i teach logic

television consumption

a couple of months back, on facebook, kid_prufrock wrote: ‘The last two shows I've been watching are Breaking Bad and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I think I like both best when I watch an episode of the latter right after one of the former, as a chaser.’

i now understand the deep wisdom of this approach.

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two other thoughts:

- i am very, very happy to finally have the perfect post for this userpic.

- if it comes up, the Applejack is clearly the pony to cast in the Walter White role.
Alexander and Diogenes


having done some minimal research, i've decided i was right in my initial impression that Proposition 14 (the blanket primary amendment) is a really, really bad idea. so any registered CA voters out there need to remember to vote against it on 8 June. this is opposed by all six recognized political parties in California, and also by a wide variety of prominent electoral reform advocates. if enacted, it will increase the system's vulnerability to unpredictable spoiler effects, totally screw various adorable minor political parties, lead to numerous single-party general elections. its supporters are a handful of prominent state politicians and a few business interest PACs, who have been promoting it with various lies about open-ness and participation. don't fall for it.

seriously, this is a pretty awful idea. if you want to shake up the electoral system, hold out for approval voting or STV or something - this is a step in the wrong direction.
jews for cheeses

(no subject)

since i thought last year's lj seder was fun, i'm going to try to do it again this year. i've reserved the community name e_seder for this purpose, and y'all should join. i'm also looking for a second person to serve in an administrative role, since conversation will probably be ongoing during the period when i'm over the Atlantic without internet.

i'll try to start posting appropriate links (mostly to haggadot available online) over there shortly.

why do they want us to lose?

Bryan Fischer, blogging at the American Family Association, has taken the Fort Hood shootings as the point of departure to call for a ban on Muslim Americans serving their country in the military.* near the end of his rant, he remarks that ‘The military is not about social engineering or diversity or multiculturalism or about proving what open-minded people we are. It's about being ready to break things and kill people so that Americans can sleep securely in their beds at night.’

this reminds me of something that's been bothering me for a while. there's this idea that's popular on the right in the United States that people showing up here and persisting in maintaining their own cultures and speaking their own languages is somehow a threat to American and the American way of life. putting aside for the moment the fact that people doing that is one of the most important distinguishing characterics of the American way of life, i think that the policies that this kind of attitude spawns actively weaken America. i don't mean this ‘strength through diversity’ thing in some abstract hippie academic way - i mean that our diversity has a long and proud history as an important resource that, when the situation calls for it, makes us better equipped to break things and kill people.

you see, a sufficient level of diversity and inclusion can put us in a position to offer this threat to potential enemies: no matter who you are, where you live, what gods you worship, or what language you speak, there is somebody on our team who speaks your language and understands your ways. somebody willing and able to meet you across a negotiating table, yes, but also willing and able to work as an intelligence analyst, a propagandist, an infiltrator, or an assassin - someone who has what it takes to turn your neighbors against you and kill you in your sleep. oh, and we also have somebody on our team about whose language and ways you know nothing, and we might just find a way to use them against you too. our diversity allows us to understand you much better than you understand us.

our ability to credibly make this threat in the past, and to follow through with it, has been spotty exactly because of our uneven track record when it comes to being inclusive and diversity-friendly - because of our frequent failure to recognize and cultivate this incredible strategic resource.

with its English-only, aggressively assimilationist, and generally obnoxiously exclusionary ways, the American right has undermined - and threatens to destroy - one of our most distinctive strategic resources for the killing of bad guys.

why do they want us to lose?

*this has been inaccurately described as the AFA calling for such a ban. it doesn't look to me like this is the case, and in fact another AFA blogger has already posted to emphatically disagree with Fischer and to offer a statement of gratitude to ‘our soldiers - whether Christian, Jew, Atheist, Wiccan, or Muslim’. i generally think the AFA is a pretty unpleasant organization, but I still think that their involvement in this particular piece of stupid is being characterized in a way that's unfair to them.

(η: there are certain respects in which the above is a bit over the top - it was necessary for rhetorical effect, and i don't regret it, but, to clarify:

1. i don't think American conservatives actually want America to lose. one of the things this post is about is the absurdity of the ‘they disagree with me about how to win so they must want us to lose’ category of arguments. i don't even believe most American conservatives are as bad as the one post i linked to suggests. hell, i'm not even sure the guy who wrote the post is that bad. he's obviously (and understandably) pretty shook up about the whole senseless shooting thing, and when people get shook up they sometimes say stupid-ass things. i'm certainly not immune to this effect, and i'm guessing you aren't either. of course, he also very well may be that bad. in any case, the pro-tolerance AFA post is very much recommended reading.

2. i actually think there are some good reasons to be reluctant to use assassination as a means of getting things done, and that the attitude that reduces every problem to the problem of killing bad guys is a dangerous one. there lots of problems in this world that are difficult or impossible to solve without killing bad guys, but there are precious few that can be solved by just killing bad guys, and also quite a few where getting stuck in the ‘kill the bad guys’ mindset can make you miss an opportunity to solve things in a less death-oriented manner. nevertheless, my point is that even when we do generally find ourselves in a situation where breaking things and killing people is a big part of the solution, this stuff about freedom and diversity an tolerance is still important - and is in some ways even more important than it was before.)