But for the most part, it seems like even those guilty of succumbing to BlackBerry’s pull toward constant communication, like Emily and Inci admit to being, realize and feel guilty about their breach of etiquette. The hazier question, I’ve found, is what’s appropriate regarding smartphones’ pull toward constant information. Too many conversations in the past year have been cut off by someone deftly tapping an iPhone or BlackBerry under the table, and pronouncing the “answer” to whatever it is we were discussing. I’m all for research and fact-finding, but I miss the days when you could spend half an hour speculating on the origin of “OK” (a president writing “oll korrect” in the margin? A word stolen from some other language?

This is from Double XX, which is like the WNBA of Slate. Essentially, it’s a breach of etiquette to use your Blackberry because people too dumb to figure them out don’t realize the convenience, and often times are in a place in their lives where they are free from a digital leash that many hard working people have by necessity. And then the complaint that it settles stupid speculative conversations too quick?

“Etiquette” is really about power relationships, of course. People complaining about it usually sound a touch Napoleonic to me.

Just remember: someone was paid to write that, and they wonder why blogs are popular. Ugh.


Iran Election


If Achmadinezhad wins the neocons will say, see, we have to deal with this guy.

If Achmadinezhad loses the neocons will say, see, our sabre rattling and credible threats forced regime change.

No matter what happens, they are right.

Reich on Debt

For everyone out there ready to give you a lecture on economics and the free market, there is a person that will talk about government debt as if it was AIDS. Bob Reich has an article on the subject today. Here’s the salient point for water cooler conversations:

Deficit and debt numbers mean nothing in and of themselves. They take on meaning only in relation to something else. And the most important something else, in terms of deciding whether the nation can afford such deficits or debts, is the size of the national economy.

In other words, if you destroy the economy by raising taxes or cutting spending in a contraction, you’re always going to increase the deficit. If on the other hand, you do some stimulative spending and grow the economy, the economy’s capacity to repay the debt will increase instead of decline, and, in the not-so-long run, everything is better off.

Despite this being well known to anyone who has actually studied economics, you still hear tired tropes about the government needing to run itself like a business (which is fatuous: businesses use debt—you know, bonds—to finance expansions all the time) and not spend more than they take in. Sometimes you hear it put “like my family.” How many families don’t use credit cards, student loans, or home equity lines?

Balanced budgets are ideal whenever monetary expansion and contraction are effective. In case you haven’t noticed, the Fed bottomed out their rate a while ago and things are still in a crash. Stimulative spending is the prescription. Washington seemed to have understood that until health care reform came up.

Too bad they have no idea how this works in Sacramento.

Is this suicide food?

Just askin’.

picture-22Here, Mr. Tomato, if not Mr. Cabbage, is engaged in apparently cannibalistic same-species murder, and bears a child-like grin at the bonhomie created with Mr. Cabbage by his large haul of his fellow tomatoes.

Just imagine if this depicted a white coated doctor with a bag full of placenta and fetus… or a pig and bacon, or other moral equivalents.

Mr. Cabbage, while not obviously killing any of his comrades, appears ready to strike at the neck of any vegetable with his spear-trowel.

This is truly sick and disgusting.

5 Food Processors.


More Domestic Terrorism

This is a great post:

I wonder which of Ross Douthat and Megan McArdle’s pre-existing policy preferences we’re going to have to institute in order to appease the latest domestic terrorist. Certainly, I don’t think there’s any question that this horrible tragedy could have been averted if only the Supreme Court would overrule Roe v. Wade.

And, also, I might add, why wasn’t this guy caught by racial profiling?!

Obviously, theses groups are being driven nuts by there being a black president, so in their twisted world, it’s time to kill some Jews (who, I’m sure are the puppetmasters putting Obama in power). This is part of a right-wing overboil that began last fall with the murder of a Unitarians in their church, with an Arkansas Democratic party official, the police shootings in Pittsburgh by right-wing separatists, the attempted bombings in Riverdale, and the abortion doctor shooting in Kansas.

They think the “liberals” are taking over. Suddenly, treason, sedition, and violating the rule of law are perfectly fine. When Bush was president, merely voting against his fake war was treason, or not wearing a flag lapel pin, or not clapping loud enough.

Right wing frustration has certainly been stoked by the declining economy. But as Amy Chua wrote in her book World on Fire, the economic decline of a majority group (here, whites) if seen to be caused by others (here, blacks and/or Jews) can and does lead to violent blowback. In some of Chua’s cases, the blowback was a justified answer to violent oppression. A recent book review in the Forward also documents this trend as stemming from internationalism replacing communism as the scapegoat. This is why guys like today’s shooter may be just as exorcised that Obama was, you know, not born in America as his being black, and, while not usually a concern of Nazis, his perceived lack of desire to slaughter all Arabs is seen as UNism instead of not just killing all the non-Americans.

This is all the more reason that the DHS’s report on internal terrorists in April should have been heeded, not ridiculed. It’s not that like this is news to people that have been paying attention.

This after 8 years of a “war on terror,” which was used to justify everything from shoe removal at the airport, to one of the largest losses of civil liberties in American history, to a fake war against the wrong people—and all the while, the people in this very country looking to do us harm were almost entirely ignored. Why? Because they were racially profiled as, you know, non-terrorists.

Racial profiling—the kind the right wants—just like torture is not about getting results or preventing crime. It is and always will be about punishing that group.

It’s ultimate failure ought to be shown here, by an 89 year old white man committing acts of terrorism.

You say that like it's a bad thing…

A government plan undercutting private insurers (i.e. being more efficient) is a reason not to have a public option???

I thought we were supposed to drown the government in the bath because it was inefficient and shitty…

Suicide Food

Before I changed jobs a little over a year ago, a coworker of mine showed me a website bemoaning the pandemic of logos for eateries where the animal appears to be happy about you coming to eat it. I’ve attached a pretty par-for-the-course example.

There’s a pretty good article about the blog here, and a link to the site, here.

pigs-gone-wildjpgOne thing that caught my eye on the site was that the blogger denigrates free range food and the law California voters passed last year about animal caging. “Free range” you see is just a way to make ourselves feel better about the murder we’re committing.

Here’s what the article writer says:

… [to me] environmental sustainability is a more ethically precise goal than vegetarianism.

I don’t agree with the comment about it being more precise (not eating meat is an easy thing to do); I just agree with it [i.e. sustainability, regardless of its precision or lack thereof]. I have serious objections to both the treatment of animals and humans in our massive food production system, which is why I like things like Hekhsher Tzedek. But the idea that humans should never or were not evolved to eat meat is just vegan propaganda without scientific basis. I also think that our failure to create a sustainable food production system is literally civilization-threatening, so I do support organic food production.

The blogger’s criticism of free range food reminds me of pro-lifers who scoff at people who only are really bothered by late term abortions, or extremists among them who even consider birth control murder. At the end of the day, when a large majority of society does something, just labeling it wrong isn’t going to do anything. You might be right. But a mere judgment rarely persuades. Sometimes, it takes a war to make “right” real.

Just in case it’s not clear, I do support this guy’s right to say what he’s saying, and I don’t think vegans are weird. There are a lot of reasons not to eat meat. I personally go long stretches as a vegetarian (eggs, honey, and cheese are still on the menu even during these times). What I don’t like is this zeal for converts. In that sense, they who do act as such,remind me more of Operation Rescue than MLK.

Update I:

[In case the latter isn’t clear, the judgment-laden moralizing of the vegan position—yes, I’m sure YOU are an exception—is a poor means to the end of getting people to comply with what you want. To the extent vegans aren’t self-aware of their community’s judgmentalism, they are imperiling their goals. To the extent they are aware and take the Goldwater defense (extremism in defense of liberty is no vice) they are similarly imperiling their goals, to which I am sympathetic, if not fully on board.]

Update II:

P.P.S. I acknowledge that moralizing about free range food is not the emphasis of Suicide Food, but this is not a review of the site in toto, but a comment on this kind of  phenomenon in general. Just in case it’s not clear, the author’s judgmentalism comes through regardless of the topic.