Friday, January 22, 2016

Evaluating the Republican Presidential Candidates Once Again (aka Cruzin' to the Trumpocalypse)

A while back I introduced an exhaustive yet succinct graphical representation of the Republican presidential field. Well, a lot has happened since that requires an update, including the implosion of Scott Walker, the rise and fall of Ben Carson, the surprising ineptitude of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie still hanging around for some reason, Marco Rubio doing who the hell knows what, and the emerging battle between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump [shudder] I need a shower here's the chart:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

You Have Two Big Strong Hands That (Surprise!) You Have Control Over

A friend of the blog since before she was born, today's contributor Madelyn is Brooke’s baby sister. Madelyn is in her second year of college and spends most of her time working and singing in her institute choir.

My great-great-grandmother, Bertha A. Kleinman, wrote the adorable children's song "I Have Two Little Hands." I grew up being fond of the sweet tune and clever words. This morning, my father, the great-grandson of Bertha A. Kleinman, sent this photo to me and my sister.

It is a shot of a slide shown in a seminary class. He expressed disgust with this desecration of the song, and I'm going to express my own feelings here. In case you can't read the image, the twisted version of our family's favorite primary song reads:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Rejected Millennial Star Posts

Regular readers may be surprised to learn this, but Expert Textperts is not the only blog that occasionally touches on Mormon topics. In fact, in spite of blogging losing the "cool" factor it used to have, there are still dozens, nay, tens of dozens of blogs about Mormon stuff.

One such blog is called Millennial Star, best known in certain circles for its..shall we say... selective...commenting policy. It's also an online home of proudly rigid orthodox and conservative Mormon thought (FINALLY), although for some reason that doesn't extend to reviving discredited RLDS apologetics...but I digress. The more perspectives the merrier, says I!

This guy's view is a valid as anyone's.

What you might not know is that M*, as it's colloquially known, actually rejected me as a permablogger, for personal reasons (specifically, that they technically don't know who I am and I think I misspelled my email on the application). Still, I had a lot of great topics to pitch them, so as a service I now offer them to the world.

You're welcome.

Monday, January 11, 2016

We're Starting a Movie Blog! (Plus a Few Thoughts on the Future of Expert Textperts)

Many readers are probably aware that the two most frequent and arguably best looking contributors to this blog, me and Brooke, are actually married. To each other! And, like many human people, we like to watch movies. This year we set a goal of increasing our familiarity with film history by watching more classic movies, using Roger Ebert's Great Movies list as a reference. Thus, we thought it would be fun to combine all these elements into a new project, Brooke and Casey at the Movies.

We've written about film a few times here, notably back in 2013 when we recapped the Oscar best picture slate, but we wanted to do something more narrowly-focused and conversational than Expert Textperts has generally been. Rather than traditional reviews or essays, we'll be posting lightly-edited chat recaps about once or twice a week as we work through Ebert's list (or any other movie we choose), hopefully with insight and sensible amounts of humor. Here's a sneak preview:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Calling White Militias "Terrorists" Will Only Hurt Marginalized Groups

On January 2, a group of up to 150 western ranchers and militiamen, led by a member of the Bundy clan (the uncomfortably Mormon family that initiated 2014's standoff with government troops in Nevada), occupied a government building in Oregon to protest what they view as the loss of "the people's constitutional rights," which at its core boils down to a dispute over a western brand of libertarian ideology and federal land management policy. Nobody has been hurt yet, but the heavily armed ranchers seem to be settling in for the long haul, and I don't think any responsible person can guess how things will play out.

The social media response, however, has unfolded in predictable and often dispiriting ways. Obviously, right-wing cheerleading of the militias is often ignorant and distasteful, but I want to talk about responses from the left, since that's where I and most of my social circle come from. In particular, I want to address a damaging trend that I believe can only backfire and hurt the people it means to support. I'm talking about people condemning the militias as "terrorists" and contrasting the restrained government response to violent mistreatment faced by black and Muslim Americans. You probably know exactly what I'm talking about: