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I KNOW WHY YOU'RE SAD.

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On paper, Tuesday was a good day for Democrats. They took the House for the first time in eight years. Several important Governorships (in advance of post-Census 2020 redistricting battles) were won. Notably vile Republicans like Kris Kobach, Scott Walker, and Dana Rohrabacher lost. The high-visibility Senate races Democrats lost (Missouri, Tennessee) were pipe dreams anyway. You already knew that Florida sucks, hard. So you're not sad because "The Democrats did badly."

You're also not sad because Beto lost, or Andrew Gillum lost, or any other single candidate who got people excited this year fell short. They're gonna be fine. They will be back. You haven't seen the last of any of them. Winning a Senate race in Texas was never more than a long shot. Gillum had a realistic chance, but once again: It's Florida.

No, you're sad for the same reason you were so sad Wednesday morning after the 2016 Election. You're sad because the results confirm that half of the electorate – a group that includes family, neighbors, friends, random fellow citizens – looked at the last two years and declared this is pretty much what they want. You're sad because any Republican getting more than 1 vote in this election, let alone a majority of votes, forces us to recognize that a lot of this country is A-OK with undisguised white supremacy. You're sad because once again you have been slapped across the face with the reality that a lot of Americans are, at their core, a lost cause. Willfully ignorant. Unpersuadable. Terrible people. Assholes, even.

You were hoping that the whole country would somehow restore your faith in humanity and basic common decency by making a bold statement, trashing Republicans everywhere and across the board. You wanted some indication that if you campaigned hard enough, rednecks and white collar bloodless types alike could be made to see the light that perhaps the levers of power are not best entrusted to the absolute worst people that can be dredged up from Internet comment sections running on platforms of xenophobia, nihilism, and racism. In short, you wanted to see some evidence that corruption, venality, bigotry, and proud ignorance are deal-breakers for the vast majority of Americans.

And now you're sad because it's obvious that they aren't. Even where horrible Republicans like Walker or Kobach lost, they didn't lose by much.

So I get it. It's depressing. There's no amount of positives that can take away the nagging feeling that lots and lots of people in this country are just…garbage. They're garbage human beings just like the president they adore. These people are not one conversation, one fact-check, and one charismatic young Democratic candidate away from seeing the light. They're reactionary, mean, ignorant, uninteresting in becoming less ignorant, and vindictive. They hate you and they will vote for monsters to prove it.

Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.

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lelandpaul
8 days ago
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Oh, this is so hard for me. On the one hand, the piece is dead right: This is exactly what I'm feeling today.

On the other: I fundamentally believe people are redeemable and that we shouldn't write them off. (That's sort of core to Christianity...)

I don't know how to reconcile these two things.
San Francisco, CA
sirshannon
8 days ago
You can’t redeem the unwilling.
lelandpaul
7 days ago
But does that give you the right to stop giving them opportunities to redeem themselves?
sirshannon
5 days ago
Yes. You’re not powerful enough to stop someone from redeeming themselves any more than you are powerful enough to make them redeem themselves. As long as you’re not actively working to prevent them from doing the right thing, you’re good.
cjmcnamara
9 days ago
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gin and tacos absolutely spot on once again
popular
8 days ago
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4 public comments
zwol
8 days ago
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This seems like the right place to tell the story of the dude who drove me to the airport the other day. His other job, apparently, was owning a gun store, and when talking about guns his opinions were informed and reasonable , e.g. "banning bump stocks won't stop school shootings, but we should require gun owners to go through safety training and have proper gun safes," ok, I can see that. But then the conversation took a hard right turn into Fox News conspiracy land: all politicians are corrupt, Planned Parenthood spends 10x as much money on lobbying as the NRA, etc. etc. etc. and I just didn't know what to say.
Pittsburgh, PA
tdarby
8 days ago
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Yes.
Baltimore, MD
rocketo
8 days ago
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How many words fit on a sampler? I don’t want to get this as a tattoo.

“Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
seattle, wa
notadoctor
9 days ago
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“They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
Oakland, CA

"Folks, there’s nothing left from the Linguistics division. We lost all the indigenous..."

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“Folks, there’s nothing left from the Linguistics division. We lost all the indigenous languages collection: the recordings since 1958, the chants in all the languages for which there are no native speakers alive anymore, the Curt Niemuendaju archives: papers, photos, negatives, the original ethnic-historic-linguistic map localizing all the ethnic groups in Brazil, the only record that we had from 1945. The ethnological and archeological references of all ethnic groups in Brazil since the 16th century… An irreparable loss of our historic memory. It just hurts so much to see all in ashes.”

- Cira Gonda, translated by Diogo Almeida, about the fire at Brazil’s National Museum.  
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lelandpaul
73 days ago
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God damn it. This should be a day of mourning for all humanity.
San Francisco, CA
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JimB
70 days ago
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The managers who didn't create back ups off site are criminally negligent
fxer
72 days ago
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I wonder how much if any had been digitized
Bend, Oregon

Resistance is the Only Human Way to Live

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A temptation you face as a teacher when you talk about the stories of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the White Rose is that their stories can come across to students as legends of moral heroism, which can seem divorced from their quotidian lives. So I spend a lot of time talking about resistance as non-conformity.

I'm taking a cue here from William Stringfellow. In his book An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, Stringfellow describes visiting with members of the various Nazi resistance movements after WW2. What Stringfellow discovered in their stories is how members of the resistance took enormous risks to do very small things, things that, realistically speaking, weren't going to do all that much to stop Hitler. Still, they took the risk. Here's Stringfellow describing this risk/reward imbalance:
[T]he Resistance, undertaken and sustained through the long years of the Nazi ascendancy in which most of Western Europe was conquered and occupied, consisted, day after day, of small efforts. Each one of these, if regarded in itself, seems far too weak, too temporary, too symbolic, too haphazard, too meek, too trivial to be efficacious against the oppressive, monolithic, pervasive presence which Nazism was, both physically and psychically, in the nations which had been defeated and seized. Realistically speaking, those who resisted Nazism did so in an atmosphere in which hope, in its ordinary connotations, had been annihilated. To calculate their actions--abetting escapes, circulating mimeographed news, hiding fugitives, obtaining money or needed documents, engaging in various forms of noncooperation with the occupying authorities or the quisling bureaucrats, wearing armbands, disrupting official communications--in terms of odds against the Nazi efficiency and power and violence and vindictiveness would seem to render their witness ridiculous. The risks for them of persecution, arrest, torture, confinement, death were so disproportionate to any concrete results that could practically be expected that most human beings would have despaired--and, one recalls, most did. Yet these persons persevered in their audacious, extemporaneous, fragile, puny, foolish Resistance.
So, why did they do it, given that the risks were so high and the possibility of success so small?  Here's Stringfellow's answer:
The answer to such questions is, I believe, that the act of resistance to the power of death incarnate in Nazism was the only means of retaining sanity and conscience. In the circumstances of the Nazi tyranny, resistance became the only human way to live. 
Resistance became the only human way to live. That's the message I'm preaching to my students.

In the imagination of the Bible, the world is ruled by the devil, who is described as the "god" and "prince" of this world (John 12.21; 2 Cor. 4.4). All around us, we see this force of dehumanization constantly at work.

Resistance, therefore, is refusing to be conformed to the dehumanizing pattern of this world (Rom. 12.2).

Resistance is non-conformity, rehumanization in the face of dehumanization.

Resistance is living in this world as a human being.
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lelandpaul
139 days ago
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San Francisco, CA
toddgrotenhuis
139 days ago
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Indianapolis
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Jordan Peterson Refuses to Use God’s Preferred Pronouns

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TORONTO, ON

Controversial University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson has been become infamous in his efforts to battle so-called “political correctness,” and has resolutely refused to use the preferred pronouns of many individuals, including, apparently, God.

“I’m sick and tired of God’s refusal to state a gender,” said Peterson. “All this ‘thee, thy, thou’ nonsense in the King James Bible is absolutely ridiculous. It’s unnatural.”

Peterson, a clinical psychologist by training, dogmatically believes in binary gender, including for the Christian deity.

“Either God’s a man or a woman. There’s no other way to look at it,” said Peterson. “I don’t need the PC police to tell me ‘Oh, God’s neither male nor female!’ Come on! Make a decision for once!”

Peterson says he will never give in to the Creator of the Universe’s decision to remain gender neutral and will spend the rest of his life trying to assign God a gender.

“Everyone must fit into my tiny little box,” said Peterson, “and God is no exception.”

After the news became public, Peterson received debate invitations from every theologian alive.

(photo credit: Adam Jacobs/CC)

The post Jordan Peterson Refuses to Use God’s Preferred Pronouns appeared first on The Daily Bonnet.

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toddgrotenhuis
160 days ago
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Indianapolis
lelandpaul
169 days ago
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San Francisco, CA
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It’s always a delight to see the jungle house on Church St.

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It’s always a delight to see the jungle house on Church St.

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lelandpaul
170 days ago
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I (tangentially) knew someone who lived here in high school!
San Francisco, CA
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Fine China: 4 Types of Porcelain Clay

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Chinese pottery has a long history, and is an integral part of the foundations of modern China. One of the greatest early achievements of Chinese potters was the development of denser clay materials that could be fired at extremely high temperatures, resulting in stronger finished pieces. While Chinese tradition calls all of these high-fired clays ‘porcelain’ even today, English speakers typically think of porcelain as a bright white, fine-grained clay, distinctly different from more common ‘stoneware’ pottery. When used in teaware, this type of porcelain offers a white background that makes it easy to see the color of the tea and leaves, along with a light, easy-to-handle weight and a sharp pouring edge that prevents dribbles.

When Europeans first saw this type of clay during the Ming Dynasty, it came only from China, resulting in the nickname ‘china’ or ‘fine china’. Unable to replicate the material locally, European collectors paid extraordinary amounts for pieces made of the “white gold” from the exotic east. Even within China, this particular kind of clay was quite rare, coming mainly from the town of Jingdezhen, which grew rapidly with the fame of its white clay. Within China, the only clay called “fine china” is from Jingdezhen. Over time, imitation and experimentation have produced several different kinds of clay with a fine grain and white, translucent fired body - the key characteristics of high quality porcelain.


White, thin-walled porcelain is ideal for tasting and testing teas, thanks to precise details.

Hard Paste Porcelain

The original formulation of “fine china” was a specialty of Jingdezhen: a mixture of kaolin and petunse (pottery stone), both found locally in large quantities. While kaolin is now a primary ingredient of almost all porcelain clays and mined all over the world, the un-tinted white kaolin of Jingdezhen is still a rarity. A simple 50/50 mix with petunse fired at around 1400°C made the best white, translucent porcelain in the world.

Learn more about the unique porcelain of Jingdezhen >>

The high firing temperature made finished pieces in this clay extremely strong, despite their delicate appearance. The frenzy to replicate it in Europe continued for at least 150 years, until the Meissen factory in Germany started production of a hard paste porcelain in 1710. High firing temperatures help to vitrify the clay, making it more glass-like and resistant to staining, but they also make decor more difficult, as most pigments burn off in the kiln.


loading a kiln with glazed pottery for a high temperature firing that will vitrify the clay.

Soft Paste Porcelain

Early European iterations of porcelain, developed in Italy, France, and England, sought to imitate the characteristic translucency by mixing ground glass with clay. While these formulations imitated the look of Chinese porcelain, they were hard to work with and prone to collapsing in the hot kiln. Firing temperatures for this type of clay only reach 1100°C, and the surface of a finished piece is easily scratched.

Later versions of soft paste porcelain improved with the inclusion of hard paste ingredients like kaolin, and new additions like quartz. Today, many of the same ingredients are used in both types of porcelain, but they are easily distinguished by firing temperature. The lower temperatures used to fire soft paste porcelain still typically leave a surface that is more easily scratched and stained, but they also allow for more range in decorative color.


translucency is highly valued in porcelain, as it demonstrates the strength of the clay and the skill of the maker.

Bone China

In England, experiments with soft paste porcelain eventually led to a formulation that included local kaolin, petunse (locally called Cornish stone), and a new ingredient: bone ash, derived from cattle bones. Though the earliest documentation of this recipe comes from the 1740s, it would not become a commercial success until 50 years later, when the process for producing bone ash was streamlined. Today, bone china is typically made up of 25% kaolin, 25% petunse, and 50% bone ash.

Despite firing at lower soft paste temperatures, the proportion of bone ash makes this type of porcelain extremely strong, resistant to both chips and scratches. It is also strong before firing, allowing for extremely thin and delicate  pieces to be formed. But the laborious multi-step process of making bone ash, along with the cost of other high-quality ingredients, also makes this the rarest and most expensive type of porcelain.


<mixing porcelain clay with pulp or fiber makes it easy to work with, but not stronger after firing.

Paper Porcelain

To improve the workability of the clay before firing, potters working in both hard paste and soft paste porcelain often use pulp or cellulose fibers to make ‘paper’ porcelain. By mixing in fibrous material, they add significant strength to the wet clay. Though this technique can be used with any clay, it is commonly used for porcelain, a notably difficult clay to work with. The extra strength allows potters to achieve thinner walls and more delicate shapes without risking cracks or slumping during the forming process.

It is extremely easy to make a crude yet functional version of paper clay, and it can dramatically improve success rates, especially during the drying process, when delicate clays can crack under invisible stresses. Unlike bone ash, however, fibrous materials burn out of the clay during firing, and have no effect on the look or durability of the finished piece.

pure white porcelain makes beautiful and extremely practical teaware.

Porcelain teaware can often seem too delicate to handle, but in fact, it is the strongest clay formulations that allow for such thin walls. Good quality porcelain, whether it is rare bone china or a simple hard paste recipe, gained its reputation not only for its aesthetic beauty, but also for unmatched durability.

Do you brew in porcelain? What do you like (or not like) about using porcelain teaware? Let us know in the comments below!


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lelandpaul
182 days ago
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San Francisco, CA
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