Let Us Bask in the Glow of Young Male Privilege

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.

Brandon Imler

Altoona Area

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.)

They Threw a Tea Party

Mixing their gift for political doublespeak with the nation’s love of alliteration, the Blair County Tea Party sponsored the 6th annual “Freedom Fest” yesterday, (Sunday, 7/20/14) drawing a crowd of approximately 150 who suffered the loss of significant quantities of brain cells while listening to conservative talk show host Rose Tennent.  (That sound you just heard was the sound of all 0f my readers asking “who?” in unison.)  In keeping with the alliterative “F” theme of the event, Rose was quick to bring the discussion around to the founding fathers:

“We are living in a time not unlike Thomas Paine’s time … a time that tries men’s souls,” Tennent said.

It is so fitting for Tea Party activists to latch on to the words of Thomas Paine, since it is so obvious that he would support the ultra-conservative Christian theocratic vision so many of them seem to share.  It is a fact many of us progressives desperately want to deny, but it is far past the time for honesty.  How could anyone read Thomas Paine’s words:

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

or more to the point

that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty

and not believe that we would find him today, wrapped in the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, at the forefront of the culture wars if he still lived?  No matter the words that one hears at a Tea Party event, the truth is that if the previously mentioned founding fathers still drew breath, the Tea Party would label them “socialist God-haters,” Ann Coulter would savage them in a best seller titled “Pinko: How America Narrowly Avoided the Yoke of Godless Communism Desired by the so-called Founding Fathers,” and Rush Limbaugh would cause an eruption of controversy by calling Betsy Ross* “the nation’s first slut” and claiming that the stars on the flag represented each founding father that she bedded rather than the number of states in the union.

But this is the Tea Party we are talking about, and no one ever claimed they gave a single solitary shit about reality.  In their minds and at their rallies, the founding fathers become The Founding Fathers (trademarked), God-fearing conservative Christian men who wanted to form a nation in the image of Jesus, ruled by the free market, where what little government was allowed to exist concerned itself solely with the defense of the nation, outlawing intoxicants, insuring citizen’s right to own AK-47s, protecting the favored status of Christians who worshiped correctly, and controlling that dastardly bit of sin that resided between the legs of sinful women.  Ever since the nation was born, the devil has been trying to undermine their sacred vision through such tactics as activist judges, civil rights laws, and pinko commie democrats.  Let’s return to the train wreck:

But the founding fathers, she said, put their energy and sacrifices into building a nation that was free and prosperous, not only for their children but for future generations. So when it comes to leaving an inheritance, she had one recommendation.

“It must be liberty,” she said, drawing applause.

The highlight of Rose Tennent’s rousing speech will not soon be forgotten:

“You and I are people our founding fathers never met,” she said.

What an incredible use of language.  Even as her political opponent, it brought a tear to my eye.  It was a tear of laughter, but still, it was a tear.  The article unfortunately did not note the reaction of the 150 person strong crowd upon finding out that they never met men who were politically active in 1776.  Was it a knowing nod?  A gasp of shock?  A jaw dropping moment of realization?  Alas, until I find another witness to the event, we can only wonder.

After Rose’s patriotic, buzzword filled, meaning devoid speech it was time for the entertainment portion of the event, with Blair County Tea Party President Andrew Katz surprising all in attendance with a blisteringly hilarious stand up set.  Simply writing about it will in no way do justice to his brilliant routine, so I won’t even try.  If you have a chance to see him perform though, I recommend it without hesitation.  To try to give you the flavor of his style of comedy, I will quote just one of his jokes, but remember that the delivery matters as much as the material:

Blair County Tea Party President Andrew Katz said the organization remains a nonpartisan group

Even typing the sentence caused coffee to shoot out my nose, covering the screen and the keyboard.  It is almost like Fox News calling itself “fair and balanced,” yet so much more absurd that the laughter comes unwilled and unwanted.

The article ends abruptly, so I can only imagine what other entertainment was provided at this year’s Freedom Fest.  Perhaps a dunking booth featuring a femi-nazi taunting contestants with man-hating bile like “women should be paid the same as men for the same work,” “no means no,” or “make your own damn sandwich”?  An original copy of the US Constitution that includes the 713 references to Jesus Christ that the Founding Fathers(Trademarked) included that the evil secularists somehow managed to erase?  A duck pond, that replaced the rubber ducks with little rubber fetuses?  A caged African-American homosexual who for 5 dollars will provide you with a picture of the two of you and a note stating he is your friend, so you aren’t lying when you say “I’m not racist/homophobic, one of my best friends is black/gay”?  A shooting gallery with targets consisting of pro-choice protesters and Muslims?  My imagination runs wild.

Perhaps next year, I will have to take a field trip.

 

*Yeah, I know the Betsy Ross story is more than likely apocryphal.  If you care to suggest a different well known historical woman from the time period that I can have serve as the nation’s first victim of slut-shaming, feel free to make the suggestion.

A New Form of Victim Blaming…

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.

Yep.

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.

Healthy Puppy

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!

or

Distemper? Worry About MY Temper, Big Pharma Shills!

or

Chelation Not Vaccination!

or

DHPP?  MMR? Canine or Human, It’s All Poison!

or

Squeaky Toys, Not Bordetella Vaccines

or

BordetellaRabies? DHPP? Leptospirosis?  TOO MANY! TOO SOON!

 

or finally:

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!

 

Arizona Citizens Maintain Delusion That Caucasian Christians Were the True Native Americans.

Salon brings us our latest location for the possible outbreak of right wing violence, this time over immigration and in Arizona:

Waving yellow Gadsden flags and looking like refugees from Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch, dozens of immigration opponents have amassed on a local road in Oracle, Arizona, to block the expected transfer of 40 undocumented children from Central America to a nearby juvenile detention facility. So far the group, which includes members of the “patriot”/wingnut Arizona State Militia, has only blocked a bus carrying kids from a local YMCA. Like their friends in Murrieta, California, the Oracle heroes think the proper way to protest U.S. immigration policy is to threaten young children.

Their leader, Robert Skiba, previewed his plans to Breitbart News on Sunday. “We’ve got to wake people in America up,” the 85-year-old veteran declared. “This is our country. We’re just average people. [But] we’re not going to let them shove this down our throats … I’m used to controversy of all kinds, and people need leadership, and I’m going to provide them with leadership.”

Before typing another word, I would like to reveal a hypothesis I have been working on; If you ever find yourself previewing your plans to Breitbart News, something is tragically wrong with your plans.  While I will have to delve deep into the archives of Breitbart, I am fairly confident any plans I find previewed there will be awful, allowing me to move closer to the theory stage.  I will keep you posted.  Now back to scaring the shit out of children and providing racists good leadering.

Leadership is also coming from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who is trying to rival Maricosa County’s Joe Arpaio when it comes to macho intimidation of undocumented immigrants. Babeu, you may recall, had to abort a 2012 GOP congressional campaign when a gay ex-lover, who was Mexican, said Babeu threatened him with deportation if they broke up. (Babeu denied the charge.) Rather surreally, he’s become a national leader in the anti-immigration movement, and now he’s crusading against relocating 40 immigrant children to his county.

“We already have our hands full fighting the drug cartels and human smugglers. We don’t need unaccompanied juveniles from Central America being flown into Arizona, compliments of President Obama,” Babeu said in a statement to the Arizona Republic. “Local residents have every right to be upset and to protest.” Babeu insists, with no evidence, that the young men coming to Oracle may have ties to the Salvadoran gang MS-13, a common theme among right-wing vigilantes fighting the influx of undocumented kids.

Yeah, cause the last thing Arizona needs is a busload of pistol-packing, weed-smoking, taco-eating, MS-13 tattooing, shifty-eyed, greasy-haired, lettuce-picking, siesta-taking, heroin-smuggling, job-stealing, welfare-thieving, non English-speaking,  brown-skinned, Speedy Gonzales wannabees running around looking the same color as the terrorists.  What?  Racist?  I can’t be racists.  Some of my best servants employees friends are Mexican!

Skiba says he found out about the relocation plans from Babeu. “I choked,” the Air Force veteran told Breitbart News. He told Babeu, “We will take care of this.” Phoenix New Times reports that Skiba learned of the plans from Babeu at an NRA women’s luncheon in Tucson last week.

“We’re going to engage in peaceful assembly,” Skiba told New Times. “And if these buses with these people from Central America come in, we’re going to stop it. We’re going to turn them around and send them back, just like they did in Murrieta, California.”

Well at least it is going to be peaceful.  Wait.  How are they going to get the bus to turn around?  Asking nicely?  Forming a human chain in front of it?  Did that say “NRA women’s luncheon?!?”

The crowd Skiba and Babeu have amassed includes some armed folks dressed in camouflage, including Arizona State Militia members guarding former Sen. Russell Pearse, the architect of the state’s SB 1070 “show us your papers” law.

Cause after you take you gun to Chili’s and Starbucks, using them to stop buses full of children just seems natural.

 

The GOP’s New Tactic to Win Those Uppity Women Voters

I can almost picture you now, reading with bated breath, anxious to get an insight into Republican strategy.  Will they break with religious conservatives and throw their support behind universal contraceptive coverage?  Is the House going to launch an investigation into pay inequality and form a task force to end the practice?  Are they going to warn their members that any comments making light of rape, defending rape culture, slut-shaming or victim blaming will result in the national party pulling all support?  Dream on!  No, the GOP has a much more nefarious plan in mind.  They’re just going to dumb down their message so simple women folk can understand them.  From Salon: (bolding is mine as always)

It’s hard to keep track of the number of memos and strategy sessions the Republican Party has now dedicated to attracting (or at least not repelling en masse) women voters who aren’t white, wealthy and married, but apparently there was another such meeting held last week. As Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner reports, members of the Republican Study Committee got together on Friday to discuss women voters, and concluded that bringing policy discussions “down to a woman’s level” was the solution to all the GOP’s problems. (Not mentioned as possible solutions, though in line with the new strategy: Talking very slowly, not making any sudden movements, offering tiny cupcakes to reward midterm election turnout.)

Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level,” Renee Ellmers explained. “Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.

We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go,” she concluded.

Of course.  It’s not that women find GOP policies repugnant, it’s that they can’t understand them.  I am sure this is just the first of many tactical changes for the new GOP.  I heard whisperings from a very reliable source* that the GOP’s new Latino outreach program consists of first bringing the message down to a woman’s level, then shouting it, slowly and loudly, in English at the nearest person of Hispanic descent.  The very same reliable source* has heard rumblings of a new outreach to the homosexual community, focusing on explaining how even though they are abominations in the eyes of God, as long as they stop that disgusting anal gay sex stuff they can be accepted by both Jesus and the Republican party.

But what’s more striking here is that this isn’t an isolated statement; it’s the fundamental way that the GOP frames gender in 2014. They may talk a good game about what women care about — the economy, jobs, education — but their policy positions and constantly regurgitated talking points reveal time and again that the GOP views women’s role as in the home, their greatest contributions as those made in the service of family. This is why women like Ellmer argue that women (read: mothers) can only understand the federal budget through their management of the family purse, rather than just picking up a newspaper and reading and interpreting information — abstract and personal — like anyone else.

After the debacle of 2012, the year of the “GOP War on Women,” I honestly expected the GOP to engage in a little re-branding.  I didn’t think they would change their actual views on the issues, but I did think that they would soften their language on certain subjects, and try to push some of their more extreme beliefs out of the public eye.  I got this impression from actual highly regarded Republicans, from the statements they made shortly after Obama’s reelection.  And yet, if any change has taken place, it has served to make the party even more extreme.  Fox News bleats endlessly of “Beyonce voters,” George Will claims that “sexual assault victim” is a status to be desired, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gets primaried for not being sufficiently conservative on immigration.  Any idea of a problem that existed immediately after the 2014 drubbing has evaporated.  It’s not only that the GOP platform includes nothing that could be called sexist, it is that sexism itself no longer exists.  Just ask Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: (bolding,mine, yadayada)

Good news, everyone. There is no such thing as gender discrimination in the workplace anymore because Mitch McConnell says so. As Patrick Caldwell at Mother Jones points out, McConnell announced the happy news last week at Fastline Publications, a company that produces farm equipment catalogs.

I could be wrong, but most of the barriers have been lowered,” McConnell said. “I don’t grant the assumption that we need to give preferential treatment to a majority of our population. [...] We’ve come a long way in pay equity, and there are a ton of women CEOs now running major companies.”

This is an amazing development, obviously. (Too bad that Rush Limbaugh scooped him about the death of sexism a couple of weeks ago.) Now that most of the barriers have been lowered, someone should probably tell the 24 women on the Fortune 500 CEO list  – 4.8 percent of the list — that they have achieved parity, and that there are a “ton” of them. Once we alert them, maybe they can spread the word to the women who make less than their male colleagues for the exact same work, as documented in a breakdown of median weekly salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Among the Bureau’s nearly 600 listed occupations, women earn less than men in all but seven of them. So spreading this message could take time. Better activate those phone trees.)

Ah, the “new” GOP.  Motto?  “Get in the kitchen, and make me a sammich!”

 

If we investigated campus theft like we investigate campus rape

fosterdisbelief:

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

Will Somebody Please Call Poe?

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.

640

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.

*shiver*

Photo from The AV Club.  Click on over and read the whole post!

Guns Continue to Keep People Safe…

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.

*sigh*

That’s it.  No snark.  Move along.

 

Prepare to Stare, Mouth Agape and Wide Eyed, With the Single Thought of “Wait. What?!?”

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.

 

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