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Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Racism, Religion And Ross Douthat Edition

Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Racism, Religion And Ross Douthat Edition

You better believe that Sunday’s Times covers the tale of racist fuckwit Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers, but you probably do not need to read it because Snoop Dogg already said everything that needs to be said.

What Snoop didn’t cover, however, is the already persistent question about whether Clippers players should boycott playing for Sterling in order to send a message or show solidarity or what have you. Motherfuckers, that is the wrong question. The onus isn’t on the players that Sterling is exploiting and demeaning to walk away from their job, likely at great consequence to their contracts and livelihoods. The onus is on other NBA owners and the NBA commissioner to take whatever steps are in their power to crush this racist cockroach.


In news of not-all-that-new Pope Francis, he’s presiding over the canonization of both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II today. Everyone has caught on to the fact that this is sort of a “something for everyone” approach to saint-making. Here is a helpful GIANT BLOCKQUOTE from the Times explaining who is who and what is happening, just in case you are a heathen Presbyterian or something.

Pope John XXIII was the rotund Italian pontiff with a common touch, who told jokes, embraced the poor and became beloved as “the Good Pope.” To many liberal Catholics, he is still revered for the Second Vatican Council, the landmark event of the 1960s that sought to move the Roman Catholic Church into the modern age.

Pope John Paul II was the charismatic Polish pontiff who liked to sneak away from the Vatican to ski and who retooled the papacy in a new era of globalized media. His vision of a more rigid Catholicism made him a revered figure among many conservative Catholics suspicious of the liberalizing spirit introduced by John XXIII.

“The man who took the lid off and the man who tried to put it back on,” said Eamon Duffy, a professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Cambridge.

Yep, pretty much that. The Times article also reminds us that JPII was a complete slut about sainting errrebody in town — a whopping 482, which is more than every pope before him — which is maybe why his canonization got super fast-tracked. You get a sainthood and you get a sainthood! Except you heathen Presbyterians. We’re watching you.

The Times also has a couple longreads to enlighten and enrage you this beautiful Sunday morning. Remember how BP totally said they were setting aside kazillions of dollars to pay people harmed by their massive Louisiana oil spill? Did you think they would actually pay that out without a fight? Haha even you are not that dumb.

In full-page newspaper ads, interviews and a gusher of court filings, BP officials have insisted that their good intentions are being hijacked by greedy lawyers and underhanded claimants. […] By fall 2013, BP’s lawyers were appealing one of every five claims that could be appealed under the settlement’s rules, and had begun balking at paying the budget requests for the claims center.

The Times article is much more nuanced than our yelling about it, and rightly so because the Times has an actual investigative reporting staff and all those fancy things. Here’s the gist: BP actually wrote up a settlement agreement that was weirdly broad, allowing any business, even those somewhat removed from the Gulf, like local car dealers, to get a claim payout if they showed losses during the spill. Now BP is sad that people have actually taken advantage of that. BP, you employed an army, a militia, a flotilla of lawyers to draft YOUR OWN SETTLEMENT OFFER. If you fucked it up, that’s no fault of Joe Bob’s Ye Olde Shrimp Shop. Pay up, fuckers.


The other longread is a big piece on the 1976 murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM). It’s an excellent overview of the history of AIM for those of you who are either too young to know about it or too callow to have paid attention when it was all going down. Either way, read the thing.

If you were already on the fence about the onrush of public-private partnerships in K-12 education, all of which propose to close the achievement gap and make baby thought leaders thanks to the miracle of technology, the piece on the demise of InBloom will convince you that technocrat solutions to deep-seated and complex education issues are bullshit.

The seed money for this nonprofit corporation came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the Carnegie Corporation of New York. InBloom aimed to streamline personalized learning — analyzing information about individual students to customize lessons to them — in public schools. It planned to collect and integrate student attendance, assessment, disciplinary and other records from disparate school-district databases, put the information in cloud storage and release it to authorized web services and apps that could help teachers track each student’s progress.

But the program ran into strident opposition from a number of parents and privacy advocates. They warned that school district officials were unequipped to manage, or even audit, how outside vendors might use delicate material — like a student’s disability status.

Data about a kid’s disability status has always been shareable to third parties that might actually need it. The Times uses the example of school bus companies. If you’re going to be responsible for transporting a kid with cerebral palsy, you need to know what types of accommodations that kid might need. But InBloom just wanted to take that private data and sell it.

It proposed to serve as the gatekeeper of this volatile personal information — all the while offering to aid the software industry. It planned to provide a standardized data platform around which vendors could create products to market to multiple districts.

Yeah, no. Bye-bye InBloom.

The Times reminds you that John Oliver’s new show, “Last Week Tonight,” starts tonight on HBO, which means you will never be able to see it unless you steal someone’s HBO GO password. Sorry.

We’re a bit disappointed in rich people this week, as they are only buying or selling a place worth a paltry $13 million, which hardly bears mentioning. The place does sound a bit precious though.

Downstairs, vestiges of its decades as a stable are still visible in 2014: Hitching posts, blanket racks and the trap door for the hayloft enhance its character.

You probably need all the character-enhancing you can get when your house is only worth $13 million.

After a few weeks of relatively normal and non-offensive questions, our favorite person to pity, the poor social etiquette guy at the Times, is again forced to grapple with the selfish and the clueless. Up first: the person who loves you but hates your kids.


I’ve been dating a nice man for about a year. We get along well, except I have no interest in his children. I’ve already raised two of my own, and do not want to be bulldozed into attending any more karate tournaments or school functions for his young ones. He seems to think that part of my dating him is being involved with his children. He also has a nasty ex-wife whom I don’t want to be around. Am I obligated to take an interest in his children or may I ask my boyfriend to respect my wishes?

If one is adamantly opposed to being around children, it seems to us you can avoid that problem by not dating someone with children. Social etiquette guy points out this in a much nicer fashion, noting that the long-term success of this relationship is in doubt and perhaps casual affairs with children-having people are more in order.

Kid-hater really has nothing on the penny-pinching snob that comes next, though.

I am a recent college graduate with a penchant for good wine. I save up and buy a few great bottles. But when I invite my friends over, they are inclined to down several glasses quickly and get buzzed rather than savor it. Is it rude to point out the dear cost of my wine and ask them to slow down?

We got this, we got this, we know the answer, call on us! YES IT IS HELLA RUDE. Social etiquette dude agrees and says, pretty much, “buy your guests cheap wine if you’re so concerned about this and also too it is rude to remind your guests of how much your wine costs.” Same answer, less yelling.

Speaking of yelling, let’s check out the columnists! Little Tommy Friedman read a few things about Ukraine this week and also talked to some Big Important People and he would like you to know that what he learned is that the situation in Ukraine is fraught with tension and is very complex. Way to provide some really cutting-edge analysis there, Tom. The rest of us just figured the whole thing was really cut-and-dried and would end all easy peasy quite soon. The very most irritating part of Friedman comes out when he tries to talk about what it is like in Kiev.

You can’t walk the cobblestone streets of the St. Sophia Square in Kiev, or tour the magnificent 11th-century onion-domed church of the same name, without learning just how much Russia and Ukraine have influenced one another over the centuries — and today will be no different. The first unified “Rus” state was born in Kiev, when “St. Vladimir the Great, the Grand Prince of Kiev,” unified all the tribes and territories in the region into an entity called by historians “Kievan Rus.” St. Vladimir also made Orthodox Christianity the official religion.

Thanks for that 11th-grade World History textbook on Kiev, Tommy. Really insightful. A+.

We do not hate Maureen Dowd this week, and it makes us feel all funny. Dowd’s column kicks off with the most recent version of the Cliven Bundy brouhaha, which had Bundy telling us all he knows Things about Negros and perhaps they were all better off being slaves because it gave them something to do. Oh, and he is just like MLK or is the thing MLK fought for. Something like that. Dowd is, of course, late to the game on this, as the rest of us covered it ages ago, but since the Times only lets her write on Sundays (THANK FUCKING GOD) it is forgivable. Dowd goes on to tell you all about how the GOP has gotten really racist and weird, but you know all those things, don’t you? To sum up: if you have never ever read Wonkette and learned about the GOP candidates that love them some cockfighting or the incredibly dumb pastor challenging Lindsey Graham, then MoDo is your handy guide to all things GOPCrazy right now.


Did you place bets on what Ross Douthat would write about today? If you threw a few bucks at “the Pope’s call to the Argentinian lady about divorce” come collect your winnings, but please also too notice that we already speculated about this in an equally fact-free but far funnier fashion earlier in the week. Anyway, Ross is pretty sad that the Pope might be thinking to drag the church kicking and screaming into the last century by allowing some modest liberalization of the teachings on divorce, because Jesus hates that and that way lies madness.

Francis could actually be considering a truly major shift on remarriage and communion, in which the annulment requirement is dispensed with and (perhaps) a temporary penance is substituted.

Such a shift wouldn’t just provoke conservative grumbling; it would threaten outright schism. The church has famous martyrs to the indissolubility of Christian marriage, and its teaching on divorce and adultery is grounded not just in tradition or natural law, but in the explicit words of Jesus of Nazareth.

This means that admitting to communion people the church considers to be in permanently adulterous relationships wouldn’t just look like a modest development in doctrine. It would look like a major about-face, a doctrinal self-contradiction.

We are totally cool if Ross Douthat wants to martyr himself over the right to never ever get divorced, but man, will we be pissed if some future conservative pope makes him a saint over it. Maybe Pope Francis can declare that church doctrine prevents canonization of any whiny culture scolds now and forever, amen.


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