Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category
Although Russia received heavy criticism ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi about the nation’s ban on homosexual propaganda, eight states here in the U.S. have similar bans on the books, as reported last week by The Washington Post.
Utah’s residents are apparently not allowed to advocate for homosexuality, whatever that might mean, and in Texas and Alabama (bastions of progressivism as they are!) sex education teachers must make the point that homosexuality is “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.” Even more stunning, according to two professors who analyzed these backward laws existing in our own country:
… the Alabama and Texas statutes mandate that children be taught that “homosexual conduct is a criminal offense” even though criminalizing private, consensual homosexual conduct has been unconstitutional since 2003.
Here is a map showing the states that have these laws on the books:
Thus, isn’t it kind of hypocritical for people in this country to be criticizing Russia for its anti-gay sentiments when most of the South and even other parts of the United States chafe at giving equal rights to gay and lesbian couples, which represents just another pox on a nation that began by boldly declaring “all men are created equal.”
Map credit: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Not too many surprises here:
California, the Northwest and Northeast are the most irreligious parts of the nation, while the Southeast is the most religious. Of course, the correlation between poverty with religion is well-documented in the world, and with a few exceptions like parts of California, this trend holds at the state level inside the U.S. I would venture to say the same can be said for dichotomies like religion/academic performance and religion/social justice.
Here is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at ridiculous analogies between modern attacks on the so-called “1 percent” on Wall Street and attacks on Jews in Nazi Germany. Tom Perkins made the most recent analogy, comparing the strategy to some kind of new Kristallnacht only to later apologize. I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for people who say outlandish things in public, and then when they get some heat for their honest opinions, recant. If you are going to be a hyperbolic, bat shit crazy conspiracy theorist, I say go all the way and apologize for nothing.
In any case, The Atlantic’s Matt O’Brien rightly called this comparison “historically illiterate and grossly short on perspective,” and he also offered some reasons why the super rich are feeling paranoid these days with their power diminished. More thoughtful Americans, I hope, now see that “fat cats” in Washington and Wall Street do not have America’s best interest at heart, in fact, I would wager that is true very little of the time. Rich people are rich for a reason; they have expendable income, they know how to game the system and they depend on having success to maintain their lavish lifestyles.
Read the full story here: Why Do the Super-Rich Keep Comparing Obama to Hitler? – Matthew O’Brien – The Atlantic.
If you haven’t heard, The Weather Channel has launched this big campaign against DirecTV because the large satellite provider has opted to drop the cable channel. The channel has apparently struck a deal with Dish and other providers to offer a lower rate for people who make the switch away from DirecTV.
To the rest of us — that is, those of us who don’t watch The Weather Channel regularly or find its information indispensable — this campaign smacks of silly sour grapes.
One day some suits from NBCUniversal, DirecTV and associated parties, none of whom have any particular fascination with the wonders of modern meteorology, sat down and could not come to terms, almost certainly over money. DirecTV broke rank, and The Weather Channel suddenly begins extolling all kinds of virtues about the importance of people being aware of the weather and how indispensable the channel is in helping to keep people safe, as if The Weather Channel is some kind of nonprofit providing a public service.
See for yourself:
Sad really, using children to try to convince gullible people that a for-profit cable network “matters” any more than any other weather report available on TV or online. In reality, The Weather Channel, like every other cable channel on the dial, is all about money. It’s just that The Weather Channel has somehow been able to carve a niche for itself and has attempted, and with a measure of success, to make something innocuous as the weather marketable as “must see” TV.
But here’s the rub: These days, people can get the weather anywhere, and ironically, in the event of a storm bad enough to take out the TV, people will most likely take to the their smartphones and visit any of the hundreds of websites currently reporting accurate and timely weather information, not the least of which is the National Weather Service, really the only agency that could actually claim to be indispensable in a time of emergency.
Are there actually people out there who would say, “You know what? This is a deal breaker for me. I’ve got to have my Weather Channel!” They, along with The Weather Channel itself, have clearly lost their minds.
Welcome to Arizona State University’s Tau Kappa Epsilon: Proudly setting humanity back 200 years: Fraternity suspended for throwing racist MLK party with watermelon cups.
Sad to contemplate that these are the adults of tomorrow.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley came out this week in favor of rolling back Common Core standards in her state during a speech delivered Thursday to the Greenville County Republican Women’s Club.
In part, here’s what she had to say:
We don’t ever want to educate South Carolina children like they educate California children. We want to educate South Carolina children on South Carolina standards, not anyone else’s standards.
We are telling the legislature: Roll back Common Core. Let’s take it back to South Carolina standards.
What standards? According to an annual report from Education Week that ranks state education across various fields, South Carolina was 26th in overall performance, with exactly the same ranking as the national average at 76.9. In 2013, South Carolina ranked 40th in the “Chance for Success” category and in 2013, the state was 45th in the nation in kindergarten- through 12th grade achievement.
The state adopted Common Core standards back in 2010, so not only would nullifying the new curriculum likely deal a blow for education in a state that has yet to achieve anything resembling widespread success, much less excellence, it would waste a lot of money already spent at the local level implementing the standards. As the article pointed out, Anderson School District 2 has allocated $350,000 in taxpayer money toward Common Core standard implementation. Many other districts have no doubt followed suit. I wonder how Haley would explain to her constituents how squandering resources is going to further education in the state.
This guy’s not only a terrible human being, but a stupid one:
In February, (Joe Rickey) Hundley was seated next to Jessica Bennett and her 19-month-old son in row 28 when Delta flight 721 from Minneapolis, Minnestoa (sic), began its descent into Atlanta.
When the baby began to cry, Hundley allegedly told Bennett to “shut that (N-word) baby up,” according to an FBI affidavit.
“(He) then turned around and slapped (the child) in the face with an open hand, which caused (him) to scream even louder,” the affidavit continued. The boy suffered a scratch below his right eye.
His attorney used the excuse that he was grieving for his son, who was about to be taken off life support, and thus, Hundley was not in his usual frame of mind. So, as long as a person is grieving, all the rules of decorum and decently go out the window? I was surprised he only got eight months.
I tweeted about this earlier today, but if you missed it, Cracker Barrel initially said it was going to remove Duck Dynasty merchandise from its stores after Phil Robertson’s noxious comments on gays and black people, but only 48 hours later reneged on the decision claiming that it had learned the error of its ways by displeasing its customers.
Here is the entirety of the statement, which was posted on the Cracker Barrel’s Facebook page. It has more than 21,000 comments, most of which are drivel:
Dear Cracker Barrel Customer:
When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done.
You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong.
Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.
And, we apologize for offending you.
We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.
We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family.
The part about offending its customers by pulling the merchandise is particularly shameful. What about the millions of homosexuals Robertson offended when he more or less compared the human love and affection of consenting adults to bestiality? What about the millions of blacks Robertson offended with his idyllic and inaccurate portrait of the segregated South?
In short, Cracker Barrel seems more concerned with kowtowing to its bigoted customer base rather than fighting bigotry itself. Oh that’s right: Without the bigots, Cracker Barrel would be out of business.
As I’m sure many are at this point, I too am really tired of this Duck Dynasty nonsense, so I’m not going to spend much time on this. Frankly, the show, and its controversial patriarch, have already garnered much more attention that they deserve, and I’m surprised reality television as a genre hasn’t flamed out by now, much less produced a show about hicks operating a damn duck call fabrication business.
But here we are.
Phil Robertson’s comments during the infamous GQ interview let us know that clearly there is still a divide in America, and as this article points out, there are essentially two camps: those who think what Robertson said about homosexuality was somehow acceptable, presumably from a Christian worldview, and those who think comparing homosexuality to bestiality is reprehensible.
I wasn’t terribly surprised but nonetheless disappointed by the number of people on Facebook, usually crowing something irrelevant about free speech (a person working for a private company can’t just say whatever they want with impunity) who were ready to defend his comments. Again, not surprisingly, I didn’t see any nonreligious heterosexuals defending him; just the religious, which makes a strong case that once someone is indoctrinated to view homosexuals as immoral or even depraved, the door is then open to push the buck further to view them, our fellow human beings, as subhuman. And this is, if it can be called anything else, is immoral, but it’s exactly what Robertson was hinting at in his comments and what I and fellow humanists find so reproachful.