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The new new problems

The biggest problem I have with writing these days is that the time I feel most able to really sit down and work on something is about the same time I need to be putting on my shoes and going to work. Seriously, that flurry of activity over the weekend started when I woke up early Saturday morning and took a notebook out for coffee. 

Apparently in my brain the best conditions for writing are an early start and hot beverages. 

It carries over, though. Every morning this week I’ve wanted to write something. Like I’ve got it moving again now and want to keep at it before I lose momentum. I’m posting this from my phone while I’m on the bus just to try to keep that going. 

Unfortunately that’s really all I have just now, something to try to keep the momentum going. I have things I want to write about, but they’ll have to wait at least a little longer. 

Honestly, I might have managed something quick during breakfast, but I saw a headline that read something like 8 students burned to death for blasphemy and had to go find something soothing to look at. 

The Short Big Whine

I’m honestly trying to write more, but everything is pissing me off to the point where it always feels like anything I start will turn out to be nothing but a big long whine.

We have a political candidate (I almost wrote “political theater candidate,” which feels more accurate, to be honest) who’s getting serious support whose entire platform is based on being rich and hating a lot of people.

That scares the hell out of me, because even if he doesn’t have a chance of actually getting elected, what does it say about our country, and our culture, that he’s doing as well as he is? Hell what does it say about our world that hate and fear are still driving forces in societies? That a major point of so many social groups is that it will make you feel justified in treating other people like shit?

I remember a couple years back reading (and writing) about Christian Fascists in Greece, the part that comes to mind is a young man proudly proclaiming himself a Christian Fascist and declaring that this gave him the right to tell someone to leave. Now here in the USA we have audiences cheering a man for saying that given power he would institute torture.

I just don’t even want to live on this planet anymore.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

By now I hope everyone has heard at least a little about Ferguson, Missouri. I figured I’d share some thoughts on it, since I felt like writing this evening.

There is no situation where a police officer can shoot an unarmed man six times in the back and be morally or legally justified. Ever.

Michael Brown was, and is, legally an innocent man because this is the United States of America where all suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It does not matter what video you have, it does not matter what evidence you have, it does not matter whether or not he did commit that crime, or any crime. Police do not have the power to execute anyone. The only time a police office is justified in shooting someone is if they are a clear and immediate danger, and even then I expect a serious investigation, not because things should be difficult for cops, but because shooting a human being is not something to be treated lightly under any fucking circumstances.

To crack down on fully justified anger for what appears to be an outright murder does not help the situation, because it ignores the real problem. The real problem isn’t that lots of people are angry about what appears to be an outright murder, or that some people are using that anger as an excuse for theft or violence, the real problem is that apparently a cop felt completely comfortable with outright murdering one of the citizens he was sworn to protect, and apparently has good reason to think he’ll get away with it.

And, for some completely inexplicable reason, an awful lot of people, especially those in power, seem to be closing ranks to defend this apparent murderer. Because that’s what always happens when a cop shoots an unarmed black man. (That’s five separate links spanning the last four years. They all came from the first page of a Google search.)

There is a pretty clear message here that black people can be murdered with impunity. To scold a 70% black community for being angry about this as though they were, (to paraphrase John Oliver), an unruly class in a high school assembly is not only refusing to recognize their situation or take them seriously, but to treat them as though they are the ones in the wrong for having the audacity to publicly voice the situation.

I seriously do not understand why this country consistently treats exposing and denouncing injustice as a worse crime than the injustice itself.

Worse, to wave away or minimize the very real situation that cops kill black people with impunity fairly routinely is nothing short of saying that it is okay for them to do so. If you’ve attempted to justify Brown being shot in the back by saying he allegedly robbed a store earlier you need to accept that you are saying it is okay for a cop to execute suspects without a trial, and I want you to seriously consider what that means.

There is no way this is going to get any better until cops start going to jail for shootings like this. I feel confident in saying this because I remember how stupid I was at age eighteen, and realize that if I were a young black man I’d be thinking very hard about how to protect myself from the cops right now. Until the police start facing justice, I can only see this escalating. And frankly, if peaceful protests are met with violence and military hardware, maybe it needs to.

I’ve heard that the National Guard has been deployed. I can only hope it is there to protect the people of Ferguson from their police.

Legitimate Asshole Todd Akin reminds me how we are legitimately fucked.

I apologize for the scarcity of links and references in this post. Perhaps I’ll go back and add them sometime, but it seems unlikely.

Todd Akin is sorry that he said he was sorry about that “legitimate rape” bullshit he spouted off a while back. This spiraled off in my head to a conclusion about just how fucked up America is now.

First: Akin. In his apology for his apology the shithead has the utter lack of humanity to write this,

“Is it a legitimate claim of rape or an excuse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy?”

Which pretty much sums up why I’ve decided that abortion should be absolutely legal without restrictions or inconvenience or excess questions right up until fucking labor starts; because assholes like him will do everything in their power to make women suffer.

Look, we live in a society where the idea of making a false rape accusation that lasts long enough for paperwork to happen is pretty damn stupid right off the bat, because we live in a society that treats rape victims worse that it treats rapists. I stand by that statement as long as we have situations where, for example, high school football stars sexually assault a teenage girl on fucking video that gets publicly posted to the fucking internet and not only does their whole community rally around them and against their victim, but it takes a massive online shitstorm to even bring them to trial. And then people cry about these poor “ruined lives”, and they’re talking about the fucking criminals having their lives ruined by being held accountable for their crimes! Meanwhile, the victim is ostracized and driven out for demanding justice. That’s American society today. Read the rest of this entry

Texas Republicans want your kids to be stupid.

I really wish that were hyperbole. Here’s a video of some guy ranting about it.

And here’s a link to the Texas Freedom Network’s analysis. And here’s a link to a PDF of the platform itself.

Check this out,

Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

Except students won’t be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses because two paragraphs later they oppose the teaching of critical thinking skills. So what does this actually come down to?

A phrase I’ve often heard in discussions of education is “Teach kids how to think, not what to think.” Critical thinking skills is, of course, the biggest part of that and the Texas GOP has now convinced me that we should have critical thinking exercises in fucking preschool.

I have nothing more to say here, it’s just blown my mind that people could advance this as a public policy platform and not be instantly laughed out of politics forever.

“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?

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.

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

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?

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

Making others live by your rules

I’d meant to just toss that video up with a short paragraph and call it a day for blogging, but I foolishly clicked a link I saw on Twitter. I’m going to quote the bit that made me too angry to do anything more productive than this.

Asserting conscientious objections, nurses in New Jersey have said they would not check the vital signs of patients recovering from abortions.

I want to make it crystal fucking clear what I’m seeing here. I’m seeing that nurses, people who are well-trained professionals in taking care of sick or injured people, will not make the basic checks necessary for the safety and well-being of their patient if they don’t like the procedure that patient is in for. And they’re calling it a decision of “conscience”, apparently without irony.

How dare you call that conscience? The word should die on your tongue. Read the rest of this entry

Well, I suck.

So apparently if I take one day off, that means I’m useless the next day. Not feeling great right now. Try to do better tomorrow.

Goodnight.

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

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