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This is An April Fools Thing But It Would Not Surprise Me One Bit

The Selfie Shoe? I suppose it would push people to go to the barre and get more limber.

Facebook is Getting Depressing

Twice in the last month I’ve gone to Facebook (because I was monumentally bored and had exhausted every other possible means of entertainment) and discovered that someone I knew had died. In both cases they were under 60.

Not really much of an incentive to check out Facebook more often. Cat photos and death notices I can do without.

As Usual Privatization Fails (as does Christie)

Chris Christie privatized the NJ Lottery 2 years ago, because, as we all know, everything private is better than everything government. And now after spending tons of money on lobbyists and PR firms that are cozy with Christie, of course, they’re not hitting expected targets.

The shortfalls could mean budget cuts to programs directly funded by the lottery system — such as after-school care, programs for veterans and education for the deaf — should the lottery’s fortunes not improve.

The lottery’s woes are one piece of New Jersey’s fiscal troubles, which include transportation funding shortfalls and underfunded state pensions. At a state assembly budget hearing earlier this week, state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff blamed the lottery’s underperformance on industry-wide trends and a shortage of big jackpots in multi-state games such as Powerball to drive sales.

Let’s be clear, the shortfalls aren’t because they’re now run by private firms, but the promise of privatization is always that things will run better and more profitably. The reality is they’re not better and they’re more profitable only for the private entities and their cronies. The ideology that says private is always better is just silliness that has been debunked so often you’d think it’d be dead by now.

Throwback Tuesdays – Lady Kenmore

Sears used the “Lady Kenmore” brand washers & dryers until the mid ’80s when it was deemed sexist. But only women do laundry, right? They also had Lady Kenmore sewing machines, ’cause sewing-girly, natch. But Sink Disposal machines? (see below). Not sure grinding bones is a lady thing but the ’50s were weird.

throwback-thursday-kenmore-appliances-lady-kenmore-1957-ad

sears209

Why I Long Ago Said Feh to the Middle East

network

The Atlantic’s Institute of Internet Diagrams came up with this handy chart to explain the simple and straightforward conflicts and alliances in the Middle East.

News and comedy shows alike were titilated by the fact that the U.S., despite all of the anti-Iran rhetoric in our politics, is fighting alongside Iran against ISIS, but also against Iran in the brand spanking new (still has that freshly broken country smell) civil war in Yemen. How does it still surprise people that foreign policy and the shifting game of realpolitik is hard? I guess its that the media and, in their defense, most Americans apparently, have this need for things to be black and white (except when the issue is race when black and white is too damn complicated). The chart and article are clearly tongue-in-cheek, but the fact is that generally, in the real world, the ability to hold two competing ideas in ones head at the same time is not only not contradictory it’s quite necessary.

But still, the Middle East is for suckers. If all they had was sand, nobody would care.

Asshole of the Week

There are so many. But here’s my choice of worst shite spewers for this calendar week:

No. 1: Parents complain when special needs student wears letter jacket

WICHITA, Kansas (KSNW) – A Wichita woman claims her special needs son was asked to remove his letter jacket at school.

The student, Michael Kelley, has Down Syndrome and autism. Kelley is not a varsity athlete but participates in extra-curricular special needs basketball.

This asshole is that type of asshole that says “not everybody gets a trophy in life” so if you’re not legitimate varsity you don’t get to wear the letter jacket. And fine, if you want to think that. Although, you’re wrong, because kids want to feel validation for their participation. You want to smack adults over the head with all the shit life has to give, fine, but how about we support and validate kids whose psyches are still being formed? Is that so difficult?

Now when you go over to a kid with down syndrome who loves to play basketball and tell him he can’t wear the jacket he’s wearing because you’re the varsity letter police, then you are mean and yes, an ASSHOLE.

No. 2: GOPer says Gays, Like Slave Owners, Are ‘Good People’ Who Made Bad Choices

Aw hell no!! This is so assholian on so many levels it surpasses the numerous other mundanely stupid things said this week by Republicans everywhere.

“Slave owners were very good Christians and good people,” Shepherd told the reporter, before noting that he was not not a fan of slavery. “I totally disagree with that.”

Shepherd allegedly noted that the fight surrounding gay marriage was an example of how “good people” can be led astray by poor moral convictions.

“They (slave owners) weren’t terrible rotten horrible people,” Shepherd reportedly said. Shepherd added that they were simply people who made bad choices, before clarifying that “that’s how I see gay people.”

Republicans are generally tragically bad at both history and analogies, thusly the comparisons between climate change deniers and Galileo which gets the analogy exactly fucking the opposite. Or the infinite comparisons to President Obama and Hitler.

So the amount of stuff that Mr. Shephard does not understand here is vast. He does not get (1) that gay people just want to be free to be themselves and marry whom they love, or (2) that slave owners did not just make a bad choice – they perpetuated a “lifestyle” that enslaved other human beings for economic gain and justified it as both the moral and ethical better choice even for the enslaved.

It’s particularly galling to me after having recently read “The Half Has Never Been Told” a truly great history of slavery in America and the epic failure of our Founding Fathers that took 70 years for Abraham Lincoln to finally fix. Nobody who understands the whipping machine that was the vast and expanding empire of cotton that built the South (and to a large extent also both the North’s and Europe’s manufacturing base, which relied so much on the brutally efficient cultivation of cotton) could make such a grievously stupid statement as slave owners were ‘good people’ who were led astray.

And then to compare them to gays? You, sir are an ASSHOLE!

Listen to my Blogfather – Eric Alterman in the Nation (150 yrs. young)

When I first got on the internets on Netscape back in the 90s, my first go-to blog (pre-Daily Kos, even) was Eric Alterman’s space on MSNBC.com when it was actually still 50% MS. Alterman is best known for the seminal debunking of the liberal media myth “What Liberal Media” which he should update. After bouncing around a bit Alterman is blogging where he writes columns at The Nation.

For the 150th anniversary issue he issues “A Wake Up Call for US Liberals” in which he says pretty much what I say all the friggin’ time but better and with more economy.

Our political dysfunction has many sources, but one way to describe our problem is this: we have allowed conservatives to define the terms of debate at a time when conservatives have lost all sense of moral, intellectual and especially practical responsibility.

Right. But the part that made my heart sing is this:

The primary difference between liberalism and conservatism, at least in theory, is that the latter is an ideology and the former isn’t…liberalism, at bottom, is pragmatism. Conservatives desire low taxes and small government because this is how they define freedom. They like to pretend that liberals prefer the opposite in both cases, but the truth is that liberals are OK with whatever works.

I’ve been trying to formulate that paragraph for years. Thanks Eric. Or as my twitter bio says:

The right are ideologues. Libertarians are ridiculous. Only the left is trying to MAKE THINGS WORK.

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