Thursday, June 21, 2012

I only hyperventilated a little bit

PZ Myers hosted the first ever Pharyngula podcast tonight and guess who participated? That's right, me!

I haven't actually watched it. I don't know if I actually will watch it.  It was my first time doing anything like this, so I was understandably a little nervous. (Mr Darkheart's advice? "Pretend you're testifying in front of Congress." Yeah, that's real helpful-- especially considering that I like and respect the people that I was having a conversation with tonight, but I feel that if Congress took flying fuck off the Twin Bridges, matters would only improve.)

For shits and giggles

More "inspiration" from Checkmate, Pro-Choicers! (If you're wondering what's up with the "old news" posts tonight, I'm doing a little, uh, research and writing about these topics is helping me get my thoughts in order.)

You know who else thought abortion should be illegal? Checkmate, Anti-Choicers.

It's sad, but after reading the top three pages, the "Checkmate!" arguments can all be refuted with: you don't actually know what pregnancy entails, you don't actually know the history of your own religion, and this isn't an argument, you're just waving your dumbassery around. The pic above is the closest thing to an "inspired" post Rebecca has put up in the last few days and she managed to get Godwin all over her blog* (and be totally wrong in the process).


Hate to say it, but this one I actually agree with (although not in the way that the anti-choicers would hope). Of course we need to make abortion available for women who have medical complications, whose lives are threatened by their pregnancies, or for fetuses that have genetic disorders/developmental abnormalities.

That being said, allowing policy makers to decide that the middle ground in this debate is preserving the life of the pregnant woman has been, in my humble opinion, the reason why state legislatures have felt free to propose legislation restricting birth control and abortion access. We allowed (and I am just as to blame as anyone else) our elected officials to ignore the reality that abortion allows women to have a higher standard of living, pursue education and a career, and to raise her family as she sees fit.

An anti-choicer may label this argument as being about convenience, but so the fuck what? Indoor plumbing is a "convenience", the supermarket is a "convenience", hell your car is a "convenience". Unless you're arguing that we should be digging our own wells and shit pits, that everyone should be growing all of their own food, or that never touching a petroleum product is the "moral" thing to do, your anti-choice argument doesn't hold any water. All of these things increase our standard of living, just like family planning.

*And, by extension, mine.

Awe, poor widdle Republican dum dums

Hey, everybody! It looks like there's a bunch of you visiting today, so I should probably bother to fucking post something, huh?

Guess who is upset that they are getting national coverage over the abortion debate?

If you answered "Michigan's Republican lawmakers" step forward and claim your prize!
“This is a state rights story and they are trying to make it an attack on women and a national issue,” said state Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, during a Holland Chamber Governmental Affairs breakfast this week for West Michigan legislators.

“The only attack on women is on the ones that are currently living in the womb,” he said.
Abortion isn't a national issue? O RLY?
The Washington-based group [Americans United for Life] drafts "model legislation" including gestational limits on abortions, additional regulation on abortion clinics, and bans on insurance cover for abortion and ultrasound requirements. In addition, it is pursuing efforts at both the federal and state level to defund Planned Parenthood.
(Emphasis mine.)

That's kind of funny that Rep Genetski doesn't recognize that the  group that very well may have written (or at the very least inspired) Michigan's proposed ban on abortions after 20 weeks are active on the national scene. So, Bob. A question. Are you trying to clumsily deflect attention away from your shitty, unpopular legislation or are you a dumbass who doesn't know what side his bread is buttered on? Remember, these two options aren't mutually exclusive.

Moving right along: I note that women "in the womb" (or as I like to call them, female fetuses) are still more important than actual grown ass women. I'm not surprised that ol' Bobbo would feel this way, however I am incredibly frustrated that these conservative doucherockets think that they can get away with co-opting and corrupting woman's rights to jam their anti-woman agendas down our collective throats. Our lady brains aren't so soft and fluffy that we can't figure out what you're doing, asshole.

What about the male fetuses (or for the intelligence impaired: "men currently living in the womb"), Bobarino? Don't they matter to you?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Go mayors, go!

TPM:
At their annual meeting in Orlando, Florida over the weekend, the U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution in support of funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s access to abortion services and contraception. The nonpartisan organization representing mayors from over 1,300 cities criticized both state governments and Congress for attempting to roll back women’s access to reproductive care.
The resolution specifically mentions the good the Planned Parenthood does for women and communities:
WHEREAS, reproductive-health care and the overwhelming majority of services provided by Planned Parenthood health centers is basic health care for women, including cancer screenings and breast exams, and;

WHEREAS, for many women with limited incomes, Planned Parenthood clinics are their point of entry into the health care system and their ongoing source of primary care services....
Page 18 of the Adopted Resolutions of the 80th Annual Conference of Mayors

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It's not surprising that the mayors don't see PP as some sort of catch-all boogeyman-- they're on the ground, they see the good that Planned Parenthood does. If people trust their mayors (I know that I trust mine), maybe maybe this could help turn the tides in the debate over family planning.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Personal news and Michigan *facepalms*

First off, on Wednesday I found out that the DarkFetus is a girl! Not only that, but I am very healthy and my pregnancy is progressing along normally, so yay!

I'm so happy that I'd throw myself a party, if I could.

Anyway, real news. You all heard about this out of Michigan, right?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Good news, everyone!

 The CT Mirror: Abortion to be considered essential health benefit

While hundreds of Connecticut residents rallied in New Haven against abortion and federal requirements that religious organizations cover their employees' contraceptives, officials at the State Capitol complex took up a measure on whether the insurance everyone will have to purchase under the federal health law will cover the procedures.

The panel unanimously decided that abortion is an essential benefit, and it will be covered in the plan they select.
Assuming that the Supreme Court doesn't strike down the healthcare reform law*, in 2014 all Connecticut women will have a health plan that covers abortion services. All women.

My mind has been blown. CT is actively making abortion easier to access in a time when every other goddamn fucking state in the US is making pregnant women jump through humiliating hoops just to exercise  her rights over her own body.

Three cheers for Connecticut! 

(via Rock the Slut Vote and Addicting (ugh) Info)

*And if it is struck down, that would present a great opportunity to create a single-payer system, but that's probably asking too much of the Democrats.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bic... for her?

For fuck's sake. It's bad enough that disposable razors are divided between "his" and "hers", but now Bic offers Bic for Her ballpoint pens! I shit you not:
This has got to be the absolute stupidest wad of gendered product I've seen in a good long while. My number one consideration when buying a writing utensil is whether or not it actually writes, not if it matches a fucking gender stereotype.

When are you going to come out with Bic for Him, Bicsters? I imagine you could really gussy it up by making it out of used tires or some other "manly" shit.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

And now for something completely different: The Rules are back!

Oh barf. You all remember The Rules, right*? Shitty dating advice from a couple of women who, to put it mildly, think men should be pursuers and women should passively wait to be courted. Well, Ellen Fein and Sherie Schnieder are back with more "advice" for this new fangled wireless digital age! (Not Your Mother’s Rules, how fucking precious.) Aren't you excited? (Warning: this piece is extremely hetero-normative. I have no idea if these "rules" apply to gay men &/or lesbians or if Fein and Schnieder even care about same-sex couples.)

From an interview with JDate (yeah, I know):
Avi: Have The Rules changed at all since the 90′s when the book first appeared?
E&S: No and yes. No, because women — despite equal pay for equal work — cannot chase a guy like they can chase a career without possibly getting hurt and dumped. Men have a type/look and love a challenge, so it is a waste of time and doesn’t work whether you are in 1950, 1990, or 2012.
Yes, new technology (such as texting, Facebook®, Skype™ and Twitter) has made it harder to be mysterious, so we had to rewrite the first book for the new generation. It’s called Not Your Mother’s Rules and it will be out in February of 2013.
Equal what for what now?  Did the pay gap disappear while I was sleeping or something?

So much for being yourself. Or having self esteem. Or knowing what you want. The trick is to be "mysterious". Keep him guessing, ladies! All men totes love not knowing what the hell is going on with you.

Trust his instincts, not yours. Your fluffy pink lady brainz can't handle the agony of picking a date that's right for you, you had better just let the menfolk make up your mind for you. 

Doctors speak out... kind of

Salon: Doctors caught in the abortion wars
[Doctors] Angell and Greene also called for professional organizations like the American Medical Association and “particularly, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to take a public position on behalf of the patients they are pledged to serve, and to support their members in doing so.” But ACOG’s new president, James T. Breeden, did have a letter published in the New York Times this week, saying, “These laws are not grounded in science or evidence-based medicine,” and proclaiming, “Our message to politicians is unequivocal: Get out of our exam rooms.”
Jesus, it's about damned time. Where have the majority of doctors-- not just OB/GYNs, but all physicians who are concerned about proper patient care-- been in the abortion/'contraception debate? Abortion providers are targeted and labelled "baby killers" by our own representatives and, if the most extreme anti-abortion bills are passed, face fines, jail time, and the loss of their medical license for doing what is right and necessary.

Where are you AMA? Where is the support for your members and the patients that they treat? Why are you so silent on the issue of whether doctors are allowed to practice medicine?
Antiabortion doctors, some of whom used to be abortion providers and have the zeal of apostates, have been a visible part of the antiabortion movement from the start, their testimony essential even when it’s disputed by the majority of the medical establishment. In fact, all four OB-GYNs in the U.S. Congress are antiabortion, most visibly Rep. Ron Paul.
Well, of course. It's like that panel on contraception-- we can't allow really really real experts to testify, oh no! We can only hear the opinions of those who will not challenge our fucked up way of thinking.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Check, um, mate?

Since it seems like Checkmate, Pro-Choicers!* is everywhere today, what the hell, I'll weigh in too.

First, let's start with the About ME! section, shall we?
This blog is run by me!
Well, no shit. We're off to a smashing start.
My name is Rebecca and I started this blog to point out the stupid things that anti-lifers (or pro-deathers) have to say about abortion!
Wait for it...
Abortion is murder, plain and simple.
There we go. Logic!
The goal of this blog is to make anti-lifers see how stupid they are being and stop supporting murder! If you have a hypocrisy or flaw in logic that you see pro-abortion people using, submit it!
The abuse of exclamation points is giving me a headache. Either that or the color scheme is. You just have to be aggressively girlie, don't you, Rebecca?

But you rock on with your immature self, Rebecca. I can't wait to hear these pro-life arguments that are so staggeringly good that I do a complete about face.
(Please keep all submissions, comments, and reblogs kind and Christ-like. Even though many girls who have abortions may be sluts, this blog is not about calling them sluts. It is about stopping the new holocaust!)
The "new" holocaust, huh?  Honestly, Christians, I know that you wish that the Holocaust happened to you, but you really need to stop appropriating another group's suffering to feed your own self righteousness. At the absolute best it's tacky. At the worst... well, it's not a surprise that you're a bunch of fucking anti-Semites.

And now onto the meat!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pregnancy and abortion

Once again, my apologies for the lack of updates for the past few days. As I have mentioned a whole crapload of times already, I am using my current pregnant state as an excuse to get away with just about everything. Including ignoring this blog that I promised myself that I'd update at least once daily.

Oops.

It's been a long, strange trip so far. Right now, I'm just starting the 19th week and I swear, I feel like an inside-out piƱata. I'm thinking about naming this little goober Max in honor of Max Weinberg, 'cos I've obviously got a drummer all up in there.

Anyway, the point of this post wasn't (solely) to pat myself on the back for being most excellent at this pregnancy thing. As you may have noticed, I've been reading about and writing on abortion lately, especially when it comes to states trying make abortion/family planning services illegal. The right to choose has always been near and dear to my heart-- I wouldn't feel like a fully functioning member of society if I didn't have access to both birth control and abortion.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sex selective abortions?

The Hill: House to vote on bill penalizing abortion based on sex of child
The legislation looks to ensure there are no gender-based abortions by authorizing fines and prison terms of up to five years against doctors who perform these abortions, and requires health professionals to report suspected violations of the law.
I remember a time not so long ago when the Republicans championed themselves as job creators. Heroes of main street! Saviors of the middle class! I mean, don't they have better shit to do than to worry about a nonexistent problem?

Okay, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe women are having sex-selective abortions to the extent that boys are beginning to vastly outnumber girls. I mean, that's what the Republicans want to do, isn't it? They want to be the knight in shining armor, protecting all of those female fetuses from the scary, evil abortion doctors.

Let's go look at some Census Bureau charts [pdf]! In 2008 there were 2,173,000 live births of male babies. 2,074,000 were female. Also note that the sex ratio of 105 males per 100 females is consistent from 1980-2008. Huh. That doesn't sound like a terribly big difference, does it? I'm going to go ahead and hazard a guess that virtually no women in the US are using abortion to select the sex of their children. *gasp!*

Another problem with this legislation is that the sex of a fetus is determined in the 19th-20th week of pregnancy. In essence, we're being told that women are waiting through five months of nausea, back pain, abdominal cramps, water retention & swollen ankles, headaches, weight gain, and fatigue (and I'm only talking about the fun stuff!) before they decide to abort because girls are just that icky.

I'm calling bullshit.

This is just another salvo in the ongoing war on women. Every doubt, no matter how small, about the "purity" of a woman's intentions throws a roadblock in her way to getting appropriate abortion care. How long are doctors and health care clinics going to put up with this shit before they simply give up? They could face five years in prison for simply doing their jobs-- believe me, if I was an abortion provider, I'd think long and hard about changing careers if legislation like this ever managed to get passed.

Lunch



Proof that I am easily amused: I bought a fruit cup to have with my lunch today. It came with a tiny, collapsible spork and now I can't stop smiling about it.

(Gatorade bottle included for comparison purposes.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Abortion news: Parts 2 & 3

And to continue with the depressing news, here's a couple of stories from this past Friday:
Americans United for Life: The group behind a dramatic state-level anti-abortion legislation push
In effect, it is the legal arm of the anti-abortion movement, with an orchestrated campaign to undo on a state-by-state basis the legal rights to abortion enshrined in the historic Roe v. Wade supreme court decision in 1973.
Last year was a record-breaker in terms of the number of bills restricting abortion access: according to the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit body that seeks to advance reproductive rights, there were 92 such provisions enacted in 24 states. Almost a third of them, 28, came via AUL.
The Washington-based group drafts “model legislation” including gestational limits on abortions, additional regulation on abortion clinics, and bans on insurance cover for abortion and ultrasound requirements. In addition, it is pursuing efforts at both the federal and state level to defund Planned Parenthood.
Why am I not surprised? The legislative anti-abortion push has seemed a little too organized for the likes of the protesters outside of PP clinics or those miserable little fuckers that are committing thefts and arson (more below). The similarities of legislation that has been proposed has been bothering the hell out of me, too, but at least I know who to blame.

I would love to know who is funding AUL, but (here's another surprise) they keep their donor list private. Keeping a woman's medical choices confidential kills babies! Making sure that a doctor has professional and personal privacy kills babies! But millionaire conservatives? Idiot pro-lifers? We can't let the general public know who they are, that could be dangerous!

Money quote:
“AUL believes that all human life should be defined from conception to natural death. There’s a host of issues in that and we are committed to our efforts as long as it takes.”
 Natural death. So these people are against the death penalty, CPR, hooking brain dead patients up to life-support, etc etc? Nice try, asshholes.

FBI steps in as attacks on Georgia women’s clinics escalate
On Sunday, March 4, the North Atlanta Women’s Specialists’ offices were burglarized by a thief who stole two laptop computers that contained employees’ names and personal information. A second break-in took place on Saturday, March 17, when a suspect broke into the offices of The Georgia Obstetrical & Gynecological Society, again stealing laptop computers with staff members’ personal information.
...
The first fire took place at around 4:30 a.m. Sunday at the offices of Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics. A front window of the clinic was broken and police dogs indicated the presence of an “incendiary substance.”
Witnesses to Wednesday’s fire at Alpha Group GYN say that two men entered the building and went upstairs, then left just before the fire was discovered. The fire started on the offices’ fourth floor, damaging records and equipment, but no one was hurt.
I can't say it enough: this shit is escalating. While I'm happy that law enforcement continues to take these threats and attacks seriously, this kind of behavior will not stop until it is unacceptable to attack women's rights in the national political discourse. Until politicians learn that attacking women is wrong wrong wrong, we're going to see more and more of the nut jobs take the rhetoric a step too far.

Abortion news, Part 1

I've been following the fight over abortion on Raw Story (amongst other places) because apparently I haven't been feeling crappy enough lately. And, whoo boy is shit getting scary out there:

May 23
Pennsylvania Rep. Metcalfe seeks to defund Planned Parenthood based on claim that it ‘performs an abortion every 95 seconds’
Money quote:
“Regardless of their position on abortion, Pennsylvania taxpayers must no longer be forced to subsidize the loss of innocent lives,” said Metcalfe. “In reality, women in Pennsylvania will be healthier and the children safer when we permanently defund Planned Parenthood and its anti-family agenda. I encourage every taxpaying Pennsylvanian to contact his or her respective state lawmakers and demand an end to all state funding for Planned Parenthood through final passage of the Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priorities Act.”
*headdesk!*

Okay, let's diagram the wrongness of this bullshit.
  • subsidize the loss of innocent lives Yes, because those women who want &/or need an abortion aren't innocent enough to care about, are they? We're going to ignore the fact that a real, breathing, thinking, emotional being will have her life turned completely upside down if she has a child, that's just punishment for being a dirty, whoring, slut.
  • women will be healthier Because government decided to come between a patient and her doctor? Hey wait a minute... wasn't that the entire reason that Republicans fought against healthcare reform? FREEDOM! Also, let's not ignore the fact that pregnancy is really fucking dangerous-- not only is the threat of medical complications extremely likely, but having a child also impacts a woman's emotional and financial well-being, too.
  • and the children safer I didn't realize it was legal in PA to abort children after they've been delivered. Huh. If that's the case, remind me to stay the hell out of that state. (Or, more likely, Metcalfe is confusing "child" and "fetus". Idiot.)
  • Planned Parenthood and it's anti-family agenda Because it's not a family unless Mommy's squeezing out a kid once a year! Or dying of cancer!
  • Whole Woman's Health Funding Priorities Act "Whole Woman" except those nasty reproductive parts. And those icky bits that need cancer screenings. Or anything that might need some healthcare, really. Why don't we just rename the whole thing Those Gross Broads Get No Healthcare Act?
And that's not even mentioning the ridiculous "95 seconds" claim-- I think that's a bit of a strawman, anyway. It wouldn't matter if PP's services were 100% abortions or .001% abortions, that's not the point to these fuckers. Organizations like Planned Parenthood empower women by educating them and giving them real choices when it comes to family planning and medical decisions. Something that the Republican party cannot have if they are to remain in power.

Blarg.


Okay, here's the deal. I'm pregnant and feel like shit 100% of the time, which is why I haven't been updating this blog at all lately. I have a few things in mind that have been bothering me for a while which I intend to write about; until then, enjoy my titties.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WE ARE ALL SLUTS

Sluts Across America is an interesting advocacy project/fun little gadget. Enter in your reason for using birth control (in other words, why you're a slut) and your zip code and BOOM! you're on the map*. Click on any of the reclining slutty silhouettes and there's an explanation (in 200 words or less!) of why that woman supports access to birth control. Here are some of my favorites:

I'm a slut because...
  • ONE kid and earning a degree in biochemistry is enough to handle
  • I dont want to be a teen mother, I want to go to college and support myself in the future.
  • because I would love to keep having amazing sex with my fiancee without any interruptions.  
  • I'm newly married but my man-whore husband and I enjoy sex too much to have children. because we're heathens. 
  • I am not financially ready to raise children, but I am sexy enough to raise erections. 
I gotta admit, I am loving all of the backlash! Our confidence and our sexuality scares the shit out of these regressive fuckers-- we need to continue to use that to our advantage. It's so fucking sad that in the 21st century (p.s. Where the fuck is my flying car?), we have to continue the battles that our mothers and grandmothers fought, but we can't give up and we certainly can't forget what's on the table come November.

*If you figure out which one is mine, I'll bake you some goddamn cookies or something.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fiscally conservative or fiscally stupid?

Massachusetts-based Hub Properties Trust filed paperwork in Ramsey County on Wednesday to evict the state GOP for failing to pay more than $96,000 in rent over the last year.
...
The eviction action follows a series of revelations last winter regarding debts accrued by the party during the reign of former RPM Chairman Tony Sutton. In December, an internal review of  finances revealed that the party owes $1.23 million to creditors, plus more than $700,000 in legal fees accrued during the 2010 gubernatorial recount, and is facing possible fines from the Federal Elections Commission for undisclosed debts. The party is also currently being investigated by the state campaign finance board.
Politics in Minnesota

LOL, wut? What kind of clowns are running the Minnesota state GOP?

Oh wait, my bad. Kind of answered my own question there.

It amazes me that anyone has confidence that these people can run a state government-- you know, with budgets and stuff-- when they can't even get their own financial shit together. I mean, I'm not terribly surprised that a political party would have debts, but to be under investigation and eviction at the same time is kind of mind blowing to me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Subject Z

A new (to me) blog popped into my facebook feed: The Big A Word. The latest post is about what has been coined "Subject Z Criticism".
This kind of criticism involves building up a false notion of the thing that you'd really like to criticise and then blaming it for not filling your expectations. It's a deceptively reasonable-sounding form of criticism, too, in that it asks seemingly reasonable questions about the responsibilities and priorities of an interest group. The trouble is, those responsibilities and priorities are the domain of other groups, not the one being criticised.  The formula looks a bit like this:

'Why does Group A always talk about Subject A? Why don't they ever mention Subject Z?'
For example: Why don't feminists focus more on environmental issues? ('Cos I'm too fucking busy focusing on not losing my right to bodily autonomy and getting an equal paycheck for equal work, motherfucker.)

It's an interesting piece and a worthwhile read, but I do have one small quibble:
The only thing to be said for Subject Z Criticism is that it means that the criticiser can't really find much wrong with what you're doing. All they want to talk about is what you're not doing as though that were some kind of indictment against the fact that you belong to that group in the first place

No, no, no, no. At least in feminist terms, no. From my experience, Subject Zedders do find plenty wrong with what we're doing-- they find everything wrong with what we're doing. It's an issue of Concern Z is more important, so why are you bothering to waste your time with Concern A? I would say that it's a fundamental misunderstanding, but often there's an underlying malice. Otherwise, why bother bringing up, say, male circumcision during a discussion of FGM? Men are more important than women, therefore we should be focusing all of our energies on making sure their precious wee-wees don't get cut.

Of course, I may be looking at this with a much more narrow focus than intended. There is a disturbingly large number of people who's first reaction when coming across any feminist issue is, "but what about the men?" because they honestly cannot see the value in what we're fighting for and they will use any oppurtunity to stop us, whether they realize what they're doing or not. And I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!

Sunday morning cuteness!

Numbat!

(Buzzfeed)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We've moved past invasive patdowns. Woo?

The Guardian: TSA's mission creep is making the US a police state
Anyone who rode the bus in Houston, Texas during the 2-10pm shift last Friday faced random bag checks and sweeps by both drug-sniffing dogs and bomb-sniffing dogs (the latter being only canines necessary if "preventing terrorism" were the actual intent of these raids), all courtesy of a joint effort between TSA VIPR nests and three different local and county-level police departments. The new Napolitano doctrine, then: "Show us your papers, show us everything you've got, justify yourself or you're not allowed to go about your everyday business."
...
Earlier this month, the VIPRs came out again in Virginia and infested the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, also known as the stretch of Interstate 64 connecting the cities of Hampton and Norfolk. Spokesmen admitted again that the exercise was a "routine sweep", not a response to any specific threat. Official news outlets admitted the checkpoint caused a delay (further exacerbated by a couple of accidents), but didn't say for how long. Local commenters at the Travel Underground forums reported delays of 90 minutes.
What is the old (and now overused and abused) Ben Franklin quote? "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Except the TSA's security theater hasn't provided up with any additional safety. We're giving up our liberties for nothing. Think about it-- the "shoe bomber" and the "underwear bomber" were thwarted by civilians, not the TSA. All the TSA could do was react well after the fact.

Hell, if anything, the TSA's insane rules have made travel more dangerous by bottle-necking travelers at specific points, giving us all a big ol' bull's eye pretty much any time we want to leave our home.

And now, we can't escape the TSA, no matter where or how we travel. Welcome, ladies and gents, to the 21st century police state. We were warned and we ignored those warnings at our peril.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Live Funny or Die!

Okay, to make up for the fact that I got sucked into the same spoof that THE ENTIRE FUCKING INTERNET is falling for, I'll make it up to everyone by sharing my favorite current Funny or Die video.



Well, this ties my last two posts together nicely

Ann Romney:
“Why should women be paid equal to men? Men have been in the working world a lot longer and deserve to be paid at a higher rate. Heck, I’m a working mom and I’m not paid a dime. I depend on my husband to provide for me and my family, as should most women… and if a woman does work, she should be happy just to be out there in the working world and quit complaining that she’s not making as much as her male counterparts. I mean really, all this wanting to be equal nonsense is going to be detrimental to the future of women everywhere. Who’s going to want to hire a woman, or for that matter, even marry a woman who thinks she is the same, if not better than a man at any job. It’s almost laughable. C’mon now ladies, are you with me on this?”
Note: I have only seen this quote on two blogs and have not found any verification of its truthfulness (or truthiness, as the case may be).

But, think about it: Mormon stay-at-home mom who is married to a millionaire. Can we really expect Ann to have any grasp on reality whatsoever? (What was I saying about Conservatives wanting to punish women for not fitting into their bizarre idea of gender roles and family, again?)

***And Edit***
Nope, it's a spoof. I think they've pretty well proven Poe's law (or whatever the Conservative equivalent is) with this one. My bad!

What we'd have to do to have stay at home parents

Normally, I kind of loathe EJ Dionne-- he's one of those milquetoast liberals that is just damned afraid of leaning too far to the left. He's not a passionate fighter and that's what we need right now.

However, that doesn't mean that he never has a point.
There is a profound class bias in our discussion of what mothers should or should not do. The public debate seems premised on the idea that all two-parent families have a choice as to whether one or both work. That’s still true for the better-off. But this choice is denied to most American families. They have had to send two people into the workforce whether they wanted to or not.
Money Struggles, Not Mommy Wars

I'll admit, this hits a little close to home for me. Mr Darkheart and I do not live an extravagant lifestyle-- we aren't wracked with credit card debt, we're not paying off school loans, we only own one car, and hell, we don't even own a house-- and yet, when the discussion comes up of what we're going to do when I give birth in October, we can't come to any conclusion but one: I'm going to have to go back to work as soon as possible.

Anyway, enough about my woes. The solution to the "mommy wars" problem is pretty simple:
So here’s the deal: If you want more households in which one parent can stay home with the kids, you need to boost the incomes of average American families—and especially of poorer families. For millions of American moms and dads, debates about “feminism” or “social conservatism” are irrelevant. It’s about money. 
We're going to ignore the fact that Romney and his ilk don't want a stay-at-home caregiver, they want a stay-at-home mom. They think we should go back to the (imagined) halcyon days of the 50s when dad brought home the bacon and mom had a cocktail and a roast waiting when he got home from work* and that's how gender roles work, dammit.

As much as it really, really pains me to say this, if we want to return to a society where one parent can stay at home with the kids, there's a crapload of work to do. Bad, awful, socialist-y work.
  1. We need strong maternity and paternity leave guarantees. Hell, if we're really going to do this the right way, the first year of maternity/paternity leave should be paid for, ensuring that little bebe has a good start to life, but the family doesn't have to suffer for it.
  2. Living wage, living wage, living wage. How can you expect one parent to stay at home if a full time job won't even lift a family above the poverty line?
But let's say both parents want to work or you're a single parent. Well, never fear! I've got even more plans!
  1. Subsidized day care/pre-school/Head Start. I know, I'm total pinko Communist scum (and probably French, to boot) for suggesting that the great private day care industry should just become another arm of the nanny state. Or paid for by the nanny state. Or whatever. But it would take a huge burden off of families and we could make it easier to regulate the centers at the same time. Total win-win.
  2. If you've split from your partner and you're not the primary caregiver of your children, hey guess what! In Audley's perfect America, your ass will be paying child support. We need to make it easier for single parents to collect money from the, um, deadbeats.
It's quite a pipe dream, isn't it?  It's really too bad that in our current political climate corporate profits and low taxes automatically rule out any rational discussion of making life better for all families in the US. Because we don't fucking matter to the "family values" crowd-- they want an unobtainable version of the nuclear family to become the norm, without doing any work or making any sacrifices to achieve their goal. They want to punish women, and by extension families, for not fitting their bizarre, twisted, impossible expectations.

*Never mind that in my family, my grandmothers both worked. As did my husband's. But, we're talking about the working class, so they probably don't count.

Sorry sorry sorry!


Once again, sorry about not posting yesterday-- this stomach bug is kicking my ass. There will be posts this weekend, I swear!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No gender gap in politics?

Oh, for fuck's sake. I don't know this Ramesh Ponnuru douche is, but holy hell, could he be any more wrong?

In this Bloomberg article "Romney Should Ignore 'Gender Gap' Mythology", Ponnuru starts out by saying:
On the day after Rick Santorum dropped out of the race and removed all doubt Romney would be the nominee, the campaign issued five press releases within three hours on the theme that President Barack Obama’s economic record has failed American women: one featuring comments by Romney, four highlighting remarks by female Republican politicians supporting him.

It might be a good strategy, if the women’s vote existed.
Well, it's nice to know that my vote doesn't count. Or that my concerns don't count. Or that my concerns aren't any different from a dude's. Or whatever the fuck Ponnuru is trying to say here.

Anyway, he goes on:
A recent USA Today/Gallup poll that found Romney losing support among women younger than 50 in swing states has especially alarmed them.
 So... there is no gender gap. The women's vote "doesn't exist" and yet, women aren't supporting Romney.

No, I don't get it, either.
Romney will win among large subgroups of women: those who are married, those who are white, those who go to church regularly. Gender isn’t the principal determinant of women’s votes any more than it is of men’s. 
[citation needed] From what I've seen, Republican candidates are losing support from centrist women, which is where the "gender gap" problem comes into play, dumbass. You know, centrist women-- those all important swing voters that the Republicans absolutely need to get out to the polls or else they're gonna lose. Those people who are turned off by the extreme right wing.

There aren't enough Quiverfull ladies to make up the gap, sorry.
Of course, Romney should use female campaign surrogates. (He should especially continue to highlight his wife, Ann, who is likely to wow both men and women.)
So, what is it, Ponnuru? Are women important or should we be ignored? 'Cos you're really sending out some mixed messages here, buddy.

And, no. Ann Romney isn't going to "wow" anybody. She's a fucking Stepford wife.

For the grand finale:
Republicans deserve credit for resisting the idea -- the lazy instinct, really -- that what female voters care most about are stereotypically “women’s issues.” The party should take the further crucial step of seeing that women don’t have to be courted on the basis of their sex at all.
Oh okay. I get it now. I was right in assuming that Republicans don't think that my concerns should be any different from a dude's.

Here's the problem: when Republican law makers are spending their time limiting my access to birth control, limiting my access to abortion, fighting against equal pay laws, I get angry. Like really fucking angry. These are issues that, quite frankly, don't immediately impact men*. But apparently these "stereotypical" women's issues don't matter, 'cos it's more important that we act like everyone is equal (read: women don't deserve to be "courted"), without actually doing anything to address the fact that women are still second class citizens (and our situation is getting worse).

Although, I think Ponnuru has come up for the perfect losing strategy for Republicans come November. More of this rhetoric may be exactly what the Dems need.
(Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist and a senior editor at National Review. The opinions expressed are his own.)
That explains a lot. Fucking National Review.

*Although, in the long run, everyone is better off when women have access to family planning services and have careers of their choosing.

Apologies!

Sorry about not posting yesterday-- I've been ridiculously sick with a nasty stomach ailment and have barely been able to get out of bed. Anyway, I'm feeling slightly more human today, so I'll get something up a little later.

In the meantime:
Robert Reich will be on the Daily Show tonight. Set your DVRs! (Or stay up late, whatevs.)
Anders Behring Breivik claims he was a part of The Knights Templar; says he was defending Norway from "multiculturalism".
RH Reality Check: "Pro-Life" Means "Pro-Imprisionment".

Monday, April 16, 2012

Prince Andrew's enemies list

I promised New York politics, but since I missed the yearly budget kerfuffle*, there has been much to comment on. I mean, sure, shit will always be sleazy in Albany, but to a resident it's all very par for the course.

That is, until I heard mention of a BuzzFeed article on my local public radio station this morning.
A top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo assembled a 35-page dossier on the work of an Albany political reporter considered hostile to his administration, highlighting any shred of criticism in a document that reflects the intense sensitivity of a governor on the brink of taking the national stage.
...
Indeed, the documents’ main value is in highlighting the intense sensitivity in Cuomo’s office to even the shadow of criticism or hint that politics could be taking place in the hallowed halls of the statehouse. Even as Cuomo edges toward the far more intense public scrutiny of the national stage in an anticipated presidential bid in 2016, he has created what is, even for the typically difficult statehouse relations between press an executive, an unusually tense standoff with the statehouse press corps.

Color me shocked that Gov Cuomo has an enemies list.

*Note to self: Write about property tax reform and the destruction of public schools some time soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Adios, Euro!

Paul Krugman:
What happened to Spain was a housing bubble — fueled, to an important degree, by lending from German banks — that burst, taking the economy down with it. Now the country has 23.6 percent unemployment, 50.5 percent among the young.
And the policy response is supposed to be even more austerity, with the European Central Bank, natch, obsessing over inflation — and officials claiming that the incredibly foolish rate hike last year was actually something to be proud of.
The European Union experiment was an interesting one, but as long as Germany insists on pushing strict austerity measures on countries that are suffering economically, it cannot hold together. I sincerely hope that they have economists working on how to dismantle the whole thing without causing further economic collapse.

Well, I guess the timing is right...

... Considering how how many fucking racists have political power right now.
On Tuesday, the same day that [Allen] West was fantasizing about 80 members of Congress being card-carrying members of the Communist Party, the actual American Nazi Party was making its move onto the Hill. One John Bowles registered with the Clerk of the House that day as a lobbyist for for the white supremacist group (hat tip LegiStorm). Bowles was the National Socialist Movement's presidential nominee in 2008.
U.S. News

No, as far as I can tell, this is not a prank. The ANP has actually registered to lobby Congress. I... I don't even know where to begin.

Okay, let's look at what the fucking ANP will be lobbying for:
"Political Rights and ballot access laws," according to the registration form, which also lists lists accounting, agriculture, clean air and water, civil rights, health issues, the Constitution, immigration, manufacturing, and retirement as "general lobbying issue areas."
  • Political Rights: Um, hi. Vague.
  • Ballot access laws: I can only take a guess that the ANP isn't concerned with making sure all people have access, but rather, making sure racial minorities have a more difficult time casting a ballot (read: voter ID laws).
  • Accounting: Like what a CPA does? Government accounting? What?
  • Agriculture: Okay, they know their base. I'm willing to bet dollars-to-donuts that most of their supporters come from rural areas.
  • Clean air and water: Wut? Aren't these people by-and-large of the libertarian persuasion? As in, government regulation of business is evil and unAmerican? Do I have them confused with someone else?
  • civil rights: Gotta stop that reverse racism!
  • health issues: Gotta stop that Obamacare!
  • the Constitution: Or, rather, the Bill Of Rights. The 14th, 15th, 19th, etc don't count!!1! 
  • immigration: Gotta stop them darkies from stealin' our jobs and our wimmin! Build a razor-wire topped wall along the border with Mexico NOW! (And maybe Canada. They're kind of... Socialist-y.)
  • manufacturing: Dudes, I know you're not the smartest cookies in the jar, but that ship has fucking sailed. Just... blame China or something and move the fuck on. 
  • Retirement: You know, I'd really like to know if they're pro- or anti- Social Security. Neither one would really surprise me (pro-: get yer gov'ment outta my Social Security! Anti-: privatize, privatize, privatize!).
Honestly, I really don't know if this should be treated as a joke* or if this is just a taste of what is to come in American politics. As I've remarked before, right wing hate groups have been growing steadily-- are we going to sit back and watch while they start to amass real political power? They already have politicians who legitimize their cause (take Rick Santorum's infamous "blah people" statement, as a small example) and a 24 hour news channel that caters to their bigotry. Now that the neo-Nazis are lobbying Congress, what more of a wake-up call do we need?

*Although right now it's kind of hard not to laugh at them. The ANP seems kind of pathetic, really. My initial reaction was to this story was, "Awe look! They think they're people!"

I then wondered if the registration form was filled out in crayon and giggled to myself. Yes, I'm calling the ANP dumb.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday night music! Janelle Monae


Every since Sally Strange introduced me to Janelle Monae, I have become absolutely obsessed. I mean, watch the video! As I have said before, she is this generation's David Bowie.

Ugh, the Catholic Church

A press release from Americans United:
In a statement issued today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called on every diocese in the country to engage in a “Fortnight for Freedom” during the two weeks leading up to the Fourth of July. Parishioners will be asked to study, pray and take action about alleged infringements on religious liberty.
First on the list of topics is the Obama administration’s effort to ensure that all American women have access to birth control through their health insurance plans.
Another topic is government defunding of church-affiliated agencies that refuse to comply with public policy mandates. The bishops’ statement complains that Catholic agencies have been denied government funding because they refused to provide adoption services to gay couples or reproductive health care to women who are victims of sex trafficking.
I am so ever-loving sick of the fucking Catholic Church. Listen, assholes, you already have your own fucking country. The Vatican, remember? So kindly stay the fuck away from my country's government.

I am also so fucking sick of the Catholic Church pretending to be the arbiters of morality. This is the organization that is responsible for untold child rapes (and subsequent cover ups) and kidnapping babies from single mothers to be "adopted" out to "respectable" Catholic families. They were responsible for the Magdalene laundries, they lobby against condom use in AIDS ravaged African countries, and it's not unknown for Catholic hospitals to deny life-saving medical procedures to pregnant woman if it puts the pregnancy at risk. They actively campaign against civil rights struggles (to wit: marriage equality) and against accessible birth control.

If that's your idea of "morality", no fucking thanks. Go ahead and consider me amoral or immoral or whatever if it helps you sleep at night, but I will not accept that an organization that causes this much suffering all around the world can be anything but unmitigated evil.

The Catholic Church is free to tell their parishioners whatever the fuck they want, I really don't give a shit (and, to be honest, neither do the majority of American Catholics). They have no right to tell the rest of us what is and is not "moral". They have no right to write our laws and certainly no right to be involved in international aid efforts.

If the only way to stop them is to dismantle the organization, then so be it. The US would be much better off once we stopped letting Bishops tell us what to do.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Too big to exist

From Mat Taibbi (Rolling Stone):
In sum, Bank of America torched dozens of institutional investors with billions in worthless loans, repeatedly refused to abide by contractual obligations to buy them back, evaded hundreds of millions in local fees and taxes, pushed tens of thousands of people into foreclosure using phony documents, ignored multiple court orders to stop its illegal robo-signing, and exploited President Obama's signature mortgage-relief program. The bank fixed the bids on bonds for schools and cities and utilities all over America, and even conspired to try to game the game itself – by fixing global interest rates!
I know the article is whoa long, but it's worth reading in its entirety.

Here's what I took away: This is exactly what the free market, laissez-faire, libertarian douche tarts want. They want unregulated banking and trading under some insane delusion that shit like this won't happen.

The argument for libertarianism that I hear most often is that people (and by extension, business) are rational actors. Sounds simple, yes? Here's the thing, a for-profit corporation has one goal and one goal only: to make as much profit as possible (duh). There is no "rational acting" beyond that. They don't care about losing money because of home foreclosures-- those loans have been packaged up and sold to investors long ago. When banks are allowed to grow unchecked (like BoA), they have so much power, so much money that they can screw over their investors, break laws, and cause economic collapse and no one can stop them.

"Too big to fail" is, quite simply, too big to exist. Instead of continually bailing out BoA, we should be dismantling the whole goddamned operation.Get rid of it. Get rid of anything even remotely like it. We need to start from zero instead of propping up what is quite possibly the largest criminal enterprise that we have ever seen.

In which I complain about Google

(Real post to follow later this evening.)

My last post got me thinking about what is wrong with Google. I'm not just talking about the complete invasion of privacy or the fact that Google products are slowly taking over, well, all of our communication. These things are both ultra-shitty, but they've also been explored over and over again by people much savvier than I am.

No, my specific beef is with the fact that no matter how many products Google offers, they aren't integrated together for better performance. Take my issue this afternoon: viewing my blog dashboard from my Android phone simply does not work. What the hell? Blogger is a Google product, I was using the 'Droid web browser (also a Google product) and I still could not make/edit/delete posts via the web. It makes no sense.

GAH! Why does this shit have to be so fucking difficult?

Ignore me!



Just ignore this post, please. I'm testing out the Blogger app I just downloaded.

(It's a third party app. The official Google version sucked ass and it's damn near impossible to update via the web on a smart phone. Did I mention that I use a 'Droid? Great job, Goog!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Really Newt? (part II)

Utah Elections Director Mark Thomas said a designated agent for the Gingrich campaign brought the filing papers and a check for $500 in March, but the state was notified by the bank that the check had bounced. He said the office has tried to contact the Gingrich campaign through the telephone number and email provided on the application, but has not received a response.
The Salt Lake Tribune

Newt bounced a $500 check. Let me repeat that: Newt Gingrich's campaign bounced the $500 check that was supposed to pay the Utah ballot fee.

I don't know if this is the most embarrassing thing that could happen to Newt or if he's just laughing at all the suckers that take him seriously. Think about it: Newt never had a snowball's chance in hell of defeating Romney and he has to know that. Look at the ridiculous things that he has said-- not just the standard Conservative line bullshit, but all the crazy shit about colonizing the moon. Look at how he's desperately clinging on to this campaign, even though it's been pointless for months now.

New theory about Newt! He's trolling the entire nomination process. How obnoxiously brilliant.

(Wonkette)

Real sex ed vs. "abstinence only"

From Think Progress:
The number of teen births in the U.S. dropped again in 2010, according to a government report, with nearly every state seeing a decrease. Nationally, the rate fell 9 percent to about 34 per 1,000 girls ages 15 through 19, and the drop was seen among all racial and ethnic groups.
...
This is the lowest national rate for teen births since the Centers for Disease Control began tracking it in 1940, and CDC officials attributed the decline to pregnancy prevention efforts.
Woo hoo! This is some damn good news!

But wait...
Mississippi continues to have the highest teen birth rate, with 55 births per 1,000 girls. New Hampshire has the lowest rate at just under 16 births per 1,000 girls. 
*facepalm!*

That's an absolutely huge discrepancy. My question is: how do Mississippians explain statistics like that? Do they rightfully blame their elected officials? Do the blame someone/something else? Do they even notice?

Now we have concrete proof* that "abstinence only" education does not work. I doubt that Mississippi's elected officials will care, though-- what does it matter to them that they're very likely condemning these young women to a life of hardship? From where I'm sitting, pretending to save their daughters' "purity" is more important than actually raising them to be happy and healthy.

How disgusting.

*I'm pretty sure we've had the proof before now, but it's nice to be able to reinforce the fact that "abstinence only" is unmitigated bullshit.

Zimmerman arrested

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey announced tonight that Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman has been charged in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Corey announced a second-degree murder charge at the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville tonight, more than six weeks after Trayvon and Zimmerman's fatal encounter.
If convicted, Zimmerman would face up to life in prison on the first-degree felony charge.
Orlando Sentinel

I'm not sure that there's really anything else to say.

This past weekend, Zimmerman's lawyers quit, claiming that they had lost touch. They also claimed that Zimmerman had left Florida (fearing for his safety, I'm sure. *eyeroll*), but he is in custody, so he couldn't have gone that far.

Here's hoping that the trial doesn't become a complete fucking circus. And here's hoping that the special prosecutor and that DOJ and everyone else who worked on this case did their jobs well.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Whatever happened to Ron Paul?

Wait! Is Ron Paul still in the race for the Republican nomination?
Congratulations to Senator Santorum on running such a spirited campaign.  Dr. Paul is now the last – and real – conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  We plan to continue running hard, secure delegates, and press the fight for limited, constitutional government in Tampa.
Ron Paul 2012*

Holy fucking shit, he is! There's still some opportunity for teh lolz before the convention in Tampa!

(I hope you're happy. I actually visited Ron Paul's campaign website. And I linked to it just for you. Ugh. Excuse me, I need to go take a hot shower and scrub myself down with a loofah to get the libertarian stink off.)

*Sounds just like Newt's statement, doesn't it?

Really, Newt?

Since none of you douchebags* texted me while I was at work to tell me that Santorum was quitting the race, I'm not going to comment on it. So there.

Newt Gingrich's reaction, however, is freaking priceless.
I am committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice. I humbly ask Senator Santorum’s supporters to visit Newt.org to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to Tampa. We know well that only a conservative can protect life, defend the Constitution, restore jobs and growth and return to a balanced budget.
 Newt.org

Any rational person in the same position would have backed out long before now, but not Newt! He's no quitter! I've got a few theories as to why:
  1. The super PAC that is funding Newt's campaign (Winning Our Future**), really REALLY wants to stick it to Willard "Billy" "Mitt" "Mittens" "Rmoney" Romney, even if it means losing millions of dollars in the process. 
  2. Alternately, someone involved with the Winning Our Future super PAC really REALLY wants to send Newt to the moon. And perhaps leave him there.
  3. He's holding out for a VP nod. Winning the silver in a marathon of stupid has to come with some sort of prize, right? ... Right?
  4. This is Newt's jorb. He's going to perpetually run for office until the end of time. (Kind of like Ron Paul, now that I think of it.)
In light of the fourth theory, may I humbly suggest a new public awareness campaign: Give Newt a Job Now!?  We'll launch a facebook group and post commercials on YouTube asking employers to please consider giving Newt a job, any job, to keep him off the streets and out of politics for good. 

*Love you!
**That doesn't sound Orwellian or anything. No way.

Monday, April 9, 2012

ALA's most banned books.

The American Library Association has released their State of America's Libraries Report 2012. It's a little early for Banned Books Week, but the report lists the top ten banned banned books for 2011.
  • ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 
  • The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
  • The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
  • Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
No huge surprises there. To Kill a Mockingbird and Brave New World make the top of the list every year* and as young adult series become more popular, they're becoming bigger targets for banning.

My Mom's Having a Baby! threw me for a loop at first. How offensive could that possibly be? It sounds kind of sweet. After looking up the description on Amazon, I think I've figured out why some parents find it so bad-- there's a description of SEX! We definitely can't talk about SEX! in a book about pregnancy aimed at eight year olds. Oh no, they'll end up as sexual deviants for sure. Best to tell them that babies come from the stork or the Easter bunny or kissing or something.

The Hunger Games isn't a surprising addition to the list. It's violent as all hell and the protagonist is a decidedly un-lady like young woman who isn't concerned with landing a man and having babies. It does amuse me that so many people are fighting against it, though, considering how incredibly popular the book series (and now the movie) is. The anti-learning/anti-book/anti- First Amendment crowd is just whistling into the wind at this point (or whatever metaphor is apt).

*I've read Brave New World within the past decade or so, but for the life of me, I can't remember what the hell is so offensive about it.

Oh, Tennesee

The Tennessee Senate voted 28-1 to amend the state’s sex ed curriculum by adding warnings against “gateway sexual activity.” Senate Bill 3310 does not explicitly define what those activities are, but it comes in response to controversies in Nashville and Knox County schools over instruction given to high school students that mentioned alternatives to sexual intercourse.
“ ‘Abstinence’ means from all of these activities, and we want to promote that,” said state Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, the bill’s sponsor. “What we do want to communicate to the kids is that the best choice is abstinence.”
 The Tennessean

I'll give the TN lege one thing, they've finally caught on to the "technical virgin" problem. No, no, no, no, no, no. I don't think that there's a problem with teenagers that engage in a variety of sexual activities. The problem lies in the "purity" movement-- it doesn't actually stop kids from engaging in oral and anal sex, while at the same time it actively discourages them from practicing safe-sex techniques. Abstaining teens have similar rates of STDs to, um, "normal" teens, but are less likely to use condoms or make any preparations for sex.

Of course, telling kids that all sexual activity is strictly verboten isn't going to solve the problems of STDs &/or teen pregnancy, but we can't expect Republicans to be smart or practical, can we? If they can't cling desperately to their dogma, what else have they got?

As for the whole "gateway to sexual activity": what the fuck? What does that even mean and how far does it go? Is making googly eyes a "gateway"? Hand holding? Smooching? This is the most ridiculous, anti-sex thing I've heard in a good damn while.

Also, good job stealing the terminology from the "War on Drugs", TN. (By the way, how well is that "war" working out for you?) We don't need a war on sex too, thank you very much.

(RH Reality Check)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's happened in Tulsa

Shit, shit, shit.

The Guardian: Two white men arrested over Tulsa shootings that left three black men dead
Two white men were arrested on Sunday over shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that left three black men dead and two more critically wounded.

Police said the arrested men were expected to face three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill. He said police acted on an anonymous tipoff.

The men were identified as 19-year-old Jake England and 32-year-old Alvin Watts. A police spokesman, Jason Willingham, said authorities had begun seeking the men on Saturday evening.
This shit is increasing. This shit is increasing. How many fucking times do I have to say it? Jesus Christ, I feel like Cassandra over here.

(The Daily What and Gawker)

Feminists killed Jesus?!

Courtesy of Man Boobz,a poster over at The Spearhead gives his two cents on the crucifixion of Jesus:
Pierce brought up an important event in the life of jesus. He was falselly accused, and the violent masses and the heathen whordes wanted to see blood; so the pilate delivered.
Kinda like the American feminist whorde of barbarianism. Maybe womens justice is simply more primitive and barbarian (more heathen-esque) than patriarchal orderly justice.
whether its the klu-klux-klan “mob lynchings” of 100 years ago over false rape accusations, or the Duke lacrosse feminist mobs roaming the streats of durham looking for blood, there seems to be a common theme here. feminine matriarchal justice is lies , hysteria, mob/klan barbarism; while patriarchal justice is truth based, orderly, ect. ect.
Pontius pilate didn’t want to kill jesus, but the violent matriarchal whorde/klan wanted to see blood and forced his hand.
(Just want to point out that this guy goes by the handle "American". I weep for our public schools.)

For those who aren't familiar with The Spearhead, the name kind of explains everything. It's an anti-feminist, "men's rights" site. Get it? Spearheads are phallic and these guys worship the penis and... never mind*.

Anyway, this short screed is pretty impressive. I mean, spelling and grammatical carnage aside, how much wrong can one person fit into just a few short sentences?
  1. Pontius Pilate wasn't forced to do anything.
  2. Feminists didn't exist during the Roman Empire.
  3. The Roman Empire was BY NO MEANS a matriarchy. (Quick! Name one female Caesar!)
  4. That's not even touching whether or not Jesus even existed in the first place. 
  5. Modern feminists are striving for equality,  not the murder of anyone who disagrees with them or  trying to establish a matriarchy.
 But, hey, we can't let those things in the way of fantasizing about hysterical barbarian feminists, can we?

I will give "American" credit where credit is due: this, uh, theory is pretty novel. I mean, he could have blamed the Jews, but no! He comes from out of left field and blames blood-thirsty feminists!

*I guess the feminist equivalent would be "The Bagel"?

Gah, sorry. That's terrible.

Zombie Jesus? Pish posh!

I've seen this floating around facebook for the past couple of days. I would go so far as to say that Christers could legitimately claim that Jesus was the Lich King.

If anyone wants proof of Jesus' lich-iness, we can just pop over to the Wikipedia article List of fictional liches where we find:
Jesus of Nazareth: In the Bible he rises three days after being crucified.
 There, that settles it.

(Pharyngula)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Required reading

Today's required reading: Co-opting King: Why the Right Tries to Claim MLK.

No matter what shit Glennnnnnn Beck spews, Dr. King was not against family planning services or Planned Parenthood. There's no evidence that he would fight against marriage equality. He supported the separation of church and state. And Dr. King fought for economic justice (ooo, he was a scary, scary socialist!).

The Right already has their heroes-- they can keep beating Reagan's and Rand's corpses until there's nothing left, for all I care. They need to stop stealing our heroes.

The "theft" of Dr. King does strike me as interesting, though. It's almost as if the Right's martyrs don't appeal to the everyman*, so they need to find someone who does, even if he was farther left than any politician/leader today.

This can't mean that liberalism is more appealing than Christian conservatism, can it? Naaaaaaah, there's no way that's possible.

*Just the zealots.

Newsflash! Conservatives are racists!

It's going to be a busy, busy weekend in the Darkheart household*, so here's an update for today (well, yesterday. Damn, it's late) and I'll try to squeeze in a couple of quickies over the weekend.

Think Progress has a short post up about conservative columnist/National Review contributor John Derbyshire who, big surprise, is a huge flaming racist. In his latest, ah, commentary? Column? Pile of shit? Derbyshire makes a nice list of lessons to his kids about race called The Talk: Nonblack Version.

Oh wait, did I say "nice"? I meant "racist as fuck".

Some gems:
(4) The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual circumstances, however—e.g., paragraph (10h) below—this default principle should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.
[Emphasis mine.] So, be polite to blacks, but only if they're not scary blacks! *eye roll* (We'll get to 10h a little later)
(8) These differences are magnified by the hostility many blacks feel toward whites. Thus, while black-on-black behavior is more antisocial in the average than is white-on-white behavior, average black-on-white behavior is a degree more antisocial yet.
"Antisocial" has got to be a dogwhistle. You can almost feel how much Johnny wants to use the word "monkeys".
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
What is this I don't even
Look, how exactly does one go about calling Disneyland and asking if they're planning on being "swamped with blacks"? Never mind, it's pretty fucking clear that Johnny has no problem letting his racist flag fly, so he probably has called Six Flags and demanded a count of non-whites on the premises.

(As an aside, does he think there are special "black days" at the beach, like ladies nite at the bar or some shit? Are African Americans statistically more likely to hit the surf during the second weekend of August? Are there super-secret holidays that white people don't know about? I absolutely do not understand what the fuck is going on here, but Jesus Christ, it's paranoid.)
(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white. 
White people: automatically more trustworthy!
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway
 Safety first, kids! That black family in distress is just waiting to ambush you!
(11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”
Let's see, so far we've hit on violent, angry, and dumb. How many more shitty stereotypes can Johnny pack in before the end?
(13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.
"I even let him use my bathroom!"

 At the end, Johnny shoots his wad telling us (if we're white or Asian**) that his advice might save your kids' lives!1!!

This is why we can't have nice things, America. Instead of everyone mocking and shunning John Derbyshire's views on race, he has a job as a columnist. How can we ever progress if people are willing to financially support this horseshit?

*Passover seder tomorrow night, followed by Easter, which means cooking all day long. Ugh.
Plans include:
Charoset (easy)
homemade matzo (quick)
"heavenly" lemon pie (difficult, time consuming)
some sort of veggie dish to be determined at some point before I go to the supermarket

**Nobody else matters, I guess.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

When in doubt, sue!

Long story short: homeopathy kills.

Case in point, Penelope Dingle from Perth, Australia was a "patient" of a homeopath named Francine Scrayen, who "diagnosed" Dingle's rectal bleeding as hemorrhoids (not that homeopathy could treat 'rhoids or anything else for that matter), delaying seeking real medical attention for over a year. After a diagnosis of rectal cancer, Scrayen convinced Dingle that she could beat it with diet and homeopathic "treatments".

She didn't. Penelope Dingle died of rectal cancer in 2005.

Scrayen was in no way a medical professional. She had no training in medicine (just a course in first aid, according to the coroner's report (PDF)), and yet still treated-- and, of course, charged-- Dingle.

Dingle's sister Toni Brown has brought a lawsuit against Scrayen, but no criminal charges have been filed.

From Dan's Journal of Skepticism: Scammed to death: How Francine Scrayen killed Penelope Dingle and Homeopath Francine Scrayen in court for the death of her "patient". Not surprisingly, Dan Buzzard has received a "cease and desist" from Scayen's lawyers, demanding that he take down the offending blog posts by April 10 and issue an apology to Scrayen.

*sigh* If I had no scruples, I'd totally become a homeopathic practitioner. I mean, you've got free reign to fucking kill people, then you can sue whoever tells the truth about you!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WI clinic bombing update

Good news from The Washington Post:
The FBI says 50-year-old Francis Grady is charged with arson of a building used in interstate commerce and intentionally damaging a facility that provides reproductive health services.
 And HuffPo (sorry, sorry, sorry):
"The FBI will always investigate and bring to justice anyone who resorts to violence as a means to harm, intimidate, or prevent the public's right to access reproductive health services." 
I wish I could say that this means an end to anti-choice terrorism, but these people are zealots. They won't stop as long as politicians pander to the Christian right-- as I've said before, their actions are justified by the state.

But hooray for the FBI for gettin' it done!


All aboard the deregulation train! Toot toot!

Robert Reich's commentary from today's Marketplace:
Last week the Dallas Fed issued an explosive report (PDF) -- predicting America will face another financial crisis and be forced to bail out Wall Street again unless the biggest banks are broken up.
...
According to The Dallas Fed report, Wall Street's power makes it almost impossible to control because "they have the lawyers and the money to resist the pressures of federal regulation." This means the Dodd-Frank act, which is supposed to prevent another financial calamity, is woefully inadequate.
Let me get this straight:
Deregulation -> financial shenanigans -> economic collapse. Economic collapse -> even more corporate money in politics -> further deregulation. Further deregulation ->  economic collapse.

Seems kind of... simple. Logical.

Not that anyone in power will listen, right? Financial regulations are job killers*, after all, despite the fact that we know from experience that sustained growth comes from preventing banks from acting recklessly. But, no one in power wants to listen either, otherwise they can wave bye-bye to the gravy train.

We are so fucked.

*I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me how financial institutions are job creators, but that's neither here nor there.

(Have I ever mentioned that I [heart] Robert Reich?)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

AZ really wants to win the War on Women, don't they?

From RH Reality Check:
Legislators have had so much success smuggling in ulterior motives with 20-week [abortion] bans that they’re now looking for ways to expand the amount of hard right anti-choice nonsense they can attach to those bills. The most recent---and extreme---example is Arizona. There, lawmakers are writing a 20-week abortion ban that starts counting off at the first day of a woman’s period. Yes, they’re arguing that you’re “pregnant” while you’re actually getting your period.
 Hear that ladies?  You may be on the rag right now, but that doesn't matter in good ol' Arizona; you're as good as pregnant! Even better: since we can't know know the future, you should just consider yourself pre-pregnant, just in case! Isn't that wonderful!

I don't even know what to say about this shit. One can't even argue that our rights are being chipped away anymore-- they're being dismantled right in front of our very eyes. Roe v Wade guaranteed abortion up to the 20th week, but Arizona has no fucking problem banning abortion past the 18th week. Even if this law would be struck down in the courts, that will take years. The women of AZ (and any other state that follows suit) don't deserve this.

That being said, how in the high holy hell did these fuckers get elected? My guess is that these Tea Baggin' assholes ran on a lower taxes! deregulation! platform with nary a mention of the abortion or gay rights or whathaveyou. A way to harness the anger at the establishment, while at the same time inserting legislators who are patriarchal culture warriors.

(MoJo and Wonkette)