January 4, 2014 archive

2014 Thowball Wild Card- Chiefs @ Colts

Well, its that time of year again and I’ll start off with a familiar observation, unless one of your favorites is in the chase it’s not so much about which team you like as it is about which team you hate more.

In this game my choice is obvious.  I really, really hate the way Irsay blackmailed Baltimore before moving to Indianapolis, which, while I’m sure it’s a great city and all is simply a blot of population in the middle of what in Michigan (where admittedly we have no love lost for Hoosiers) is called ‘cow country’ that in no way compares with the Baltimore – Washington market.  It was a deeply cynical and manipulative ploy I hope stains the Bolts franchise for the rest of it’s history.

Which is not to say I like the Chiefs which is a franchise storied only for their consistent record of futility, but at least they’re not carpetbaggers.  As the Dallas Texans they were one of the original AFL franchises and relocated to Kansas City in 1963 in the face of overwhelming competition from the much to be despised ‘Boys.  They’ve only ever been owned by the Hunt family of oil baron fame and despite being one of the objectively weakest teams in the league are valued at $1 Billion.

I’ll note for hahas that some incredibly optimistic Chiefs fan has already named them the 2013 Champions which demonstrates ‘wikiality’ for you Colbert aficionados.  In fact the Champions last year were the Baltimore Ravens and the Chief’s last playoff appearance was in 2011 when they lost in the Wild Card round to them.

Another opening observation I’d like to make is that starting out in the Wild Card round isn’t the enormous handicap that it is in Major League Baseball.  In Baseball in all the other rounds it’s not one and out, but in Throwball that’s the way it always is.

On This Day In History January 4

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 4 is the fourth day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 361 days remaining until the end of the year (362 in leap years).

On this day in 1987, Spanish guitar great Andres Segovia arrives in the United States for his final American tour. He died four months later in Madrid at the age of 94.

Segovia was hailed for bringing the Spanish guitar from relative obscurity to classical status. Born in Spain’s southern region of Andalusia–the original home of the guitar–Segovia studied the piano and cello as a child but soon became captivated with the guitar. Knowing of no advanced teachers of an instrument that was generally banished to the cafes, he taught himself and in 1909 gave his first public performance at the age of 15. To successfully render classical material, Segovia invented countless new techniques for the guitar, and by his first appearance in Paris in 1924, he was a virtuoso. His American debut came four years later in New York City.

Cartnoon

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan

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Otoshidama: How kids in Japan get rich once a year

   Philip Kendall

With Christmas being just a regular day and the exchanging of gifts something of a rarity, we often feel that kids in Japan are missing out somewhat. Of course, not every Westerner is fortunate enough to know the joy of waking up on December 25 and finding presents-brought by a benevolent bearded man, no less-under the Christmas tree or at the foot of their bed, but those who are would most likely agree that it’s a pretty spectacular feeling for a kid to have.

But while the rest of the world is coming to realise that the toys they asked for aren’t quite as cool as they’d expected and dreading going back to school or work, kids in Japan are making out like bandits and getting not presents but cold, hard cash on New Year’s Day in the form of otoshidama.

Could Snowden Get a Fair Trial in the US

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Jessalyn Raddack, Edward Snowden’s legal adviser appeared on Meet the Press, December 29, discussed the NSA leaks by Snowden and why they believe that he could not get a fair trial in this country.

In editorials over New Year’s Day, the New York Times and The Guardian called on President Barack Obama to grant Edward Snowden some form of clemency or a pardon to allow him to return home.

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower

By The New York Times Editorial Board

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.  [..]

The shrill brigade of his critics say Mr. Snowden has done profound damage to intelligence operations of the United States, but none has presented the slightest proof that his disclosures really hurt the nation’s security. Many of the mass-collection programs Mr. Snowden exposed would work just as well if they were reduced in scope and brought under strict outside oversight, as the presidential panel recommended.

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. That’s why Rick Ledgett, who leads the N.S.A.’s task force on the Snowden leaks, recently told CBS News that he would consider amnesty if Mr. Snowden would stop any additional leaks. And it’s why President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home.

Snowden affair: the case for a pardon

The Guardian Editorial, Comment is Free

Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of courage

Mr Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of some moral courage. Presidents – from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan – have issued pardons. The debate that Mr Snowden has facilitated will no doubt be argued over in the US supreme court. If those justices agree with Mr Obama’s own review panel and Judge Richard Leon in finding that Mr Snowden did, indeed, raise serious matters of public importance which were previously hidden (or, worse, dishonestly concealed), is it then conceivable that he could be treated as a traitor or common felon? We hope that calm heads within the present administration are working on a strategy to allow Mr Snowden to return to the US with dignity, and the president to use his executive powers to treat him humanely and in a manner that would be a shining example about the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself.

Attorney for Julian Assange and President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York discussed how the New York Times Editorial should have also supported other whistleblowers with Real News Network’s Jaisal Noor.



Full transcript can be read here

Lewis Black – The Disappointing Future

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Back in Black – The Disappointing Future

Lewis Black feels let down by a future that several doctors told him he would not live to see.

A Funeral for The Trans of Termini

 photo chiesa_del_gesu__casa_professa_zps17e31b4f.jpgThere has been plenty of fascination with the new pope’s statement, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about his views of gay and lesbian people.  

But there has been no change in church doctrine.  As Parker Marie Molloy pointed out in a recent Op-ed, the pope has touted a change in tone while the content underneath the tone remains virtually unchanged.

Molloy points to the fact that the tone correction has not extended to the church’s views on transgender people, as enunciated in his 2012 Christmas homily by Pope Benny:

[Bernheim] quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: ‘one is not born a woman, one becomes so’ (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient).  These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality.  According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society.  The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.  People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being.  They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.  According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature.  This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God.  This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed.  The words of the creation account: ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27) no longer apply.  No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves.  Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist.  Man calls his nature into question.  From now on he is merely spirit and will.  The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.  From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be.  Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed.  But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation.  Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain.  When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.  The defense of the family is about man himself.  And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears.  Whoever defends God is defending man.

Molloy admits that it is not fair to hold Francis accountable to the statements of Benedict but he says we should not forget that those words stand as the most recent papal remarks about transgender people and they are the most mean-spirited remarks ever tossed our way as a subset of society.

Can anyone who reads Benny’s statement not understand how much a transperson reading it would feel less then human and deserving of all the hate directed towards us?