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coalition_unwilling's Journal
coalition_unwilling's Journal
August 31, 2012

I AM worse off than I was four years ago. I have

been unemployed now for almost two years.

The Unemployment Insurance extension was cut off abruptly in early May when California no longer qualified for Fed-Ed extension.

Have run through all my liquid savings and am now liquidating my IRAs to make mortgage and payments.

So do me a favor and stop trumpeting how much better off YOU are now.


August 25, 2012

Do you know why Romney used to be pro-choice? (The answer and Romney's

subsequent adoption of the anti-choice stance should disgust anyone with a heart that feels.)

But when Mitt Romney started running for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, he had to execute a 180 degree turn for the GOP's conservative primary voters . . . he had to convince his party's evangelical base that what happens in Boston stays in Boston. And that included desecrating the memory of Ann Keenan, the sister of Romney's brother-in-law who died at the age of 21 in 1963 after a botched, illegal abortion.

. . . .

That's what makes Mitt Romney's abortion about-face all the more stunning and a disturbing window into the character of the man who may yet become the 45th president of the United States. For him, the political trumps the personal. To put it another way, on his road to the White House, Mitt Romney threw his "dear, close family relative" under the bus.


What an absolute piece of shit this Romney is. No wonder even the Rape-publicans can't stand him.
August 21, 2012

Mike Huckabee has a lot of gall to discuss the

"benefits" of rape:

While Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee paroled a rapist (Wayne DuMond) who then went on to rape and murder yet another woman.


A tip of my hat to DUer MsAnthrope for educating me on the Huckster's real agenda.

August 19, 2012

A Two-Fer: Someone should ask Romney whether he agrees with Missouri's

Repig Senate candidate Todd Akin that victims of 'legitimate rape' do not get pregnant.

Force Romney to cut Akin loose or risk forfeiting even more women's votes.

August 18, 2012

You've Got to Show Me: The (New) Epistemological Crisis

Author's Note: This is my newest essay published on my blog. I am cross-publishing here, because I so value DU's many contributors and great thinkers and would love to hear your comments and feedback. I will endeavor to respond to all who post substantive replies.

An article I came across last week got me to thinking about epistemology, the sub-discipline of Philosophy that determines what we know and how we come to know it. Turns out voters in Missouri have now granted themselves the right to skip classes and classwork if the subject matter or presentation violates their religious beliefs. I'm not an attorney, but this new law presumably also means that parents who object on religious grounds to their children being taught the principles of natural selection and evolution in Life Sciences classes in public school can pull their children from those classes:

"Last week, Missouri voters gave themselves the right to pray without state interference. But some science educators are worried that the seemingly innocuous referendum on the 7 August ballot, which passed overwhelmingly, could also undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Amendment 2 "is a lawyer's dream" because of its vagueness, says Joshua Rosenau, programs and policy director of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, which tracks efforts by groups that oppose evolution. While the amendment begins by declaring that all residents "have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences," it also lists several situations in which that right must be protected. Rosenau is worried about one particular clause: "that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs."

Those words give students the legal right to skip assignments related to evolution if the subject matter conflicts with their beliefs, Rosenau says. And that exemption could extend throughout their scholastic career, he adds, since evolution is not just taught in one lesson but remains a recurrent theme throughout science education. The amendment also leaves a hole in their coursework, he says, as it provides no guidance on any substitute lessons."


What caught my eye was the final sentence, a paraphrase of Joshua Rosenau's comments. The new amendment provides "no guidance on any substitute lessons." So what exactly will those children and students learn about the origins and development of life in the universe? And how will its validity be measured and evaluated against the validity of the theories of natural selection and evolution? The Scientific Method - built around the simple schema of Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment and Conclusion - now has a challenge to its very existence, as epitomized by the broad support for Missouri's Amendment 2. But what shall replace the Scientific Method?

We face a new epistemological crisis in this country. The crisis has been brewing for well over 50 years but, I would argue, since the advent of the internet has reached epidemic proportions. In an age where every URL is created equal and where precedence goes not to knowledge which is tested in the cauldron of the scientific method but rather by which spurious link comes up first in a Google search, how are we to evaluate statements and data to see whether they accurately represent truth or reality?

Thomas Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, argued that the history of science could be explained by anomalies in a prevailing paradigm reaching the point where a 'crisis' occurs, such that the existing paradigm must be overthrown and replaced by a new paradigm. Think Einstein replacing Newton or Darwin replacing the Biblical account of Creation. The point is that internal contradictions within an older established order reach such a fever pitch that the older order no longer suffices. That crisis now besets the very mechanisms by which our culture arbitrates what it calls knowledge. The epistemological crisis is now upon us and it is hard to forsee the new paradigm that will replace the ancien regime.

Were one to turn to the media to arbitrate and decide upon 'Truth,' one might be sorely disappointed these days. According to the Pew Center, public faith in the media is at historic lows:

"For the second time in a decade, the believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines. In the new survey, positive believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested. This follows a similar downturn in positive believability ratings that occurred between 2002 and 2004.

The falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as the New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR."


While the survey says that the public no longer believes the media, one might be tempted to still believe that the media itself still offers some claim to "objectivity." But one would be hard-pressed to find any examples of that. A media that blithely equates statements of fact about Romney (Romney has not and still refuses to release his tax returns) with the Swiftboat slanders about John Kerry (belied by Kerry's service records and contemporaneous accounts) as though the two are somehow equivalent shows how far from credibility the media has fallen. The media no longer has any special claim on the truth, if it ever did.

The old authorities - Church, Academia, Media, Government - have broken down, but no new authority has risen to take their place. Those of us who looked to the Occupy Movement as a new source of epistemological authority -- a crucible where competing theses were tested and through dialogue and the testing of experience rejected or accepted -- found ourselves dismayed by the constant Babel of voices. When the ideas of those opposed to the flouridation of water receive the same level of credence as ideas about global climate change, well Houston, we have a problem.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a very interesting article in the online edition of Smart Money about self-publishing and the demise of the great publishing houses and the thousands who are employed there. I was struck by the author's penultimate paragraph, for it turns out that self-publishing is the material manifestation of this epistemological crisis. When everyone fancies him- or herself an author and there are few if no barriers to electronic publication and distribution, what will prevent a terrifying cacophony of voices from polluting the Commons?

"Self-publishing will produce a tsunami of books. Very few will be financial successes. Very few will be any good. Sifting your way through the chaff for the wheat will be much harder than browsing through a bookstore. I suspect the best-selling few, like Fifty Shades of Rubbish, will "crowd out" the rest. Once upon a time Internet cheerleaders talked about the so-called "fat tail," the idea that the Internet would make marginal products profitable. The reality seems to be the reverse: The overwhelming dominance of the few."


I have often called for a latter-day Martin Luther to tack a new 95 Theses upon the doors of the Academy. But now I fear that the Reformation (v 2.0) would not accomplish much. We are, I fear, destined to live through an age of epistemological anarchy for many years to come. The Scientific Method, that system of knowledge which ushered in vaccines, space travel and good nutrition may become simply another cult among many other cults of knowledge. More to be pitied, I suppose. But again, how shall we evaluate the world we live in and representations about it for their truthfulness? How will we know what we know?

August 12, 2012

Round 3 is over. Romney has had his 2-day Ryan respite between rounds, but

now the bell is tolling for Round 4:


Corollary: if he has nothing to hide, WHY WON'T MITT ROMNEY RELEASE HIS TAX RETURNS??????

IMO, These two questions should be at the forefront of every conversation held with Independents and Repigs from now through the Convention. Forget about the Ryan budget (for now), forget about Bain (for now).

Just keep asking those two questions.

August 11, 2012

Why did Ryan agree to be Romney's VP pick? What does Ryan gain from

tying himself to a floundering effort? Is Ryan deluded enough to think that, with him on the ticket, RMoney has a chance of winning?

I'd be interested to hear DU's speculation.

August 8, 2012

Texas executed a man with an IQ of 61 tonight and Mitt Romney has

an IRA worth $100 million.

Just another day in the life of WTF-istan.

Thanks a lot, United States Supreme Court, for allowing an intellectually disabled human being to be killed. You fucking shitstains, you fucking disgraces to the human race.

August 6, 2012

I was at the Hare Krishna Festival of the Chariots at Venice Beach today and missed news of

the Oak Creek Sikh Temple mass shooting. I only found out about it just now when I got home.

Not sure what commonalities if any Sikhs have with Hare Krishna believers, but I can tell you that the Krishna folks my wife and I met today were a uniformly beautiful people. The chariots were absolutely beautiful and the women's dresses and makeup were absolutely breathtaking. The Krishnas had a kitchen set up at Windward Circle providing free meals to anyone who wanted one, no questions asked and no proselytizing whatsoever (other than a genially offered 'Hare Krishna').

I"ll do a separate post about the Festival later (complete with some of my wife's awesome photos), but I really don't understand how or why anyone would do such a hateful thing to such a self-effacing group of people. I'm really starting to get sick of America and my fellow Americans. This country has very few redeeming virtues left, imo.

August 5, 2012

This country is terminally sick: Mitt has an IRA worth $100 million AND

people, including as many as 16 million children, are going hungry every day.

My God, there should be rioting in the streets. I'm talking major civil insurrection here.

I am speechless. I am aghast. All I can say is "What. The. Fuck?"

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