Things I’ve Read:
1. “To Stop Being the Party of Stupid, You Must Stop Being Stupid” by Ta-Nehisi Coates [Atlantic]
I’ve said this before but conservatives often perceive liberal attachment to diversity as a kind of “everyone’s a winner” cuddle party, where we sit around exchanging rice-cakes and hating on the military. But the great strength of diversity is it forces you into a room with people who have experiences very different from your own. It’s all fine and good to laugh at Sherrod Brown dancing to Jay-Z. But dude is outside his lane and he’s learning something. M.C. Rove should be so lucky.
[on why a corporation could be forced to participate in ACA contraception insurance without violating the owners’ religious beliefs]
For the majority, it is a “fundamental principle” that “incorporation‘s basic purpose is to create a distinct legal entity, with legal rights, obligations, powers, and privileges different from those of the natural individuals who created the corporation.” Rather, “by incorporating their business, the Hahns themselves created a distinct legal entity that has legally distinct rights and responsibilities from the Hahns, as the owners of the corporation.” Moreover, because “Conestoga is distinct from the Hahns, the Mandate does not actually require the Hahns to do anything. All responsibility for complying with the Mandate falls on Conestoga.”
3. “Who is Pope Francis to Judge?” by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield [Washington Post]
Pope Francis did more than answer a question though. He articulated an ethic of judging, one which recognizes that while making judgments is a necessary part of life – in this case, determining who is acting in good will, what it means to seek the Lord, and the insistence that some people forego sexual expression — not all judgment-making is within human purview, even of the human in question is the pope. […]
Imagine that, a stalwart institutional leader who recognizes that while the institution he leads is sacred – ordained by God, for those who follow the faith – there are times when all of us must be willing to say “who am I to judge?” Some things, the pope’s comments suggest, simply belong to God.
4. “Fox ‘mugs’ Muslim historian on Jesus book by Leonard Pitts
For all their professed abhorrence of so-called “identity politics,” it is for many conservatives an article of faith that if one’s identity includes Islam, that fact trumps everything else: character, upbringing, beliefs, politics, or fluency in Biblical Greek. Think Glenn Beck asking a Muslim congressman to prove he is not in league with America’s enemies. Think Michele Bachmann accusing an aide to the secretary of state of terrorist ties.
You are your tribe. More to the point, you are the worst iteration of your tribe, the scapegoat for all our fears of your tribe.
5. ““Just a Theory”: 7 Misused Science Words by Tia Ghose
“A word like ‘theory’ is a technical scientific term,” said Michael Fayer, a chemist at Stanford University. “The fact that many people understand its scientific meaning incorrectly does not mean we should stop using it. It means we need better scientific education.”
From “theory” to “significant,” here are seven scientific words that are often misused.
With his recent post The Ultimate Catwalk, John confirmed that it’s a cat’s world, we just live in it. The post inspired us to compile more examples of awesome cat towers/condos, cat climbing structures, and cat houses that we can find on the great wide Web.
Here they are. Enjoy!
7. “A Cold Current” by Jesmyn Ward [NY Times]
But it wasn’t until I was older that I understood that the undercurrent of violence I’d felt was actually more than a deep, cold current — that it in fact exerted a strong undertow in the present. That it could take my great-great-grandfather, but also take young men like Oscar Grant III, shot to death by a transit officer in Oakland in 2009, like Trayvon Martin, like my only brother, killed by a hit-and-run drunken driver who was charged with leaving the scene of an accident but never with the crime of my brother’s death. That it could assert they were less in life and deny them justice after death as well. That living in a country where one group of people owned another group of people for some 250 years yielded a culture where one life was worth less than another. Again and again. Then and now.
Things I’ve Said
… here …
The Tolkien fandom, and particularly the lovely ladies who run the Many Paths to Tread, are running a ticky-box awards program. I participated last year and it’s great fun. Nominations are open through Monday night, which gives you a long Sunday afternoon to sit down and think about your nominations.
He turned around at the unexpected sound and saw Yairë (his young daughter had been so proud of her growing Quenya vocabulary, she had not considered the inanity of naming her new pet “Cat”) perched atop the clothespress. More precisely, atop the black tunic he was expected to wear that evening. The one fashioned from the bolt of silk the Haradric emissary had brought as tribute, and that had been his ticket out of the normal wool that courtly fashion typically required.
Grumbling to himself, he lunged toward the clothespress, but Yairë jumped over his shoulder and landed half off the bed behind him. He gave a pitiful myap, clawing at the blanket until he and it fell into a heap on the floor. Aragorn couldn’t help but smile at that. Yairë disentangled himself from the mass of bedclothes, gracefully jumped onto the bed, and set himself down in its center as if this were his rightful place.
The problem is, empathy has its limits and we’re much more likely to empathize with people who look like you. Empathy means you’re more likely to help a fellow middle-class traveler whose credit card is declined. But it also may mean you’re less likely to sympathize with the panhandler you pass on your way to the subway because you can’t imagine how someone couldn’t have access to a decent job so someone that poor must be stupid or lazy or both.
Don’t get me wrong, helping people out is good. Seeing yourselves in other people is good, and wanting to help them out because now you see how that situation would impact you is good, too. But if this leads you to privilege certain people over others, that’s obviously a problem.
This post in particular got quite a bit of discussion at LJ, FB, and even a response from the author I linked to over at ThinkChristian.net. THanks guys – as always I appreciate your thoughts!
… and at FB: …
I just watched “House’s Head” / “Wilson’s Head,” the sn 04 finale on House M.D. I try not to use religious language when I swear but nothing else seems appropriate. Good GOD that was some good but heartbreaking character-work. It wasn’t very “House”-y (more focus on character development than the normal diagnostic work) but the ending with Wilson lying on the bed had me crying so hard I had to pause it before continuing on. And the scene with House being pain-free on the bus at the end, the idea that just giving up and embracing that kind of oblivion? Anyone who has lived with that kind of pain or knows anyone who’s experienced that kind of long-term pain and emotional brokenness.
What more can I say? I didn’t love all of it, but the bits that worked, and mostly at *least* the final half-hour of “Wilson’s Head,” really REALLY worked well.
2. Regarding this pic:
I got to “360 divided by 8″ within maybe two seconds of looking at the equation. (Danke, quiz bowl!) To work out that last step, though, I’d need a calculator. There’s a reason I only got into math once we got beyond the need to be comfortable with basic arithmetic.
3. Regarding this pic:
Cool calendar, but I prefer electronic. Switching the page at month’s end can be so Cumber-some.
John Oliver did a good takedown of voting regulation laws that included a look at some of the laws making there way through the NC state legislature, like the Senate bill that simultaneously banned shariah and restricted abortion. I wasn’t just frustrated over what I consider bad laws and having them come to represent my state on the national stage – I was actually embarrassed.
Which, really, is interesting and encouraging at the same time. Whatever you think of the politics or these laws (and really, I’m not trying to start that debate), it tells me that is still my community, the place I think of as where I belong. Even after all these years. Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in — and, seemingly, vice versa.
I missed church this week, so when I saw the Catholic Church next to the supermarket was having mass tonight I popped in. Spanish language. It was surprisingly spiritual- I understand enough to get the gist but not the details meaning you just have to let it wash over you. Kind of like singing a niggun.
I also picked up some Granny Smiths for my neighbor. She promised to stew me a few so I could put them into ginger snaps. Yummers!
Sometimes I wonder whether my attraction to certain songs isn’t more about good music positioned in a narrative, than the stories themselves. House M.D. Cosby Show. Without a Trace. Scrubs. Treme. And don’t get me started on Broadway musicals. I am noticing a theme, and it’s more about the soundtrack than the show itself.
Late last night, I was up grading papers and my laptop charger fell out and onto the floor. Rather than getting up to get it, I set my laptop aside, grabbed the headboard and basically swung off the bed to reach it. And then I overbalanced and couldn’t pull myself up, so I had to gracefully (not…) half-fall, half-crawl off the bed. Strained my wrist a bit in the process because it got hooked a bit around the bedframe so when I finally fell down it got turned around a bit. Nothing too bad, just enough to make me chuckle at my own unique Marta-ness.
The weird thing is, this is not surprising or even all that noteworthy. It is, however, eminently *me.* And it seems normal.
I am wondering just how I’ll explain this one when I go in for PT tomorrow…
LOLs I’ve Spread
1. This always –always breaks my heart. As do most things involving Rue. (Text clearer at Pinterest.)
The text for those without young eyes:
“Kinslaying: The Cause of (and Solution to) Most of Life’s Problems.”
“Everyone Dies and a Rock Falls Somewhere, Maybe.”
“Elves Behaving Badly.”
“This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.”
“The Lonely Noldor Guide to Beleriand.”
“What Happens in Exile, Stays in Exile.”
5. , , , , , , , cameleon.