What’s Your Solution?

Sometimes it is amazing the wisdom that's found in a simple cartoon.

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Haight Ashbury Video Blog

Yeah, it's only 28 seconds, but it's a "practice" one.

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Leveraging airline fear

(UPDATE: Fun comment string)
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6 Imams Removed From Flight for Behavior Deemed Suspicious

Six Muslim religious leaders were taken off a US Airways flight in Minneapolis on Monday evening and detained for several hours after some passengers and crew members complained of behavior they deemed suspicious, including prayers at the gate.

The incident prompted the Council on American-Islamic Relations and officials for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Washington to call Tuesday for Congressional hearings on racial profiling and an investigation by the Justice Department and the Transportation Security Administration.

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Islamic advocacy group, said this was hardly the first time Muslims had encountered problems with stereotyping by the airline. “We seem to have received more complaints against US Airways” than other carriers, Mr. Awad said in an interview. Those complaints have come from Muslim employees and passengers alike, he said.

Morgan Durrant, a US Airways spokesman, said the airline was investigating the episode. But he said the crew had acted in accordance with the company’s policy for removing passengers, though he declined to give specifics on the policy.

The six men detained, all imams, had attended a Minneapolis conference of the North American Imams Federation. They were handcuffed by the police and led off the flight, bound for Phoenix, after reports from passengers and crew members of “unsettling” behavior, according to a police report. One passenger had slipped a note to a flight attendant that began, “6 suspicious Arabic men on plane,” the report said.

So the gist is, with nothing more than a scribble on a scrap of paper, one dude was able to deny SIX others the chance to fly. Think about that the next time you are in the airport and some drunken frat boys are in line behind you or some jerk spills a drink on you in the airport bar or some adult with unruly, loud, disobedient children (or a colicky baby!)  have the temerity to sit by you.   Just pass the stewardess a note with your concerns over their suspicious behavior and voilá! Problem solved!

And if this whole thing offends you, think about this: the best way to punish the airlines for this kind of racist bullshit is to ruthlessly exploit it in your own favor, as frivolously and often as possible. Airplanes can't fly with empty planes and if everyone starts pointing at everyone else, they'll be forced to take a different tack.

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Another Keith Olbermann direct hit

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Explaining religion to my niece and nephews

HP and I are going down to visit my parents this Christmas. I'll be hanging out with my sister and her kids at some point. My sister is an atheist, but ever since her kids got old enough to talk, suddenly she's officially Catholic again. In front of the kids she does a convincing job of pretending she believes in all that horse shit, and gives me The Look when I roll my eyes when she talks god to the kids. But get her away from the family and suddenly she's rational and her need for fairy tales and magic to explain the unknowns in the Universe falls away.  I vastly prefer this person, my sister when she's away from her family. 

I find it all very sad—-that she feels the need to pretend. That her default doesn't lie in honesty. Her motivation for putting mythology into her kids' heads was something along the lines of the behavioral modification that goes hand-in-hand with being raised in the guilt-steeped culture of the church. Whatever. They're her kids and she can lie to them all she wants. I guess guilt is cheaper, easier and healthier than Ritalin.

My niece and nephews, 7,  10 and 13, respectively, may ask me about Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, God, Heaven, or other fairy tales. I have a feeling that I'll probably just avoid giving an answer. "Oh, that's an interesting question. You're mother would probably prefer I not discuss that with you. Sorry kid."   I have a feeling I may be brutally honest though, if I've had anything to drink.  Ugh.

Dilbert creator Scot Adams said, I’ve described the clash of Islam and Christianity – everything from the Crusades to the war on terror – as “The people who think a guy walked on water versus the people who think a horse can fly.” I submit that anything you add to that description is unnecessary for understanding the global clash of civilizations.

Most of all, I feel sad for her eldest, now going on 13—that he's being raised in a church where they teach him that an invisible man with a beard watches his every move and writes down any dirty thought he may have about sex. It's going to ruin and pervert all the magic of his discovery of masturbation.

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The so-called Liberal Media

Jamison Foser of Media Matters has a fantastic summation of the lack of balance in the media that is a must read this morning.  (Found it via Christie Hardin Smith on FDL, by way of Atrios, and I'm most grateful.  It is a wonderfully put together read and set of links.)  Here is a portion that needs further emphasis:

It's easy enough to look past the obvious, if unintentional, double standard. After all, if the public isn't well-served by the sort of inane, substance-free mockery and derision to which the media have subjected progressives in recent years, such treatment of conservatives would merely even the score, not necessarily constitute a move toward more responsible treatment of serious issues. So we might see the lack of sophomoric taunting as a positive.

That would be a mistake. The political media aren't becoming more responsible; they're simply continuing to direct their scorn at Democrats and progressives. Just this week, media have hyped purported Democratic disarray while downplaying or ignoring altogether GOP infighting; falsely suggested that Nancy Pelosi is as unpopular as President Bush; asserted that Democrats — who do not yet actually control Congress and won't until next year — are "starting to feel some of the pressure" of catching Osama bin Laden without explaining how Bush and the GOP let him get away; and suggested that Nancy Pelosi, who hasn't even become speaker of the House yet, is already "damaged goods." Meanwhile, Trent Lott, who has as good a claim on being "damaged goods" as anyone, is the beneficiary of a media whitewash of his history of associating himself with racist organizations and ideas. Fox News, not typically known for subtlety or for downplaying controversy, told viewers that Lott "ran into a little bit of difficulty, but now he's making a comeback." Yes, that unpleasantness about his suggestion that America would be better off had a segregationist been elected president is behind him, and Lott is now ready, we presume, to act as a uniter, not a divider. Right.

Go and read the entire, glorious essay. Jamison is a treasure, and this is one of his best in a string of great ones this year.  After you read it, you'll need a laugh — because it's incredibly frustrating to see the entire media imbalance spew laid out in meticulous detail and then not be peeved — so I'm including a link to Bob Geiger's round-up of the best in editorial cartoons.  Some great ones this morning.

What can we do about the media issue?  Short of continuing to call them on bullshit and pressuring them at every opportunity where it is needed, I'm stumped.  Maybe we should throw a soiree with some cocktail weenies…now that's an attention grabber, I hear.

(this post ripped off entirely).

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Lunchtime video fun – Richard Dryfuss is smart

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