Friday Night Fun and Culture: Bill Monroe

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ~ Lewis Black – Back in Black (November 19th 2014)

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Those We’ve Lost in 2014

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/11/20/transgender-day-remembrance-those-weve-lost-2014

Today we pause to remember the beautiful lives needlessly lost to antitrans violence this year.

BY Mitch Kellaway
November 20 2014

Nearly every two weeks day, a person is killed somewhere in the world for expressing gender nonconformity. This sobering statistic does not include the numerous other deaths that never receive media attention or are not reported to police, making the full scope of lives lost to senseless antitrans prejudice truly innumerable.

As the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches each November 20, the list of the dead who vigilgoers will memorialize steadily grows, filled especially with the names of trans women of color. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the first TDOR, held in Allston, Mass., to memorialize Rita Hester, a trans woman of color whose life was cut tragically short in 1999.

Over the years, the now-international project has catalogued the loss of hundreds of trans and gender-nonconforming people — individuals who, within their often short lifetimes, were beloved family members, friends, and members of their communities — who faced attackers wielding slurs, weapons, and fists. Some were killed by intimate partners, some by strangers, while still others were children slain by parents who were intolerant of their gender variance.

And while transgender people, along with friends, loved ones, family, and allies, somberly remember those killed because of antitrans violence today, we also remember that there are still countless instances of transphobic acts occurring each year that do not end in death — many of which are never reported to media or authorities. Likewise, murders not covered by the media tend to become more difficult to communally memorialize on this day.

While The Advocate‘s memorial coverage to mark this year’s TDOR focuses on women whose deaths were covered in the English-speaking press, we also honor countless other precious lives marred by violence and the multitude of others whose passing goes unspoken.

So, once again, we ask that you draw your attention to those whose deaths we mourn, not simply to cause sadness, but to raise awareness of the need for a world in which such constant mourning is never requisite again.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/11/20/transgender-day-remembrance-those-weve-lost-2014

Tommy Chong defends Obamacare on Fox News

Bernie Sanders: US may be at ‘tipping point’ where only ‘the billionaire class’ picks presidents

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/11/bernie-sanders-us-may-be-at-tipping-point-where-only-the-billionaire-class-picks-presidents/


17 Nov 2014

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders warned on Monday that the United States may have reached a “tipping point” where the “billionaire class” could block any presidential candidates who were fighting for the working class.

Sanders explained during an interview on CNN that he had been traveling the country to determine if he would have the necessary support for a presidential run in 2016.

“I’m giving some thought to it,” he said. “Taking on the billionaire class, and Wall Street, and the Koch brothers is not an easy task.”

“How are you going to get elected president if you take on the billionaire class?” CNN host Chris Cuomo snarked. “Don’t you watch the elections?”

“I’m going to be very honest with you,” Sanders replied. “We may have reached the tipping point where candidates who are fighting for the working class and the middle class of this country may not be able do it anymore because of the power of the billionaire class.”

“That’s the simple reality,” he continued. “And I have got to ascertain — if I do it, I want to do it well. If I do it, I know that I will need millions of people engaged in a real grassroots campaign to take on big money, and to fight for an agenda, a jobs program, raising the minimum wage, pay equity for women, dealing with climate change, all of these things.”

“And I have to ascertain what kind of support there is out there.”

Thomas Frank on Ronald Reagan’s secret tragedy: How ’70s and ’80s cynicism poisoned Democrats and America

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/11/16/thomas_frank_on_ronald_reagans_secret_tragedy_how_70s_and_80s_cynicism_poisoned_democrats_and_america/

Nixon’s lies and Reagan’s charms created the space for Clinton, Carter and Obama to redefine (and gut) liberalism


Sunday, Nov 16, 2014

“The Invisible Bridge” is the third installment in Rick Perlstein’s grand history of conservatism, and like its predecessors, the book is filled with startling insights. It is the story of a time much like our own—the 1970s, which took America from the faith-crushing experience of Watergate to economic hard times and, eventually, to a desperate enthusiasm for two related figures: the nostalgic presidential aspirant Ronald Reagan, and the “anti-politician” Jimmy Carter. (I discussed Perlstein’s views on Carter in this space a few weeks ago.)

 In blending cultural with political history, “The Invisible Bridge” strikes me as an obvious addition to any list of nonfiction masterpieces. But I also confess to being biased: Not only do I feel nostalgia for many of the events the book describes—Hank Aaron’s pursuit of the home run record, for example—but I have been friends with Rick since long ago, when he was in college and The Baffler was publishing his essays. I interviewed Rick on an Amtrak train traveling from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, a few weeks ago (we were there to do readings from a new anthology of essays); here is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Let’s talk Watergate. It’s a Republican scandal, obviously, but here’s the thing: It’s liberalism that has never really recovered. Think about it. Your book starts with Watergate and ends with…well, it doesn’t quite get to the triumph of Reagan, but it comes close.

That’s a profound question. That’s deep. I think that liberalism indeed has never really recovered from Watergate in the following sense: It gave a certain generation of Democrats — and we’ll talk about Gary Hart. . . .

Yeah. He’s going to come up.

It gave a certain generation of Democrats an argument to take on the Republicans at the exact same moment that a new political generation was coming up that had indifference, at best, and contempt, at worst, for the New Deal tradition. So you get this class of Congresspeople who hadn’t really run for any office at all. Very young. Swept into office in 1974, very much arguing on issues of corruption, to be sure, but also lifestyle issues. Often they were representing new suburban constituencies that had traditionally elected Republicans and their spokesman was, in fact, this guy Gary Hart…

You’re getting ahead of yourself here, Rick. There’s a more direct route — I probably should have hinted at it — which is cynicism. That Watergate kicked up this huge cultural contempt for government and all its works.

For government itself. Right, right. You know Ronald Reagan, his speech announcing his surprise challenge against Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination centered around this idea of the “buddy system” in Washington.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/11/16/thomas_frank_on_ronald_reagans_secret_tragedy_how_70s_and_80s_cynicism_poisoned_democrats_and_america/

Why It’s Harder Than Ever for Religions to Con Their Followers

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-its-harder-ever-religions-con-their-followers

It’s more difficult for religions to control their believers’ access to information.

By Amanda Marcotte
November 12, 2014

While the burgeoning atheist movement loves throwing conferences and selling books, a huge chunk–possibly most–of its resources go toward the Internet. This isn’t borne out of laziness or a hostility to wearing pants so much as a belief that the Internet is  uniquely positioned as the perfect tool for sharing arguments against religion with believers who are experiencing doubts. It’s searchable, it allows back-and-forth debate, and it makes proving your arguments through links much easier. Above all else, it’s private. An online search on atheism is much easier to hide than, say, a copy of The God Delusion on your nightstand.

In recent months, this sense that the Internet is the key for atheist outreach has started to move from “hunch” to actual, evidence-based theory. Earlier this year, Allen Downey of the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts examined the spike in people declaring  they had no religion that started in the ’90s and found that while there are many factors contributing to it–dropping familial pressure, increased levels of college education–increased Internet usage was likely a huge part of it, accounting for up to 25 percent of the decline in religious belief. While cautioning that correlation does not mean causation, Downey did go on to point out that since so many other factors were controlled for, it’s a safe bet to conclude that the access to varied thought and debate the Internet provides is persuading people to drop their religions.

But in the past few months, that hypothesis grew even stronger when a major American religion basically had to admit that Internet arguments against their faith is putting them on their heels. The Church of Latter Day Saints has quietly released a series of essays, put together by church historians, addressing some of the less savory aspects of their history, such as the practice of polygamy or the ban on black members. The church sent out a memo in September telling church leaders to direct believers who have questions about their religion’s history to these essays, which they presented as a counter to “detractors” who “spread misinformation and doubt.”

While there are plenty of detractors who will share their opinions offline, there’s little doubt that the bulk of the detractors plaguing the church are explaining their views online, which is why this has become a problem now for a church that used to act like it could exert total control over believers’ access to information. One of the church historians, Steven Snow, openly cited the internet as the source of the criticisms. “There is so much out there on the Internet ,” he told the New York Times, “that we felt we owed our members a safe place where they could go to get reliable, faith-promoting information that was true about some of these more difficult aspects of our history.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-its-harder-ever-religions-con-their-followers

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