04/02/12

Some of the things I know, will be in your next Bible

From "Romney confronted over Mormon doctrines":

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was confronted at a town hall meeting here Monday by a young man who read from the Book of Mormon and asked Romney whether he agreed with his church’s one-time belief that interracial marriage was a sin.

Romney, who is on the cusp of becoming the first Mormon ever to win a major party’s presidential nomination, became visibly agitated with the man’s line of questioning. The former Massachusetts governor replied to his question with a terse “No.” Later, Romney said that he would talk only about the practices of his faith, not its doctrines.

Cute gimmick, but call it what it really is, low level faction infighting between mainstream Protestant religious beliefs and Mormonism.

Let's face it: every president up to and including Obama has had to profess a believe in the divinity of Jesus since Washington, or at least deftly avoid the question of their Deism. Similar questions could be asked of all of them, but that's a subject no one will brooch. How much grief do you think a reporter would get if one asked G. W. Bush if he thought Buddhists should be put to death?

And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

-- Leviticus 24:16 (King James Version)

3 comments »  01:59:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: Politics

03/29/12

In any country, prison is where society sends its failures

Conservatives enjoy taking a "tough on crime" posture, so you might wonder why a hardcore conservative rag like The National Review would publish "Injustice System" by Conrad Black:

The United States has 5 percent of the world's population, 25 percent of the world's incarcerated people, and 50 percent of the world's lawyers. Ninety percent of its criminal cases are determined by accused people forgoing their constitutionally guaranteed right to trial in favor of an agreed sentence. It was accepted by the Supreme Court in the cases decided last week that defendants frequently receive inept advice. It is also frequently the case that the government spuriously seizes the assets of defendants as ill-gotten gains - on the basis of fraudulent affidavits in ex parte actions - so that the defendants can't engage the counsel of their choice, and then stays those proceedings while the criminal case is decided without the presence of a serious defense counsel.

It is also usually the case that the public defender, provided in response to the much-mythologized Gideon v. Wainwright case of 1963, is an underfunded and docile dupe of the prosecutors, who is paid according to the number of clients he represents and not his performance, thus incentivizing minimal service and maximum turnover. And it is very often also the case that whatever is agreed between the prosecutor and the defense counsel is not followed by prosecutors after the plea is entered, or is ignored by the judges, most of whom are unregenerate ex-prosecutors.

Conrad is probably the only National Review writer who would sympathize with the accused, decry the size of America's prison population, or note the massive immorality of the prison-industrial complex. Coincidentally, he's also the only National Review writer doing 13 months in federal prison.

2 comments »  12:41:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: Politics

What's the password?

"Trend of employers asking for Facebook passwords questioned":

Beyond the examples of government agencies—particularly law enforcement officers and 9/11 dispatchers—“there is little to suggest that typical employers are bearing down on applicants to open up their Facebook pages,” Kauffman wrote.

He continued: “But as Valdes’ report ricocheted around the Web, his anecdote morphed into a trend, and the trend became a growing trend, and overnight, an Internet/media monster was born.”

Shel Israel noticed the monster. In a blog post on Forbes, he called it the great non-issue, pointing out that all of the incidents cited by the AP and others are more than a year old and, as Kauffman noted, mostly involve government jobs.

3 comments »  10:46:00 am by Ragamuffin, Categories: News

03/27/12

03/26/12

Dangerous to people who look like strangers

"As thousands prepare for rally, family confirms Trayvon was suspended over marijuana":

SANFORD, Fla -- . Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin was suspended from school because he was caught with an empty plastic bag with traces of marijuana in it, the boy’s family attorney has confirmed.

Trayvon was killed while serving out the suspension in Sanford Florida, where his father’s girlfriend lives. A community watch volunteer who thought he looked drugged out and suspicious called police and later wound up in a fight with him.

The two scuffled and volunteer George Zimmerman shot Trayvon, killing him. He has not been charged.

The rally comes a day after an attorney in the case, Craig Sonner, took to the television networks to argue George Zimmerman’s side of the story. Joe Oliver, a former CNN anchor and a friend of Zimmerman’s appeared on television Sunday to give his friend’s side and speak of the now notorious 911 tapes.

"That sounded like someone in dire need of help," Oliver said. "That sounded like George."

1 comment »  03:27:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: News

Something I Can't Explain

"Conservative group calls for Obama to replace actor as campaign video narrator."

Some call it Obama Derangement system. The only thing I can think of is that the right is so desperate to get a scandal going against Obama that this is the best they can do.

1 comment »  01:07:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: News, Politics

03/21/12

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle - ka-BAM!

Michael Bay has announced that he's going to make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboot.

In this re-imagining, the Turtles won't be four pet turtles mutated by radioactive goo, but aliens visiting earth. This announcement was not met with favorable fan reaction.

Most notable was the statement of Robbie Rist, who voiced Michelangelo in the 1990 live action film:

You probably don't know me but I did some voice work on the first set of movies that you are starting to talk about sodomizing.

5 comments »  10:35:00 am by Ragamuffin, Categories: Entertainment

03/20/12

On the nights that wasn't right like when a good friend died

I'm reading about the Trayvon Martin case, and I'm finding ABC News's coverage of the case representative of coverage as a whole:

Sanford Police have decided to release emergency and non-emergency calls placed during the incident.

"These a**holes always get away," Zimmerman says in a call to a non-emergency number.

Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"

Zimmerman: "Yeah."

Dispatcher: "We don't need you to do that."

An altercation soon ensued. A few moments later a torrent of 911 calls flooded in and Martin was killed by a single bullet. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has yet to be arrested, stoking outrage and claims of prejudice against the police department.

The Associated Press covers, in part, the racial factor:

Zimmerman spotted Martin as he was patrolling his neighborhood on a rainy evening and called 911 to report a suspicious person. Against the advice of the 911 dispatcher, Zimmerman then followed Martin, who was walking home from a convenience store with a bag of Skittles in his pocket. Police have described Zimmerman as white; his family says he is Hispanic and not racist.

None of the major news organizations at this point have pointed out that Zimmerman called Trayvon "a fucking coon." The above linked ABC News story even goes as far as to beep it out of the 911 call, sans mention of Zimmerman's use of racial epithets.

UPDATE: There appear to be multiple videos on the ABC News link. Several of them do mention the language in question.

4 comments »  11:19:00 am by Ragamuffin, Categories: News

03/19/12

They took my money and my credit card, now I'm poor

"Kim Dotcom seizures 'null and void'":

In an astonishing blunder, New Zealand’s Crown Law Office and its police commissioner have admitted to a ‘procedural error’ when they seized cash, cars and other property from Megaupload chief Kim Dotcom.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Justice Judith Potter of the High Court has declared the first restraining order under which the seizures were made to be “null and void” and having “no legal effect”.

So Kim might get his stuff back, we'll have a better idea next week. I don't know why, but I'm rooting for the guy.

1 comment »  03:32:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: News

There was something so pleasant about that phase

"Why Conservatives Are Still Crazy After All These Years."

Somebody should write a book on this.

There's one book I've read - that I've plugged on this blog before - which covered the Reagan years. Obviously, I'm the target audience for a book covering the lunacy of conservatism as a whole, but I think it could sell in the age of GOP contenders like Rick Santorum.

Leave a comment »  10:34:00 am by Ragamuffin, Categories: Politics, Books

03/14/12

Every lender got a complex

"Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs."

Damning.

The last thing GS probably wanted in a New York Times op-ed.

1 comment »  12:18:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: News

03/05/12

/etc/links

CNN: Youngest kids in class more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD

MSNBC: Student called 'slut' by Limbaugh dismisses apology

Ted Rall: In Defense of Rush Limbaugh

Reuters: Analysis: "Pay for pain" scandal could end up in courts

Salon: What’s the matter with white people?

TIME: How Much Do Income Taxes Affect Our Behavior?

USA Today: Larry Flynt offers $1M for dirt on Congress

Village Voice: "White America Has Lost Its Mind" Revisted: Where Are Those Crazy White Folks Now?

"A new study shows that federal judges are handing out widely disparate sentences for similar crimes 30 years after Congress tried to create fairer results, but the differences don't line up with the party of the president who appointed the judges, despite any impressions that Republicans or Democrats may be tougher or softer on crime."

Paul Krugman notes that nothing about the Cato Institute suggests a meritocracy.

"You cannot now, from the moment you sign this pledge, look at pornography."

"However, I am amused at the thought of Simi Valley hiring people to sit around and view porn on taxpayer dollars. I wonder what the training for that would look like?"

6 comments »  03:29:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: Video, Link dump

03/04/12

Watch your mouth when you talk about me

"George Will Blasts GOP Candidates' Meek Response."

My guess is that this scandal will blow over, he's issued his fake apology and he will emerge unscathed because he's a useful idiot that makes a lot of other people money.

1 comment »  06:18:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: Politics, Video

03/01/12

The Social Network

"Facebook - What you don't know but should."

A little paranoid, but worth watching.

1 comment »  10:52:00 am by Ragamuffin, Categories: News, Video

02/27/12

Controversy

"A new controversy erupts."

My favorite bit: notice the lack of females in the strip.

1 comment »  11:39:00 am by Ragamuffin, Categories: Politics, Humor

02/22/12

The government's an addict with a billion dollar a week kill brown people habit

"For Conservative Media, Iran Is Always A Year Away From Having Nukes."

The worst thing about the run-up to the war in Iraq is that it set such a bad precedent for the current run up to war in Iran. Nobody who lied us into war in Iraq has suffered any consequences. I'm not talking about the ton of people who deserve to be in jail, but the people like Thomas Friedman who constantly babbled pure stupidity and never suffered any professional repercussions for his ignorance. In a world that was 1% meritocracy, this idiot, with many others, would have been fired.

But nobody was fired, nobody was shunned, nobody was cast away. That has to please the war-mongers on the right. They're up to the same old trick, trying to launch another pointless war on the American credit card while claiming we're too broke to care for ourselves as humans.

"Hey," they must think, "we royally #&*^ed it up last time, but we got away with it scott free, didn't we?"

1 comment »  02:45:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: Politics

02/13/12

Hell froze over

"Barbara Walters, Shameless Hypocrite: Hits Kennedy Mistress for Greed, Tells Her She Should Have Stayed Quiet."

Although it has little to nothing to do with "liberal bias", Newsbusters has a post with some merit to it. By the relentlessly inane Tim Graham, even.

I feel dirty saying it, but it's true.

Leave a comment »  02:18:00 pm by Ragamuffin, Categories: Media Bias

02/07/12

/etc/links/

Ars Technica: Over 3 years later, "deleted" Facebook photos are still online

OS News: Microsoft Removes Start Menu, Button from Windows 8

Science Daily: Selfless Acts by Men Increase When Attractive Women Are Nearby

"And it turns out that US politics really is one-dimensional, that once you know where politicians stand on a scale that clearly has to do with taxation and the size of the welfare state, you can predict their votes very well. There used to be a second dimension, clearly corresponding to race; but once the Dixiecrats became Republicans, that dimension collapsed into the first."

3 comments »  08:13:00 am by Ragamuffin, Categories: Link dump

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