The Altoona Mirror gets letters. Since the area it serves is overwhelmingly conservative, most of the letters, even those not scrawled in crayon, hue to the viewpoints of the far right. Let’s take a moment to read one such heartfelt letter:
I have noticed that people have different opinions on abortion.
And even teenagers talk about and have different opinions. I have several friends that say that it should only be legal in cases of rape. A few people say it is up to the couple to decide.
Other friends, and myself included, think that it should be illegal altogether.
The way I see it, it is the same as first-degree murder, and the same as an adult killing a toddler that I see in the news sometimes. Now don’t get me wrong by thinking I don’t feel bad for the women who are raped and get pregnant, but I think they should still give birth and give the child up for adoption.
Also, there is new technology where the embryo is able to, in the very early stages, be transferred to another woman by surgery.
I do feel bad for rape victims. I just don’t think that an innocent baby should be killed.
Junior High School
As much as I want to turn the snark up to 11, and tear into this with bared fangs, I just can’t bring myself to attack the words of a junior high student that savagely. Don’t get me wrong. I desperately want to mock how he has “noticed that people have different opinions on abortion.” “Even teenagers,” he says? I don’t believe it! Everyone knows teenagers don’t have opinions. But other than that, which I honestly could not resist, I am going to rein in the snark.
So if I am not going to tear this letter to shreds, why bring it up? On the off chance that our young Mr. Brandon Imler decides to Google himself one day, and in turn stumbles upon this post. If he does, perhaps he will wonder what the title means, and Google “male privilege.” Maybe he will even realize how his letter reeks of it. You see, young Mr. Imler feels bad for rape victims. He really does! Honestly, he says so twice in the letter. See, if he didn’t feel bad for them, he definitely wouldn’t have said it twice. How absolutely compassionate of Brandon, who’s possession of a penis (great, now the Net Nanny program his mom put on his computer will block this page from his view.) makes the chances of him becoming a rape victim vastly less likely than those of any woman he sees throughout the day. How understanding he is, when his own lack of ovaries mean that even if he would suffer the indignity of a rape, he would never have a pregnancy result from his violation. I mean, it isn’t that much that he requests from women who are so victimized; only the use of their womb for 9 short months, right?
Brandon, I know you may not think that is asking much. Why would you? Not only are you in junior high, but by birthright you will never have to worry about getting pregnant. Like many owners of testes, the thought of being raped has probably never crossed your mind, unless you happen to be especially homophobic, and your youth more than likely shields you from the fact that rape is a worry that women must carry throughout their lives. Perhaps you have never even considered how it would feel, if after you were raped you had to live with a reminder of the act growing inside you, changing your body, risking your life, flooding you with hormones, altering you, because after all, it’s a baby!
Hopefully, you will find this post, and read it. Perhaps it will make you think, maybe plant a seed, and somewhere down the line even change your view. I remember how I stank of male privilege when I was in junior high. No matter how many of my peers still allow it to blind them, I know that it can be shed, possibly not completely, but enough to recognize and confront it.
Male privilege is asking a woman to suffer through something you will never have to experience, while claiming that you feel bad for what you are forcing them to do.
Can you taste it? Chances are, even if you can, you will try to ignore it. Could be you will always equate abortion with first degree murder, in which case I hope that we never meet. To put it bluntly, people who hold views that extreme frighten the living hell out of me. That view leads to violence, just as other facets of male privilege lead to rape.
Or perhaps you will turn out differently, embarrassed by the opinions of your younger self, determined to fight against the veil that clouded your youthful vision.
Either way, off with you now. Back to your fantasy world where teenagers have opinions. (Couldn’t resist that one.)
My Chow and I stop at the Smokes and Lottery shack on our walk every Friday so I can pay my mother’s weekly tax for being bad at math. It is one of those local corner stores where everyone is a regular and everyone knows everybody’s name. (Everyone even knows my dogs name.) If you ever lived in a small town, you know the type of place I mean. This morning the one regular who I will call “Ralph,” a fiery far right conservative who delights in expressing his views to everyone in possession of an ear, was sharing his opinion on the Indonesian passenger jet that was shot down over the Ukraine, an opinion that actually led to two customers walking out of the store before making their purchases.
Before I share his opinion, let me be clear. I stopped listening to anything political that comes out of “Ralph’s” mouth years ago. It just isn’t worth it. To argue with him would be like arguing against Ann Coulter; not only is your opponent never going to back down or change their mind, but they probably only believe half of what they are arguing for anyway, latching on to the rest just to get a rise out of you. I doubt “Ralph” actually holds this opinion, because no one could hold this opinion. (Then again, my local newspaper recently published a letter claiming that since all mass shooters are registered Democrats, guns should not be sold to Democrats. Wrap your head around that. Not kidding, either. “ This leads me to conclude the answer to gun violence is to not sell guns to Democrats.” Not sure if the link will work, since the Altoona Mirror recently stopped allowing free online access to the paper. If my response letter gets printed though, I will post all the crazy. Okay, back to “Ralph.”) Chances are that this opinion exists only to piss people off. Everyone knows someone like that, who will say anything just to get someone to lose their cool. So what is this opinion that he loudly proclaims his right to hold?
Ahem. The people who are to blame in the death of the 298 passengers on board the Malaysian airliner that was shot down over the eastern Ukraine are the 298 people on board the airliner, who had no business flying in Ukrainian airspace knowing that there is tension in the area. It went beyond him blaming the 298 victims for their own horrific deaths, however, as he actively defended this opinion to two people who called him out on his bullshit opinion. I wish I could finish this post by transcribing his defense, his reasons why the fault should be laid at the vaporized feet of the deceased rather than those who fired the missile, but as I am sure you imagined already, his argument consisted of gibberish mixed with right wing talk radio talking points, in a steadily increasing volume. One must admit that his reasoning has a certain beauty to it. I can imagine the passengers gathering together before take off, insisting that the flight plan travel over Ukrainian airspace. One of the Dutch citizens, stoned out of his mind, must have suggested that they could all get a great picture of a surface to air missile in flight that way, leading the Australian contingent to urge the pilot to play “chicken” with any missile fired at them, after which they put another funnel web on the barby. The Malaysian crew was more than happy to comply, since getting hit by a missile would kill multiple white people, finally allowing them the glory of the kamikaze.
Because what the flying idiotic fuck? I’d try to follow his logic down the slippery slope rabbit hole, but the thought of using the word “logic” in the same paragraph with his victim blaming bullshit brings on a migraine. I’m just going to hit this pipe a few times, fill up my travel coffee mug, put my ear buds in set to a random podcast, maybe The Scathing Atheist, and take Princess Hyuna Anastasia for a multiple hour walk.
And I know what you are thinking. I wish I made this up, I really do. Because hearing an actual person say those actual words today nuked whatever faith I still held for our species.
I took Princess Hyuna Anastasia, Chow Chow heir to the Canine Kingdom, Protector of her Human Family, Friend to Guinea Pigs from Every Land, also known as The Squirrel Barker, The Rabbit Chaser, and The Cat Worrier, to the vet for her annual visit Tuesday. I kept her close to my side in the waiting room, because people with small dogs only see the reputation of Chow’s when they look at Princess. This led to a solid 15 minutes of Princess whining, seeing how she is curious, friendly, and playful. The last thing she wanted to do was to sit quietly by my side. There were other dogs in the room! She doesn’t understand that people are worried she will make a quick snack out of their lap dog, she just wants to play. Since she can’t play; whine.
So after 15 minutes of listening to royalty whine pitifully, we were moved to an examination room. Princess hopped up onto the scale for the vet assistant, and then we proceeded to wait for another 15 minutes until the vet could see us. So we are now in a room, alone, with the smells of countless other animals, which led to….15 more minutes of pitiful whining! Soon enough the vet entered the room, probably after skipping 4 other patients just so she could get the whining dog out of the office. Princess hopped back onto the scale, (which is also an elevating examination table. Nifty!) turned her nose up at the treat the Doctor offered her, (typical diva behavior) and almost behaved for the examination. She was fine for the stethoscope, she allowed the vet to check out her teeth and to poke and prod her all over, but she wanted nothing to do with the vet looking in her ears. Then it was needle time, and she took both shots like a little trooper, without a whine or a flinch. If they made puppy dog lollipops, Princess would have left the vet’s office holding one proudly.
So why, you are no doubt asking yourself, am I boring you with this story? Well, ever since we left the vet’s office, things have been kinda strange. Princess was never much for talking; she is, after all, a dog. But since Tuesday not one word has escaped her mouth, nothing but barks, woofs, and whines. The amount of eye contact she makes with us has suffered as well. I was giving her part of a hot dog earlier, and instead of making eye contact, she was following the piece of food with her eyes instead. It was disturbing. Then this morning, when I took her on her daily morning walk to visit her subjects, she chased a squirrel up a tree, but instead of standing at the foot of the tree, barking up at the squirrel, letting it know that it was Princess Hyuna Anastasia, The Squirrel Barker who forced it into the tree, she simply continued on our walk like there never was a squirrel.
I was frightened, so I started to do some research. I went to a few websites, AoA, Generation Rescue, and the like. I looked into the “research” of one Andrew Wakefield, and then I went to Pirate’s Bay and torrented up some Oprah and a whole mess of The View. I swear, Jenny was speaking right to me, now that I had this experience.
You see, the vet gave my dog 2 shots. Vaccines. For rabies and distemper, so she claimed. But I know what they really were.
Yes. The vet, or should I say the evil pawn of Big Pharma, shot my poor innocent Princess full of the autism. I know it. It is just like Jenny McCarthy said about measles. It isn’t so bad. I’d take the measles over the autism any day. And so it is with rabies. I mean, how bad could it be? They claim that it is fatal and drives animals mad just so we naively “protect” our furry friends with their evil vacci-autism-nations. I heard that cases of rabies are actually just reactions to the vaccines.
My poor dog, my lovable companion. Will she ever be the same, now that the Big Pharma villains have got their autism into her? We can only pray. I got the number of an underground vet who specializes in canine chelation. I will keep everyone posted.
Until then, I urge all pet owners to be vigilant when it comes to your pets health. Make sure to ask the vet if there is Thimerosal in the poison shot they try to give to your Fluffy. Make them prove to you that the threat of “rabies” is worse than the toxic autism juice they want to inject into your animal. Tell the vet that you will only let them inject their “vaccines” into your lovable pet if they first mainline a dose themselves, right in front of you. I guarantee that they will refuse, which proves my point, does it not? If the state tries to step in and cite some “law” that says all pets must be vaccinated, tell them that your religion forbids you from vaccinating your pets. It works for kids, after all. (Which, in my opinion, is the biggest piece of evidence that vaccines are scams. If vaccines really were such a boon to public health, the government would never let an individuals religious beliefs trump such a legitimate compelling state interest.) If they balk, tell them that your pet’s religion forbids vaccination. It doesn’t matter if they believe you or not. I’m sure one of those Christian legal funds with names that make them sound like the ACLU will be happy to defend you in court, and by the time the case is ruled on, the lifespan of your pet will be over.
If you feel like protesting in front of your local vet’s office, may I suggest the following signs?
Rabies Not Autism!
Distemper? Worry About MY Temper, Big Pharma Shills!
Chelation Not Vaccination!
DHPP? MMR? Canine or Human, It’s All Poison!
Squeaky Toys, Not Bordetella Vaccines
Bordetella? Rabies? DHPP? Leptospirosis? TOO MANY! TOO SOON!
Boycott the Vet! Choose Homeopathic Vaccinations from your Local Naturopathic or Chiropractic Animal Healer!
Sure, they have years and years of education, with framed papers on the wall telling us that they know what is best for our animal friends. But we have Google! Jenny McCarthy would never steer us wrong. After all, she is famous! Famous trumps educated, we all know that. And remember: Sure, your dog may go insane, foam at the mouth, kill a roomful of school children and then die in extreme pain, but at least your dog isn’t autistic!
Mildly amusing, horrifyingly depressing.
Originally posted on Dr. Jen Gunter:
Man: Officer, my car was broken into and my laptop was stolen.
Officer: Are you sure?
Man: Uh, yes. I was sitting right here in the driver’s seat. This guy I used to know opened the passenger door. I yelled “Hey! Get out!,” and after the initial shock (when I was simultaneously paralyzed by surprise and fear) I tried to push him out, but he was stronger. He grabbed my laptop from the back seat and then ran away.
Officer: Did you scream for help?
Man: I’m not sure, I mean, I think so. It all happened so fast and I was kind of scared. I thought the type of guy who forces his way into a car with a person sitting right there, well, he might be the kind of guy who could hurt someone.
Officer: Did he hit you or say he would hit you if you didn’t…
View original 491 more words
This story actually took me by surprise. I honestly didn’t think anyone was this stupid. From the Onion’s AV Club:
In the genetic experiment gone horribly wrong that is Facebook, satire is the deadliest extinct species—as voice actor and professional Santa Jay Branscomb recently found out, when he posted the above photo decrying Steven Spielberg’s senseless slaughter of a triceratops. A play on the controversy surrounding big game-hunting cheerleader Kendall Jones, the photo came accompanied by the caption, “Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man.”
And while many immediately recognized it as a set photo from Jurassic Park—then took pains to identify it as such some 5,000 times over—those who were cloned from an amber-preserved mosquito containing the angry blood of the Internet answered the call. The result was, to paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm, a living example of chaos theory, with one butterfly ironically flapping his wings, and suddenly we’re looking at one big pile of shit.
Now I have very little faith in the intelligence of the average internet dweller, but this was a bridge too far. I mean, it is a dinosaur. And Steven Spielberg. And people are filling up the comments proclaiming those two facts over and over again. Finally. Finally I can say “no one is that stupid” and actually be right. I went to grab my calendar to mark this momentous date down and then I saw it.
If I prayed, I would be praying that this is a Poe. The thought that someone is that stupid scares me.
That’s not the only one, by the way.
Photo from The AV Club. Click on over and read the whole post!
Is it just me, or are we forced to deal with a story like this every fucking week now? From KHOU.com out of Houston:
SPRING, Texas – The suspect in a mass shooting that left six people dead, including four children, ended a 3-hour long standoff Wednesday night by surrendering to authorities.
The incident happened at a home in the 700 block of Leaflet in the Enchanted Oaks subdivision.
Deputies responded to a shooting and found the victims. The sole survivor, a 15-year-old female, told authorities the gunman was on his way to another home to kill more relatives. The deputies beat him to that home.
A standoff took place in a cul-de-sac on Countrymeadows near Country Canyon. Neighbors were forced out of their homes as the situation unfolded.
After more than three hours, the suspect surrendered to authorities.
All the national outlets are all over this story this morning. I chose to quote a local source because it reflects updated information most of the national stories lack. Yesterday it was reported that the shooter was the father of the child victims, yet today the police have said that the relationship was unclear.
The victims were ages five to 40. Four children and two adults died. According to authorities, it was a domestic dispute between a man and his estranged wife.
Authorities did not release the victims’ identities and did not say how they might be related to each other or the suspect.
The 15-year-old girl is the hero here. Yahoo News tells how she saved the lives of more potential victims:
The 15-year-old was allegedly shot by the gunman, but managed to tell police who he was before she was rushed via helicopter to a hospital, where she was in critical condition, according to authorities. She is the lone survivor of Wednesday’s bloody rampage at a home in Spring, Texas.
The teen managed to dial 911 after she was shot – telling police that the man shot four of her siblings ages 4 to 13 and two adults before fleeing the house to try to kill her grandparents.
“She was able to provide us the name of the person who shot them, where he was going next,” Constable Ron Hickman said during a press conference late Wednesday. The constable had initially said the gunman was her father, but authorities backed away from that statement early today, saying the relationship was unclear.
Police called the girl their “only clue” in finding the shooter, who is now in custody.
That’s it. No snark. Move along.
Reality has never been a particular concern of science denialists. Creationists are not interested in learning the facts of evolution anymore than the deniers of human aided climate change want to understand how our species’ byproducts effect the planet’s carbon cycle. “The human eye is too complex to have evolved,” they claim. So you turn on the television and call up your dvr’d copy of Cosmos, or pull a popular science book on evolution off the shelf, or if comfortable enough with the subject, just explain the fascinating way that natural selection crafted light sensitive spots on cells, step by step through out the long history of life on Earth, into the complex varieties of eyes found in nature today with your own words. And if you can actually get them to pay attention and follow along, the vast majority of the time the result is the same. They look you in the eye and say, “the human eye is too complex to have evolved.”
Most climate change deniers share this trait with evolution deniers; an ideological basis to their belief on the issue. The scientific evidence for both issues is overwhelming. The consensus is in, and any actual debate within the scientific community is on specific mechanisms and matters of degree. How much warmer is the climate going to get? How much can we limit the damage if we act now? Is there anyway to stop it now that we have started it? What other natural causes drove evolution other than natural selection? What role did gene transfers play early on in the history of life? The questions are endless, and the deniers are quick to use this legitimate scientific debate to try to make the public believe the consensus is much weaker than it is in truth. Stephen J Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibrium and the scientific debate surrounding it has been pulled out of context and used by creationists to paint evolution as a theory in crisis for decades. They do not care about the context because they do not care about the science. Their ideology tells them that God created us all six thousand years ago, or that men have dominion on Earth and God would never let us unbalance the cycles, or whatever their own particular reason for turning their backs on evidence, reason, and logic happens to be, and that is all that they care about the issue. The evidence against them becomes a conspiracy. The existence of a scientific consensus turns them into a persecuted minority. It becomes more than a question of scientific literacy. Suddenly it is a plot by the atheists to turn their children away from Christ. A trick by the secular left to convince people that we are only animals to change the nation’s sexual morality. An attempt by the Muslim in the White House to get us more dependent on oil from the Middle East by making the practically infinite reserves in our country untouchable. Or the final ploy of the pinko, socialist, homosexual hippies seeking to end the American way of life by forcing men to emasculate themselves and perform such humiliating actions as conserving, recycling, and driving a compact electric car instead of a manly Hummer 3, factory modified to burn coal.
Ideology before reality unfortunately has become a trend. Perhaps it always was so, at least for a certain segment of the population. I would love to yearn for a time past where people studied the evidence and reached rational conclusions on issues, using their new found knowledge to update their ideological worldview, rather than the tragic mirror image that seems so common today, but I question if any such time actually existed. If there is any sort of silver lining to this cloud that interferes with rational policy debate, it would be the unintentional comedy that results when people hostile to science try to claim a scientific basis for their ideological beliefs. Listening to a young earth creationist explain how the scientific evidence really does support a global flood a few thousand years in the past is practically identical to hearing a satirist skewer the same beliefs. There is a reason Poe has a law. The denialist doesn’t care if the scientifically literate thinks his arguments are insane. They only have to make sense to him, because scientific arguments are just accessories to the ideological certainty.
Today we will travel to the Kentucky state legislature to learn a bit about the climate on other planets in our solar system. Why Kentucky? Because it may be the only place in the nation where this specific fact can be learned. No university or high school teaches this bit of trivia, yet here in the Kentucky state Senate, Sen. Brandon Smith is straight up schooling people during a hearing on climate change:
“As you (Energy & Environment Cabinet official) sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.”
There is nothing at all I could possibly add to that. That is a State Senator. An elected official. As Ed Brayton points out in his post:
Smith has been elected to the Kentucky House four times and the Kentucky Senate twice.
That, my friends, is weapon grade idiocy.