This showed up on the Facebook feed of my oldest friend. We grew up across the street from one another since the time I moved to the neighborhood at the age of 4. I stood up for his wedding and he stood up for mine. My parents still pick up his parents’ mail when they go on vacation and his parents reciprocate in kind.
When my mom was out of town and my dad didn’t answer the phone for three days, I called his mom and begged her to check in on him. I hadn’t called that number in at least 10 years, but it leapt to the front of my memory with ease.
He’s a “gun guy” and I’m not, but he has no problem posting marriage equality things on his wall. He’s a hell of a parent in ways I never think I will be. He once posted something horribly bullshit about Obama on his wall. When I called him on it, he told me he voted for the guy, he didn’t realize the thing was wrong and he took it down. In other words, not a stereotype but still has leanings.
I saw this thing, a perfect example of how the Internet is allowing bullshit to perpetuate and thus dumb down America, and for some reason, I felt like I got stabbed.
My salary comes from tax dollars. So does my mom’s. Teachers, janitors, garbage collectors, mail carriers and more who are all scraping for a living get paid with our forced contributions to the betterment of society.
Nobody likes it when people take money from them, not even me. However, this warped view of how all these hard-working people just pony up so that some Welfare Queen named Umfufu can pop out another welfare baby is what has led to a general bitterness in our society. It also leads us to elect people who run on nothing more than the idea of “we’ll cut taxes” and thus win in a landslide.
I called him out on it. He deflected it with a joke. I pushed back.
He finally did the “I didn’t mean YOU” thing. I let it go online, but I couldn’t let it go in my heart.
In social psychology, we refer to this as out-group stereotyping with cognitive exception. It’s when your overly broad views of a group are challenged by someone who doesn’t fit the prototype. Thus, instead of changing your views, you note that the person is an exception to the rule.
In other words, “Man, those negroes are lazy, shiftless bastards. Not you, Jenkins. You’re not like the rest of them.”
However, what people fail to see is that the rule is actually the exception.
Instead of pissing and moaning about these people who never pay taxes, look at what you get for your money:
Free babysitting for your kids so you can go to your job. They actually get to learn something there as well, so they can go out and get a job later in life as well.
Someone who clears your streets of all the snow that falls down so you can get to that job that you think is so important you should keep all the money you make at it.
Someone who comes and gets all the trash you generate from the stuff you buy from the money you make at your job. You don’t have to haul the shit to the dump yourself.
People who make sure that your house doesn’t burn down when you decide to “multi-task” in the morning by frying bacon and taking a shower at the same time.
A cadre of men and women who put their lives at risk so that you aren’t shot or mugged or raped or otherwise attacked because you have that job and all those other people don’t.
Agencies that make sure you have a safe environment in which to work, food that doesn’t kill you, water that doesn’t catch fire when you turn on your tap and charlatans who can’t steal your shit out from underneath you.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it illustrates that taxes do some good things, even if you don’t believe that creating a safety net for the least fortunate among us should be one of them.
There’s a reason tuition keeps going up at state schools, making it harder and harder for students to finish their degrees. There’s a reason why faculty pay has stagnated, teacher pay has stagnated and public workers of all stripes are seeing benefits slashed. There’s a reason that public inspection units can’t keep up with demands for safety checks, security watches and even criminal investigations.
The reason is we have less and less money because taxes are viewed as evil and unnecessary. Taxes are seen as the enemy, things that only benefit “the takers” of our society.
A meme doesn’t do all that, but it definitely reflects it.
Dr. A and I saw the lovely and talented Ingrid Lucia at French Quarter Festival on Palm Sunday. I was thrilled when she did a version of Do You Remember Walter by Ray Davies. It's an oldie but goodie from the Village Green Preservation LP.
It inspired me to post three count 'em three versions of this Kinks classic including Ingrid's. We'll start off with the studio version from 1968, which is fairly uptempo and piano driven:
The second version from 1994 is much slower and features some fine "Bavarian" accordion stylings. As a bonus for Breaking Bad fans, it features a Walter White montage:
Finally, Ingrid Lucia's version from her most recent release:
I know what you're thinking: that's not a cat. You're right, but this is one of my all-time favorite critter pictures, so I hereby declare Winston to be an honorary cat. Della Street disagrees but who the hell cares what she thinks? Only Oscar and he doesn't have a vote.
Winston is a hearing-impaired pitbull who belongs to my friend Lizzy in Portland. As you can see, Winston is a very agreeable chap. No cat would allow a mere human to put a Mexican wrestling mask on them. I'd like to thank Winston for being such a good boy and Lizzy for being ever so slightly bent.
Variations week at First Draft continues with two covers for this hard boiled novel. This is one I've read, and it's pretty damn good. Wade Miller is a pen name for the prolific team of Bob Wade and Bill Miller. They also published under the name of Whit Masterson, which evokes images of the Old West unlike say, Cliven Bundy, who sounds like one of Bertie Wooster's cronies:
According to USA Today, the Braves organization has received hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls since Aaron made his comments a week ago.
"Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur)'' read an email from a man named Edward, according to USA Today.
Edward evidently used the racist epithet five times.
"My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur)," he wrote in closing.
One man called Aaron a "racist scumbag," while another vowed to never attend another Braves game until Aaron is fired from the team's front office. A man named David said he plans to burn Aaron's autobiography.
I am not a violent person but reading this shit makes me want to take a baseball bat upside their empty heads. Henry Aaron is an American hero and a man with more dignity and grace in his little finger than these scumbags who dare to call him a scumbag. Hiding behind an anonymous name makes some people feel all brave and manly. I'd like to see these racist motherfuckers say that to Mr. Aaron's face but I know they wouldn't have the nerve. It's also tres classy to insult an 80 year old man.
Twas a dispiriting story to read on Jackie Robinson day, y'all. I'd like to feed those guys to Jackie circa 1952 after he stopped turning the other cheek. He'd give them a piece of his mind and perhaps a swift kick up the ass.
Now that I've vented, here's an antidote: a picture of Hank Aaron with two other heroes, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays:
It's the 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut as the first African American major league baseball player. He's being honored at ballparks across the country by folks wearing his number, 42. I'm honoring him here by posting the 1962 picture above with MLK, and this awesome tune written in Jackie's honor by Buddy Johnson and recorded by Count Basie:
“The key to beating poverty is not about beating racism, as nice as that might be to do. The key to beating poverty is to educate people. In the black community right now, 78% of kids that are born are born out of wedlock. That is no father in the household to be there to control the kid, to make sure the kid gets a good education, to make sure the kid goes to school, to make sure the kid doesn’t get in trouble. When 78% of those families are broken up, what makes that kid believe that the education he’s getting in high school is something he has to have to come out of the poverty level. And the answer is simple: nothing.”
This is like the perfect encapsulation of everything your racist brother-in-law says at the Christmas party, followed by a defensive comment about how it's science, of course. Even assuming this clownstick was correct (which of course no), what exactly about being raised by a single mother makes you give up on high school automatically? If he said something about presuming a lack of parental support for education which then led to dropout rates, that would be one thing, but instead it's single parent = diplomas are bullshit. I have no dad, and therefore I hate books.
“Listen to what [Jimmy Carter] said yesterday talking about Hurricane Katrina. Now bear in mind, 10,000 people there are listening to this, and the current sitting president of the United States of America — this is what Jimmy Carter said. ‘We only have to recall the color of the faces of those of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi who are most devastated by Katrina, to know’ — listen to that, he knows — ‘that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans.’ You got to be kidding me. ‘Look at the color of the faces and know there’s not equal opportunity’? As far as I can tell, Mr. Carter, everybody had equal opportunity to get out of the way of a Category 5 storm that we all knew was coming for over a week. How do we know this? You’re looking at it, brother. I was right in the heart of the storm. The eye of that storm came right over my house, my friend.”
Most people hate Mondays. There is, however, one thing about Mondays that I look forward to: Charlie Pierce's weekly What Are The Gobshites Saying These Days? feature. Pierce watches the Sunday shows so I don't have to. Thanks, man. The mere thought of watching Disco Dave Gregory makes me feel like Fred Sanford having a fake heart attack.
Then, on a much lighter note, we have onetime Holy Roman Empire defense department correspondent Bob Schieffer's explanation for how he lined up his guests for Face The Nation. Bob explained that they rousted John McCain out of bed "at six o'clock in the morning (!)" to talk about events in the Ukraine. Jesus H. Christ in the makeup chair, does anyone actually believe that? John McCain can hear the sound of a camera's being plugged in at a distance of 20 miles. If he goes five consecutive hours without being on television, he gets the bends and has to be hospitalized. If he doesn't have a light-rail shuttle from his basement to the studios in Washington, it's only because he hasn't completed the tunnel yet. There are camera hounds and there are camera hogs. John McCain is a camera black hole. So, no, Bob, I am not impressed that you managed to talk this diffident chap out of his seclusion to say the same goddamn things he's been saying for two months. If you hadn't, he'd be out front, laying siege to your offices. Yeesh.
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2014 2:44:32 PM by tcrlaf
DEVELOPING: One person has been killed in shootings at two Jewish centers in Kansas, authorities say.
Overland Park Police told Fox News that the shootings occurred at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park and the nearby Village Shalom, an assisted living facility. Officials who spoke to Fox 4 said another person was injured in the shootings, but police would not confirm the report.
1 posted on Sunday, April 13, 2014 2:44:32 PM by tcrlaf
Inquiring minds want to know:
Workplace violence, again?
Let me guess, the perp's name was Abdul, Achmed, Mohammed.
10 posted on Sunday, April 13, 2014 2:50:22 PM by M Kehoe
Would it be irresponsible NOT to speculate?
To: M Kehoe
Abdul Abulbul Amir...
20 posted on Sunday, April 13, 2014 2:59:04 PM by null and void (The British declared war on the Tea Party. The Tea Party won! (Thanks mom!))
Forget I asked.
Andres Gutierrez @AFGutierrez OP police arrest man in the parking lot of Valley Park elementary. He yelled "Heil Hitler" at us @41ActionNews pic.twitter.com/KfINKcLNN5
It's January 1969 and Mad Men has gone full tilt bi-coastal. Don has become Megan's sidekick instead of being a rock star. We saw this immediately after she picked him up at the airport and insisted on driving. Don Fucking Draper riding shotgun instead of behind the wheel? It's a new world.
On to my customary random and discursive comments:
Posted on 4/8/2014 8:37:41 PM by markomalley
This week, we found out that being the CEO of a major tech company has certain job requirements: decades of experience in the field, a brilliant contribution to the internet programming world, a stellar record of interpersonal relationships with people in all walks of life, and a personal view that same-sex marriages should be approved by the government. Have the first three and not the last? You’ll be outed, shamed, and ousted. It is now obvious that in America, the left and the media will celebrate as you are shamed and paraded through the streets in stocks if you do not approve same-sex marriage. They believe that the right to privacy somehow covers government approval of same-sex marriage, but not writing a check to back a campaign against that approval. Engage in business in any aspect of American society, and you may be subject not only to the dictates of government, but to the job-killing hatred of the mob.
So, is there any job left in America in which it is safe to abide by your religious views against same-sex marriage?
CEO: You’re the “face of the company.” Sure, the check you signed was personal. Sure, you didn’t use any company funds, have always abided by the non-discrimination rules of your company, and have never once been criticized for unfair treatment of homosexuals. That doesn’t matter...
Nun: So, you represent an institution that has for thousands of years considered homosexuality a sin. You tell children at a school for that religious institution that homosexual relationships are not as valuable for the production and raising of children as heterosexual relationships. You paraphrase the Bible and the Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, now you’re busted...
And it's not just changing culture. Over the last half century, various branches of government have also taken plenty of proactive steps to marginalize religion. Prayer in public school has been banned. Creches can no longer be set up in front of city hall. Parochial schools are forbidden from receiving public funds. The Ten Commandments can't be displayed in courtrooms. Catholic hospitals are required to cover contraceptives for their employees. Gay marriage is legal in more than a dozen states and the number is growing rapidly.
Marginalizing cetain ostentatious displays of faux Christianity isn't marginalizing "religion," either, unless you define religion down to the six things your sanctimonious sister-in-law is pissed about this week. Taking a bunch of fake issues that have fuck-all to do with the actual practice of religion in this country and using incorrect assumptions about them to agree with the general wingnut position that Christianity is somehow under siege, is ... reductive, at best.
I expect this kind of half-assed shorhand from middlebrow media outlets and commentators whose audiences are just biding time until the orderly comes round with the pudding, but my standards for Mother Jones are a little bit higher.
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman has sent a letter to Tribune Co. CEO Peter Liguori saying interviews with experts “raised serious concerns about the future of the Los Angeles Times” should the company go ahead with its plan to spin off its newspaper division.
Poynter’s Rick Edmonds is among the experts Waxman consulted.
Waxman is concerned about Tribune Co.’s plans to saddle the newspapers with debt and keep their real estate, but he also says the company’s plan to consolidate some newsgathering functions “raises concerns about the ability of the papers to continue putting resources into local coverage.” The plans, he says, “will place the long-term viability of the Los Angeles Times and other Tribune papers at risk.”
Ligouri's response is predictably bitchy and defensive:
As publisher of the Los Angeles Times for the last six years and soon-to-be Chairman of the Board of Tribune Publishing, I am extremely confident that the plan put forth by Tribune Company is sound, reasonable and will help protect and build a strong future for the Los Angeles Times and Tribune’s other newspapers for years to come.
What was your worst kitchen fail? Recipe gone wrong, gave a party food poisoning, what?
We had just bought a new oven when I was having friends over for dinner and I was toasting pine nuts in a pan. Got distracted doing something else and totally forgot about them, so when I smelled them burning I grabbed the pan. Spilled them everywhere inside the oven and they burst into flames.
Luckily, these were old friends, so when they arrived they merely asked politely when I'd purchased a smoker for the chicken we were about to eat.
Louisiana State Rep.Thomas Carmody (R-Bible Belt) is the latest person to emerge from obscurity to become malaka of the week. I never heard of him before today and plan to forget him as soon as possible. Unfortunately, that won't be soon enough: his bill establishing the Bible as the official state book got out of committee yesterday. Here's a longer than average excerpt from an article in the Vestigial Picayune: