Thursday, March 27, 2014

School Punishes A Child For Sympathy

Kamryn Renfro shaved her head because her friend "Delaney Clements, who is fighting cancer... lost her hair after starting chemotherapy." As a consequence her elementary school tossed her out until she comes back wearing a wig.

As a consequence the stupid bureaucrats and no tolerance morons at her craptastic excuse for a school will now be embarrassed by as many people as possible.  I am certain these people deserve worse.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How Little Differences Can Save Your Life

Charles Self's story was going to be stolen by me for my autobiography and I still might. Yet for now it will be recounted by Jayme Lynn Blaschke, whom was taught by Self.

Knowing the difference between "over," which is a location, and "more than," which is a relative quantity, can save your life.
Okay, here's the story (which any of my former interns or grad students will surely remember). Back in my misspent college days, I had several courses with Charles Self, the head of the journalism department at A&M (he came from Alabama, lured by generous promises of starting a Ph.D. program. We all know what became of that).
Anyhoo, Self graduated himself from college with a degree in journalism at the height of the Vietnam war. His draft number immediately came up, as they were wont to do in those day, and after boot camp they shipped him out to Saigon. At this point, one of the highers-up in the chain of command happened across his personnel record and saw his journalism degree. So the commander pulled him out of his platoon and gave him one of those standard journalism evaluation writing tests. Afterwards, the commander told him the first thing he checked for was to see if Self corrected all the "overs" sprinkled throughout the text to "more than." He had, was assigned a desk job in the press office and never saw combat. All because he knew the difference between "over" and "more than."
They can change the stylebook all they want, but it's not a distinction I'm likely to forget any time soon. Hell, next thing you know they'll be saying "half mast" and "half staff" are interchangeable..
By the way, they have changed the stylebook.
 AP Stylebook editors said at a session Thursday that “Over” is fine when referring to a quantity; you don’t have to change it to “more than.”
The news elicited a gasp, Krueger reports.
Twitter demonstrates the typical response.

Let It Go Heavy Metal version

Frozen's most well-known song has worn out its welcome for many people but not me. Here is a heavy metal version.

I did see the film in theaters with my family. It is easily the most enjoyable Disney film in years.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lexicon - Mother of Plagues

because it's cynical clickbait

When I was a kid Jenny McCarthy was best known to parents as an attractive young woman who appears naked in Playboy and that's the largest danger that she was to children.

These days Jenny McCarthy champions an ideology that endangers the lives of parents' children.  Now that I am old enough to have kids of my own Jenny McCarthy is telling people to not vaccinate their children, under the auspices that they cause autism.  Naturally this belief system results in the spread of diseases.

I bet parents are now nostalgic for the days when the worst thing McCarthy could do to their kids is be naked in front of them.

Hence from here on out I shall refer to her as the Mother of Plagues.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Duke basketball antipathy

I don't care what it does for my bracket.

I hate Duke basketball. Always have. Always will.

I'm glad they went down and I hope it hurt.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Erin Go Bragh

It's an anglicized phonetic version of an Irish phrase that translates into English as "Ireland Forever"

Frankly when the Saint Patrick's Day thing is done I'll be glad to no longer see it everywhere on my internet feeds.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St Patrick's Day brings out the amateurs

If you can identify who wrote this I would appreciate it.
If you go down to the pub today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the pub today
You'd better go in disguise.
For every drunk that ever there was
Is in her bunk for certain, because
Today's the day the amateurs go a-drinking.
Drinking time for amateurs,
Those pesky amateurs are having a lovely time today.
Catch them in their underwears,
And see them drinking on their holiday.
See them piss and puke and brawl,
They think they're at the mall
And all of the pubs are theirs.
At two o'clock their mommies and daddies
Will throw them in the street
Because they're tired little amateurs.
If you go down to the pub today,
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely down at the pub today,
But safer to stay at home.
For every drunk that ever there was
His head is sunk in sorrow, because
Today's the day the amateurs go a-drinking.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

the President of the United States takes the "or Die" out of "Funny or Die"

screen capture blatantly stolen from Business Insider

Normally with "Funny Or Die" you have the comfortable option of demanding that the people that made the film DIE. If you do it when the President of the United States is in the video, the NSA knows instantly and the Secret Service visit without calling first.

Since I don't have the freedom to choose the second option I will, under duress, say "this is very Funny Mr President".

As if I have any other choice.

That's what we get with a Two-Party system: binary options.

Can Zach Galifianakis at least die? Is that an option?

Friday, March 07, 2014

paper napkin unemployment math

Ken Gardner says:
So you think math has nothing to do with politics? Consider this.

Our current population is over 317,650 million people. A new person is born every 8 seconds. That's 3,942,000 new people per year. A person dies every 12 seconds, or 2,628,000 people per year. The difference is 1,314,000 new people each year at current population growth rates. 

Now, add to this amount the millions of Americans who are currently unemployed and need jobs right now. According to the BLS, 10,459,000 were officially unemployed in February. The unemployment rate is 6.7%. To get it to 5% (which is considered "full employment"), we need to create 4,214,821 new jobs. 

So, if you add 1,314,000 and 4,214,821, you get 5,528,821 new jobs that we must create to accommodate population growth while getting back to full employment. This works out to 460,735 new jobs per month. Obama hasn't gotten anywhere close to this number. Most months have been under 200,000, often well under 200,000.

This is just a calculation on a napkin. The actual truth is worse. Our labor participation rates are shrinking, meaning that more working age Americans are leaving the work force (many of them in their prime earning years). And in the real world, the 10 million people who are underemployed but not counted as unemployed will be seeking many of the same jobs -- meaning that even increasing job creation rates will not necessarily result in lower unemployment rates -- at least not nearly as quickly as we would like.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Written by Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Rocklin, California.
Lent can be a really strange time, both for the Christian and the non-Christian. For the non-Christian, it is a time when there is all kinds of religious “stuff” going on that nobody can really explain. Unless you are Roman Catholic, Lutheran, or Eastern Orthodox, in all likelihood Lent is as much a mystery to you as it is to the non-Christian. Let me try to take some of the mystery out of Lent for the non-believer, and put some mystery back in for the Christian.

Lent (which basically means “spring”) is a time when Christians all over the world prepare for Jesus Christ’s resurrection of the dead. It starts on Ash Wednesday, which is 47 days before Easter. You may recognize hearing the term “40 days of Lent”. This is because the Sundays are not considered a part of Lent. Historically, there are three practices associated with Lent: Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving or works of mercy. It is a time when Christians mourn over their sin (called repentance) and learn again to trust in their Savior, Jesus Christ. Just like you don’t only go to a doctor once, in the same way a Christian can benefit from a “checkup” on their faith, to remind them who they are as baptized children of God.

In connection with this, Lent can be a time of great focus for the Christian. Our culture is inundated with inputs. But in order to focus more on one thing, one must also learn to focus less on other things. In our secular culture, we can see this with the rise of minimalism in everything from apps on our phone to architectural design to how we lay out our kitchens. Great design leads to simplicity, not complexity. And because our lives are increasingly complex, something has to change in order for us to get out of the continual spin cycle of life. While these ideas are often held up as Buddist in our day, they really belong to the Christian tradition just as much.

In Christian terms, this is really why we “give up” things for Lent. Roman Catholics have historically done this the most, but other Christian traditions are learning to embrace it as well. By giving up something that is a regular part of your life, this allows you to focus more on one thing. For the Christian, that one thing is Jesus Christ, who gave up everything for us, even life itself. So Lent can become a time of beautiful simplicity, hearing again the words of the Bible, and coming to God in repentant joy for what He has done for us.

Now some Christian traditions have largely rejected these practices as being too “Roman Catholic” or just plain weird or that giving things up for Lent really amounted to works righteousness. For a Lutheran, them’s fightin’ words!

It is possible that practices such as fasting or prayer or acts of charity might lead to works righteousness, or trying to get to heaven by what we do, rather than by what we believe. If I do things these in order to show off how good a Christian I am, then they really are of no benefit to me or anyone else.

This is why in the historic Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday, Jesus starts each section like this:

“…when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others.” (Matthew 6:2 ESV)

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.” (Matthew 6:5 ESV)

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7 ESV)

In each of these cases, Jesus exhorts us not to do these things as a show. There is no room in the Christian faith for works righteousness. But Jesus does assume that the Christian will be doing these things.

The greatest danger today lies in rejecting these ancient practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, because we think we know better than thousands of years of Christian and pre-Christian history. American culture is much more inclined to overindulgence and entitlement than we are to works righteousness. At the risk of being labeled a “closet catholic,” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that for most of us, we could use a little less indulgence, and a little more discipline in our lives.

So I would like to issue a challenge to my Christian and non-Christian friends alike this Lent. Try focusing more by doing less. Don’t take the second helping. Drink less. Give your eyes a break from the glowing rectangles. Pray more. Give to those in need. By doing less, you may find that your focus sharpens and you can see more clearly. For the Christian, that means focusing on the One who gave His life as a ransom for the whole world. That seems like a pretty good focus to me.

FreedomWorks petition scam

When you see a "petition" to "fire" Speaker Boehner or "draft" Sarah Palin it's being run by groups who take your e-mail address and then sell them to spammers to hawk ED "cures" for six figures. Or they hit you up for money directly. This has exploded in the last few years since it is clearly working as people are buying the ED cures and/or sending these losers money directly.
FreedomWorks does this a lot. If they give me money I will stop saying this. Given my present lack of affiliation with FreedomWorks I see no reason not to tell the truth about these people.

I don't want attention

The only time I ever want to read my name in a article (or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates) is when they are citing or referring to an article from a periodical or website that people actually read!

Otherwise, what's the point?

The same pretty much applies to Twitchy. These are examples of right-wing echo chamber media, shouting loudly in a bubble that a number of people can hear inside, but no one on the outside really cares about.  At best getting mentioned on Twitchy or Breitbart, for example, means that someone at Media Matters or RightWingWatch might see your name but that won't make it significant for the general public.

Andrew Breitbart is a fairly public figure, and slightly less so when he was alive, for good reason.  The eponymous website does not share that in common.

Rob Boston on David Barton

David Barton is a Texas-based pseudo-historian much beloved by the Religious Right. Barton doesn’t actually have a degree in history—he graduated from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Christian Education—but that hasn’t stopped him from posing as a professor.
Barton is buddies with Glenn Beck, who uses him as “faculty” for online classes that are marketed to gullible people. 
For what it is worth I don't believe you need a special degree to be a historian, and having the credentials to be an on-paper credible historian does not make you correct, accurate, or even honest.

In the case of David Barton it is unclear whether the history professor of the right-wing echo chamber is a charlatan or simply incompetent.

As it is, despite accurately assessing David Barton, Rob Boston is not himself always on target within the article.