Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category
OK, so the office read-off of 2012 is complete, and Blake is the clear winner this year in terms of the number of books and page count. Here is his book tower with 30 titles (I think three are missing):
A side-by-side tower (a la this post) was not possible this year because I took a job in a different state, and we borrowed a few books here and there, so this list will have to suffice:
- “Grant” by Jean Edward Smith – 628, finished late January (-200 pages in 2011) = 428
- “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara, finished Feb. 12 – 374
- “General Lee’s Army: From Victory To Collapse” by Joseph Glatthaar – 475
- “This Mighty Scourge” by James McPherson – 272
- “State of Denial” by Bob Woodward – 491 (finished April 2)
- “The Greatest Show On Earth” by Richard Dawkins (started late March, finished May 13) – 437
- “Madison and Jefferson” by Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg (started May 16) – 644. Finished July 21.
- “From the Temple to the Castle” by Lee Morrissey (started May 13) – 144 (finished July 22)
- “Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism” by Bruce Scheulman (started mid-July, finished Aug. 19) – 245 = 3510
- “You Can’t Go Home Again” by Thomas Wolfe (started Aug. 19, finished Oct. 10) – 743 = 4253
- “Grant and Sherman” by Charles Flood (started Oct. 10, finished Nov. 7) – 402 = 4655
- “The American Civil War” by John Keegan (started Aug. 19, finished Dec. 31) – 5020.
Thus, my final count was about 5,000 pages, and he came in at more than 9,000 pages.
I think we may have come to an agreement that the five best history books we have read in the last three years are as follows:
- “Grant” by Jean Edward Smith
- “Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society“ by John A., III Andrew
- “Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788″ by Pauline Meier by Pauline Maier
- “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson
- “Grant and Sherman” by Charles Bracelen Flood
Explore any of these, and you can’t go wrong.
there is no hell for the scant few Westboro Baptist Church members that are still left. Margie Phelps, who has 6,300 followers, only managed two “retweets” of her toxic tweet yesterday morning, and one of them was from the pastor of this “church,” Fred Phelps (cult is more accurate).
I won’t dignify her message with a repost, but it called for picketing in Connecticut of all places. Sick fucks.
It’s not hyperbole to say it: One year ago today, we lost one of the most profound thinkers and eloquent writers the human species will ever know:
If you don’t know by now, ESPN analysis Rob Parker was suspended this past week — and rightly so — because of the comments he made about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Here is a video of Parker’s odious remarks:
Now, watching this, several questions immediately surface. First, as one of the other announcers wondered: Why was Parker even asking the question about whether RG3 was a “brother” or a “cornball brother.” What difference does it make? Would Parker be less of a fan if it was, in fact, the case that Griffin was a “cornball brother” — I understand that to mean a black guy who is not authentically black, whatever that means.
Examples here would be Tiger Woods or TV‘s Carlton Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Parker raised this particular concern based only on these two assumptions: that Griffin might be a Republican and that he has a white girlfriend. Parker also said that the braids in Griffin’s hair were a plus in his book toward authenticating his blackness. Braids. Really? Parker does realize that white guys are perfectly able to don braids themselves. Does this make white people who have braids black poseurs? What about Adam Duritz (pictured at right)? I’m pretty sure Duritz would scoff at being called a black poseur.
Second, what the hell is “the cause? And is it asking too much of a 22-year-old freshman quarterback to even have a “cause?” In any case, I agree with Stephen A. Smith, another black analyst on the show who, after Parker’s nonsensical and borderline racist comments, said he was uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation:
First of all, let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went. RG3, the ethnicity or the color of his fiancee is none of our business, it’s irrelevant, he can live his life in whatever way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life, he can live his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kinds of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.
In fact, Griffin’s actual comments on race, to which Parker was referring, actually sound more intelligent and grown up than Parker’s. Here is Griffin:
For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I strive to go out and do. I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.
After the U.S. Census Bureau reported earlier this year that white newborn babies were now in the minority camp, the agency is now indicating that whites as a whole in America will be a minority by 2043, a reality that, while it certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, will no doubt raise anxieties among some white folks, especially in the South.
Witness some of these odious responses on the News-Sentinel website:
TOLDYOUSO: Oh goodie, then we can race bait like jesse and al.
GOJO: Then whites will get preferential treatment as a minority.
transplantedhillbilly: There goes the neighborhood! Now they will be burning crosses on OUR lawns!
activehollow: white history month…finally!
ragebucket: When whites are no longer the majority, can we have white pride month?
As Matthew Yglesias pointed out in May after the report on newborns, the actual figures related to demographics in America aren’t as black and white as we might believe. People technically of Hispanic origin but have lived in the United States since infanthood may be just as well feel comfortable checking the “white” box if other branches of their family tree find their roots in say, Eastern Europe, like Yglesias. What about people with Hispanic origins whose families have lived in the United States for multiple generations, and they have no immediate connection to Mexico, Cuba or elsewhere.
Here is Yglesias:
As books like How The Irish Became White and How Jews Became White Folks: And What That Says About Race in America make clear, whiteness in America has always been a somewhat elastic concept.
It’s conceivable that 40 years from now nobody will care about race at all. But if they do still care, it will still be the case that—by definition—whiteness is the racial definition of the sociocultural majority. If the only way for that to happen is to recruit large swathes of the Hispanic and fractionally Asian population into whiteness, then surely it will happen.
… The future of American whiteness will likely evolve to include a larger share of ancestry from Asia and Latin America, just as in the past it’s expanded to include people from eastern and southern Europe. The idea that every single person with a single non-white ancestor counts as non-white will look as ridiculous as Elizabeth Warren’s past claim of Cherokee identity.
I sense a tinge of counterplay against the AtheismPlus crowd and modern feminism in this article. The ideals of equal rights and equal pay, etc., for women and men are something we should strive for, but perhaps Katy Perry and countless others have picked up on a new reality that feminism in its modern manifestation seems to be a sickly, timid, hypersensitive, reactionary shell of its former self:
This isn’t an especially surprising statement. As a number of folks have pointed out, many young women—and a good number of not-so-young women as well—are uncomfortable with being labeled as feminists even though they embrace many feminist goals. Last month, for example, Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer eschewed the feminist label while simultaneously declaring that she “believed in equal rights.” It’s tempting to simply dismiss such comments as incoherent, but I think doing so risks missing out on insights and criticism that might be of value to feminism.
Understandably, many feminist writers don’t see things this way. Instead, they find such rhetorical contradictions infuriating. Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon, for example, explains with barely-restrained snark: “Let me just point out that if you believe in the strength of women, Ms. Perry, or their equality, Ms. Mayer, you’re soaking in feminism.” Madeleine Davis at Jezebel adds, with less restraint, “the ignorance and ridiculousness of Perry’s comments—especially in the context of accepting the Woman of the Year award—is enough to set the teeth of any feminist on edge.”
Again, the frustration is understandable—you’ve got people in the public limelight standing up, saying they agree with your principles in one breath and then denouncing you in the next. Getting kicked by your enemies sucks, but is at least expected. Being spit on by your friends, on the other hands, is a betrayal.
Still, as Slate‘s Amanda Hess points out, condemning women for not embracing feminism probably isn’t that helpful. As Hess says, “Here’s one reason some women might not identify as feminists: Whenever they begin to engage with the material, feminists condescendingly dismiss them as morons.” Hess adds, “I’m beginning to realize that the question “Are you a feminist?” tells us much more about the feminist movement’s own branding failures than it does the beliefs of the women prompted to respond.”
The long and short of it: she had no jurisdiction on consular security. That would be up to the state department. Rice is one of the candidates under consideration for the Secretary of State job.
Tomasky essentially makes the case that the Republicans, particularly McCain, went after Rice because of frustrations over the election and, perhaps most important in my view, failing to win the argument on foreign policy:
… most middle Americans recognize Benghazi for what it was—a terribly sad tragedy, but the kind of thing that, in a dangerous world, happens. And yes, many middle Americans would consider it a smudge on the administration’s security record, but most middle Americans also know that record is otherwise rather impressive. It seems to me someone just ran for president trying to argue otherwise, and he lost pretty handily.
And finally and maybe most of all, McCain and others are furious that the Republicans have lost their “natural” advantage on national-security issues. They are desperate to change that, and the quickest way to start doing so is to get Rice’s scalp.
As it turns out, the Jewish political right in Israel is just as corrosive and dangerous as the American right. Here are some young Jews who think likewise:
Deacon Duncan over at Free Thought Blogs made an interesting post today about feminism and what he calls, “counterfeminism.” Duncan grappled with the question of why some women are vehemently against feminism when, indeed, it has been the feminists who “are fighting to win them equal rights. It boggles my mind.”
OK, so when approaching questions like this, especially when referencing writers at FtB, it becomes necessary to determine whether said writer is referring to the type of hypersensitive, reactionary and every-male-is-a-potential-misogynist-or-rapist brand of feminism of the Rebecca Watson, Jen McCreight, or the run-of-the-mill hypersensitive feminism that has been with us for decades. Since Duncan has voiced his support for Atheism Plus, I suggest that it’s the former.
Duncan provides his definition of feminism and counterfeminism:
The feminist is working to establish women as autonomous and respected individuals who are equal in status, opportunity, and financial compensation, as compared to their male counterparts. The feminist assumption is that the ideal condition for women is equality. But that’s not necessarily an assumption shared by all, not even by all women.
It’s possible that there’s a counterfeminist assumption that the ideal condition for women is one of dependency and entitlement …
I prefaced this with a brief mention of Atheism Plus because Duncan’s post seems to suggest that in characterizing those who oppose feminism, he seems to be referring to the women who are against the A+ brand of feminism. It’s not believable that he would be referring to any other group since he’s writing at a place called Free Thought Blogs. But at the same time, I have never met, for instance, a female atheist, online or in person, who thinks that the ideal condition for women is dependence and entitlement, other than the aforementioned jaded individuals who think the
male world is out to get them. So, I can only conclude that he is talking about some type of mid-20th century housewife, or perhaps, a 19th century Southern belle, neither of whom could in any sense be described as feminist in the modern sense. Or, as he describes it:
… that in a perfect world, a woman would live by forming an attachment to a man, who would then provide her with food, clothes, a home, and some spending money in return for a bit of light housework and some sexual gratification now and then.
This seems to me to be an outdated characterization that isn’t anything like feminism at all. Thus, I don’t know from where this theory of a type of “counterfeminism” comes.
I have already identified two types:
- Feminism 1: reactionary and every-male-is-a-potential-misogynist-or-rapist brand of feminism
- Feminism 2: run-of-the-mill hypersensitive feminism
and here is a third type:
- Feminism 3: non-reactionary brand that fully supports equality, rights, critical thinking, rationality and female emotional and mental strength that is not necessarily comfortable with the “feminist” label.
I wouldn’t dare speak for them, but I have a small hunch that the women who do not support the Atheism Plus brand of feminism, and further, if the word “feminist” weren’t so damaged by overemotional, reactionary whiners of the current stripe, they may be willing to consider adopting the title if it truly signaled a characteristically strong form of female-ness with all the aforementioned rights in tact. That word, however, may now be damaged beyond repair at this point.