentialsm? The bashing of progressive taxation as “income redistribution,” which ignores the fact that all taxation redistributes income to some degree?

  • Anonymous

     I can’t really wrap my head around how she’s using “social engineering.” That means something very different in my line of work.

    I think the Pro-Cancer Brigade is engaging in that sort of social engineering in that very event, though – using a pretext of “this group is uncool” to propagate its own agenda. Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to piggyback their message on a base of “fighting cancer is insufficiently pro-life,” which is so incredibly mind-bogglingly WUT that I just don’t even know what to do with it, aside from point and laugh.

  • Speaking of Jubilee prohibited in House of Representatives.

    This link? Is actually about a Representative who donned a hoodie in honor of Trayvon and made a speech about what happened before he was escorted out due to violations of the dress code.

  • friendly reader

    Jurgen Moltmann = Christian panentheism FTW.

  • Anonymous

    About the woman opposed to the American Cancer Society, what is the exact meaning of the “social engineering” euphemism?

    It has no exact meaning.  It means whatever the speaker needs it to mean.  Broadly it’s equivalent to “this person (or organization) is doing (or not doing) a particular thing, and I disapprove,” with added subtext of totalitarianism and/or nerve stapling.

  • Tonio

    Dumb question…NOM tried to “gather and connect a community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty
    queens and other glamorous noncognitive elites across national
    boundaries” to serve as spokespersons against same-sex marriage. How was this group defining “noncognitive”? Most definitions I’ve seen go deep into the philosophical weeds, but that’s not the same as the definition NOM may be using.

  • The Lodger

    Obviously none of them were capable of cognition.

  • Tricksterson

    Sigh, radical orgiastic lesbian Girl Scouts.  If only it were true.  I’ll be in my bunk.


    How was this group defining “noncognitive”? 

    I would be surprised if NOM ever defined it, even internally. But judging from the examples they gave and the cultural context, I infer an implicit definition roughly equivalent to “nonacademic/nonintellectual”.

    To be fair, a lot of causes across a lot of political spectra pick their spokespeople this way, although the usual word is “celebrity.”

    I also suspect that the primary cognitive (as opposed to social) difference being highlighted is implicit vs. explicit skills, but that’s precisely the sort of analysis that makes me an undesirable spokesperson.

  • JessicaR

    I do like how NOM is basically admitting, “Our beliefs and positions are abhorrent to anyone with two brain cells to rub together so how can we get a famous person who doesn’t think much?” [Insert obvious punch line here]

  • Tonio

     That’s very, very tempting. A more charitable interpretation is that they’re looking for celebrities who believe in deity-dictated morality or at least objective morality.

  • I believe NOM was looking for celebreties whose appeal was less cerebral. For an analogy, look at Victoria Jackson’s support of the Tea Party, or Chuck Norris’ contributions to WND.

    Tim Tebow would be a ‘glamorous noncognitive elite’, as would Tom Brady if he wasn’t in league with Satan. Danica Patrick would be another good pick. Maybe Jim Davis or William Keane for writers/artists. We already know Jeff Foxworthy is campaigning for Multiple-choice Mitt, so he’d be another pick-up.

    NOM didn’t want “glamorous elites” who were popular with an educated, reflective, thinking crowd. They wanted the folks who were liked because “you didn’t have to think to have a good time”. The wanted figures who were liked and trustred on the basis of unrelated performance, the way that Tiger Woods used to be a good endorsement for Cadallac.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I’ve never felt particularly abandoned by God, so, uh, I guess Moltmann’s wrong about godforsakenness being a universal part of human experience.

  • “Why do politicians prefer to talk about fixing Social Security? It’s precisely because it’s so easy to fix.”

    The graph from that article is good, the rest of the article is bland, mush-mouthed prevarication. And that’s me being nice about it.

    I actually started following politics, and reading blogs during GWB’s efforts to privatize Social Security. Josh Marshall’s “Talking Points Memo” blog was an amazing resource to follow what was being said, who was saying it, and what they were hoping to accomplish. (I still remember the branding of W’s roadshow to privatize SS as “Bamboozle-a-poloza”)

    At the time, I was outraged at the dishonesty and deception involved. Looking back on it, I’m still incensed at it all, more so because of the stakes involved. Here’s the short version:

    A lot of polticially conservative figures were making speeches and presentations and writing articles about the impending collapse of the U.S. economy. Based on projections from the CBO, they said, the cost of Social Security and Medicaid would rise to more than the Gross Domestic Product in less than 50 years. They hammered this point over and over: the cost of Social Security and Medicaid would bankrupt America! We, as a nation, simply could not afford to continue paying for Social Security and Medicaid as they were structured.

    The solution to this existential economic crisis? Privatize Social Security! We needed to privatize Social Security! Who says Washington knows better than you do how to invest your money! It’s your money, you should control it!

    Two things bring me to white-hot rage, and one element gives me some mirth. The frenzy-making part of these efforts was that there really wasn’t any benefit to most Americans for “privatizing” social security; the benefit was to the investment banks, traders and other comissioned financiers. Digging just a little deeper revealed that the economy was riding on a series of inflated bubbles. (stocks, housing, CDO’s…) One way to keep an inflated market from dropping is to keep pushing more & more money into it. The stock market was getting 401k money, speculator money, the real estate market money, and it was looking like the privitization of Social Security was just another way to prop up the market just a little longer before it came crashing down.

    The other infurating thing was the embarassingly obvious sleight-of-hand. “We cannot afford the rising costs of Social Security and Medicaid!” Always those two were paired together in the argument portion, but the “call to action” only ever talked about changes to Social security. This is a bit like me saying “I cannot afford my Starbucks and fabrige egg habit! Therefore, we must address alternative coffee choices!” And everyone, the politicians, the media, they let it slide. No one said “hey, you’re combining two different things to argue changes to one thing but not the other”.

    The only amusing aspect of this is that smart people fought the privitization efforts, and in so doing raised public awareness of not only the exploding costs of Medicare, but in the larger sense, the globally-bankrupting rise in overall Health Care costs. The drive for reforming healthcare came in part from all of the evidence these conservatives had been hammering for years, that health care costs (paid by the government) were rising astronomically. Obama may have passed the ACA, but in a real sense GWB was responsible for it’s support.

  •  They might mean it in the sense of “non-thinking”, which… well, yeah.

  • Ian needs a nickname

    “Well, I’ve never felt particularly abandoned by God.”Feeling that the universe is coldly indifferent to justice might be universal.  Pratchett’s line that “there’s no justice, just us” comes to mind.  It’s hard for me to imagine someone’s never having felt that way.When monotheists feel that God is indifferent to justice the appropriate response is to demand an explanation.  That’s how the most important figures in the Bible responded, including Abraham (“shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”), Moses, David, Job, most of the prophets and Jesus himself (“why have you forsaken me?”).  

  • Lori

    How was this group defining “noncognitive”? 

    The snarky answer is Carrie Prejean. Slightly famous(ish) for being physically attractive, not the sharpest crayon in the box and willing to be a conservative spokesperson.

    Edited to note that Ms Prejean was NOM’s “celebrity” spokesperson for a few months between losing her bid for Ms USA supposedly as a result of not supporting gay marriage and getting busted for having sent naughty pictures of herself to her then-boyfriend.

    The not snarky answer is that NOM is distinguishing between “elites” in fields that require higher education/intelligence and those in fields that don’t require smarts*. Essentially NOM was just confirming the anti-intellectualism of their target market.

    *Or are at least believed by NOM not to require it.

  • Base Delta Zero

    Pratchett’s line that “there’s no justice, just us” comes to mind.

    It’s actually ‘There’s no justice.  Just Me.’ (‘me’ being Death), IIRC.  Which rather takes it from sorta relativist(?) to just plain nihilist.

  • Lori

    I understand my colleague Sullivan expressed the concerns of his
    constituents in the Kingwood area. But I also understand the folks in
    Kingwood are conservatives. They do not believe in the regulation of
    rates of businesses. That’s communism.

    This quote from Councilwoman Brown is one of the more ridiculous things I’ve read this week. The nicest thing I can say about it is that IME Councilwoman Brown is incorrect to assume that conservatives value their principles all that much when it comes to a bill they personally can’t avoid paying. They’re fine with beating the drum for regulation-free business when it effects someone else’s pocket, but not when it effects their own. 

  • Beleester

    “There’s no justice, just us” would be existentialist, not relativist.  If there’s no order to the universe, then you’ll have to create it yourself.

    “There’s no justice, just me” is nihilist, but that’s really the only philosophy that makes sense for Death himself.  It’s kinda hard to create a meaningful existence when you represent the end of existence.

  • Tricksterson

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  • Anonymous

     Well, I have felt that the universe is indifferent to justice many times. But Moltmann’s argument isn’t just about that, it seems; there’s a theological dimension to it that requires an active abandonment instead of just an impersonal “Well, life isn’t fair”. And, as a non-theist, the presence or absence of God just isn’t relevant to me.

  • “Noncognitive” I would imagine would be a basic requirement for membership in NOM. 

  • Anonymous-Sam

    Shall we coin the term “NOMcognitive” right now?

  •  “I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought,
    ‘wouldn’t it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible
    things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?’ So now I
    take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the
    – Marcus Cole, Babylon 5 episode “A Late Delivery from Avalon”

  • GDwarf

    Yes, and no. He makes both observations at different times. He says the “JUST US” line to Mort.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that sounds like the idea that every human being has a gaping, god-shaped hole in their life that they feel, Christian or not.

    I notice when I get the smallest cut or bruise, but I’ve never noticed that particular kind of wound.

  • Anonymous


    “There’s no justice, just me” is nihilist, but that’s really the only
    philosophy that makes sense for Death himself.  It’s kinda hard to
    create a meaningful existence when you represent the end of existence.

    Actually, Discworld’s Death is, perhaps oddly, not a nihilist. He starts as one, but over the books comes to fight repeatedly for humanity because he feels that they matter.

    In part that may be because he’s neither the end of all existence (there’s an over-death that fills that role, and which seems fairly nice in-and-of-itself) nor the end of any particular existence (one still exists after death on the Disc, though what happens next no one knows).