7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.12)

7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.12) July 12, 2013

1. This is pure genius. Saves water, encourages hygiene, why didn’t someone think of this sooner? This is also pure genius (via Zack Hunt, who has posted a couple other videos from the series).

2. Dr. Steven C. Brigham seems to be a predatory hack. But since his patients are just women with nowhere else to turn, he’s been able to keep practicing his dangerous brand of “medicine” for years. The link there, you’ll notice, is to a story by Sharona Coutts for RH Reality Check. Remember that story and that link a year or so from now, when the conservative media finally picks up on that story and Conor Friedersdorf imagines that, since it’s brand new to him, it must be brand new to everyone, and then he writes a story asking why Dr. Brigham isn’t front page news and the whole conservative wurlitzer picks up the tune, clucking and fretting about a supposed media conspiracy to silence the story. Again.

3. A century from now there will be a statue of James Hansen on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Tourists will be able to look down at it in glass-bottom boats. Or, more optimistically, the Hansen statue will be carved into the wall of one of the huge Dutch-style dikes and levees that will be necessary to preserve places like the National Mall as dry land. Jeff Goodell says, though, that no such feats of engineering will be able to save Miami.

See also Brad Plumer on “How climate change makes it harder to keep the lights on.” And Holly Richmond with “Send this crazy graph to the climate deniers you know.”

4. “For much of the 20th century, people –usually women – in American prisons and mental institutions were subjected to forced sterilization.” That’s Paul Campos providing a history lesson at Time because, as it turns out, for much of the 21st century women in California prisons may have been subjected to forced sterilization. That’s monstrous.

One response might be to outlaw tubal ligation — to ensure that no one is ever again forcibly sterilized by ensuring that no one is ever again voluntarily sterilized. That response makes sense only if you believe that there could never possibly be a good reason for anyone to want such a procedure, or for any doctor to think that such a procedure might be medically necessary for the health of the woman in question. Or, I suppose, that response would make sense if you think that women aren’t fully human — that they are intrinsically untrustworthy and incapable of making wise and good choices for themselves in consultation with their doctors.

But some of us do think women are fully human and capable of making good, wise, prudent choices about themselves. Some of us even think that, because those choices involve those women’s own bodies, it would be wrong for anyone else to override their interest, their judgment, their choice.

Some of us, in other words, are pro-choice. And some of us are not.

5. James McGrath muses on how the endless day of Arctic summer and endless night of Arctic winter messes up biblical rules about the beginning and end of Sabbath. (He also notes that Arctic Sabbath would be a great band name.) This recalls one of my money-making schemes — one I would never pursue because: A) it’s immoral, and B) money-making schemes only work for those obsessed with making money (I find it comes in handy, but I’ve never had the monomaniacal drive it takes to chase after the stuff singlemindedly). The scheme involved a pair of luxury resorts catering to the indulgences of the ultra-rich — one in Scandinavia somewhere, the other in Tierra del Fuego. We’d need two such resorts because Ramadan is a moveable fast, sometimes arriving during summer in the northern hemisphere and sometimes in winter. … You can probably see where this is going.

6. One of the weirder aspects of American politics is that so much of it is fueled by resentment of the poor and the powerless. That’s ass-backwards and upside-down, but it’s an undeniable facet of American life. Many among the wealthy resent the poor. Many of those with job security resent the unemployed. Many whites resent black people. Many straight people resent LGBT people. Many men resent women. Many who adhere to the hegemonic majority religion resent religious minorities. Resentment isn’t supposed to work like that. It’s hard to see how it’s even possible for the powerful to resent the powerless, or for the rich to resent the poor. Yet they do. That mystifies me.

It puzzles Duncan Black, too. He offers a theory that may explain some of this backwards resentment:

An issue in American politics isn’t just that too many whites can’t stand the idea of blah people getting any of “their” money, it’s that they truly think there is some secret welfare system that only blah people have access to. Plenty of white people have had whatever it is amounts to “welfare” in this country and have found it to be quite stingy. All those young bucks with their Cadillacs and T-bone steaks must be getting the really good welfare.

That last sentence is, of course, a reference to several perennial right-wing urban legends. Those lies were designed to create resentment, and they seem to be working. But there must be more to it than just that because the wealthy, powerful people who invented those lies — who know them to be nothing more than lies — were themselves already seething with resentment. Why? How?

7. There’s been a great deal written in recent years about the failure of churches to attract younger members. It’s almost a cottage industry — hand-wringing posts, articles and books musing over the puzzle of why so many younger people are leaving our churches. One of the main reasons — and one that has been largely ignored — is also one of the most obvious: Younger people are leaving the church because they were asked to leave. Or told to leave. Or forced to leave. Joseph Amodeo didn’t jump; he was pushed. This is a guy, you’ll recall who was prevented from entering church earlier this year by a bishop who called the cops to keep him out. But, gee, if only we could figure out this mystery of why younger people don’t feel more welcome. …


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