Drinking Liberally Idaho Falls Chapter Blog

Thursday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

SJT, Revisited

Next meeting:
  Date Thursday, August 21st
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 

Everyone needs to come to the Caravan of Glam, next Wednesday night (Aug 27th) at 7pm at the Bliss Event Center!  This is the Idaho Falls opening of the Idaho Pride Tour - and proceeds will support Idaho Falls Pride.  This is a professional stage production out of Boise - described as a cross between a drag show and a Cirque du Soleil acrobatics extravanza.  Please help make this tour successful, so that we can keep bringing shows like this to Idaho Falls.


It's been painful this week listening to the local conservative talk radio hosts be as polite as they can while still reveling in negative details about Michael Brown's life.  Somehow, even though a poor black kid was shot dead when a jaywalking incident escalated out of control, they find it comforting to speculate that perhaps Michael stole some cigars earlier (likely not true).

How is it that people can feel relieved by something so trivial and unrelated?  Why, in the face of excessive and biased police behavior, are they comforted by speculations that Michael Brown was not perfect?  Why do any of his failures in life matter?

We live in a society where the Wall St wealthy can rob us blind, taking incredible risks that paid them $billions and then relying on the taxpayer to bail them out once their scam crashed the economy.  People didn't spend much time looking up their DUIs and cocaine arrests.  In fact, it seems that half of the country is worried that we might overburden those fine people with taxes and regulations.

Then a poor black kid gets killed, and they demand that looters see justice and everyone follow the letter of the law.

It all reminded me of System Justification Theory.  SJT is an amazing framework that explains so much.  Normally, we think that people are motivated by two levels of self-interest.  Ego motives encourage us to look after our individual needs.  And group motives encourage us to look after the needs of the groups to which we belong (family, community, religion, race, country, etc).


But given just those motivations, it's difficult to understand how people vote Republican (unless they are white, wealthy men).  Who would choose to vote for policies that harm them directly, and harms the majority of groups to which one belongs?  How is it that poor people can vote against their best interests (individual and group)?  Sometimes we joke that such people are expecting that one day they, too, will be rich.  That's not true at all.

It's because there is a third level of motivation:  system justification.  People have a need to believe that the system that they belong to is ultimately fair and stable.  Paradoxically, that need can be even stronger in people who are not getting their ego- or group-level needs met.  People can have a strong desire to support those policies that hurt them, because they have internalized the logic that they are underprivileged in numerous ways because they deserve to be underprivileged.

This is why local radio hosts can seem to be happy to find reasons to think that Michael Brown had it coming.  It gives them comfort to believe that the system is fair.

Of course, another word for system justification is conservatism.  Those who possess a very strong need to rationalize the status quo are naturally drawn to conservatism.  And we liberals tend to have very little need to justify or rationalize the status quo.

I'll leave it as an exercise to you to apply this 3-tier motivational theory to libertarians.  I encourage you to read up on System Justification Theory, though.  We can discuss that, too.


Nominations are now being accepted for the Idaho Falls Pride court.  If you would like to serve, or if you know of somebody who promotes a positive public image and helps break stereotypes of the LGBT community and works towards promoting awareness and education, then please consider submitting a nomination.  The Pride committee will select the top 6 candidates, and then will hold a public vote.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  Protect breast-feeding in Idaho

 

Quotations of the Week

"Oh wait I forgot, tyranny isn't a militarized police force crushing unarmed dissent.  Tyranny is birth control & health insurance."
- James H. Miller

 

"1907:  'Feminism?  Bunch of men-hating women that don't know their place.  They don't want equality, they want to be men'

"1930s:  'Feminism?!  Pft.  Ugly lesbians that just want to do men's work if you ask me'

"1960s:  'Feminism?  Bunch of ugly, man hating, bra burning hippies.  Who needs it'

"1990s:  'Feminism?  Radical man-hating liberal PC Police.  Nothing more'

"Today:  'I just hate how feminism has been hijacked by radicals to be anti-man, rather than for equality the way it used to be.  Feminists should abandon the label because it doesn't mean equality anymore'

"If you think your 'observation' that the feminist movement is polluted by 'man hating radicals' is some new, nuanced critique of a movement that has abandoned the cause of promoting social equality ... you'd be wrong.  You are, in fact, repeating the exact same tired slander and accusations that have been leveled at the movement since before women had the legal right to vote.

"I find this nostalgic harkening back to the 'good ol days' of feminism, before the radicals 'ruined it' to be as disingenuous as it is historically ignorant.  Feminism has ALWAYS been a movement aimed at addressing long-standing gender inequity, from the vantage point of the underprivileged class.  And it has ALWAYS been marginalized or dismissed as the crazed ravings of radicals, lunatics, and misandrists.  This.  Isn't.  New ... You.  Aren't.  Clever."
- Justin Connelly

 

"Black people are not above calling the police - but often we do so fully understanding that we are introducing an element that is unaccountable to us.  We introduce the police into our communities, the way you might introduce a predator into the food chain.  This is not the singular, especial fault of the police.  The police are but the tip of the sword wielded by American society itself.  Something bigger than Stand Your Ground, the drug war, mass incarceration or any other policy is haunting us.  And as long we cower from it, the events of this week are as certain as math.  The question is not 'if,' but 'when.'"
- Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

Poem of the Week

Hours

I have known hours built like cities,
House on grey house, with streets between
That lead to straggling roads and trail off,
Forgotten in a field of green;

Hours made like mountains lifting
White crests out of the fog and rain,
And woven of forbidden music-
Hours eternal in their pain.

Life is a tapestry of hours
Forever mellowing in tone,
Where all things blend, even the longing
For hours I have never known.

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

  * The Federalist Papers were spin
* Good column from the Boise UU minister
* Amazing injustice in Texas
* Trouble in Ferguson shows the problem with libertarianism
* My doctor told me I should vaccinate my children, but then
someone much louder than my doctor told me I shouldn't
* How has Idaho's population changed?
* A brief history of wingnuts in America
* Why don't animals have wheels?
* Guy in Georgia takes advantage of brand-new law allowing guns in bars, shoots himself in the hand and accidentally kills a woman across the street
* Why Rick Perry should be convicted (but I'm not as optimistic as the writer)
* ... and this is why I'm not optimistic (not because the commenters are right; just because even liberals are claiming that the indictment is politically motivated when it isn't)
* Something you don't often see:  a conservative pundit correcting himself
* You HAVE to read the reviews of My Parents Open Carry
* Tips for being an unarmed black teen
* Mexico's Cave of Crystals
* Just discovered Vsauce Leanbacks.  Try one.
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!
* ... and some from Oakland DL, too

 

Schedule

 

                                
Aug 27 thru Nov 11 Various Idaho Pride Tour!  ($15 for each show, or $40 for the whole Idaho Pride Tour, and proceeds will go to local Pride organizations!)
  Aug 27, 7pm Caravan of Glam! - at Bliss Event Center  - a cross between a drag show and a Cirque du Soleil act
  Sept 13, 7pm Boise Gay Mens' Chorus! - at Bliss Event Center  - part of our IF Pride celebration - join us for this talented and funny show!
  Oct 8, 7pm Queens of Comedy! - at Bliss Event Center - four of Boise's best comedians
  Nov 11, 7pm Alana Davis - at Bliss Event Center - don't miss this GREAT singer
Aug 27 Wed IF City Club:  Eva Schloss, Ann Frank's stepsister (Colonial Theater, noon - 6:30pm)
Sept 11 Thurs DL Steps Out! - a special Pride-weekend bash, and informal opening event!  Same time, same place, but more fabulous!
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
  Fri, 6pm The Laramie Project:  Ten Years Later, Colonial Theater, 6pm
  Sat, 11am Pride Parade!  At the Unitarian Universalist Church
  Sat, 12pm Pride Festival!  Music, food, vendors, FUN - at Veterans Memorial on Memorial Drive
  Sat, 7pm Boise Gay Mens' Chorus at Bliss Event Center
  Fri, 8pm Pride After Hours Dance Party!  Bliss Event Center
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

 

Thursday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

Asymmetric Battles

Next meeting:
  Date Thursday, August 14th
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 

Hollis and I had a great time with David Neiwert last week.  Yes ... he did show up at about 9:30pm, and we talked until 11:30.  I'm so sorry that you all crapped out early and missed it.  (Actually, I'm sorry that his visit could't be better arranged.)  He's quite an interesting guy.


I often listen to Newstalk 1260AM/97.7FM talk radio - at least to the local broadcasters.  In the evening, Mark Richardson produces a short segment called the Principles of Liberty, where he enlightens us on how the founding fathers were really conservatives.  He does this in ingenious ways.

Monday, he based the lesson on something James Madison said in the Federalist Papers No 10:

A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.


Madison is generally talking about the dangers of majority rule and the reasons that the Founders went with a republic rather than a democracy.  The lesson Richardson drew from this particular quote was that we shouldn't let gays get married just because polls show that gay marriage is now popular - though indirectly as he didn't mention gays or marriage.  He said that Madison was encouraging us to rely not on popular sentiment but on more fundamental principles and morality.  He didn't concern himself with the thought that perhaps we had relied on a majority opinion instead of principles when the country made gay marriage illegal.  That's because to a conservative, the past is by default correct, and change is to be distrusted.

Lately, when we win marriage cases in the courts, the conservatives say that we would do better to win at the ballot box instead (and ballot boxes are just polls, of course).  But apparently, Mark Richardson and James Madison both believe that we shouldn't win by voting because we need to rely on principle instead (which is done in the courts, basically).  Kind of an invented Catch-22.

Yes, no matter how gay marriage wins, conservatives will proclaim the victory tainted, a dirty and underhanded subversion.  Protest and change are not pretty things, but you just have to listen to conservative radio to see just how much they attempt to portray either as dirty pool.

The thing is, when a minority is being oppressed by a majority or more-powerful adversaries, then the only way to win is through asymmetric means.  That means that the minority has to fight dirty.

On yesterday's broadcast, Richardson discussed the situation in Ferguson - where people are rioting.  Of course, he condemns the rioters (while also acknowledging that the original police shooting was a tragedy that had to be examined).  But heavens! breaking the law in protest is not to be tolerated!

It's a very good thing that Rosa Parks never asked Mark Richardson for advice.

My position on the protest is that it strongly indicates the need for that town (and for the country as a whole) to address race-based issues of equality and economic justice.  And that such issues will definitely be ignored until masses of people riot.  The riots are a painful and regrettable set of events, but the system will not fix itself until some bricks are thrown through some windows.

In other words, the wealth inequality issue and the racism in the country will only be fixed through asymmetric methods.

The Hammas/Israel conflict is similar in some ways.  So many people are 100% supportive of Isreal and 200% opposed to Hammas, based simply on the fact that Hammas has to fight dirty.  While I do not support Hammas at all, it's plain to see that Israel cannot be beaten militarily in direct battle.  And it seems that Israel either can't or don't want to solve the Palestinian problem diplomatically.  Hammas is reduced to asymmetric means.

So rather than reject any side that uses asymmetric tactics, it's important to evaluate the actual arguments.  And it's also important not to listen to simplistic arguments with fancy names, like Principles of Liberty.


Nominations are now being accepted for the Idaho Falls Pride court.  If you would like to serve, or if you know of somebody who promotes a positive public image and helps break stereotypes of the LGBT community and works towards promoting awareness and education, then please consider submitting a nomination.  The Pride committee will select the top 6 candidates, and then will hold a public vote.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  Protect breast-feeding in Idaho

 

Quotations of the Week

"Insofar as plaintiffs portray Windsor as signaling a jurisprudential sea-change, they ill-advisedly venture into heavy weather because what was sauce for the goose there is sauce for the gander here."
- State of Idaho brief in Latta v Otter

 

"Why did I run for president of the United States?  I believed that I could win, and damn near did!"
- Herman Cain

 

Poem of the Week

Hand Grenade Bag

This well-used little bag is just the right size

to carry a copy of the Psalms.  Its plain-woven

flowers and helicopter share the sky with bombs

falling like turnips-he who makes light of other

men will be killed by a turnip.  A bachelor,

I wear it across my shoulder-it's easier to be

a bachelor all my life than a widow for a day.

On the bag's face, two black shapes appear

to be crows-be guided by the crow and you

will come to a body-though they are

military aircraft.  A man who needs fire

will soon enough hold it in his hands.

Henri Cole (1956)

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

  * Idaho leaves $3.3 billion on the table
* How Fox News frames a story for different audiences
* Sarah Palin should really avoid trying to match wits with Sen Elizabeth Warren
* Krugman on the inanity of libertarianism
* If they gunned me down ...
* It's OK not to mourn Robin Williams's death
* I'm not really understanding the Robin Williams worship, either
* A neat video about timescales
* Interesting list of large cities on a liberal/conservative scale
* Great idea!  Do you think it can be sustained?
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!
* ... and some from Oakland DL, too

 

Schedule

 

                                
Aug 27 thru Nov 11 Various Idaho Pride Tour!  ($15 for each show, or $40 for the whole Idaho Pride Tour, and proceeds will go to local Pride organizations!)
  Aug 27, 7pm Caravan of Glam! - at Bliss Event Center  - a cross between a drag show and a Cirque du Soleil act
  Sept 13, 7pm Boise Gay Mens' Chorus! - at Bliss Event Center  - part of our IF Pride celebration - join us for this talented and funny show!
  Oct 8, 7pm Queens of Comedy! - at Bliss Event Center - four of Boise's best comedians
  Nov 11, 7pm Alana Davis - at Bliss Event Center - don't miss this GREAT singer
Aug 27 Wed IF City Club:  Eva Schloss, Ann Frank's stepsister (Colonial Theater, noon - 6:30pm)
Sept 11 Thurs DL Steps Out! - a special Pride-weekend bash, and informal opening event!  Same time, same place, but more fabulous!
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
  Fri, 6pm The Laramie Project:  Ten Years Later, Colonial Theater, 6pm
  Sat, 11am Pride Parade!  At the Unitarian Universalist Church
  Sat, 12pm Pride Festival!  Music, food, vendors, FUN - at Veterans Memorial on Memorial Drive
  Sat, 7pm Boise Gay Mens' Chorus at Bliss Event Center
  Fri, 8pm Pride After Hours Dance Party!  Bliss Event Center
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

 

Special Friday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

Special Guest This Week!

Next meeting:
  Date Special Night!  Friday, August 8th
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 




Our special guest this Friday!

No meeting on Thursday!  We have a special Friday night edition of Drinking Liberally, with special guest David Neiwert!

Also - we will be outside (weather permitting).  Bring blankets and lawn chairs!  If the weather is uncooperative, we will move inside, but not in the main restaurant area, as Friday nights are too busy and noisy.


  • " Drinking Liberally Special Event - Friday, August 8th - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
  • " IF City Club - Eva Schloss, Ann Frank's stepsister (Colonial Theater, Wednesday, Aug 27, 6:30pm)
  • " Idaho Falls Pride - Get ready! - September 12-13

If you've been with us for awhile, you will remember that we had a short-lived Reading Liberally group for awhile, and one of the books we read was The Eliminationists:  How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.  David has also written several other great books:  Strawberry Days (the effect of internment on a Japanese community), Death on the Fourth of July:  The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (a racial hate crime with a twist), And Hell Followed With Her:  Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border (about a militia murder on the Arizona border), and In God's Country (about the patriot movement in the Pacific Northwest)

Please join us for this very special event!


Nominations are now being accepted for the Idaho Falls Pride court.  If you would like to serve, or if you know of somebody who promotes a positive public image and helps break stereotypes of the LGBT community and works towards promoting awareness and education, then please consider submitting a nomination.  The Pride committee will select the top 6 candidates, and then will hold a public vote.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  Protect breast-feeding in Idaho

 

Quotations of the Week

"Responsible means that whatever happens with your gun is your fault.  Period.  You accidentally discharge it and no-one gets hurt?  How's this:  big fine, confiscate the weapon involved, lose the right to bear arms for a year for the first incident, forever if you repeat.  Someone gets hurt or dies?  Jail.  Civil liability.  Loss of gun rights for life.  That's responsibility."
- Thomas Levenson

 

"I've been pretty outspoken for years now in arguing that aside from foreign policy, the main 'battles' within the Republican Party have been over strategy and tactics, not policy or ideology.  Now strategy and tactics do matter, as last year's government shutdown and the incessant obstructionism that is the congressional GOP's default position demonstrate.  But the main function of the Tea Party Movement has been to intensify and defend a rightward movement in the Republican Party that's been underway for decades but has gained hellish momentum since the 2008 elections, regularly overwhelming the efforts of GOP elites to instill some 'pragmatic' caution.  In that sense, the Tea Folk are winning 'the war' even if they lose a number of primary 'battles.'"
- Ed Kilgore

 

Poem of the Week

Forty-Seven Minutes

Years later I'm standing before a roomful of young writers in
a high school in Texas.  I've asked them to locate an image
in a poem we'd just read-their heads at this moment
are bowed to the page.  After some back & forth about the
grass & a styrofoam cup, a girl raises her hand & asks,
Does it matter?  I smile-it is as if the universe balanced
on those three words & we've landed in the unanswerable.  I
have to admit that no, it doesn't, not really, matter, if rain
is an image or rain is an idea or rain is a sound in our heads.
But, I whisper, leaning in close, to get through the next
forty-seven minutes we might have to pretend it does.

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

  * A fascinating story of murder by an NRA executive
* Insane conservatives (they remind me of the protesters we countered a couple weeks ago)
* Interesting TED talk on the value of introverts
* Sarah Palin, drunk (apparently)
* Otter's defense of bigotry (legal brief)
* They're on to us:  the Democrat's war on whites
* Cliven Bundy is one scary dude
* ... and so is Liz Cheney
* My (mostly Facebook) friend, Rick Perlstein, is falsely charged with plagiarism by conservatives, naturally (Fresh Air interview with Perlstein here)
* Neat new bike design
* Cool optical illusion
* A new form of weirdness:  otherkin (there's even a quiz to diagnose your otherkin)
* Fun pics
* A guy walks into a bar
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!

 

Schedule

 

     
Aug 8 Fri Drinking Liberally Special Event - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
Aug 27 Wed IF City Club:  Eva Schloss, Ann Frank's stepsister (Colonial Theater, 6:30pm)
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

 

Items of Note

 

Items of Note

Special Event:
  Date Tuesday, July 29th
Time 6 to 8pm
Place Unitarian Universalist Church, 555 E St
 

Have you been involved with the legal system in Idaho?  Are you frustrated with the criminal courts and/or your public defender?  Are you, or a family member, not receiving justice in your legal matter?  The ACLU of Idaho is working to address shortcomings in Idaho's criminal justice system and they want to hear from you.

Join us at this town hall meeting and share your story about how the legal system has directly impacted you and your family.  We welcome you to share any stories, comments, and concerns you may have.

If you have any questions, please contact the ACLU office at (208) 344-9750 x 1204.


No official meeting this week!  Although Drinking Liberally is just a state of mind, and anywhere two or more of you gather can be considered a meeting.


Special Guest On A Special Night!

On Thursday, August 7th, there is a special fundraiser for the Richard Stallings campaign down in Pocatello.  Hollis and I were thinking about skipping DL that night to attend.  Then I heard that the special guest was journalist David Neiwert, a guy I've been trying to get to attend DL for a few years (he has family here in Idaho Falls).

If you've been with us for awhile, you will remember that we had a short-lived Reading Liberally group for awhile, and one of the books we read was The Eliminationists:  How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.  David has also written several other great books:  Strawberry Days (the effect of internment on a Japanese community), Death on the Fourth of July:  The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (a racial hate crime with a twist), And Hell Followed With Her:  Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border (about a militia murder on the Arizona border), and In God's Country (about the patriot movement in the Pacific Northwest)

So that week we will have a special Friday Night edition of Drinking Liberally on August 8th, with David Neiwert as our special guest.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Schedule

 

     
Aug 29 Tues Criminal Justice Town Hall, 6-8pm, Unitarian Universalist Church
Aug 8 Fri A special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

Thursday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

Shallow Thoughts on the Middle East

Next meeting:
  Date Thursday, July 24th
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 




Now the Hobby Lobby decision makes sense ...

The Middle East is one of those subjects that I have managed to avoid learning much about over the last 50 years.  I tend not to offer too much in the way of opinions, because the complexity of the situation makes it easy to sound like a moron.

That's obviously not true of many people.  And especially here in the US there seems to be a lot of people speaking up in defense of Israel and against Hamas.  We all know the reasons for that.  We have a largish Jewish immigrant population, well represented in our professional, academic, and political classes.  We have an emotional bond that stems from World War II.  And, of course, we have a religious fundamentalist streak that is committed to an apolcalyptic vision that pictures Israel as our very closest ally, right up until the point where God sends all the Jews to hell for rejecting Jesus.  Israel is like Pat Robertson's little canary in the coal mine - he's going to take care of that little bird, but he's actually waiting impatiently for it to give him a signal by dying.  They're just waiting for Zion to be destroyed catastrophically, and then they know their heavenly reward is just around the corner.  But not just any destruction of Israel will do.  It certainly won't do if that destruction comes by the hand of Hamas, apparently.


  • " Soup Kitchen - Sun, Aug 3rd - join us from 11:30am - 1:30pm
  • " Drinking Liberally Special Event - Friday, August 8th - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
  • " Idaho Falls Pride - Get ready! - September 12-13

I don't pay enough attention.  I don't know what Hamas did to earn this assault from Israel.  However, I do know that the underdog force in an asymmetric warfare situation will often resort to unsavory tactics.  I'm not willing to write them off because of their tactics, necessarily.  So all the accusations of terrorism against Hamas tend to make me wonder if perhaps they have a valid cause.

Which is not necessarily true, of course.  They may just be pure evil.  I'm just not willing to write them off because they may have been lobbing bombs into Israel.  If we judge a movement by only its tactics, then we would be writing off a whole lot of good people.  From Nelson Mandela to the Tea Partiers (the real ones, that is - not today's pathetic and feeble-minded pretenders).

Secondly, one thing that I do know is that my tax dollars are paying for the bombs that are currently raining down on the Gaza Strip.  I am paying for the murders of a lot of Palestinian children.  I have no responsibility for Hamas's actions against Israel.  So what Hamas does, good or bad, is of less concern to me in some sense.  What Israel does, however, comes a moral culpability.

Again, none of this is to imply that I either agree with Hamas's goals or tactics, or that I condemn Israel.  I just find myself weary of the unreasonably pro-Israel bias that pervades our country.  I can't help but think that perhaps that bias is one of the major reasons why we are not able to broker peace in the Middle East.


Nominations are now being accepted for the Idaho Falls Pride court.  If you would like to serve, or if you know of somebody who promotes a positive public image and helps break stereotypes of the LGBT community and works towards promoting awareness and education, then please consider submitting a nomination.  The Pride committee will select the top 6 candidates, and then will hold a public vote.


Hollis and I will be out of town next week, so there will be no official Drinking Liberally gathering on July 31st.  Nobody says you can't randomly gather at the Bee's Knees anyway.

Also keep in mind that there is no DL on August 7th, either.  We will hold a special Friday-night Drinking Liberally on August 8th, with a visit from David Neiwert (see below).


Another Special Guest, On A Special Night!

On Thursday, August 7th, there is a special fundraiser for the Richard Stallings campaign down in Pocatello.  Hollis and I were thinking about skipping DL that night to attend.  Then I heard that the special guest was journalist David Neiwert, a guy I've been trying to get to attend DL for a few years (he has family here in Idaho Falls).

If you've been with us for awhile, you will remember that we had a short-lived Reading Liberally group for awhile, and one of the books we read was The Eliminationists:  How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.  David has also written several other great books:  Strawberry Days (the effect of internment on a Japanese community), Death on the Fourth of July:  The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (a racial hate crime with a twist), And Hell Followed With Her:  Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border (about a militia murder on the Arizona border), and In God's Country (about the patriot movement in the Pacific Northwest)

So that week we will have a special Friday Night edition of Drinking Liberally on August 8th, with David Neiwert as our special guest.


Soup Kitchen in August

This is important.  Several regulars are on vacation, and several others are running off more permanently.  If you've been interested in trying it out, this is the time.  We are serving on Sunday, August 3rd.  Please let me know if you'd like to join us.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  free Michael Whitely (details here)
* Petition:  tell venues to dump Ted Nugent (An Idaho casino inspired this effort!)

 

Quotations of the Week

"We have to talk about what does it mean to be a progressive, an American.

"We believe Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it.

"We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth, and we're willing to fight for it.

"We believe that the Internet shouldn't be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality, and we will fight for it.

"We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage, and we will fight for it.

"We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.

"We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt, and we will fight for it.

"We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions, and we will fight for it.

"We believe - and I can't believe I have to say this in 2014 - we believe in equal pay for equal work, and we will fight for it.

"We believe that equal means equal, and that's true in marriage, it's true in the workplace, it's true in all of America, and we will fight for it.

"We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform, and we will fight for it.

"And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies.  We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it.  We will fight for it!

"... This is 21st century democracy.  This is where we decide that we the people will fight for this together, and we're going to win!"
- Sen Elizabeth Warren, at Netroots Nation

 

"We're nine years too late for some children - it should have been done nine years ago.  I'm so afraid that ... more children will die.  ... Adding four words, how simple is that?  We talk about the cost of things, but how do you put a price on your child's life?  You can't."
- Gretchen Bates, 67, at the sentencing of a dozen Add the Words protesters

 

"This isn't a fiscal issue, your honor, this is a civil rights issue.  We don't look back at the 1960s, at the great protests, and think, 'Gee, that cost a lot of money.'  We're grateful."
- Jeffrey Brownson, attorney for the Add the Words protesters, on how much they cost the state with their protests

 

Poem of the Week

The Dream of a Common Language

after Adrienne Rich

On Wednesdays I take the train past Yankee Stadium,
to a place where it is never a given that I speak the language,
to a place where graffiti covers the mural they painted to hide
the graffiti, to a place where the children call me Miss Miss
Miss Miss Miss
and I find in one of their poems, a self-portrait,
the line I wish I was rish.  The dream of a common language

is the language of one million dollars, of basketball, of plátanos.
Are the kids black? my boyfriend wants to know.  Dominican.
It's different. When asked to write down a question
they wish they could ask their mom or dad, one boy writes,
Paper or plastic?  A girl in the back of the class wants to know
Why don't I have lycene, translating the sound of the color

of my skin into her own language. The best poet
in sixth grade is the girl who is this year repeating
sixth grade.  When I tell her teacher of her talent
she says, At least now we know she's good
at something.
To speak their language, I study
the attendance list, practice the cadence of their names.

Yesterday I presented a black and white portrait of a black man,
his bald head turned away from us, a spotted moth resting
on one shoulder.  I told them this is a man serving a life
sentence in Louisiana.  Is this art? Without hesitation,
one girl said no, why would anybody
want to take a picture
of that.

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

  * Organizations helping those refugee kids
* Bible stories for young corporations
* Good news:  no religious exemption on LGBT employment discrimination
* ... and the religious right reacts.  Badly.
* Coverage of our immigration rally:  Idaho State Journal
* The Middle East friendship chart
* Let's hope that US journalists follow the BBC's lead
* If animals were round
* Always loved this video:  why a Moon Landing Hoax is impossible (a good lesson on conspiracy theorists, too)
* Beautiful Idaho
* This just makes me laugh
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!
* ... and some from Oakland DL, too

 

Schedule

 

     
Aug 3 Sun Soup Kitchen - join us from 11:30am - 2pm
Aug 8 Fri Drinking Liberally Special Event - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

 

SPECIAL EVENT!

Tomorrow there is a nation-wide teabagger rally planned in opposition to the refugee children.

We are counter-protesting! We will show the teabaggers that American values include compassion towards those in need -- especially children. Facebook event:

Real Americans Support the Refugee Children

Please join us at Sunnyside and I-15 overpass tomorrow (Saturday) from 11am - 1pm. People will be joining us from Pocatello. Bring signs if you can, but come anyway.

Thursday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

Heartlessness or Brainlessness?

Next meeting:
  Date Thursday, July 17th
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 


This is how the GOP is raising money.  How overconfident is that?

Special Guest This Week!

This week we will be graced by the presence of Martin Vest - a poet that I've featured last week (twice), the week before that, and today.

I've now read a couple of his short collections (thanks, Mary!).  They are dark and sometimes uncomfortable.  Their protagonists are not always likable.  They cover difficult subjects, but always with amazing imagery and insight.

I am really looking forward to meeting Marty.


Farewell!

Farewell to Karen and Spencer - founding members of Idaho Falls Drinking Liberally!  This Thursday will be their last regular attendance before they head off to some blue area of some blue state.  I'm tempted to give them a piece of my mind.

These two will be sorely missed.  Please come join us to wish them well.


I've been thinking a lot about this comment from Sen John Cornyn (R -Tx) this week, regarding the refugee issue on our southern border:

"I never thought we'd have refugee camps in America, but that's what it's appearing."


  • " Soup Kitchen - Sun, Aug 3rd - join us from 11:30am - 1:30pm
  • " Drinking Liberally Special Event - Friday, August 8th - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
  • " Idaho Falls Pride - Get ready! - September 12-13

It doesn't seem too bad at first - refugee camps are not good things, obviously.  Then you realize that refugee camps aren't bad things by themselves - they are camps set up to help people in trouble.  They are only indicative of bad things happening in other places.  Just why should America be free of refugee camps?  Why would we want to be, especially if people were in need?  It's like saying, "I never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd be helping a neighbor raise his barn."

Cornyn's is a horrible comment unfit for any civilized person.  Do we want an America that turns away sick and abandoned kids?  Imagine ... we set up camps to help sick and abandoned refugee children, and this bit of scum is using those facilities to imply that the Obama Adminsitration is doing something wrong.  Or that the existence of refugee camps is a problem to be eliminated rather than a response to a real need.  Why would Cornyn say such a despicable thing?

Simple.  He has seen an opportunity to bash Obama.  He has seen an opportunity to play on the willful ignorance of the conservative base.  The extremist right won't think anyting negative about Cornyn.  They will blindly think, "refugee camps are bad things, therefore Obama has failed again."

[Note:  Cornyn's statement appears only in Peggy Noonan's column from The Wall Street Journal, and without any context.  I could not find it anywhere else.  So it is possible that I am misreading Cornyn.  However, I am not misreading Noonan - she uses Cornyn's comment in the sense that I have taken it here.]

That comment goes along with other recent, nasty behavior by the right.  Of course there's the glee they feel over Hobby Lobby.  And there was the reaction the right had over Bowe Bergdahl's release.  And their reaction to Cliven Bundy's lawlessness.  All of this brings into relief this comment by Robert Reich:

"The real dividing line in America today isn't between conservatives and liberals or between Democrats and Republicans.  It's between the haters and the big-hearted.  The haters direct their venom not just at child refugees seeking asylum from the drug war we created, but also at gays who want to marry, African-Americans who want to vote and exercise their other rights of citizenship, women who seek abortions, or even women in general, Latinos who want their children to be taught in Spanish, immigrants in general, Muslims, Jews, government 'bureaucrats,' the poor and needy, anyone who dares suggest a required background check before buying guns, people they call 'liberals' or 'socialists' or 'communists,' even the President of the United States.  The haters are enflamed by hate-mongers in the media who blame the nation's troubles on 'them.'  The haters are loud and angry; they yell and wave their signs before the cameras.  But the haters are not America.  They are a small and vocal minority.  Most Americans are generous and welcoming, decent and kind-hearted.  We are the silent majority, who have been silent too long."

How much longer can the conservative movement in America continue in this vein?  Will the voting public wake up and punish the GOP for tagging along?  Will there be a crash, or will there be a slow correction back to sanity?  Perhaps a lot depends on the upcoming midterm election.  If the GOP meets or exceeds expections, then the insanity is likely to continue.  Whereas if they fail to pick up seats - as they are supposed to given the 2nd-term, off-year cycle and the demographics of the seats in play - then perhaps there will be more people waking up.

In any event, the heartlessness (and brainlessness) of the conservative right in America is getting hard to take.  We keep watching, and keep getting more and more depressed as they continue to shatter their previous lows.  They exceed our most pessimistic assumptions about how crazy they can get.  And still, nearly 50% of the voting public is duped (or dupes themselves) into voting Republican.

It can't go on forever.  It just can't.


Another Special Guest, On A Special Night!

On Thursday, August 7th, there is a special fundraiser for the Richard Stallings campaign down in Pocatello.  Hollis and I were thinking about skipping DL that night to attend.  Then I heard that the special guest was journalist David Neiwert, a guy I've been trying to get to attend DL for a few years (he has family here in Idaho Falls).

If you've been with us for awhile, you will remember that we had a short-lived Reading Liberally group for awhile, and one of the books we read was The Eliminationists:  How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.  David has also written several other great books:  Strawberry Days (the effect of internment on a Japanese community), Death on the Fourth of July:  The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (a racial hate crime with a twist), And Hell Followed With Her:  Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border (about a militia murder on the Arizona border), and In God's Country (about the patriot movement in the Pacific Northwest)

So that week we will have a special Friday Night edition of Drinking Liberally on August 8th, with David Neiwert as our special guest.


Soup Kitchen in August

This is important.  Several regulars are on vacation, and several others are running off more permanently.  If you've been interested in trying it out, this is the time.  We are serving on Sunday, August 3rd.  Please let me know if you'd like to join us.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  free Michael Whitely (details here)
* Petition:  Sue the GOP

 

Quotations of the Week

"The real dividing line in America today isn't between conservatives and liberals or between Democrats and Republicans.  It's between the haters and the big-hearted.  The haters direct their venom not just at child refugees seeking asylum from the drug war we created, but also at gays who want to marry, African-Americans who want to vote and exercise their other rights of citizenship, women who seek abortions, or even women in general, Latinos who want their children to be taught in Spanish, immigrants in general, Muslims, Jews, government 'bureaucrats,' the poor and needy, anyone who dares suggest a required background check before buying guns, people they call 'liberals' or 'socialists' or 'communists,' even the President of the United States.  The haters are enflamed by hate-mongers in the media who blame the nation's troubles on 'them.'  The haters are loud and angry; they yell and wave their signs before the cameras.  But the haters are not America.  They are a small and vocal minority.  Most Americans are generous and welcoming, decent and kind-hearted.  We are the silent majority, who have been silent too long."
- Robert Reich

 

"[L]et's not forget what the IRS scandalette actually involved.  There's never been any credible allegation that anyone was audited because of their political beliefs.  There's never been any allegation that the IRS 'targeted' donors to Republican super PACs.  The worst thing that happened was that some Tea Party groups that had applied for 501(c)(4) status - claiming, utterly falsely, that they were charitable, non-political organizations, I might add - had to wait longer than they should have to get approval on their applications.  (And, I have to repeat, when you're waiting for your approval, you're permitted under the law to act as though you've gotten your approval.  You can raise and spend money, which they did.)"
- Paul Waldman

 

Poem of the Week

Body

Five a.m. wind crashing outside.
If you could put skin around it
it might look something
like a man throwing trash cans
into the street.
It might look like someone's father
on the day their mother filed
for divorce.

If you could splash paint
onto the wind, give it a body,
it might stop just long enough
to be looked at.
Of course, something else
would be missing then;
the soul,
the outrage,
the forte.

Many people think that the wind
is a blue, graceful woman with long
Scandinavian hair.
But I know it is a red genius
as bald as a claw,
playing the piano
with its forehead
which is entirely composed
of your bones.

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

  * Idaho really has a corrupt treasurer (perhaps this is an opportunity for Twin Falls DL host Deborah Silver!)
* Fox News watchers are still mostly uninformed
* Five reasons the Hobby Lobby decision should worry you
* 245 Obama accomplishments
* Strange when an actor impresses with brains
* Will the extremist right doom the GOP?
* If advertisements were honest
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!
* ... and some from Oakland DL, too

 

Schedule

 

     
Aug 3 Sun Soup Kitchen - join us from 11:30am - 2pm
Aug 8 Fri Drinking Liberally Special Event - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

 

Thursday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

Potpourri

Next meeting:
  Date Thursday, July 10th
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 


  • " Soup Kitchen - Sun, Aug 3rd - join us from 11:30am - 1:30pm
  • " Drinking Liberally Special Event - Friday, August 8th - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
  • " Idaho Falls Pride - Get ready! - September 12-13

Several bookkeeping items this week, and too busy to write anything really interesting.

Special Guest Next Week!

On July 17th, we will be graced by the presence of Martin Vest - a poet that I've featured both last week and this.

I've now read a couple of his short collections (thanks, Mary!).  They are dark and sometimes uncomfortable.  Their protagonists are not always likable.  They cover difficult subjects, but always with amazing imagery and insight.

I am really looking forward to meeting Marty.

Dented Moon

Six months ago they took
half of his lung.
The spots returned within weeks.
Now they carpet-bomb his body
with chemicals and radiation,
nausea pills and borrowed blood ...

He used to get drunk
and shoot holes in the wall.
God was a funny word, then,
like boomerang and succotash.
Now he sleeps with a Bible
tucked beneath his pillow.

A part of me feels betrayed by this.
I wanted him to go down with his ship,
to laugh at dying the way
he used to laugh at God -
no crossed fingers,
no pie in the sky ...

It is evil to make a man
fight his own body to the death.
And yet I would ask my father
to do it with his bare hands.

I am trying to keep a little of him alive;
a part of him that cannot
be resected by doctor's scalpels
or cancer's teeth
or Abraham's keen faith -
a part of him that no one loved,
imperious, athletic,
mean as hell
beneath a dented moon,
so ugly, so magnificent,
that even the saints
crawling in and out of God's ears
would stop at His eye
to have a look.


Another Special Guest, On A Special Night!

On Thursday, August 7th, there is a special fundraiser for the Richard Stallings campaign down in Pocatello.  Hollis and I were thinking about skipping DL that night to attend.  Then I heard that the special guest was journalist David Neiwert, a guy I've been trying to get to attend DL for a few years (he has family here in Idaho Falls).

If you've been with us for awhile, you will remember that we had a short-lived Reading Liberally group for awhile, and one of the books we read was The Eliminationists:  How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.  David has also written several other great books:  Strawberry Days (the effect of internment on a Japanese community), Death on the Fourth of July:  The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (a racial hate crime with a twist), And Hell Followed With Her:  Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border (about a militia murder on the Arizona border), and In God's Country (about the patriot movement in the Pacific Northwest)

So that week we will have a special Friday Night edition of Drinking Liberally on August 8th, with David Neiwert as our special guest.


Rexburg Summerfest

I'll be late this week, if I make it at all - I'm staffing an ACLU booth up in Rexburg for Summerfest.  Perhaps I'll return uninjured.


Soup Kitchen in August

This is important.  Several regulars are on vacation, and several others are running off more permanently.  If you've been interested in trying it out, this is the time.  We are serving on Sunday, August 3rd.  Please let me know if you'd like to join us.


Serious Note

It is not acceptable to be rude to Diane, our server.  I've heard second-hand rumors about someone being rude to her (Diane has not mentioned it to me).  I don't know if those rumors are true, but such behavior won't be tolerated.  I am not going to do anything at this point unless I hear more - beyond this warning.  Diane is a fine server, and she is always there for us, treating us well.  I'm sure that most of you feel the same.  Let's continue to treat her well, and she'll treat us well.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  free Michael Whitely (details here)
* Pledge:  Ban Bossy
* Petition:  Tell Hobby Lobby to knock it off
* Contact:  Ask congress to counter the Hobby Lobby decision
* Petition:  support the Women's Health Protection Act

 

Quotations of the Week

"Maybe.  But the politics would have to be interspersed with a whole lot of fun and real life and inspiration showcasing American work ethic, because those topics are all pretty much the antithesis of today's politics, which I find incorrigibly disastrous!  It'd be so much fun to shake it up taking on issues that make audiences objectively consider all sides, and I'd do it with my own real-life groundedness, candor and commonsense that I'm known for.  Media needs that today, versus the condescension that oozes from TV and radio.  I hear everyone recently got canned from The View, maybe a show like that needs a punch of reality and a voice of reason from America's heartland to knock some humble sense into their scripts.  You know, someone willing to go rogue."
- Sarah Palin, on being asked if she would consider doing a political talk show

 

Poem of the Week

Man On Fire

At first he looked nice lying in the hearth.
On the end of a torch he kept Frankenstein away.
He lit the streets on a dark walk from a seedy bar.
When you wanted to dance he danced.
When you wanted to sleep
he was a lamp that wouldn't shut off.
He seethed and roiled in his body of tongues,
climbing the walls like a madman ...
He flickered and snapped.
He grew to a roar.
Alarms went off, sirens sounded,
the throat of his upturned flask
chanting go, go, go,
like a flammable cheerleader,
but you stayed ...
His smoke clung to your skirts
and coated the dishes
as he tumbled from room to room
screaming more, more ...
You remember the night that you met him.
There had been others to choose from -
the drowning man who sat next to you
groping at your blouse as he sunk
to the bottom of his whiskey and soda -
the rain-maker with cold gray eyes
who stared into the melancholy
of his gin and lime.
But Man-on-Fire never stopped grinning,
Man-on-Fire with his twenty shots of everything,
with his flash-paper sleights
fueling the crackle of their own applause -
And you, parched wind,
whistling like a spoke, like a runaway train,
howling in your body
for a keyhole of quick escape,
for a fast way through the wall -
What would you want with water?

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

  * ENDA is now losing support:  discrimination is bad except when godly people do it, and then it's OK (proud of the ACLU for announcing their opposition)
* Why one guy fled libertarianism
* California mayor who whipped up a mob is worried that people might get the wrong impression
* A cartoonist reviews the Tesla Model S
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!

 

Schedule

 

     
Aug 3 Sun Soup Kitchen - join us from 11:30am - 2pm
Aug 8 Fri Drinking Liberally Special Event - a special Friday nigth DL with guest David Neiwert (no meeting Thursday, August 7th)
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

 

Thursday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

Just How Bad Is the SCOTUS?

Next meeting:
  Date Thursday, July 3rd
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 


Sign the petition!

So the Hobby Lobby decision - as bad as it seems - probably won't turn out to be as bad as it seems.  It can probably be fixed in law, and it really doesn't apply to too many people.  Almost none of the hypothetical cases that people have spun out will come to pass.  But that doesn't mean that it isn't a horrible decision.

I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to American judicial history.  However, this week's decision has me thinking about recent court decisions.  And specifically, how bad they have been.  I once took a fantastic adult education class on the notorious SCOTUS decisions, both good and bad, offered by Dr Adler.  I'd love to hear his opinion on the question posed by this column.


The question is this:  have a very high percentage of the Supreme Court decisions since 2000 been extraordinarily bad?  I don't mean that any have come close to Plessy v Ferguson (1896) or Dred Scott (1857), although Bush v Gore (2000) probably could be considered among the worst in history.  But it seems like there have been a dozen really bad decisions in just about that many years.  And by bad, I mean that they are really poorly reasoned, or show obvious ideological motivation in place of sound judgement.

Off the top of my head, I think of seven seriously bad SCOTUS decisions:

Bush v Gore (2000)
Do I even need to describe this one?  Everyone surely remembers the cowardly "this decision does not set any precedent" weasel words.
District of Columbia v Heller (2008)
A 5-4 decision holding that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, which was apparently disguised by the Founding Fathers' use of the apparently meaningless language about well-regulated militias.  [Also McDonald v Chicago (2010), which extended Heller to the states.]
Burwell v Hobby Lobby (2014)
Corporations are people with deeply held religious beliefs, according to 5/9ths of the Supreme Court.  All of which happen to be Roman Catholics.
Town of Greece v Galloway (2014)
5-4 decision holding that opening town meetings with a prayer (about 99% of the time Christian) was not an establishment of religion.
Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (2010)
Money equals speech, and corporations have free speech rights, at least according to 5 court members
Shelby County v Holder (2013)
Conservatives on the court castrated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a 5-4 decision.
Ledbetter v Goodyear (2007)
A 5-4 decision that held that Lilly Ledbetter couldn't sue for pay discrimination because she didn't learn of it within the first 6 months.  Yes, the conservatives on the court actually ruled that the 180-day limit for filing started when the pay discrimination happened, not when Ledbetter learned of it.

Then I did some research, and found a few more terrible decisions:

Van Orden v Perry (2005)
A 5-4 decision that a monument of the 10 Commandments at a state capital does not constitute an "establishment of religion"
Zelman v Simmons-Harris (2002)
Five conservatives on the court ruled that public taxes in the form of school vouchers can go to religious schools.
Ewing v California (2003)
California's three-strikes law validated by 5-4 vote.
Crawford v Marion County Election Board (2008)
A 6-3 decision upholding the legality of voter ID requirements (however, in fairness, the Indiana law did allow for provisional ballots from those without ID)

In my research, I found some really good decisions from the court, so I wanted to list them.  These good decisions don't invalidate in any way my point above.  The fact is that we expect good decisions from the SCOTUS.  They should be making a whole lot more of them.  But there are a few.

Roper v Simmons (2005)
Five out of nine justices agree that executing minors is a bad thing.
National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius (2012)
Guess what?  The ACA is perfectly constitutional.  But only 5-4 constitutional.
United States v Windsor (2013)
Woo hoo!  DOMA overturned!  5-4, natch.  This is one of the most important cases in this entire list, as nearly every court case to rule on marriage equality has used the language of Kennedy's opinion directly.
Atkins v Virginia (2002)
This 6-3 decision banned the execution of the mentally retarded.  You'd think that Thomas would have supported such a ban, just out of a sense of self-preservation if nothing else.
Lawrence v Texas (2003)
The court stands up for sodomy!  At least six of them did.
Hamdi v Rumsfeld (2004)
Mulitple issues were decided, including the right of the government to detain enemy combatants.  However, by an 8-1 vote, the court held that US citizens must be given due process.  Thomas disagreed.  He disagreed with the Constitution.  The 5th Amendment, which clearly says, "[N]or shall any person ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."  Thomas was fine with people being deprived of due process.
Hamdan v Rumsfeld (2006)
A complex ruling on multiple issues, but basically holding that military tribunals violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.  The decision was 5-3, with Roberts abstaining.  This was also the case where Senators Kyl and Graham lied to the Supreme Court by inventing testimony that they entered into the Senate records.
Miller-El v Dretke (2005)
A 6-3 decision overturning a murder conviction because of racism in juror selection.  Strangely, three jurists felt that racist jury selection was fine.
Gonzales v Oregon (2006)
A 6-3 decision that held John Ashcroft can't stop Oregon's assisted suicide law
Hollingsworth v Perry (2013)
Another 5-4 decision, but strangly mixed.  The court ruled that a 3rd party did not have standing to defend California's Prop 8 when the state itself refused to defend the law, which killed the appeal and allowed gay marriages to resume.

I bet if we checked, we'd find that Scalia and Thomas were in the majority on every single one of the bad decisions, and dissented on almost every one of those good decisions.  (Don't bother - I did check as I compliled the links and it's true.)

Another notorious decision, Kelo v City of New London (2005), is harder to judge.  This was the eminent domain case that held cities can take private property in order to promote economic development.  I'm not sure that I agree fully, but it was the moderate justices plus Kennedy that decided this case by a vote of 5-4.

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  free Michael Whitely (details here)
* Pledge:  Ban Bossy
* Petition:  Robert Reich asks us to sign a petition denouncing the Koch brothers' anti-democratic efforts
* Petition:  Tell Hobby Lobby to knock it off

 

Quotations of the Week

"Did America owe something to the slaves whose labor had been stolen?  I think so, but that debt is best discharged through memory, because the slaves are dead and their descendants are better off as a consequence of their ancestors being hauled from Africa to America."
- Dinesh D'Souza

 

"If corporations get the right to marry before my gay friends, I'll be pissed."
- Me

 

"These arguments are not those of serious people."
- Federal Judge John Heyburn, on Kentucky's bad arguments against marriage equality

 

Poem of the Week

The Clinic

They come smelling
         like the inside of an ear
like government curtains
         like a flagpole in the dead
of winter
         with one leg
with cancer
         with court orders
with lies
         they come like the dead
the undead
         like shells washed up
bottles without messages
         They come hooked
naked as starfish
         stinking
needing
         food and shelter
money and clothing
         they come
and come
         like blood from a wrist
into my office
         notarized and wasted
pouring their tears
         Into my mouth
goes the vinegar of the damned
         goes the pale horse leaping
liberty's blue tongue
         sorrow upon
sorrow
         in the child's dead eye
the red tape worm
         wiggles
and slips into
         the stars.

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

* At least they're unified as they flee
* Interesting historical commentary on Stonewall
* Some good news:  lesbian police chief reinstated in South Carolina
* Why making wedding photographers and cake bakers your line in the sand is a big mistake
* There was one good SCOTUS decision this week
* A great commentary on Hobby Lobby
* How to be an ally
* State-by-state, what is the second most popular religion?
* Really cool grills
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!

 

Schedule

 

     
July 6 Sun Soup Kitchen - join us from 11:30am - 2pm
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493

 

Thursday Night DL at the Bee's Knees

 

Shouldering the Burden

Next meeting:
  Date Thursday, June 26th
Time 7 to 9pm (show up when you can)
Place Bee's Knees at 850 Lindsay Blvd (in the front of the Guesthouse Inn)
 


Real billboard at the south Idaho Falls I-15 exit (Dad's Truck Stop)

Please read this week's poem.  I found it increadibly powerful, and would like your thoughts.


There was an interesting court case in New York that was recently decided.  The case centered on the right of unvaccinated children to attend school.  The school district had a vaccination policy, of course.  And there are exemptions for both health reasons (which are valid) and religious reasons (which are not).  So be it.  However, the school system reserved the right to ban unvaccinated kids from school when there was an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness.

It only makes sense.  If there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness, then the last thing you need is a bunch of unvaccinated kids attending school.  That makes it harder to halt the spread of the illness and puts lots of kids at risk of contracting the illness (even vaccinated kids sometimes come down with those illnesses).


A few parents of unvaccinated kids claimed that the district's policy was an infringement on their religious rights.  "Wah!  Wah!" they cried, "you shouldn't hold our voluntary decision to put other kids at risk against us!  That's not fair!"  Not only did they want to be able to use their religious beliefs to avoid following the law, but they were demanding to be relieved of the consequences of choosing to follow their beliefs instead of following the law.  Even if the consequences were that other kids got sick.  In fact, they were claiming that requiring them to bear the natural and reasonable consequences of their personal decision was an infringement of their religious freedom.  How could they freely choose to worship their own special way if they were made to bear the consequences of freely choosing to worship their own special way?

Thankfully, the litigious parents lost.  The court recognized the school district's reasonable right and obligation to maintain a healthy environment for all kids - and especially those that followed the law.

Simply put, given an outbreak, any burden should fall on the parents who were stupid enough to avoid vaccination for religious reasons rather than upon those families that followed the law.  Good on Judge William F. Kuntz II, of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

This struck me as an apt precedent for the bogus "religious freedom" claims of those seeking to halt or overturn nondiscrimination ordinances.  Because bigots like Ralph and Rochelle Lillig of Pocatello hold a voluntary religious viewpoint - they choose on their own to believe that homosexuality and transgenderism is wrong - they expect the burder of their decision to fall on the targets of their bigotry.  They want the gay couple to suffer the embarrassment of rejection and the burden of seeking out some friendlier bakery.  They expect that they should be granted the comfort of maintaining their hateful views while Niona has to find some other place to use the bathroom.

Well, the appropriate response is exactly what the court in the vaccine case decided.  If you want to be a bigoted ass, fine.  But then you get to shoulder the burden of your decisions.  Not other people.

That is the message that we need to get across to our City Council this year.

(Should I submit this to the Post Register as a guest editorial?)

Cheers,
Dan

 

Contact

Follow IFDrinkLib on Facebook     Follow IFDrinkLib on Twitter     Email me

 

Action for the Week

  Drinking Liberally does not take official stands on issues and does not endorse any political candidates or parties.  Items appearing in this message are listed at the discretion of the sender/poster, and are intended for information purposes only.  Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the sender/poster only and not of the Drinking Liberally organization.

* Handy email service:  Megavote
* Petition:  free Michael Whitely (details here)
* Petition:  tell Republicans to knock off their stupid war on healthy school lunches

 

Quotations of the Week

"If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman?  At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death."
- Rep Lawrence Lockman, Maine House of Representatives

 

"Well if Republicans are going to act like Democrats, then what's the use in getting all gung-ho about getting more Republicans in there?  We need people who understand the beauty of ... the value of ... allowing free market to thrive.  Otherwise our country is going to be continued to be over-regulated, driving industry away, driving jobs away.  We're going to be a bankrupt, fundamentally transformed country unless those who know what they're doing, and aren't going along just to get along with those in power, it being today the Democrats.  That does no good.  So yeah if Republicans aren't going to stand strong on the planks in our platform then it does no good to get all enthused about them anymore."
- Sarah Palin

 

Poem of the Week

[Trigger warning for this poem]

Rape Joke

The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.

The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend.

The rape joke it wore a goatee.  A goatee.

Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke.  "Ahhhh," it thinks.  "Yes.  A goatee."

No offense.

The rape joke is that he was seven years older.  The rape joke is that you had known him for years, since you were too young to be interesting to him.  You liked that use of the word interesting, as if you were a piece of knowledge that someone could be desperate to acquire, to assimilate, and to spit back out in different form through his goateed mouth.

Then suddenly you were older, but not very old at all.

The rape joke is that you had been drinking wine coolers.  Wine coolers!  Who drinks wine coolers?  People who get raped, according to the rape joke.

The rape joke is he was a bouncer, and kept people out for a living.

Not you!

The rape joke is that he carried a knife, and would show it to you, and would turn it over and over in his hands as if it were a book.

He wasn't threatening you, you understood.  He just really liked his knife.

The rape joke is he once almost murdered a dude by throwing him through a plate-glass window.  The next day he told you and he was trembling, which you took as evidence of his sensitivity.

How can a piece of knowledge be stupid?  But of course you were so stupid.

The rape joke is that sometimes he would tell you you were going on a date and then take you over to his best friend Peewee's house and make you watch wrestling while they all got high.

The rape joke is that his best friend was named Peewee.

OK, the rape joke is that he worshiped The Rock.

Like the dude was completely in love with The Rock.  He thought it was so great what he could do with his eyebrow.

The rape joke is he called wrestling "a soap opera for men."  Men love drama too, he assured you.

The rape joke is that his bookshelf was just a row of paperbacks about serial killers.  You mistook this for an interest in history, and laboring under this misapprehension you once gave him a copy of Günter Grass's My Century, which he never even tried to read.

It gets funnier.

The rape joke is that he kept a diary.  I wonder if he wrote about the rape in it.

The rape joke is that you read it once, and he talked about another girl.  He called her Miss Geography, and said "he didn't have those urges when he looked at her anymore," not since he met you.  Close call, Miss Geography!

The rape joke is that he was your father's high-school student - your father taught World Religion.  You helped him clean out his classroom at the end of the year, and he let you take home the most beat-up textbooks.

The rape joke is that he knew you when you were 12 years old.  He once helped your family move two states over, and you drove from Cincinnati to St. Louis with him, all by yourselves, and he was kind to you, and you talked the whole way.  He had chaw in his mouth the entire time, and you told him he was disgusting and he laughed, and spat the juice through his goatee into a Mountain Dew bottle.

The rape joke is that come on, you should have seen it coming.  This rape joke is practically writing itself.

The rape joke is that you were facedown.  The rape joke is you were wearing a pretty green necklace that your sister had made for you.  Later you cut that necklace up.  The mattress felt a specific way, and your mouth felt a specific way open against it, as if you were speaking, but you know you were not.  As if your mouth were open ten years into the future, reciting a poem called Rape Joke.

The rape joke is that time is different, becomes more horrible and more habitable, and accommodates your need to go deeper into it.

Just like the body, which more than a concrete form is a capacity.

You know the body of time is elastic, can take almost anything you give it, and heals quickly.

The rape joke is that of course there was blood, which in human beings is so close to the surface.

The rape joke is you went home like nothing happened, and laughed about it the next day and the day after that, and when you told people you laughed, and that was the rape joke.

It was a year before you told your parents, because he was like a son to them.  The rape joke is that when you told your father, he made the sign of the cross over you and said, "I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," which even in its total wrongheadedness, was so completely sweet.

The rape joke is that you were crazy for the next five years, and had to move cities, and had to move states, and whole days went down into the sinkhole of thinking about why it happened.  Like you went to look at your backyard and suddenly it wasn't there, and you were looking down into the center of the earth, which played the same red event perpetually.

The rape joke is that after a while you weren't crazy anymore, but close call, Miss Geography.

The rape joke is that for the next five years all you did was write, and never about yourself, about anything else, about apples on the tree, about islands, dead poets and the worms that aerated them, and there was no warm body in what you wrote, it was elsewhere.

The rape joke is that this is finally artless.  The rape joke is that you do not write artlessly.

The rape joke is if you write a poem called Rape Joke, you're asking for it to become the only thing people remember about you.

The rape joke is that you asked why he did it.  The rape joke is he said he didn't know, like what else would a rape joke say?  The rape joke said YOU were the one who was drunk, and the rape joke said you remembered it wrong, which made you laugh out loud for one long split-open second.  The wine coolers weren't Bartles & Jaymes, but it would be funnier for the rape joke if they were.  It was some pussy flavor, like Passionate Mango or Destroyed Strawberry, which you drank down without question and trustingly in the heart of Cincinnati Ohio.

Can rape jokes be funny at all, is the question.

Can any part of the rape joke be funny.  The part where it ends—haha, just kidding!  Though you did dream of killing the rape joke for years, spilling all of its blood out, and telling it that way.

The rape joke cries out for the right to be told.

The rape joke is that this is just how it happened.

The rape joke is that the next day he gave you Pet Sounds.  No really.  Pet Sounds.  He said he was sorry and then he gave you Pet Sounds.  Come on, that's a little bit funny.

Admit it.

 

links ... links ... Links ... LINKS ... LINKS!

  * "Which president was that?"  Jay Carney makes a funny.
* Fox News' Megyn Kelly slams Dick Cheney
* Boehner to sue President Obama
* Why do I always hear about the cool stuff only after the SCOTUS rules them illegal?
* Something I've said before:  fuck civility (read my bit here)
* Interesting photoshop art
  * If you need more excellent linkage, check out Yankton!

 

Schedule

 

     
July 6 Sun Soup Kitchen - join us from 11:30am - 2pm
June 27 Fri IF City Club Annual Dinner:  Barbara Morgan (astronaut and teacher), Unfasten Your Seatbelts: An Astronaut's Guide to Space (Bennion SUB, 6pm)
Sept 12-13 Fri-Sat Idaho Falls Pride
 
Mon The Nation Discussion Group - every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7:00pm, at Sandy and Merrick Brow's home, 2269 Calkins Avenue, 524‑6230
 
Mon Film for Thought - every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Monday, 7:00pm, at Marsha and David Nipper's home, 3031 S. Boulevard, 523‑8493