Morning coffee: Caturday


via gifcraftPuppies Attack Cat: Puppies want to play, but the cat isn’t interested.

The weekend is exciting but let’s be careful out there.

Imagine if Barack Obama had been a devoted follower of a Russian atheist…

…of course, we would have never heard of this black, atheist-loving, Soviet Union worshiping, radical anarchist “Barack Obama” fellow ever again.



Lawrence O’Donnell analyzes Paul Ryan’s former love of Ayn Rand

Related: Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand: splitting Americans into the “makers” and the “takers”

Has Romney ever performed baptisms for the dead? Is this issue relevant in Poland?

Newsweek and The Daily Beast: When asked by NEWSWEEK (in 2007)  if he has done baptisms for the dead—in which Mormons find the names of dead people of all faiths and baptize them, as an LDS spokesperson says, to “open the door” to the highest heaven—he looked slightly startled and answered, “I have in my life, but I haven’t recently.” The awareness of how odd this will sound to many Americans is what makes Romney hesitant to elaborate on the Mormon question. (via azspot)


Something else I think is interesting about Mormonism and baptism:

Do Mormons believe the baptism of little children is an evil abomination? 

I was baptized as an infant, and so was my brother. The “evil abomination” language comes from the website, where the following verses from the Book of Mormon were found:

The Book of Moroni: Chapter 8 

14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither afaith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

16 Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having aauthority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for bperfect clove dcasteth out all fear.

I welcome any comments from Mormons, because I am curious and that’s pretty strong language. Who’s supposed to be an evil abomination — the priest / pastor performing the baptism or the child being baptized? Or just the act itself? Oy.

Is this relevant to today? Yes, because Romney’s going to Poland

“Poland, of course, is one of the most Roman Catholic nations on earth, and, despite noble efforts at reconciliation, there have been historic tensions between Mormons and Roman Catholics. Most recently, there had been the bizarre and — to some — hideous practice of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims — from Poland — and other countries into the Mormon faith, which the LDS leadership has stopped.

“In the practice of posthumous baptism, a living person is baptized on behalf of a dead person so that the dead person can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. These “proxy” baptisms are established practice in the Mormon faith, and they have been performed for a variety of famous and infamous people, including the founding fathers, Barack Obama’s mother, Adolf Hitler and possibly Anne Frank.

“When Catholic and Jewish organizations, among others, complained about proxy baptisms being performed when there was no Mormon genealogical tie with the deceased “beneficiary,” church leadership put a stop to this category of baptisms. But names are still being submitted by some church members.”

Waste of paper

All the pretty trees, gone — and for what?

via: gop-circus

RIP, Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 — June 5, 2012)

“I’m tired of seeing creatures from other worlds with the brains on the outside of the skull. There’s too much imitation going on by people who think they’re writers but aren’t. Don’t put me in outer space with another galactic war. I can’t stand galactic wars.” — Ray Bradbury, to Newsweek, Nov 12, 1995.

Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and other beloved science fiction novels, died Tuesday night at the age of 91, according to the AP. — Ray Bradbury, beloved science fiction author, dies

When Jesus said “Go Galt!” and then changed His mind: Paul Ryan’s impressive flip flop

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House budget committee, was scheduled yesterday to speak at Georgetown University, a Catholic institution. 90 faculty members and administrators sent him a letter about his budget:

“I am afraid that Chairman Ryan’s budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Father Thomas Reese, a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, in a press release Tuesday. “Survival of the fittest may be okay for Social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”

The complaints seemed to resonate with Ryan. On Thursday, he went on record denouncing Ayn Rand, who believed altruism is evil, brushing off his well-documented obsession with her as a teenage romance.


Did Paul Ryan JUST NOW discover Ayn Rand was an atheist — and a hateful, selfish, hypocritical one at that? Or did he just now discover what Jesus actually taught? Apparently so. This week, Paul Ryan’s did a big ol’ flip flop on his well-known, well-documented hero worship of Rand, as Catholic organizations, educators, and leaders started calling bullshit on Ryan for claiming to be a Christian AND a huge fan of Ayn Rand.

As one example, here’s what he said in 2005:

The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”

Ryan also said

“…that virtually every national struggle our society faces can be boiled down to the Randian binary, “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill … is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict–individualism versus collectivism.”

But here’s what he said THIS WEEK:

I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.

Say hello to the new and improved Paul Ryan! Ayn Rand isn’t politically expedient this week, so no more conflict of interest.

Note also that many tea partiers and rightwing bloggers, who would call themselves religious people, worship at the feet of Ayn Rand and Objectivism for political purposes.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of the most xenophobic, mindlessly hateful bloggers for the right has named her site after Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged.”

So will Paul Ryan’s sudden philosophical conversion change his perspective with regard to his budget proposal? Not at all. He told a Christian tv show that his budget was practically endorsed by the Pope himself, who is down on debt:

James Salt, the executive director of Catholics United, which organized one of the protests outside the hall where Ryan was speaking, told gathered reporters that his group was there because “the dignity of the poor should be at the forefront of our minds.” Taking a dig at Ryan’s attempts to cast his budget as a boon for poor people, Salt noted, “If Paul Ryan knew what poverty was, he wouldn’t be giving this speech.” 

The lessons of Dr. Seuss

New children’s book “Hey Mitt, Dogs Don’t Go There!”


peterfeld: Seamus, Mitt Romney’s dog on the car roof, now stars in a new children’s book “Hey Mitt, Dogs Don’t Go There!” (via Buzzfeed)

rykingPoor Seamus.

Here’s Newt’s new ad about poor Seamus.

Pat Buchanan FINALLY crossed a line with MSNBC: won’t be allowed back on the network

Seriously, finally! Because it’s not like this book reveals anything new about Pat Buchanan. Maybe all the complaints finally reached an actionable level with MSNBC.

MSNBC Ousts Contributor Pat Buchanan Over Racist Book | Conservative contributor Pat Buchanan’s tenure at MSNBC may have finally come to an end. AP reports that MSNBC president Phil Griffin has indicated the controversial former presidential candidate will not be allowed back on the network after the release of his latest book. “Suicide of a Superpower” has been roundly condemned for its racially-charged content, including chapters titled “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.” Griffin said, “When Pat was on his book tour, because of the content of the book, I didn’t think it should be part of the national dialogue much less part of the dialogue on MSNBC.”

You can find some quotes from “Suicide of A Superpower” at TPM. Here are a couple:

From the chapter “‘The White Party’”:

What the above points to is a strategy from which Republicans will recoil, a strategy to increase the GOP share of the white Christian vote and increase the turnout of that vote by specific appeals to social, cultural, and moral issues, and for equal justice for the emerging white minority. If the GOP is not the party of New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci and Cambridge cop James Crowley, it has no future. And although Howard Dean disparages the Republicans as the “white party,” why should Republicans be ashamed to represent the progeny of the men who founded, built, and defended America since her birth as a nation?

On the segregation era:

Perhaps some of us misremember the past. But the racial, religious, cultural, social, political, and economic divides today seem greater than they seemed even in the segregation cities some of us grew up in.

Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans.

Ah, memories! What a magical, patriotic, fun, sexy time that was for America…

Morning laugh

Amazon customer review via: andrewsullivan:

Buy this book, or don’t, I don’t care anymore” by Michael Pemulis:

It used to be that I got home from work and the only thing I’d want to put in my mouth was the cold barrel of my grandfather’s shotgun. Then I discovered Sonia Allison’s Chicken Tetrazzini, and now there are two things.

Reading: Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton

Love Bolton’s writing style: modern Gothic storyline with conversations that are believable (and very British!), descriptions that are lovely, and likeable characters whose stories are divergent enough to be interesting but are still connected to the main plot. Great story so far, and spooky!  I’m about 1/2 way through and have usually lost some interest by now, so this book is a success because I want to keep reading.

Story overview from B&N:

The Fletchers’ beautiful new house is everything they dreamed it would be. Built between two churches in Heptonclough, a small village on the moors that time forgot, it ought to be paradise for this young family of five, but they barely have a chance to settle in before they find that they’re anything but welcome. Someone seems to be trying to drive them away—at first with silly pranks but then with threats that become increasingly dangerous, especially to the oldest child, ten-year-old Tom Fletcher, who begins to believe that someone is always watching him.

The adults in Tom’s life are trying to help, including his parents; the vicar next door, younger and more dashing than you’d expect a vicar to be; and a therapist, Evi Oliver, who believes him more than she wants to. But there are other clues that something isn’t quite right in Heptonclough…

I have no idea how Bolton herself pictured the “young and dashing” vicar next door, Harry Laycock (one of the main characters), but I can’t help but imagine he looks like David Tennant. So maybe that’s one reason I like the story so much.

The President charms the kids in Texas

brooklynmutt: Show and yell – TheDaily: Hey, look, it’s me!

Charmers gonna charm.

Chris Hedges argues that both Huxley and Orwell were right

Chris Hedges tells The Progressive in an interview that both Aldous Huxley and George Orwell were on to something, and their dystopic visions are neither far fetched nor incompatible:

“I used to wonder: Is Huxley right or is Orwell right? It turns out they’re both right. First you get the new world state [Brave New World] and endless diversions as you are disempowered. And then, as we are watching, credit dries up, and the cheap manufactured goods of the consumer society are no longer cheap. Then you get the iron fist of Oceania, of Orwell’s 1984.

“That’s precisely the process that’s happened. We have been very effectively pacified by the pernicious ideology of a consumer society that is centered on the cult of the self—an undiluted hedonism and narcissism. That has become a very effective way to divert our attention while the country is reconfigured into a kind of neofeudalism, with a rapacious oligarchic elite and an anemic government that no longer is able to intercede on behalf of citizens but cravenly serves the interests of the oligarchy itself.”

Read more…

via: Utne Reader

Are we more ‘Brave New World’ or ‘1984’ today?

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”

Neil Postman (via: azspot)

Fears of men and women

From The Gift of Fearvia: shorterexcerpts