You are browsing the archive for 2014 November 21.

Avatar of admin

by admin

This Week in Religion: Revisionist History, the Hitler Card and Pat Robertson on Speed

November 21, 2014 in Blogs

By Dan Arel, AlterNet

The religious right said some more ridiculous and repellent things this week.


If you are not a big fan of U.S. history, fear not, because the State of Texas may decide to rewrite American history and make it more, well, Christian.

The Texas Board of Education will vote whether or not to approve historical changes to its textbooks as put forward by Christian pseudo-historian David Barton. Among Barton’s proposed changes would be inflating the impact Judeo-Christian beliefs had among the founding fathers, a historical exclusion of most non-Christian religions, and using some offensive and outdated anthropological racial terms to describe African civilization

This comes months after a heated Texas Board of Education battle to remove evolution from science textbooks, which even led to board members attempting back-alley deals with book publishers.

The vote was originally scheduled for earlier in the week, but was delayed according to the Christian Science Monitor:

“The board, comprised of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, has asked publishers to make changes critics have demanded. Still, the board wasn’t able to get preliminary approval of the books, setting them up for a high-stakes final vote Friday, when the board will approve the books or else miss the deadline to get them to the state’s 1,000-plus school districts by September 2015.”

These devastating changes could keep Texas students from gaining a proper social science education. This ruling could also apply to those states forced to buy the same books Texas orders. As the saying goes, as goes the leader so goes the nation.

 

Earlier this month, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss postulated that it could only take a single generation of critical thinkers to wipe out religious belief. Speaking at an event in Australia, Krauss said:

“People say, ‘Well, religion has been around since the dawn of man. You’ll never change that.’ But I point out that… this issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you have a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is. It’s gone. One generation is all it takes.”

This caused …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy

November 21, 2014 in Economics

By Brandon

Books

Big GovernmentWorld HistoryNovember 18, 2014Political Theory

From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy

In this tour de force essay, Hans-Hermann Hoppe turns the standard account of historical governmental progress on its head.

Read more

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy

November 21, 2014 in Economics

By Brandon

Books

Big GovernmentWorld HistoryNovember 18, 2014Political Theory

From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy

In this tour de force essay, Hans-Hermann Hoppe turns the standard account of historical governmental progress on its head.

Read more

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

'I Am Lonely, Will Anyone Speak to Me?' Inside 10 Years of the Saddest Internet Thread

November 21, 2014 in Blogs

By Tori Telfer, Salon.com

In 2004, this sad thread started. It's still going even as the Internet has totally changed.


This October, a guest user logged onto moviecodec.com — a technical Q&A forum for media file playback and conversion — to post a cry for help on one of the site’s off-topic forums. “[I']m so lonely,” wrote the user, “feeling sad please anyone talk to me.” It was an almost word-for-word replica of the thread’s title, written 10 years and thousands of posts earlier: “i am lonely will anyone speak to me.” The thread’s creator was also a guest, who logged in as “lonely” in 2004. A decade ago, due to the freakishly searchable title and the fact that the site was already optimized for maximum Google search exposure, the thread went viral. Within days, it was the No. 1 result for “I am lonely” on Google, and hundreds of anonymous lonely hearts were flocking to the forum to commiserate, console and weep.

Today, the “i am lonely” thread is a decade-long anthem to the phenomenon of loneliness in the Internet age. It has its own Wikipedia page. It was written up in the New Yorker and the Guardian. It’s no longer the first result for “I am lonely” on Google, but its longevity makes it a poignant record of a certain type of Catch-22 loneliness: the isolation of people who turn to the Internet to make them feel less alone.

Nine days after “lonely” posted, other anonymous users joined in, saying that Google had sent them. Toward the end of 2004, the site’s webmaster, Bjarne Lundgren, wrote that he was lonely, too. In 2005, the lonely hearts began to talk about forming a club, throwing a New Year’s party, or moving to an island together to drink champagne from coconut shells. In 2006, Lundgren started a separate forum for loneliness called alonelylife.com, because the thread’s popularity made him realize that “apparently there weren’t that many places on the Internet for lonely people.”

Google continued to send the lonely to the thread, and the lonely continued to cry out (“i must be the loneliest girl in the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Weirdness of Realizing That All Your Comedy Heroes Are Monsters in Their Private Lives

November 21, 2014 in Blogs

By Curtis Cook, Curtis Cook

As a kid, I wanted to be a comic after listening to a Bill Cosby tape. I don't know if I can say that anymore.


I was eight when I knew I wanted to be a stand-up. I sat in the family’s used mini-van for a road trip to visit relatives, and my mom put a Bill Cosby cassette into the tape deck. It was an old copy of To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With, and it was the first stand-up I ever heard. I grew up on that tape, so much so that my sister and I would quote Bill Cosby when we were mad at each other saying, “You’re not my real sister. The police dropped you off,” or mimicking the sounds he made with a mouthful of water, playfully threatening to spit it on each other while we brushed our teeth.

I wasn’t the kid whose parents plopped him down in front of a television and let TV shows raise, but there were shows I that spoke to me as a child. I never watched Roseanneas a kid and considered the importance of a female voice in sitcoms, nor the informative setting class helped set in the show; but I did realize that I was watching a lower-middle class parent try her best while keeping the family together, and I could muster enough understanding to think, “Oh, that’s like Mom.” I didn’t grow up watching The Fresh Prince of Bellaireconsidering the importance of the show’s representation of the class divide between Black America and general society; but I knew enough to see someone who grew up under different circumstances struggle to maintain in a wealthy, predominately white (save for his family) space and thought, “Oh, that’s like Dad.” And I, like so many other kids of the 90’s, loved Full House, in part because it showed that sometimes uncles and cousins and family need to all live in the same house, and it normalized the relatives who came and stayed in my parent’s home out of need over the years. Full House was also …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

12 Crazy, Desperate, Hate-Filled Republican Reactions to Obama's Immigration Order

November 21, 2014 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

The GOP again shows its ugly side.


There’s no shortage of borderline behavior coming from Republicans who are fuming that President Obama is using the power of his office to protect 40 percent of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants from deportation—the same percentage that were helped in similar ways by Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush a quarter-century ago.

Two of the House’s most reliably inflammatory Republicans, retiring Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-MN, and Rep. Steven King, R-IA, were traveling to the Mexican border on Friday to speak out against Obama’s actions that will shield 5 million people from deportation, grant work and study permits, and restructure federal priorities toward border security and fighting crime, not randomly breaking up families. 

Whether the GOP’s noise machine will amount to more bark than bite, politically, remains to be seen. But even if the party’s anti-immigrant wing flounders, as many legal experts expect, the vitriol of far too many Republicans in Congress, governor’s mansions and other top state offices show how anti-immigrant discrimination is rampant in GOP circles.

Here’s a sampling of stridently anti-immigrant comments from a dozen leading Republicans in recent days, some of it overtly discriminatory, others cloaked in more political language.

1. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-MN: Before Obama’s announcement Thursday, Bachmann told reporters that the White House would bring in “millions” of “illiterate” immigrants who would end up as voters. She didn't stop there, however, but went on to deride the “social cost” of “millions of unskilled, illiterate, foreign nationals coming into the United States who can’t speak the English language.” When asked by reporters why she described immigrants as “illiterate,” Bachmann replied, “I’m not using a pejorative term against people who are non-American citizens. I’m only repeating what I heard from Hispanic Americans down at the border.” She also said newly protected immigrants would lead to widespread voter fraud, another right-wing fantasy not supported by factual evidence.

2. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX: The Senate demagogue has been leading the escalating GOP charge accusing Obama of acting more like a king than an elected leader. On Wednesday, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

7 Sh*tiest Things Rich People Did This Week

November 21, 2014 in Blogs

By Natalie Shure, AlterNet

Kmart plays Scrooge and Uber targets journalists—it's been a rough couple of days for the rest of the 99 percent.


We’re not saying money is the root of all evil, but it’s a bit easier to get away with acting like a monster if you’re bankrolled. Here’s how the mega-wealthy, both corporations and individuals, have wreaked havoc on society this week. 

1. Gulf Tycoons Insist on Hunting Rare Elephants. A private company connected with the royal family of Dubai is reportedly buying up a 1500-kilometer swath of land in Tanzania so princes can gun down endangered lions, elephants and leopards. The Tanzanian government just announced that tens of thousands of Maasai people living in the region will be ousted from their ancestral lands and the area will be transformed into a site for luxury safaris and big game hunting. The Guardian reports that the Tanzanian government tried to ward off a backlash by offering the Maasai people a 369,350-pound consolation prize for their inconvenience, which the Maasai have refused. Nearly two million people worldwide have signed an online petition protesting the move. 

2. Kmart Ruins Thanksgiving to Sell You an $8 Curling Iron. How does the Sears Holding Corporation plan to plug the leaks in its retail tugboat on the heels of more than 70 nationwide Kmart and Sears closures? Simple. Just treat the first half of A Christmas Carol like it’s a business textbook, and forbid your Kmart employees to take any days off until January. One location’s team was threatened with termination if they refused to work on Thanksgiving, Think Progress reports. Several store employees uploaded photos of breakroom signs with messages like ON THANKSGIVING, BLACK FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ALL TEAM MEMBERS WILL BE SCHEDULED FOR THE SAKE OF THE BUSINESS.” The chain is one of 12 so far that has announced plans to stay open on the holiday, thus depriving its retail associates of their own family dinners.

3. Blue Cross Didn’t Mean All That Stuff It Promised When You Bought Its Crappy Prank Insurance. When Canadian citizen Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel’s water broke six months into her pregnancy during a Hawaiian vacation, she and her …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Currency Wars, the Ruble and Keynes

November 21, 2014 in Economics

By Steve H. Hanke

image

Steve H. Hanke

The specter of currency wars once again haunts the international chattering classes. Remember back in 2011, when Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega blamed the U.S. for deliberately weakening the greenback to gain a competitive advantage? Well, now the shoe is on the other foot.

The Yen — an important regional currency — recently sank to a sevenyear low against the now mighty U.S. dollar (USD). This is putting downward pressure on the Korean won and other Asian currencies. The situation is similar in Africa where the Kenyan shilling has hit a three-year low against the USD; the Nigerian naira recently set an all-time low against the dollar; the Ghanaian cedi has shed over 25 percent of its value against the greenback this year. The big Latin American loser is the Venezuelan bolivar, followed by the hopeless Argentine peso. Moving to Europe, Ukraine’s hryvnia has lost over 88 percent of its value against the USD this year, while the Russian ruble has racked up a loss of over 43 percent against the greenback in the same time span. The list could go on, but let’s focus on Russia and the travails of the ruble.

The ruble, while it has not been hit as hard as the hryvnia, has sharply depreciated because of the Russian- Ukrainian conflict and the sanctions that it has spawned. The sanctions are, of course, a mug’s game. Indeed, sanctions have almost universally failed to achieve their objectives. The one thing they do, though, is to impose real costs on many intended and unintended victims, including the international economic system. It is noteworthy just how predictable the unintended consequences are. While the sanctions imposed against Russia have clearly contributed to ruble weakness, they have massively strengthened President Vladimir Putin’s hand.

Thanks to the sanctions imposed against Russia, President Putin’s support rose to 88 percent in October, according to Russia’s most independent polling group, the Levada Center. Undoubtedly, Putin got another boost in the polls after the shabby treatment he received in Brisbane, Australia at the meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20).

Diplomacy is dead. This is dangerous. As Clifford Gaddy, a Russian expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., recently remarked, “I fear very much that there is an element of sleepwalking in the policies of key players in today’s world.” Gaddy was alluding to Christopher Clark’s recent book, The Sleepwalkers, which chronicles the origins of the First …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Secrets About Money That Put You at Risk

November 21, 2014 in Economics

By Brandon

Secrets About Money That Put You At Risk by Michael J. McKay

Books

Financial MarketsMoney and BanksFebruary 1, 2010

Secrets About Money That Put You at Risk

The Basic Things About Money and Wealth You Must Know And Probably Do Not Why is Money… (a) the thing that most of us worry about the most, and (b) the thing that you understand and were educated in school about the least? Why do otherwise educated people tragically say: “I really do…

Read more

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Secrets About Money That Put You at Risk

November 21, 2014 in Economics

By Brandon

Secrets About Money That Put You At Risk by Michael J. McKay

Books

Financial MarketsMoney and BanksFebruary 1, 2010

Secrets About Money That Put You at Risk

The Basic Things About Money and Wealth You Must Know And Probably Do Not Why is Money… (a) the thing that most of us worry about the most, and (b) the thing that you understand and were educated in school about the least? Why do otherwise educated people tragically say: “I really do…

Read more

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE