Epic words from the head of the Smashing Pumpkins recently receiving the Alternative Press vanguard award. And here is another gem:
The kids should always kick motherfuckers like me out of the way. And I mean that.
Indeed, and I don’t doubt for a second that he believes that. Here’s the full acceptance speech:
CM Punk referenced one of his favorite Pumpkins songs, Cherub Rock, which is unmatched:
Steve Gorman made a good point today on his radio show about NFL penalties facing Ray Rice, with the Baltimore Ravens, and Josh Gordon, with the Cleveland Browns. Rice allegedly knocked his then-girlfriend unconscious back in February at a hotel, and Gordon got caught pot. In one incident, pot was found in Gordon’s car and in another, he was arrested and charged with DWI. He also failed a drug test this offseason.
Rice faces a two-game suspension for his domestic issues, while Gordon could be forced to sit out a year for his offenses. Rice and his girlfriend have since got married — go figure — and Rice has claimed that counseling has helped in their relationship, which is precisely what he has to say in order to get back into good graces with the NFL suits.
But as Gorman pointed out, what kind of message does this send to children and teenagers, many of whom are obviously fans of the NFL, that smoking pot is somehow worse than physically abusing another human being, a woman no less? The NFL should have zero tolerance for civil violence period, much less violence against women. As more and more states continue legalizing pot or medical marijuana, the drug will most likely be available everywhere sooner than later. That’s going to happen; it’s just a matter of how long it takes. People want it, the health risks of smoking pot are relatively low compared with other drugs and as soon as it’s legalized and distributed, it will be as commonplace as alcohol and cigarettes. The ethical difference between smoking pot in this day and age and hitting women isn’t even close, yet Gordon faces a year, and Rice essentially gets a slap on the wrist. I like the NFL, but the message this sends to their fans is shameful.
I like Gorman’s idea for the NFL:
They might as well put out a billboard that says we’d rather have you punch a woman than smoke pot.
Note: This review contains some spoilers.
I initially rated this book three stars, but after giving it some thought and when comparing it to literary classics — the standard by which I judge all novels — I downgraded it to two stars.
This highly ambitious work, a loose retelling of Hamlet in rural Wisconsin, didn’t quite the deliver, both on the quality of the writing and the plot. At times, the writing approached the exceptional, particularly when we got to see the point of view of Edgar’s dog, Almondine, or when Edgar saw his dead father, but those moments were fleeting. More times than not, the plot seemed to drag a bit, especially during Edgar’s time away from home in the forest with the dogs. Other than Edgar and perhaps Gar, the father, the characters seemed a bit flat. Claude, Gar’s brother, could have been a complex character as the scheming deviant, but his motivations aren’t fleshed out very well. How does a guy go from a blacksheep-type figure in the family, who has some arguments with his brother, to a calculating killer? Why is Claude so caught up with Trudy? Was he motivated by jealousy or lust or was he just a sociopath? After the incident with Gar, why is Trudy so resigned to stay with her dead husband’s brother, especially at the expense of her own son’s sanity? Are there no available males back in town?
In 640 pages, these questions could have been more fully explored, but they weren’t, and these are the nuances that separate classic literature from some works of modern fiction that, thanks to low expectations from the public, somehow make it on the best seller list.
While Wroblewski did a good job developing the deep relationships between Edgar, Trudy, his father and Almondine, I don’t think we saw enough of that between Trudy and Claude, which is a pairing that was central in the novel’s conclusion. As for the rest of the plot, the logistics at the end were difficult to visualize. Are we to believe that a blinded policeman, Glen, would or even could pin down a caring mother, while her son risked his life trying to reclaim documents from inside a burning barn? While Claude clearly had evil intentions, we get the impression that Glen wanted to kidnap Edgar for questioning, not be complicit in a murder, so once Glen realized that he had become tangled up with Trudy on the ground, even if he was in immense pain, why did he not just release her?
All that said, the imagery and the descriptive language at the end was stellar — a high point in the writing — and I liked how Wroblewski wraps up the novel from the viewpoint of the remaining Sawtelle dogs. Unlike some reviewers, I don’t knock the book simply for being a tragedy because life, one way or the other, almost always ends in tragedy. But for all its high ambition in summoning the muse of Shakespeare, the book fell a few degrees short in my estimation.
Following is a stirring artistic interpretation on Sam Harris’ now famous speech on the bankruptcy of Christian morality:
So, there’s this:
which was apparently @HollyRFisher’s way of supporting Hobby Lobby, who describes herself on Twitter thusly:
Christian. Wife of an Army combat-infantry vet. Mom of 3. #ProLife #2A #Benghazi #ImpeachObama #tcot #wvpol #wvsen #Israel #HTTR #WhoDey #Reds
And then there’s this strikingly similar pose from an equally nutty fanatic of a different religion side by side with our good friend Holly:
Whoever said the following, which is often falsely attributed to Upton Sinclair, was prescient:
When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
But this statement from Halford E. Luccock in the 1938 work, “Keeping Life Out of Confusion,” is just as poignant:
When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americanism.”
As folks in Colorado looking for “live breaking news” from their local TV station are left staring at a 15-minute video of a melting block of ice. And I refuse to post the actual video of this stupidity. You can watch it there if you like watching ink dry and grass grow.
If you enjoyed the now-defunct band, Hum, check this out:
Click here to listen to more and download tracks.
I’ve seen surprisingly little coverage of this, but
today yesterday June 2 marked the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, perhaps the single greatest achievement of our time. As we have seen from the bogus Hobby Lobby decision, which set the dangerous precedent that merely professing a sincerity about a belief makes that belief legitimate, the work of equality is not complete until all people without exception have access to health care, personal liberty and marriage equality under the law:
Note: I had every intention of posting this on June 2, but life apparently got in the way.
Such is the advice of The Onion columnist Kathy Crines:
We all go through tough times in life. Maybe you’re struggling at work and filled with self-doubt, or perhaps the loss of a loved one has left you wondering if you’re strong enough to carry on. In those dark hours, it’s easy to fall victim to feelings of helplessness. But, fortunately, there’s hope, and it’s as close as your bookshelf.
I’ve found that when I need strength, I can always turn to the Bible or anything else that’s handy.
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. During my long battle to get well, I often took comfort in the Good Book or whatever other book was nearby. When chemotherapy left me too exhausted to even get out of bed, I would find myself picking up the Bible, if that’s what happened to be on my nightstand, and reading a favorite verse or two. But if there happened to be a copy of The Hunger Games there instead, a couple of chapters of that would also do the trick.
God is our strength, we read in Psalm 18, and as powerless as I felt during those agonizing months, I discovered courage in His wisdom when it was within arm’s reach, just as I did with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and David Baldacci’s thriller Stone Cold.
Throughout my life, in fact, the Bible or some other reading material has been there when I needed it most. When I lost my job and worried about how I was going to scrape together next month’s rent in the middle of a brutal recession, I often relied on the Bible, A Tale Of Two Cities, In Cold Blood, The Audacity Of Hope, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Seabiscuit, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a pocket road atlas of the Great Lakes region, The Oxford Companion To Ships And The Sea, or Fodor’s Montréal And Québec City 2009.
Anything lying around, to be honest. …
Or, I’ve often contended, simply cast your worries on the nearest rock. It produces exactly the same “burden lifting” effect.
That it has taken until the year 2014 to get where we are on marriage equality, with most Southern states still woefully behind the curve, is a said testimony for a nation that touts equality as its highest calling. As Haynes, with Newseum reports, the “tide” of public sentiment “has turned,” and the arc of history is now bending toward equality under the law.
Following is his column for June 26:
Poll: Marriage equality trumps religious objections
By Charles C. Haynes
A solid majority of Americans now support equal treatment for same-sex couples despite religious objections, according to the State of the First Amendment survey released this week by the First Amendment Center.
Sixty-one percent of respondents agree that the government should require religiously affiliated groups that receive government funding to provide health care benefits to same-sex partners of employees — even when the religious group opposes same-sex marriage.
And 54% of the public agree that a business providing wedding services to the public should be required to serve same-sex couples, even if the business owner objects to gay marriage on religious grounds.
These findings are consistent with the dramatic rise in public support for gay marriage — 59% in a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey (75% among those under 30).
What’s somewhat surprising, however, is the strength of that support in the face of religious objections. When the first legal same-sex marriage was performed in Massachusetts ten years ago, conservative religious groups were able to mobilize voters to approve laws and constitutional amendments in many states — including deep blue California — banning gay marriage.
Now the tide has turned — not only in the courts (bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Utah were struck down just this week), but also in the court of public opinion.
While gay marriage remains unpopular in some red states, many conservative politicians and religious leaders have toned down the rhetoric as the public continues to migrate toward support for marriage equality.
Early in the debate, religious objectors to same-sex marriage appeared to enjoy broad public support for their efforts to secure religious exceptions to laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. That may no longer be the case.
A defining moment came earlier this year in Arizona when the conservative governor vetoed a bill that would have made it possible for religious business owners to seek an exemption from providing wedding services to same-sex couples.
Lost in the Arizona debate were the nuances of the proposed law: It would only have allowed businesses to make a claim for religious accommodation — but with no guarantee of the outcome.
In the mind of the public, however, the Arizona legislature was attempting to legalize discrimination against gay couples in the name of religious freedom. Rather than be labeled the “no gays allowed” state, the Chamber of Commerce and many Republican leaders joined LGBT rights groups in the successful campaign to persuade the governor to veto the bill.
As the Arizona outcome suggests, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is fast becoming politically and socially unacceptable. For a growing number of Americans, the movement for marriage equality is all about equal treatment under the law.
Of course, religious groups have a constitutional right to oppose gay marriage and to refuse to perform same-sex weddings. And as long as we uphold the First Amendment, that will continue to be the case.
But when religiously affiliated groups receive tax dollars to deliver social services or when wedding providers open their doors to serve the public, most Americans now believe gay couples should be treated just like everyone else.
In the battle over equal treatment for same-sex couples, it’s all over but the shouting.
Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001.