What the Boss Likes – WTFU 2012, Samuel L. Jackson

Not even remotely safe for work.   Samuel L. Jackson in Wake the Fuck Up 2012 http://wtfu2012.com/ 

Work safe version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-caGkwSRjPU&feature=player_embedded 

Obama is not perfect, far from it.   But he’s succeeded in much of what he said he would do.  That’s better than Romney, who has only succeeded in showing an inability to honestly present what he believes in and what he will do.  If he thinks he can avoid telling me this information and, more important, TRUSTING me with this information, he is not someone who should be president.

Not Polite Dinner Conversation – Free Speech and the forum troll

The internet forum is an unusual environment.  There are forums for just about any subject under the sun, all built on people discussing those things, disagreeing and agreeing, sharing information and ideas.  All of this is without any of the usual social cues we humans have evolved to use, facial expressions, tones of voice, etc.  And of course, this leads to flame wars over silly things because someone took someone too seriously, among many other reasons. People generally calm down and move on. 

No trees? No nukes? With a troll it could be anything. – MS clip art

But then there the trolls, people who come on to forums just to make claims about how “right” they are, complete with baseless claims and often a profound ignorance of what the subject matter is.  The two main species are the “wannabe nihilist” and the “messiah”. Both are poor pitiful things, needing attention. The first is just a jerk, soon to give up and leave, but the second, oh the second…. 

The “messiah” troll with their personally-held opinions are often ill-educated, if not simply unintelligent, sure that their rants will change minds and gain them external validation even if they don’t have any actual evidence to support what their supposed “truth”. Trolls are often hilarious examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect, desperately suffering from the delusion that they are in someway superior to their audience, when all facts are to the contrary.  They will make posts claiming that “x” is true, but not have one shred of evidence for it and, even when presented with much evidence to the contrary, they will continue with their nonsense, unable to admit they are wrong or apologize for their behavior. 

They are great fun to bat around for a while, especially when they turn to personal attacks having nothing else to support their nonsense. It’s prey to practice on, albeit inept prey.  

But, invariably, someone on a forum will declare that anyone who responds to a troll is “feeding them” and that this is always bad.  This argument seems to assume that a troll’s existence on a forum is always a bad thing *and* anything should be done to drive them away *but* telling them they are wrong. I find *that* unacceptable. And weird, don’t forget weird.

Trolls are unpleasant, taking up time and space with the repeated willful ignorance and the intentional attempts to derail the subject.  In my opinion, if this is too annoying, ban the troll.  But, if there is a reason you do not wish to do so, e.g. that you do not wish to censor, that you wish to use them as an example, keep them where you can see them (all valid reasons to keep such a person around) then to argue that no one should ever respond to a troll is only giving them a pulpit from which to speak and to appear that either everyone tacitly agrees with them *or* that no one can refute their lies and thus they are “right”.  One might hope that others reading the posts would be well-informed enough to know that the troll is lying, but unfortunately, that is not a good bet to make.  They cannot see the facial expressions, the tone of voice that reveals a liar or a simplistic provocateur.   

To allow someone a chance to speak whatever they want is part and parcel of the ideal of free speech.  However, there are responsibilities that come along with that ideal, namely that one cannot stand idly by and allow lies and nonsense to remain uncontested. For if those are uncontested, then they can spread and they can harm others. The internet is full of conspiracy theories and misinformation that start and remain alive because of the insular nature of some forums. Staying silent on open ones only compounds the problem, allowing a “herd” to create its own immunity to reality.  Humans are not perfect and when they see someone promoting an idea that they agree with or an idea that gives them an excuse, they will glom onto it with little thought that it may not be true.  

Treat the troll as a patient zero and you may have a chance to quell another epidemic of willful or malicious ignorance. And, who knows, you might even cure your original case.

What the Boss Likes – All the Queen’s Men

Getting up early-ish on a Saturday sometimes has its rewards.  I caught the movie All the Queen’s Men, a comedy about World War 2. Those are always rather dicey to watch, but often are very good, e.g. To Be or Not To Be either with Jack Benny or Mel Brooks, combining enough deadly serious reality, sadness and bitter irony with the humor. 

First off, don’t pay attentions to movie ratings.  This is good, who cares what some self-dubbed “film critic” says. It’s not Hamlet, (my favorite version and yes I like the tenth Doctor and the ninth and fourth aren’t so bad either) but there’s only so many times I want to watch lunatic familes killing each other. 

There are spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned. Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Pennsylvania politicians at it again

hope springs eternal

Well, this week we have a twofer.  We have Patrick Toomey, a US senator from PA, unable to stand his own additions to the veteran’s jobs bill, was evidently forced to oppose everything that Pat Toomey stands for.   Or he was voting against veterans? Which was it Pat?  Can’t be seen helping some of those folks in the “47%”  since good ol’ Romney said that you couldn’t?  Poor Reading Eagle newspaper, their article about Toomey’s touting of how great his bill was, comes just before Pat decided he couldn’t actually vote for it.  Poor Pat has to now claim that he now opposes his own bill, since it could be thought by his masters to be raising taxes.  It’s more than obvious that he cares more about Grover Norquist than the vets in PA.  Rachel Maddow has a nice overview of the whole situation.

And then we get Daryl Metcalfe, who’s been mentioned on this blog before.  Yep, Daryl is no different this time either.  He’s said this:

“I don’t believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsibility that goes with that right to secure their photo ID will be disenfranchised.  As Mitt Romney said, 47% of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that.” – video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MsUGD8oEujk 

More of the same from the GOP.  Anyone who they don’t like is a lazy parasite against all evidence to the contrary. Such nice lies they tell, bearing false witness against those they make such baseless claims about.  Go, “Good Christians”! Keep “impressing” us with your actions. 

Yep, all of those people who work and can’t miss a day, those folks who have no one to help them and can’t jump through the hoops that the GOP in Pennsylvania have created by telling lies about voter fraud for the expressed purpose of helping Romney win the presidential nomination are lazy, Daryl.   Metcalfe has to go above and beyond and claim that the 47% “are on the public dole” which isn’t even what his lying party leader said, but taking it to more crazed strawman altitudes.   No, dearie, Romney only said they didn’t pay income tax. 

For not belonging to the party with a donkey as its symbol, these guys certainly are showing themselves to be quite the asses.

UPDATE: A challenge for Mr. Metcalfe I saw (originally by a “steve eldridge”).  Will Rep. Metcalfe be willing to show how “easy” it is to get a voter ID with the following conditions:

“Take away there identification, remind them if they leave work they will not get paid or may lose their job, have their boss call them at least twice with new projects with tight deadlines, let them figure out where they last had their identification documents, take away a passport if they have one, and move some of the critical documents to a location at least 100 miles away, make them use only public transportation, limit their mobility by using a knee brace that makes it difficult to walk, and then watch how long it takes them to get the job done.”

Surely, he’ll accept the challenge, right?  🙂

And don’t forget that former Pennsylvania politician Rick Santorum was telling the GOP that

“”We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country,” Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do”

Rick is sure that smart people are “elite” and that’s a code word for “godless horrible liberals”.  It’s shame that he has to denigrate being smart.  I do wish that he would own up to his feelings and not so hypocritically use these awful smart people to save his daughter’s life, to create computers for him to use, cars for him to drive, food he eats, etc.  Tsk, Rick, how could you ever take such benefits from such people, telling you how to take care of a child, how to be a decent human being and not blindly listening to self-contradicting compliation of books written by xenophobig agrarians!?? Mean ol’ experts! 

Of course, dear Rick has never told anyone what to do.  Never ever ever.  Except telling people that they can’t control their own bodies, that they can’t make their own choices, that they can’t love and have legal bonds with who they want.  He goes out of his way to lie to them to take away their ability to make an informed choice, and never ever apologizes, when he claims a college doesn’t have an American history course, that the Dutch force the elderly to be euthanized.  

But I am glad he finally admitted that Faux Noise wasn’t the “media” at all.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – A brief tour of theist/atheist interaction

FFRF Billboard

Recently, I commented on another WordPress blog, http://dmergent.org/2012/09/14/atheism-and-christianity/   I thought I’d repost things here since it’s a great example on how atheists and theists often interact on the internet, all displayed in a few posts.     

This was my post in response to the blog entry linked to above:

“Mr. Poindexter, I’m an atheist. I have some observations. Your one comment “growing number of those who claim no faith or belief in God”. Your choice of words makes it sound like so many other theist claims that atheists simply can’t “really” have no faith or belief in their god. You may not have meant it that way but let me assure you, I do not simply claim to have no faith or belief in your god at all; I have none. I was a Presbyterian for decades; I’ve read the bible as believer and as not. I’ve looked closely at other religions and realized that atheism is the only thing that made sense with the evidence and lack thereof (I’d like to know these “philosophical troubles” you have with atheism). I am an atheist, not a “new” one or an old one. The only difference in atheists today and yesterday is the comfort they have in rejecting the baseless claims of religion. Robert Ingersoll would probably be called a “new atheist” today because of his outspokenness, but he was giving speeches back more than 100 years ago.

I also wonder about your claims to have changed your “understanding” of your god and your claim that this new understanding is more “grace-filled”, e.g. a more “true” understanding. I’m guessing that you would have claimed the same thing about your beliefs before your change of heart. Also, your opinion of what Jesus “really meant” is also full of the usual cherry picking I’ve seen. Christians of all types have vastly different opinions on what Jesus would have them do, and unfortunately I have not seen any of you have any better evidence of this than the next, be it you or Fred Phelps. Christianity *is* a belief system and a decision that there is one “right” way.

Atheists and theists can and do work together on many things, but at the base of it all is the claim by Christianity that anyone who does not believe is damned to eternal torture. Such belief isn’t exactly the best basis for understanding and friendship. I do have a wordpress blog of my own so I do invite there or anywhere to discuss the issues I’ve noted.” Continue reading

From the Bar – Clos LaChance 2009 Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains)

We don’t go out much, my husband and I.  We’re generally happy to get wine, beer, groceries and settle in for a quiet weekend.  This weekend was lovely, gorgeous weather, and thanks to work being the emotion-draining experience it is, I had no energy to actually go out and enjoy it.  So we drank and cooked and watched television.  

wine label

The wine for the weekend, in addition to a box of Franzia chianti and a case of Leinenkugel’s fall sampler (no, we didn’t drink *all* of that….yet), was Clos LaChance 2009 Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains).  It was chosen because he wanted a chardonnay and it had a hummingbird on the label. My mother-in-law, Betty, loved humming birds.    

This was opened to go with the meal of the weekend, gyros, made with Alton Brown’s recipe for gyro meat and tzatziki.(note: I’d back off on the rosemary in this recipe, to about a half a tablespoon).  The wine was a very good choice for this.  It was intense enough to stand up to very garlicky meat and sauce (I essentially consider garlic a vegetable), but not tasting like one was sucking on a piece of lumber.  The nose struck me first, very much like pineapple soda.  Now, there seems to be people in the world who like that stuff and those who don’t, very much like there are people who like mushrooms and not, anchovies and not, etc.  Like the wine’s website says, the taste is largely carmel and vanilla with tropical fruits.  There’s enough minerality and acidity to keep it from being cloying.  This was probably the best chardonnay we’ve had since stumbling upon the 1996 Meridian which was excellent. 

Watched a good, for the Syphy Channel (who would have thought that I would be able to tell my 12 year old self “there’s nwo a channel supposedly for science fiction but you’ll rarely watch it because it sucks”), movie, Dragon Sword. It’s also known as George and the Dragon.  It has a scad of aging action star types, Val Kilmer, Patrick Swazye, and James Purefoy (always loved him from A Knight’s Tale, another wonderfully fun movie).  It was a hoot, with plenty of humor scattered through out, but not a comedy.  

Wine, good food and a fun movie with my husband, just what the doctor ordered.

What the Boss Likes – Hard Magic by Larry Correia, and some political caveats about the writer

Hard Magic. Not the best cover I’ve seen but it shows two characters, Jake and Faye.

First off, I’ve just finished “Hard Magic” by Larry Correia. It’s very good, excellent dieselpunk with magic.  I kinda wish it wasn’t. (BTW, I’ve tried to make sure that there are no spoilers about the book  in this post. But as always, read at your own risk.)

Why does it seem that so many people who like guns are hyper-conservative theocrats who glom onto any conspiracy theory out there?    

I like guns and am a decent shot. Paint cans should be fearful. I also rather like violence in my fiction, preferably when the bad guys get their come-uppance Michael Bay style. Blame that bloodthirsty streak on me being a child of the 1980s and watching too much A-Team.  Anyone can see that this isn’t the usual things to like from the generally liberal feminist atheist perspective I’ve written from on this blog, though you might have gotten a hint from the “rough men” post.  A dear departed friend of mine, who had this crazy beautiful gun collection and sons who shot in competition (and in the military) was one of the rare gun enthusiasts who was close to liberal as me (social liberal, fiscal conservative). Another question is why do so many people who like guns and who idolize the military manage never to have served at all?  And medical reasons don’t have much impact with me since I know someone who got in the Army, in an actual crawl-though-the-mud MOS, with at least three major medical things that would have got him an easy excuse to not serve at all.

As I said above I’ve recently read “Hard Magic” by Larry Corriea and absolutely loved it.  It’s dieselpunk through and through, with a good tight world, a coherent magic system (most of the magic reads more like superhero powers but there is some classic thamaturgy) excellent fight scenes and characters you can really like. So, I went out to see what Google could tell me about this man, who has quite a few books out.  And I really should have known what I’d find.  Alas, Mr. Correia, is a conservative Mormon who is sure that President Obama is going to take his guns.  Sad really, when someone who writes such a well-thought out story has to make some hilarious and baseless assumptions to go along with the claims that Mr. Obama has waited until maybe or maybe not getting a second term to do anything about guns at all.  Yep, that mean ol’ Obama was such a mastermind about getting the UN to take over, and to eliminate the 2nd Amendment, that he didn’t do a damn thing about taking away anyone’s guns and is in a very very close election that he very well might not win.  It takes a certain amount of pure stupidity to think that this is some actual plan.  I mean, really, Mr. Correia, you write better masterminds yourself.  Happily, nothing of his personal views seems to get in the way of a good story.  Continue reading