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Doc Stodden
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In honor of my first viewing of the classic movie "The Big Chill", this (ancient) article basically sums up the entire movie (so if you aren't a Boomer, and have not watched this movie, you can more or less skip it.) 

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2009/0911.noah.html
The year 1983 saw the release of The Big Chill, a film that capitalized on the early waves of baby boomer nostalgia with the story of a group of thirtysomething friends looking back upon their '60s youth. Washington Monthly editor Timothy Noah—born on the tail end of the baby boom, which missed ...
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"the world does seem to be populated with quite a few members of the sixties generation who think there’s nothing inconsistent about being both an ex-radical and, say, a tax lawyer [or a Regan voter] who now contrives to minimize the contributions of our richest citizens to the Treasury—so long as you treat your job with the proper amount of contempt."

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WARREN: Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism?

SCHUCHAT: No.

WARREN: Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines cause profound mental disorders?

SCHUCHAT: No, but some of the diseases we vaccinate against can.
WARREN: The diseases can, but not the vaccines. Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines have contributed to the rise in allergies or autoimmune disorders among kids?

SCHUCHAT: No.

WARREN: Are there additives or preservatives in vaccines that can be toxic to kids?

SCHUCHAT: Not in the amounts that they’re in in vaccines.

WARREN: Is there any scientific evidence that giving kids their vaccines further apart or spacing them differently is healthier for kids?

SCHUCHAT: No, it actually increases the risk period for children.
WARREN: So it adds to the danger?

SCHUCHAT: Right.

WARREN: Is there any scientific evidence that kids can develop immunity to these diseases on their own, simply by eating nutritious foods or being active?

SCHUCHAT: No.

WARREN: How do the risks of a child responding negatively to a vaccination compare with the risks of skipping vaccinations and risking exposure to a deadly disease?

SCHUCHAT: Vaccines are safe and highly effective, and it’s important for parents to know that they’re the best way to protect their kids.

WARREN: So I think every parent wants to protect their children, and parents should know that all of the credible scientific evidence suggests that modern vaccines are safe, modern vaccines are effective, and modern vaccines are our best chance of protecting our children from diseases that can kill them. Is that right?

SCHUCHAT: That’s right.

WARREN: Thank you. (mic drop-  wps)


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/18/1365311/-Elizabeth-Warren-schools-the-vaccine-deniers-and-trolls-Rand-Paul?detail=email
Elizabeth Warren , Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a liberal Democratic politician who is a darling of the American progressives. She came to the forefront while serving as a ...
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Yeah-  whatever the anti-vaccination crowd says, those who are not vaccinated against measles can still get measles, while those with the measles vaccine will not get it.  And Autism, as expressed in most kids is more like "I don't know how to, nor do I particularly care to deal with my kid's weird behavior, so just give him a diagnosis that you can medicate..."  At any rate, weird behavior is not the result of vaccine...

Finally-  Mercury used to be used rather widely in society.  We get more mercury in our fish than we do in our vaccine.  Has anyone bothered to trace the link between fish consumption and autism? 

But yeah-  by all means, practice freedom while putting everyone else at risk.  Its not like the right to swing one's fist ends where my nose begins or anything...

Doc Stodden

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I always like a good story about tricking the Nazis into helping Nazis make Nazis extinct.

Thanks to +Greg Hollingsworth for this one:

http://magazine.good.is/articles/neo-nazis-tricked
In preparation for an upcoming neo-Nazi march in the small Bavarian town of Wunsiedel, local residents decided to fight back in a hilariously perfect way.
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Doc Stodden

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Congrats to Wall Street and big political donors on their big win tonight in the House of Representatives Sweepstakes.  Looks like you all got the politicians you paid for, so fair play to you!  I guess democracy and financial responsibility will get to try again next time.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/12/us-usa-congress-budget-deadline-idUSKBN0JP23320141212
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Doc Stodden

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I endorse.
 
"The grand jury decision in the case of Darren Wilson — the officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American man six times — is another tragically clear indication that the people of the United States are the targets of a brutally racist and oppressive system that has multiple definitions of “justice” dependent on one’s class position. Racism, police brutality, and oppression have received pardons. Again."
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Things are going fine. Improving the house a lot, and we have an Egpytian living with us. How about you?

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http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/11/ferguson-verdict-grand-jury/383130/

Whatever-  THAT wasn't a shock.  While I endorse the Grand Jury System, shooting someone to death is killing.  That cop should have went to trial to let the system clear him, rather than the Court refusing to even try to guy.  If Ferguson went up in flames, it would put the fear of John Brown in the crackers living out in the North Suburbs...
It was announced on Monday night that Officer Darren Wilson will not face criminal charges for the shooting death of Michael Brown.
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And you know, eventually there has to come a time when the people push back. If it's not here it will be over something else, some other provocative act where cops demonstrate that they have little regard for the people of our cities. The answer is not more cops with heavier weapons on the street: that does the opposite of what's needed to restore trust between the citizens and those we trust to enforce our laws for us. What's needed when the cops get out of line is the organized popular putting them back in line. That might not happen in Ferguson- it won't be the result of this case anyway. But it's gotta happen somewhere. The real injustice in this whole thing is the police force who thinks it can do as it pleases. That police force is rotten when it separates itself and privileges itself above the people.

Doc Stodden

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The cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his granddaughter tells NPR.
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SO this is cool-  From my Top 5 of 2014 List

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAdARF4rGcQ
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Doc Stodden

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US to normalize relations with Cuba!

This is the best goddamned news I have heard in years!


http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/17/politics/cuba-alan-gross-deal/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
U.S. contractor Alan Gross, held by the Cuban government since 2009, was freed as part of a deal with Cuba that paves the way for a overhaul in U.S. policy.
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The embargo is an act of Congress, called Helms Burton.  It isn't going anywhere for the time being.  But if it were me writing the statement, I would include three things- 

1)  A cautious support for the actions taken by Obama, including the freeing of three Cuban Prisoners for their part in the destruction of the planes being flown by Brothers to the Rescue, which the Cuban Government has referred to as a terrorist organization, as well as the normalization of diplomatic relations,

2) support for renewed activism to end the blockade, as it doesn't have its intended consequences, but instead only hurts the Cuban people, and

3)  Call on the US to end support for anti-Castro civil society programs in Cuba and anti-Castro propaganda.  I would also mention support for organic efforts by the Cuban people to increase the democracy in Cuba.

Those are some thoughts on a statement I would compose.

Doc Stodden

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One thing I note, which those who do not adopt a systemic perspective on social issues often, for whatever reason fail to raise-  Racism and sexism are not the disease, but the symptoms of a larger disease.  Its tempting for people, both in minority groups, as well as individualist-oriented liberals in general, to put these problems on divisions which are rooted in individual identities. Cops kill black people.  Women are targeted by certain individuals in the tech community.  And so forth.  The critique, however, is focused on politics of identity, when the problem is actually a LOT bigger. 

The problem, which unifies the struggle of all oppressed people is that we all stand in the same relation to patriarchy, as expressed in our form of market-oriented socio-economics.  The struggle for justice in the Brown/Garner/Martin episodes is essentially the same struggle as the female bloggers who are being attacked in "gamergate" though the two communities may not recognize each other as equals in the same fight, and those who protest these outrages all want to put their struggle first.  There is fundamentally no difference in the various episodes of the struggle for human liberation.

This is important because to think we can somehow address racism or sexism, or any other form of systemic discrimination without FIRST addressing the system which give rise to those symptoms is to put parochial interests ahead of the good of all of society.  It is also a recipe for failure.  Thinking that we can somehow come to some resolution of the police militarization issue which is at the forefront right now without first completely addressing the system which incentivized that sort of development in the first place means that any solution people come to are, at best, temporary and designed to make us feel better about the lousy system of patriarchy which oppresses us all, women, blacks, and indeed white men, about equally.  At worst this tactic represents distraction that saps energy away from the struggle for a more general form of human liberation.  At any rate, the forces which defend patriarchy merely have to wait until we all go back to consuming before they roll whatever gains we make back, just like they did with affirmative action and civil rights.
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Cc +Darryl Barnes​

Doc Stodden

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As Derek Thompson writes in this month's issue, the music industry has learned how to use data from apps like Spotify and Shazam to predict new hits. However, just a glimpse at the Billboard charts will tell you that today's pop music is more homogenous that it has been in decades. Why? Because we like to hear the same songs, over and over again.
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned, the Pentagon confirmed on Monday, closing out a relatively brief, mostly low-profile tenure at the Defense Department. Hagel’s departure was “a mutual decision,” a senior defense official said, reached after “several weeks” of discussions about the outlook for the remainder of...
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I am not sure who could replace him who wasn't a warmonger...  There aren't many peace folks in the US Military establishment, and none that would pass the howling GOP dominated Senate.
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