2015-05-27 Recently Read

Wikipedia: Mudra
A mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions. The classical sources for the mudras in yoga are the Gheranda Samhita and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states the importance of mudras in yoga practice.

The New Republic: The Ghost of Cornel West
By Michael Eric Dyson
President Obama betrayed him. He’s stopped publishing new work. He’s alienated his closest friends and allies. What happened to America’s most exciting black scholar?

Hazlitt: The Girls on Shit Duty
By Anna Maxymiw
A weeklong trip filled with deep-fried shore meals does funny things to a man’s insides. When you have to clean up the grisly aftermath, all you can do is laugh.

Elle: ‘Yoga Pants Are Ruining Women’ And Other Style Advice From Fran Lebowitz
“Sartorial tirades from one of the most tailored and opinionated dressers in all of New York City.” – In other news, I want to be Fran Lebowitz someday.

Wall Street Journal: The Cult of Fornasetti: 5 Designers Choose Their Favorite Pieces
For the opening of a massive exhibition devoted to the work of Piero Fornasetti, the Italian artist known for emblazoning design objects with imagery, we asked fans like Kelly Wearstler to pick stand-out pieces

New York Times: Pulitzer-Winning Author Tells Gloversville Library Thanks for the Memories
Mr. Russo grew up going to the Gloversville library, one of the nearly 1,700 built with Carnegie money. “I have such fond memories of the place, going there Saturday mornings with my grandfather or mother, who would wait forever for me to pick books,” he said in a telephone interview. “I just have this feeling that if it weren’t for the Gloversville Free Library that I probably would not be a writer.”

Feminist Frequency: ‘What I Couldn’t Say’ Panel at All About Women
Anita Sarkesian – ‘I was invited to speak on several panels about feminism and the impacts of online harassment at the 2015 All About Women conference taking place annually at the Sydney Opera House. Here is a video of my speech for the panel entitled, “What I Couldn’t Say.”’

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The New York Times comes to Kokomo, Indiana

My family is originally from southeastern rural Iowa, and regardless of the small town life aspect, they’re very well-educated and don’t talk like hayseeds and goobers. Sit down and talk to them about the election and they have intelligent, thoughtful conversations about the issues. They have slightly different political agendas than those of us who live in cities, but rural American life and uneducated, unsophisticated behavior DO NOT go hand in hand.

I know there are some differences in education levels between rural Iowa and rural Indiana, but does it account for the reason that Kokomo seems to be embracing their inner hayseed in this lovely New York Times article, or is it stereotyping on the part of NYT? (My editorial commentary is inserted, in emphasized text.)

For Indiana Voters, Talk of Change May Fall Flat

KOKOMO, Ind. — With all the talk among the Democratic presidential hopefuls about change, they may wish to consider this as they wander Indiana: People here practically revolted a few years ago when their governor, Mitch Daniels, pushed to change to daylight saving time like most of the country. (DST is a horse of a different color, and not a good example “disliking change.” That falls under the category of “didn’t take the brown acid like the rest of the U.S.”)

Change, it seems, may not carry quite the same political magic in this state as it has elsewhere.

“We hold onto a lot of traditional values,” said Brian L. Thomas, 39, (What a geezer, stop boring us rambling about walking to school in the snow in bare feet, Grandpa… Oh, wait… 39? Hey!) as he bought a cup of coffee along the courthouse square here on Wednesday. “Saying you’re ready to change is probably not the best or only thing you would want to say around these parts. Frankly, we want it to be like it used to be.” (Kokomo was a sundown town, BTW, where black people couldn’t be in down after dark or they’d be lynched. So nostalgia ’bout the “way it used to be” should be given a skeptical eye and a challenge.)

Many of the two dozen voters interviewed in this central Indiana manufacturing city of 46,000 expressed queasiness over the notions of change that both Democratic candidates have proudly pledged elsewhere. Though residents bemoaned economic conditions that have taken away thousands of factory jobs and given the state the 11th-highest rate of foreclosures, they also said they worried about doing things — anything — very differently.

“What are we going to change to?” asked Ron O’Bryan, 58, a retired auto worker who said he was still trying to decide which Democrat to vote for in the May 6 primary. “You mean change to some other country’s system? What do you think they mean?” (Yes, all this talk of giving you health care and bring back the manufacturing jobs your company shipped overseas to communist China – that’s akin to that wicked Socialism. You know, the kind that used to be RUN BY THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF INDIANA, back when your grandpappy was their treasurer in 1933. Ahem. Indiana, being a manufacturing state, was a prominent supporter of the labor/socialist movement at one time.)

Jeremy Lewis, a 28-year-old window washer, said simply, “Old-fashioned can be in a good way.” (Yes, bring back the good old days of Saturday morning Smurfs and Light-Brite makin’ things with light…. Wait, those are MY good old days. This kid is 28. What the fuck was it then, Transformers and Underoos? And Wham!)

As the Democratic presidential hopefuls turned to Indiana as a new battleground in the fight for the nomination, they find themselves facing a different audience in places like Kokomo, a blue-collar city in the middle of endless expanses of farms north of Indianapolis. In some ways, these are voters not so unlike those in other Rust Belt states, like Pennsylvania, but with an added dose of nostalgia and a practical, Midwestern sensibility. (I think they watched the musical The Music Man a few too many times before heading out to the midwest, because this whole article sounds like that song… “And we’re so by God stubborn We can stand touchin’ noses For a week at a time And never see eye-to-eye. But we’ll give you our shirt And a back to go with it If your crops should happen to die. Farmer: So, what the heck, you’re welcome, Glad to have you with us. Farmer and Wife: Even though we may not ever mention it again.”)

“We are manufacturing workers, farmers, beer drinkers, gun owners, pickup drivers,” said Karen Lasley, 64, who was volunteering on Wednesday morning in Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s field office in Kokomo (one of 28 Mrs. Clinton has opened around the state along with Senator Barack Obama’s 22, including one just down the street). “We are full of pride for this country.”

[ snip rest of article ]

If you like the article, you’ll LOVE the photos that go with it.

Kokomo, Indiana Citizens
Kokomo, Indiana Citizens

After the photographers left, they all hopped out of their overalls, slipped on their DKNY and Jimmy Choos and took a stroll around the town square, high-fiving each other at putting one over on the the Grey Lady.

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Civility on the Web – New York Times has me ROTFLMAO

From the NY Times “A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs“:

Is it too late to bring civility to the Web?
The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the quality of online discourse.
Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate.
Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship. [emphasis mine.]

Let me see, what was I saying last week? Oh, yeah – I delete comments I don’t like on my site, and have for years. Thank goodness Tim O’Reilly has finally given my permission to do so; I was sweating bullets over that one.
I think the thing that exasperates me most about this article is something that I’ve railed about in an offhand way several times before (if I were diligent, I’d track down all the instances, but I’m not) – the Times seems to be blaming the medium, and not the messenger. The incivility is not the fault of the technology, it’s the fault of the people using it. Incivility in public discourse in general is horrendous – case in point; this recent argument between Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera. Or, just listen to any Limbaugh show in the last 10 years.
Given that the level of civility in public discourse from pundits in the media is so rotted and toxic, it’s bizarre to think that that same incivility wouldn’t also exist on the internet. So why are we just calling for civility on the internet – among the masses, the hoi polloi – and not on the damned TV set, or on the radio? I think we’re washing out the wrong stables first, here.

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Massachusetts Court: Gays have access to equal marriage rights

Wow, I spoke too soon; Democrats won’t be able to dodge this as a campaign issue no matter what. The Massachusetts Supreme Court just decided that civil unions were not enough and only full marriage rights for gay people would be acceptable under Massachusetts law, meaning that gay people may be able to get married there as early as May.

Which means that the religious right will begin pushing the U.S. Constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage rights for gay people into high gear starting today.

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It took them an entire study to realize that schadenfreude (glee at the misfortune of others) happens when people resent those who have privileges without working for or deserving them, and those privileged people suddenly fall from grace. I would have thought that was self-evident.

I have to take issue with one paragraph that’s totally wrong: “You will envy more a colleague of yours who makes a thousand dollars more a year than you will a C.E.O. who makes a million dollars more than you,” he said. “We also care about famous people. They are symbols to us.”

Ahem. That’s total bull-crap. I’d be happy for the person I know and annoyed at the C.E.O, not be envious of him. Unless of course the colleague of mine turned out to have made the $1,000 in a totally unethical or undeserved way. And the C.E.O I would probably assume made the million in a undeserved way, unless they had some really creative idea that the built their own company on. Then I’d probably admire them.

And I frankly don’t give a rat’s hiney-end about famous people. Screw ’em. They do, in the article, point out that we tend to think of celebrities as people who are a part of our lives, and I think that’s true, in some ways, with some celebrities. I think the only famous person I ever truly wanted to meet was Princess Diana, just because I think we would have gotten along well.

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Pledge of Allegiance

9th Circuit Court Judges Ban Pledge of Allegiance From Schools, Citing ‘Under God’

A federal appeals court here declared today that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because the phrase ”one nation under God” violates the separation of church and state.

In a decision that drew protest across the political spectrum, a three-member panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the pledge, as it exists in federal law, could not be recited in schools because it violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against a state endorsement of religion.

In addition, the ruling, which will certainly be appealed, turned on the phrase ”under God” which Congress added in 1954 to one of the most hallowed patriotic traditions in the nation.

From a constitutional standpoint, those two words, Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote in the 2-to-1 decision, were just as objectionable as a statement that ”we are a nation ‘under Jesus,’ a nation ‘under Vishnu,’ a nation ‘under Zeus,’ or a nation ‘under no god,’ because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion.”

I plead alignment to the flakes, of the untitled snakes of a merry cow. And to the Republicans for which they scam, one nacho, underpants, with licorice and jugs of wine for owls.

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