Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Massa Sterling and His Friends

NBA star David West put the Donald Sterling matter more eloquently than anyone else.
Sterling basically articulated Plantation Politics...Make money off the Bucks/Lay with the Women/No Association in Public good or bad. ~ David West
Although I would have put things more grossly. What interests me at the moment is the clear divide between urbane conservatives, like the writers at National Review, and Sterling's only supporters - rank and file conservatives.

NR's David French works for the American Center for Law and Justice which counts among its successes efforts to legalize genocide of homosexuals in Africa. French's article, Donald Sterling Had to Go, inarticulately points out that Sterling had treated his black employees horribly, has managed his team badly, and worse of all insulted Magic Johnson as grounds for banishment. It's not a great defense of the NBA banning Sterling, but if we grade conservatives on a curve it earns an A-.
Aside: Actual grounds - Sterling is a racist slumlord who should have been expelled from the NBA and decent society decades ago.
Contrast that with the bulk of rank and file conservative thought as expressed in the comments at the website Hot Air. There are over 800 comments to this issue and most of them hold some or all of the following opinions:
  •  Don't punish Sterling because there are Black racists too.
  • "Slippery slope" (thanks Mark Cuban) that will lead to expelling homophobic owners and, eventually, a fascist state where thought crimes will be punished with prison.
  • Sterling had every right to say what he did because - First Amendment.
  • This is all a grand conspiracy between the NBA and Magic Johnson to let him buy the Clippers at a bargain price.
  • Sterling is the victim here of (choose one) the liberal media, a golddigger who illegally taped him, Magic Johnson, Al Sharpton (huh?).
Some of my favorite quotes:
  • In the case of “racist thoughts”, there is no longer two sides. That is what I meant by the left has already won. They already got you to accept their basic premise that racist thoughts are moral crimes. ~ HugoDrax. (Misses the good old days when racism was the basic premise of society.)
  • Who hasn’t made such remarks in the privacy of a close friend? ~ cajunpatriot. (Not as many as you think.)
  • This is chilling. ~ TinFin. (Put on a coat.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sister Sarah and Forced Baptism

Sarah Palin choose to wear a virginal white frock for her speech to the NRA.
Reminding me of the notorious Roaring Twenties preacher Amiee Semple McPherson, but that's a story for another time.

Sister Sarah's biggest applause line was when she said she would use torture to forcibly convert Muslims to Christianity.
If I were in charge they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists. ~ Sarah Palin, 2014
Lots of people, even Republicans, have written about it mostly shuddering in horror at how close we came to having that crazy bitch as Vice-President. I share the sentiment. Sister Sarah is one of the leaders of the Shove-Christianity-Down-Our-Throats wing of the Republican Party so her bringing up one of the darker practices of the Christian faith is a little chilling.

Forced Baptism
Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne would have defeated non-Christian prisoners of war (above: defeated Saxons) brought before him to be forcibly baptized. Those who refused the gift of baptism were put to death. This same practice was used by the Spanish Inquisition against Jews and Muslims. They would be giving the opportunity to be baptized. Many were tortured first to convince them to accept conversion.

The Portuguese in their India possessions used torture to forcibly convert Hindus to the Catholic faith into the 19th century. The forcible conversion of Native American children into Christians continued into the 20th century in government sponsored boarding schools' children who refused baptism were beaten.

I shudder to think if Sister Sarah, or anyone like her, were ever to be in charge.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cliven Bundy and the "Negro Problem"

Republicans are falling over themselves repositioning after their beloved symbol of conservatism has revealed his neolithic racial attitudes. Supporters like Rand Paul are declaring themselves shocked, shocked I say, to hear such words spoken. Bullshit.

The Cliven Bundy type is not uncommon in rural America, you can find them congregating in small cafes in the isolated backwaters of the country. Paul has certainly encountered them. I know I have. These people have self-exiled themselves from American society.

They home school their children, if you can call what they teach schooling, because they fear government book learning. They teach that reading anything other than the Bible is a sin and that science is a satanic lie. They are paranoid in that they are certain that modern life is trying to destroy their beliefs, their way of life, and their very souls. They hate all government, except when they want something from the government like free fire fighting then they complain that the government isn't fast enough. In order, they value:
  • Their personal freedom (but fuck everyone else's freedom)
  • Bible
  • Guns
  • Pickup trucks
  • Male children
  • Livestock
  • Womenfolk (they actually still use that word)
Of course, it makes sense, to them, to use women as human shield. They wouldn't want to risk anything valuable, like cattle.

They are living relics of American life nearly 200 years ago when racism was normal, the church was the center of society, and government didn't exist outside of Eastern cities. As far as they think about this, they believe that the nation went off track when Lincoln snuffed out liberty in the Confederate states and that the federal government has been illegitimate since the 1860's. This is the philosophy of Antonin Scalia, Rand Paul, Sean Hannity, and the Tea Party.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bench Clearing Brawls

A completely unrelated news item got me thinking about this subject. The San Diego and Los Angeles police departments held a charity football game. The SDPD is so uneducated on the subject of crime (They think their jobs is primarily shooting unarmed citizens.) that they left the guns and badges in unattended duffel bags instead of the conveniently provided lockers where they could, you know, lock up their valuables.

That got me thinking about the worst bench clearing brawls in sports because....

A couple weeks ago New York first responders held a friendly hockey game to raise money for their widow's and children benefit funds. The friendly match became an all out blood match in the second period. In the tradition of omerta, neither side is talking and the available video doesn't show how it started. I'm guessing it was the cops because the NYPD was on a five game losing streak and aren't noted for gentlemanly behavior.

Worst Hockey Brawl Ever

It was not in the NHL nor even among professionals. The 1987 Junior World Championship held in Czechoslovakia saw Canada and the Soviet Union engage in a violent free for all. At the time the Canadian team was certain of getting a medal, probably gold, while the Soviet team was, embarrassingly, already eliminated from the medal round. According to Canadian sources, the Russians had been cheap shotting the Canucks all game and when one Canadian player fought back the Russians gang rushed him from the bench. However, the Canadian players had already had a pre-game brawl with the American team. The officials were so overwhelmed they gave up and left the ice mid way through the melee. Afterwards, the Communist Czech government sent armed soldiers to expel the Canadian team from the country.

Worst Baseball Fight
Baseball fights tend to be boring, usually just guys milling around trying to not injure their throwing hands. One exception was the San Diego Padres in Atlanta in 1984. The Atlanta pitcher, Pascual Perez, threw at the San Diego lead-off hitter with the very first pitch of the game. Perez had a reputation of a jerk who like throwing at people (and loved cocaine). When Perez came to bat the San Diego pitcher retaliated by throwing at him but missed. He tried, and missed, a second time. These first two tries resulted in your standard baseball bench clearing mill fest.

Finally, in the eight inning, relief pitcher Craig Lefferts managed to complete the retaliation by hitting Perez with a pitch. This time the benches cleared with violent intent. Players ran at each other throwing punches and gang tackling opponents. At one point Padre pinch hitter Champ Summers noticed that Perez was not on the field with his teammates but hiding in the Atlanta dugout. Summers ran for Perez but was stopped by an Atlanta player and several beer throwing fans. Order was finally restored. For half an inning. In the top of the ninth, Atlanta relief pitcher Donnie Moore threw at the first batter he faced and the benches cleared again for another WWE battle royal. Somehow, the game ended. Atlanta won the game; San Diego won the pennant.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Religious Profits

Easter is a time of religion (except when it is a time of bunnies laying colored eggs) when the great religious profits of our age rise in all their shiny glory. Note, I said "profit" not "prophet" because Easter is a time when the great churches shear their flock.

The Lakewood Church (pictured above) is, according to Forbes, the richest church in the United States. While nominally Christian the church really preaches from the gospel according to Gordon Gecko. The church bought a sports arena that once housed the NBA Houston Rockets and seats 16,800 suckers. Pastor Joel Osteen has used religion to become a multimillionaire living in a $10 million mansion.
God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us. ~ Joel Osteen
The second richest church in America is also located in Houston. While the church itself only seats 4,500 souls it has numerous other profit centers including a shopping mall and private school. Pastor Hector (Ed) Young harangues his parishioners into ponying up their income into his pocket.
There are many pastors who take million dollar salaries from their churches. One man who really enjoys the perks of a religious life is Kenneth Copeland (also Texas). In addition to a seven figure salary his church has bought him a $17 million private jet and a $6 million, 18,000 square foot mansion (above) with a private airport.

Not to be outdone by their Texas brethren, the Catholic Church in Orange County, California is spending $100 million to buy and refit the ostentatious Crystal Cathedral (above) from televangelist Robert Schuller's bankrupt ministry because the diocese's current cathedral is supposedly outdated at 50 years old. For perspective, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is 660 years old while the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City is 200 years old. But, you know, you can't spend that kind of money of the hungry, homeless, sick or elderly because what sort of message would that send God.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back to Reality

I've been away from my keyboard for a couple weeks enjoying the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau. During that time I diligently avoided depressing shit like news. (Although, I did find out about a plan to dig up a fertile salmon fishery to mine pebbles. The Alaska government has some sick puppies in it.) Now that I'm back I can see the world has been able to maintain its absurd level of insanity.
  • Russia - Putin, attempting to copy Hitler is all things great and small, has sent agent provocateurs into eastern Ukraine to create incidents to justify a military invasion. The question remains where will he stop? Meanwhile, hedge fund managers are planning how to make money on a war between Russia and the US.
  • Stabbings - Maniac school stabbings appear to be a new trend. Few people are pointing out that this is a major improvement over school shootings.
  • Neo-Nazis - Some Republicans sympathize with the Jewish center shooter.
  • Militia - Most Republicans defend the Nevada rancher who wants to graze his cattle, for free, on land he doesn't own and is staging an armed rebellion to defend his right to steal fodder.
Makes a guy want to crawl under a glacier somewhere and listen to a fiddler.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Radical Republicanism PR

Radical Republicans always have difficulty with the public relations. As always, allow me to help them.

Guns Galore in Killeen, TX (even the name of the town has "kill" in it) has provided the weapons for both Fort Hood shootings. They shouldn't be shy. This is the kind of publicity that will attract gun enthusiasts from throughout the country.
Suggested slogan: "Your go to store for all your mass murder needs."
Kentucky Senate candidate Matt Bevin has withdrawn as the keynote speaker at a cock fighting convention. Bevin is claiming to an ignorant hillbilly who didn't understand that cock fighting was the only reason they were getting together.
Bevin should embrace the controversy. He should proudly declare that cock fighting is a treasured Southern tradition, like lynching blacks, and that Northern liberals have no right to deny Kentuckians of the God given right to their blood sports.

Charles Koch whines that he is being picked on over his continuing efforts to turn the United States government into a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries.
I really don't have much advise except, if you don't want people saying you and your brother are the biggest sons of bitches in the history of the United States then you should stop behaving like a couple of solid gold assholes.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Creationism: April's Biggest Fools

One thing you have to hand to creationists, they are extremely creative getting around scientific "fact" in pursuit of their myths.

Light Is Slowing Down

In Cosmos, Neil DeGrasse Tyson makes the obvious point that stars which are billions of light-years away from earth could not have been created 6,000 years ago. But Creationists have already addressed that issue. They theorize that the speed of light is slowing down. They prove their theory by comparing the speed of light estimated by astronomer Ole Roemer in the 1670's when he studied the orbit of the moon Io around Jupiter with the speed calculated by high-tech equipment today. According to their theory, light is fractionally slower now than it was 350 years ago. Creationists conveniently ignore any ancient speed calculation (Like Christiaan Huygens' estimate of 131,000 miles per second) that doesn't fit their theory and declared the phenomenon oddly stopped 50 years ago when measuring equipment got good. Creationists say that the speed of light was a quintillion miles per second in the year 4000 BC.

Noah Solves Everything
Every question involving geology or paleontology is solved with one thing. The Grand Canyon didn't need millions of years to erode, it was made by the Great Flood. Plate tectonics? No, the flood just moved everything. Fossils? All the dinosaurs drowned while Noah floated safely above them. (Actually, there is a school of creationism that claims Noah did save baby dinosaurs but they all died.) The Flood buried plants and created oil and coal deposits almost immediately.

Things Happened Fast Back Then
According to creationists the Ice Age was short and quick, just 250 years and happened while Stonehenge was being built. Neanderthals were created, lived, and died out in less than 100 years. The first twelve Egyptian dynasties get squeezed into that same 250 years and they were throwing together their massive pyramids with amazing speed using dinosaurs. While biblical patriarchs were living hundreds of years, Egyptian pharaohs had the lifespan of crickets. And any archeologist that says different is a Satanic liar.