Priorities: A Snapshot


As much as people complain about the media, it is occasionally worth attending the self-inflicted wounds. To wit, Huffington Post readers:

"Trending" sidebar widget noting popular articles at the Huffington Post, 17 March 2017.• “Pro Wrestler Comes Out As Bisexual After Video With Boyfriend Hits The Web”

• “7 Signs Of A Nervous Breakdown”

• “7 Reasons Your Pee Smells Weird”

• “‘Girls’ Is Now Officially Unwatchable”

• “These Will Be The Best Places To Live In America In 2100 A.D.”

So, yeah. Trending. According to HuffPo’s metrics, this is what people are reading and promoting.

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Image note: “Trending” sidebar widget noting popular articles at the Huffington Post, 17 March 2017.

Louisiana: Helping Build Family Values … and Families


¡Freak Flag Fly!

Begging your pardon, there are certain things we need to make clear. Let us start with two paragraphs from Judge Edward D. Rubin that bear actual life-altering influence:

The court grants the Petitioners’ Motion for Summary Judgment and denies the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. It hereby declares that La. Const. Article XII, Section 15 (the Defense of Marriage Act/DOMA) and La. Civil Code Articles 86, 89, and 3520(B) are unconstitutional because they violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article IV, Section 1, the Full faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. Louisiana’s Reveunue Bulletin No. 13-024 (9/13/13) is likewise declared unconstitutional as it violates the petitioners’ rights guaranteed by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Hence, Tim Barfield in his official capacity as the Secretary of the State of Louisiana Department of Revenue, is hereby ordered to act in accordance with this court’s ruling and allow the peititioners to file their state tax returns as a couple whose marriage is valid and recognized in Louisiana. The court hereby enjoins the state from enforcing the above referenced laws to the extent that these lws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same sex. Additionally, having ruled that the petitioners’ marriage shall be recognized by the state of Louisiana, it follows that Angela Marie Costanza has satisfied the requirement of stepparent under the provisions of La. Ch. C. article 1243, which allows for intrafamily adoption. The court reaffirms its previous decision in Adoption of (__) which declared Angela Costanza’s adoption of (__) to be in the child’s best interest. The minor child, (__), is declared, for all purposes to be the child of petitioner, Angela Marie Costanza to the same extent as if (__) had been born to Angela Costanza in marriage. As such, the court further orders Devin George in his official capcity of the State’s Registrar of Vital Records, to issue a new birth certificate naming Angela Costanza as (__)’s mother.

The State of Louisiana is hereby ordered to recognize the Petitioners’ marriage validly contracted in California as lawful in this state, pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit guaranteed by Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution.

This is what it looks like when justice comes.

There is, of course, a backstory.

Continue reading

On Faith


Faith:

PRRI 2014 survey mapTwo weeks ahead of the Super Bowl, half of American sports fans say they believe God or a supernatural force is at play in the games they watch, according to a new survey.

That percentage includes Americans who pray for God to help their team (26 percent), think their team has been cursed (25 percent) or more generally believe God is involved in determining who wins on the court or in the field (19 percent). Overall, half of Americans fall into one of these groups, according to the survey Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday.

“As Americans tune in to the Super Bowl this year, fully half of fans — as many as 70 million Americans — believe there may be a twelfth man on the field influencing the outcome,” Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert Jones said in a statement. “Significant numbers of American sports fans believe in invoking assistance from God on behalf of their favorite team, or believe the divine may be playing out its own purpose in the game.”

Football fans were the most likely to pray for their own teams to win, with 33 percent saying they ask God to intervene in games, compared to 21 percent of fans of other sports. They were also more likely to think their teams were cursed (31 percent compared to 18 percent) and to take part in rituals before or during games (25 percent to compared to 18 percent).

(Kaleem)

It is time to actually stop and think about this, for minute. No, no, don’t pray about it. Think.

Continue reading

Progress, Sure, but Whence Come We?


“Woo-hoo! I can go to the doctor now? I’m serious. I need to go.”

Jeff Fletcher

Good news isn’t always … happy? … reassuring? It is hard to explain, of course, but amid the vicious politics echoing throughout the Beltway, it is easy to forget minor details such as the notion that there really are human stakes in this fight. As Jason Linkins recently reminded:

[T]he promulgation of an “Obama’s Katrina” metaphor firmly underscores the basic lack of real stakes involved for all of the people having that conversation. Obama is going to live well and without concern for the rest of his life. The vast majority of the lawmakers involved in the ongoing debate over the matter will as well. So will most of the pundits currently batting this meme back and forth. They’ll all be fine. Really, super fine, actually. They’re going to have terrific, largely worry-free lives ….

…. There has to be a great story out there about what life is like for normal human Americans who aren’t affluent political celebrities or who don’t enjoy a luxurious sinecure in Beltway punditry. But the saddest part of all of this is that the Affordable Care Act’s woes have created only a brief interest in the woes of ordinary Americans, and just how terrifying it can be for one’s life to depend on the kindness of insurance providers in the individual market. Right now, if you can proffer a letter attesting to the fact that you’ve lost your health insurance, chances are you can finally get a reporter who had never previously evinced interest in the matter on the phone.

It wasn’t always this way. A July 2009 study conducted by Families USA found that between January 2008 and December 2010, in the teeth of the economic downturn, over 44,000 Americans were receiving notice that they’d be losing their health insurance every week. The same people breaking story after story about those losing their coverage now had better things to do back when it really mattered. As with almost any story that we could tell about the rampant, constant, tragic economic insecurity of the average American, it only seems to swell up as a Thing That Matters when such plight can play a role in the Beltway parlor game of who’s winning and who’s losing.

That’s what makes the whole “Obama’s Katrina” construction such a multi-layer insult to normal people. It makes the assumption that Bush actually suffered some real material loss in the hurricane that hit New Orleans. He didn’t. It further assumes that some similar hardship is coming to Obama’s doorstep. This is only true if we define “hardship” as “no hardship at all.” It glibly trivializes the real people who have suffered in both instances—those who suffered some sort of devastation in the Gulf region, or those who have been dealt a hard blow in the insurance market. Finally, it only underscores the wholly transient nature of the media’s concern for the welfare of ordinary people. If their suffering can’t be translated into a telenovela about the electoral troubles of affluent political celebrities, it doesn’t merit coverage.

And there are important stories out there, good and bad, in the PPACA transition. Stephanie McCrummen provided The Washington Post, this weekend, with just such a compelling story. And, to be certain, it is good news out of Kentucky, but at the same time it’s heartbreaking. Continue reading

For the Love of Beer


HopsDespite learning a horrifying phrase at the end of the first paragraph, which I shan’t repeat here but consider yourself warned, it is, indeed, good to have a reminder that today is National American Beer Day.

Who knew? Well, obviously … er … um … never mind.

Right. Drink up, dreamers. And, yes, I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to call bullshit on the infographic.

And then try some more rousing beer-related trivia and suggestions, including bathing in the stuff, apparently, but I don’t care what anyone says—letting beer go flat so you can wash your hair with it is a sin.

Anyway, yeah. Happy National American Beer Day. Cheers.

Oh, right. The Unfortunately Requisite Disclaimer: Drink safely. Be well.

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P.S. — I would tell you to hug your favorite brewer, but, sorry, Dave, I’m not driving out for that. You know. Don’t drink and drive, and all that. And, well, it’s a football day. You know how it goes ….

Sharing the Wealth … of Suffering


Don't ask.Okay, so the basic rule is that I had to suffer through it, therefore you must suffer through it, too.

I know, it’s not much of a rule, is it?

The point being that by the time you read down that amazing sidebar list of stories from Huffington Post, it will be too late to realize that you really should have looked away.

For the record, my time stamp says June 30, 2013, 2:45 AM PDT.

Rule number one: Never have a folder on your desktop called “Organize This!”

Rule number two: Failing rule one above, clean the folder en masse, instead of file by file, saying, “What’s this one?”

There is no rule three.

At any rate, the Bob Cesca article that sidebar went alongside is worth a read, too. Yeah, I forgot all about that part, because, well … right.