commented on The Saturday Morning News
Re: the NSA
At this point, I'm convinced that we all have a positive patriotic duty to take the steps necessary to protect our privacy as well as we can.
As I reasonably well-informed layman who's not qualified to do the actual legwork of coming up with the code to do this sort of thing, I still think there are good, prudent and simple steps everyone can take.
Installing and using TOR is one such step. I'd also suggest looking into more secure email services (remember, if you're getting it for free on the Internet, then YOU are the product). Consider other steps available here: https://pack.resetthenet.org/
To help even more, consider running a Tor relay (more info here: https://www.eff.org/torchallenge/
And if you can donate money, the EFF is a good candidate. https://supporters.eff.org/donate
commented on The Kind of Paper Grocery Bag Safeway Offers Black People Is Not the Same as the Kind it Offers White People?
Is this posting an elaborate internet troll designed to provoke a response? Surely this cannot be what it appears to be. But on the off-chance that it is:
1) For as long as I can remember, paper grocery bags have never had handles. Of course, I haven't seen many paper bags at all over the last several years. But back into the '70s and '80s, the default paper bag was the top one. Somehow, we managed to get everything home.
2) Before immediately jumping to "OMG RACISM!!!!!!", let's consider a few other options. Maybe the first store had a larger stock of handle-less paper bags to run through before restocking with the newer ones. Maybe the store manager is just making a different decision for his or her store, saving a little bit on bags and putting that money towards something else. Or maybe it's their aesthetic choice. They do have some latitude.
The one thing that really seems highly unlikely to me is that the EVIL Safeway executives are sitting around a highly polished round table, in their black hoods and masks in a darkened room, rubbing their hands and stroking their Persian cats and saying, "How can we stick it to the black man today? I know! Let's give them handleless paper bags! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!"
Nov 28, 2013
commented on Where Will the Gay Marriage Fight Go Next?
@4 Western conservatives tend to be more libertarian than the southern variety. Obviously the LDS Church would be active there in a pretty big way, but they've been kind of keeping their head down since Prop. 8.
And Salt Lake City itself is actually a fairly progressive place.
I don't expect them to be on board by 2016, but I don't expect them to be one of the last holdouts either like Mississippi or Alabama.
Nov 19, 2013
commented on Rob Ford, Stripped
This guy is an inspiration to crackheads everywhere! Really shows how anybody* can grow up to be mayor!
*As long as you come from a wealthy enough background.
Nov 17, 2013
commented on Slog Bible Study: Zephaniah 1:2
I note there's no time limit on the prophecy. Over the stretch of cosmological time, everything on the Earth, even the Earth itself will be destroyed.
If we view destruction in terms of the survival of the human race, that's likely to happen considerably sooner.
Which is kind of a cop-out, yes, but strictly speaking that part of the prophecy is quite true. Whether the true-believers survive (as laid out in the rest of Zephaniah) is the really debatable point.
Nov 5, 2013
commented on Chris Christie Wins Big in New Jersey
The GOP faithful will never nominate Christie. All of those nice things he said about Obama in the wake of Sandy will stick in their craw. That, in and of itself, makes him a "RINO".
Besides, the true believers will say they held their nose and went for the "electable" establishment candidate in both 2008 and 2012 and lost both times.
Besides, Christie's likely to start yelling at some working stiff thus alienating a big part of the electorate and/or giving himself a heart attack.
Nov 4, 2013
commented on John Boehner Will Oppose ENDA
But ENDA will pass eventually. I went and saw Ender's Game this weekend—it was fun—and didn't give a shit about Orson Scott Card's storied record of homophobia. Card, Boehner, and the rest of those jackals have already lost.
This is almost certainly the correct attitude to have, and precisely why I can't really be bothered to get on board with things like the Barilla boycott.
We're winning. We don't need
boycotts that give our opponents the ammunition of claiming that we oppose their right to free speech. Better by far to let our opponents like Boehner expose themselves by speaking openly instead of anything that may intimidate them into a resentful silence.
Oct 27, 2013
commented on Slog Bible Study: Psalm 82:1
Josephus wrote the Jewish Antiquities around 90 or so. That's about 60 years after the Crucifixion, or the same as one of us writing about stuff that happened in the '50s.
Bear in mind that, just as you or I would have sources we could turn to if we were writing about Eisenhower, so too did Josephus have his sources. He would have known people who were alive during Jesus's lifetime. Perhaps even people involved with the execution (he was an aristocrat, as were the members of the priestly class in Jerusalem).
Plus, like Tacitus or Livy or other historians of the era we do have access to, he'd also have access to other written documents that have since been lost. It's extremely common for classical sources to have references to other works that are missing...it's the main way we know something of the shapes of the gaps in our knowledge.
Oct 27, 2013
commented on Slog Bible Study: Psalm 82:1
@95, sorry, as far as historical "facts" go, that's all you get.
And that's not just in relation to Jesus. You're basically making the argument that the overwhelming majority of the history that exists prior to the invention of the printing press is worthless.
Incidentally, that includes written sources where the author writes about himself or people he knew personally. Because we don't actually have original manuscripts penned by the authors themselves, but only copies of copies of copies, sometimes written by illiterate scribes, often filled with errors and interpolations. We have later texts falsely attributed to earlier writers in order to give them a patina of authority. We have a myriad of textual problems to tease through and precious little material to tease, which is why the discovery of even scraps of text is cause for delight.
Basically, the level of proof you're asking for does not exist. For anyone or anything in the period. You either accept that fact and do the best you can with what you have (which is what professional historians of the era do, and they almost universally accept the idea of a historical person named Jesus, if not the religious stories of the Gospels) or you declare, like Henry Ford, that it's all bunk.