I’ve been avoiding politics. I like to see myself as a happy warrior, so when I’m pissed, I post about freaking carrot sticks and mothereffing roses. It’s not one thing, it’s all kinds of things lurching in bad directions at the moment, but the gay marriage thing is the one that really got up my nose.
Not so much gay marriage itself (or, as I like to think of it, gay “marriage”), but the arrogance and mediocrity of the Supremes. Another 5/4 decision where the opinion of the five are completely incompatible with the opinion of the four. If that’s not a metaphor…
…happy thoughts…happy thoughts…
Anyway. I wanted to make sure you saw this. Those of you on FaceBook will know that FB provided a little app that would overlay your avatar with a rainbow in honor of the SCOTUS ass-reaming we all got. The Daily Mail is claiming this was a data mining tool to gauge (and possibly manipulate) popular opinion on the subject.
FaceBook denies it, but it’s plausible. They did something similar a few years ago, where you could overlay your avatar with an equals sign (for “marriage equality” natch). They then tapped that data to track attitudes. I find this all very creepy, but I am comfortable in the knowledge I put an absolute minimum amount of data into my FaceBook (either of them; the weasel has an account, too).
What surprised me is how few of my friends did the rainbow thing. I mean, not YOU guys. I knew YOU wouldn’t have any part of it. But most of my friends from back home (I’m sorry to say) are liberals of one kind or another. Yes, even the Southern ones (sometimes especially the Southern ones). I saw maybe three avatars with the rainbow.
Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as they look.
July 1, 2015 — 9:51 pm
June 22, 2015 — 10:12 pm
Did anyone else notice the signs said Jeb! up front, where they were more likely to appear in print, and ¡Jeb! around the periphery? Is it just me? Am I paranoid?
See, I’m kind of iffy about Jeb from the get-go. His wife, Columba, is a tiny Mexican hobbit. By all accounts, she’s a very nice woman and he’s utterly devoted to her, but rumor has it she never took to English and they speak Spanish at home. He once, supposedly, ticked ‘Hispanic’ on his voter registration form.
I suppose I sound irredeemably racist, don’t I? But, look here, we’re talking about a man running for president. Is it too much to ask that our next leader doesn’t prefer somebody else’s culture over our own?
June 16, 2015 — 8:28 pm
The big guy turns 800 today.
The Magna Carta was something of a fetish object in 17th C English law. It was believed to be a fragment or recreation of a sort of ancient Saxon Bill of Rights lost after the Conquest (probably no). As such, it was subject to centuries of scholarly interpretation, hairsplitting and the accretion of penumbra.
The Founding Fathers gave it a shout out. It still has juju for modern American righties.
Not so much lefties. It’s the fashion in the academy today to disparage the Magna Carta as a gentleman’s agreement between a small clique of the superwealthy — the King and his Barons — that was rescinded within days.
Well, yes and no. Mostly no.
A lot of the clauses do specifically outline the relationship between Barons and King, but there was plenty in there about the common man. Like clause 20:
For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a villein the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.
Or 35, the beginning of standardized weights and measures:
There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russet, and haberject [cloth of mixed color, worn by monks], namely two ells [about two yards] within the selvedges [the bound edges of a piece of cloth]. Weights are to be standardised similarly.
Indeed, clauses 36 to 42 really do form the bones of our modern concepts of justice and liberty. Or fairness and freedom, since ‘justice’ and ‘liberty’ have been tainted by association with fuddy-duddy Tea Party types.
Also, there was stuff to do with managing common resources. Like, it abolished freshwater weirs (fish traps; see picture). Not only were they impacting fish stocks, they were making navigation impossible. So the rivers could become the superhighways until superhighways. And it forbade – I love this phrase – “all evil customs relating to forests and warrens.” That is, the killing or mutilation of poachers out of hand.
And, yes, it was rescinded within a month, but it was revived again and again. Every time a subsequent king wanted to squeeze a little more in taxes out of his people, he had to gin up a new edition of the Charter to appease them first. Which is why, in addition to the four left of the original batch, there are so many later versions.
The original wasn’t broken up into clauses, by the way. That was done by later commentators. The original is a big sloppy run-on Latin mess, but the translation is a pretty short and easy read.
Go on. What’re the odds some day some SJW smartass will bet you never read it?
June 15, 2015 — 8:13 pm
Today’s mini scandal, Hillary! telling a supporter to get to the end of the line. ‘Tis a small thing, Twitter’d out of all proportion, but it is remarkable how much robot Hillary! projects whenever she opens her mouth.
As a side observation, I’m going to become so familiar with extant photographs of European aristocracy in the next two years.
Oh, speaking of icky, they’ve moved my bin day. While Monday really sucked enough without a garbage collecting exercise at the end of it, I am NEVER going to remember to put it out Wednesday night.
June 1, 2015 — 9:47 pm
I promised you a post on the British elections and didn’t deliver. Fridaypost’s as good a time as any.
A Conservative win wasn’t the worst possible outcome — obviously — but it wasn’t the one I was hoping for. I was hoping for a divided, unstable government with a small Conservative majority that would force Cameron to jig right. Here’s some bullet points in no particular order:
■ The Liberal Democrats went from part of a ruling coalition to near annihilation. Seriously, they may be done. Forever.
■ None of the pollsters came close to predicting the outcome, which sadly won’t be the end of pollsters.
■ Labour lost big.
■ The SNP won big (at the expense of Labour).
■ UKIP took a healthy chunk of the vote, but only one seat.
■ They lost Nigel Farage’s seat.
■ Cameron is bound to see a big Conservative win as a big Cameron win.
Here’s a simplistic weasel-eye-view of why this happened, also in fun, easy-to-digest bullet points:
■ It was inevitable that the LibDems would collapse at their next election test. They were a far left party that had entered into a coalition government with the main right party.
■ It became clear early on that the Scottish National Party was going to murder the Labour vote in Scotland. Stirred up nationalism and leftover bad feeling from the failed Scottish split-off (Labour had encouraged them to stay in the union).
■ Sawed off SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon began to strut and crow that if Labour got in, she’d call the shots.
■ Brits got in the voting booth and panicked at the thought of gormless weirdo Ed Miliband running the country under the thumb of the Scots. (Which may or may not have depressed the UKIP vote, although the UKIP vote wasn’t bad — they came in third in the popular vote).
Early appearances are that the election will pull Cameron to the right, not least because he can’t blame the LibDems for his leftist inclinations. In conclusion, here’s the 2006 audio snippet of Cameron calling UKIP “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.”
May 29, 2015 — 8:43 pm
He’s got this.
May 26, 2015 — 8:15 pm
In other news, Emma Sulkowicz‘s mattress graduated from Columbia today with a B.A. in Anthropology. “Sure, it’s a bullshit degree,” the mattress is quoted as saying, “but was I supposed to do with all these art credits?”
Good weekend, folks!
May 22, 2015 — 9:11 pm
A nice short roundup of anti-Hillary street art on display here.
Not seen that website before: gotnews.com. Looks to be a startup from Charles C. Johnson, a name I have seen around (but not to be confused with the Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs).
It’s got a lot of original reporting on Brandon Bostian, the engineer who crashed that Amtrak train. Including his online dick pics with the dicks tactfully blurred away. Which is horrible in an indefinable way.
Me, I came down with a nasty head cold over the weekend, so I’m’a sneak off and…drink Jack Daniel’s or something.
May 18, 2015 — 9:37 pm
Hillary’s “oh, you!” face. No ‘shopping at all.
April 29, 2015 — 9:54 pm