Monthly Archives: January 2014

Not Such a Winter Wonderland in Atlanta…

The combination of a poor infrastructure and lousy coordination is primarily responsible for the woes Atlanta residents are currently enduring.

This could provide an opportunity for Atlanta to make significant changes that would not just prevent incidents like this from recurring but to actually improve as a city (its traffic is notoriously awful even when there’s not a cloud in the sky). However, we will probably see people scrambling into defense mode with more alacrity than it handled this week’s storm.

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Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Black Atheists…

As someone with no religious faith but lots of melanin, I was intrigued by the posts on Andrew Sullivan’s blog about the apparent “lack of black atheists.”

From one fellow’s story:

After numerous debates with classmates who came from a very church-grounded liberal politics, I found the notion of a “loving” god who allowed so many to suffer unbelievable. Because I believed there was no god, I must take care and do for myself, with no expectation of help. I was tired of my people believing “God will provide” and “He will save us,” which I felt generated the same sort of feeling about government help. Thus, I became a supporter of personal responsibility and free markets, culminating in me voting for GWB in my first presidential election.

The “personal responsibility” slogan also doesn’t track with much of modern conservatism. The banking crisis in 2008 was hardly an example. This poster came to the same conclusions I did as a youth regarding God but the extreme individualism (“I must take care and do for myself”) manages to reject the one positive aspect of religious faith — that people exist in the world other than yourself. There’s no God and the world is cold and cruel, so you should do what you can to make it less so for others. As Angel said, “If nothing you do matters, all that matters is what you do.”

The notion that there’s no God who loves you, so you should focus all your energies in loving yourself is small and juvenile, which is why I think Ayn Rand’s views are often dismissed as such. They remind me of the childhood phase when you are overly possessive of “your things,” without acknowledging that they were provided and maintained by your parents. One of the best things my parents did was to stress that my assigned chores were part of my duties in contributing to the overall “household community.” It wasn’t just about me, and it wasn’t just about an exchange of money (an allowance) for any work I did at home.

Not surprisingly, our black atheist eventually discovered that modern-day conservatism, based on the political right’s focus on banning abortion and gay marriage, has more in common with Cotton Mather than Ayn Rand.

Graduate school, maturity, and observation of bigotry and incompetence within Republican governance have moderated my politics substantially, but I’ve maintained the atheism.

There’s also the reality that a strictly individualistic Randian philosophy works best if you are not in any way a member of a minority group (gender, racial, or sexual). The glorified “free market” can easily lean toward “might makes right.” Martin Luther King obviously had some success through leveraging the free market system (the bus boycotts) but the larger impact came from influencing the hearts and minds of those in actual power (the majority).

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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Blackout for MLK…

24502600_BG1 Arizona State University has suspended the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity while it investigates the “unregistered Greek event” in which fraternity members dressed in basketball jerseys, flashed gang signs and drank from watermelon cups.

They make watermelon cups?

Anyway, these geniuses then posted the photos of the party on social media because Internet narcissism trumps the savvy surreptitiousness of, say, the Klan, whose members wore hoods and didn’t post photos of their terrorist acts with the hashtag #whitepower.

If the Tau Kappa Epsilon members had access to Instagram, they could have also Googled actual photos of Martin Luther King, who I believe never made public appearances in basketball jerseys or flashed gang signs during his speeches. I presume, though, he enjoyed watermelon on a hot day just like anyone else. Who doesn’t like watermelon?

For a self-described “blackout party,” it’s odd that they basically just look like House of Pain.

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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Jean-Claude Van Damme really enjoys turnips…

Hank Green points out that when it comes to climate change, we are really bad at thinking globally.

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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Back when it was Kentucky Fried Chicken…

This is an instructional film I presume new Kentucky Fried Chicken employees were shown. It’s dated 1985, which is when I recall last enjoying the restaurant’s food.

It was never health food but in those days, it wasn’t “fast food” either. I think 1985 is also when I progressed from a two-piece dinner to a three-piece like my parents. There was a KFC (as it was then called) near my first NYC apartment and although I didn’t eat chicken at the time, I would occasionally stop in and pick up sides of mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw, and biscuits. The sides were still somewhat edible, especially with the influence of nostalgia, but the chicken had long stopped resembling food.

And, from there, it was a short, depressing trip to the Double Down.

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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Matt Smith Leaves The Beatles…

Quentin Tarantino once pointed out that if you just listened to the audience reaction to Marrin Scorsese’s Goodfellas you’d think they were watching a comedy. Based on these YouTube clips of women reacting to Matt Smith’s final episode of Doctor Who, you’d think they were watching Steel Magnolias after putting their childhood pet to sleep.

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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Pop Life


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