iran79This is a picture of women protesting the forced Hijab in Iran days after the 1979 revolution. Don’t forget this and the fact that they lost this freedom when you are defending the Hijab.

Is it really too hard hard to hold two thoughts in mind at the same time? You can be tolerant toward emigrants AND see the ways their culture is anti-women (and gays, and freedom of speech). Your ancestors saw these things in OUR culture and fought them, not to success, but to an ever threatened improvement. It’s obvious that right wing Americans consider equal rights for women to be a political football and very much in play.

Progress is never a settled issue. Ignoring the things your own mothers hated having forced upon them, while claiming a feminist perspective is cognitive dissonance. Other cultures are not wiser, purer, better than us. It’s like saying you can’t understand what food tastes like. Taste it.

Also… The image to the right does not represent my opinion, I’m critiquing it. hkapology
This is a logical fallacy, a false equivalence on several levels.
It aims to equate honor killings, a socially accepted, cold blooded, ethically based rationale for murdering a family member with a sampled statistic for north american murders of women.

1. We consider murder a horrible crime with no religious or other mitigation. Where honor killings are practiced they are seen by some as murder and by many as a cultural/religious obligation.
2. They also have regular horrible murders, which the article ignores entirely, satisfied with the math it’s done so far.
3. In standard Islam, a man is committing no crime by beating his wife. In fact it is a cultural norm approved by religious authorities.
4. Ultimately what does the article wish us to think? It seems that the idea is to neutralize any outrage at honor killings by saying to ourselves: “I live in a flawed place too, Who am I to judge?”

And don’t forget in Islamic courts , known in many places as “THE court” women’s testimony counts half or even a third as much as a man’s. The cultural norms we are talking about display a pattern of treating women as goods and chattels and should be despised by people who are happy to see that idea stamped out here.
It’s astounding to me that a woman taking a theoretically feminist stance would write this letter which plays out as becoming an apologist on the subject of honor killings. I could imagine virtually the same letter being written by a conservative Islamic cleric.

There is a huge taboo on disliking and judging  any culture except our own. Hating OUR culture is a given in politically correct circles. I have no comfortable seat on this subject, as the right wing tends to only like “our culture” in the same way the people with gluten allergies like baked goods. If there’s a conclusion, it’s that when you separate something from the political scrum around it, you can see it’s merits and failings for exactly what they are.


  • You are looking at a blank computer screen. Green and red dots start moving from top to bottom.
  • There are many more green dots than red dots, perhaps five or six times as many. They are all moving the same speed.
  • Most of both colors move straight down.
  • But halfway down the screen some of each color stop going down and move sideways to the right instead.
  • There is a counter that lists how many dots of each color turned right.
  • The counter reveals that similar numbers of green dots and red dots have moved right, it’s almost 50/50.

Overall, which is more likely to turn right, a red dot or a green dot ?

…And that is the statistical foundation of racial profiling. 

We are all so tense around race issues but being loyal to an argument that doesn’t work and isn’t well founded is kind of a commitment to preserve the lousy status quo. At this point supporting movements like BLM is much more like a purity test given to an already sympathetic demographic than it is like any kind of positive path forward. What is the end game? Less racial division and tension…or more? The supposedly progressive arguments about race (cultural appropriation for example) feel to me like they are leading us ever farther apart, into narrow little stalls…oddly enough, based on our race.

The “math” doesn’t hold up underneath BLM and when you take in the whole situation it actually starts to feel hypocritical or deeply in denial.
We liberals like to think that America’s over the top murder levels and gun nuts are mainly a white thing but they are not. African Americans are about 13 percent of the population and commit around 40+% of our murders every year. Black on black violence is a catastrophe, a slaughterhouse but no passionate reform movement (that I can see) is seeking media attention to fix it. Politicians won’t go near the truth on this and for liberals this is our “climate change” where want our own facts that feel better.
Absolutely Black lives matter. Or should.

What the Black Lives Matter movement misses about those police shootings.



In 1957, William F. Buckley wrote his most infamous editorial for National Review, entitled “Why the South Must Prevail.” Is the white community in the South, he asked, “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically?” His answer was unambiguous: “The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.” Buckley cited unfounded statistics demonstrating the superiority of white over black, and concluded that, “it is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.” He added definitively: “the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage.” And what method should be used to enforce the maintenance of “civilized standards”?

Buckley suggests a no-holds-barred defense, including violence. “Sometimes,” he wrote, “it becomes impossible to assert the will of a minority, in which case it must give way, and the society will regress; sometimes the numerical minority [white] cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence.”

Barry Goldwater had voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and it was noted by pro-segregation Southerners. In fairness to him, he supported other civil rights plans. But it was Nixon who devised and pursued what came to be called the Southern strategy. As Wikipedia puts it, this was an appeal “to racism against African-Americans.” Nixon was not the first Republican to notice that Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legislation had alienated whites both in the South and elsewhere — Johnson himself had forecast that Southern whites would desert the Democratic Party. This is the moment when the party of Lincoln deposited Lincoln in the nearest receptacle.

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Dexter Nibble: A mouse among men. I used to make up two hour bedtime stories about this guy and his friends, including the “eyeball robot” floating beside him. And yes I realize how counterproductive a 2 hour bedtime story is. But they were GRIPPING!



13880151_1216830431748911_624550834602818979_nA friend put this up on Facebook and I just can’t let it alone. Again, I’m liberal politically, and I long for us all to get along. But there is a self destructive streak in the tolerance movement which blames people for reacting in ways that aren’t blindly accepting.

1. Beards: I don’t think the beard thing is an especially big problem for Muslim men, but to answer WHY, which seems to be the question: I might guess a jewish fellow with a full beard was a bit extreme, but it wouldn’t matter to me because they represent no threat to me, historically or statistically. When that look is part of the uniform for the very high profile danger of Islamic terrorists our brains connect it to risk. Our brains are shaped by evolution to look for patterns that mean danger.

2. Habits vs Burkas: Very few nuns still wear the habit and when they do it’s part of the uniform for an order that takes them OUT of normal society. In cover-up cultures it isn’t devotion to god, like the nuns, it’s an inflexible societal norm. There are many Muslim women who feel OK about covering up but in many places no choice is allowed and physical danger or at least loud and intimidating disapproval is a likely outcome to NOT dressing that way. Hence, oppression.

3. Defending the homeland: The Palestinians seem to be the focus of the third picture and while right wing Israelis may call them terrorists, much of the rest of the world sees them as oppressed victims, albeit victims who often make hot headed poor choices. If it (the picture) represents any place with an Islamic culture where there’s a battle over territory then it probably does have at least some terrorist influence at play because they have inserted themselves as players in these situations.


mapsSelf driving trucks are being tested and refined as a technology and are already understood to safer and less expensive than human drivers: They’re coming in the near term. Self driving trucks are inevitable.

Now, look at this image of the most common jobs by state and consider the implications. I’m not against this change, but our political leaders still believe that wealth forms as magical dewdrops on the bodies of the 1% before cascading as a god ordained blessing onto the far less important people down below.

We have no plan for the unavoidable, transformed near-term future. Worse yet, America has a cold, cold heart towards the poor and unemployed. Worse yet, unemployed lower middle class guys like these soon to be former truckers vote for pseudo-fascist idiots like Trump.

The problem with the rich is that they believe their own stories about where money comes from. When an unemployed American stops sending money to insurance, medical care, internet providers, etc, and stops buying nearly as many products of all kinds there is a tiny disturbance in the force for the 1%. Multiply that times all these truckers, and you have way less income for the rich. Where is your trickle down now, assholes?



The reason we can’t just all be moderate, middle of the road people is because the middle of the road is defined by the edges of the road. It’s a relative position, not an absolute one.
  • The line down the middle only exists in reference to the positions of the parties. It is always defined by their argument. There is no state of perfect conservatism or progressivism. There is no platonic ideal for these.  It is always defined by the current cultural and political context. You can’t state a political platform for either lacking that context. But they do have basic predictable roles.
  • The Venn overlap is what we pretty much all agree on (except for loonies)
  • The white horizontal line is “The middle of the road” the somewhat disputed territory we can talk about with bargains and compromises.
  • Between the thick dotted lines and the black lines are areas of pretty fundamental disagreement. Moving outward toward either edge comes a less acceptable AND less accepting range.
  • The extreme edges (with the solid black lines) are important because they represent the borders of the field where anything further is “out of bounds”
 Approaching the edges, in both directions the beliefs increase in “pressure”, pushing back and becoming more and more unilateral in their thinking until at the the very edge past the black lines we find the small numbers of people who imagine war against the opposition is the only answer.
The progressive/conservative divide is of critical importance for human communities because it allows for mobility of response. For example, communities need to be more accepting or rejecting of outsiders at different times. Also, it allows cultures to define themselves organically around the “comfort zone” generated by the collective individuals.
About the overall idea: Clearly there are a bunch of things I haven’t figured out how to include in this visual, it’s just a work in progress…