“8/20/2012, 11:34am EST”

What’s worse:

school administrators withholding a valedictorian’s high school diploma because she used the word “hell” in her graduation speech, or a valedictorian using the word “hell” in her graduation speech because she was inspired by the Twilight books?

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“8/03/2012, 12:08pm EST”

Chemical signaling isn’t “talking”

This piece of so-called science journalism, titled “Scientists Confirm that Plants Talk and Listen To Each Other, Communication Crucial for Survival,” displays a rather stunning level of scientific incompetence, assuming conclusions that are not justified on the basis of the study and omitting caveats that would put this information in accurate perspective.

For example, one plant reacting chemically to a certain stimuli and another plant’s reacting chemically to that first chemical reaction do not constitute genuine instances of “talking” and “listening.” Though there is some definition of “communication” that might be applicable here, it isn’t the conscious sort that could be relevant to deciding whether or not plants are anywhere near the level of animals in terms of the moral consideration they deserve.

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“12/31/2011, 4:11pm EST”

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“10/17/2011, 1:34pm EST”

The intellectual bankruptcy of corporatism (Kevin O’Leary) goes up against the intellectual richness of basic realism (Christopher Hedges). Spoiler alert: Corporatism gets destroyed.

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“10/12/2011, 9:50pm EST”

I’m just now catching Van Jones’ speech at Occupy Wall Street a few days ago, and it’s pretty darn good. I don’t know if it’s the first use of the term, but in the video he calls bankers “banksters,” which, insofar as it calls to mind the word “gangsters,” is far more accurate. By the way, if you haven’t witnessed the “human mic” concept that is a central functional element of the movement (because protesters can’t use amplification devices in the park where they/we are hunkered down), this is a great opportunity.

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“6/22/2011, 8:16am EST”

What do you get when you mix utter ignorance and a mind able to ask, ‘Why’?

—David Brin, Earth

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“2/07/2011, 5:14pm EST”

The Reagan Admin's response to AIDS in 1982, years before it stopped ignoring the epidemic

  1. Q:

    Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement -- the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?

  2. Mr. Speakes:

    What's AIDS?

  3. Q:

    Over a third of them have died. It's known as "gay plague." (Laughter.) No, it is. I mean it's a pretty serious thing that one in every three people that get this have died. And I wondered if the President is aware of it?

  4. Mr. Speakes:

    I don't have it. Do you? (Laughter.)

  5. Q:

    No, I don't.

  6. Mr. Speakes:

    You didn't answer my question.

  7. Q:

    Well, I just wondered, does the President ...

  8. Mr. Speakes:

    How do you know? (Laughter.)

  9. Q:

    In other words, the White House looks on this as a great joke?

  10. Mr. Speakes:

    No, I don't know anything about it, Lester.

  11. Q:

    Does the President, does anyone in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry?

  12. Mr. Speakes:

    I don't think so. I don't think there's been any ...

  13. Q:

    Nobody knows?

  14. Mr. Speakes:

    There has been no personal experience here, Lester.

  15. Q:

    No, I mean, I thought you were keeping ...

  16. Mr. Speakes:

    I checked thoroughly with Dr. Ruge this morning and he's had no -- (laughter) -- no patients suffering from AIDS or whatever it is.

  17. Q:

    The President doesn't have gay plague, is that what you're saying or what?

  18. Mr. Speakes:

    No, I didn't say that.

  19. Q:

    Didn't say that?

  20. Mr. Speakes:

    I thought I heard you on the State Department over there. Why didn't you stay there? (Laughter.)

  21. Q:

    Because I love you Larry, that's why. (Laughter.)

  22. Mr. Speakes:

    Oh I see. Just don't put it in those terms, Lester. (Laughter.)

  23. Q:

    Oh, I retract that.

  24. Mr. Speakes:

    I hope so.

  25. Q:

    It's too late.

  26. Acknowledgement:

    This transcript was quoted at the beginning of Jon Cohen's book, Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine, 2001.

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“1/03/2011, 7:29pm EST”

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“12/28/2010, 1:10pm EST”

New band photos for HERE, in advance of our debut record. Can you see the story they tell? Photographed by Jasmine Wilson -

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“12/27/2010, 1:25pm EST”

100 shows for Haiti: Lights Resolve, Sainthood Reps, and HERE

Folks, we’ve got an amazing show coming up on January 6th. Not only will there be three great bands (including Derrick Sherman of Brand New), but it will be for the worthy cause of helping Haiti get back on its feet after last January’s devastating earthquake. With 100 shows happening around the country, we have a chance to make a big difference together.

Here are the details:

What: 100 Shows for Haiti, LI edition
Bands: Lights Resolve, Sainthood Reps (w/ Derrick Sherman of Brand New!), and HERE
Where: The Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, NY / 38 Old Country Rd / Garden City, NY (map)
When: Thursday, January 6th, 6-10pm
Cost: $10, with all proceeds going to Haiti
Mass Transit: LIRR to Mineola station (30 mins from NYC)

A big thanks to Andy at Sparrow Media for making it happen. See you there!

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“12/09/2010, 2:32am EST”

I’m hesitant to bring a side argument of the vegan movement (so-called “welfarism” vs. so-called “abolitionism”) to the fore, but this is just too good not to post. Enjoy.

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“12/07/2010, 7:18pm EST”

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“11/24/2010, 1:18pm EST”

This is just some of the cruelty you’re supporting when you eat a turkey on Thanksgiving. After the initial mutilations and indignities featured in this video, those birds that survive are subjected to daily terrors right up through the slaughter.

It’s easy to go vegetarian, if not vegan, on Thanksgiving. Think about it, and take a look at these mouthwatering cruelty-free holiday recipes collected by the New York Times. (Read the paper’s entire vegetarian Thanksgiving blog series here.)

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“11/16/2010, 1:13pm EST”

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“11/15/2010, 1:20pm EST”

Bipartisanship is for suckers

Obama spoke yesterday, doing his best to self-destructively misinterpret the recent election results:

I neglected some things that matter a lot to people, and rightly so [such as] maintaining a bipartisan tone in Washington…

No. No. No. Nobody cares about bipartisanship. Nobody. They care about results. The only reason you think otherwise is because Republicans have learned they can cow you with it.

Obama also said he should have “[made] sure that the policy decisions that I made were fully debated with the American people.” If you think people care about bipartisanship, here’s a good start: Make the argument that bipartisanship is a two-way street — and since Republicans just won’t obey traffic lights, it’s our moral obligation to get them off the road.

Honestly, does he think the media or the public want a policy debate? Does he think they’re even mentally equipped for one? More than enough people to make up the margin between victory and defeat on election day don’t know anything about policy. They just know a leader when they see one.

In the absence of leadership, the media will amplify the loudest voices, and the mindless middle will vote for them. Be strong and you’ll attract the center, because the center is ruled by social and psychological cues, not policy calculation.

Obama’s apologies for not being even more reasonable in the face of Republican obstructionism are laughably weak. The irony is doubled, given that he thinks doing so will somehow improve Democratic electoral prospects.

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