Bronx cheer, 10/08/14

It’s been a delightful news week, once you get past Ebola and the Islamic State and all the other little things that threaten our existence on this planet, not to mention the assorted threats to the planet itself. But I say we all should try real hard to stick around for a while, because there’s so much fun stuff out there, none the least of which is that Sarah Palin can’t find the White House (though I’m sure she can see it from her home in Wasilla). Continue reading

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Worth reading II, 07/03/13

Wendy Davis

Wendy Davis shouldn’t be sainted for her filibuster (Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post)

I like Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis. I admire her intelligence, chutzpah and tenacity.

But her elevation to national heroine, essentially owing to her ability to speak for 11 hours straight without a break while wearing (how many times did we hear or read it?) “rouge-red sneakers,” is absurd….

… when the question of whether we should destroy human life at any stage is reduced to theater, leaving many journalists gushing like breathless red-carpet commentators, we have lost more than a sense of decorum.

One may agree with Davis’s principled stand on the Texas bill, which, she argued, tried to do too much. Even so, a little less glee from the bleachers would seem more appropriate to the moment.

This is one helluva read, regardless of where you stand on abortion. Now read it.

Worth reading II, 06/28/13

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Paula Deen’s slurs are a bitter pill to swallow (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post)

Paula Deen needs to give the self-pity a rest. The damage to her carefully built image is self-inflicted — nobody threw a rock — and her desperate search for approval and vindication is just making things worse.

Sorry to be so harsh, but come on. Deen is tough and savvy enough to have built a culinary empire from scratch, in the process becoming the most famous Southern cook in creation. She incarnates the whole “steel magnolia” archetype, with razor-sharp toughness beneath the flutter and the filigree.

Excellent piece by Eugene Robinson. Paula Deen has to stop playing the victim. She was smart enough to make $17 million a year. How could she possibly be so ignorant?

This was a self-inflicted fatal wound.

Good riddance.

This isn’t atheism

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Some nonbelievers still find solace in prayer (Washington Post)

My friend Mark sent me this piece because he knew I’d find it interesting. Boy did I ever.

The caption on the photo above reads:

(Linda Davidson/ The Washington Post) – Atheist Sigfried Gold, his wife Galia Siegel, and children Beatrice Gold, 2, and Solomon Gold, 8, say a serenity prayer at dinner at home Tuesday in Takoma Park, Md. Gold launched a regular prayer schedule to comply with a 12-step program for food addiction.

And the story goes on to say . . .

Each morning and night, Sigfried Gold drops to his knees on the beige carpeting of his bedroom, lowers his forehead to the floor and prays to God.

An atheist, Gold took up prayer out of desperation. Overweight by 110 pounds and depressed, the 45-year-old software designer saw himself drifting from his wife and young son. He joined a 12-step program for food addiction that required — as many 12-step programs do — a recognition of God and prayer.

Four years later, Gold is trim, far happier in his relationships and free of a lifelong ennui. He credits a rigorous prayer routine — morning, night and before each meal — to a very vivid goddess he created with a name, a detailed appearance and a key feature for an atheist: She doesn’t exist.

While Gold doesn’t believe there is some supernatural being out there attending to his prayers, he calls his creation “God” and describes himself as having had a “conversion” that can be characterized only as a “miracle.” His life has been mysteriously transformed, he says, by the power of asking.

And then the story goes on to talk about all these atheists who pray.

It’s a fascinating piece . . . and I’m really happy for this guy Gold, who apparently has found a successful way to lose weight.

But he should stop calling himself an atheist.

If you want to believe in a big invisible man in the sky or a “vivid goddess” whom you’ve actually created with a name — fine with me. Knock yourself out. Whatever floats your boat.

Just don’t go calling yourself an atheist.

Among other things, it’s insulting. And more than a little condescending. It’s like calling yourself a Christian and telling everyone that you don’t believe in God and you don’t believe Jesus ever existed, but they should nonetheless consider you a Christian because you say you are. It belittles what true Christians believe.

Same as saying you pray every day and you’re an atheist. That’s baloney, which this guy Gold must know is fattening.

I welcome your thoughts.

Sam needs a time out

Justice Samuel Alito’s middle-school antics (by Dana Milbank, Washington Post)

The most remarkable thing about the Supreme Court’s opinions announced Monday was not what the justices wrote or said. It was what Samuel Alito did.

The associate justice, a George W. Bush appointee, read two opinions, both 5-4 decisions that split the court along its usual right-left divide. But Alito didn’t stop there. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, Alito visibly mocked his colleague.

Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court, was making her argument about how the majority opinion made it easier for sexual harassment to occur in the workplace when Alito, seated immediately to Ginsburg’s left, shook his head from side to side in disagreement, rolled his eyes and looked at the ceiling.

His treatment of the 80-year-old Ginsburg, 17 years his elder and with 13 years more seniority, was a curious display of judicial temperament or, more accurately, judicial intemperance. Typically, justices state their differences in words — and Alito, as it happens, had just spoken several hundred of his own from the bench. But he frequently supplements words with middle-school gestures.

This guy needs to go to the principal’s office. Sam is a big boy now and really should know better.

Shame.

Yoo-hoo, Yahoo! Anybody home?

I’ve seen a lot of bad editing over the years, but Yahoo! News raised the bar on awful to a new level yesterday. How on earth could a writer begin a piece with . . .

President Barack Obama makes the first extended trip to Africa of his presidency next week — but he won’t be stopping in the country of his birth. [Boldface is mine.]

. . . and have such a dumb mistake make its way onto a news website?

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post asks three questions, two of which are well worth repeating here:

1) How on earth?

3) Any editing over there?

Been there, but not THERE

Welcome, baseball fan. Go directly to jail. (Washington Post)

This poor guy from out of town had tickets to a game that got rained out. He couldn’t go to the scheduled replacement game, so he tried to sell the tickets — at face value or less — outside the ballpark.

For his efforts, he was given a free ride to the pokey. OK . . . it wasn’t free; it wound up costing him $50.

I understand laws against scalping, but . . .

Several years ago, I found myself about to head into Shea Stadium with an extra ticket. I don’t remember who punked out on the game, but I had pretty good seats and I figured someone would just as soon buy the ticket from me than get one at the ticket window. I would have loved to get the price I paid.

Then a cop came up behind me and told me I had to move something like 150 yards away from the stadium. Pretty much had to go to the other side of the Willets Points subway station, which I was not about to do. Ridiculous.

I guess I should be glad I didn’t get hauled off to jail.