February 09, 2013

Evgeny #Morozov takes on cyber-utopianism

Evgeny Morozov has yet another great take on what's wrong with most people's thinking about the Internet. By most people, he's above all talking about the likes of Clay Shirky, mentioned early on, and Jeff Jarvis.

He doesn't waste time. Here's his opening two grafs:
There are two ways to be wrong about the Internet. One is to embrace cyber-utopianism and treat the Internet as inherently democratizing. Just leave it alone, the argument goes, and the Internet will destroy dictatorships, undermine religious fundamentalism, and make up for failures of institutions.

Another, more insidious way is to succumb to Internet-centrism. Internet-centrists happily concede that digital tools do not always work as intended and are often used by enemies of democracy.
What the Internet does is only of secondary importance to them; they are most interested in what the Internet meansIts hidden meanings have already been deciphered: decentralization beats centralization, networks are superior to hierarchies, crowds outperform experts. To fully absorb the lessons of the Internet, urge the Internet-centrists, we need to reshape our political and social institutions in its image.
And, he's 110 percent right on both. 


The first way is the way not just, or so much, of Shirky or Jarvis as it is of the futurists of a certain stripe, such as Ray Kurzweil and his singularity (something at least partially "bought" by pseudoskeptic Michael Shermer as well) and Michio Kaku and his magical, Oz-like Internet contacts, already being anticipated now by Google Glasses.

However, the Shirkys (with Shirky himself trying to hide, spin and downplay his own non-democratizing consulting work for Moammar Gadhafi), Jarvises and Jay Rosens of the world partially fall into the first camp.

They straddle or hedge their bets with the second camp, though. Other touters of the impact of the Net in general and social media on politics fall here. That's you, Mr. Bareback Bear, Andrew Sullivan.

And, since Shirky has seen fit to consult for non-democratic countries, and Sully is all over the map politically, even by European standards, their paragraph 2 schtick will get played out more and more.

The real deal, though, is that the Internet doesn't mean anything, contra their thoughts.

Marshall McLuhan was not entirely wrong, but he wasn't entirely right, either. The Internet in general isn't that much different from elcctronic media predecessors, except in its ubiquity. Indeed, Morozov mentions McLuhan soon in — something I didn't know because I hadn't looked past the first two grafs until just this point. That's part of why I like Morozov ... I very much get where he's coming from.

But Morozov, in what's actually, theoretically, a book review, is nowhere near done yet.

Yochai Benkler is next to get thrown under the bus. I've read enough of Benkler on modern media and related issues to say he's a more thoughtful, somewhat more nuanced Jay Rosen. And so, he gets a more nuanced throwing under the bus.
For Benkler, the Internet proves that humans are collaborative, well-meaning creatures, and that our political institutions, shaped in accordance with a much darker Hobbesian view of human nature, have never been adequate for facilitating meaningful social interaction.
Benkler does not view the Internet as a tool so much as an idea that proves (and disproves) philosophical theories about how the world works. The Internet, for him, reveals only what has been true—that humans love to collaborate—all along. Not surprisingly, the Internet occupies just a few chapters of Benkler’s most recent book; the rest is him deploying the latest research in evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and experimental economics to find the spirit of the Internet in the worlds of Toyota and lobster fishermen, of Spanish farmers and Obama’s 2008 campaign.
In short, Benkler is a Shirky or Rosen with a stiff shot of Malcolm Gladwell as a chaser. In other words, not necessarily as wrong (or the Wolfgang Paul "not even wrong" as them), but with more shit thrown against the wall to get something to stick.

This all concludes with the actual book review, in which author Steven Johnson gets slapped around for going down some parts of the footpaths of all the people above.

Thoughts on that below the fold.

So, it's a Nationals-Blue Jays World Series? Do #stlcards have a shot?

Yahoo Sports has those two teams pegged as the top two in baseball in its preseason ranks.

Don't like that? On the National League side, your next two options are Dodgers at No. 3 overall and Reds at No. 4.

On the AL side, it's the Angels at No. 5.

All of these predictions are a bit fraught with peril, of course.

That said, I think the Nats' tap is the safest bet. Could have been there last year if they had not shut down Stephen Strasburg.

On the AL side, the Jays will have to show that all of the trades they made pan out. They'll also have to hope that, in light of initial reporting on the Miami roiding allegations at Biogenesis, that Melky Cabrera doesn't get a second suspension to follow the first one. They also, after years on the outside, have to show they know how to win.

Dodgers? I think Zach Greinke, and his signing, are overrated. They also have to have all the players they got from Boston last year, like Carl Crawford (also overrated, from this corner) actually pan out.

Reds? Can Aroldis Chapman be a starter and Joey Votto be healthy again? I think both have to happen for them to deserve to be ranked this high, and I wouldn't hold my breath in the Riverfront City.

Frankly, I wouldn't be too surprised if, even without Chris Carpenter, my St. Louis Cardinals pass them in the NL Central.

On the AL side, Albert Pujols had his knee cleaned up with simple arthroscopic surgery and the Haloes now add by swap, with Josh Hamilton replacing Greinke (and Hamilton having to bear less spotlight than in Texas). Wouldn't be surprised for them to win it all.

Tigers, the No. 3 team in the AL? Could still be a bit fragile psychologically. Victor Martinez coming back will help, but how much?

My picks?

Well, I always personally pick the Cards to win it all, of course.

They do have a reasonable chance, but I'm going to pencil in Nats-Haloes as my prediction.

I put Cards at 85-15 to make the playoffs, and, if Matheny shows growth as a manager, 55-45 (yes, over the Reds) to win the NL Central. I'll put them at 1-5 on NL title and 1-10 on World Series.

Teams most likely to fall further than Yahoo ranks? I think the Yankees at No. 11 are definitely too high. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see them below .500 at the end of the season.

Others? No. 14 D-backs, No. 15 Phillies and No. 16 Orioles could all slip a bit. Even the No. 10 Rays may finally spit the bit. In short, the AL East in general could be less than its cracked up to be.

Sleepers? Especially if Juices Maccabee, aka Lyin Braun, or known to others as Ryan Braun, gets lucky or whatever and doesn't get a roiding suspension himself, the Brewers are probably better than No. 20. And, even if they don't make the postseason, the Pirates are better than No. 25.

I'm not even going to discuss ESPN's previews, posted so far on its Sweet Spot blog. First, they do team-by-team letter grades, which is nice, but is chickenshit on dodging comparisons. Second, when an ESPN blog talks about the possibility of the Bosox winning the AL East and David Schoenfield, usually a stinker even among ESPN's baseball writer stinkers, talks about that division being a five-team race into September, you know you're going to get nothing but the usual ESPN baseball stupidity mixed with Boston/New York homerism.

More proof of that? The truly hypocritical on roiding Jayson Stark claims the AL East is the top division in baseball. I'm not sure I'd rank that division higher than fourth.

Ahh, ESPN. The Peter Principle of the sports writing world.

February 08, 2013

Farm subsidies — the downside of the EU, or part of it

I have regularly praised the EU for being better than the US at consumer oriented regulations, better privacy rights and more stringent support of them etc. But its bloated farm subsidies, far beyond the US, will someday be its death, or part of the road toward disintegration.

To me, that fact, more than the Union actually agreeing to trim its budget, is the major takeaway from EU budget talks.

Yeah, they trimmed the subsidies ... a tad.
Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands were among the Northern European nations that fought hard to reduce agricultural subsidies and increase spending on research and development to bolster the bloc’s global competitiveness. 

Despite those efforts, farm spending remained the largest single portion of the budget, accounting for about 38 percent of the total — although that was down from about 42 percent in the previous seven-year budget period.
I certainly don't blame Latvia and other newer members for bitching about two-tier subsidies, and, if British Prime Minister Cameron wants to sell a la carte membership, that's his starting point.

On the other hand, nationalism of that type is part of what led to two-tiered subsidies and much more.
“The budget negotiations are the most visible sign of member states winning and losing from the European Union,” said Hugo Brady, a senior research fellow at the Center for European Reform, a research organization. “The result is a totally parochial budget that is poorly adapted to rapidly changing times.” 
Farm subsidies are just the most visible example of it.

I give the EU in its current incarnation until the end of the decade to move toward more integration or fall apart. In Germany, Angela Merkel will eventually face a revolt from within the right wing of the Christian Democrats, the Free Democrats will re-invent themselves, a new non-Nazi far right party will pop up or all of the above.

"W" nekkid in the shower — ugh!

W. Bush, primitivist painter/Smoking Gun
Well, topless painting of him nekkid in the shower, as shown, as painted by himself.


To what do we owe this bit of eye candy?

A hacker who broke into the email accounts of W, Poppy Bush and others.

Here's details:
In e-mail exchanges with the person who claimed responsibility for the hack, the individual claimed to have swiped “a lot of stuff,” including “interesting mails” about George H.W. Bush’s recent hospitalization, “Bush 43,” and other Bush family members.
Yummm ....

More seriously, this raises other questions. A whole boatload of them, in fact.

First, should Secret Service protection for ex-presidents include more cybersecurity?

Second, will this promote discussions about cybersecurity, whether private sector initiatives or government actions/regulations?

Third, do we need more government regulation?

Anyway, the hacker sounds like a pro at both hacking and at his or her relationship with the FBI. This ought to be a fun one.

Beyond that, this not only underscores how juvenile/frat boy he is, but that he's the most juvenile person formerly associated with the Texas Rangers this side of Alex Rodriguez, the famed A-Fraud.


February 07, 2013

I will NOT "tip jar" Texas state parks

Ever since the 2011 Texas Legislature slashed the hell out of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's budget, a number of well meaning environmentalist types have pushed — and pushed heavy at times — the idea of customer donations helping make up the shortfall.

Well, with talk of no budget increase this biennium and possible closures (of up to 20 parks), I'm sure this idea will get a new round of traction.

But not from me.

If anything, it will get more talk in opposition.

To be blunt, all you well-meaning folks, you're enabling bad behavior.

Per the story, we know that even before the budget cuts of two years ago, the Lege continually refused to dedicate all the funds from the state sporting goods sales tax to TP&W.

Per the story, with my emphasis:
This is nothing new. For the previous two-year budget cycle, this so-called dedicated fund was projected to generate $236 million. In the end, the amount that remained for parks was a dismal $52.1 million, leaving the state with a falsely-created balanced budget and TPW officials begging for cash.
See? The Republicans in the Lege have been doing this ... well, basically since they took control of the Lege. Even with no overall expansion in spending, if the "Solons" in Austin gave TP&W the other $184 million, we not only would not have to worry about closing any parks, we could address a backlog of maintenance, etc.

Instead, the "tip jar" idea rewards the libertarian and privatization ideas of many in the Texas GOP.

(Beyond that, because this problem is nothing new, you're tip jarring parks that have that backlog of maintenance, etc., and therefore aren't always fully up to snuff.)

Don't do it.

If parks have to close, so be it. Maybe the Republicans in your state House or Senate district will vote out THEIR bastard next election time, and not ask for others to vote out other bastards.

Beyond that, this is a state that, even with money woes accounted for decades or a century-plus ago, sold off too much of its public land, lied to the feds and therefore blocked a Palo Duro Canyon National Park that would have stretched all the way to today's Caprock Canyons State Park, refused to cooperate with the feds and gave us a Davis Mountains State Park instead of a third national park in West Texas and more.

And, that's part of what hacks me. Having been to Big Bend many a time, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park more than once, I know what a real park, a third West Texas national park, could be like in the Davis Mountains, rather than the state's postage stamp piece of land. Ditto for what Palo Duro really could have been.

Tip-jarring would arguably reward decades of bad behavior, not just a few years. (Don't forget Jerry Patterson turning down land donations because of his gun nuttery, too.)

More on the state of state parks, and what TP&W wants in the new budget, is here. Given the Texas Senate's preliminary budget, you ain't gonna get it.

Feb. 7: Latest news on budget discussions here. Yeah, we'll see if Tommy Williams means it; he's kind of a wingnut.

June 6, 2013: Alleged racism at TPWD doesn't help.

February 06, 2013

Is Jewell a diamond in the rough for Interior?

If you're a real environmentalist, I doubt that President Obama's nomination of Sandy Jewell, CEO outdoor gear maker/seller REI, as Interior Secretary, is a diamond in the rough.

Sure, REI is an outdoor recreational equipment maker. So is Honda, with its four-wheelers. Beyond that, when I heard on the radio that her previous background included work at subprime mortgage bottom feeder Washington Mutual and eXXXonMobil before that (well, just old Mobil, technically), I was definitely underwhelmed. She may wind up making us appreciate the days of Kenny Boy Salazar for all we know.

And, speaking of, she's already indicated she wants to continue his public-private partnerships for conservation and related issues. Translation: She's OK with more corporate branding in places like national parks,

Plus, Interior's traditionally gone to a Western politician. This probably doesn't sit totally well with Congressional Democrats.

She sounds like she's personally an outdoorswoman, and therefore appreciates conservation needs. And, that she might have some ideas on how to boost involvement, especially (I hope) by minorities.

And, she's got her work cut out in gearing up for the Park Service's centennial.

I hope she does that right, AND ... without too much in the way of private branding. I don't want to see "The National Park Service Centennial Commemoration, Sponsored by REI."

Speaking of, I'd love for just one senator to ask her about her time at WaMu and what she knew about the subprime mess. It's legit, not just for running her over, but for just how sound of a management background she has.

Anyway, yes, the League of Conservation Voters has already given her an air kiss. I'm sure other Gang Green groups will do the same.

I want to see how folks like the Center for Biological Diversity respond.

And, CBD has. Not throwing her under the bus, but Kieran Suckling and gang are ... "guarded":
America’s public lands and endangered species are in dire need of visionary leadership. We hope Sally Jewell brings the same determination and transparency to running the Department of the Interior as she did to REI.  

It’s clear the secretary of the Interior nominee has a passion for national parks, but the challenge is whether she will value our wildlands and wildlife in the face of endless pressure by industry to drill for fossil fuels in areas within Interior’s jurisdiction. If she can stand strong against bad ideas such as Arctic oil drilling and fracking on public lands, then she will likely be a success. Nature needs a true champion at this point in history.
I think that's about where I stand.

And, Suckling et al know that oil and the Bureau of Land Management will be a big issue, continually so.

Update, Feb. 9: Tim Egan at the NYT has a laudatory column about Jewell while noting that Obama can't rest his environmental laurels just on her appointment. The line about environmentalists being a "silent majority" amongst the "wise use" folks, general libertarians and even anti-government conspiracy theorists in the West is a good one.

Let's just call the #HebrewHammer Lyin Braun on #roiding

Ryan Braun/Yahoo Sports
Apparently, use of performance-enhancing drugs isn't all that Ryan Braun has in common with Alex Rodriguez.

Lying at the drop of a hat, no matter how transparent the lie, is a commonality too.

Braun,  whose name appeared on a notepad list at Biogenesis of America, the Anthony Bosch "performance" lab intricately intertwined with A-Rod's latest PED scandal allegations, says he was just using the lab as a consultant when he had a positive PED test in 2011. 
"There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch's work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under 'moneys owed' and not on any other list," Braun said.
"I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch," he said. "I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
Braun goes on to claim:
"There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch's work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under 'moneys owed' and not on any other list," Braun said.

"I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch," he said. "I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
But, you'll notice how he carefully never explains HOW his lawyers got so familiar with Bosch in the first place.

That 2011 MVP award is looking more and more tainted by the day.

I'm at the point where I think owners need to give Bud Selig some discretionary powers to take extra time on suspensions of players who stall and lie rather than coming clean. Or extra fine money, or both.

As for him not being on "other lists," that doesn't mean other lists don't exist. The rest of his statement is standard legal/PR boilerplate. 

Jon Paul Morosi from Fox agrees that Braun's claims are "plausible (but not) believable." 
• If Braun’s attorneys were “previously familiar” with Bosch, wouldn’t they have known to avoid any link with him because of his reputation for selling PEDs to athletes?

• For what reasons would Braun’s attorneys have dealt with a steroid supplier, anyway?

• In seeking consultants for Braun’s defense, was Bosch really the best option? A brief bio on him, from the New Times report: failed businessman, long debt history, no license to practice medicine in Florida, degree from “Central America Health Sciences University” on the wall. For a man of Braun’s means — he has more than $130 million left on his current contract with the Milwaukee Brewers — why not hire the entirety of Harvard’s medical faculty?
For good measure, Morosi adds that Braun has acted like he does h ave something to hid.

Stay tuned, Brew Crew fans. We'll see if the Hebrew Hammer's stick is going to get a 50-day bris from Bud.

You want another good one, on nicknames, besides Lyin Braun? Per the Hebrew Hammer schtick, and Jewish history, and the allegations, let's call him Juices Maccabee.

February 05, 2013

Put a dent in #Stlcards hopes for 2013? Carp out for year, likely career

The gutty Chris Carpenter , who rehabbed without deer antler spray to make it back for the St. Louis Cardinals' 2012 postseason run, may have just thrown his last pitch.

The nerve issues that led him to  undergo surgery to remove a rib last year are back again.

So, what's this mean for 2013?

First, Adam Wainwright is going to have to build on last year's return from Tommy John surgery. He was already more of the ace, or getting there, before he went down. Now he has to be, not just in pitching skill but in pitching staff leadership.

Second, the Cardinals' young arms — Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller —  are supposed to be good for a few years. Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch agrees. They're going to have to prove it now.

Third, assuming Waino meets the challenge, John Mozeliak is going to have to decide how much to open the wallet for him after this year.

Fourth, this also raises the issue of what to do with Jake Westbrook.

And, it also, in my mind, raises again the issue of possibly offering David Freese, along with any of those "young guns" as necessary, in a deal for C.C. Sabathia, which I have already blogged about.

Without any changes, we'll say the Cards are losing 3 wins (he had a 3.5 WAR in 2011) off of what might have been hoped, and possibly a couple more indirectly.

When 'fiscal conservatives' aren't — that's you, Greg Abbott

The state of Texas getting slapped down in the latest school finance lawsuit (note "latest," there's a good timeline here of state school finance issues all the way back to "Edgewood" in the 1980s) reminds me that, when it comes to fiscal-related issues, most alleged fiscal conservatives are anything but.

Look at Greg Abbott, even more than Rick Perry. You've got the school finance lawsuit at the state level. You've got school prayer, religious displays, and other church-state issues that regularly go to suit at the federal level. And, every 10 years, if not more frequently, there's Voting Rights Act-related suits.

In short, Abbott wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for things he knows will lose in court. As the state's attorney general, doesn't he have a legal obligation to tell Perry and the Legislature his estimation of the likelihood of success, or failure, in court, against eventual lawsuits? Of course he does? Ditto on his estimate of expected legal costs.

Update, Feb. 18, 2013: And now, the man who would be gov, tired of suing the feds over Obamacare, has moved on to Dodd-Frank.

Here's the waste of taxpayer dollars part:
Legal experts believe that much of the lawsuit is unlikely to have much standing in court. “Sure, Dodd-Frank is a mess; sure, the statute is unwieldy and inefficient; sure, the statute takes power away from citizens and states and transfers it to the federal government. However, it’s not unconstitutional or otherwise illegal for Congress to pass a bad law. And this is what Dodd-Frank is,” says Jonathan Macey, a professor at Yale Law School.

Kenneth Klee, a law professor at UCLA, points out that the states’ major argument in the lawsuit — that Dodd-Frank violates states’ rights under the new bankruptcy provision — doesn’t hold up. ”States don’t have rights on bankruptcy law — Congress could prescribe anything at any time. There’s no vested property interest there,” he explains.
Bingo. So, the state of Texas may not even have legal "standing," but Abbott sues away.

As for the "bad law" issue? Abbott's compadres on the GOP side of the US House and Senate didn't want a "good" law. (And a lot of Democrats didn't want a great one, either.) So, this is what we got.

As far as wasting taxpayer dollars? Considering that the suit was originally filed by, among others, "two conservative advocacy groups, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association," Abbott doesn't care.

Got that, you teabaggers? Abbott doesn't care. He'll waste your money and mine all day long, as long as he doesn't waste ExxonMobil's or the Koch Bros.

Update, Sept. 5: Federal appeals court in San Antonio confirms Abbott wasted more money over Texas Senate redistricting.

Dear Leader wants to kill more Merikuns

The leak of an Obama Administration white paper that alleges to find legal justification for an even more expansive list of reasons to kill American citizens who allegedly have some connection with al Qaeda or other terrorist groups is simply appalling.

It's clearer and clearer our "constitutional law scholar president" is using that legal skill to fold, spindle and mutilate the Constitution.

Business Insider lists seven specific reasons for concern.

That's not to say Mitt Romney would have different views.

It is to say this is another reason for liberals to stop voting Democrat, and people in general to start voting outside the two-party box.

As for any political ramifications? The GOP will use it to try to bash Obama during the confirmation hearings for John Brennan to run the CIA, but, moral ramifications? They largely agree with Obama.

That said, theoretically, Democrats once had the high ground on such issues. But, theoretically and "in reality" are two different issues.

Don't forget that LBJ started COINTELPRO, for example. Don't forget that Clinton greatly expanded the use of quasi-mercenary "contractors" for military auxiliary services.

Also, don't forget how "death" the Obama Administration has been on leakers. Somebody had probably better be hunkering down right now.

February 04, 2013

Henry the Eighth I ain't but Richard the Third I am, I am!

Richard III, rest in peace/New York Times
Research seems to have nailed down that a skeleton buried under what was the Greyfriars Priory in London is indeed the physical remains of the blackest villain of Shakespeare, Richard III.

I do hope, per some of the scholars who commented in the story, that this leads to a rehabilitation of Richard's character. He was no saint, but nowhere near the ogre the Bard made him out to be, in what is a great play, but also an overblown ode of propaganda to the Tudor monarchy.

That said, per the header of this post, somebody HAS TO remake the old Herman's Hermits song, "I'm Henry the Eighth I Am":
I'm Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She's been married seven times before
And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn't have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
I'm her eighth old man,
I'm HenryHenry the eighth I am
You know, a Weird Al Yankovic or Bob Rivers doing "I'm Richard the Third, I Am."
I'm Richard the third, I am
Richard the third I am, I am
I'm an uncle to the kids next door
Their daddy was a king but not no more
So I put them in a Tower with gifts galore.
Too young to rule, I took their place
Stuffed them away in an evil place.
I'm Richard the third, I am, I am
But Henry rose up and wham and bam.
And there you have it.

February 03, 2013

Some Ray Lewis jokes you'll get a bang from!

Ahh, Ray Lewis, the plea-bargaining, likely murder-accomplicing, paying fines to families in spite of his "innocence," convenient god-finding middle linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens, is retiring from the NFL a two-time Super Bowl winner.

And, making me barf with spreading the god schtick thick on the interview stand.

So, Ray, .... firing back ... !

Ray Lewis, your Baltimore Ravens have won the Super Bowl. Are you going to Disney World? No, I'm going to shoot up the town?

Ray Lewis, are you glad to have gone out with a bang?

 Ray, was that a killer of a finish for your game and career?

Jared Diamond wrote "Guns, Germs, and Steel." Ray Lewis' new bio will be "Guns, God and Shots."

Did you hear about the new State Farm commercial? "Your Glock is in good hands with Ray Lewis."

And, I guess we should be glad that his mouth is the only thing Ray Lewis is shooting off, eh? (That said, we're well past worrying about him shooting himself in the foot?)

===

More seriously, Mr. Ray Lewis, was your alleged god "good" a decade ago when two friends of yours, in all likelihood, killed two people and you later obstructed justice to such an extent that nobody was ever convicted? You're a hypocrite, but you're not alone. You're just a more extreme version of others, and not just athletes, who have selective perception about the alleged goodness, and alleged interventions into life, of your alleged deity.

Female pastors, Applebee's and hypocrisy

I didn't realize now that the "pastor" at the center of the Applebee's brouhaha was a woman. It's a shitload of hypocrisy to talk about tithing to god in order to not tip a waitress the Applebee's-suggested 10 percent, while ignoring what Paul, or rather "Paul," says about women and positions of authority and instead becoming a pastor in the first place.

The actual Paul (I don't believe this is a pseudepigraphal addition) says this in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
He is followed by a pseudo-Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-12:
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
And, that's the bottom line. Period.

So, women pastors, if you're going to try to cite the literality of tithing, or whatever, but ignore the literality of Paul and pseudo-Paul, you're a big fucking hypocrite.

Related to that, since the Revvvvvvvvvvv. (picture Rush Limbaugh voice) Alois Bell then came on St. Louis' Faux News station? You Faux talking heads, especially if you're women yourselves, if you're going to support a woman pastor, if you're going to interview a woman pastor, and yet claim to support religiously conservative values, you're big fucking hypocrites.

And, to be more blunt yet, as I expected when I saw the location of the Applebee's, to imitate Rush again, because it now becomes more appropriate yet in a twisted way, the Revvvvvvvv. Bell is an African-American. And, black churches, especially ones of the storefront variety that claim to be conservatively Christian, are especially bad about having women ministers.

Of course, the link above shows that there's a whole shitload of hypocrisy to go around.

Applebee's, who has violated the privacy of previous guests itself, now gets all apologetic to the "Revvvvvv." Bell.

Applebee's which has had various franchisees talk about making more employees PT in order to avoid Obamacare provisions, is a big fucking hypocrite for not telling the Revvvvvvvvvv. to pay 18 percent for that reason alone.

It's also incredibly stupid, as the link shows.

Back to the main area of hypocrisy, though.

Women pastors at conservative Christian churches pull shit like this all the time, and with a straight face. Too often, liberals will call them out for bad ethics or morals, but not for their religious hypocrisy. And, that needs to happen. Because they are hypocrites. Big fucking hypocrites.

Meanwhile, back to Rush. Will he and his ilk defend a black woman for the sake of defending a big business against a black man, our president? That pilodinal cyst has to be squirming in his chair, at the idea of defending a black woman to defend big biz.

And, beyond the biblical hypocrisy, I think a lot of these low-rent independent black (or Hispanic) churches are about as predatory, especially when they preach a lot of "success gospel," as are the Applebee's of the world. And, speaking of predatory practices, we know a lot of the banksters, at local offices, deliberately approached pastors, both male and female, of churches like this to get them to peddle subprime mortgage crap to their members, with nice "tip money" (heh, heh) for so doing.

That "I tithe" comment on the receipt?  The Revvvvvvvv. Bell needs her members to keep putting their Rolexes, or WalMart knockoffs, credit cards, etc., in the offering plate to tithe.

If you're a woman pastor at a liberal Protestant church, I won't ding you for hypocrisy. You had still better watch out what you claim is literally true in the bible, though; I'll ding you on standard atheist grounds.

Dogs, humans, Peter Singer, and geriatric ethics

Oh, boy, would utilihtarian philosopher Peter Singer have "fun" with a New York Times column wrestling with how long to let an aged Fido suffer before putting him to sleep. Singer, a staunch animal rights advocate, would probably love to debate, possibly eviscerate, the columnist's comparing this issue to aged humans and the question of euthanasia. That's especially because Louise Aronson, besides being the owner of the pet in question, is a professor of medicine, specifically of geriatrics.

I would approach the issue from an angle somewhat like Singer might, re the dog, myself. The amount of attachment Dr. Aronson shows to her dog is cruel. It's also selfish.

She cares more about her attachment to Byron than she does for Byron itself.

At the same time, if a human were as bad off as Byron, shouldn't we be giving that person counseling about palliative care? Encouragement toward it, in fact?

It's cruel toward that person, even if they're still of reasonably sound mind, not to try to get them to detach somewhat from the desire to live, or "live," or exist, just a few more days or weeks. It's cruel toward others, as it continues to drive up the cost of health care and drain the personal resources of caregivers.

And, to not get loved ones of such a person to think that way themselves encourages their own selfishness.