Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for November 2011


In an earlier missive, So, Like, Are You a Christian?, I expressed my impatience with being pigeonholed into religious categories.  In this diary, I’m going to follow up on that photo diary with a more conceptual post on what happens across that slash between “Not” and “Christian.”  To do that, the rest of the diary will lay out the arguments of three books that hold Christian and non-Christian perspectives together in exploring religious claims.

The three texts are

* James Cone, Martin and Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare  

* Kathleen Sands, Escape from Paradise: Evil and Tragedy in Feminist Theology

* Louis Ruprecht, Tragic Posture and Tragic Vision: Against the Modern Failure of Nerve

None of these books treats the distinction between Christian and not-Christian as trivial.  Their recasting of the boundaries of theological thought does not move them into a bland homogeneity, where all serious differences melt away into a fake feel-good unity.  At the same time, they are all acutely aware of the violence that comes with enforcing the boundaries too rigidly.  Each writer, in his or her own way, forges a new dialectic between religious particularity and a larger whole achieved through comparison.

"G-d Don't Like Jews"

That’s what someone scrawled on the car of a Jewish family in the Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.  This is the latest in a string of reported incidents that have come throughout the month of November.  First, there was the firebombing of cars and antisemitic graffiti in the largely Jewish neighborhood of Midwood.  Then there was vandalization of a sign at the Avenue J train station to read “Avenue Jew.”  Last week, vandals scratched swastikas into an elevator in a building in Williamsburg.  Now there’s this; “G-d don’t like Jews.”  According to WCBS, this is the sixth antisemitic incident in Brooklyn this month alone.

I'm Baaaack….(sort of)

Hey long lost friends of the Moose Original Charter, I just popped in to say hi.  It’s been a down right BUSY last few years.


-New Home

-New Job

Just crazy I tell ya…Just wanted to let you know I should be around a little more.  Missed you guys and dolls and hope everyone is doing well.



Fighting misinformation – The Debunking Handbook

This isn’t going to be much of a diary. I came across this ‘handbook’ today. I thought some others might find it useful.


Debunking myths is problematic. Unless great care is taken, any effort to debunk misinformation can inadvertently reinforce the very myths one seeks to correct. To avoid these “backire effects”, an effective debunking requires three major elements. First, the refutation must focus on core facts rather than the myth to avoid the misinformation becoming more familiar. Second, any mention of a myth should be preceded by explicit warnings to notify the reader that the upcoming information is false. Finally, the refutation should include an alternative explanation that accounts for important qualities in the original misinformation.


It’s self-evident that democratic societies should base their decisions on accurate information. On many issues, however, misinformation can become entrenched in parts of the community, particularly when vested interests are involved. Reducing the influence  of  misinformation  is  a  difficult  and complex challenge.

A common misconception about myths is the notion  that  removing its  inluence  is as simple as packing more information into people’s heads. This approach assumes that public misperceptions are due to a lack of knowledge and that the solution is more information – in science communication, it’s known as  the “information  deicit  model”.  But that model is wrong: people don’t process information as simply as a hard drive downloading data.

The last thing you want to do when debunking misinformation is blunder in and make matters worse.  So  this  handbook  has  a  speciic  focus – providing practical tips to effectively debunk misinformation  and  avoid  the  various  backire effects. To achieve this, an understanding of the relevant cognitive processes is necessary. We explain some of the interesting psychological research in this area and inish with an example of an effective rebuttal of a common myth.

The handbook comes as a pdf. You can get it here –…

Antisemitic Crime Wave Continues in Brooklyn

Swastikas were found in an apartment building elevator on Friday afternoon in Brooklyn’s latest antisemitic hate crime.  This time, the incident occurred in Williamsburg, a mixed neighborhood with a large Hassidic Jewish population.  This incident comes on the heels of the firebombing of cars and antisemitic graffiti in Midwood and graffiti changing a sign at the Avenue J train station to “Avenue Jew” earlier this month.  Moreover, this is the second such incident in this particular building this month.

Go for Broke!

I just watched a wonderful 1951 movie: “Go for Broke!” . It is about the 442nd Infantry Regiment of the US Army during World War II. The 442nd was a regiment of Japanese Americans who fought in Europe and became the most decorated unit in US Army history. The movie itself is very well made – excellent script, great acting and well shot – but the story it relates is a fascinating look at struggle in America.

Cryptofascist? The Problem with Frank Miller: Open Thread

As my colonial cousins recover from an overdose of turkey and tryptophan, let me prod you into consciousness with the Frank Miller problem – which also allows me to post some awesome pics.

No, the Frank Miller problem isn’t as simple as you think. From his slapdash rant about the OWS movement on his website, it seems to quite clear where Frank’s political sympathies lie:

“Occupy” is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the “movement” – HAH! Some “movement”, except if the word “bowel” is attached – is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.

This is no popular uprising. This is garbage. And goodness knows they’re spewing their garbage – both politically and physically – every which way they can find.

Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy.

Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.

And this enemy of mine – not of yours, apparently – must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh – out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.

In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft (sic).

I said it seems to be quite clear where Miller’s political thinking lies: except nothing is clear in this inchoate melange of addled testosterone,  islamophobia, and shock jock cliche.

Surprise, surprise. Frank Miller writes dark, paranoid cartoon books. His political thinking is dark, paranoid and cartoonish.

This is not the real Frank Miller problem – except for him – and anyone who expected anything else.  

The Biggest Threat to President Barack Obama's Re-election Chances

By: inoljt,

Almost everybody agrees that President Barack Obama’s re-election chances depend almost exclusively on one thing: the state of the American economy. If, for instance, unemployment is below 7% by November 2012, Mr. Obama could very well win a Reagan-style blow-out. If, on the other hand, unemployment is still in double-digits by November 2012, Mr. Obama may as well kiss his re-election chances goodbye.

The second scenario would probably occur in the event of another recession. The greatest danger, therefore, to the president’s re-election chances would be something that would hurt the economy badly enough to knock it back into recession.

What could cause such an event?

More below.

Thanksgiving open thread

Well my dear Mooseses, Thanksgiving is upon us once more.  I taught Shax’s Venus and Adonis this morning, his sexiest work by far and very weird, then spent an hour or so in one of my favorite guitar stores (Elderly in Lansing MI) fed the kids and took my oldest for a shopping run as the foreplay for the feast begins tonight.  We are having my wife’s sibs and their children, all coming from Chicagoland tomorrow.  I’ll be making bbq beef ribs and a variation on my drunk and smoked turkey.


In a mixing bowl on my counter is a bit over a gallon of liquid.  Two kinds of bourbon (one good and one for volume) half a pint of stout, a quart of apple cider, 2 cups of cider vinegar, scant half a cup of kosher salt (it’s a kosher bird so salt must be used sparingly as the koshering process basically brines it already), brown sugar, maple syrup, lemon and pepper, herbes d’provence, and olive oil are all whisked in a mixing bowl on the counter.  I need to add a few smashed garlic cloves.  In an hour, my lovely and brilliant wife will help me put the turkey inside two large garbage bags, pour the liquid over the bird and tie it up around Thurs. night’s dinner.  I’ll rotate the bird every 6 hours or so until 8 AM thurs. when I’ll drain it and let it come to room temp while outside charcoal, hickory and apple woods all heat up.  Before putting the bird on the grill with the coals arranged for indirect heat, I’ll wrap the breast very tightly in foil.  After two hours or so, I’ll load the cavity with sauteed shallots, garlic cloves, and button mushrooms.  Here’s hoping it’s a good one.

So what are moose doing and cooking?  Share a memory and something to be thankful for.  I’ve got three healthy and astonishingly fabulous kids, a great marriage, a Ph.D. and work that I love, and two amazing guitars with a terrific tube amp.  Feeling pretty thankful tonight.  And thankful for my lovely moose.

I'll try 'Hates OWS for $500', please Alex.

Who is Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford?

A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by the MSNBC program Up w/ Chris Hayes.

The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association. CLGC’s memo (PDF) proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians.

The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.

File that last graf under No Shit, Sherlock. For their part, the American Bankers Association claims that the GLGC proposal was unsolicited, and they have chosen not to act on it. Sure, ok, maybe the American Bankers Association won’t ‘act on it’. Riiiiight, whatever y’all say. I mean, come on, we know what angle is anyway, so nothing surprising there. It’s GLGC I’m interested in.

For teh lulz, let’s see who and what makes up the lobbying firm of Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford, shall we? Per the MSNBC piece:

Two of the memo’s authors, partners Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, previously worked for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Geduldig joined CLGC before Boehner became speaker;  Cranford joined CLGC this year after serving as the speaker’s assistant for policy. A third partner, Steve Clark, is reportedly “tight” with Boehner, according to a story by Roll Call that CLGC features on its website.


Boehner spokesman Michael Steel declined to comment on the memo. But he responded to its characterization of Republicans as defenders of Wall Street by saying, “My understanding is that President Obama is the single largest recipient of donations from Wall Street.”