Blog Archives

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.

From the Stars, and #NudePhotoRevolutionary Calender

Couple of neat things.

First, I found this video at Bad Astronomy.

It’s always fascinated me to know that we literally came from stars, and Neil Tyson explains why very clearly. Truly awesome in that the thought inspires genuine awe. Read the rest of this entry

The limits of tolerence

Natalie Reed is facing a problem that I’ve become more and more aware of in the last year or so. Natalie blogs about feminism, atheism, skepticism, and trans/queer rights (and may or may not be a magical unicorn) and she’s facing hostility, even outright bigotry, to each of these issues from people who are nominally her allies on one of the others. It’s almost as if they’re seen as “teams” and if not directly competing with each other, at least arguing over who gets to use the ball-park.

This bit jumped out at me:

A friend of mine once made the grim but terribly accurate observation (in the context of talking about trans women who dismiss the rights or genders of other trans women who are, say, non-op or lesbian) that people only tend to be exactly as tolerant as it takes to accept themselves, and maybe their immediate friends and family, but have a whole lot of trouble extending that principle beyond that circle, to people who they don’t understand, with whom they don’t share the same experiences or identities or priorities.

That feels very accurate to me, though still very confusing. I’m reminded that soon after I posted this I had an acquaintance discreetly ask me if I were intersex because it seemed so unlikely that someone who wasn’t would think to include them. Read the rest of this entry

Turning back the clock on sex.

So, I was looking at this page about a GOP Rep lying about the morning after pill and whining that religion should have some privileged place in the law. I looked at the links in the sidebar, so many of which are about political attacks on women. I thought of Rush Limbaugh’s insane demand for sex videos from women who use birth control. And I tried to imagine the world these assholes are trying to create.

It made me think of My Secret Life. First published in 1888, this anonymous sex diary is a fascinating uncensored look into the side of Victorian culture that was so carefully hidden in published work from that era. “Walter” holds nothing back in describing his sexual adventures and it can be uncomfortable to read at times. Read the rest of this entry

Controversial Ads in Pennsylvania

Free speech is an important right, but are there limits? Should there be limits? Can a billboard ad be so controversial or offensive that it should be rejected?

I’m about to show you an ad that was submitted to be displayed on buses in the County of Lackawanna Transit System. It was rejected based on the advertising policy that they do not run ads “which could be deemed controversial or otherwise spark public debate.”

Read the rest of this entry

Prop 8 struck down again

As far as I can tell, it only has two chances left, at best. The full 9th circuit 11-judge panel appeal, and the Supremes. Well the Supreme Court, not the Supremes.

Prop 8 Trial Tracker has all the details, and the text of the decision, in case you want to read it or read about it from people who are better journalists than I am. But there’s one bit I really want to highlight. From page 5 of the decision:

All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation of ‘marriage,’ which symbolizes state legitimization and societal recognition of their committed relationships. Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.

(Scribd didn’t want to let me copy & paste, btw, so that was typed out by hand. Assume any errors are my fault. Sorry about that.)

I guess I shouldn’t feel bad that a panel of judges who spend a lot more time & effort putting their thoughts and decisions into clear words than I do said it so much better than I’ve managed. I don’t really know what else to say about this that I haven’t said already.

The decision is going to be appealed, of course. It sounds unlikely that the 9th will do a full panel appeal, and the Supreme Court generally takes about 1% of the cases offered. It’s not clear to me what’s going to happen from here.

Oh, and in case you were wondering the stay is still in effect. No new marriages just yet.

Susan G. Komen Abandons Women

As you’ve probably heard by now, breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure is ending all grants and funding to Planned Parenthood. Here‘s Greg Laden on it, and here‘s NPR. I don’t really have anything to say that you can’t get from them.

I read someone cheering this decision, claiming it was the right choice because “life matters”. What life? Women are going to die because of this, not blastocysts that could potentially become women, but real whole living breathing women. You have the audacity to say that’s good because “life matters”? Fuck you.

Could someone please explain to me why so many people have such a fucking hard on for screwing Planned Parenthood, and all the women who depend on them for their health?

Fucking hell, Tennesee!

Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga needs to understand one thing: Threats of violence are a crime in this country. They are not protected by free speech.

I don’t expect this asshole to face any real consequences for that. He’s white and in politics, and his intended victims are few and largely ignored at best. Of course, when it’s not best they’re generally getting stomped on, like the good Rep plans to do.

Make sure you check that second link, where he claims he “never said anything about violence”. I’m guessing this is that shithead logic where he never said the word “violence”, and therefore claiming he would “stomp a mudhole” in trans people was not a threat of violence. Sort of like how the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the constitution, therefore we’re all ruled by Jesus, the totalitarian dictator of aryan love/beatings.

Apparently the way this works now is that the less someone is like me, the less I’m expected to care about their suffering. It’s not clear to me at what point we’re different enough that I should start to enjoy their suffering. Maybe it’s the point where they’re no longer capable of empathy or compassion, or basic human decency to not violently assault people.

LGBT advocacy groups to blame for bullying & suicides

Sounds like a headline from the Onion, doesn’t it? Yeah, sorry, except for maybe a little gallows humor, there’s nothing funny here. It’s a paraphrase of Barb Anderson, spokes-person for the Parents Action League, which is apparently a group of conservative Christians who want to use the law to force public school students to be just like them.

Here’s the story. The short of it is that Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota, an area with many recent teen suicides, is being presented with a list of demands by this PAL group. The demands are presented in this ridiculous “whereas, whereas, whereas, therefore be it resolved” format, something I’ve only ever seen in bullshit resolutions that generally seem to do nothing but waste time. (Are there any legitimate uses of that? In this century, I mean?) Anyways, the demands seem to boil down to putting Jesus in schools, adding “ex-gay”… I’m not going to call it “therapy”, let’s go with “harmful Pavlovian conditioning” to the schools’ staff training, and outright lying about various health issues, in particular AIDS, calling it “gay-related immune deficiencies” a name that hasn’t been used since the early 80s when the only known patients were a handful of gay men.

It’s difficult for me to write about this, because it makes me so angry it’s hard to think straight. “Hypocrisy” is too mild a word for this, this is like punching someone repeatedly in the face until a cop stops you, then telling the cop to arrest them for battery because your knuckles are bruised, and when your victim complains that their nose is broken and their face swollen you insist that those injuries are the cop’s fault. Except there aren’t any actual cops in this story, and the general behavior of the PAL is less overtly violent but far more asinine and dishonest. Read the rest of this entry

The Dangers of Feminist Marriage!

Wow, this is a special kind of crazy. From Manboobz we find this post from David Usher of the Center for Marriage Policy explaining the latest reason you should fight against the evil tyranny of same-sex marriage: It’s a Trojan horse to allow “Feminist Marriage” which will destroy America! Read the rest of this entry

Rights and citizenship

Not doing well with the writing today. Here’s a link to a transcript of yet another Republican debate. Reading this, I wonder why they bother. It strikes me as nothing but empty pageantry, mere spectacle to get people applauding, not a debate in any sense that I’m familiar with. But there’s some weird stuff going on in there, and one bit of weirdness jumped out at me.

Here’s a quote from Michele Bachmann:

This is one thing we know about Barack Obama. He has essentially handed over our interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. He has outsourced it to them. Our CIA has no ability to have any form of interrogation for terrorists.

When the bomber — or the attempted bomber over Detroit, the underwear bomber was intercepted, he was given Miranda warnings within 45 minutes. He was not an American citizen. We don’t give Miranda warnings to terrorists, and we don’t read them their rights. They don’t have any.

It would be unfair to suggest that this is typical for a Republican candidate, Bachmann is out there by anyone’s standards. The idea that the ACLU controls interrogations… I haven’t the slightest idea what she’s saying there. “They aren’t letting us torture suspects anymore”, perhaps? But there’s some stuff in there that’s pretty common thinking and I want to address it. Read the rest of this entry

Gay Marriage

(For more on this subject in general, and the ongoing legal battles over prop8 in particular, I recommend the excellent Prop 8 Trial Tracker)

Last weekend New York passed a bill legalizing gay marriage. I haven’t talked about it here because I kind of felt that everything had been said already, but you know what? They haven’t been said by me, and that’s already bitten me in the ass once, so here’s my say.

If this looks too long to read and you just want to know in simple terms how I feel about it so you can categorize me or something, I’m saying “Marriage bans do nothing but prevent some people from marrying the person they choose. Way to go New York, hope the remaining 44 states follow you into the 21st century soon!” If that’s all you need to know, then there’s no point in reading past the cut. Those of you who want details? Onward!
Read the rest of this entry

Walmart vs Women

Monday morning the Supreme Court decided that a sex-discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart cannot proceed as a class-action suit. Here is the decision in pdf. When I refer to page numbers, I’ll be talking about the pdf page for simplicity’s sake. Buckle in, folks, this is going to be a long ride.

I should start with the usual disclaimer pointing out that I am not a lawyer, nor am I trained in the minutiae of legal language. While following the Prop 8 trial I read a lot of legal briefs and had lawyers helping me to understand them which gives me at least a general feel for how these documents work, but I am not by any stretch an expert nor do I pretend to understand the nuances of legal theory. (It’s also worth mentioning that many papers concerned with Prop 8, especially Amicus Curiae briefs supporting the Defendant-Intervenors, were completely insane. Seriously.) As such I’ll mostly keep my discussion onto parts I more or less understand, more philosophy than legality. On those terms, at least, I feel that I can show that Scalia needs a new title. I propose from now on he be known as “Little Janie Q Scalia”. Read the rest of this entry

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