dystopianfuturetoday's Sift Talk Posts




Odd Glitch

When I mouse over the links in the top sift column, the thumbnails inch down the page. If I keep mousing over them, they keep sliding. Anyone else have this problem? Bizarre.

I'm using Chrome on Mac OSX 10.7.6

SiftDebate: What are the societal benefits to having guns?

I'm not talking about hunting weapons. I'm talking about guns designed to kill humans. What are the benefits of having these kinds of guns in society, and are the benefits worth the cost in human life?

Please be civil.

Benefits:
1. Mutually assured destruction if all citizens carry a gun. (some might not call this a benefit)
2. Economy/Jobs
3. An understanding of how a dangerous tool works.
4. National Defense (if you don't have a country with a military - note: this was the original intention of the 2nd amendment)
5. Citizen Policing

Personal Benefits:
1. The power to kill, wound and threaten others with violence

What is your favorite apocalypse?

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  (0 votes)
  (13 votes)
  (2 votes)
  (2 votes)
  (2 votes)
  (0 votes)
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A total of 22 votes have been cast on this poll.


Did I leave out your favorite apocalypse? Post it in the comments.

VS Pumpkin Post - Halloween 2012

Prodigious pumpkin prodigies please post pumpkin pictures post-haste.

Powerpoints proffered por pictures procuring pronounced point popularity.

[Feel free to post any kind of Halloween related content you want - Costumes, avatars, ghost stories, catbats, what-have-you..]

Privatization turned The Learning Channel into Honey-Boo-Boo

dft linking to lgf? MADNESS!!! http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/page_286613.html

Romney in the first debate with Obama and the GOP for years have called for PBS to be defunded for many reasons but they hate it’s left wing educational content and the fact its financed by the tax payer (so they claim, I think they hate it because it tilts leftwards).

But a public funded example of PBS being privatized existed before. What can we learn from that?

People forget or did not know that once upon a time The Learning Channel was founded in 1972 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA as an informative/instructional network focused on providing real education through the medium of TV; it was distributed at no cost by NASA satellite. Then it was privatized in 1980 (Reaganism) and was then named the Appalachian Community Service Network. In November 1980 this name was changed to “The Learning Channel”, which was subsequently shortened to “TLC.” From then on we have a sad decline to the abomination of child and poverty exploitation of the TLC’s current hit freak show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”.

The channel back then mostly featured documentary content pertaining to nature, science, history, current events, medicine, technology, cooking, home improvement and other information-based topics. Low ratings and low profits. Smarts don’t sell.

By the early 1990s, The Learning Channel was a sister channel to the Financial News Network (FNN) which owned 51 percent of the channel with Infotechnology Inc. After FNN went into bankruptcy in 1991, the Discovery Channel’s owners went into talks of buying The Learning Channel. An agreement was made with FNN and Infotech to buy their shares for million. The non-profit Appalachian Community Service Network owned 35 percent of the network, and was also bought out.

The Learning Channel continued to focus primarily on instructional and educational programming through much of the ’90s but began to air shows less focused on education and more themed towards popular consumption and mass marketing; these would be later expanded.

In 1998 the channel began to distance itself from its original name “The Learning Channel”, and instead began to advertise itself only as “TLC”.

So when Mitt Romney and the Republicans talk about how much better off PBS would be de-funded and privatized, remember what privatization did to TLC and how TLC went from NASA beaming information into student classrooms to the disgraceful programs it runs today (many of which exploit children).

I am not saying we should not be capitalists and should be against the for profit model - but we should wake up from the delusion that the private sector can do it better. In some cases, the private sector does it worse and is worse.

This will be the last I will write on the Honey Boo Boo topic. I needed to vent.

The meaning behind ‘Gangnam Style’ video (and lyrics)

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style” video has 220 million YouTube views and counting, and it’s easy to see why. No Korean language skills are needed to enjoy the chubby, massively entertaining performer’s crazy horse-riding dance, the song’s addictive chorus and the video’s exquisitely odd series of misadventures.

Beneath the antic, funny surface of his world-conquering song, however, is a sharp social commentary about the country’s newly rich and Gangnam, the affluent district where many of them live. Gangnam is only a small slice of Seoul, but it inspires a complicated mixture of desire, envy and bitterness.

Here’s a look at the meaning of “Gangnam Style” — and at the man and neighborhood behind the sensation:

Read the rest here:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/15243653-418/story.html

PSY – Gangnam Style Lyrics

English Translation:

(Editorial Note: I grabbed this of teh nets so I don't know how accurate it is. Feel free to correct or make more artful Korean sifters)


Oppa is Gangnam style
Gangnam style

A girl who is warm and humane during the day
A classy girl who knows how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist

I’m a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

A girl who looks quiet but plays when she plays
A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensable girl like that

I’m a guy
A guy who seems calm but plays when he plays
A guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes
A guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles
That kind of guy

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two
On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two

You know what I’m saying
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

*Issy says Oppa means brother.

The Koch Brothers venture into the movie business.

Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation’s education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film “Won’t Back Down” -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called “Parent Trigger” laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.

While Parent Trigger was first promoted by a small charter school operator in California, it was taken up and launched into hyperdrive by two controversial right-wing organizations: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.

ALEC brings together major American corporations and right-wing legislators to craft and vote on "model" bills behind closed doors. These bills include extreme gun laws, like Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law implicated in the Trayvon Martin shooting, union-busting legislation, Arizona style anti-immigrant legislation and voter suppression laws that have sparked lawsuits across the nation. The organization's agenda is so extreme that in the last few months 40 major U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and General Motors, have severed ties with ALEC.

http://www.prwatch.org/node/11763

Question for Science-y science sifters on arguments/brain

I find that sometimes my brain obeys all these different kinds of social pressures when I argue, such as...

-fear that my views will not be acceptable to others in the thread.
-fear that if I don't use acceptable terminology and certain excepted cultural frames, that my arguments won't be seen as valid.
-an attempt to adopt the frames of my opponent in order to be more persuasive.
-a desire to offend or be abrasive in response to same or bullying of others.
-worry about being branded something or other and dismissed.
-fear that my views will be dismissed because they don't match up with how a particular issue has been painted by various aspects of culture.
....among other things

And other times (when I vape, or I'm really relaxed, or really concentrate, or when I feel this mysterious energy to set some record straight) all of that bullshit goes away and I speak with clarity and complete candor.

... more inside ...

Ron Paul signed off on racist newsletters, associates say

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ron-paul-signed-off-on-racist-newsletters-sources-say/2012/01/20/gIQAvblFVQ_story.html

By Jerry Markon and Alice Crites, Friday, January 27

Ron Paul, well known as a physician, congressman and libertarian , has also been a businessman who pursued a marketing strategy that included publishing provocative, racially charged newsletters to make money and spread his ideas, according to three people with direct knowledge of Paul’s businesses.

The Republican presidential candidate has denied writing inflammatory passages in the pamphlets from the 1990s and said recently that he did not read them at the time or for years afterward. Numerous colleagues said he does not hold racist views.

But people close to Paul’s operations said he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day.

“It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product. . . . He would proof it,’’ said Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Paul’s company and a supporter of the Texas congressman.

The newsletters point to a rarely seen and somewhat opaque side of Paul, who has surprised the political community by becoming an important factor in the Republican race. The candidate, who has presented himself as a kindly doctor and political truth-teller, declined in a recent debate to release his tax returns, joking that he would be “embarrassed” about his income compared with that of his richer GOP rivals.

... more inside ...

RichardDawkinsNet: The Best Reason To Oppose Ron Paul

The Best Reason to Oppose Ron Paul
(http://richarddawkins.net/articles/644386-the-best-reason-to-oppose-ron-paul)
December 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm - by Ed Brayton

I am on record praising many of Ron Paul’s positions, but I’ve also said that while I think he is refreshing on many issues of executive power and bill of rights issues I cannot support him. And the most powerful reason why I can’t support him is because I think his ideas on other issues are extraordinarily dangerous. And nothing exemplifies that more than the We The People act that he has sponsored in the House.

This is a court-stripping bill, one that would reverse decades of case law that protects freedom and equality in a thousand different ways. Here is the core of the bill:

The Supreme Court of the United States and each Federal court– (1) shall not adjudicate– (A) any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion; (B) any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction; or (C) any claim based upon equal protection of the laws to the extent such claim is based upon the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation; and (2) shall not rely on any judicial decision involving any issue referred to in paragraph (1).

This would reverse not only Roe v Wade but Griswold v Connecticut and Lawrence v Texas and every other ruling related to a right to privacy as well. That means the states could once again outlaw homosexuality and the use of contraception (and if you don’t think there are powerful political interests that favor doing both of those things, you haven’t been paying attention). It erases virtually every single church/state ruling in the last century, allowing public schools to once again force students to read the Bible aloud and to recite state-composed and mandated prayers. That is every bit as crazy as Newt Gingrich’s absolutely insane anti-judiciary policy proposals. And it is an absolute deal-breaker for me.

Ron Paul: How to kill a black person and get away with it

Blast ‘Em?
(From the Ron Paul Political Report October 1992 newsletter. [http://www.tnr.com/sites/default/files/PoliticalReportOctober1992.pdf])

If you live in a major city, you’ve probably already heard about the newest threat to your life and limb, and your family: carjacking.

It is the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos. The youth simply walk up to a car they like, pull a gun, tell their family to get out, steal their jewelry and wallets, and take the car to wreck. Such actions have ballooned in the recent months.

In the old days, average people could avoid such youth by staying out of bad neighborhoods. Empowered by the media, police, and political complicity, however, the youth now roam everywhere looking for cars to steal and people to rob.

What can you do? More and more Americans are carrying a gun in the car. An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example).

I frankly don’t know what to make of such advice, but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.

How Freedom Became Tyranny

How Freedom Became Tyranny
December 19, 2011

Rightwing libertarians have turned “freedom” into an excuse for greed and exploitation.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 20th December 2011

Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. Throughout the rightwing press and blogosphere, among thinktanks and governments, the word excuses every assault on the lives of the poor, every form of inequality and intrusion to which the 1% subject us. How did libertarianism, once a noble impulse, become synonymous with injustice?

In the name of freedom – freedom from regulation – the banks were permitted to wreck the economy. In the name of freedom, taxes for the super-rich are cut. In the name of freedom, companies lobby to drop the minimum wage and raise working hours. In the same cause, US insurers lobby Congress to thwart effective public healthcare; the government rips up our planning laws(1); big business trashes the biosphere. This is the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor.

Right-wing libertarianism recognizes few legitimate constraints on the power to act, regardless of the impact on the lives of others. In the UK it is forcefully promoted by groups like the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the Adam Smith Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs and Policy Exchange(2). Their conception of freedom looks to me like nothing but a justification for greed.

So why have been been so slow to challenge this concept of liberty? I believe that one of the reasons is as follows. The great political conflict of our age – between neocons and the millionaires and corporations they support on one side and social justice campaigners and environmentalists on the other – has been mischaracterized as a clash between negative and positive freedoms.

These freedoms were most clearly defined by Isaiah Berlin in his essay of 1958, Two Concepts of Liberty(3). It is a work of beauty: reading it is like listening to a gloriously crafted piece of music. I will try not to mangle it too badly.

Put briefly and crudely, negative freedom is the freedom to be or to act without interference from other people. Positive freedom is freedom from inhibition: it’s the power gained by transcending social or psychological constraints. Berlin explained how positive freedom had been abused by tyrannies, particularly by the Soviet Union. It portrayed its brutal governance as the empowerment of the people, who could achieve a higher freedom by subordinating themselves to a collective single will.

Rightwing libertarians claim that greens and social justice campaigners are closet communists trying to resurrect Soviet conceptions of positive freedom. In reality the battle mostly consists of a clash between negative freedoms.

As Berlin noted, “no man’s activity is so completely private as never to obstruct the lives of others in any way. ‘Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows’”. So, he argued, some people’s freedom must sometimes be curtailed “to secure the freedom of others.” In other words, your freedom to swung your fist ends where my nose begins. The negative freedom not to have our noses punched is the freedom that green and social justice campaigns, exemplified by the Occupy movement, exist to defend.

Berlin also shows that freedom can intrude upon other values, such as justice, equality or human happiness. “If the liberty of myself or my class or nation depends on the misery of a number of other human beings, the system which promotes this is unjust and immoral.” It follows that the state should impose legal restraints upon freedoms which interfere with other people’s freedoms – or on freedoms which conflict with justice and humanity.

These conflicts of negative freedom were summarized in one of the greatest poems of the 19th Century, which could be seen as the founding document of British environmentalism. In The Fallen Elm, John Clare describes the felling of the tree he loved, presumably by his landlord, that grew beside his home(4). “Self-interest saw thee stand in freedom’s ways/So thy old shadow must a tyrant be./Thou’st heard the knave, abusing those in power,/Bawl freedom loud and then oppress the free.”

The landlord was exercising his freedom to cut the tree down. In doing so, he was intruding upon Clare’s freedom to delight in the tree, whose existence enhanced his life. The landlord justifies this destruction by characterizing the tree as an impediment to freedom: his freedom, which he conflates with the general liberty of humankind. Without the involvement of the state (which today might take the form of a tree preservation order) the powerful man could trample the pleasures of the powerless man. Clare then compares the felling of the tree with further intrusions on his liberty. “Such was thy ruin, music-making elm;/The right of freedom was to injure thine:/As thou wert served, so would they overwhelm/In freedom’s name the little that is mine.”

But rightwing libertarians do not recognize this conflict. They speak, like Clare’s landlord, as if the same freedom affects everybody in the same way. They assert their freedom to pollute, exploit, even – among the gun nuts – to kill, as if these were fundamental human rights. They characterize any attempt to restrain them as tyranny. They refuse to see that there is a clash between the freedom of the pike and the freedom of the minnow.

Last week, on an internet radio channel called The Fifth Column(5), I debated climate change with Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas, one of the right-wing libertarian groups which rose from the ashes of the Revolutionary Communist Party(6). Claire Fox is a feared interrogator on the BBC show The Moral Maze. Yet when I asked her a simple question – “do you accept that some people’s freedoms intrude upon other people’s freedoms?” – I saw an ideology shatter like a windscreen. I used the example of a Romanian lead smelting plant I had visited in 2000, whose freedom to pollute is shortening the lives of its neighbors(7). Surely the plant should be regulated in order to enhance the negative freedoms – freedom from pollution, freedom from poisoning – of its neighbors? She tried several times to answer it, but nothing coherent emerged which would not send her crashing through the mirror of her philosophy.

Modern libertarianism is the disguise adopted by those who wish to exploit without restraint. It pretends that only the state intrudes on our liberties. It ignores the role of banks, corporations and the rich in making us less free. It denies the need for the state to curb them in order to protect the freedoms of weaker people. This bastardized, one-eyed philosophy is a con trick, whose promoters attempt to wrongfoot justice by pitching it against liberty. By this means they have turned “freedom” into an instrument of oppression.

www.monbiot.com

References:

1. http://www.monbiot.com/2011/09/06/making-a-mockery-of-localism/

2. http://www.monbiot.com/2011/09/12/think-of-a-tank/

3. http://www.wiso.uni-hamburg.de/fileadmin/wiso_vwl/johannes/Ankuendigungen/Berlin_twoconceptsofliberty.pdf

4. http://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/john-clare/the-fallen-elm/

5. http://www.thefifthcolumn.co.uk/the-interrogator/global-warming-does-it-matter/

6. http://www.monbiot.com/2003/12/09/invasion-of-the-entryists/

7. http://www.monbiot.com/2000/05/19/the-most-polluted-place-in-europe/

Occupy the Holidays

I’ve got mixed emotions about what the holiday season has come to mean in this country. I love getting together to break bread with friends and family, but like many, I feel the crass consumerism is at odds with a holiday that is supposed to be about love and goodwill. I also feel like the holidays puts great pressure on kindhearted people without a lot of money to squander the little money they have. So, I put together this sift talk to offer holiday suggestions and alternatives.


SMALL / LOCAL / INDEPENDENT BUSINESS CHRISTMAS

If you are going to buy gifts, then don’t give away you hard earned dollars to large corporate chain stores that siphon money from your local community to corporate headquarters out of state or even out of country. Instead, support small/independent/local businesses that struggle to compete in a corporatist economy. When you support local business, your money continues to circulate and benefit your community. Note: Videosift is a small independent business.


DON'T BUY GIFTS WITH RENT MONEY

Holidays can be stressful when you are struggling to get by. There is great societal pressure to buy presents for everyone during the holiday season and many good hearted people load up their credit cards with debt, or use money that is needed to go towards bills to buy presents. If you haven’t got the money, then don’t bankrupt yourself and raise your blood pressure. Instead, you can make something, bake something, write a song, write a poem, knit a scarf, offer to help mom and dad around the house or just write a nice thoughtful card. Use your skills. Be creative. If your relatives are exceedingly materialistic, let them know that you love them, but that you are struggling. Let them know how difficult holiday pressures can be when you are living check to check. If they love you, they'll understand. If they don't, then it's their problem, not yours.

... more inside ...

Black Bean Red Pepper Soup (easy recipe) FINAL VERSION

2 parts Trader Joes Black Bean soup

1 part Trader Joes Red Pepper Tomato soup

Add generous amounts of freshly ground pepper, Tabasco sauce and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Cook it up and viola!

Add some grated pepper jack over top if you feel the need for cheese.

Healthy, delicious and easy to make.

If you've got some modification suggestions, post them below.

How a Hasidic Jew became a punk band frontman.

I was listening to This American Life on a recent cross country trip and discovered the story of Curly Oxide, a Hasidic Jew that had a brief but intense Rock n' Roll career. It's one of the best segments I've ever heard on this show. They are also making a movie out of this story, starring Sascha Cohen (natch).

Listen here:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/268/my-experimental-phase?act=1

Act One. That's Funny, You Don't Look Jewish.
Chaim and Billy both lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just blocks away from each other, in worlds that almost never collided. Chaim was a Hasidic Jew—he'd never heard pop music or watched MTV. Billy Campion, known as the rocker Vic Thrill, was the star of an underground band. Billy put Chaim, who took on the name Curly Oxide, into the band, and in just one year, he leapt from the 19th century into the 21st. David Segal, rock critic for the Washington Post, reports. (39 minutes)

Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill IMDB listing:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0424920/


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