I'll have something to write about the reaction to his death when I get the time.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I love this pope.
On the importance of remembering those who are less fortunate: "We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences."I agree with what atrios says here too:
On the seriousness of economic exclusion: "Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills."
On the failure of traditional economic dogmas: "... some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."
On exploding inequality: "While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few."
On the world's obsession with money: "We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."
On the dangerous mix of inequality and consumerism: "It is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric."
On the role of the state in providing for the common good and regulating the economy: "This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. "
I'm not catholic and the guy doesn't represent me, but christianity - including catholicism - seems to have been reduced "abortion, contraception, and gay people are evil" over the past several decades. If the dude manages to adjust the balance on those things - even if he thinks those things are still bad - I'll applaud. Supposedly we're all sinners, it just hasn't been clear why some sins have been more important than others lately.
Keep it up new pope!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I've only read the basics of the deal, but anything that makes us or Israel attacking Iran less likely is a good thing. Times like this are useful to point out the warmongering psychopaths among us by watching the people who reflexively oppose any deal. Kudos to the Obama Administration and John Kerry putting time and energy into this route.
Peace is good. We should try it more often.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Harry Reid finally did the right thing. And this is big fucking deal. Eliminating the filibuster for nominations is key because it's not some deal that solves the problem for this specific set. He's changed how the senate will govern, probably forever.
I've had several like minded friends express concern to me that if we eliminate the filibuster Republicans will be able to force through really awful stuff once they regain power. Let me quickly explain why this was the right move:
1) If the Republicans regain the Senate (and have a Republican president and house), they would have used the nuclear option on the first day of the session, for legislation, for supreme court nominees, for absolutely everything. Trust me on this. Only Democrats get ask questions about whether or not they should use power the power they have. And if the Republicans didn't, they actually have a base that will boot them out of office for fucking up.
2) The Republicans have been able to get 40 of their members to walk in lockstep on every major bill/nominee they've wanted to kill. There is a 0.0% chance the Democrats would do the same. The corporate dems, the gangs of gangs, the ones who don't have any reason to fear enraging their liberal base (spoiler: all of them). But what if they nominated a Supreme Court justice as horrible as Scalia or Alito? Exactly.
The Republicans would waited 5 minutes to make this change not 5 years, and even if they hadn't it's not like the Democrats would have put up a fight. And besides, it's making an undemocratic institution slightly more democratic, which is always a good thing.
This is major progress towards giving us a functional government. Not just because filling the courts with these nominees is important (it is), but because the senate is governed by made up undemocratic rules, and the sooner you start changing them, and the sooner staffers and DC journalists stop getting the vapors any time it's mentioned... you get steps closer and closer to the real thing, eliminating the filibuster (and the Senate entirely, but I'll take this for the moment). Proving things like this can be done is critical breaking down these imaginary barriers that have been used so long in institutions like the senate to shield corruption and disgusting lawmaking. It took far to long to get here, but I'm glad we've taken this step forward.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
This is from a Walmart in Ohio, where they are running a canned food drive for their own employees.
If this is needed, you are probably not paying them enough.
Related: Walmart is America's largest employer by a lot.