The enormity of last week’s super-storm is just beginning to sink into political consciousness. Hurricane Sandy should transform what Americans expect from their government, and give the party of government activism new force.
As soon as the election is behind us, the country faces a major struggle over what the super-storm portends and requires. But that struggle will be as much within the Democratic Party as between Democrats and the right, because of the deadweight of austerity politics.
I. The Three Faces of Conservatism.
In this political season, progressives are actually battling three forms of conservatism — and two of them have made deep inroads in the Democratic Party, especially the presidential party.
The first variety — call it Yahoo Conservatism — is epitomized by the Tea Party and Rep. Paul Ryan, and by Mitt Romney’s intermittent, clumsy efforts to impersonate it.
Its credo is: cut taxes, privatize social programs, slash government, bash immigrants and gays, deny climate change, dictate reproductive rules, move America in the direction of theocracy, and valorize gun-slinging both at home and globally.
This face of conservatism doesn’t represent most Americans. And on the Yahoo front, Barack Obama More…
The more I think about the rift between political journalism and Nate Silver, the more it seems that it’s one that’s fundamentally an issue of epistemology — how journalists know what they know. Here’s why I think that’s the case.
When we talk about the epistemology of journalism, it all eventually ties into objectivity. The journalistic norm of objectivity is more than just a careful neutrality or attempt to appear unbiased; for journalists, it’s the grounds on which they claim the authority to describe reality to us. And the authority of objectivity is rooted in a particular process.
That process is very roughly this: Journalists get access to privileged information from official sources, then evaluate, filter, and order it through the rather ineffable quality alternatively known as “news judgment,” “news sense,” or “savvy.” This norm of objectivity is how political journalists say to the public (and to themselves), “This is why you can trust what we say we know — because we found it out through this process.” (This is far from a new observation – there are decades of sociologicalresearch on this.)
Silver’s process — his epistemology — is almost exactly the opposite of this:
Where political journalists’ information is privileged, his is public More…
For more than 25 years the beloved Senior Minister of the famed City Temple of London (Methodist) was Leslie Weatherhead. His books have been read by millions.
In The Christian Agnostic he opens with this: Not for much longer will the world put up with the lies, the superstitions and the distortions with which the simple message of Jesus has been overlaid. The message of Galilee has been so overlaid with creeds, ceremonies and doctrines, that one can hardly catch the essential message.”
He goes on to say that any minister, standing in a pulpit, who is not an agnostic is dangerous. Why is he (she) dangerous? Because he pretends to have positive and absolute answers, that he does not have. He lives in the 20th [and 21st] century, parroting back a third century biblical mentality, as though nothing had been learned, thought or discovered in the last 2000 years.
As the religious historian Joseph Campbell put it: “The majority of ministers either do not understand their material or else are deliberately misrepresenting it, if they know better. They present myth and metaphor as historical literal events. The idea of virgin birth, for example, is presented as historical fact, whereas every mythology (and religious tradition) in the world has included the mythological motif of virgin birth in their legends and folklore. American Indian mythologies abound in virgin births.”
I commend another book of his to those of you who would like to become more knowledgeable in this area. It is The Inner Reaches of Outer Space. More…
We just had a big yard sale to move along the myriad things we did not wish to keep in our new life in our new house. This was my fourth such undertaking and Marcia’s first time trying to sell stuff we no longer care to possess. I keep wanting to call the event a garage sale because the things were first stored in our garage, but the category heading in the newspaper where we ran our ad was Yard Sales, and the sale did take place in our yard, so…
Because the universe is mysterious and seemingly a bit sadistic, as well as loving and miraculous, Marcia came down with a bad flu cold a week before the event and was just starting to feel better as the blessed day dawned, whereas I was just entering Zenith Flu Cold Symptom Time as the alarm clock sounded at 6 AM on the dreaded day. Oh, joy. Had we not advertised the bloody sale in the newspaper I might have stayed in bed battling exhaustion and sleep deprivation and tides of snot, but such was not the case, the hordes would soon be descending, and so I rose from my warm nest and went out into the frigid dawn to help Marcia empty the garage onto our driveway.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the aforementioned possibly sadistic and certainly ironic universe had, just two days before the event, seen fit to break our two-car garage door, a folding fiberglass contraption More…
There is a very good chance that if you’ve bought anything made of cotton within the last several years, you have indirectly, and most likely unknowingly, supported the GMO industry. That’s because it is estimated that 90 percent of cotton produced worldwide is now genetically modified. While GM cottonlikely won’t hurt you, the concern is that we, as consumers, haven’t been kept informed of the presence of these crops and their byproducts in our lives.
According to The Telegraph, British author Simon Ferringo says that only 12 countries in the world actually grow genetically modified cotton, but that their crops account for the majority produced in the world.
In the United States and elsewhere, the cotton is genetically modified to resist pests. The large prevalence of GM cotton means finding organic cotton is getting more and more difficult and is coming at a heftier price.
Some retailers have formed a “sustainable cotton consortium”. The companies, known as The Better Cotton Initiative, include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, H&M, Adidas, M&S, and Nike. While they currently have little control over whether or not they are using GM cotton More…
We all know that in emergencies, seconds count. Seconds can mean life or death.
My store on State Street in Ukiah is a vantage point for observing the response times of our first responders. As the sirens sound, first past the store is always the Fire Department paramedic ambulance, and then a few seconds later, sometimes many seconds later, comes the big, lumbering fire truck.
Chief Dewey is requesting the elimination of the Fire Department ambulance due to budget reductions of six firefighter/ paramedics (Ukiah Daily Journal 10/27/12) leaving us with fire trucks, and woefully inadequate private agencies, for emergency response. And our Police Department is so overwhelmed that the City Council is being asked to please add back police officers.
Meanwhile, our city staff seems to be hanging on to administrative jobs by unsuccessfully challenging state budget cuts to redevelopment money over and over again.
Has our leadership forgotten that their first priority is public safety? One wonders what their priorities are when they cut into bone before cutting away the fat.
People want to help their communities when tragedy strikes, but it’s often impossible to match up eager volunteers with people and tasks that need manpower. This new web platform will get cities and towns ready to do just that.
Every time a populated region experiences a natural disaster, people have the same reaction: Why didn’t we prepare for this better? What can we do differently next time?
Those were some of the thoughts going through Caitria O’Neill’s head after a freak tornado hit her hometown of Monson, Massachusetts in May 2011. O’Neill had just graduated from Harvard and moved her boxes home when the tornado arrived, making her home uninhabitable. O’Neill tried to help with recovery efforts as best she could, using Facebook, Google Voice, and even post-it notes to organize volunteer information.
“There were these two completely uncoordinated things happening on the ground: people showing up who wanted to help and organizations and families that needed help,” she says. “There was no infrastructure binding the two. More…
The world economy has collapsed. There is no internet or Wikipedia. How do you rebuild society?
CD3WD is a site built by programmer Alex Weir that’s meant to help spur the improvement of the infrastructure of third world nations by giving them first-world technology and knowledge for free.
Everything from agriculture to technology is addressed in its roughly 4 DVDs worth of the archived information available online and for free in text and PDF format; it’s also available to download in its entirety from this torrent.
Not only is this project a great information resource for third-world countries, but if you are of the survivalist mindset, this resource would be great to keep in your tool chest for possible use in the future if such a civilisation-ending disaster ever did occur. Think of it as a repository of some of the most useful human knowledge and technology.
To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.” ~ Raymond Williams
Small is beautiful, when small is skilled and dedicated... There is so much artificial and plastic crap around, the human spirit yearns for the homespun and the real. ~Gene Logsdon→
I've observed that people tend to live at one of two extremes in the spectrum of life: those who live on the edge, and those who avoid the edge. Those who live on the edge are hanging out in the most dangerous and unstable places — yet they're also often the most powerful agents of change, because the edge is where change is happening; away from the edge, things are naturally unchanging. ~Thom Hartmann
THE SMALL ORGANIC FARM greatly discomforts the corporate/ industrial mind because the small organic farm is one of the most relentlessly subversive forces on the planet. Over centuries both the communist and the capitalist systems have tried to destroy small farms because small farmers are a threat to the consolidation of absolute power.
Thomas Jefferson said he didn’t think we could have democracy unless at least 20% of the population was self-supporting on small farms so they were independent enough to be able to tell an oppressive government to stuff it.
It is very difficult to control people who can create products without purchasing inputs from the system, who can market their products directly thus avoiding the involvement of mercenary middlemen, who can butcher animals and preserve foods without reliance on industrial conglomerates, and who can’t be bullied because they can feed their own faces. ~Eliot Coleman
I sang as one / Who on a tilting deck sings / To keep men's courage up, though the wave hangs / That shall cut off their sun. ~C. Day Lewis
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. ~Thomas Paine
THOMAS E. CROAK died on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in a car accident. Born on Nov. 29, 1955 to Johanna Gillette and Thomas E. Croak Sr., he was 57. For 20 years Mr. Croak was one of the best and most memorable public defenders in coastal Mendocino County history. He was a friend of the […]
JOHN HOGGATT has died. Known in Willits simply as John The Printer, John passed away Tuesday evening at his Willits home after a protracted battle with cancer. He has printed our newspaper for many years, buying the business from our previous printer, the late Jim Chase. Printing X-Press (formerly Willits Printing) maintains the last web […]
Too often our local heroes are obscured in the smoke, whilst the cheaters and cowards emerge reimagined from the ashes of the destruction they have wrought. Such is the case here in Humboldt County where our current DA, Paul Gallegos, is retiring after 12 years.
THE AVA has been looking all over Ukiah for a room or affordable apartment to rent for our ace reporter, Bruce McEwen. Nothing out there. Even the most flea-ridden fleabags demand upwards of $200 a week, and rooms in extremely oppressive homes — “No smoking, no drinking, no visitors, no nothing” — go for more […]
“Eat less red meat” is the most frequent response I hear at conferences when a distraught member of the audience asks a presenter “What’s the one thing I can do for the planet?” What the presenter should have said is “Eat less feedlot meat.” A lot less, in fact.
The mental image we were brought up with of Santa's workshop was of hoards of elves working away making new stuff, painting wooden trains with paintpots and so on. But what if we were able to shift that image, and instead tell our children that the elves aren't making stuff, they're repairing it?
A new analysis shows that the top four or fewer food companies control a substantial majority of the sales of each item, and they often offer multiple brands in each type of grocery, giving consumers the false impression they are choosing among competing products.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog on Wednesday delivered a preliminary report on their review of Japan’s efforts to plan and implement the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station that suffered a meltdown during the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
(Getty Images)Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president who helped lead the country's revolution out of the brutal apartheid system, died Thursday at his home at the age of 95. "He is now resting," said South African President Jacob Zuma. "He is now at peace." read more […]
Inmate Bobby Cortez, 29, in state prison at Chino, California, in 2011. (Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)The right to a fair trial effectively does not exist for federal drug defendants in the United States. read more
Following the annual meeting of the American Studies Association (ASA) in Washington D.C. on November 21-24, 2013, the National Council of the ASA voted to endorse the call from Palestinian civil society for an academic boycott of Israel.read more
Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro today introduced the Sequester Delay and Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, a bill that would end sequestration and curb corporate use of offshore tax havens. The legislation also requires country-by-country reporting of corporate tax payments to both developed and developing nations. This reporting is critical […]
Today, Food & Water Watch released an in-depth analysis of the consolidation of the grocery industry and the range of impacts it has on the food chain. Grocery Goliaths: How Food Monopolies Impact Consumers examines 100 types of grocery products and found that the top four or fewer food companies control a substantial majority of the sales of each item.r […]
Last week, we learned about a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association against Fayette High School's district in Missouri. The problem was pretty clear: Gwen Pope, a math teacher at the school, led Christian devotional prayers in her classroom every Friday morning, prayers that were announced over the loudspeaker. In addition to all that, Pope […]
In a cover story for December's Christianity Today, Patton Dodd explores how New Life Church in Colorado Springs is doing several years after founding pastor Ted Haggard had a dramatic fall from power: Over the first weekend of November 2006, New Life's meteoric rise came to a crashing halt. Haggard resigned from his church and the [National Associ […]
Remember how Time magazine editors have been known to misrepresent atheists? I don't know -- maybe that's considered smart business at a publication that sees its sales spike with each Jesus cover. Whatever the case, Time is at it is again. In the "Science and Space" section (so you know it's true!), the magazine offers this. Headlin […]
Comedian Pete Holmes interviewed hipster Christian author Rob Bell -- while surfing -- for his new late-night show. The clip is mostly lackluster, but it's not often you hear someone ask a Christian pastor to do shrooms with him or try to recreate the gag-inducing "Footprints" poem. The highlight, though, is when Holmes asks Bell at the 0:47 m […]
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~ Cicero