Yay, I Guess?

As seen on Vox today:

Pennsylvania is now the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, after Gov. Tom Wolf signed a comprehensive medical marijuana bill into law on Sunday.

The pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project summarized the measure:

SB 3 would allow patients with qualifying conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis with their physicians’ recommendations. Up to 25 Department of Health-permitted growers and processors would produce medical cannabis, which could be dispensed by up to 50 dispensaries, each of which could have up to three locations. The qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, seizures, autism, sickle cell anemia, and intractable pain if conventional therapies or opiates are contraindicated or ineffective.

With Pennsylvania as the latest addition, nearly half of the states across the US allow legal medical marijuana.

One thing left out of the article is the fact that smokable marijuana will not be medically available.

The only kind of marijuana that would be approved initially included pills, creams and oils that can be used in a vapor.

But smoking would be prohibited, which is interestingly in contrast to the New Jersey law, which only allows for whole cannabis flowers and buds.

Doesn’t surprise me.  The government still runs our liquor stores.  This state is so ass-backwards.

On the plus side however, at least something has been legalized for those people who it can help.  For people like me, however, who are for total legalization while remaining skeptical of many of the claims of cannabis’ medicinal value, I see this as another sign that PA will be among the last states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Anyway, I have to go.  I think I feel myself coming down with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

What?

Why are you looking at me like that?

Oh, here’s the list of conditions:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
  • Intractable Seizures
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathies
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
  • Sickle Cell Anemia

(I’m joking about coming down with IBS.  If I want medical THC oil to vape, I have chronic severe pain from the approximately 50 fractures I suffered to both of my feet in the year 2000.  And I can not be prescribed opiates for it.  Believe me, I don’t need to make up a condition.)

New PC!!!

So I got an awesome PC about two weeks ago.  I’m sure you all are nodding your heads now, realizing where I’ve been since then:  playing all the games my old one wouldn’t run, right?

Wrong.  My motherboard borked, so I had to rma it.  It arrived yesterday, but I have to wait til Friday to get processor paste, a new anti-static wristband, and a few other odds and ends.  So that’s where I’ve been.

Hopefully things will be normal next week.  But while I’m posting…..

 

We’re Not a Swing State

Ohio is a swing state.  Florida is a swing state.  There may have once been a time that Pennsylvania was a swing state as well, but those days are over.  No matter how much the voters residing in the state’s thinly populated rural counties believe otherwise, Pennsylvania is blue, a fact highlighted by the Democratic sweep yesterday of state-wide elections.

If you live in Pennsylvania, you could be forgiven for believing the opposite.  Any study of the problems of our system of representative democracy and single-member districts would have to dedicate at least a chapter to Pennsylvania.  While Pennsylvania hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, we have a US Senator from each party, the GOP holds a 13 to 5 advantage in US Representatives, and the PA General Assembly is Republican controlled as well, with the Senate split 30-19 (with one vacancy) and the House 119-84.  While some of this discrepancy (such as the GOP Senator) can be explained by Democratic voters baffling inability to find the polling locations in non-presidential election years, much of it can only be explained by problems inherent in our system of choice (cause of course North Dakota should get two Senators, for a non-Pennsylvanian example….),  and that enemy of democracy no matter who wields the power, gerrymandering.

Pennsylvania was typical of those states where Republicans benefited in 2012 from the decennial redrawing of congressional district lines. Democratic candidates drew more than half of the total votes cast statewide for the U.S. House last fall, but Republicans won nearly three–quarters (13 of 18) of Pennsylvania’s congressional seats. The GOP–controlled state government approved a map that packed Democratic votes into the five districts that they carried, where the party’s candidates posted winning percentages ranging from 60% to 89% of the total vote. Meanwhile, the Republican vote was spread more broadly, with nine of the GOP winners drawing less than 60% of the vote in their districts.

Source: Rhodes–Cook Letter, Feb. 2013

How anyone can look at those numbers and believe something even close to “political justice” carried the day is beyond me.  Sure, the GOP gained seats, but they didn’t gain them through the will of the people, rather they gained them through slight of hand trickery.  Republicans may be fine with this at the moment, especially since it gives them much more power than state-wide or nation-wide polling would predict for their party, but it is yet another short sighted vision.  Gerrymandering is an evil that both parties engage in, yet the Republican gerrymandering effort after the 2010 census went much further than previous district drawings.  When taken along side the push for Voter ID, especially here in PA where the GOP publicly admitted Voter ID was a political strategy to elect Republicans, it reeks of desperation.  With the current GOP presidential candidates veering so far off to the right in a nation that is rapidly becoming center left, actions such as the blatant gerrymandering and the push for Voter ID risk painting the GOP as a party that upon losing the culture wars, is willing to do anything to hold on to power.  But removing image issues from the discussion, the GOP has to be aware that eventually the other party will get to draw the districts, and by tossing any idea of subtlety out the window, they have given the Democratic party no reason not to respond in kind when they have the power.  The damage to our system of government, the destruction of the GOP’s image, and the future threat of retribution; is a few years of unearned power really worth it all?

It is the Wednesday after election day, 2015.  The only state-wide races on the ballot were judicial.  The stage was set once again for the GOP to gain largely undeserved power in Pennsylvania, as control of the state Supreme Court was up for grabs.  And yet….

And yet that isn’t what happened.  Michael Wojcik carried close to 53% in his race for Judge of the Commonwealth Court.   For Judge of the Superior Court, Alice Dubow did indeed break the 53% mark.  And the State Supreme Court race resulted in a sweep, with the win for the three Democrats, David Wecht (18.37%), Kevin Dougherty (18.52%) and Christine Donohue (18.17%), making it clear who PA residents want in control of the State’s highest court.

Across the nation, their are certainly some results that the GOP can point to and celebrate.  But this defeat in PA in an off year election has to make them a bit uneasy.  Is the damage the extreme conservative wing keeps inflicting on the party hurting the brand to the point where even off year elections favor the Democrats?  That is a question that will take much more time and evidence to answer.  But yesterday’s election did make one thing abundantly clear, no matter how much the major media will try to convince you otherwise next year:

Pennsylvania is not a swing state.

 

The Great Awakening?

Has the conservative “base”, that far right fringe movement born from rabid talk radio hosts and echo-chamber cable “news” and blog sites, finally gone to far?

Nah.  Or at least, I seriously doubt it.  Once the current debacle in the House is finished, I’m sure everything will return to the status quo level of dysfunctional.  Still it is nice to see reality begin to dawn on a few people, not that they will learn anything from it.

First up?  Columnist Kathleen Parker.  Kathleen, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is far from the worst conservative columnist in the nation, known for her rare (among conservative pundits) ability to see and accept reality (to a certain extent.)  Back in 2008, Parker was one of the first conservatives to realize how much of a mistake picking Sarah Palin as VP was, writing in her column:

It was fun while it lasted.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage, and there’s not much content there.

As much as I disagree with her politically, she is far from the rabid nonsense generators who make up the majority of Republican punditry.  Her past work, her awards, and her spot at The Washington Post combine to make her a respected voice in the beltway, so you can imagine how overjoyed I was to see her latest column.

McCarthy’s fall wasn’t only owing to his verbal blunder suggesting that the House select committee investigating Benghazi was primarily created to bring down Hillary Clinton. Like Speaker John Boehner, he was jerked around by the three dozen or so members of the Freedom Caucus who promised a bloc vote in exchange for public pledges, which McCarthy (to his credit) refused to make.

He simply didn’t have enough votes.

By Friday, the hands-down favorite to take the spot was Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who vehemently has said he doesn’t want the job. Indeed, who in his or her right mind would want to walk into this seething ring of “winning” losers?

….

Poor Paul Ryan. It will take strength to resist his supporters’ call to duty – Ryan’s sweet spot. Editors of the conservative National Review were among those making this appeal, while also suggesting that Ryan would surely want to redefine the fundraising part – the demands of which leave little time for family.

This mention brings us to an important point apparently overlooked by the extortionist Freedom Caucus. They’ve booted two of their membership’s top three fundraisers with Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost his seat last year to a tea party candidate, and now have rejected the third, McCarthy.

Not only have these three brought in the biggest hauls through their campaigns and political action committees, but they’ve also been the most generous – including to those who now smite them.

The Freedom Caucus’ own preferred choice for speaker, Florida Rep. Daniel Webster, has raised $5.6 million since his election in 2010 and shared just 2 percent of that amount, according to opensecrets.org, which monitors such things.

….

Methinks those who protest way too much will miss the generosity of those they stabbed in the back. Ryan, meanwhile, would do well to let history guide him. No good deed goes unpunished with this crowd. Soon enough, the Freedom Caucus gang will make life miserable for the next speaker, and then what?

Whoever takes the job had best have no further aspirations. This isn’t to diminish the office, which is a noble position and no meager endgame. But few think Ryan has no higher aspirations. Thus, the question isn’t should he run for speaker, but why should he?

He shouldn’t.

Okay, I can hear you already.  “Yeah Foster, so what?  Kathleen Parker admits reality?  What else is new?  Hell, the Tea Party considers her not just a RINO but a straight up liberal.”  So let’s take a few steps down the sanity scale until we reach one Byron York, author of, gag, The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. (Amazing that “I know you are, but what am I?” seems to be an effective political strategy in modern day America, isn’t it?)  He lacks Kathleen Parker’s ability, intelligence, and awards, yet even he can smell the Freedom Caucus’ stench:

The fact is, the chaos plaguing Republicans in the House has been building for a long time. It’s no wonder some GOP lawmakers were reportedly weeping in the Capitol after McCarthy’s announcement.

Not long after, McCarthy was asked by National Review Online whether House Republicans are, at the moment, ungovernable. “I don’t know,” he said. “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom.”

The GOP’s problem is that there is no way to know whether this is rock bottom or not. Things could get worse.

……

“Didn’t Jim DeMint say it very clearly?” asks the GOP strategist, referring to the very conservative former senator. “DeMint said he would rather have 30 true conservatives in the Senate than 60 that don’t really have principles. Of course, with that, you won’t have any say in how the government works. Now, what (the House firebrands) are saying is, forget if we don’t have any say, forget if we can actually do anything, the key thing is to be able to say what we want.”

That’s the fight that caused the McCarthy melodrama. (Yes, his Benghazi comments were a disaster, but the basic conflict inside the House GOP conference was a much bigger factor.) Yes, it is reasonable to ask whether Republican leaders —the experienced ones steeped in the ways of Washington and, in particular, of K Street­— did everything they could to understand the priorities of the conservative militants. But it’s probably too late for understanding now. The speakership is up for grabs, the conference is in disarray, and rock bottom might not even be in sight.

Before you check, no it is not April Fools’ Day.  That actually was The Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent (quit laughing) writing something that made sense.  That being said, I get it.  As the chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner, his comments are about as influential on American politics as a stoned squirrel running through a Canadian marijuana field.  Hell, actually I may be more influential than Byron York, and that baked rodent beats me by a mile.  That’s okay.  I got a trump card saved that proves people are waking up to how crazy the GOP has become, even though they will quickly forget about it as soon as the Speakership is filled and any danger of government shutdown has passed.

David Fucking Brooks!

Mr. Brooks shares several distinctions with his fellow New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman:

  • Most overrated columnist
  • Worst Columnist for the New York Times
  • Most self-important columnist
  • Winners of the prestigious Idiocy in Journalism Award, presented whenever by Foster Disbelief

In fact, if it wasn’t for Friedman’s Pulitzer prizes, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were the same person.  (I kid, I kid.  They each bring their own special kind of idiocy to the New York Times opinion pages.)  But like the proverbial blind squirrel’s nut finding ability, David Brooks apparently fell asleep at the keyboard and face planted his way into a column that actually makes sense:

The House Republican caucus is close to ungovernable these days. How did this situation come about?

This was not just the work of the Freedom Caucus or Ted Cruz or one month’s activity. The Republican Party’s capacity for effective self-governance degraded slowly, over the course of a long chain of rhetorical excesses, mental corruptions and philosophical betrayals. Basically, the party abandoned traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism. Republicans came to see themselves as insurgents and revolutionaries, and every revolution tends toward anarchy and ends up devouring its own.

Seriously, nodding along while reading a David Brooks column is the most surreal experience of my life, and I ate a lot of acid in my teens.

Over the past 30 years, or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced. Public figures are prisoners of their own prose styles, and Republicans from Newt Gingrich through Ben Carson have become addicted to a crisis mentality. Civilization was always on the brink of collapse. Every setback, like the passage of Obamacare, became the ruination of the republic. Comparisons to Nazi Germany became a staple.

This produced a radical mind-set. Conservatives started talking about the Reagan “revolution,” the Gingrich “revolution.” Among people too ill educated to understand the different spheres, political practitioners adopted the mental habits of the entrepreneur. Everything had to be transformational and disruptive. Hierarchy and authority were equated with injustice. Self-expression became more valued than self-restraint and coalition building. A contempt for politics infested the Republican mind.

So the Speaker chaos somehow clued Brooks in on the last 20 years of Republican politics all of a sudden?

This anti-political political ethos produced elected leaders of jaw-dropping incompetence. Running a government is a craft, like carpentry. But the new Republican officials did not believe in government and so did not respect its traditions, its disciplines and its craftsmanship. They do not accept the hierarchical structures of authority inherent in political activity.

In his masterwork, “Politics as a Vocation,” Max Weber argues that the pre-eminent qualities for a politician are passion, a feeling of responsibility and a sense of proportion. A politician needs warm passion to impel action but a cool sense of responsibility and proportion to make careful decisions in a complex landscape.

If a politician lacks the quality of detachment — the ability to let the difficult facts of reality work their way into the mind — then, Weber argues, the politician ends up striving for the “boastful but entirely empty gesture.” His work “leads nowhere and is senseless.”

Welcome to Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and the Freedom Caucus.

Are we living in a bad sci-fi flick?  Did the body snatchers take the real David Brooks?  Is a different NYT’s columnist filling in for Brooks this week?  Did someone spike my drink with a ten strip?

Really, have we ever seen bumbling on this scale, people at once so cynical and so naïve, so willfully ignorant in using levers of power to produce some tangible if incremental good? These insurgents can’t even acknowledge democracy’s legitimacy — if you can’t persuade a majority of your colleagues, maybe you should accept their position. You might be wrong!

People who don’t accept democracy will be bad at conversation. They won’t respect tradition, institutions or precedent. These figures are masters at destruction but incompetent at construction.

These insurgents are incompetent at governing and unwilling to be governed. But they are not a spontaneous growth. It took a thousand small betrayals of conservatism to get to the dysfunction we see all around.

Yes.  Exactly.  Mic drop.  It took years for the GOP to go from the conservative party of Ronald Reagan to this radical fringe group that seems to flirt dangerously with fascism.  It took a long time, step by step, to reach a Republican party that, no matter how much they deify President Reagan,  would consider Reagan era Republicans to be liberals, if not communists.  My question is, where the hell was David Brooks while those steps were taking place?  I mean, other than denying they were taking place.

These three columns give me hope.  I know it is a misguided, unfounded, and fleeting hope, but it is hope.   Hope that the beltway press will realize what the fringe section of the GOP is doing to our democracy.  That many of the most “conservative” members of Congress do not believe in government, let alone democracy.  That when people say they want to shrink government down until it is small enough to drown in the bathtub, perhaps they aren’t just making a joke about limited government.  Maybe they’re serious?  Could it be that the reason the House Freedom Caucus is so willing to risk government shutdowns and government defaults is because the only things they believe government should do is arrest black people and stop women from having sex?

I want to laugh at the GOP.  I want to snark, point at the idiots, and fall of my chair.  I want to ask each and every mainstream Republican how that whole Tea Party thing is working out for them.  But the laughter dies in my throat because this is harming the entire nation.  This isn’t a minor political kerfluffle.  How is Congress going to get anything done when the group showing the most political muscle thinks Paul Ryan isn’t conservative enough?

Yeah, I know it will be business as usual sooner than later (I’m sure David Brooks’ next column will be titled “The House Freedom Caucus is out of control, but the Democrats are just as bad somehow….), but maybe, just maybe people are starting to wake up and the moderate Republicans will save the GOP from its own creation.

Or nothing will change, and we’ll just have to continue waiting for the inevitable split of the Grand Old Party as the GOP fringe continues to refuse to govern.

At least I have hope.

 

Excuse Me, Mr. Huckabee? Your Kim Davis Martyr Boner is Visible. Think of the Children.

Okay, there is beating a dead horse and then there is the rapid fire, blister-raising, skin-chafing deceased equine torture that only takes place when Mike Huckabee sees something that would let him use the words “martyr” and “persecution” in a sentence near the word “Christian.”  While it is perhaps the easiest thing in the world today to find a person to compare Kentucky law-breaker-for-Jebus Kim Davis to (Seriously.  Think of anyone you know who sucks at their job.  Got someone in mind?  There’s your comparison for Kim Davis.  You’re welcome.), to say Huckabee is reaching a bit with his latest comparison is kinda like saying that Huckabee mentions his faith every now and then.  Really Mike? Abe fucking Lincoln?

Appearing on MSNBC this morning, Huckabee said that’s just like Abraham Lincoln, who was not in favor of the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision which held that African Americans were not full citizens.

“Look, you would have hated Lincoln, because he disregarded the Dred Scott 1857 decision that said black people aren’t fully human,” Huckabee said when host Joe Scarborough questioned him about his support of Davis. “[Lincoln] disregarded [Dred Scott] because he knew it was not operative, that it was not logical.”

No, Mike.  No.  Although it is an easy mistake.  Here, I will help you out.  Abe Lincoln was President of the United States, that position you want but will never ever have.  Sorry.  Before he had the job you will never have, the Supreme Court got really high on some nasty drugs and issued the Dred Scott ruling.   Lincoln was not in favor of what may be the worst Supreme Court ruling in the history of our nation. a ruling that pointed at all the stuff in the Constitution that talked about “all men” and “created equal” and such and so on, then said “oh but not for darky, oh snap!”  At which point the Justices in the majority probably high fived, made a few racist jokes, smacked their secretary on the ass, then ran out the door and jumped in the windows of the General Lee, which they drove out to the farm where they kept the slaves they used for sex.  (Or something like that. ; )  This was in a time of upheaval and change that led to The War to Keep Black People as Property.  (Hey, if southern revisionists can give it names like “The War of Northern Aggression,” then I can name it as I see it as well.)  Now this is important, so pay attention.  While Lincoln disagreed with Dred Scott and spoke against it, he never refused to issue any marriage licenses because of his personal talks with J.C.

Kim Davis, on the other hand, is an elected official who really needs to do her fucking job.  A job that she apparently does not understand.  She is not required to morally approve of the relationship between the people applying for marriage licenses, she is just required to verify the people meet the legal standards to get married.  Thanks to the Supreme Court people can get married now to people who have the same no-no spots, so peens and peens and hoohas with hoohas.  Her job is “paperwork is good?  Check.  Issue license.”  Other than her son, all the deputy clerks in her office are totally down with the law and their job and are all like “Judge type person, we want to do our jobs but crazy Christian lady scares us and will probably fire us, and we like having jobs, so help!?!” Unfortunately, Kim Davis believes that every time she issues a marriage license she is saying, loud and proud, that Jesus H. Christ, acting through his oh so humble vessel Kim Davis, morally approves of this love match between no no spots that are not the same.

Now some of you may be reading along thinking (out-loud cause thinking be hard when done at the same time as reading) well good for Kim, after all, “God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!”  If you are thinking that please send me a message and permission to use your real name and likeness.  But your homophobia aside, this is one of those slopes that are like slip and slides, you know, like the homophobes insisted that gay marriage would unleash an unstoppable torrent of increasingly absurd marriages (man marries dog, man marries baby, man marries frog, man marries toaster oven, man marries Fleshlight, man marries right hand, man marries ham sandwich, asks for annulment upon eating said sandwich, man marries both his left and right hands, society has crumbled, cats and dogs living together, seas of blood, checkmate, atheist!  I mean checkmate pro-equality fascist!) except this slope is actually slick and all sorts of things are ready to start slipping on down.  (And no, no gay man is  going to slip anything into any scared straight guys because of the Supreme Court.  Unless the scared straight guy wants something slipped inside, in which case two consenting adults yadayada)   What do I mean?  Well, if this homobigot in Kentucky can refuse to give teh ghays a marriage license cause Jesus, then what exactly is stopping the Clerk in Alabama to stop issuing interracial marriage licenses cause of his Jesus?  Then Clerks all over the nation go crazy, with different marriage requirements in every county, let alone every state.


 

“Hi, we’d like to get a marriage license.”

“Sorry son, but it is against my religious convictions to issue a license to anyone under 33.  If Jesus thought you should get married young, he would have been married before he died.  Now you can’t go to the next county over either, cause Jed believes with all his Jesus loving heart that blonds and brunettes are not allowed to get married to each other.  It is crazy, he makes people prove their natural hair color.  The county down south is pretty much out as well,  I’m afraid, as Clerk Robertl Silma seemingly issues licenses at random.  See he took a vow of silence last year and he never did learn to write, so no one has been able to figure out why he refuses each couple.   Now if your star signs are compatible, Clerk Grisn in Chekard county will issue you a licens….what’s that?  She’s a Scorpio?  Well, that options out the window.  You can’t go to North county cause you’re a lefty, can’t go to Brower county cause she is jewish and you’re Christian, can’t go to Lux county unless you speak in tongues, you can’t speak in tongues can you?  Thought not, let’s see….”

-4 hours later-

“Alright, if you go to Tuscaluna county

“Um, that’s a 5 hour drive….”

“Are you going to keep interrupting me?  As I was saying, if you go to Tuscaluna county and drive towards the state park, you will find a cabin right outside the park.  In the cabin lives a woman who will give you a token that proves your true love.  Once you have the token, then drive out of state, to Misango county.  While the Clerk is only on duty one Tuesday a month, since the county has a population of 272, and he is so conservative that he refuses marriage licenses to women who wear pants, but he does believe in true love and will issue no question asked licenses to anyone who brings the woman’s token.”

“You’re sending me on a fucking quest to get a marriage license?


So yeah.  Kim Davis does not equal Abe Lincoln.  Kim Davis is also not a martyr, unless being locked in jail until you ask to be let out is actually a path to martyrdom.  Which, while personally not a believer in martyrdom, I still get the feeling the actual people who got horribly tortured to death for their faith would tell Kim Davis to eat a bag of dicks.

Right after telling her to do her damn job.

Though on the bright side, at least her office has started to do its damn job.

 

 

Comedy Recommendation for the Weekend

Do you like to laugh?  Do you like babies?

Do you like to laugh at jokes about eating tasty babies?

If you answered “yes” to the final question, and lets not kid ourselves, of course you did, then click as fast as you can over to The Scathing Atheist and download this weeks episode.  Tom and Cecil of Cognitive Dissonance stop by and join Noah and Heath in an experiment to see if they can actually cause an atheist to laugh him or herself to death.  The title of the episode,the Spittoon Full of Fetuses Edition, refers to the gang’s brilliant idea to get southerners to support abortion rights.  30 seconds?  I want 30 minutes on the clock guys!

Anyway, click, download, listen, and when you snort whatever you’re drinking through your nose, I expect a “thank you” message in my inbox.

Where Do I Subscribe?

Ever hear of Houstonia magazine?  If not, do not feel like you are uninformed or tragically unhip, it just means that you, like me, do not happen to live in the Houston area.  Except now, even though I live quite a distance away from Houston, and Houston isn’t near the top of my list of places in America I want to visit, I suddenly have the urge to get a subscription.

Why would I want a magazine dedicated to exploring a city I may never visit?  Well, the magazine recently ran the following obviously controversial advertisement:

0815-editors-note-ad_i3qvnp-photo taken from Houstonia.

As you can no doubt see, running an advertisement with this picture was a slap in the……  Wait a second.  What’s supposed to be controversial here?  Wait, the fact that the couple is interracial?  You gotta be fucking kidding me.  That can’t be it.  What am I missing?

Anyway, to put it simply, the magazine got complaints.  (Hat tip to Salon for leading me to this story, though any quotes are taken from the Houstonia link.)

First of all, after snatching the magazine out of his waiting room before impressionable eyes could see it, a Dr. Tomball pulled out some of the crayons they keep for kids and went to town, leaving the magazine’s editor suitably impressed:

Not so Dr. Tomball, who on May 26 sent an email to the Ashton Martini Group registering his disapproval. The note, which I have seen, carries the subject “Disgusting Ad,” and explains: “Your ad in the June Houstonia magazine is DISGUSTING! I will not put this magazine in my reception area! If you care to discuss this,” the note concluded, “I am available.”

As it happens, we did care to discuss this with Dr. Tomball, who oddly was not available when we attempted to make contact.

The vicious backlash continued a week later:

Exactly one week later, we heard from a second man, this time a resident of the Memorial area, who called to say that although he usually likes Houstonia, he “just can’t go for racial mixing.” The caller—identifying himself only as Fred—voiced his concern that children might see the ad and “get it into their heads that this is okay.” To ensure that that did not happen, the man informed us that he’d taken our June issue straight from the mailbox to the trash can, although he declined our invitation to cancel his subscription altogether. He counts himself among this magazine’s fans, he told us.

Bigots gotta bigot, amirite?  What sets this apart from other cases of bigots whining that bigotry isn’t culturally acceptable anymore is the heartfelt response to this bigotry from the magazine’s editor-in-chief Scott Vogel.  First off, Scott calls his dance troupe together and lets “Fred” know that he has just been served:

Well, we are not fans of him. Indeed, if Memorial Fred ever finds the courage to call and give us his full name, we will remove him from our subscription rolls immediately.

Turning his attention to the “good” doctor, Scott helpfully cancels his subscription for him since, in his outrage, he apparently forgot to do it himself:

I’m not sure if Dr. Tomball is a fan of this publication or not. I do know that if so, he will have to go get it himself, as we will no longer be sending copies to his office.

Mr. Vogel then closes with a brilliant statement of diversity and a mission statement I can definitely get behind.

Houstonia’s championing of diversity does not extend to bigots, and while we are by definition dedicated to discovering the best things about this city, we’ll never ignore the worst. On the contrary, our magazine’s mission is to maintain standards of quality always and everywhere, in burgers, in bike trails and in readers, Dr. Tomball included.

And if he cares to discuss this, I am available.

That sound you just heard was the microphone hitting the floor.  So….  Where do I subscribe?