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chemicallywrit: kaylapocalypse: historicaltimes: “Crazy...

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chemicallywrit:

kaylapocalypse:

historicaltimes:

“Crazy Dion” Diamond at one of his sit-ins as a teenager in Arlington, VA. June 10, 1960

via reddit

All of those people around him are demons

hey guys! here’s some fun things i learned from this article about Dion Diamond:

  • he did these sit-ins by himself. like idk about you, but i always thought of sit-ins as organized by groups, what kind of bravery does it take, man
  • he didn’t tell anyone about it, like he was no glory-seeker about this. his parents didn’t even know until reporters started calling them up like “hey, did you know your son is in jail?
  • when someone called the cops he’d skedaddle out the back door although he was sent to prison multiple times
  • the last time he got arrested was in Baton Rouge, and the cops were so sick of him that they told inmates they’d put in a good word for anyone who gave Diamond a hard time. (the inmates didn’t take the bait.)
  • he’s still alive!

hark, a hero of our times!

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dougsmith
9 days ago
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popular
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rocketo
9 days ago
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👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
seattle, wa

Buddhist economics: further resources

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As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ll be starting (today) a semester-long position as a Visiting Lecturer at the Centre of Buddhist Studies at Hong Kong University. I will teach courses on two of my favorite topics: Buddhism in Contemporary Society and Buddhist Ethics. As it turns out, the readings on the two have a […]
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dougsmith
44 days ago
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Offering a more progressive definition of freedom

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Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is a progressive Democrat, Rhodes scholar, served a tour of duty in Afghanistan during his time as mayor, and is openly gay. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Buttigieg talked about the need for progressives to recast concepts that conservatives have traditionally “owned” — like freedom, family, and patriotism — in more progressive terms.

You’ll hear me talk all the time about freedom. Because I think there is a failure on our side if we allow conservatives to monopolize the idea of freedom — especially now that they’ve produced an authoritarian president. But what actually gives people freedom in their lives? The most profound freedoms of my everyday existence have been safeguarded by progressive policies, mostly. The freedom to marry who I choose, for one, but also the freedom that comes with paved roads and stop lights. Freedom from some obscure regulation is so much more abstract. But that’s the freedom that conservatism has now come down to.

Or think about the idea of family, in the context of everyday life. It’s one thing to talk about family values as a theme, or a wedge — but what’s it actually like to have a family? Your family does better if you get a fair wage, if there’s good public education, if there’s good health care when you need it. These things intuitively make sense, but we’re out of practice talking about them.

I also think we need to talk about a different kind of patriotism: a fidelity to American greatness in its truest sense. You think about this as a local official, of course, but a truly great country is made of great communities. What makes a country great isn’t chauvinism. It’s the kinds of lives you enable people to lead. I think about wastewater management as freedom. If a resident of our city doesn’t have to give it a second thought, she’s freer.

Clean drinking water is freedom. Good public education is freedom. Universal healthcare is freedom. Fair wages are freedom. Policing by consent is freedom. Gun control is freedom. Fighting climate change is freedom. A non-punitive criminal justice system is freedom. Affirmative action is freedom. Decriminalizing poverty is freedom. Easy & secure voting is freedom. This is an idea of freedom I can get behind.

Tags: language   Pete Buttigieg   politics
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dougsmith
50 days ago
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satadru
44 days ago
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FDR talked about this in his "Four Freedoms" speech. And let's not forget that "freedoms" and "rights" have long been interchangeable. The problem with discussing rights & freedoms is that they're just aspirational without enabling legislation and structures.

And yes, freedoms and rights in this context have LONG been owned by progressives. Look at the UDHR, or at the various human rights conventions thereafter. Look at what they cover, and what they do NOT cover. For instance, the convention on women doesn't include talking about violence against women...
New York, NY
lousyd
49 days ago
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Some of that stuff isn't freedom. And the word freedom is being used in multiple conflicting ways.
jhamill
50 days ago
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I endorse this idea of freedom.
California
WorldMaker
51 days ago
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Don't Think of an Elephant. Words have power and progressives do need to stop ceding them.
Louisville, Kentucky

A Teaching Philosophy as Revolutionary Manifesto

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Sixteen hours of travel and four hours of sleep left me particularly jet-lagged and head-achy as I arrived in Hong Kong on Monday. I am starting a semester-long position as a Visiting Instructor at the Centre of Buddhist Studies at Hong Kong University. I will be teaching courses on two of my favorite topics: Buddhism […]
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dougsmith
59 days ago
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I may have found a mirror universe

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In this essay by John Pavlovitz, a liberal Christian, he makes the argument that the path evangelical Christianity has taken is toxic — that the hatred of Muslims, the contempt for the LGBTQ community, and the rise of celebrity preachers and professional Christians is driving good people away. I have to agree with him, and I think most atheists would agree, that much of the institution of Christianity is purest poison to anyone with a social conscience.

In record numbers, the Conservative American Church is consistently and surely making Atheists—or at the very least it is making former Christians; people who no longer consider organized religion an option because the Jesus they recognize is absent. With its sky-is-falling hand-wringing, its political bed-making, and its constant venom toward diversity, it is giving people no alternative but to conclude, that based on the evidence of people professing to be Godly—that God is of little use. In fact, this God may be toxic.

And that’s the irony of it all; that the very Evangelicals who’ve spent that last 50 years in this country demonizing those who reject Jesus—are now the single most compelling reason for them to do so. They are giving people who suspect that all Christians are self-righteous, hateful hypocrites, all the evidence they need. The Church is confirming the outside world’s most dire suspicions about itself.

With every persecution of the LGBTQ community, with every unprovoked attack on Muslims, with every planet-wrecking decision, with every regressive civil rights move—the flight from Christianity continues. Meanwhile the celebrity preachers and professional Christians publicly beat their breasts about the multitudes walking away from God, oblivious to the fact that they are the impetus for the exodus.

I’m reading it and thinking that gosh, this sounds familiar. It was like looking in a mirror. I think that the path the atheist/skeptic movement has taken is toxic — that the hatred of Muslims, the contempt for the LGBTQ community (and women!), and the rise of celebrity atheists and professional skeptics is driving good people away.

So I have some reassuring news for Mr Pavlovitz, if his worry is simply about church membership. If the behavior of the church is making atheists, those shiny new atheists are arriving at the atheist/skeptic community and finding exactly the same behavior and will bounce right back. Or maybe wander about between, in the cynical “pox on both your houses” domain of the nones (which we atheists will eagerly, and unwarrantedly, claim as ours).

Of course, if we’re actually concerned about supporting good people with generous views about diversity and Nature and culture, rather than what building they spend their Sunday visiting and which public speaker they spend their money on, well, both sides are screwed. It’s almost as if we ought to care more about building broader communities with healthy, progressive ideas rather than which god they believe in, or don’t believe in.

Nah, that can’t be it.

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dougsmith
63 days ago
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Don't Fear the TSA Cutting Airport Security. Be Glad That They're Talking about It.

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Last week, CNN reported that the Transportation Security Administration is considering eliminating security at U.S. airports that fly only smaller planes -- 60 seats or fewer. Passengers connecting to larger planes would clear security at their destinations.

To be clear, the TSA has put forth no concrete proposal. The internal agency working group's report obtained by CNN contains no recommendations. It's nothing more than 20 people examining the potential security risks of the policy change. It's not even new: The TSA considered this back in 2011, and the agency reviews its security policies every year. But commentary around the news has been strongly negative. Regardless of the idea's merit, it will almost certainly not happen. That's the result of politics, not security: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of numerous outraged lawmakers, has already penned a letter to the agency saying that "TSA documents proposing to scrap critical passenger security screenings, without so much as a metal detector in place in some airports, would effectively clear the runway for potential terrorist attacks." He continued, "It simply boggles the mind to even think that the TSA has plans like this on paper in the first place."

We don't know enough to conclude whether this is a good idea, but it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. We need to evaluate airport security based on concrete costs and benefits, and not continue to implement security theater based on fear. And we should applaud the agency's willingness to explore changes in the screening process.

There is already a tiered system for airport security, varying for both airports and passengers. Many people are enrolled in TSA PreCheck, allowing them to go through checkpoints faster and with less screening. Smaller airports don't have modern screening equipment like full-body scanners or CT baggage screeners, making it impossible for them to detect some plastic explosives. Any would-be terrorist is already able to pick and choose his flight conditions to suit his plot.

Over the years, I have written many essays critical of the TSA and airport security, in general. Most of it is security theater -- measures that make us feel safer without improving security. For example, the liquids ban makes no sense as implemented, because there's no penalty for repeatedly trying to evade the scanners. The full-body scanners are terrible at detecting the explosive material PETN if it is well concealed -- which is their whole point.

There are two basic kinds of terrorists. The amateurs will be deterred or detected by even basic security measures. The professionals will figure out how to evade even the most stringent measures. I've repeatedly said that the two things that have made flying safer since 9/11 are reinforcing the cockpit doors and persuading passengers that they need to fight back. Everything beyond that isn't worth it.

It's always possible to increase security by adding more onerous -- and expensive -- procedures. If that were the only concern, we would all be strip-searched and prohibited from traveling with luggage. Realistically, we need to analyze whether the increased security of any measure is worth the cost, in money, time and convenience. We spend $8 billion a year on the TSA, and we'd like to get the most security possible for that money.

This is exactly what that TSA working group was doing. CNN reported that the group specifically evaluated the costs and benefits of eliminating security at minor airports, saving $115 million a year with a "small (nonzero) undesirable increase in risk related to additional adversary opportunity." That money could be used to bolster security at larger airports or to reduce threats totally removed from airports.

We need more of this kind of thinking, not less. In 2017, political scientists Mark Stewart and John Mueller published a detailed evaluation of airport security measures based on the cost to implement and the benefit in terms of lives saved. They concluded that most of what our government does either isn't effective at preventing terrorism or is simply too expensive to justify the security it does provide. Others might disagree with their conclusions, but their analysis provides enough detailed information to have a meaningful argument.

The more we politicize security, the worse we are. People are generally terrible judges of risk. We fear threats in the news out of proportion with the actual dangers. We overestimate rare and spectacular risks, and underestimate commonplace ones. We fear specific "movie-plot threats" that we can bring to mind. That's why we fear flying over driving, even though the latter kills about 35,000 people each year -- about a 9/11's worth of deaths each month. And it's why the idea of the TSA eliminating security at minor airports fills us with fear. We can imagine the plot unfolding, only without Bruce Willis saving the day.

Very little today is immune to politics, including the TSA. It drove most of the agency's decisions in the early years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That the TSA is willing to consider politically unpopular ideas is a credit to the organization. Let's let them perform their analyses in peace.

This essay originally appeared in the Washington Post.

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dougsmith
71 days ago
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