Links I liked, Sep 6 – Sep 16 (Join the Plodders, Air Force One on 9/11, College Blacklists)

1. Stop the Revolution.  Join the Plodders.

As great as it is that Bono is using his fame for some noble purpose, I just don’t believe that the happy future of the church, or the world for that matter, rests on our ability to raise up a million more Bonos (as at least one author suggests). With all due respect, what’s harder: to be an idolized rock star who travels around the world touting good causes and chiding governments for their lack of foreign aid, or to be a line worker at GM with four kids and a mortgage, who tithes to his church, sings in the choir every week, serves on the school board, and supports a Christian relief agency and a few missionaries from his disposable income?

2. ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’

A long but fascinating retelling of the events of 9/11 from the perspective of Air Force One.  You’ll just have to give it a read.

3. Play mini golf on the Lugnuts’ field

OK this is a local story but I thought – what a great idea, maybe other cities should try it.  Putt-putt golf for a week post-season on the field of the minor league baseball Lansing Lugnuts.

4. Pittsburgh, your Self-Driving Uber is arriving now

A genuine, self-driving Uber test in Pittsburgh.  (Still with a “safety driver” up front, but nonetheless feels like a real step forward.)

5. Pure Michigan Statewide Singalong

Someone (er… in 2012) uploaded an HD version of this enjoyable parody and tour of the state.

6. You don’t say: Trust in media falls to historic low in new Gallup poll

The numbers here are astounding even to me.  14% of Republicans have at least a “fair” amount of trust in mass media.  14%.  As recently as 1998 that was 52%.  Even Democrats are only at 51%.

7. LBGT College Blacklist

This is Athenian Democracy 101 — that when we pool money, we ineluctably support things we’re not crazy about — that you can read about in Aristotle’s Politics, but Campus Pride has, in classic Enlightened Modernity fashion, now seen a thing that was never there and claimed it to be eternal.

Worse, follow Campus Pride’s logic: Group A has a policy we dislike, and so we encourage incomparably powerful structures (for what else are corporations?) to boycott and blacklist anyone associated with Group A. The gay rights movement was marginalized for many years. The fact that they are now calling for hegemonic and anti-democratic powers to join them in silencing people who verbally disagree should be a huge cause for concern. And this is not even to mention that they don’t want to just silence Group A but in fact anyone associated with it, including, potentially, a gay student who had the poor luck to graduate from there.

Traditional conservatives should not roll our eyes at this development. A neo-McCarthyist group is explicitly asking the forces of the neoliberal corporate state to join forces with them in expelling dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy not just from the public square, but from the public and from the society. The goal is not to win an argument; the goal is to drive someone away. The goal, bluntly, is to symbolically kill them. That such vengeance is emanating from a recently disenfranchised group is very disheartening. That the movement is calling for a State-Corporate fusion in order to excise Christian enemies is terrifying.

As someone who cares about clear thinking, this stuff actually wouldn’t bother me nearly as much if it wasn’t done in the name of being “inclusive and welcoming”, as is the explicit claim in this case. You cannot ask businesses to exclude from their consideration anyone who so much as touched a college you had so much as a verbal disagreement with and claim you are being “inclusive and welcoming”. Anything but.

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Former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell on media bias

I don’t normally devote a blog post to a single video, but I guess there is no ~political~ issue that bothers me as much as media bias. Because how can you possibly have a functioning republic if the citizens are being kept ignorant of important facts by the press? Hence the following video by Pat Caddell at Accuracy in Media.

To summarize, he says, first, that before about 1980 politicians of both political parties despised the press corps – and that was a good thing. It was because they were actually doing their job as professional investigators and watchdogs of government. Since then, for myriad reasons (not all malevolent) they have gradually abandoned that role, and now spend much of their time working to protect and elect (usually) Democratic officials.

Secondly, and much worse I think, the way their bias is usually expressed is by simply ignoring or refusing to do further investigation into stories that would make their preferred candidates look bad. I hate this because it means that if you’re getting all your news from traditional media sources, they might actually look objective to you. Because you’re literally not going to know, what you don’t know. There are a huge number of examples of this, and Caddell will go through many in his speech.

The good news, I suppose, is that trust in media is now at an all-time low, so people are catching on. And traditional media sources have more competitors than they’ve ever had before.

This, by the way, is why I cannot understand why Romney/Ryan have agreed to four debates moderated by traditional media outlets. In 2012, there are many other possibilities, we don’t need to do what has always been done. Obviously the moderators cannot control the answers, but they can control the questions, which is very much like deciding what stories they’re going to report in the first place. We’ll see what happens tonight.

Less political post later this week, I promise!