We’re waiting on you guys…

I’m down at this funky coffeehouse in Fargo, the Red Raven, watching Roy Zimmerman set up. It’s not too late, the show starts in a half hour, so you Dakotans better come on over! It’s a nice cozy little venue, and a great place for a performance.

Definitely a great performance — Roy is great about making you laugh over situations that ought to make you cry. I heard a few new songs, including one about Sarah Palin that must have been written in just the past few days. Here’s my obligatory fanboy picture:


If you missed him tonight, there are more chances. He’s about halfway through his 48 state tour, and he’s going to be spending the next few days in Minneapolis/St Paul. He’s not actually participating in the Republican National Convention (good thing, too: I think somebody would shoot him in the face), but is doing shows at various venues around the area, so check his website to see the details of his schedule.

This is important: he isn’t booked yet for every single day! If you know of an organization that could use a little relief from the oppressive atmosphere of the RNC this week, bring him in and give him the opportunity to spread a little liberal humor.

Moore screws up

Michael Moore, in an interview with Keith Olbermann, joked that “This Gustav [the storm heading towards the Gulf Coast] is proof that there is a god in heaven”. Yes, he was joking, and he was laughing, and we all know that it is not proof and isn’t even evidence of such a thing, so it’s somewhat different than when some fundagelical preacher tries to use calamity as a sign from god…but it’s not that much different. It’s tasteless to laugh as people are frantically trying to prepare for another dangerous onslaught.

Can we agree that it is ironic, but not funny, please? Moore’s written comments on the subject are much more appropriate; his television appearance hit precisely the wrong note.

“Our tribal custom”

Whenever you hear someone defend an action with the excuse that “it is our custom,” “it is traditional,” “we’ve always done it that way,” “it is written so in our sacred texts,” or variants thereof, slap ’em down and spit in their eye. Those are not excuses for anything but the perpetuation of bad old dogma rather than taking the useful step of actually thinking about causes and consequences — it’s the common fallacious shortcut that allows ancient evils to thrive. Case in point in Pakistan:

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Englishman offended!

Some Christian schnook visited a museum, read a sign, and complained to the museum. So what did the museum do?

An information sign, which is part of Abington Park Museum’s display about Charles Darwin and fossils, was covered up after a visitor’s complaint.

Two parts of the sign, concerning ‘Changing Attitudes to Evolution’, are obscured with black paper, but only four lines of text are actually covered over.

It details how Charles Darwin used the study of fossils to help formulate his theory of evolution, set out in On the Origin of Species, which angered fundamental Christians and Creationists.

But following a complaint to the museum, part of the sign was covered over to avoid giving offence and to conceal the poor prose.

Here’s the offending paragraph:

He used the same layers of fossils that had supported the Genesis view of evolution to show the slow changes that are taking place over the millennia of earth history, each small change enabling a species to the rigours of it’s (sic) environment – the struggle for survival through natural selection leading to the survival of the fittest.

Dang. Those apostrophe nazis sure are fierce.

Shame on Minnesota

My state is practicing anti-democratic, anti-liberty tyranny right now.

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff’s department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than “fire code violations,” and early this morning, the Sheriff’s department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.

This is a disgrace. I’d like to think this kind of political thuggery would come to an end if Obama were elected, but of course this is being done to ‘protect’ the Republican National Convention, and the tactics were just as bad in Denver.