Ending the Disease Model, or “It Isn’t My Fault I Keep Shooting All This Heroin. I Have a Disease!”

Salon has a good piece up today on the book “The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease.”

Lewis’s argument is actually fairly simple: The disease theory, and the science sometimes used to support it, fail to take into account the plasticity of the human brain. Of course, “the brain changes with addiction,” he writes. “But the way it changes has to do with learning and development — not disease.” All significant and repeated experiences change the brain; adaptability and habit are the brain’s secret weapons. The changes wrought by addiction are not, however, permanent, and while they are dangerous, they’re not abnormal. Through a combination of a difficult emotional history, bad luck and the ordinary operations of the brain itself, an addict is someone whose brain has been transformed, but also someone who can be pushed further along the road toward healthy development. (Lewis doesn’t like the term “recovery” because it implies a return to the addict’s state before the addiction took hold.)

I could turn this into an epic rant against the Disease Model or against 12 Step programs, but I’d rather you just go and check out the post at Salon, or even better, just check out and read the book itself and cut Salon out of the deal completely. Of course, I can’t completely stop myself from bitching, so….

Without a doubt, AA and similar programs have helped a lot of people.

No article on addiction treatment can be complete, no matter how antithetical it may be to them, without sucking off the 12 Steps.

To Quote Sarah Palin: “I’m Sorry. I Shouldn’t Laugh…..This Hard.”

Can not……resist……low hanging……fruit…..

Bristol Palin announces second out of wedlock pregnancy.

Wait.  How could this happen?  I mean…..

“There may be multiple forms of contraception, but I’m here to say that one fact remains. Those that practice abstinence have no chance of becoming pregnant,” Bristol Palin said

Yes, but the practice is sooooo much harder than the preaching, amirite?  Say what you will, Bristol has now officially become the perfect spokesperson for abstinence only education and the whole “contraception is evil, I’ll just say ‘no’ until marriage!” movement, since she has now twice experienced the end result of putting all your eggs in the abstinence basket: fertilized eggs.

Bad Day to Be a Bigot!

Fellow straight men everywhere, remember to lock your doors tonight.  With today’s ruling by the Supreme Court making marriage equality the law of the United States, those of us who have been following the right’s arguments against gay marriage now get to witness the accuracy of their predictions of the aftermath.

I for one totally expect the first roving band of homosexuals, marching down each and every block, kicking in the doors of any and all straight men to abduct and gay marry them against their will, about 20 minutes after sunset.  Once all the straight men in America have been forcibly gay married it will be time for the real fun to begin.  Before this time next Friday, I am sure the first quad-lawyer marriage will have been performed.  (Shout out to those of us who actually listen to Supreme Court oral arguments, who are the only people to get that joke.  Well, and faithful watchers of the Rachael Maddow Show as well I guess, but that’s cheating.)  Once the four-way attorney nuptials take place, it will just be a matter of time, perched at the summit of a steep incline that happens to be carpeted with countless Slip’N Slides , until the premonitions of the right come true.  What will the first slip down the slope actually be?  Will it be the touching love between a man and his dog, now legalized as marriage?  Farmer and sheep?  Priest and altar boy? Stoner and bong?  Porn addict and right hand?  Lannister and Lannister?

Pop some popcorn, lock the doors up tight if there are any straight men in your abode, and let’s watch Nero fiddle his way through Sodom in the wake of the Supreme Court officially ending the golden age of Godly Merika, forcing God’s hand of protection from the US to a true God fearing, queer hating nation, Russia.  I am sure the airports are flooded with Christians fleeing state persecution, seeking safety in Putin’s warm embrace.  Godspeed.

Attention: All those who are against marriage equality.

I’m making fun of you.  I’m making fun of your inability to understand what the words “consenting adults” have to do with relationships and marriage, not just for same sex but for any possible pairing.  I’m making fun of your  persecution complex, and your absurd beliefs that being forced to provide any women you employee with slut pill coverage, possibly bake a cake for someone who’s bedroom antics offend you, or actually do your job if you happen to be a court clerk or magistrate somehow equals religious persecution.  (Which would be rich even if there wasn’t legitimate religious persecution taking place somewhere on the planet.  Since we live in a world where people really do get killed for believing in the wrong invisible friend, your persecution act crosses the line from amusing to offensive.)   I’m making fun of you because you spent decades fighting to discriminate against people only because the stuff they do in the bedroom either makes you sick or makes you really, really, really horny, but since you can’t admit that because OMGZ TehGheyS! you instead pretend it makes you sick.  Seriously.  Chances are next to certain that whatever any two anti-marriage equality bigots do in the bedroom would make me a bit queasy, but you don’t see me trying to stop bigot marriage, do you?

Why am I telling you that I am making fun of you when anyone with half a working brain cell would have realized the intent of my post?  Have you seen the legal arguments your side used against marriage equality?  They’re so bad that no one with half a working brain cell would ever think of using them in a kangaroo court, let alone at the Supreme Court.  You see my dilemma.  Once I assume any possible reader of this post possesses a working brain cell, I find my post quoted on Breitbart as “biting criticism of the Courts ‘legislating from the bench,’ including several chilling predictions for the future of the new America.”

 

The Curious Response from the Right to Charleston

So a white 21 year old, whose since removed Facebook page featured a picture of him wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid South Africa and white-ruled Rhodesia, whose car sported a Confederate flag commemorative plate, who had a reputation for making racist jokes and having real “Southern pride” and “Strong conservative views,” who had recently made a habit out of talking about black people “taking over the world,” drives two hours away from his home to an African American church with a strong history in the civil rights movement and kills 9 people and yet there is a segment of the population that insists the shooting had nothing to do with race.

Seriously.

When a black individual attacks a white person, it is obviously a case of “kill whitey” black on white racism.  If a person of Middle Eastern descent kills a white person, it is obviously either terrorism or anti-American racism.  But every time the perpetrator happens to be white, then it is always mental illness.

Rand Paul:

“There’s a sickness in our country, there’s something terribly wrong, but it isn’t going to be fixed by your government,” the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told a group of religious conservatives in Washington. “It’s people not understanding where salvation comes from.”

Ted Cruz, from the same article:

“A sick and deranged person came and prayed with an historically black congregation for an hour and then murdered nine innocent souls,” Cruz said, without referring to the race of the shooter.

Lindsey Graham takes the “its not about race, its about religion” approach:

South Carolina Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham pointed outthat it’s Christians who are the serial killer flavor of the month: “It’s 2015, there are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.”

Fox & Friends did the same, as only they can:

Fox & Friends couldn’t help dumbing down the debate by framing it simply as an “Attack on Faith,” while anchor Steve Doocy wondered aloud how people could “unbelievably” “call it a hate crime.”

Jeb Bush, like always, waited as long as possible before answering to judge which way the wind was blowing, and came up with this:

“I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes,” Bush told the crowd gathered for the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington, DC. He called the crime an “evil act of aggression” and said that “this has had a big impact on me.” But he didn’t refer to the racial motivations of the 21-year-old Roof.

Huffington Post reporter Laura Bassett later asked the former Florida governor if the attacks were racially motivated. Bush replied, “I don’t know.” He then clarified that it “looks to me like it was,” but reiterated that he didn’t know.

Now remember, this isn’t like the majority of mass shootings……..  Okay, hold on one second.  How fucking sad is it that I am typing that sentence in 2015 America?  “The majority of mass shootings.”  I know, mass shootings happen in other countries.  I just watched a documentary on the Hungerford Massacre, and I am aware of incidents such as the Port Arthur massacre and the 2011 Norway attacks.  I get it, mass shootings are not a strictly American pastime, but seriously, it seems like it is every fucking week here in the United States.  Sorry….

Now remember, this isn’t like the majority of mass shootings.  This time, the fucking murdering scum didn’t kill himself.  (I’m sure he thinks he’ll have a great life in the Aryan Brotherhood in prison or something.)  We don’t have to guess why he did it because we know in his own fucking words.

When he committed the murders, he reportedly told the victims, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.” And after he was arrested, he confessed to authorities that he committed the crime to start a “race war.

If it is obviously about race, why do they insist on trying to pretend its not about race?  Hint: It has something to do with having to appeal to the “base,” who is really the lunatic fringe who vote in large numbers during the primary season, and hence control the GOP and the right.

At least, that’s the only idea I have.

Me: Wow, the sky sure is blue today.

GOP Presidential Candidate #1: Looks yellow to me.  What do you say, Joe?

GOP Presidential Candidate #2: Yeah, definitely yellow.  How about you, John?

GOP Presidential Candidate #3 : Yellow with a touch of mauve.  How about it, Frank?

GOP Presidential Candidate #4: Well, I can see why a liberal may think it is blue, it is definitely yellow.  Where’s Waldo, anyways?

Fox & Friends Host: People must literally have ripped their own eyes out of the socket and flushed them down the sewer if they think that sky is blue.  It is the most yellow sky in the 6000 year history of the earth.

Brietbart Exclusive: Sarah Palin says people who think the sky is blue hate America!

Press release from the AFA: First the homosexual agenda came for your marriage, and now they have come for your sky color.  Once the courts rule the sky is blue, the Gay Mafia will turn it pink just like that!

Fox News: Special Alert 24 hour coverage of Blueghazi

Alex Jones: Its going to be FEMA concentration camps for those people who deny the “blueness” of the sky.  Just part of Obama’s plan.

The 700 Club: Suggests that those people who think the sky is blue may be possessed by a demon.

Much, much later, GOP Presidential Candidate Waldo: “Actually, the sky is kinda black tonight.”

.

.

I guess it could be worse.  They could all be giving the answer a certain NRA Board Member gave.  Take it away, Charles Cotton:

“Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

No comment needed.

Good News, Women! Apparently Forcing You to Have a Wand Shoved in Your Vagina While Lecturing You with a Medically Inaccurate, Condescending Script is Illegal!

In a decision that is sure to mystify Scott Walker, the Supreme Court decided not to review North Carolina’s Treat Women As If They Are Children Law (I fucking refuse to call it by its actual title, “A Women’s Right to Know Act,” because seriously?) on Monday,, rendering the condescending law unconstitutional in a rare bit of good news in the fight for women’s bodily autonomy.  The North Carolina law was a “forced ultrasound” law that required women seeking to terminate their pregnancy to undergo an ultrasound*, regardless of medical necessity, and, while lying on the exam table half naked, have the doctor first describe the image to her, and then read her a prepared statement designed to convince her not to have an abortion.  The little lady could close her eyes and plug up her ears if she so desired, but the doctor would have to complete his script or risk losing his license to practice.

It was a particularly draconian bit of compelled speech forced on patients in a particularly vulnerable position (half naked on an exam table, hours before a medical procedure), which is why it was blocked last year by a panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit. That court’s ruling gives some useful context for the severity of the law as it compares to other informed consent laws, so it’s worth including here:

Informed consent frequently consists of a fully-clothed conversation between the patient and physician, often in the physician’s office. It is driven by the “patient’s particular needs and circumstances” … so that the patient receives the information he or she wants in a setting that promotes an informed and thoughtful choice. This provision, however, finds the patient half-naked or disrobed on her back on an examination table, with an ultrasound probe either on her belly or inserted into her vagina… Informed consent has not generally been thought to require a patient to view images from his or her own body much less in a setting in which personal judgment may be altered or impaired. Yet this provision requires that she do so or “avert her eyes.”

Rather than engaging in a conversation calculated to inform, the physician must continue talking regardless of whether the patient is listening… The information is provided irrespective of the needs or wants of the patient, in direct contravention of medical ethics and the principle of patient autonomy. Forcing this experience on a patient over her objections in this manner interferes with the decision of a patient not to receive information that could make an indescribably difficult decision even more traumatic and could “actually cause harm to the patient.” … And it is intended to convey not the risks and benefits of the medical procedure to the patient’s own health, but rather the full weight of the state’s moral condemnation.

Forced ultrasound laws are just another arrow in the anti-choicer’s quiver of laws designed to sound perfectly reasonable and in the best interest of the women in question while attempting to hide there true purpose, which of course is the piecemeal elimination of abortion services.  Based on public opinion and this ruling, it seems as if requiring an invasive medical procedure no matter the opinion of the women’s doctor is a bit of an overreach with this tactic, although what the ruling means for the 10 other states with forced ultrasound laws is a bit of an unknown until they each work their ways through the courts.  Sadly it seems like a rare overreach, with many similar “the state knows what’s best for those flighty women folk” laws filling up state law books.  Hospital admitting privileges, ambulatory surgical center requirements, and waiting periods all seem like good ideas on the surface and seem as if the health and safety of women are the priorities of the laws rather than making it more and more difficult for lower income women to access abortion services, until you scratch a bit and see a little deeper.  Admitting privileges?  Abortion very rarely has complications, and in the rare case of one the providers lack of admitting privileges is not going to lead to the woman dying in the street, refused care at the hospital.  Of course, with the large number of hospitals affiliated with the Catholic Church and the simple fact that many secular hospitals don’t want to deal with the protesters and controversy that granting admitting privileges to a provider would invariably bring turns this seemingly well-intentioned regulation into a nifty way to eliminate abortion access.  Waiting periods are condescending, but what harm can be caused by insisting on a day or two waiting period to think about such an important choice?** It seems like a minor inconvenience, and I am sure it is for the upper class women seeking abortion services.  For the poorer woman who has to take multiple days off work, possibly arrange childcare on multiple days, and somehow procure transportation, quite a distance away in many cases, not once but now twice, the minor condescending inconvenience becomes a sometimes insurmountable hurdle.  The ambulatory surgical center law is quite similar.  After all, the lawmakers only want the women to receive their abortion in modern medical centers that are prepared to handle any possible emergency.  What do us pro-choice people want anyway?  A dirty table in a strip mall with a dumpster out back filled with fetuses?  Of course, requiring a surgical center for a procedure that for many women can be accurately described as “taking a pill at home” seems a bit….., over concerned for the woman’s health?  Which of course, is the point.  The anti-choice right doesn’t give two shits about the health of the woman as long as she is forced to carry her pregnancy to term.  Luckily, once you examine laws such as these their true purpose becomes clear as crystal, and the courts will definitely strike them down, right?

Right?

Not if you judge from the actions of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld nearly all of the provisions of HB 2, Texas’ extreme antiabortion law that requires abortion clinics to meet the hospital-like standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and mandates that abortion providers receive admitting privileges from nearby hospitals. The decision is expected to shutter all but a handful of abortion clinics across the state.

Sorry poor women.  You just aren’t as equal as your rich sisters.

Apologies for crushing the good news under the bad.  *shrug*  That’s just the state of reproductive health at the moment.

 

*North Carolina’s now dead law did allow women to decide what type of ultrasound they would receive, so at least it wasn’t a forced rape in addition to the medical procedure and lecture.

**  Funny how the same exact people who think women need a mandated waiting period to make up their flighty little minds about abortion, get outraged if you suggest that maybe people should have to wait a day or two to buy a handgun.

Ummm. What the Actual Fuck?

A fair question.  Isn’t the point of adapting a book for either the silver screen or television to tell the story told in the book?  I am not suggesting that you can’t make changes due to time constraints, complexity issues, economy of character needs, or even just flat out massaging of the story, but if you are setting out to tell a story that is fundamentally different from the source material, with characters who share little other than the name and physical descriptions of their source counterparts, why not just make an all original production?

Perhaps I am being a bit hyperbolic.  Let me try a different method.

It is magically the past, and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is all the rage.  Any adaptation is going to have critics, and Jackson’s was no different, especially when it came to his decision to cut Tom Bombadil from the films.  While there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the most pure of the book purists, most viewers didn’t miss him one bit.  To be frank, Bombadil is bit of a strange character who comes out of left field, disrupts the flow of the story, and disappears never to be heard from again.  He is a piece of world building, and when working with the written word, you have much more room to include things just for flavor.  The films are long.  Even as well done as they are, their length becomes noticeable while watching, and none of the three could really afford to be much longer.

But what if Jackson made some much more substantial changes to the story?  What if he decided that bringing Gandalf back in the second film was too cheesy, and kept his “Fly, you fools” moment as his last in the films?  And what if they decided that when Frodo got stung, Frodo was d-e-a-d dead.  And Aragorn never pretended to be Strider, because who does that?  Oh, and Éowyn was forced to marry Wormtongue  and he raped her while Théoden watched, and the point of the scene wasn’t what it did mentally or physically to Éowyn, but all about its affects on Théoden?  Oh, Oh, OH!!!!  And it isn’t Éowyn who kills the Witch-King during the climatic battle either!  Instead, it is a 11 year old boy named Olly.  Cause they will never see that coming.  Peter will just seed it through out the series with Aragorn and Olly nodding knowingly at each other during every scene.

I want to admit that feeling the overwhelming rage of book snobbery is a weird feeling for me.  After all, Game of Thrones (yes, that’s what this post is about.) is how I found the A Song of Ice and Fire series, which has become without doubt my favorite series of novels.  I started watching the show late in the second season, and had finished all the books by the start of the third season, and for the entirety of the third and fourth seasons, as I completed multiple re-reads of the series and finished all the supplemental writings on Westeros Martin had released, I defended the changes Dan and David, the showrunners (D&D), had made, often rolling my eyes at the next idiotic book snob complaint to come down the road.  (Seriously, you are going to bitch that Littlefinger didn’t say “Only Cat!” when he pushed Lysa out the Moondoor?  Seriously?)

I also admit that this season kind of frightened me.  Seasons 3 and 4 were adapted from A Storm of Swords, a book that is chock full of climatic moments and devastating plot twists.  While some characters (Sansa) had actually finished their written plots in the novels by the end of season 4, season 5 was still being set up to adapt two huge novels; novels much more slow paced than the previous one, with layer upon layer of intricate plotting.  I argue that it is impossible to fully grasp the combined work that is A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons on the first read through.  There is just too much going on that lies on the periphery, things the POV characters witness but never fully grasp.  Perhaps this is why so many seem to feel these books are the weakest of the series, while others (myself included) feel they are the best part of the series.  No matter your opinion on the books, however, after taking on a book per season for the first two, then splitting book three into two seasons, D&D were setting a mighty task for themselves by adapting the next two books into one season.

Casting news in the off season did nothing to end my fears.  No Greyjoys meant the removal of one plotline (which according to next seasons casting news, may be back in some form or the other), no Griffs meant the death of another, and no Arianne and the leak that Jaime and Bronn would be going to Dorne meant that plot was also receiving a major reshuffle.  Also, the recasting of Myrcella personally left a bad taste in my mouth, since I thought the job Aimee Richardson did in season 1 and 2 was excellent.  And yet I still anticipated the start of the fifth season like a fucking kid waiting for Christmas.  I actually subscribed to HBO this year for it.

And now, here I am, ten weeks later, having just watched a……

I don’t even know what to call it.  Let me be clear.  I have no idea how I would have felt about this season if I never read the books.  Being a book reader is a perspective I can not turn off, no matter how much I may like to at certain times.  There are some things I am fairly certain would be major issues without any book knowledge.  I can not see anyone saying the time spent in Dorne this year was time well spent, and I think having Sansa’s character arc going from innocent child who believes the songs—-abused betrothed to the King—-unwilling wife of Tyrion who treats her decent yet still under threat from Cersei and Joff——being whisked away to safety——reclaiming her identity and finally becoming a player!!!——raped, locked in a room, ready to die was a bit (to say the very least) ham-fisted.

Once you add in book knowledge, or more specifically, love of the source material, it just gets so much worse.  Take Jaime and Brienne for example.  Here is a brief take on their story line in the novels during this time.  Due to serious friction in their twincest relationship, the Queen Regent sends her brother through the Riverlands to bring the last rebels into the King’s Peace, while Brienne also sets off through the Riverlands on her quest to find and protect Sansa Stark.  Brienne first meets some travelers, then finds Podrick Payne following her and the join together.  Jaime enlists Ser Ilyn Payne (tongueless, remember) to join him as his sparring/drinking partner. Brienne meets some people from her past, a knight who she detests and Samwell Tarly’s dad.  Jaime visits a place from his past, Harrenhal, and begins doling out justice.  Brienne follows a lead in her quest and instead finds three former Brave Companions from her recent past.  She is forced to kill the three, the first people she kills apparently in her life, something that she herself had wondered if she would be able to do, that her trainer doubted she could.  It is a huge emotional moment for her, as well as a kicking fight scene.  The knight she detests shows up at the end, joining their little crew.  Jaime is killing time avoiding Riverrun, because he is trying to keep his oaths now, and he made an oath not to take up arms against the Tullys.  Instead he goes to Darry to visit the new Lord of Darry, his cousin (and Cersei’s sex boy) Lancel Lannister.  Lancel has changed a bit, going full on religious fanatic, hair shirt and all.  He tells Jaime all about his sins, and his plans to renounce his lordship, set aside his wife and become a knight sworn to the Seven.  Jaime is left disillusioned in his relationship with Cersei.  The Brienne crew visit the Quiet Isle and we see a different view of the Faith than the fanatical one in King’s Landing.  The Elder Brother tells Brienne much of the way the wars and violence affect the lives of men, explaining that he was a man of violence until he “died” in battle and found his way to the Quiet Island to begin his second life.  Huge moment for Brienne as she tells her whole story to the Elder Brother.  In the background of this location is a new recruit on the Island, The Gravedigger, who is very possibly Sandor Clegane, who “died” in violence, and has started his second life on the Island.  Jaime heads off to Riverrun, facing the problem of dealing with the siege forces comprised of loyal Westerners, recent enemies who just bent the knee, and selfish, poorly disciplined Freys and getting the castle to surrender, hopefully without a great loss of life on any side, preferably without having to break his oath about fighting Tullys.

I’m going to end the recap there, because it is getting long and I think you get the point.  Though the two characters do not meet until the very end of A Dance with Dragons, their stories are linked, with both characters learning about nearby plot developments through others eyes, and separately visiting places that echo with their shared past.  A few of my favorite chapters in the series are POV chapters from these two characters during these missions.  I think some of it is George’s best writing.

And even after writing all of that, if D&D really felt scrapping the book storyline and sending Jaime to Dorne was the right thing to do, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, until after I witnessed what they put in its place.

I really don’t know.  Over 8 million people tuned in for the finale, so even though the season has been getting flayed by critics and it doesn’t seem like a rash statement to say that this was the worst season of Game of Thrones by far, it was still a huge success for HBO.

So other than Jaime and Brienne, what problems did I have with the adaptation to move me into full book snob rage mode?  How much time do you have?  For book fans who are similarly disgusted I urge you to stop on over at both The Cultural Vacuum and GoT G&M, two sites that offer up rather hilarious insight into the differences between show and books while definitely pulling no punches.  It really is worth a visit, I promise.

*sigh*

I just really don’t get it.  I understand that some changes will have to be made in any adaptation, but this is now barely even the same story.  I know that very few people have any interest in this, so I will cut it off now, but damn….

 

No, Seriously. Tell Us How You Really Feel.

Online reactions to the McKinney video featuring Officer David Eric Casebolt’s debut match on national television versus the 15 year old jobber girl mainly broke…  Excuse me?  Wait, this video is from real life, not an episode of “Attitude Era” WWE Raw sports entertainment?  Seriously?

Online reaction to the McKinney video featuring Officer… This isn’t a clip from a movie about segregation in the deep south during the sixties?  This story actually happened in the real world?  Damn, that’s depressing.

Online reaction to the McKinney video…. blah blah blah, you’ve all seen the video, and if you’ve been paying any attention to the response you know it breaks down into those who think the police acted reasonably and those who seriously can not fucking believe anyone thinks the police acted reasonably.  As with any similar case, many of those defending the police use multiple variations of “I’m not a racist,…but,” and many regrettable social media posts are created, destined to live forever online no matter how soon after the delete command is given.  What makes this latest entry into the latter category so interesting is that she sounds like she was totally aware of just how offensive people were going to find her post before making the post.

wow                          (Credit: KCBD-TV)  (Thanks to Salon which is where I found the pic.)

I mean,she closes out her post by acknowledging the backlash the post is going to cause.  What the hell was she thinking?  Was she expecting everyone on her feed to push back from the keyboard, pause for a moment, and then break out into a slow clap in her honor, overwhelmed to the point of tears by her bravery as she stood up to the liberal media and the P.C. thought police by simply writing what all her friends (yes* they are all white, but not because she’s a racist, it is only due to her only being around white people to befriend! Totes not her fault!) were already thinking anyway, and then hitting “post?”  And that anyone she offended would be drowned out by the sea of people who, once given courage by her Martin Luther King-like example, would rise up, rushing to hit the “like” button on her post and add their own comment, preferably something like “Exactly what I was thinking, Karen!”, “What a breathtakingly eloquent way of posting that genius opinion, Karen!”, or “Women who express views similar to Karen’s who have the courage to hit “post” like Karen are hot, just not quite as hot as Karen who turns me on to an insane point.”

Was this just another case in the long line of poor social media judgement cases?  Was it career suicide?  An attempt to become Sean Hannity’s latest Culture War Warrior?  As an elementary school teacher, you knew she was fired once this hit the media.  (I mean, do anything even semi-controversial online as a teacher and see how long you stay employed.)  People are invariably going to come to her defense now using a poor understanding of the First Amendment just as they defended Donald Sterling.  (Sorry people.  Is the government at her door arresting her for her speech?  Ordering her never to say it again?  Censoring her post?  Blocking access?  No?  First Amendment saved!)  I will admit that I am personally a bit put off by a person losing their job over something they posted on Facebook, especially as someone who makes a habit of posting semi-controversial material fairly regularly.  But, that being said, in this case the profession in question is “teacher to nine year olds,” which does have a different set of standards than your average manufacturing job.  At the minimum, Karen Fitzgibbons displayed a stunning lack of good judgement, a characteristic that is quite desirable in teachers.  Her “apology” does nothing to earn her any sympathy either:

First, to anyone, of any race, that I have offended, I sincerely apologize. That was not my intent. I let my emotions get the best of me, and instead of taking a deep breath, vented in an inappropriate way. I am truly sorry……….

 I can, and will, use this situation as a real world example of how emotions and words can cause hurt to others. I am ashamed of my post. As I look back and reflect, I see how hurtful those words sounded. It is my hope that my sincere apology will be accepted.

Is that indeed your hope?

It almost never fails that in the aftermath of an incident such as this one, the person in question seems legitimately shocked that their sincere “not-ology” isn’t enough to make it all go away, and I think this case perfectly illustrates the reason why.  Karen, in this example, is making a very sincere apology, and I am not being sarcastic there.  The very fact of her sincerity can often lead to indignation when her apology is greeted with many rolling eyes.  “Dammit, what do these people want, I’m trying to apologize.  Maybe race wouldn’t be such an issue if some people didn’t hold onto grudges so long.”  Which just feeds back into her preconceived notions about the differences between her people and their people, resulting in the prejudice being reinforced rather than a lesson being learned.  Why?

Because she is apologizing for the wrong thing entirely, either intentionally due to unwillingness to change the underlying belief, or unintentionally for some arcane reason.  She isn’t apologizing for thinking that maybe segregation is a good idea that needs to return, she’s apologizing for letting us know that she is thinking that maybe segregation is a good idea that needs to return.  She’s apologizing for the action, not the underlying opinion that caused the action.  Yes the post is racist as all hell and she should apologize for making it, but much more offensive is the actual thoughts (if you can call them that) contained in her post.  You know, the opinion that black people are all high school flunk outs with absentee parents who need to be kept separate to protect the innocent whites?  The thought that returning to the days of forced segregation may be an idea worth thinking about again?

Seriously, we know you are sorry you made the post and offended people.  You lost your damn job, of course you are sorry, just as I am sure the officer in question is quite sorry he decided to go all MMA takedown on a bikini clad teenager.  After putting that much foot in mouth, no apology is going to make everything go back to normal.  The box done been opened.  Can’t just shove it all back inside, close the lid and pretend.  But just once I would like to see an apology like this, which wouldn’t make it all better but would at least be apologizing for the right thing:

Dear World,

Recently I posted a picture and made a comment that exposed the fact that I hold some pretty archaic views on race and that I am guilty of joining into a “us versus them” cultural narrative that is poisonous to improved racial harmony.  During my previous life these ideas were introduced to me and they took hold as part of my worldview, through forces working both conscious and unconscious.  My recent post served to reveal to the world that I had these constructs on race as part of what made me who I was.  And after seeing the responses flooding in to my inbox, and realizing the possible real world effects my post could have on my life, it is very tempting to be sorry only that I let people see that side of me, that my mistake was in hitting “post,” and not in the very ideas that caused me to consider segregation as a possible solution for modern day race relations.  I wish to apologize to everyone, not for making the post I made, for it shown the light of day on this dark part of my mind.  I wish to apologize for holding such hurtful and bigoted beliefs in the first place, and have decided to work to change this fault in my worldview through education, introspection, and conscious effort.  I hope you all can eventually forgive my ignorance as I strive to become a better person and to truly see all people as my brothers and sisters, regardless of accidents of birth such as color, religion, and social class.

Just once.  Seriously, it isn’t hard.  It probably wouldn’t have saved her job, but it would at least show that she realized the real problem isn’t the world finding out that she’s a racist, its being a racist in the first place.

* Just wanted to point out that I have absolutely no idea what the make up of Karen’s Facebook, or real life for that matter, friends list looks like.  It was an assumption made to make the joke work.  Just saving myself the angry “Just so you know, Karen has three people of African American heritage among the 176 people on her Facebook friends list.  You need to double check your facts before unfairly slandering people” replies.

Could a Judge Cite Matthew 7:1?

Oh, North Carolina.  We haven’t forgotten you.  We know you are down there in the south, and we know that your bigots are just as bigoted as the bigots from other southern states.  Perhaps even more bigoted, since your bigots may realize that thanks to population demographics and the open access to information provided by the internet, bigots just aren’t raising enough little bigots to replenish the bigot pool, resulting in a steady decline in bigot population, a trend that has hit North Carolina particularly hard.  Hard enough turn the state purple*, with Obama claiming North Carolina’s electoral votes in 2008.  Of course, thanks to the combination of gerrymandering** and single-representative districts***, North Carolina could turn a deep blue and the GOP could still control the state congress for close to a decade.

Yet even as the bigot well runs dry and bigoted parents discover how hard it is to raise little bigots when their children can access information freely, state legislatures proudly let their bigot flags fly, pausing in their quest to pass the most condescending and misogynist law dealing with women’s health care to take up a new sacred quest; to pass the most bigoted law possible while obfuscating the purpose of the bill enough to maintain plausible deniability.  First we had the state of Indiana with their version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, written with language broad enough to give businesses in the state a blank check when it came to discriminating against people because of their sexuality.    When Indiana Governor Mike Pence (Go ahead, guess.) signed the bill into law no one really knew what was going to happen.  The bill was obviously a homophobe’s wet dream**** and very unlikely to survive court challenges*****, but the possibility that there were enough far-right Christians with persecution complexes who would hold Gov. Pence up to be a hero made signing the bill an acceptable risk, at least to the Governor’s advisers.  The swift and vicious backlash that greeted Gov. Pence’s signature was heartening, and yet another sign that when it comes to this particular issue, the culture war is over, with those on the right divided between those who are trying to save some face as they surrender, and those who will fight a hopeless war until they die of old age.

Louisiana’s legislature, who was previously debating a similar bill, saw the backlash it caused in Indiana, not only from the left but also from the business right, and decided they would be in the “surrender while saving some face” camp.  Hilarious cartoon character/person who once said Republicans have to stop being “the stupid party,” Governor Bobby Jindal instead decided to continue debasing himself in any possible way to court the far right base of the GOP and receive the nomination for President in 2016****** by telling the legislature to suck it and declaring the bill law by executive order, then daring businesses to boycott Louisiana.

And now we have North Carolina, where the legislature passed a law that would allow state employees to refuse to issue marriage licenses by citing their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The bill allows magistrates and other officials to refuse to perform marriages or issue marriage certificates by citing a “sincerely held religious objection.” Once they have asked to opt out in writing, magistrates would be barred from performing any marriage, gay or heterosexual, for six months.

Republican Governor Pat McCrory, after witnessing the backlash in Indiana and the sad, strange actions of Gov. Jindal, wisely decided he didn’t want any part of any of this, and vetoed the bill.  The state legislature, determined to get some of that good old backlash for themselves (all the better to paint yourself a martyr for Christianity next election), set about overriding the Governor’s veto, defending the law with well-reasoned arguments such as:

Senate leader Phil Berger said the bill struck a balance between the legal ruling that allowed same-sex marriages to begin in the state last year and the rights of state employees to exercise their religion.

“If the federal courts say they will be performed, they will be performed,” Berger said before Monday’s vote. “But if someone takes a job, they don’t park their First Amendment rights at the door. They are entitled to exercise those rights.”

 

*sigh* Religious freedom does not give you the right to take a job and refuse to perform the duties of the job because they violate your religious freedom.  You still have freedom of religion.  You can quit, and then no one will ever make you marry teh ghays.  A Muslim can not get hired as a butcher then refuse to cut up pork.  This is one of the most insulting arguments the culture war has given us, and that is really saying a lot.  Be it pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives, clerks refusing to issue the license, or magistrates refusing to perform the marriage, “religious freedom” laws like this share one thing in common; even the people supporting the law don’t really think the people should actually have the freedom the law gives them.  No, the laws are set up as last ditch efforts to trick the law into allowing their bigotry to continue, without anyone ever following the law to its logical conclusion.  Sure, they think it is a great idea when Christians get to deny some queers their marriage license, or refuse to fill some harlot’s slut pills.  But what happens when that pharmacist decides that sex is only for procreation, according to his sincerely held religious beliefs, and he stops filling all Viagra scripts for men over fifty?  What if he decides herpes sores are part of God’s punishment and puts Valtrex on the unprescribable list?  Hell, what if he converts to Christian Science and just refuses to fill prescriptions?  Okay, that last one was a bit “slippery slopy,” so on to the marriage license.  How long until someone refuses to wed an interracial couple, citing their religious beliefs?  Remember, Judge Bazile of Loving V. Virginia fame defended laws against interracial marriage based on religious belief.

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents…. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Or how about when the first previously divorced person gets refused?  The first couple from different religions?  I know North Carolina is only doing this because of teh ghays,  but bigots gonna bigot.  And even ignoring all of the countless problems that could spring up from this law as a result of differing interpretations of Christianity, what about the slack-jawed look of disbelief on legislators faces the first time a non-Christian decides to avail himself of these brand spanking new rights?  This law would do more to bring Sharia law to North Carolina that any Muslim over the last fifty years.  Of course, Christians always forget about the other religions when they get all religious freedomy for some reason, perhaps because they have a different version of the Constitution that declares us a Christian nation.

So which state will be the next to attempt to use religious freedom to legalize a form of bigotry, and if the N.C. House succeeds in overturning the veto, what will be the reasoning behind the first unintended refused marriage?  Watch this space!

*Not claiming that Republicans are bigots.  In fact, if you look at the backlash in Indiana, I think it is obvious that the majority of Republicans are not bigoted, just willing to use any methods possible to win.  I don’t think they adopted the Southern Strategy because they were racist, rather that they adopted the Southern Strategy because it allowed them to ride the bigots to victory.  Honestly, I feel this way for most social issues.  If it would get them the ability to eliminate the capital gains tax, slash taxes on the wealthy, and bomb whoever they decided needed bombing, most Republicans would be pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, anti-gun atheists.  Which is somehow more depressing than if they were just all bigots.

**I live in Pennsylvania, a state with a Democratic Governor, that votes Democratic for President, and has one current Democratic senator, yet the GOP holds a 118 to 82 advantage in the House and a 30-19 advantage in the Senate.  We know gerrymandering.

***Ah, Single-representative districts, the one thing I will fight against in government for as long as I draw breath, no matter which party is in control.  If the Republican (or the Democrat) wins my district 51% to 49%, how is it democratic for the losing 49% to be told “sorry.”  Not only does it leave a huge portion of the population unrepresented, but it also effectively kills the vast majority of third party candidates.  There are many possible solutions for this issue.  My personal favorite is just combining some districts into larger super-districts and holding the elections.  Then, instead of winner take all, we have the top three or four (or whatever) elected.  So instead of an election ending like this: Bush (R) 50.1% Winner Vs. Kerry (D) 49.9%. we would instead have something like Bush (R) 27% Kerry (D) 26% Douglas (I) 21% George (G) 11% Santorum (R) 10% Huckabee (R) 5% with the top three elected.  Sure, some portion of the electorate would still be voting for a loser, but a much higher percentage would have representation with this system, and third party candidates would find themselves instantly much more electable.  Not saying my way is the way to go, just that practically anything would be better than the system we have now.

****My apologies.  Everyone knows that a homophobe’s wet dream is actually kneeling in front of a naked Kit Harrington, looking up at him shyly, and saying “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” before consummating the fuck out of that relationship.

*****Of course, after Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, who the fuck knows what the Supreme Court is going to do?  The only thing predictable is that the ruling will be 5-4.  Ah, the classic 5-4 decisions, just more proof that this once respected judicial body is nothing but a partisan train wreck.

****** Made even sadder since I have more of a chance of securing the GOP nomination than Jindal does.  Yep, keep slobbering on those conservative Christian cocks, Bobby.  One day you will look back on all of this, remember your statements after the 2012 election about how the GOP had to stop being the stupid party, and realize that you could have taken the lead in moving the party into the 21st century, saving the GOP from the reactionaries and bigots who want to turn the clock back to the 1950’s if not earlier rather than spending 4 years destroying your political legacy sucking the cocks of far right Christian conservatives who will never trust you thanks to your degree, and will never nominate you because……well, because…. Just look in the mirror, Gov.  All you will ever be to the base is that funny looking Governor who swore he would never do a bukkake scene, yet ended up on his knees the second the base said “all potential nominees must do bukkake.”  In the end, they will pat you, Carson, and Fiorina on the head, wish you all better luck next time, and nominate a white man for President.  All you will get out of the deal is a glazed face.

Is it really worth it?

Stop Gloating.

Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately:  I understand.

Believe me, oh how I understand.

First there were the years of seeing him, his innumerable younger siblings, and his parents on their hit television show, produced and aired on a channel that once was known for educational programing*. Train wreck watchers who tuned in for the creepily trashy Toddlers & Tiaras or its sad, exploitative, insulting-to-both-the-audience-and-the-subject spinoff Here Comes Honey Boo Boo could stay tuned and wash off some of the filth with the equally creepy but wholesomely presented Duggar family.  Yet as horrifying as the Quiverfull movement is to people not still living in the 1500’s, as outdated as the unquestioned patriarchal family structure seemed in the 21st century, as abusive as forcing your older children to play parent to their younger siblings may be, and as illegal as pretending that Michelle Duggar was providing all her children with a adequate education definitely was, they were still just a minor blip on the pop culture radar screen**.  Sometimes people would notice the family and ask an embarrassing question, such as “are the girls all0wed to go to college?”,  and the family would have to make some sacrifice such as allowing their older daughters to take classes online from a Christian university, but on the whole they were just a minor little freak show that most people viewed as wholesome and harmless.

And I really believe that most people thought it would stay at this level.  If it would have, perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are today.  We’ll never know where that untraveled path would lead, because for some reason the Duggar family wanted more of something other than children.  Was it fame?  Power?  Money?  Whatever it was, the Duggars were suddenly everywhere, with their faces confronting grocery shoppers all across the nation seemingly every week as arranged marriages of their daughters were hyped as media events similar to the stylings of one Kim K… I forget her last name.  Maybe you know who I’m talking about.

And while their daughters arranged marriages were used as publicity for their show, publicity that worked I will point out, with Jessa’s wedding drawing their largest amount of viewers ever, they also pulled a Duck Dynasty, attempting to roll their celebrity/fame/infamy into a politically influential position with the conservative base of the Republican party.  (Of course, knowing that Quiverfull families are birthing out endless babies to be warriors for Jesus against the forces of secularism, also known as the “out-breed the atheists” strategy for winning the culture wars, it really isn’t a surprise that they would turn to politics eventually.)  First we had Michelle Duggar recording a horrifically trans-phobic robocall in opposition to an anti-discrimination ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas that painted trans women as an evil on par with Catholic priests, fighting for the right to use the proper public restrooms and locker rooms only so they could spring out of the toilets and molest little girls.  Next, Jessa Duggar apparently looked at the controversy and publicity her mother was enjoying and decided that she too could say something horribly offensive and took to social media to compare the aborting of a potential life in a procedure that is almost always performed well before the point of viability to a collection of cells that not only lack thoughts and feelings, but also the ability to feel pain, to the systematic attempted extermination of an entire religion mistaken as race of people through methods that caused practically infinite suffering.  Yes, she compared abortion to the Holocaust.

And then there was Josh. (Information in this paragraph taken from Josh Duggar’s Wikipedia page.)  Perhaps inspired by his fathers two terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives, Josh quickly took to politics, first serving as a consultant, then working on Mike “The Huckster” Huckabee’s primary campaign in 2008, and then with Rick “My Sheets are Stained with” Santorum in 2012.  This experience earned him the role of the Executive Director of FRC Action in June of 2013, a high profile role with the Family Research Council, a job he used to rub elbows with buckets full of high profile Republicans, including a large percentage of those involved in the 2016 Goat Rodeo.
Yes, from eldest of 19 children, to used car salesman, to cock-gobbling*** with Rick Santorum, to full on roman orgies*** with the whole field of Republican presidential candidates, Josh Duggar seemed to most like a man with a rich future in the conservative movement and possibly national politics before him.  After all, he appealed to the base, and he had name recognition and minor celebrity.  Who better for the GOP to mold into a future candidate?  (Assuming they continue being, in the words of Gov. Bobby “Jesus, compare his speeches from 2012 to his current ones.  Is it even the same person?” Jindal, “the stupid party.”)

Oh, how low one can fall so quickly.

And when someone falls, especially someone as smug, smarmy, bigoted, hate-filled, and obnoxious as Josh Duggar, the first impulse is to point and laugh.  And mock.  And gloat.  And rub his whole families little noses in it.

But this is much too serious for that.

Josh Duggar is an admitted serial child abuser.  He sexually assaulted 5 female children, including some of his younger siblings.  For some reason, the State Trooper who dealt with the case let him off with a warning and the understanding that Josh would receive counseling.  Rather than counseling, his family shipped him off with a family friend for a month or three, then lied to the police about it.  The victims who were members of the Duggar clan almost certainly never got any form of counseling.  In fact, if you read the vomit inducing section on sexual abuse in the home schooling books they use, they probably blamed the victims for dressing like little sluts.

Josh was a teenager molester who should have received a ton of counseling, at the minimum.  His victims deserved to receive all the help they could be provided in order to deal with the abuse.  Instead, the Duggar’s worldview allowed them to brush this serious incident off, treat it like a joke by sending Josh off with a family friend while claiming he was at a counseling center, and sweep it under the rug until the whole shit show exploded in their faces.

This is not the time to gloat.  This is the time to feel bad for the victims of Josh’s abuse, and for that matter, for Josh himself, who never received the treatment a confused teenager who performed his horrific actions obviously needed.  It is the time to speak up about Quiverfull and the whole patriarch uber alles culture that provides so much cover for rape culture and sexual abuse of children.  And it is time to make sure Discovery Networks does more than just pull 19 Kids…. off the air until the media frenzy dies down.  TLC needs to cancel this train wreck immediately.

When a picture of Rick Santorum fisting Bobby Jindal while Mike Huckabee alternates gobbling each of their cocks shows up…..  Then we gloat.  Got it?

*Yeah, the letters in TLC stand for “The Learning Channel.  I may be mistaken, but I believe TLC was the first of the edutainment channel dominoes to fall for the sake of the almighty ratings point, a trend that resulted in travesties such as Finding Bigfoot, Ancient Aliens, Mermaids, and Chasing UFO’s, amongst other “evidence based” programing.

** I started to do a little research into how many people actually watch this trash, but quickly suffered an attack of ADHD.  In September 2014, the season premiere drew an audience of 3.29 million, but this was in the midst of a complete media saturation of everything Duggar as the girls get close to their weddings.  The summer finale that preceded this episode that aired in June 2014 only drew 3.18 million eyeballs, assuming everyone watching had both eyes and were using them both to watch the show.  Stupid humor aside, it drew 1.59 million viewers, or less than half the September premiere.  (Numbers taken from this Variety article.)  Going from the Wikipedia page, it seems that until the media push really started in earnest around season 8 in the spring of 2014, the show could claim anywhere between one million and one and a half million viewers, with some episodes bottoming out around .86 of a million, and the odd episode approaching 1.6 million.  As the wedding craze started, more eyes tuned in, with the show’s ratings ping ponging around with anywhere from 1.5 million viewers to 3 million, peaking at 3.53 million for Jessa’s wedding.  So people watch, and it is a huge deal for TLC, but it isn’t exactly a cultural juggernaut.

*** All cock-gobbling and roman orgies are assumed, based on well-known hypothesis’ as to the cause of extreme homophobia.  Excepting some very disturbing alt political slash fiction pages, there is no known accounts of any cock-gobbling occurring between Santorum and Duggar.

Will Someone Please Take Bobby Jindal’s Shovel Away From Him?

Seriously, when digging your own grave, you don’t need to keep going after six feet.

Maybe he’s trying to go 27 feet deep?  Why 27 feet?

Cause that is the level of his current approval rating in Louisiana.

Twenty-seven percent. That’s Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approval rating in Louisiana, according to a poll released last week by Mississippi-based Triumph Campaigns. That’s lower than former Gov. Kathleen Blanco when she left office and lower than President Barack Obama today.

That level of disapproval requires bipartisan dissatisfaction. State Rep. Jay Morris of Monroe last week called Jindal’s proposed budget fix “insane.” Baton Rouge conservative writer and activist Scott McKay added, with characteristic bluntness, “The mess Jindal has made of Louisiana’s budget is going to destroy his political career.”

One person, however, who wholeheartedly approves of Jindal’s job performance is Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The only person who thinks things are going swimmingly in Louisiana is Jindal himself. The governor’s latest national op-ed piece (for USA Today) was a howler: “Gov. Jindal: Our economy’s better than ever,” read the headline. In his delusional auto-hagiography, Jindal bragged that he has balanced Louisiana’s budget; in truth he has not — even though our state constitution requires a balanced budget. He also touted credit upgrades, ignoring the fact that Moody’s Investors Service criticized Jindal for running a “structural deficit” and issued a “credit negative” outlook for Louisiana last month. Amid all his self-praise, Jindal never mentioned the $1.6 billion deficit that hangs like the sword of Damocles over the state’s higher education and public health systems — or that fact that he inherited (and then blew through) a $1.1 billion surplus from his predecessor.

Ah, delusions.  But why am I coming back to the blog to slap around a lame duck Governor when I could be writing about more important things, such as the Game of Thrones rape scene that conclusively proves the showrunners are lazy storytellers who do not learn from past mistakes?

Because Gov. Jindal is more than just a lame duck Governor, and his words and actions are not intended to benefit or address the fine citizens of Louisiana.  No, Bobby Jindal is, with all apologies to my friends at Mock, Paper, Scissors, a member of the 2016 Goat Rodeo, the 22 21 20 19 member strong reality show dedicated to choosing the Republican nominee for the next presidential election, and his words and actions are directed at the lunatics base of the GOP, those who vote in the primaries.  Once this counterfeit version of Survivor ends with a candidate, the next step of the process will take place; watching the GOP nominee frantically attempt to erase everything he, and it will be a he because Carly Fiorina isn’t going to get the nomination, said during the primary season in order to appeal to the moderate voters who will decide the general election.  (As an aside, and I may write about this more in depth, but how many more cycles can the GOP survive as a unified party?  And perhaps more interestingly, will the social conservatives or the moderate Republicans be the group that breaks away?)

Gov. Jindal’s strategy seems to leave no room to backtrack to the middle, staking out positions so extreme that he may actually be unelectable in a national election if he somehow wins the primary.  His latest move, designed to appeal to the most conservatively religious section of the GOP base, is to almost literally strap Louisiana’s economy to the altar and rip its still beating heart from its chest, sacrificing the state to his own political ambitions.

Glad you elected him yet, Louisiana?

You see, Bobby Jindal had a dream.  He watched Indiana Gov. Mike Pence sign that state’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and he salivated.  He watched the national business community freak the fuck out over the bill and he suddenly had to change his pants.  Not only did the bill make homophobic Christians happy, but the backlash from the business community played right into the current Christian persecution myth that is so popular on the far right these days.  The only problem for Gov. Jindal is that Gov. Pence beat him to it, a problem that disappeared when Indiana bowed to common sense and removed the “go ahead and discriminate against homosexuals as long as you sincerely hate gay people because of God” part of their RFRA bill.  Gov. Jindal could find himself as the only protector of Christianity in the GOP, all he needed was for Louisiana’s conservative legislature to send it to his desk to sign.  What could go wrong?

On Tuesday, to the dismay of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Louisiana’s proposed Marriage and Conscience Act failed in the state’s house. The legislation, which has been compared to “religious freedom restoration acts” (RFRA) in Arkansas and Indiana, would have prohibited “the state from taking any adverse action against a person on the basis that such person acted in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about marriage.” Thus, a pizza shop that said it would not cater a gay wedding — as happened in Indiana — might not be penalized.

How strange.  Apparently, not every member of the Louisiana House shared Gov. Jindal’s lame duck status.  No, the state legislators understand that they need to do things for the good of their state, and after seeing the shitshow that exploded in Indiana over RFRA, they smartly decided they would rather have the chance to get Super Bowls and factories rather than be a footnote on the wrong side of history.  What would Gov. Jindal, pen in hand, do now?

But after the bill failed, Jindal stepped into the breach.

“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar,” Jindal said in a statement, as the Times-Picayune reported. “We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will … prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Ah yes.  Executive order.  From Gov. Bobby Jindal.  This guy:

“Granting amnesty by executive order is wrong,” Jindal wrote in a statement last year. “It will incentivize more of this illegal immigration. If the President wants to make the case that the law should be changed, he should go make the case to Congress and our people.

Funny how executive orders are fine when they do something you agree with, isn’t it? #hypocrite?  But maybe I’m over-reacting.  Maybe Gov. Jindal has crafted this act to protect everyone’s rights in some way?

“This bill is worse than any RFRA in that it explicitly allows discrimination based on an individual’s religious beliefs about marriage,” Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow said of the bill last month. “Nobody gets to go into court for a balancing test, there’s no interpretation by a state judicial system. It flat out gives individuals a right to discriminate, period.”

Okay. Maybe this action won’t hurt Louisiana’s economy?

New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau chief executive Stephen Perry called the bill “a radioactive, poisonous message,” saying it could cost the state $65 million per year.”

Well, maybe Gov. Jindal will see the error of his ways when he sees the backlash his state faces from the business community?  I mean, 65 million a year is not an insignificant amount.

But Jindal, in New York Times op-ed last month, said money doesn’t matter.

“As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath,” he wrote.

“Save your breath.”  Tough words, aren’t they?  Easy to talk tough when you aren’t the one who has to face the consequences.  Remember, Jindal is a lame duck Governor.  He is making this stand that could cripple Louisiana’s economy with no skin in the game himself.  He will issue the order and bask in the adoration of the far religious right while Louisiana’s citizens and economy suffer.  He can publicize any criticism of him to the base and play right into the Christian persecution myth, while the people who the order hurts don’t even get the satisfaction of voting his ass out of office.  Before I finish this post off with the Democratic response in Louisiana, I have to quote this beautifully understated line from the Washington Post article I’ve been quoting:

Meanwhile, Jindal — who launched a presidential exploratory committee this week — has been criticized for pandering to conservatives in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Well I never!  Gov. Jindal?  Pandering to conservative?  Pah!  I’m sure the Governor just honestly feels this is the best course of action for Louisiana…… or that this order is just following his own sincerely held religious beliefs…. or maybe he’s just pandering to the most extreme segment of his party cause he knows his only chance to win the nomination is to out-crazy Santorum.  Anyway, here is the promised Democratic response, along with one more link to the WashPo article I’ve been quoting.

“Gov. Jindal’s stunt today once again underlines his disregard for Louisiana families, his disdain for the state legislature and his apparent contempt for the state’s tourism industry — the only segment of our economy his failed policies haven’t crippled,” the Louisiana Democratic Party’s executive director Stephen Handwerk said in a statement. “Louisiana taxpayers and businesses are once again being forced to foot the bill for Jindal’s vanity. It’s foolishness our families cannot afford.”

Oh Mr. Handwerk, why do you hate Jesus?

 

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