Weekend Update 04-14-2012

On Ryan Apologists. Yep. David Brooks is one of the worst offenders. And more here on the Gullible Center.

Scripture and Holy Tradition are not a way of looking at certain things. They are a certain way of looking at everything. Indeed.

Grapple with the other side’s best debater, not with their most radical nutjob.” Always good advice.

The Empathy Gap. Krugman is right to be horrified, but I think the problem runs deeper. As a people, we are not naturally empathetic with the hypothetical other. In fact, the norm within many societies has been to extend empathy and assistance to those who are like you — similar social standing, similar class, similar means. There are many reasons that tends to be true. First, those like you tend to be those with whom you associate — even in societies without strict class or caste boundaries. They are the people you know and those in other groups become the others. Sociologists have explored that aspect of human interaction at some length. Secondly, whether we consciously reduce it to those terms or not, it’s those like us who are most likely to help us in turn should we have need, so there is an element of self-interest in empathy for your group. In the ancient Roman empire, empathy outside their group was actually one of the points that shocked people about Christians. They stayed in plagued cities and offered aid, even if they could afford to leave. They cared for everyone — even those who were not like them at all. So why has such a massive empathy gap developed in today’s radical right in America? After all, a huge swath of this group is ostensibly Christian. That’s the question I find more interesting.

So Christie basically lied. He cannibalized a project essential to the long term benefit of his state for short term political gain. Krugman expands on this in his column.

Who knew Christianity was against helping the poor — that our tradition holds that helping the poor robs them of dignity? The rich young ruler should have spoken with Rick Warren instead of Jesus. It sounds like he would have fared a lot better.

The latest lie about ACA costs exposed.

The Buffet Rule is a lot better than the status quo, but sets the bar too low.

Not something to brag about, but the US has the highest share of its population in low paying jobs.

I love John Kelso. And even though he’s semi-retired now, he can still write a good column. This one comparing Panem to the Supreme Court is a good one.

Seniors are neither as selfish nor as stupid as the GOP seems to want to believe.

It will be strange to have a House without Barney Frank in it. He nails Ryan in his comments in this article.

Not that the radical right has any sense of history, but still…

Honestly, I’ve never really fit into any of the stereotypical cliched groups — even in school. Sometimes that meant I didn’t fit anywhere, especially since we moved a lot. I was an athlete (played football and excelled at lifted weights — and ran track because our coach made us). I was something of an academic over-achiever. I loved acting and had some serious training and experience as a preteen and young teen when we lived in Houston. And, of course, I loved playing games and reading — including comics. Still, even if I didn’t have a specific group, I’ve always fit within the over-arching “nerd” paradigm. So I loved Felicia Day’s latest music video by The Guild. It’s pretty cool. (The conclusion is pretty funny, too!)

Frank Warren: Half a Million Secrets. Nothing really to add. If you aren’t familiar with PostSecret, it’s probably time you were.

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