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Friday, August 31, 2012

Leggo my Ayn Rand

 Another political post- politics everywhere right now and I'm getting a little riled up.So feel free to ignore me. It might be a good idea because when I talk about Ayn Rand I spiral ...

Since Paul Ryan was selected as the vice presidential nominee, Ayn Rand has been everywhere. Apparently Paul Ryan, along with many Republicans, has recommended Ayn Rand books and been seen as a follower of hers. Now that he's in the spotlight, Ryan is trying to distance himself from her because she's extreme and also because her philosophy really does NOT jive with the republican philosophy-especially as the party stands today. Reading and liking Ayn Rand has become the mark of the conservative republican. It's frustrating the crap out of me.

I read Atlas Shrugged in high school and fell completely in love with it. The idea that a person's happiness should be their life goal is a fantastic thing. And that is the essence of Ayn Rand's philosophy- each person's happiness is his or her right and responsibility- that I do not owe someone else their happiness anymore than they owe me mine. I find this notion to be basic and true.

I do not agree with her on everything but I do know that I don't appreciate the republican party claiming her as their own.

Ayn Rand also advocates for reason and individuality as basic tenets of her philosophy- which is called Objectivism and is much more closely aligned with Libertarian politics than Republican politics.

Ideals that match up -theoretically- with the Republican party include advocacy of market capitalism, a desire to return to the gold standard, the repeal of the income tax, smaller government, and (I'm guessing on this one but pretty sure) reduction of entitlement programs. Ayn Rand hated taxes- she felt that the money someone earned honestly and through their own hard work should be their own. The reason I say that these ideals align theoretically with the Republican party is that Ayn Rand dealt with absolutes. If one is assuming that the people running companies got there by working their asses off and being intelligent- she believes they have every right to their success. However, we know that the world is not as black and white as Ayn Rand would have it be. The devil here is in the details and I don't know that she would be impressed by the men and women claiming her ideals today.

Ideals that have Ayn Rand cursing in Russian in her grave- banning gay marriage, banning abortion, ANYTHING to do with forcing Christian morality on the country, any claim that the United States is a Christian nation, any attempt to keep people from voting.

The issue at hand here is that the Republican party has chosen the individual as their hero, the idea of the self-made man as their ideal and that's something I can get behind and that most people can support. However, a person stops being an individual and stops having the right to make their own choices as soon as we cross over to social policy. Fiscally, Rand is convenient because she advocates deregulation and free market capitalism. But Republicans are backing themselves into a corner by saying that freedom and individual rights are their paramount concern while also insisting that the idea of two men marrying is hurting America. She starts with very basic tenets of rational self-interest and an individual's right to his or her own life. These things CANNOT be reconciled with the christian morality and extreme disregard for individual freedoms that are officially part of the Republican party platform.

Below is a clip from The Daily Show that demonstrates nicely and in a simple way how these ideas of american individuality and freedom clash against the official policy stances of the party.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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More Daily Show- Ayn Rand scholar discussing the Republican party's relationship to the author over the years.

So yes, I clearly lean liberal (did the 2 daily show clips give it away) and I don't claim to adhere to all of Ayn Rand's principles but I think the things she stood for are at their base good things and I don't think the Republican party of today has any claim to such moral high ground.

I strongly recommend that everyone read Atlas Shrugged. I know it's a fat bastard of a book and it looks intimidating but the story will pull you through. You might not love it, but it's good to have a reference because as Jennifer Burns says in the interview-whenever the country is struggling ideologically she comes up.

Rant over.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Bill Nye the Science Guy knows everything. This is just a fact. He taught me about plate tectonics and also has been rocking the shit out of a bow tie for quite some time.

He also decided a couple weeks ago that advocates of creationism in the classroom needed a scientific ass beating.

Watch it. It's short and it's great.

So then, because Bill Nye doesn't take shit from anyone, he laid the smackdown during a Smithsonian interview. And when I say laid the smackdown I mean he totally lost his shit. Go here for the complete story.

During a live interview this morning with the Smithsonian Channel, the mild mannered science educator unloaded on U.S. Congressman Todd Akin, calling him "a fucking idiot" for accusing Nye of personally provoking Hurricane Issac.
Last week Nye uploaded a video to Youtube urging parents not to teach their children creationism. At a town hall campaign event yesterday, Akin used the video as an example of immoral behavior driving god to punish America through extreme weather.
Although reporters reached out to Nye for a statement yesterday, his first discussion of the matter came this morning at Smithsonian's Washington D.C. headquarters.
Nye Got a Feeling...
The 56 year old star of the long-running "Bill Nye The Science Guy" was in the studio to promote his new documentary series focusing on the neuroscience of childhood development.
After briefly discussing his show, the Smithsonian anchors asked Nye about Akin's recent accusation. The normally genial Nye wasted no time venting his rage about the comments:
"Look, these people they're fucking retarded. Rape can't cause pregnancy? Breastmilk cures homosexuality? I caused a hurricane by challenging creationism? Who can possibly take these people seriously anymore?"
The slightly uncomfortable anchors then tried to change the subject, but Nye persisted:
"It used to be these Republicans didn't believe in global warming or evolution. That was bad enough. Now they don't even believe in egg + sperm = baby. Where does Todd Akin think babies come from? Does he think there are separate storks for people who were raped and people who weren't? "
"Hey look over there! It's the rape stork. It drops off all its babies directly at the orphanage."
"He's a fucking idiot. Just a plain fucking idiot. I'm sorry - I don't say that word very often - but it happens to fit in this case. He's just a fucking idiot."
A Decent Proposal
As the stunned anchors hurriedly tried to wind the conversation down and cut to commercial, Nye stared directly into the camera and issued a challenge to his new-found rival:
"So Todd I got an offer for you. You and me. Any time. Any place. Debating science mano- a-mano. I'll bring the facts, and you bring the Vaseline. Because your ass is gonna fucking need it when I'm done whipping."
Nye apologized once more for his language before ripping off his microphone and walking off the set.
Representatives of the Smithsonian Channel say they have no comment on the incident.
Bill Nye could not be reached, but a since-deleted tweet on his Twiiter account posted shortly after the incident read:
"@ToddAkin Never enter the eye of Hurricane NYE!"

CORRECTION: This article is total BS. It never happened. Which is a DAMN SHAME. So I'm going to leave this up anyway because I'd like to live in a world where Bill Nye loses his shit.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Comfort Creatures

Hey there, my friend Michelle who blogs at Oh Mishka is working to establish a no kill animal shelter in her town. She needs help getting the initial $500 to apply for non-profit status. The shelter in her town has a 3 day kill policy. Very sad.

Growing up, we never bought our dogs or kitties at pet stores. Our pets came from shelters or people with unwanted puppies. Pat and I both rescued pets that were unwanted and otherwise would have gone to a shelter. I believe strongly in rescuing homeless pets and think what Michelle is doing is wonderful and needed. 

Joey throws up for attention (and according to Pat he is even strategic about the location of his vomiting depending on who he is mad at) and Finch is a total asshole but we love them and animals like them deserve a chance at a  loving home. Please visit the Comfort Creatures website, take a look at what they are trying to do and make a donation to help them get started!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My BFF Jeff Goldblum

It's highly likely that as with the wonderful internet memes ERMAHGERD and McKayla (and many other people) is not impressed, I am way behind on this BUT-
I was looking for a picture of Jeff Goldblum to post on my facebook status beseeching everyone in the facebook world to come to yet another of my events at the Garden- I used this picture:

 ...and I came across this:
My BFF Jeff Goldblum (
There's a picture of Jeff, and then a "quote" from him. And it basically is making my life right now.

Why do I love Jeff Goldblum? I'm not really sure. It's probably at least 43% because he's jewish and the rest percent because this picture used to be on the inside of my friend Riley's bathroom door and it stuck with me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tattoo Time

More than a year after my friends gave me a piggy bank full of money for my birthday so that I could get my tattoo, I finally took the first step and got a consult with Traci at New Rose Tattoo which happens to be just down the street from our place.
Pat pointed out that I hate making decisions so getting a tattoo is basically the hardest thing ever. It's true.
I don't even want to pick the restaurant for dinner, so committing to a tattoo is sortof a big deal but I'm really excited about it. Below are the inspiration photos I gave her.

Use your imagination! My first session is in September...