Friday, March 22, 2013

Various & Sundry: Trying hard not to get depressed about things, Grace, and bacon.

It's the final day of the Saintly Kitsch round of Lent Madness and it looks like my man Luke is on to the Final Four, the first time I've had a saint I've written up go this far. Luke had some mighty fine kitsch, which inspired me to create this image.

Cuz that's how we roll round these parts. Booyah.

Let's see what else I've rounded up this week.

OK, I'm starting with the downers of democracy: what the HELL is going on with gun advocacy that, on the one hand says guns shouldn't be regulated so that women can protect themselves from being raped while on the other hand you can't demand that men surrender firearms in domestic abuse situations? IN THE SAME WEEK? Seriously, WHAT THE HELL?! OK, here's my opinion, which I think I've noted before: this has nothing to do with rights and everything to do with market share. This is about selling guns.

Meanwhile, a new gun regulation bill will be brought up in the Senate after the Easter recess "that seeks to enhance background checks for those who purchase guns, and to curb gun trafficking and increase money for school safety." So seriously people, now is the time to contact your representatives about gun control legislation. You need the link to your represetatives? Here you go.

You can also sign this petition to have the USDA set a recommended daily intake of bacon "so that all Americans can be guided on how best to participate in this amazing, nation building food." There are 98 signatures so far; only 99,902 left to go before the government responds!

In news from governments in a parallel universe, the Ministry of Magic brings you this Public Service Announcement:

Might be helpful in our world too. h/t Anibundel

In Race Telations, the historical perspectives edition, Ta-Nehisi Coates reviews Beryl Satter's book Family Properties, which looks at the policies that surrounded the development of the American urban ghetto, focusing on Chicago. Lest you think this is just an issue for poor blacks, he notes that "In the interest of racism, the American taxpayer ended up bankrolling a massive fraud perpetrated on black communities in Chicago."

And on the same topic, one of the most compelling obituaries I read this week was of Dr. Jerome Williams who worked to desegregate St. Louis. "It began in 1963 when Dr. Williams led protest marches of hundreds of fellow physicians as well as other black professionals who were tired of the two-tiered social system in Missouri’s largest city."
His efforts came at a cost. Already limited to practice in the two black hospitals in St. Louis where the state allocated less funds per patient than at white hospitals, he was then rejected from membership in the St. Louis Medical Society because of his role in the protests.
By the 1970s, Dr. Williams was named the first African American on the board of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the State Healing Arts Board, and was selected as the first black president of the St. Louis Community College Board. In 1979, his daughter was the first black woman selected as a maid of honor in the Veiled Prophet Parade which was formally for whites only.
You've heard about the recalled yoga pants, right? The ones that were unfortunately more transparent than wearers bending over might wish? Well, Kevin Roose thinks the company that makes them, Lululemon, handled this recall all wrong.
Lululemon was famously founded on the ideals of Ayn Rand. You think Ayn would have apologized for some see-through Spandex? Hell no. She would have defended the integrity of those pants with her life. "An inventor is a man who asks 'Why?' of the universe and lets nothing stand between the answer and his mind," she wrote in Atlas Shrugged. 
A real Objectivist yoga company would have looked at that sentence, replaced "the answer" with "sheer-bottom yoga pants" and "his mind" with "record-breaking profits," and sold the damn things like hotcakes.
And last but certainly not least, I strongly encourage you to read this wonderful essay on The Lesson of Grace in Teaching by Francis Su, a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd. It doesn't matter if you're a teacher or not. You need to know this lesson of grace that he shares so beautifully:

  • Your accomplishments are NOT what make you a worthy human being. 
  •  You learn this lesson when someone shows you GRACE: good things you didn't earn or deserve, but you're getting them anyway.
May you have a grace-filled weekend. No need to bend over backwards.

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