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Nature vs. Nurture, LBJ style

By on Nov 28, 2011 in Politics

…it is almost impossible to discuss the inheritance of acquired skills, including such skills as language abilities or intelligence, as purely genetic issues. Nature determines the limits of what nurture can accomplish. That is an absolute. But at the same time nurture determines not only what nature can do, but the way in which nature develops in order to do it. In so doing, nurture determines what we measure as nature. It is not because it was good politics that the Head Start program was the most successful aspect of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It was because it was good science. – Harold L. Klawans, from Why Michael Couldn’t Hit

Offbeat Empire weekend redux

By on Oct 14, 2011 in Life

Last weekend I went to Seattle for GeekGirlCon, but mostly to hang out in real life with the GAHMAZING ladies of the Offbeat Empire. It was a quick trip — Friday to Sunday and I am heading to Boston this weekend for the Wakanday conference, so I am too tired for a full redux. Instead I am going to point you to awesome posts and photos of the weekend. The two of you that read this blog will love it! The low-down from Offbeat Bride including a badass video. Post Mortem from the Offbeat Empress, Ariel. Photos from the AMAZING photographer with the unfortunate name, Jonas Seaman. Photos from Coco, ex-Offbeat Bride intern and BFF of Offbeat Bride managing editor Megan. Photos from Offbeat Mama managing editor, Stephanie. Redux from the super amazing event planner,...

Positive vs. negative human rights

By on Oct 6, 2011 in Politics

… the United States [has a] constitutional tradition that sees human rights as “negative” rights–rights against government–not “positive” rights that can be used to oblige government to take action to secure people’s livelihoods. I was stopped by this quote in the article, “Who says food is a human right?”, in The Nation’s recent Food Issue. While I am a huge advocate of Medicare-for-all and other progressive, social safety net programs, I have always felt uncomfortable at the mention that “Healthcare is a human right” or “Food is a human right.” For some reason the idea that healthcare or food or shelter are human rights on par with freedom of speech or religion feels wrong to me. I could say that historically food or shelter haven’t been rights, but then neither has freedom or speech or...

The Descendants, Roseland Ballroom, 9/23/11

By on Sep 26, 2011 in Music

Thank you for playin’ the way you play The Descendants are on of my favorite bands and I credit them with getting me into punk rock. I spent the summer of 1996 training and swimming at Niles Ice Arena in Niles, IL. One of my first days there, one of the guys put on some music during warm up. It was The Descendants’ “Everything Sux” and I was like “Wha-what? Punk can me hard and fast and melodic and sweet? Who knew?” Then I found out that Milo had a Ph.D. in Bio-chemistry, which, as the child of two Ph.D.s and a big nerd myself, made me fall ever harder in love. That next summer those same guys took me to the second ever Warped Tour and my first punk rock show … and possibly show ever, but I can’t really remember. During the Descendants set, I crowd surfed for the first time … because, well, I was young and naive and weighed a lot...

Europe’s real terrorist threat: Region not religion

By on Sep 8, 2011 in Politics

“According to Europol, between 2006 and 2008 only 0.4 percent of terrorist plots (including attempts and fully executed attacks) in Europe were from Islamists. The lion’s share (85 percent) were related to seperatism. Put bluntly, if you have to assume anything when a bomb goes off in Europe, think region, not religion.” Europe’s New Fascists, The Nation, by Gary Young