5.20.2015

Quote of the Day - Strange Brew Edition

With Bud Light Lime, I never find myself slumping over the bar, turning every 30 seconds to watch the door in the hope that some imagined friend will walk inside and pick me up and fix all my problems. With Bud Light Lime, that kind of attitude isn’t even possible. Because it’s hard to be morose while drinking a sweetened, lime-flavored beer, yes, but also because being morose requires a self-seriousness that Bud Light Lime completely forbids.

Tom Dibblee, reviewing Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings in the Los Angeles Review of Books

5.15.2015

My Dilemma(s) with Organized Religion

In no particular order:

Why would an omniscient, omnipresent God create humans to be as diverse as snowflakes but in turn demand they worship and believe in rote lockstep?  

If no two people experience life, the world, reality, and so on in exactly the same way, how logical, practical, or realistic is it to expect--let alone insist--they all experience God in exactly the same way?  

If God created man in His own image, is it a disservice to Him to try molding the unique individuals He created into carbon copies who associate only with those who think alike, believe alike, and behave alike?  

If Jesus, as both God and the Son of God, spent his time on earth reaching out to all in need, and reminding everyone to love thy neighbor as thyself, and teaching us to love our enemies, how Christ-like is it to:
  • Circumscribe ourselves according to common beliefs – in churches, schools, universities, or in social and professional interaction?
  • Cast aspersions on others whose beliefs, lifestyles, and outlooks differ from (or run counter to) our own?
  • Support the subjugation and killing of other human beings – especially those who do not share one's faith – in the name of "God and country"?
  • Characterize the poor and downtrodden among us as dishonest, unmotivated, and unworthy of assistance?
If only God may find us to be fit or unfit for His love and salvation, why does it so often seem that the most pious are also the most judgmental of – and least compassionate toward – their fellow humans?  


"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the se brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"

– Matthew 25:40 

5.07.2015

Just pause for a moment...

... and wrap your mind around the idea that you exist in a time when you are able to see an actual photograph of what the setting sun looks like from the surface of Mars.


So. Freaking. Cool.

5.04.2015

Quote of the Day – The More Things Change Edition

The Republican platform stresses two themes that are not as harmonious as Republican suppose.

One is cultural conservatism. The other is capitalist dynamism. The latter dissolves the former.

Capitalism undermines traditional social structures and values; it is a relentless engine of change, a revolutionary inflamer of appetites, enlarger of expectations, diminisher of patience.

Republicans see no connection between the cultural phenomena they deplore and the capitalist culture they promise to intensify.


George Will, regarding the GOP platform of 1980.

4.02.2015

Quote of the Day – Only a Fool Would Say That Edition

Anyone who claims to be excited for April Fools' Day is probably a sociopath. Because what they are really saying is, "I cannot wait to hurt the people close to me."

John Oliver

3.22.2015

Quote of the Day – Ornamentalist Doctrine Edition

It really is true that for conservatives of a certain stripe, like King, Huckabee and others, Jews are little more than a kind of yahwistic lawnjockeys, mascots for a certain type of militant defense policy and museum pieces in the historical imagination of right-wing Christianity.

Josh Marshall, regarding Rep. Steve King (R-IA) denouncing "Jews in America" who are "Democrats first and Jewish second" when it comes to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu.

3.12.2015

Quote of the Day – Following the Thread Edition

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

– Isaac Asimov

3.04.2015

Quote of the Day – Jobs Opportunity Edition

The setup: A reader inquires the following of Deadspin's Drew Magary:

If humanity was suddenly given the ability to pick one person to bring back from the dead, who would we choose?

Number Five on Magary's list of potential candidates for resurrection:

Steve Jobs. Maybe he could finally get the Stocks app off of my fucking phone.

2.20.2015

Quote of the Day – Self Service Edition

If I said I was a fat thug who beat up women and sold bad coke, would you like my story? What if instead I wrote that I was a recovered addict who obtained sole custody of my twin girls, got us off welfare and raised them by myself, even though I had a little touch of cancer? Now we’re talking. Both are equally true, but as a member of a self-interpreting species, one that fights to keep disharmony at a remove, I’m inclined to mention my tenderhearted attentions as a single parent before I get around to the fact that I hit their mother when we were together. We tell ourselves that we lie to protect others, but the self usually comes out looking damn good in the process.

David Carr

Quote of the Day – Just Deserts Edition

People ask why media never gets better. It never gets better because its members have no incentive to get better. When failure is rewarded and success ignored, the result is a series of broken institutions. 

Fredrik de Boer

2.10.2015

Quote of the Day – Closer Examination Edition

Never again will Brian Williams mislead this great nation about being shot at in a war we probably wouldn't have ended up in if the media had applied this level of scrutiny to the actual fucking war.

Jon Stewart

2.07.2015

The Walking Man, And What His Story Says About Us

Much has been made in recent days about James Robertson, the 56-year-old Detroit factory worker who commuted on foot 21 miles to and from his job for 10 years after his car broke down and he could not afford to fix it. There is no question that Robertson's is a heartwarming story; he was never late to work nor absent a single time in those 10 years. And the response once the world got wind of it was no less amazing; more than $300,000 toward providing Robertson with a new car was raised in just a few days.

What I've not yet run across in any of the coverage about "the walking man" is how or why no one stepped up to help him until this past week. This is not to diminish the actions of those who have pitched in for Robertson's sake – donations quickly poured in from all over. But what does it say about us a society, and about the community that he lives and works in, that Robertson was making this 21-mile trek every working day for a decade, and no colleague, no neighbor, no relative made themselves available to offer him a ride even part of the way, even some of the time? It took a benevolent stranger offering occasional rides for Robertson's story to come to light.

It's heartening to know that there are so many people out there willing – and able – to do good, who think nothing of contributing to the well being of a man they've never met. But I cannot help wondering why those who did know Robertson, who worked with him, or lived near him, could not or would not do the same during the decade leading up to this week's whirlwind of news coverage and donations.

Perhaps, as we joyfully share the story of James Robertson with our friends and family via social media, we might take a lesson from it as well. Make that two lessons – one, appreciate what you have; and two, look for ways you might share what you have with someone nearby who might need your help. Let us be inspired to a make James Robertson a model for our own neighborhoods and workplaces.

2.04.2015

Quote of the Day – Opting All The Way Out Edition

Chris Christie, the gift that just keeps on giving, says that parents should have choice when it comes to whether or not to having their children vaccinated. And, you know, in a certain sense he’s right. I think that nobody should be forced, by governmental power or corporate, to have their children injected with any particular kinds of chemicals or agents. I just think that a refusal to do so should necessitate that those children be barred from entering public spaces, most certainly including public schools. The fact that this provision is not already implied in this discussion demonstrates the degree to which the individualist fantasy undercuts meaningful American discussion of communal and social responsibility. Infectious disease is a perfect lens through which to view the notions of responsibility towards the broader society in which you reside. You don’t choose to be part of the spread of a disease like measles, but you’re implicated in its spread by your actions whether you choose to or not. The only way to opt out of the responsibility to vaccinate is to truly withdraw from the broader society, physically withdraw to the point where you pose no risk of infecting others. 

Fredrik deBoer

2.02.2015

Quote of the Day – Slings and Errors Edition


[E]rror is an essential part of any real intellectual pursuit....

[Y]ou do not have to pretend to be smarter than you are. And when you have made the error of pretending to be smarter, or when you simply have been wrong, you can say so and you can say it straight—without self-apology, without self-justifying garnish, without "if I have offended"....

Honesty demands not just that you accept your errors, but that your errors are integral to developing a rigorous sense of study. I have found this to be true in, well, just about everything in life. 

1.21.2015

Quote of the Day – Embodying Values Edition

The fact that it’s hard to tell fascist propaganda from American nationalist propaganda shouldn’t offend you. It should concern you.

Amanda Marcotte, regarding the backlash associated with this tweet.

Quote of the Day – Logical Conclusion Edition

Why do I need anyone in football to have integrity? Twenty-two guys are out on a field mashing their brains into one another. Is there really a right way to go about any of this?


Drew Magary, regarding the Ballghazi scandal filling the dead space in NFL coverage until the Super Bowl.

1.19.2015

Freedom Of Speech ≠ Freedom From Consequence

Bill Maher: Liberals Who Protest Me Shouldn't Say 'Je Suis Charlie'

Comedian Bill Maher on Friday night bashed liberals who have protested his controversial comments on Islam, but now show solidarity with French magazine Charlie Hebdo.  
Maher referenced the students at University of California-Berkley who tried to keep him from giving the commencement speech last year, and criticized the efforts to suppress his viewpoint.

Sorry, Bill. Not so fast. Free speech means the government won’t arrest you for what you have to say. You know, like the French government did to Dieudonn√© M'Bala M'Bala in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

What free speech does not mean is that no one is allowed to disagree with you, or that people are not permitted to decide whether they wish to listen to you. They may also boycott your appearances and protest what you say – all without infringing on your right to freedom of expression.

As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from the consequences of that speech. Like it or not, one of those consequences may very well be that graduating university students decide they’d rather their money was not spent by their university to pay you to address their commencement ceremony. Or perhaps the consequences come in the form of getting canned from your TV show. 

Plenty of people appear not to like or agree with Bill Maher's opinions. No one, liberal or otherwise, has asserted that those opinions are illegal. 

1.13.2015

Quote of the Day – Speech and Drama Edition

The vigorous debate over whether Charlie Hebdo was biting satire or racist filth is the exact reason why hate speech should not be outlawed.


1.08.2015

Quote of the Day – Motive Force Edition

"It may not be determined in advance what words are apt or inapt; no one has the knowledge that would be required to make that call – and, more to the point, one has to suspect the motives of those who do so. In particular, the motives of those who are determined to be offended…"

– Christopher Hitchens