Blog Archives

“No, YOU’RE a War on Women!”

Twitterfall is a pretty cool thing. If you want to search hashtags while still seeing your normal timeline it’s just what you need. Plus I like that you don’t have to click anything or press a button to see new tweets, they just drop down periodically. Wish it had a better way to track conversations like Twitter proper does.

So once I hooked that up to my Twitter account, I tossed a few searches I thought might be interesting on it. Last night I added #AFPcountdown to keep up with the festivities over Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter party, and that was pretty cool.

Today, on a whim, really, I added #WarOnWomen. This was probably a mistake. So far it’s led to a lot of anger and depression.

I have no doubt there’s a war on women going on, in practice at least. I know this because for the first time in my life birth control is being treated as a controversial subject. I know this because we have emergency room doctors refusing to care for rape victims. I know this because there are people making propaganda videos to portray Planned Parenthood as “targeting baby girls” with their evil, evil abortions. Read the rest of this entry

Preaching Hate

Preachers have been really hard on the gays lately. Our featured asshole today is Curtis Knapp. He’s pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, and made headlines with his sermon Sunday in which he said this on what to do with those pesky homosexuals:

They should be put to death. That’s what happened in Israel. That’s why homosexuality wouldn’t have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversations. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet.

So, you’re saying we should go out and start killing them? No. I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.

Just so we’re clear here, this man is saying he wants a government mass-murder program. To nobody’s surprise, this caused a bit of a shitstorm. But he’s not backing down.

“We punish pedophilia. We punish incest. We punish polygamy and various things,” Knapp told KTKA. “It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.”

Knapp argued that his sermon was rooted in Biblical verse.

“‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act,’” he quoted from Leviticus 20:12. “‘They shall surely be put to death.’”

Just to keep things confusing, in the King James Bible that should be 20:13, Leviticus 20:12 is about not having sex with your daughter in law. I thought this was a typo until I got confused by some old language and noticed that it is 20:12 in the New International Version.

Anyway, I disagree with the “good” pastor, I can come up with a few more exemptions from that very book. Read the rest of this entry

Saunders’ List

Let’s take a look at Peter Saunders list of Ten reasons not to legalise same-sex marriage in BritainI won’t be quoting his full arguments for the whole list, because this is already doomed to be a very long post.

1. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman

Throughout history in virtually all cultures and faiths throughout the world, marriage has been held to be the union of one man and one woman. Marriage existed thousands of years before our nation began and has been recognised in our laws as the ‘voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life’ (Hyde v Hyde 1866). The UN Declaration of Human Rights (article 16) recognises that the family, headed by a man and a woman, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State’. It is not up to governments to redefine marriage – but simply to recognise it for what it is, and to promote and protect it as a unique institution.

Wow, factually wrong right out of the gate. Throughout history the most common form of marriage has been polygamous. It’s even in the Old Testament of the Bible, according to 1 Kings 11 king Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, though I suspect he may have inflated the number while bragging.

Check out the basic point here, though. Saunders appears to be saying same sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed because right now it isn’t allowed. So we shouldn’t change the rules to allow it because right now it isn’t allowed.

I’m getting a headache already.  Read the rest of this entry

Working hard to hurt others

I was idly browsing through various blogs and news sites this morning and I was struck by how many stories involve people working very hard at no benefit to themselves in order to hurt other people. Poisoning girls’ schools in Afghanistan, stripping away women’s rights in Egypt, making homosexuality a crime in too many countries to count.

I can understand why the leaders of these things do it, for example Mitt Romney declaring opposition to marriage equality will make him more likely to get elected. What I don’t get is the masses, the individual people who work really hard on these things and don’t seem to get any benefit other than the dubious joy of causing human suffering. Seriously.

The most common explanations for these things are religious, and I still don’t get it. Okay, so your religion says X is a sin, but unless your religion also says you should be cruel to people who commit sin or are sinful by nature, why spend so much of your precious time and energy on it?

Pastor Charles Worley went full-nazi and said that gays should be rounded up and put in concentration camps. Bizarrely, he seems to think after they die of old age there won’t be any more. Not sure if he believes that “recruiting” crap or if he thinks they’re actually a different species. Think of the scale of that project, the cruelty it would impose on tens of millions of people. Read the rest of this entry

“This is open warfare on both women and the poor.”

So in the morning I saw this and I’ve been trying to work out what to say about it all day. Mississippi state representative Bubba Carpenter is bragging that he’s stopped abortion in that state, at least for the moment. I’m going to quote him a bit.

And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger.’ That’s what we’ve heard over and over and over.

But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.

Moral values. This shithead is proudly bragging about poor women in desperation getting injured and bleeding and dying with full knowledge that those who can afford it will still get abortions, and he has the audacity to claim it’s moral.

You know what I think? I think it’s the same casual cruelty you see in schoolyard bullies. I’ll bet he even has an obnoxious laugh just for those occasions when he’s making people suffer for his own amusement, “Haw haw I sure fucked things up for them!”, feeling that little thrill of power that comes from hurting those weaker than him.

Presumably, his re-election slogan will be “bitches ought to die.”

If this is where he’s starting, where is he planning to end?

When bigotry’s your platform.

Mitt Romney gave a speech.

For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.

Wow, I actually agree with him! I don’t know anything about the study you’re talking about, Romney, but you make a great case for why we need Planned Parenthood and universal access to sex education, birth control, and abortion.

As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

Uh, what? Mittens, how the hell do you think those two concepts go together? Also, about that whole “one man, one woman” thing, uh, does that mean you’re disowning your great-grandfather?

The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with.

What the hell are you talking about? The only people who seem to dislike the protection of religious freedom in this country are fundamentalist Christians who want to force others to live by their rules! Are you suggesting that gay marriage somehow violates someone’s freedom of religion? HOW?! Furthermore, if it’s a violation for gays to get married because some religions dislike the idea, isn’t it an equal violation to ban it, since some religions are fine with the idea?

It looks like gay rights are going to be a major part of this election.

Catholics vs Girls

First up, an Arizona high school forfeited the championship baseball game rather than play a team with a girl on it. This would honestly bother me less except that they played two games during the season and made her sit out, rather than offend delicate eyes with all her femaleness. Apparently asking other schools to keep girls out and refusing to play if they don’t are more or less standard procedures for this one.

I’m a little upset at how far people are going out of their way for these assholes, they made her sit out twice and are working really hard to be respectful. Look at this,

“I respect their views, but it’s a bit out of the 18th century,” said Mesa Prep athletic director Amy Arnold

See myself I’m feeling that I don’t respect their views, because it’s a bit out of the 18th century. I also really wish her coach had refused to bench her, or even dignify the request with a response, when they first asked her to sit out. It’s one thing to respect someone’s idiosyncrasies, but coaches should really stand by their team.

Strictly speaking this school isn’t Catholic, but run by the Society of Saint Pius X, who broke away from Rome back in the 80’s because they thought the church wasn’t medieval enough. I note the distinction because details matter, but to be brutally honest it just feels like it’s the old Catholics from before Vatican II.

Our second story is real genuine Catholics being pushy assholes. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched an “official inquiry” into the Girl Scouts. Apparently they’re upset because GS material has links to groups like, I shit you not, Doctors Without Borders.

I swear it feels like these guys live in a twisted, backwards world where everything that I see as good is clearly bad and wrong to them. I mean if I were going to name a single group that does nothing but good and couldn’t be considered controversial, that’s it. Apparently supporting birth control at all is now considered controversial. We’re moving backwards, people.

“I know we’re a big part of the culture wars,” said the Girl Scouts’ spokeswoman, Michelle Tompkins. “People use our good name to advance their own agenda.”

“For us, there’s an overarching sadness to it,” Tompkins added. “We’re just trying to further girls’ leadership.”

Sadly, just that is probably enough to piss off most patriarchal groups. Conservative groups have been working very hard in the last year to push back women’s rights, and undermining a group that teaches girls leadership would be a strategic advantage there.

I really don’t understand why anyone pays them any attention or gives them any power at all.

This isn’t the Middle Ages anymore. If the church isn’t going to move with the times, people really need to start leaving it. And I know that most won’t, and that makes me sad. There’s too much human suffering already and yet churches like this seem determined to add as much as possible.

More child abuse cover-ups

Since I’ve been talking about religious authoritarians lately, I should mention this New York Times article about Hasidic Jews doing pretty much the same thing the Catholic church is famous for, using social pressure, intimidation and threats to protect child molesters in their community.

I really don’t have anything to say about this that isn’t obvious. I suppose it’s worth pointing out that having this shit happen in your community is less harmful to your reputation than covering it up. Even if it weren’t, though, protecting children should be much higher priority. Religious authorities are fucked up.

“We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage,”

My title quote comes from this article, and was said by one Tami Fitzgerald, explaining why her organization, Vote for Marriage NC, thought it was so important to pass an amendment to NC’s constitution banning same-sex marriage.

Frankly Tami, I think you’re lying. The reason I think this is that this amendment hurts marriage, by making it (even more) impossible for some couples who want to get married to do so, while it enshrines the treatment of gays as second-class citizens at best in the state constitution.

If you were really pro-marriage you’d be making it as easy as possible for people to get married.  Since same-sex marriage is already not legally recognized in your state, this does nothing but spit in the face of every gay citizen of North Carolina. It denies them their self-determination, their equal place in our society, and their human dignity.

Ex-gays and the Anoka-Hennepin School District

Doesn’t it sound like the world’s most awkward band name?

I found this article very interesting. I’ve written about Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District before, and probably will again. It’s nice to see the school district standing up to the Parents Action League, gives me hope that maybe there really will be a better future for the children in those schools.

The Parents Action League is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a title they wear with pride. That probably tells you just about everything you need to know about them, really.

Something the PAL was pushing for pretty hard in their list of demands was including “ex-gay” material in the school libraries and counseling offices, and generally providing access and credibility to ex-gay organizations. Frankly you start to wonder if someone has a money interest, there. Read the rest of this entry

Oh look, more angry depressing shit

A friend sent me this link, calling it “blog fodder”. I guess that much is true, but sometimes you read something and just want to kill the messenger.

Georgia passed the “Women as Livestock” bill. I had to check the date on that, but it says March 31 so I guess there’s not much hope that it’s just a very bad April fools prank. It bans all abortions past 20 weeks. There was a slight concession made for cases when the fetus was dead, not expected to survive, or likely to kill or physically injure the woman. What she wants, how she feels about things, her own pain and suffering? Irrelevant, they aren’t addressed at all. She’s just a vessel, nobody cares about her wishes.

For extra fun, they stipulate that during an abortion procedure the fetus must emerge alive. Seriously, these shitheads give us the bullshit line of “fetal pain”, and then set up the law to cause as much as possible.

Man, fuck Georgia. Read the rest of this entry

Unearthing another old horror from the Catholic Church

You know, if any organization could properly be called “evil”, it must be the Catholic Church. It’s rare that a month goes by without some new atrocity coming to light, usually something related to covering up, enabling, or blaming the victims of child rape, but occasionally it’s something different, like telling Africans that condoms spread AIDS, or excommunicating a doctor for saving a little girl’s life, or ordering hospitals to let women die rather than terminate a lethal pregnancy.

This is bad even by those standards. Read the rest of this entry

The Hypocratic Oath in Texas.

By now you may have heard about this week’s Doonesbury storyline, the one that many newspapers aren’t publishing. Here’s a link to the beginning of it, you can click on the strip itself to see a larger image. Just click through and read it.

All done? Good, now read this actual account of an actual woman going through that actual nightmare. Especially if you’re Texan, Republican, or male, don’t make excuses, fucking read it. Imagine it, try to visualize going through that. Imagine someone you love having to do that. Read the rest of this entry

In Morocco, rape victims aren’t people.

A sixteen year old girl in Morocco has killed herself. During the last days of her life she was beaten and starved after being forcibly married to the man who raped her, a marriage she was forced into by a judge acting in accordance with the law of the land. This is the 21st century, and a judge forced a teenage girl to marry her attacker, and did it lawfully.

Nothing about this makes sense to me. I can’t understand how her parents could be talked into this, I can’t understand why a judge would order it, I can’t understand why a court would recommend it, I can’t understand why it’s an actual part of any law that a man could avoid prosecution for rape by marrying his victim, I can’t understand how anybody could ever think it’s a good idea in the first place. I can only assume the law was written by serial rapists who knew they’d eventually get caught, it’s the only way I can imagine that happening. Read the rest of this entry

Modern Democracy

So this happened. The president has claimed the power to execute people without trial. The executive branch has been assuming more and more power since I first started really paying attention back in Y2K. The legislative branch seems to have abdicated its responsibilities and spends its time squabbling like spoiled children. The judicial branch is the only one that seems to still be doing its actual job, except for the Supreme Court, which is just weird.

I had thought the executive branch power-grab was just a Bush thing, since I didn’t pay any attention to politics before his presidency. But no, Obama’s doing the same shit Bush did, he’s just being less stupid and obvious about it. He’s abused the state secrets privilege, signed himself the power to detain people indefinitely, and has now claimed the power to kill without any real limits. Bizarrely, the right-wing never mentions any of this, they criticize him for insane shit like not having a long enough birth certificate, “socialism”, or looking too black. I can only assume the authoritarian power grabs are something they approve of.

And I’m probably still going to vote for the bastard, because evil & competent is still far, far better than the alternatives this election.

What the hell happened to this country?

One small battle won.

Here’s a Rolling Stone article from a month ago about the Anoka-Hennepin school district and its war on gay kids, which I have written about before. It’s painful to read, it tells the stories of a handful of victims of that school district in a very personal way. I won’t blame you if you can’t read it in detail. There will not be a test.

I bring this up because there’s been a tiny victory. A lawsuit settled out of court, some concessions to new policies, a cash payment. You can read the details of the settlement here. One member of the school board, Kathy Tingelstad, resigned. She said the settlement was going to cost too much.

Cost too much. Read the rest of this entry

Codependency in American politics

Had a couple of potential blog posts started when someone linked this on Facebook. The short version is that a negligent school employee (or possibly volunteer) illegally violated a teenager’s medical privacy and let the fact that she took birth control pills become public knowledge. Since every class apparently comes standard with the kind of people whose only joy seems to be causing misery in others, she’s been hearing how she’s a slut who wants to fuck everyone because Rush “Illegal Viagra” Limbaugh said so.

I’ve already written about this a bit, but I thought this was worth passing along because it brings such a human face to the sort of petty cruelty that’s behind this bizarre birth control argument. It also illustrates something genuinely terrifying: People listen to this asshole.

Think of the implications of that. It’s difficult for me to think about it without feeling sure that it must be a symptom of something terribly wrong with our culture, some sickness that we need to understand and cure.

Here’s a short excerpt from a comment by FishOutofWater at the Daily Kos link above:

Limbaugh is an abuser who encourages others to abuse.

This really strikes me as an accurate description not only of Limbaugh, but of many prominent voices of the American right-wing. It really feels like what the Republican party has been turning into. For all the rhetoric about jobs or fiscal responsibility, the actual platforms of the party candidates seem to be almost entirely based on dehumanizing and taking away rights and freedoms from people, while insisting that it’s for their own good, or that the only people it affects aren’t really people.

The loyalty this party inspires baffles me. This isn’t a Ford/Chevy conflict, some harmless name-brand attachment that gets passed down through the family, this is our home, our nation, our society. The choices we make in our government have long-lasting, far-reaching implications. It affects the entire world. This is our future, and the future we leave for our children. The only way it makes any sense to me is a sort of abusive codependency, like the woman who bails her husband out of jail when he’s in there for breaking her arm because his dinner was cold.

Haven’t they hit you enough?

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