October 1st, 2012


[links] Link salad really talked, yes it did, to God's early dawning light

Apple's $30bn maps mistakeTim Cook's delayed apology over the maps fiasco tells us a lot about the company's attitude and management. Yep, the corporate dick-waving over Google trumped Apple's usual dedication to the user experience. Ego for the win, and to hell with their customers. Hey, Apple, how about giving us back Google Maps in iOS6?

Hey, Apple: Mapping Takes More Work than You ThinkApple's apology suggests it may underestimate how much effort is needed to build a great map app.

Turkey Demands Return of Art, Alarming the World’s Museums — When I consider the Islamic world's relationship to pre-Islamic antiquities, I can't help but think of the Bamiyan Buddhas.

HominidInsects with visible human skeletons do insect things in the unsettling animation Hominid, based on the series of photo composites by Brian Andrews under the same title. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Injured bald eagle gets new 3-D printed beak — Wow. Weird. (Via [info]wild_irises.)

Cooley Airship: 1910 — Hmmm.

One Proposal to Relieve a Warming Planet: An Umbrella Made of Asteroid — Because space rocks.

Climate change 'may shrink fish'Fish species are expected to shrink in size by up to 24% because of global warming, say scientists. Honey, I shrunk the fish? Of course, conservative fish will be as large as ever.

The Conservative Case for Obamacare — Duh. HCR started out as a Heritage Foundation proposal. Not exactly screaming socialists over there. And I do not understand why a political movement allegedly dedicated to entrepreneurship is so opposed to fixing one of the biggest barriers to individual business initiative — access to healthcare financing. I guess that's like a political movement allegedly dedicated to ending abortion being opposed to sex education, contraception and women's health services.

Schwarzenegger vetoed gay marriage twice, secretly performed two — Because conservatives have ethics, unlike those godless liberals.

Homework AssignmentScrivener's Error on the subject of presidential debates.

Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama — Because Mitt Romney would be better about any of the issues mentioned in this piece? Really?

President Obama: The Democrats' Ronald Reagan — Interesting piece, though for me personally, my deep resentment of the endless hagiography of the old fraud that was Ronald Reagan really mars the comparison.

Court Weighs Same-Sex to Race-Related Laws Following Obamacare — Oh, boy. More chances for conservative ideology to mar American jurisprudence for a generation.

Apocalyptic rhetoric of religious right is playing with fireThat wild talk is just pep-rally hyperbole that they don’t really expect to come about any more than they really expected all of the horrific consequences they earlier predicted would come to pass when Vermont first allowed civil unions, or when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed. But not everyone understands that it’s just a game. And not everyone understands that these over-the-top predictions and lies are just role-playing aspects of that game. And when some of the people who listen to, and trust, these religious right spokespeople and right-wing media outlets hear what those folks are saying — and believe it, the consequences can be tragic: You could apply this reasoning to most the body of conservative political rhetoric in my lifetime, and a fair amount of liberal-progressive rhetoric as well. Except us lefties tend not to be quite so starkly apocalyptic, or violent in our messaging.

Riverside County GOP registration surge raises questions of fraudAt least 133 residents of a state Senate district there have filed formal complaints with the state, saying they were added to GOP rolls without their knowledge. With abuses like this becoming routine news, it's a good thing Republicans the country over are on the case to keep brown people from voting. Look, ACORN!

Ryan Says Romney 47 Percent of Americans Remark a Misstep — Gee. Ya think? That's what happens when Republicans are honest. People really understand what conservatism is all about. Almost nobody likes that truth.

?otD: Are you privileged to be as you are to this day, to be with you? To be with you?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (2,000 words on novelette)
Body movement: 0.5 hour stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.0 (interrupted, with napping)
Weight: 226.4
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo


[food|personal] Doing stuff with the people who love me

To celebrate the return of Jersey Girl in Portland from her German sojourn, we had an eggs Benedict brunch yesterday at Nuevo Rancho Lake.

Jersey Girl her own sweet self

Ace Jordyn made a Miracle Whip chocolate cake (no, I'm not sure why, either). I roasted Yukon gold potatoes in peanut oil and bacon grease with loads of coarse salt, paprika and black pepper. [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my mom) made a fabulous Hollandaise sauce, with tons and tons of lemon juice therein.

Ace and Tillyjane cooking

[info]mlerules brought a marvelous fruit salad. Team E— and the [info]the_child helped cook and prep. Ace Jordyn poached the eggs in a water-filled skillet (a talent that baffles me). Canadian bacon and English muffins were pan fried. Mother of the Child joined us for some eggs Florentine. We ate like happy, happy pigs.

A partial gallery of rogues

Good god, it was good.

In other news, I put [info]kenscholes on a plane yesterday morning to fly east and meet Lisa Costello. She has successfully retrieved him and they are on their way west for her big move to our fair PDX. They should be here sometime late Thursday. Just in time for another chemotherapy session, whoo!

Also, Lisa Costello and Jersey Girl in Portland will be house hunting soon. Life is slowly setting in to whatever its pattern will be for a while n this chemo series. I am lucky in my friends.

Photos © 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[politics] Empathy and imagination

I've commented before that the contemporary American conservative mindset appears to be a failure of both empathy and imagination. I'm not talking about the limited government/strong defense/private enterprise axis of political thought, all of which are perfectly legitimate ideas about which I have varied opinions. I'm talking about the current social and political mindset of many Republican voters, as expressed in the party platforms they support, the candidates they select, and the leaders they elect.

In another part of this country lives a friend of mine with whom I have significant political differences. Not particularly relevant to our friendship, as we simply don't talk about politics much. He's an intelligent, thoughtful, generous guy who genuinely cares about the people around him, enjoys his life, and wants everyone else to enjoy theirs. Yet one day in a discussion about healthcare reform, he said to me, "I worked hard to buy that big screen television. Why should I give it up for someone else who doesn't work as hard as I do?"

Meaning, in effect, why should he pay taxes to support someone less hard working or fortunate than he is?

To me, that's a profound failure of both empathy and imagination on my friend's part. He doesn't see that someone not born into middle class white male privilege would have a much harder time achieving what he has achieved. That for the same amount of work as he's put in, and frankly quite a bit more, some people can barely pay the rent and keep their kids fed. He doesn't see that someone who gets sick and isn't inside our country's dubious healthcare safety net can so easily lose everything no matter how well they've followed the rules and how hard they've tried. He doesn't see that making sure everybody has a decent education and good health and positive working conditions and the right to vote benefits him just as much as it benefits the rest of society.

What he sees is people who don't work as hard as he do, taking his money. Benefits going to the undeserving at his expense.

And that perception has rendered one of our two major political parties into a cesspool of mean-spirited anger, resentment and punishment. Romney's 47% remarks were surprising only in their candor, not their content. What he said is implicit in nearly every state GOP party platform as well as the national platform, in the entire process of the Republican presidential primary, the GOP positions on everything from healthcare reform to women's health.

It's because people like my friend can't imagine themselves in a position of need or dependency. And they don't seem to be able to empathize with those who are. This results in a system where even when help is available, the processes put in place to screen out the undeserving overwhelm those who need help most. (See my multiple posts on the paperwork issues in my healthcare journey.) We prioritize compliance over need every time, precisely because of the need to cater to the conservative failure of empathy and imagination when designing those public programs. And that is when the system is working as designed. God help those people who can't check all the right boxes.

The real dialog should be over how we solve those problems. Not whether they are legitimate, or whether the people who need help are moochers. It isn't about the 47%. It's about being human beings in a humane society. Almost half our country has lost its moral compass with respect to anything beyond its own large screen televisions, and making sure the undeserving don't get more than their share.