October 31, 2014

Read the Amazing, Fantastical, Autocratic Bob Jones University Student Handbook

Bob Jones University Public Domain Photograph

I mentioned the infamous Bob Jones University student handbook in an earlier post after explaining it was the school from which one of the extremist authors I was reading as part of a self-imposed cultural studies program graduated back in 1950.  It was the university that famously insisted God didn't want blacks intermingling with whites and refused to admit non-married black students until as late as 1975.  It was ultimately money that changed their mind as the IRS revoked their tax exempt sta … [Read more...]

Should Government Benefits Be Tied to Behavior and Decisions?

EBT Card

I don't talk about it very often, but one of the charitable organizations close to my heart are community food banks and soup kitchens.  These non-profits collect groceries for those who can't afford to feed themselves or their children, allowing them to avoid hunger.  They resonate with something very deep in my core, maybe because I love cooking so much, but it strikes me as morally inexcusable for an American child to starve while living among the greatest aggregation of wealth ever amassed by … [Read more...]

You Have To Watch This – The Newest Propoganda Out of North Korea Is So Masterful, It’s On Par with Leni Riefenstahl’s Work for Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany

North Korea Propoganda

One of my reading projects this month has been North Korea.  I mentioned a few days ago that I'm in the middle of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, one of the highest rated books ever written on the experiences of typical citizens living in the world's most brutal regime.  Next on that list is the 400-page report by the independent Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from the United Nations.  You can download the repor … [Read more...]

And I Thought Tim LaHaye Hated Catholics …

Tim LaHaye

A few of you know I'm in the middle of my 1970-1990 counter-evidence study, in which I dive into books on both extremes of the so-called culture wars, reading everything from radical feminists to conservative preachers to understand some of the things that were happening in the United States at the time from the perspective of those in the trenches. Reproductive technology, the draft, the role of women in the home, divorce, prayer in school, gay rights, political alliances, employee … [Read more...]

Where Do You Fall Relative to Your Fellow Citizens in the Pew Ideological Consistency Scale?

Ideological Consistency Scale

Pew Research has an Ideological Consistency Scale it uses to roughly estimate the rigidity to which a person subscribes to a particular political philosophy.  If you have a few seconds, it's a bit interesting to take.  For each conservative position you hold +1, for each liberal position -1, and for each "I don't know" or "other", you do nothing.  Sum your results at the end of the short questionnaire and then compare it to the ratings scale. The scoring is as follows: Consistently con … [Read more...]

The Mess That Is the Hobby Lobby Case

Hobby Lobby Supreme Court

The Hobby Lobby decision has been all over the news and it seems like everyone has an opinion on it (few people bothering to read the actual opinion from the Supreme Court).  Despite many messages from you asking my thoughts, I haven't written about it for several reasons. I believe this is a case that never should have been brought in the first place because it is a symptom of fact the American system is anachronistic.  It is irrational to tie health benefits to employment.  The idea that you … [Read more...]

The Sultan of Brunei Has Played the Ace of Spades


For several weeks, I've found myself ruminating on a passage from a book I recently read during my research on the good, bad, and benign of multi-tier marketing systems.  This was part of my counter-evidence file; people who strongly opposed the model as currently practiced.  It was written by Steve Butterfield several decades ago and is called Amway: The Cult of Free Enterprise.  While I think some of his conclusions are not supported, I keep coming back to this, on page 161: Disaster is broug … [Read more...]

Bask In The Imperial Symbolism

Tolmachevy Sisters

After writing about the mathematics of Borda count voting systems as applied to the Eurovision contest, I realized I never posted the Russian performance, presented by the virginal 17-year old Tolmachevy Sisters.  Bask in the symbolism of both the staging and the orchestration choices.  Those of you with a history or music background will spot it right away. Marketing genius Clotaire Rapaille must be shedding a tear at the subconscious appeals to Russia's unspoken culture code.  (And in some p … [Read more...]

What Bearded Ladies Can Teach Us About 18th Century Borda Count Voting Systems and Making Money

Conchita Wurst

The Washington Post this morning had a story about the political discontentment in Russia over the outcome of the 2014 Eurovision competition.  Given that a few days ago, I outright said I'd personally emigrate were I living in Russia, this confluence of events is particularly timely.  I'm going to use it as an excuse to talk about something known as Borda count systems, which I think more than a few of you will find interesting.  I've been meaning to write a post about this alternative voting … [Read more...]

To The 1,850~ of You Who Live in Russia, I Offer a Serious Suggestion: Emigrate. Now.

St Basils Cathedral Russia

When I wrote this post a year ago predicting the decline of individual freedom in Russia, I never could have imagined how far the country would descend in a mere eleven months.  In addition to the Ukraine conflict, the anti-free speech laws that make it a crime to insult certain religious beliefs, the criminalization of any outward sign that you are gay under the guise of protecting minors, the ban of any potentially offensive words in film and art, and a host of other development that look like … [Read more...]