Rachael Dolezal

I am deeply angry about the mistreatment of Rachael Dolezal. There are three reasons.  

First is that I feel protective of an innocent. This woman was living her life, doing her job, washing her dishes and going to the movies. One day, her parents decided to go on television and talk about her personal secrets. Then, the infinite viciousness and judgment of internet busy bodies set about trying to ruin her life. She is now infamous and unemployed. The Seattle NAACP has lost a good employee. It makes me want to do murder, I think it's so unfair.

Second, I think that the people who are doing the talking are wrong in an unethical way. I believe with level of certainty hardened by several days of having people work really hard to talk me out of it that no one should ever have to answer questions about the personal identity. 

We used my experience with Judaism as an example. One person got it badly wrong in reply. He said that I had done my adoption of Judaism was better done than her adoption of blackism and listed details. Even though intended positively, it was a terribly intrusive thing to say. I think, "who is he to judge how well I handle my religious life."

No one, least of all the random internet busy bodies can know her personal journey and I don't think she should be subject to their judgment. I don't think she should have to be embarrassed because a third party who doesn't even know her approves or disapproves what she did. It's none of anyone's business. That so many people are so rude and tasteless puts me right up the wall.

And finally, I have been talking about this for days in my role as defender of the right to do you own thing without every single person talking about it. During that time I've had a lot of intense conversations as people escalate their language and intensity in the face of my intransigence.

Consequently, I now have a lot of fully developed ideas supporting my viewpoint. I also have become impatient with the derivative thinking that I run into. Partly this is unfair. Most people haven't had the dozen conversations I've had, and, so, haven't heard it all a dozen times in fifteen variations.

But, the bottom line is that I would, if I could, slap the shit out of everyone in the country and tell them to mind their own business. This woman is out of a job for fucks sake, even though she was doing a good job and her employer was perfectly happy. 

She has been subjected to the kind of shaming that we used to consider to be the specific province of petty, small town, small minded vindictiveness. It has deeply harmed her life and, even if, I say "if" because I don't know of any reason to think it is, even if she had lied and was cynical about it, it's nobody's business except her's and her employer's.

That's why I am outraged. I consider the treatment of her to be a bigger, nastier crime than the shootings in Charleston. There one guy went nuts and harmed some people. Bad, but only one bad guy that we can put in jail. With Rachael, we have millions of people. some of whom I call friends, ganging up on a single person to destroy her life. It's a sickness in our culture that we cannot stop. It makes me furious.


I have figured out something. Conservatives evaluate what's good by comparing reality to their moralistic ideas. Where liberal types look at the world and evaluate it's practical condition, conservatives look and consider how closely it matches their preconceptions.

In this case, their preconception is that 'people should get to keep what's theirs'. They evaluate policy by how closely it aligns with that idea. It's effect on the outside world is not important.

Liberals look at the policy and evaluate how it would change the situation. They evaluate it based on the predicted consequences. If it contradicts their principles in some way but does a lot of good, they still support it.

I posed an article recently that noted fMRI studies that observe that, when evaluating ideas, conservative brains expend a lot of energy in the amygdala; liberal in the anterior cingulate cortex.

The amygdala is thought to be the center of fear-oriented emotions, the warning system for the brain.

The anterior cingulate cortex is thought to be the part that evaluates ideas and helps us deal with ambiguity.

Which is to say that it's kind of obvious how these viewpoints differ. Fear vs analysis seems a decent shorthand for the underlying phenomenon. And what is used to stave off fear in the absence of analysis? Faith. And what do people who are not afraid do? Work for progress.

You can chase the comparison a long way before running into any comparisons that seem false. The upshot is not that they are lemmings, running blindly toward destruction. They feel that we are already destroyed by our variation from the ideal. They think they are leading us back to the only thing that matters, and now I switch to metaphor, close alignment with God's will. Their God, of course, includes the free market, low taxes and condemnation of everyone who does not share their values.

Making things better in the ways liberals value is not relevant. That is, they know that it is more likely that a camel pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man go to heaven. Of course, in this case, they mean 'rich with gay marriages and abortions.'

That is, the Taliban and ISIS are not the only group of people who are willing to destroy freedom and well-being in pursuit of their understanding of virtue. They live amongst us intend to subjugate us every bit as much as do their Moslem brethren.

My Line in the Sand


It is correct that she be kicked out of the pool job because she behaved poorly there. It is*appalling* to me that people, liberal people are calling for her to be fired from her day job because of this. 

People should not lose their ability to support their families because of unrelated acts unless they are truly horrific. Being a bigot or being an asshole at a swimming pool does not even approach that level.

The right has pressed for intolerance and worked to turn political discourse into personal destruction. I condemn it as a crime against society. If we encourage destruction of families over reprobate ideas, we are no better.

If liberals encourage escalating disagreement to actively preventing people from earning a living, I am out. I think it is a terrible, terrible thing. I feel this issue as strongly as I do anything.

You are welcome to hate her for her views. You are not welcome to try to ruin her life. I will fight you to protect this bigoted bitch as fiercely as I would myself. 

Kristen Gillenbrand - A better bet than Hillary?


I am a huge Kristen fan. I don’t think she is a better Hillary, just younger. She has some policies that I prefer and has had a shorter career to accumulate distasteful compromises. If she ever wants to be President, I will support her enthusiastically. But this time, it's Hillary all the way.

The main reason that I support Hillary so emphatically is that, more than any other candidate in my lifetime, she has prepared for the campaign and the job. Everyone else, douche bag Republican or charming Democrat, came to the initiation of their Presidential primary campaign on a whim. Sure, many knew they were going to do it and had a handful of supporters but their preparation for the campaign began when they announced an exploratory committee. And sure, many had jobs that gave them a variety of public service experiences.

But nobody has done what Hillary has done. You don’t recall her ‘forming an exploration committee’ because she has been preparing for this since she left the senate. She already has a national organization and a ton of money. She already has a well-formed policy apparatus. She’s not getting ready to run. She is already running a fully competent campaign while everyone else has their dick in their hands.

And, there is nobody who has her experience. They will complain about the “Clinton dynasty’ but she has lived in the White House. She has had national policy failures and successes. She has done foreign policy as part of the Presidential contingent and as Secretary of State. She was an active First Lady, running a large staff and acting on policy initiatives, working with the legislature as part of the Executive Branch. She was a well-respected, remarkably effective Senator from a large state. She learned the details of legislation and how to work across the aisle. She has experience working with state government to accomplish stuff.

It’s incredible. She has the potential to be the best president ever. She is certainly the best qualified. She is a once in a lifetime gift for Democrats.

I love Bernie and I am a Kristen fan. I also love Mila Kunis but, she isn’t as good for me as my wife. Sometimes one has to leave romance aside and make a strong, healthy choice. Hillary is the one for 2016.

How I could accept the PATRIOT act


I would stop objecting to the PATRIOT act if they would amend it to say that everything they looked at was absolutely sealed. That a government person who revealed a single detail would go to prison. And, that the information could never, ever be used as probably cause or evidence for anything other than an immediate threat. 

Basically, I would have them subject to pretty much the same rules as a psychiatrist relative to his patient's records. No talking. No cooperating with law enforcement. No nothing unless there is an immediate, demonstrable threat of harm.

If they find out that you are selling drugs, laundering money, or cheating the IRS, they are not allowed to tell anyone.

If they added that to the PATRIOT act, I would believe they were sincere about it's being applicable to terrorism and not a stalking horse for the police state.

Mr Burns: A post-electric comedy

'Mr Burns: A post-electric play' was entertaining but, even more, I really liked the idea.

It was structured into three acts, each of which was set some time after some sort of unspecified global calamity. It looked at how The Simpsons was transformed by people as it became a myth.

The first scene took place shortly after, even during the disaster. Electricity and civilization were apparently gone. In those troubled times, The Simpsons was used as a way to push away the darkness. Trading lines around the camp fire was fun, funny and connected people to each other and to happier times.

Seven years later, performing The Simpsons was a desperate way of making a living. Ragged theater troops performed episodes for audiences. People still remembered the shows but, without having seen it in years, it was hard to remember exactly how they went. Stories were mixed up with other cultural artifacts as the myth changed in peoples' minds.

Seventy-five years later, no one alive had actually seen the show. By then, the myth served only as unconstrained inspiration. The characters were still known, though mixed up, and they had been changed to icons with simplified characteristics. Bart was practical. Homer was hopeful. Etc. Pure mythology of clarified virtues and vices. A play produced in those times used the myth to express the hope that, despite the peeling away of comfort, security and pleasure, those who accepted the new reality would prevail – in a strangely passive way.

It made me think of the Hercules myth. I don't really know how the Romans portrayed him in their culture but they had theater and poetry and the rest. His basic story was as a protector at a time when outside forces were threatening Rome. Where today's Simpsons are a way of looking at American families and small town culture, Hercules was, presumably, a way of understanding the military culture, perhaps the equivalent of terrorism at that time. Later, Hercules changed from his original emphasis as protector to being an heroic inspiration for  warriors.

Centuries later, in the nineteen fifties, Hercules was a comic book hero. "The world's strongest man". That is, the myth, with all those in the real world who lived during the popularity of his origin story long gone, changed again into a symbol of pure masculinity and power. Not having read the books, the cover suggests that he was big and strong and mighty. A good use of the myth for post-war America as the country reveled in its wartime successes or, perhaps more accurately, sought to retain that self-perception in light of the mixed events in Korea.

In the nineties, Kevin Sorbo portrayed him as a response to that era's needs. He was a pleasant, ethical helper. He redefined masculinity as congeniality and restrained strength. He was a helper, not a savior. He avoided violence but, it was because he was strong enough to risk engagement. He was self-effacing. Perhaps it was a response to the "greed is good" eighties or an expression of the power of feminism in myth. Maybe a response to the immense overkill that was applied in the first Iraq war. An attempt to recast our self-image as more thoughtful than violent.

In any case, the sequence is a practical example of the transformation of a myth through time and in response to different social changes. As with the change of Superman story from its creation in the thirties as the American Hercules to the eighties Lover Superman to today's Flawed Introspective Superman, Hercules and The Simpsons adapt to the needs of modern society.

It is peculiar to think of The Simpsons as our mythology. It is thought of as a crude entertainment but, that's how all myths start. The Simpsons has real myth potential because of its longevity (we replace things much more quickly now than in the heyday of historical myth making) and because of its complex reflection of social reality.

'Mr Burns: a post-electric play' is not a fabulous play but the author does a credible and imaginative job of envisioning the changing demands that society places on myths and how a particular one might adapt to fit those needs. From The 'Chase Away the Darkness' Simpsons to The 'Nostalgic Rerun' Simpsons to The 'We Will Endure' Simpsons, the play provides a way of understanding that, even in these cynical and anti-cultural times, mythology is an essential way of helping us adapt and look at ourselves.

'Yo Mama' Attack

When, in a discussion online or elsewhere (but usually online) a conversational opponent fails to argue the issue and resorts to personal attacks, calling names or expressing other, irrelevant nasty attitudes about the person.

This is exemplified by the (possibly apocryphal) phrase, "Yo Mama" to suggest that someones mother is a whore, even when neither she or whoring is under discussion.

Other examples include, "you're a communist", "asshole" and "you're a hypocrite.

Executing an unforced (ie, the opponent did not engage in it first) 'yo mama' attack results in a win for the recipient of the nasty accusation.

Religious Freedom. At Home.

Our society is crowded and diverse. Mere knowledge of your heretical belief in that obscene false deity *you* call 'God' is an insult to mine, the *true* God, the one who insists that It is Supreme and that all other claims are blasphemy.

You might think it's innocent to wear a cross in public. Whenever I look at it, I see evidence of deep, awful corruption. I see a person who has turned their back on God (the real One, mine) and by doing so, has denied my God's existence and insults the very streets upon which you walk that It created.

My God insists that I must convert or kill non-believers because they are dangerous. Their fake deity causes them to try to convert or kill. I might be able to resist, but my children are innocent and weak. Heretics will try to convert them, to take them away from the path of light. They might hear of the false, corrupt delights that your fake God offers, heaven or virgins or peace and believe the lies.

I know that you, heathen, feel the same way. You actually think your God is the real one but, since you are wrong, dangerously, blasphemously wrong, my God says I have to avenge Its honor and kill you.

Over your cross.

The thing is, I am right. I should, must protect God's honor. You would be, too.

So, you are a mild person. You think, live and let live. But, I am not and I have the right to religious freedom and it's absolutely *not* extreme to deny blasphemy, to fight heresy, to protect the honor of one's God. It is less common in these soft and weak-willed times. Many so-called believers are too focused on their worldly goods to do God's work but, throughout history, my view, the righteous view insisted upon by my God has held sway.

So, your cross is a provocation. My God says I have to kill you and your God. My God is the absolute ruler and so, you claim, is Yours. My God says that tolerance is blasphemous and so does Yours. That means I must kill you and your false God. No other path makes any sense at all. No other path honors my God as it should be.

It is incumbent upon civilized people to keep their Gods to themselves to keep the peace. Only by doing so can we have a peaceful society.

Oh, you're telling me I'm wrong. I can hear it in your head. "Sensible people do not believe their God insists on the death of the unrighteous. Jesus never said kill the heathen." But, of course, you're wrong on both counts, or close enough.

Sensible people *are* killing heathens as we speak. Their sense, of course, is different than yours but, they can do sums, they can read books, they can run military industrial complexes. If that's not sensible, I do not know the meaning of the word. They merely prioritize differently than you. Or that you would if you were actually devout.

Because, while there is no sign that Jesus said "kill the heathen", Jesus did not have a whole lot to do with the religion that grew up around Him. And, that religion is pretty clear about heathens. And gay people, and women who don't want to have a baby.

The Constitution actually says that the government will not "establish" a religion. It doesn't say anything about allowing religious practices or, worse, providing space for them to occur. The idea that government should not *interfere* with religion, is midrash, additional elaboration by people who think they understand more than the others. Just like those who justified the Inquisition.

A better midrash, a better interpretation, would be to consider that the establishment clause referred to the whole of society, to say that there can be no official religion and that any public expression of religion is an attempt to coerce those who believe in other things.

This would not only have been more correct according to the language of the Constitution, but it would have prevented a whole host of problems. No arguments about crosses on public land, no discussion of whether Moslems can be required to handle pork at work.

All of those questions would be answered, "Religion must not be practiced in public. It is a private thing, between you and your God and your family." You can no more impose your views about pork onto your employer than he can require you be circumcised.

When you are in public, among believers in other Gods, your God is no longer relevant. If that is unacceptable to you, stay home. You have complete religious freedom, there.

On Netanyahu's Victory

This is one of the very most difficult problems. I am a strong believer in the need for a Jewish homeland. I am a strong opponent of religious fundamentalism and intolerance. Israel is putting me in conflict about things that should never be an issue.

Among the principles that I believe is that, with their genocidal views about "the zionist entity", the Palestinians have chosen a permanently indefensible position. No one is obligated to compromise with such an idea.

But, as Israel develops, they are turning into a right-wing, fundamentalist society increasingly indefensible as well. Netanyahu finally won his election with frankly racist statements that align Isreal with similar ideas that are equally vile.

Netanyahu's election confirms an Israeli policy that is, for all practical purposes, the same as the Palestinians'. The views he enunciated, and that caused the Israeli people to give him the election, are that Palestinians have no right to a homeland and that Arab participation in Israeli elections is a foreign threat.

Palestinians claim that the Jews have no right to their own state and that the Jews should be pushed into the sea. How can Netanyahu's assertion that the Palestinians have no right to a state imply anything other than that the Palestinians should be pushed into the Jordan?

Israel has gone from being a beacon of democracy in the Middle East made brighter by the generous ethos of the Mitzvot, Tzdekah and Tikun Olam.

Today, democracy is compromised and is dimmed by having ratified the worst of the principles of fundamentalist intolerance and selfishness of it's enemies. Politically, I can see no difference.

Yet, a Jewish homeland is paramount. I now find myself trying to imagine if there is any limit to that principle. One should never have to face that question. Benjamin Natanyahu is a monster.