My relationship with the Boy Scouts of America was not the most pleasant. I was an oddity, to be sure. I think I was at one time the only—only—second class scout to be a patrol leader. Second class. For those who may not have been through the quasi-military organization, the way it was structured in [...]
The Atlantic has one of the better freak show stories in recent times: The KKK is working to distance itself from Westboro Baptist Church.
At “The League of Ordinary Gentlemen,” Tod Kelly reports on what he heard at the Values Voter Summit. This is pretty amazing stuff. It would be difficult to make up things this bizarre. Here’s an example:
The greatest challenge to our security and our Constitution we face in the 21st century is gay soldiers being able to marry. (Steven King, US Rep-Iowa)
Kelly’s bonus observation was quite interesting to me:
Friday morning before Paul Ryan came out, they showed a video presentation honoring the Heritage Foundation. The video ended with stills of famous conservatives that had worked with the foundation, and each got a different level of applause by the audience, based on how popular the pictured conservative was. Not surprisingly, the picture of Paul Ryan got the loudest. The next biggest cheers went to a picture of Limbaugh, followed by one of Hannity, and right behind him was George W. Bush. One of the pictures that got the least, shockingly, was the picture of Reagan, who got what might be called a polite, golf-clap smattering. This may have been the most surprising moment of the conference for me.
I do think we have gotten to the point where Ronald Reagan is far to liberal for the leaders of today’s Republican Party.
This is a shocking film to watch. Yes, I understand the concern that kids should beware of strangers. But check out the characterization of “homosexuals.” According to this film, they are all sick pedophiles and murderers. This video serves as a time capsule, or at least it should, except that many people still harbor these attitudes.
How Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck beat out 2,300 other wines in a blind taste contest. Here’s more on the big win for the cheap wine.
And there’s more evidence that wine tasting is subjective. The wine experts can easily be fooled when the experimenters secretly switch the labels:
The second test Brochet conducted was even more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and served it in two different bottles. One bottle was a fancy grand-cru. The other bottle was an ordinary vin du table. Despite the fact that they were actually being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the differently labeled bottles nearly opposite ratings. The grand cru was “agreeable, woody, complex, balanced and rounded,” while the vin du table was “weak, short, light, flat and faulty”. Forty experts said the wine with the fancy label was worth drinking, while only 12 said the cheap wine was.
Morgan Freeman doesn’t want a Black History Month because “Black History is American History.”
On Sixty Minutes, Mike Wallace asked Freeman how we could solve America’s race problem? Freeman’s answer: “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”
I like this approach immensely, since there is no scientific basis for “race.” I also offer a slightly different suggestion: All of us should acknowledge that we are all from Africa. Whenever people ask me about my ancestors, I tell I’m “African,” because it is true, despite my outward appearance.
Specialists in race, both geneticists and anthropologists, maintain that modern ideas of race are . . . primarily historical constructions that reflect the pattern of contact between previously distinct populations in the colonial period.
Given recent findings, though, I shouldn’t merely say that I’m “African.” I should add, “With a touch of Neanderthal.” And I should add one more thing to be even more accurate: I’m a descendant of many other critters, including sponges, fungi and bacteria.
It’s amazing how so many of us still put any emphasis on “race.” It’s time to admit that it was a ridiculous category to create in the first place, and that it has caused only mischief ever since. The characteristics associated with “race” are a infinitesimally small part of what it means to be a physical human being. It’s time to bring our culture in line with our physical reality.
I’d bet that a lot of those obstructionists in Marin County are wishing they could rewind the clock.
But after spending years and millions of dollars, Mr. Lucas abruptly canceled plans recently for the third, and most likely last, major [studio] expansion, citing community opposition. An emotional statement posted online said Lucasfilm would build instead in a place “that sees us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire.”
If the announcement took Marin by surprise, it was nothing compared with what came next. Mr. Lucas said he would sell the land to a developer to bring “low income housing” here.
I’d bet about 10% of people go utterly ballistic about their property. I’ve seen it in my own neighborhood, where a contingent of people stepped forward about 15 years ago to prevent a low-key art fair on my street. You couldn’t believe all of the hyperbole and all the venom. The opponents were worried that people would be walking on the sidewalks in front of their houses during the fair, if you can believe that one. Well, the fair went on, and it continues to this day on an annual basis. I’ve thought a lot about the “sacred” since reading Jonathan Haidt’s thoughts on it (I’ll post on it soon). The basic idea is that once some declares something (e.g., their home) to be sacred, there is no negotiation allowed, and anyone who tries to cross them is evil. The bottom line is that otherwise reasonable people become crazy.
George Lucas apparently had enough of it and decided to let some ordinary folks move into Marin. Talk about inhumane punishment: forcing rich folks to live nearby modest-income Americans . . .