Sunday Roast: Rough start

Year 2016 — so far — has sucked BIG TIME.

With the passing of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and especially our own EbbandFlow, I think we can agree that this year really can’t get any worse — and that is not me issuing the universe a friggin’ challenge.

Let’s take it easy on ourselves the rest of the year, eh?

This is our daily open thread — Yeesh…

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 30, 2016: Bruisin’ From A Cruz-in’

As a human being, you are capable of believing whatever you want to believe whether it has any connection to factual reality or not. For example, while I don’t think either is real, I would believe that The Matrix is real before I believe any crazy story about a mythical being creating the universe and everything in it. At least The Matrix makes some sense and explains better why I seem to encounter several examples of the same kind of thing on my way to work on any given day. Like that car that goes by with one headlight out. I might not see a car like that for several days or weeks, and then one day I’ll see three or four go by me, all on the same drive. Or a car who wants to go slower than I will pull out of an intersection ahead of me before turning off down a side road, but not before another pokey pulls out in front of him, for the obvious sole purpose of keeping me from getting where I want to go in my lifetime. I could more easily accept that these are subroutines being repeated in a computer program than I could that some omnipotent, omniscient Being is trying to send a message to me through bad drivers. (A more effective technique might be to leave a message in green lipstick on my bathroom mirror, knowing that my wife has no green lipstick nor any intention of ever wearing any. I’m more open-minded on the subject.) It makes zero sense to believe in Creationism. And in order for it to make any kind of sense at all, you have to attribute so many contradictory rationales to the Being responsible that it ends up making even less sense. Does God really care if I masturbate or not? Do you really think Jesus never masturbated as a young teenage male? After all, Jesus didn’t find his calling until the last few years of his life. So he wouldn’t have grown up thinking he was God’s personal offspring, or that his “special purpose” really had a special purpose. It just doesn’t make any logical sense. People tell me I say that because I lack Faith, and they’re right. I do lack Faith. Because I need to see evidence, backed by science and observation. It’s true that I will accept something as true just because Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye says it’s true, but that’s because I know they base their beliefs on evidence, backed by science and observation. And I also know that if evidence based on science and observation proves them wrong, that they’ll change their views. And hearing them explain why they now believe what they didn’t before, I’m more likely to change my views, too. Before you counter with that’s an Appeal to Authority argument, I’ll tell you why it isn’t. First, I’m not arguing any point in particular and telling you it’s true just because NdT says it’s true. Second, I wouldn’t say something is true just because he said it was, but for the reasons he said it was true, which I know derived from evidence based on science and observation (not the millennia-old speculations from scientifically illiterate people.) So I wouldn’t be making an argument that appeals to authority, I would be making one based on the same evidence that appealed to my authority.

But you can’t do that when you insist on accepting something on Faith alone because, by definition, you are accepting it without evidence based on science and observation. And Faith demands that when the evidence proves you wrong, you discard the evidence and continue to believe the now disproved thing. How can anybody live that like? How can you go through life believing things proven to be false, or follow the advice of a book proven to be self-contradictory and scientifically inaccurate in so many ways? As just one example, bats are not birds, no matter what any religious text tells you, even one followed by two major religions. How could such a text possibly be “the inerrant word of God” when it contains such a blatant error? If the error is entirely attributable to the flawed human who put the words to paper, then how can it be considered “inerrant”? And if it was transcribed exactly as God intended, then how could God not know bats are not birds? Something has to give in to logic and reason if it is going to be a valid argument.

In an interview earlier this week with Dana Loesch (a famous conservative who, by standard conservative reasoning, must fear me quite a lot because she actually blocked me on Twitter, and she would say that if I blocked her, it must have been because I feared her), Rafael Cruz, the foreign-born father of foreign-born US Senator Ted Cruz, actually said this when asked if it was “difficult to see people go at” his son

“It is, Dana, but at the same time, you know, if you are not making a difference, if you are not having an impact, nobody’s going to attack you,” he said. “Jesus said, ‘They persecuted me, they will persecute you.’ When you are having an impact on America, those who disagree with you are going to come out lashing at you with everything they’ve got. But you know what, we get encouraged for seeing that we are making a difference, Ted is making a difference, that truth sets people free. And he’s speaking the truth and those who don’t want to hear it are going to lash out.”

I’ll let the fine folks at PoliticusUSA, FactCheck and Politifact recall just a few of the many lies Ted has told, but I want to respond to a few of the inanities his dad said here. I’ll begin with “…if you are not making a difference, if you are not having an impact, nobody’s going to attack you.” First of all, Conservatives (especially the Christian kind) equate attacking a person’s position with attacking the person himself. So when they don’t like someone’s position, they see no problem with attacking the person himself. Being projectionists, it’s what they would do, so they assume it’s what everyone else is doing to them, even when it clearly isn’t. Second, people are attacked and even murdered all the time, and it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that person’s impact on anyone else, other than they had the misfortune of being near their attacker at the wrong time. So it is simply, factually untrue that “nobody’s going to attack you” if you aren’t making a difference. This is just pure, delusional, Christian Persecution Complex thinking at work. Raffy then goes on to claim that he and his son “are making a difference, Ted is making a difference, that truth sets people free.” Now I can’t tell if this one is the result of Conservatives not knowing what words mean, not caring what facts are, or a combination of the two, but it’s not true for two reasons. One, nobody’s mind is being changed by the Los Cruz. Nobody is listening to either man for the first time and saying, “You know, he makes a lot of sense. I’m going to start following him.” No, the people listening to them have already made up their minds that what the two men go around saying is true, so they show up to listen for the reinforcement of their own set of beliefs. And, two, Ted isn’t telling the truth (as PoliticusUSA, FactCheck, and PolitiFact have been trying to tell us.) He lies constantly, so how can what he says set anyone free? “And he’s speaking the truth and those who don’t want to hear it are going to lash out.” He’s not speaking the truth, and we are not trying to “lash out” at him, we are pointing out that the things he says all the time are factually incorrect. We’re attacking the things he says, not him personally. Except for the fact that he continues to repeat false things, so we have to question his motives, sanity, intelligence, honesty and character along with them. If Ted would stop repeating lies, nobody would have to attack anything he says, and we certainly wouldn’t have to attack his character. Los Cruz can end the persecution they feel simply by admitting they’re both bearers of false witness. But that’s one Truth about themselves they’ll never face.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss logical reasoning, something Rafael Cruz might have said, or anything in between.

The Watering Hole; Friday January 29 2016; The Birds

Today I’ve decided to switch from politics to something interesting. My old College bud, Denny Green, has evolved to become, in his retirement, a dedicated nature/wildlife photographer. He recently visited a place in New Mexico called the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge considered to be parcel to that “national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.” It is clearly a haven for wild birds, a haven which I would consider comparable in design and purpose to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon — but since this post is politics-free, I won’t even mention that place up there.

Anyway, here are some selected early ‘winter’ photos, taken by Denny Green at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in western New Mexico. They are of the waterfowl most prevalent at the time, i.e. Sandhill Cranes and two varieties of Snow Geese.

–And to bird-lover Ebb, wherever you might be, enjoy!!–

Sandhill Cranes, sunrise, at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane

Ross’s Geese, Bosque del Apache

Snow Geese, mating pair

Meanwhile, back in Arizona, some rare ducks popped up late last month at a secluded pond not far from the greater-Phoenix metro area. The first fellow has shown up — alone –each of the last two years. Where he comes from and where he goes, no one knows.

Eurasian Wigeon

American Wigeons, mating pair

Finally, this ‘Red Head Duck’ mating pair, also from a secluded pond in Maricopa County Arizona.

Red Head Ducks, mating pair

So there you have it: waterfowl from a National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, also some relatively rare ducks from an isolated pond in otherwise human-crowded Maricopa County, Arizona.

Some say cattle (and guns) are more important; I disagree.

All photos ©Denny Green, Tempe Arizona.

OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday January 28 2016; Wingnuts: DEFINED!

The Cosmos is knowable. When childhood curiosity
persists as an adult, it inoculates against others
telling you what to think.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 25, 2016

Neil deGrasse Tyson summed the ‘dilemma’ of non-thinkers everywhere in his recent response to a fellow who calls himself B.o.B. A flat-earther, also a Rapper, B.o.B.’s flat earth argument is the old and familiar one that’s based upon the notion that the round Earth thesis is a Freemason hoax, now become NASA propaganda. Makes me think that Rapper B.o.B. is either brain dead or a Republican by birth — i.o.w., one whose “childhood curiosity” (assuming that was ever a feature) has been totally and completely co-opted in order to facilitate the option of all those “others” who make their living “telling you what to think.”

Think about that for a second or two, then consider the Malheur Wildlife Refuge mess in Oregon, particularly the notion(s) of the occupying “militia” that the concept of public lands is bogus and ‘unconstitutional’ because, after all, the Bible tells us that God assigned dominion over all the land to mankind, to people — not the gubmint! — for ‘us’ to use as ‘we’ choose. Something like that, undoubtedly made possible by their long-faded “curiosity” and the consequences thereof, whereby all those  “others” are now “telling [them] what to think.”

A detailed explanation of just exactly How Hate and Extremism are Baked Into The ‘Patriot’ Militia Pie notes that it helps to visualize the ‘patriot’ movement as a blender where libertarianism, survivalism, right wing stupidity, and messianic Christian beliefs [are] combined with racial and national prejudices to produce a curious admixture, with the results cooked by militant fervor into an absurd and deranged pie . . . from which emanates the myriad of misguided voices that call for the destruction of constitutional authority in the Constitution’s name.

Excellent summation, I’d say, of the consequences implicit for those who have abandoned “childhood curiosity in exchange for “others . . . telling [them] what to think.” They have, in effect, surrendered their minds, their souls, and their lives to whichever obnoxious agenda gets there first. It can be militant racism, antisemitism, white supremacism, neo-Nazism, radical libertarianism, survivalism, right wing stupidity, messianic Christerism, anti-constitutional Constitutionalism, Conservatism, gun nuttery, Republicanism — all of “those” whose collective agendas have zero logical basis but are widely supported, always, by those whose sole purpose in life is the accumulation of wealth, power, privilege, along with the destruction of all who stand in (or near) their path.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s description of all who are slaves to the dead mind hits the nail on the head. The Cosmos is knowable, after all, but only to those folks who are not BRAIN DEAD!

OPEN THREAD.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, January 27, 2016

White Pebbles
A modern parable
By
Briseadh na Faire

 

Once upon a time, there was a people who lived on an island with black sand beaches. The sand was black, the pebbles washed in the sand and smoothed by the sighing waves of the ocean were black. But, ever so rarely, a white pebble could be found.

So rare were the white pebbles they were highly valued, and even used in trade amongst the peoples.

Now there lived a young man who devoted all his time to scouring the beaches, looking for white pebbles. After many years, he amassed a basket full, and was considered the wealthiest man on the island.

But he wanted more. Because he spent all his time alone on the beaches gathering pebbles, he had no friends. Because he hoarded his white pebbles, he wasn’t well liked. He wanted to go to a new island, where no one knew him, where people would be impressed by his wealth and like him.

And so he placed his basket in a small boat along with some provisions and set sail. After a few days, his provisions ran low, but he spied another island on the horizon. He immediately set course for the new island.

And ere long, he set foot ashore on a white sand beach. The sand was white, the pebbles were white. But, ever so rarely, a black pebble could be seen.

There, on this new island, black pebbles were so rare they were a valuable commodity. The man’s white pebbles were worthless, and he had to spend many months combing the beaches for black pebbles enough to buy provisions to get back home.

© 2016 Briseadh na Faire

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