Saturday, August 8, 2015

Don't you just hate it when they do something right

Liberty University is requiring its students to attend a Bernie Sanders speech

 Liberty Univserity has semi weekly “convocations,”  required school assemblies, with people and issues it considers important. 

They have invited Bernie Sanders to speak at one, and he has accepted -- as did Ted Kenney and Jesse Jackson, though not, I regret to say, Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton.

The Chancellor of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr, is reporat at remarking to the effect:

[O]ther “liberal” schools could learn a thing or two from a
purportedly closed, conservative campus like Liberty’s.
When former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was
invited to speak at Rutgers University’s commencement
last spring, students and faculty protested for weeksuntil she voluntarily backed out. Falwell says he’s seen no
such response to the Sanders invite from Liberty’s
own student body.
And in this case, Liberty University has right on its side.

Ask Me about American Heros

Yesterday, August 7 of 2015, Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey died at the age of 101.

Because of what would now be called bureaucratic inertia and government interference, she literally saved the lives and health of thousands of US children.

The rest of the advanced world, including her native Canada, allowed Merrell's drug thalidomide  to be prescribed  as a tranquilizer and painkiller with specific indications to prescribe the drug to pregnant women for morning sickness.

She had only recently joined the FDA, and  "was one of only seven full-time and four young part-time physicians reviewing drugs".

Thalidomide had been on the market in other countries for almost three years, so there was intense pressure from the drug company to approve.

Despite this, she performed her job, requiring more information on that drug because of reported adverse external studies (in particular an English study that documented a nervous system side effects) before approval.

By 'preventing US citizens from having the benefits of new medical technology', the United States was largely spared the at least 10,000 cases of phocomelia (malformation of the limbs) in new borns, with a mortality of 50%.

Perhaps she should be on the $10 bill*.

*Personal Rant: Hamilton, who created the US finance system, should stay on our money.  The more problematic (though populist) Jackson should go.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

No Jew here: Theodore Bikel as described on All Things Considered NPR

There is a word missing from NPR's obituary for Theodore Bikel (Theodore Bikel, Who Starred In Broadway's 'Fiddler On The Roof,' Dies)

That Jew. Or for the squeamish, Jewish.

The piece was delivered (and one assumes written) by Lynn Neary, described as having" develop[ed] NPR's first religion beat. [And] As religion correspondent....covered the country's diverse religious landscape".

The piece identified Bikel as best known for starring as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway (one would think that honor might go to the man who created the role,  Zero Mostel ) and as a 'folk singer.'

Folk singer.  No mention was made of what sort of folk singer. It didn't mention that he specialized Jewish folk song  bringing it to the public, or his support in preserving Easten European Jewish culture, and the Yiddish Language. 

The closest NPR came to hinting that Bikel might have a Jewish connection was that his family fled Vienna to the Palenstine Mandate.  All NPR chose to say was that Bikel's family fled.

I am curious why it was so hard for NPR to say the word Jew, or even Jewish?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

Oh, lets have fun with it... practical facetious comment.

In Why I Support 'No Gays Allowed' , the head of NJ Pride () takes a rather practical approach to Jeff Amyx, owner of Amyx Hardware and Baptist minister(, who taped a "No Gays Allowed" sign to
his storefront window.

I particularly liked Prince's comments:

"The real problem I have is with all those underground haters. The ones who don't have a sign out front ... have the guts to come out...Then I'll exercise my capitalist right to shop from your competitor--and to proudly put my money where my allies are."
Which, was what so many businesses indicated they would do in Indiana.

As a matter of legal principal, and as a matter of keeping uniform public access to public accommodation, the state should intervene if this person actually tried to enforce such a sign.

The owner, chickened out and put up a new sign, not as much fun, as it represents zero change from current commerce is:
"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion."

*Please note, due to scourge  political correctness, I did not refer to him as a red neck, inbred, putative cousin humping, bible thumper. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Crab Bucket

My niece posted a link to a facebook rant, reacting in hostile way to the recent events in LGTBQ(.....) history: Darkmatter - This whole "Trans rights is the new priority" fiasco...

I pass on as an excellent example of 'crab bucket' behavior.

In case you are wondering, it is the behavior of crabs in an open bucket.  If one crab tries to get out, the others will pull it down.

That's very useful if you are selling crabs.  They can be kept in open buckets.

They also don't have to be fed.  A saves to the person who actually owns the bucket.

I have noticed this before, particularly in association with identity politics, and amongst 'progressives'.

It's a tribal attitude -- what might be called "amoral familism" (see The Moral Basis of a Backward Society -- Edward Banfield).

It implies a hierarchy of success of:
  1. I win, you lose
  2. We both lose
  3. We both win.

It makes me somewhat home sick for my alma mater/pater.
From Darkmatter:

whole "Trans rights is the new priority" fiasco needs to stop. This
framing of the trans struggle as a "new" priority absolves Gay INC of
its complicity in literally stealing from us, pathologizing us, harming
us and erasing us. Trans people have been here lying under your bus
forever. We were actually the old struggle of this movement -- we just
got kicked out of it.

Let's get a few things straight:

1. The separation of "gay" from "trans" and "sexuality" from "gender
identity" has a political history. This distinction was a conscious
strategy to make the gay movement more palatable to straight cis white
middle class society.

2. "Love" became separated from "Gender"
because Gay INC knew that a politics of love would be much more
palatable than a politics of gender. "Love" allowed gay activists to
say, "We're just like you!" instead of "We look different from you."
Trans become the repository for difference, for otherness, for

3. In order for "homosexuality" to become
de-pathologized, gender nonconformity had to become re-pathologized.
Gayness had to distinguish itself from trans: "We are not freaks like
them." The modern gay subject only emerged in distinguishing him/herself
from gender nonconformity.

4. The history of the gay movement
is a history of (re)producing the gender binary and gender conformity.
It is a history of institutionalized transphobia. The gay movement is
foundationally trans violence. It would not exist without trans

5. Now transphobia is discussed with no history or
origin story. It's only discussed as individual episodes of harm and not
a structure of violence. This de-historicization of trans violence
means that individual trans people are blamed for both their violence
and their outrage. People ask, "Why are you so angry?" instead of, "How
am I complicit in your oppression?"

6. There is no gay celebration without trans violence. Love won because gender didn't.