Respectful political discussion on Facebook

fightYes, you read that correctly: “respectful”, “political discussion” and “Facebook” in the same headline.

Someone I’ll call Brett posted on Facebook a link to an article titled Check the Race Box or Else<. It indicated that, according to the Boston Globe:

"Newly hired [City of Boston] employees fill out forms… that ask them to indicate their gender and to identify their race or ethnicity in one of five categories Continue reading

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Political Polarization in the American Public

political_polarizationA couple months ago, I came across this Pew Research poll:

“Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.” Yeah, I rather assumed that.

“In 2004, only about one-in-ten Americans were uniformly liberal or conservative across most values. Today, the share who are ideologically consistent has doubled.” And these trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and in everyday life…

“The level of antipathy that members of [Republicans and Democrats] feel toward the opposing party has surged over the past two decades. Continue reading

April Rambling: Buy the niece’s new album, and end Daylight Saving Time

rjcoldfact
New album from Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact the debut release from San Diego-based eclectic soul/funk band. RJ is my niece, my sister Leslie’s daughter.
From NBC San Diego: “Not everything on April Fool’s Day was a joke. Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact released their self-titled debut and it’s no laughing matter. Channeling everyone from Candi Staton and Betty Davis to Morcheeba and Brightback Morning Light, these 12 tracks of soul and funk are stunners. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.”

After watching this video, I’m even more convinced than I was before: Daylight Saving Time is a waste of time. Having tried to schedule a phone call from the UK at a point when the US is in DST and the UK has NOT yet moved to British Summer Time, I know of which the speaker is talking about.
Continue reading

December Rambling: Affluenza; the folly of Facebook

People don’t actually like creativity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Why it’s lousy for the environment and food safety and US sovereignty, not to mention creators’ rights, and why you’ve probably never heard of it.

In this clip, Carl Sagan passionately defends science, with a grave warning.

Secessionists on the ballot.

I mentioned the FOCUS church’s long struggle to feed the hungry. Here’s a print news story and TV story about the cut in food stamps affecting local pantries.

Rev. Frank Schaefer was found guilty by The United Methodist Church for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding; his response.

Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate; my, when I saw this story on TV I got really ticked off. Will they also accept povertenza as a defense? Didn’t think so.

The former editor-in-chief at the New England Journal of Medicine believes it is no longer possible to believe much of clinical research published.

I didn’t write about that Duck Dynasty cable TV guy, mostly because of time, but also because I didn’t have a fresh angle. Arthur wrote about him, and about his reluctance to write about the issue at all, and it’s pretty much my position too.

How fashion can be used as camouflage from face-detection technology.

There’s a new film about Walt Disney and the making of the movie Mary Poppins: watch Harlan Ellison on “Saving Mr. Banks”. For another new film, Philomena, read this article from three years ago, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, for background.

This Man Rescued Over 600 Jewish Kids from Nazi Camps. He Doesn’t Know It Yet, But He’s Sitting with Them.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed… And Pioneering Photographer Robert Cornelius Credited With World’s First Selfie, c. 1839.

If physical diseases were treated like mental illness.

Melanie: Reading, Russian, and the Soviet Union.

Sit Still, and Follow the Stick.

Always hated end-of-the-year lists that come out in early December, because the year isn’t over. Still, 45 powerful photos and NPR’s 100 favorite songs and the best and worst media errors and corrections and worst words and phrases and the Jibjab piece
what brought us together.

21st Century Punctuatio​n; this is a non-issue for me. The frontiers of American English usage involve Death Metal English.

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults, and 5 Reasons To Stop Checking Facebook At Work.

Jaquandor: “Bitching about what people post on social networks is rather like going to each individual table in your high school cafeteria and demanding that everyone at each table only discuss the topics you want to hear discussed.” I agree with that. He also mentioned SamuraiFrog’s situation, linked therein.

Speaking of SF: 50 Shades of Smartass, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, which you should check out, even if you don’t read the others, because now the truly awful stuff is being eviscerated. Or wait until Chapter 8, when the sex stuff starts. Would someone who liked this book please write me and tell me why?

Books About Movies: XEROX FEROX: THE WILD WORLD OF THE HORROR FILM FANZINE by John Szpunar.

The status of Jaquandor’s Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title).

The “radio call” of the miraculous Auburn win over Alabama, both a faux one and the real thing.

Another Kennedy Conspiracy Theory, involving a Superman comic book from around the time of JFK’s assassination, with a happy ending.

Don McGregor on Marvel Comics’ First Interracial Kiss.

Now I Know: rabbit show jumping and the history of flatulence humor.

Michael Feinstein talks about the Gershwins and play some of their tunes for an hour.

Tony Isabella’s birthday wish list.

Amy Biancolli has a new blog. She’s a writer for the local newspaper I’ve met once or twice. As she noted in her first post, ” In 2011, my beloved, brilliant husband, Chris, committed suicide. This left me and our three unbelievably spirited, beautiful children with a task ahead of us: to live.” So she’s FSO, Figuring Stuff Out, such as Things. Except she doesn’t say “stuff.”

Of all the noteworthy people who died this month – Ray Price, Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin – the only obit I link to is Harold Camping? OK, here’s one for Price, and for O’Toole.

Food Fight Muppet episode featuring Gordon Ramsey.

Mark Evanier has been blogging for thirty years! I didn’t even have Internet access at work TWENTY years ago.

Unexpected singers: Run Joe by Maya Angelou from the Miss Calypso album. And Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out by Richard Pryor.

Arthur answers my question about Maori representation in New Zealand government and religion and genealogy, among other things.

I wrote: 50 is the new 65, and not in a good way.

Bumper stickers and spittle

We don’t have any bumper stickers on our cars; never have. My wife doesn’t like them, and that’s fine.

There are some out there that I like, though. The CoExist one. There’s a couple about women empowerment I’d support. One that read, “Straight, but not narrow,” with a little rainbow next to it I would have appreciated more had the not-very-big car not taken up two spaces in my physical therapist’s parking lot.

Overtly partisan political bumper stickers I’m less fond of. Particularly if your candidate loses, it’s kind of embarrassing. Those Michael Dukasis 1988 stickers seemed so sad. The Romney 2012 seem almost disingenuous Continue reading

Malala, the government shutdown, and other things

I was quite moved watching Malala Yousafzai on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this past week. Malala is the teenager shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan, but survived, and has since set up a fund to support girls’ education. Here’s Part 1, the section that aired, but see Part 2 and Part 3 as well. If those links don’t work, try this one.

When you listen, you’ll note that what she’s advocating for is essentially a liberal arts education, wanting girls to think for themselves, radical in the environment from which she came. The group that shot her were pleased she didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize this week Jon Stewart may want to adopt her but she is reviled in her own hometown as not being Muslim enough or being a CIA plant.
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My job is funded by state and federal monies. Which is to say I’m still working, but if this partial government shutdown continues for a while Continue reading

September Rambling: overcoming adversity

Why is September a slow writing month? Haven’t even gotten to look at many interesting links I have set aside to peruse later, then “later” never comes. Jaquandor’s having writing problems too, but it appears to have been rectified, according to his Facebook posts.

Arthur has had a woeful time on HIS blog, but maybe it’s the way it is after seven years of blogging. Or maybe he’s just excited about the fact that on Friday, November 1, he and Nigel are going to the registry office in Auckland, New Zealand to change their civil union to marriage. Mazel tov!

My friend Claire’s annual blog post.

SamuraiFro​g was in a wedding. He was extremely anxious about it Continue reading

August mid-month bailing-out Rambling

©www.jimbenton.com. Used by permission.

Here’s the truth of the matter: I was away last weekend, overbooked. (Will explain, eventually.) I’ve been exhausted much of the week, rather ticked by something else, and it’s difficult to write. I’ve created ONE blog post for this site this week (the one about the possible Olympic boycott in 2014).

Since I write ahead, it wasn’t an IMMEDIATE problem, but eventually, it would be. At the same time, I hit on a whole bunch of linkage, enough (as of August 9, as I write this) for a whole post, with three weeks to (I hope) find more linking goodness for the end of the month. So consider this my summer vacation/”it’s my blog and I’ll cheat if I want” post.

The Mark Evanier News from ME section, in honor of him being named by TIME magazine, as one of the 25 Best Bloggers of 2013:
While I am very fond of his stories about his parents individually, I love Tales of My Mother and My Father #1. “My parents met in Hartford, Connecticut in the mid-forties. They dated for a time but there was enormous pressure for them to not do this. My father, you see, was Jewish. My mother, you see, was Catholic.” Continue reading

D-Day, as in discovery

There’s a blogger called Altonian, who is writing a lot about The War Years in England, most recently: “Alton received its fair share of evacuees during the war, most of which came from London.” With my life proceeding as it has, I had not sought to follow any more bloggers. But I saw him comment on the blogs of both Berowne AND Sharp Little Pencil; both of them I met on ABC Wednesday, which, BTW, you can join too.

Berowne, BTW, generally takes a movie or play, changes it up and sees if you can recognize it. For his current entry, I must admit, Continue reading

This week in Obama political scandal

President Obama is currently embroiled in three situations labelled as political scandal. The IRS scandal is the most problematic in that it involves a highly disliked arm of government that affects almost everyone’s lives. But I agree that the REAL scandal in the IRS issue is that there are lots of political groups on both ends of the political spectrum getting tax-exempt status, when that designation should be limited Continue reading