April, 2014 archive
Tony Norman notices something.
Because modern racists lack the courage of their convictions, racism has retreated into the shadows where it only emerges in the form of faux pas. Like so many things in American life, racism has been dumbed down and sissified, but it is still very much with us.
There was a time when racism was this nation’s greatest export. As Richard Pryor once said, immigrants would come to this country and not know a word of English except the “n-word,” which usually made them feel like full-fledged Americans the first time they used it. They at least had black folks to look down on after leaving the old country.
These days, the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court insist that racism is no longer a factor in American life. Sure, that’s incredibly ignorant and racist — but it’s the sneaky kind of racism that’s in vogue today. The justices know better, but they’re interpreting law in these mean and congenitally stupid times.
Even Photoshopped images of the first family as monkeys, or rows of watermelon patches on the White House lawn, are considered more tasteless than racist by the conservative apparatchiks who pass them around in email chain letters. After all, everyone knows racism is dead . . . .
Remember this: When bigots complain about “political correctness,” what they mean is that they can no longer wave their bigot flags without someone calling them out.
We are klling nature, and nature is preparing to retaliate.
In a troubling new discovery, scientists studying ocean waters off California, Oregon and Washington have found the first evidence that increasing acidity in the ocean is dissolving the shells of a key species of tiny sea creature at the base of the food chain.
Until now, the impact on marine species from increasing ocean acidity because of climate change has been something that was tested in tanks in labs, but which was not considered an immediate concern such as forest fires and droughts.
The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a scientific journal based in England, changes that.
Politeness must be practiced from an early age.
Neighbors call the one-year-old boy’s death heartrending and say they’re praying for his family.
The forces of truth, justice, and the American way win another skirmish against the Republican gut-out-the-vote movement.
Wisconsin’s voter ID law suffered another welcome blow Tuesday when a federal judge struck it down, ruling that it violated the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. The law, ruled Judge Lynn Adelman, “results in the denial or abridgment of the right of black and Latino citizens to vote on account of race or color.”
As we’ve argued for years, Adelman found that there really isn’t any voter fraud in Wisconsin that a voter photo ID could address — one of the key arguments of supporters of the law.
The story goes on to inform us that the forces of disenfranchisement plan to regroup and counter-attack.
Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Learn how to use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do.
It’s not hard; it’s just different.
What: Monthly TWUUG Meeting.
Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.
Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room. See directions below. (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.
When: 7:30 PM till whenever (usually 9:30ish) on Thursday, May 1.
Lake Taylor Hospital
1309 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, Va. 23502 (Map)
Bruce Ackerman fears that the arc of moral justice cited by Martin Luther King, Jr., in one of his most famous quotations, is in retreat.
The Supreme Court is playing a leading role in this act of betrayal. Just as the 19th century court struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which would have banned discrimination in public accommodations and transportation, the Roberts court has struck down key provisions of the modern Voting Rights Act. What is more, it keeps chipping away at other basic principles established during the civil rights era, as in last week’s decision on affirmative action in university admissions. If these dynamics continue, the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Day will turn into a tragic recital of his lost legacy.
As Juanita Jean observes in a different context (follow the link):
It is difficult not to wonder whether some gun nuts just want to know what if feels like to kill someone.
A bit of good news in Pennsyltucky.
In a 29-page decision, Judge Bernard L. McGinley said the law requiring Pennsylvania voters to produce photo ID at the polls failed “to provide liberal access to compliant photo ID” and, as a result, disenfranchised voters.
“The evidence showed the voter ID provisions at issue deprive numerous electors of their fundamental right to vote, so vital to our democracy,” wrote McGinley, who struck down the law in January.
Details at the link.
Citing conversations she has heard in which persons classed bankers as disgusting,Valerie Curtis straight-out wonders, “Are bankers disgusting?” She finds an answer in evolution.
I don’t know to what extent I agree with her reasoning. Much “evolutionary psychology” is, quite frankly, distinguished more for the glib superficiality of its reasoning (e. g., if a=b, then c=f) than for its roots in demonstrable experimentation. Nevertheless, it sure as heck is a fun read. A snippet:
Money is a recent invention and bankers and financiers weren’t around in the Pleistocene, so how can we have an instinctive disgust response to them? The reason is as ancient as human sociality. The same response that we use to keep parasites at bay is a useful way to keep social parasites under control . . .
A youngster gives politeness a shot:
The story goes on to say that authorities have not yet figured out how he got the politeness stick.