Thursday, January 18, 2018

Liberal Thought

I didn't write this, but I love it.

An open letter to friends and family who are/were shocked to discover I'm a liberal...

This is going to be VERY long, so: TL;DR: I'm a liberal, I've always been a liberal, but that doesn't mean what a lot of you apparently think it does.

Some of you suspected. Some of you were shocked. Many of you have known me for years, even the majority of my life. We either steadfastly avoided political topics, or I carefully steered conversations away from the more incendiary subjects in the name of keeping the peace. "I'm a liberal" isn't really something you broadcast in social circles where "the liberals" can't be said without wrinkling one's nose.

But then the 2016 election happened, and staying quiet wasn't an option anymore. Since then, I've received no shortage of emails and comments from people who were shocked, horrified, disappointed, disgusted, or otherwise displeased to realize I am *wrinkles nose* a liberal. Yep. I'm one of those bleeding heart commies who hates anyone who's white, straight, or conservative, and who wants the government to dictate everything you do while taking your money and giving it to people who don't work.

Or am I?

Let's break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines.

1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.

2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that's interpreted as "I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all." This is not the case. I'm fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it's impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes "let people die because they can't afford healthcare" a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I'm not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.

3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn't necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I'm mystified as to why it can't work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.

4. I don't believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don't want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can't afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.

5. I don't throw around "I'm willing to pay higher taxes" lightly. I'm self-employed, so I already pay a shitload of taxes. If I'm suggesting something that involves paying more, that means increasing my already eye-watering tax bill. I'm fine with paying my share as long as it's actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.

6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn't have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.

7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is - and should be - illegal) All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I'm not "offended by Christianity" -- I'm offended that you're trying to force me to live by your religion's rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia on you? That's how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don't force it on me or mine.

8. I don't believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe we should have the *same* rights as you.

9. I don't believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN'T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they're supposed to be abusing, and if they're "stealing" your job it's because your employer is hiring illegally.). I'm not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc).

10. I believe we should take in refugees, or at the very least not turn them away without due consideration. Turning thousands of people away because a terrorist might slip through is inhumane, especially when we consider what has happened historically to refugees who were turned away (see: MS St. Louis). If we're so opposed to taking in refugees, maybe we should consider not causing them to become refugees in the first place. Because we're fooling ourselves if we think that somewhere in the chain of events leading to these people becoming refugees, there isn't a line describing something the US did.

11. I don't believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It's not that I want the government's hands in everything -- I just don't trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they're harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.

12. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I'm butthurt over an election, but because I've spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.

13. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege -- white, straight, male, economic, etc -- need to start listening, even if you don't like what you're hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that's causing people to be marginalized.

14. I believe in so-called political correctness. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you're using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? Your refusal to adjust your vocabulary in the name of not being an asshole kind of makes YOU the snowflake.

15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I'm a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn't mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don't believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.

So, I'm a liberal.

                    -Lori Gallagher Witt

What would I add? This.




Dentist's Sign

The Dangers of an Icy Hill



From one end to the other, the state of Texas dealt with winter weather this week. Kristy Boyd of Longview, Texas, recorded vehicles trying to make it up an icy hill, with some having more success than others. Then a big rig tried it. It had the speed going up, but couldn't quite make it over the top. That's when things went downhill, so to speak. First, gravity wins, then inertia. The real winner is the smaller car that didn't even try the hill. I bet that driver's life flashed before his eyes. (via Digg)

Miss Cellania's Links

21 Facts You Might Not Know About Rodney Dangerfield. He got no respect, but we'll never forget him.

Death as Entertainment at the Paris Morgue.

11 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of TV Meteorologists

The 19th-Century Sham Medicine That Saw Oracles in Orifices. "Orificial surgery" was supposed to cure what ails ya, but reading about it might make you cringe.

10 Misconceptions About U.S. Immigration. Every wave of newcomers has encountered resistance from those already here.

Donald Trump to sweep his own Dishonesty and Corruption in the Media Awards.

How Montana Gold Rushers Literally Threw Away a Fortune in Sapphires. Yogo Gulch still produces some the finest sapphires in the world.

New Details Emerge About Solo: A Star Wars Story. Including an official synopsis.

The Starbucks Logo Has A Secret You’ve Never Noticed. She was too perfect to be real before a small design change.

Recipes from around the world all have their distinct flavors ...and problems

Crock Pot

(via Fark)

Russian Military Marching Song



They really like the Spongebob Squarepants theme! Come to think of it, most of these young soldiers and sailors probably grew up with the show. (via Neatorama)


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Restaurant or Movie?

(via Bad Menu)

Why Is Blue So Rare In Nature?



There are blue animals, but those species are small in number compared to the other colors among living things, such as red, orange, yellow, and brown. Sure, when we look up to the sky, we see blue. When we look at the Earth from space, we see a blue marble. But the few animals that look blue don't use pigments -they use physics. And those physics are complicated. It turns out that animals are better at engineering than they are at chemistry. Okay, there's one exception not the pigment thing, which we learn about in the video. Our friends at It's Okay To Be Smart explain why it's so hard for nature to create the color blue. (via Boing Boing)

Wall Art at the Medical Lab

(via reddit)

An Honest Trailer for It



The movie It based on the novel by Stephen King was a big hit in 2017. So it's about time for Screen Junkies to give it the Honest Trailer treatment. Watching this, it became clear that the producers just assumed everyone knew what It was about. I saw no trailers or any other marketing that really explained what happens in the film. I just knew there was a killer clown from a Stephen King novel that was scarier than Tim Curry's TV version. And now I know all I need to know about It.

Where You're Coming From

The Road Movie: A Documentary of Russian Dash Cam Videos



Russian drivers began using dash cams in their vehicles as soon as they were available to the public. They were important for defense against scam artists who demanded payment for being hit. But the cameras across the vast country caught all kinds of "only in Russia" events that made their way around the world via the internet. Now, director Dmitrii Kalashnikov has compiled the wildest of these videos into a feature-length documentary entitled The Road Movie, which opens in New York this Friday. The Road Movie can be pre-ordered as a digital download, available March 6. (via Laughing Squid)

Miss Cellania's Links

Nose Blowing Pressures and Pronunciation.

A review of every sale of a Trump-branded condominium in the United States provides the first comprehensive look at how many went to unidentified buyers who paid cash, an indication of possible money laundering.

The 1969 Easter Mass Incident. Do not read while drinking liquid. (via Metafilter)

Sarah Silverman’s response to a sexist tweet is a much-needed ray of hope. And a discussion of the larger issues illustrated.

Snow Rollers: Nature’s Winter Treat. Snow can naturally form into wheels, carpet rolls, or big boulders.

Liam Neeson, World's Worst Traveler. The Commuter is the latest of a long line of films in which the action star ruins transportation for everyone.

How an Immoral Bet Created Africatown, Alabama. Timothy Meaher managed to import African slaves 50 years after the practice was made illegal.

Hollywood Movies Renamed for Japanese Audiences. Some are funny, and some are better than the English title.

Ladykillers: Murder Ballads and the Country Women Who Sang Them. The underappreciated who sang about the unacceptable eventually became hidden treasures.

Why Is It So Hard for Americans to Get a Decent Raise? Because there are fewer (bit bigger) companies competing for labor. 

Whack-a-Kitty

(via Peter Lindehauf)

It's Not My Dog



How many different kinds of dogs are on YouTube? All of them! This compilation of canines makes a fine music video for the song "It's Not My Dog" by Bombay Monkey. (via b3ta)

Tweet of the Day


(via Buzzfeed)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Frank

(via reddit)

The Fair Maiden



Epic NPC Man takes a cockeyed look at the nuts and bolts of gaming, using real people instead of computer graphics. In this video, he explores the moment after the player has fulfilled his quest to rescue the damsel in distress. She's been the prisoner of the villain for ten years. Our hero takes her to her home, but now what? Will he marry her and live happily ever after? Will he gallantly consider her freedom and happiness as his only reward? Will he at least get a kiss? Let's Remember, this is a video game, in which the player controls the action. The player is a gamer, so his priorities might be different from whatever you, the viewer, would like to see. (via Geeks Are Sexy)


How That False Alarm Happened


Saturday morning, residents of Hawaii received an alert of incoming missiles, with a tag that "this is not a drill." Panic ensued, and it was 38 minutes before the news followed that it was a false alarm. How did it happen? The explanation was that an employee pushed the wrong button. There is speculation that it was an option in a drop-down menu. The video above is an easy explanation, because it's happened to all of us. (via reddit)


Second Honeymoon



Gilbert and Grace Caldwell were married in 1957. They had reservations for their honeymoon at the Mount Airy Resort in Pennsylvania, but were turned away when the management saw they were black. A group of young students decided that it's not too late to do the right thing, even 60 years later. (via Bits and Pieces)