The FCC is taking it under consideration to end the ban on phone calls on planes. I don’t take a lot of planes, mostly by choice. As I’ve gotten older I’ve developed some claustrophobia which has made the anticipation of flying more problematic than it used to be. But my experiences with flying had already taken all of the glamour it might have had when I was younger out of the process. They’ve already turned airlines into flying buses, the way they pack people in and the casually obnoxious way people behave on planes. Phone calls will only make it even more intolerable.
I travel on trains everyday and the trains I travel on have “quiet cars” where you can’t talk on the phone or engage in loud conversation with your neighbor. This developed because that’s what people wanted – quiet. You can’t do quiet sections on a plane any more than you could realistically do smoking sections (but they did so for decades).
A survey of 1,600 U.S. adults cited by the FAA showed a split on the issue, with 51% of respondents expressing negative reactions to in-flight phone calls and 47% responding positively.
Dear God don’t do this thing.
Ed Kilgore at TPM has an on the money piece about the real 411 on the conservative take over of the Republican Party and what it means for our politics today.
It its most explicit form, that of the “constitutional conservatives” who really dominate discussion within the GOP and who are likely to produce their next presidential nominee, the only genuinely “American” policies, designed by the Founders according to both natural and divine law, involve a free-market economy with extremely limited government and a traditionalist, largely patriarchal culture. These policies, buttressed by an increasingly chiliastic view of the status quo (e.g., the “Holocaust” of legalized abortion, and the social policy “tipping point” at which an elite-underclass alliance will destroy private property and liberty entirely), simply are not negotiable.
“Today’s GOP” is in itself an oxymoron. The conservative movement is not at all the traditional concept of conservatism – slowing the push of progress and conserving the power structures of the status quo. They represent a counterrevolutionary push back to a pre-New Deal, pre-progressive age America where their concept of “liberty” is restored by removing the safeguards society has put in place to regulate the legal limits of business activity for the sake of fairness and safety.
Progressive taxation, child labor laws, direct election of senators, collective bargaining, food and medicine safety, the social safety net, are but a few of the improvements to civil society of the last 200 years that have been questioned by conservatives. Not just the nuts at the fringes, the leaders of the movement in politics and the judiciary!
The audacity of this agenda, which requires uprooting decades worth of laws, programs and constitutional precedents, many of them supported or even created by Republicans, requires a set of assumptions about electoral victories and defeats that many mainstream media folk or Democrats do not seem to understand.
The mainstream media pretends that this isn’t happening and the Republican Party is indeed your grandfather’s Republican Party of Eisenhauer and Nixon. This is when their inside baseball, who is winning/losing the horse race coverage is simply not adequate and a disservice to the public.
The question is how much of the Fox News public and Republican base would actually support the agenda they vote for if they truly understood its full depth and goals. The desires of the Koch Brothers and constitutional vision of Ted Cruz and Antonin Scalia would not be very amenable to the average 60 year old, middle class Republican from the South or anywhere. The America of 1895, but with smart phones and indoor plumbing might seem romantic to some, but the reality was much less equitable or hospitable to the working class.
But even if the third of the nation who claim to be the hard core of the Republican Party said, “we’re good with all of that – take us back to 1895, maybe even 1825.” I feel confident that the 33% of the country that is apolitical and unaware would be as horrified as the 33% of active engaged progressives, if only they were as informed and aware of the real debate. The more these constitutional conservatives are exposed the faster they go back to the marginalization they so richly deserve.
A really disturbing article in Der Spiegel about the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Warsaw two weeks ago. Essentially, the world’s great economies have all decided to keep enjoying the great party they’re at and ignore the nagging evidence of Climate Change that could make the after party clean up rather apocalyptic. It’s simply too easy to continue to burn everything you can squeeze out of a well, pipeline or mountainside rather than get real about what we have to do to ensure human survival past the 21st century.
To put it another way: The primacy of economics has prevailed. It no longer seems to matter how we’re supposed to get through the rest of this century if the world grows warmer by three, four or five degrees Celsius. National economies require an ever-growing dose of energy if their business models are to continue functioning, and, in the face of this logic, all scientific objections to the contrary are just as powerless as the climate protest movements, which are, in any case, marginal.
It’s all a case of our future being decided by politicians that don’t have the balls to tell Western Ohio and Kentucky that coal mining is killing us; or tell the nuclear industry that it’s dangers and questions so far outweigh its promise that it is effectively done; or tell the oil industry that we can’t subsidize them anymore and if they have a shred of human decency they should invest their record profits in renewables instead of just running ads claiming they are thinking about the future.
Leaders who cannot imagine a society that is not growing and demanding more – more stuff, more things, more energy at lower prices – are not imaginative enough to get us through this looming crisis. They are so afraid to change the status quo that it will be changed for them, drastically, as they continue to fiddle like a Roman emperor.
The economy’s refusal to set limits has set off a new race: that of which society in this world of limitless resource exploitation and unchecked pollution will be able to remain within its comfort zone the longest.
We’ll see who can fiddle the longest as the world burns. The prize is a burnt world. Congrats!
Unless you consider Fast and Furious Movies the arts. Which you shouldn’t.
America’s culture economy is doomed. Which is baffling since we’ve decided as a nation to pretty much leave it up to the wealthiest people in the country to finance art, music and culture and they’ve never done better in all human history. I guess if the rich don’t care any more than our leaders do, hundreds of years of cultural heritage will just get stuffed into museums. Or we can go to Europe to get culture.
Who really needs to hear Beethoven’s music played by symphony orchestras anyway? All those musicians should have been business majors, I guess. We need more of them (like a hole in the head).
Well, after going through the disaster that was 2007-2009 any positive jobs report isn’t bad. We’ve had a lot of good, but not good enough, reports that reflect the slow, steady, but difficult recovery.
Even the underemployment rate (people working part time but want full time jobs or are working at less capacity) went down from 13.8 to 13.2% so that’s really encouraging.
Also, notable: 27,000 new manufacturing jobs.
The fresh employment numbers suggest the U.S. economy — after a midsummer pause — is expanding at a moderate clip, with room for faster growth in the months ahead. Other key areas of the economy such as manufacturing and housing have also seen renewed strength.
With the 3.6% GDP growth for the 3rd quarter, you can feel a bit more optimism than there was a year ago at this time.
However, unemployment insurance is running out for many soon and should be extended, despite Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cloudcookooland) saying that extending those benefits would be a “disservice to workers.”
The energy that believers put into trying to prove that non-believers are just like them, have their own “belief system”, have their own religion of anti-religion must be exhausting for them. I just think it’s a silly effort. To me, trying to say atheism is a belief is like saying bald is a hair style.
Maybe we have to get a new word for not believing in deities and the supernatural because the word “atheist” trips some believers up. On Twitter a believer claimed:
“A’ Theism Means- Non Belief in GOD(S). Really, truly. You believe in Nonbelief”.
Ignoring the howlingly funny idiocy of believing in non-belief, depending on what dictionary you use, he’s correct. Dictonary.com says:
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Definition 1. is problematic and would indicate he’s technically right. A “doctrine or belief” can be interpreted as a system of thinking, a dogma that there is no God. This backs him up in his ridiculousness.
Definition 2. is a disbelief. Thank you. Number 2. is closer to accurate in expressing what this thing commonly called atheism is. Not a belief in non-belief, but disbelief in the commonly accepted delusion of a deity.
However, World English Dictionary says: “rejection of belief in God or gods.”
And it all gets complicated. Because while my disbelief in a deity or higher power is as simple as my disbelief in unicorns. I also reject belief in God or gods and the religious dogmas that come with them. It is perhaps two related ideas.
My “atheism” comprises two components:
1. Like in my analogy to being bald, it is the absence of belief in a deity. Disbelief in the commonly accepted superstitions. It is a nullity, an absence, a void. I have never had even the slightest question in my mind that the idea of a deity is as completely fictional as fairies, elves, dragons and unicorns. I don’t believe that unicorns do not exist. That is something I know. Someone invented the idea of a unicorn. Likewise, someone invented the idea of a deity. There is no word for not believing in unicorns or Santa Claus. There is a word for believing in unicorns and Santa Claus (unless one is a child) and that word is “delusional.”
2. It is also a rejection of the burden of any sort of religious dogma and supernatural belief. A rejection of the idea that morality comes from religion and that religion has any answers to the mysteries of existence and the universe. Belief has been an outrageously destructive tool to manipulate people resulting in persecution, war, terrorism, the denial of the individual and science.
In that regard perhaps the dude was right. I do believe in non-belief. To the extent I believe that people’s lives are intellectually richer without belief in a deity in them. But there is no dogma of atheism. No religion of anti-religion. There is nothing unproven, unseen and mysterious that anyone has to just accept on faith to be an atheist. On the contrary, it is the simple absence of belief. Period.