The Joy of Comment Threads.

So I clicked a link at Slate yesterday that took me over to The Cut at New York Magazine to read an article asking insiders in the world of advertising the question many of us have been wondering: how the hell that Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad got made.  And while the article wasn’t a complete waste of my time, the true enjoyment came at the end, when the first comment to the post contained an example of the inability to recognize white privilege so amusing it actually resulted in coffee dripping off my monitor from the spit take.  Many thanks, dashodell.  You made my day.

“You feel like you don’t ‘have a voice’? I’m a 43yo white male and I don’t recall anyone ever listening to me or giving a shit about what I was saying.”

Exactly what we are all thinking, dash.  When are people in America ever going to listen to the poor, neglected, ignored white males for a change?

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Kimmel to Palin: “You Just Got Served!” ($&@#, Do People Still Say That? Am I Just Showing My Age Again?)

So if you’ve been able to peel your eyes away from the trainwreck currently taking place in the GOP presidential primary, then you are probably aware that climate science deniers have a new “movie” out, promoted by esteemed scientist Sarah Palin as well as Weather Channel founder John Coleman.  Climate Hustle is the latest attempt  by the deniers to trick the general public into believing man made climate change is some vast, underpants gnome-like conspiracy the left is using to fuck over white working class Christians, rather than an actual problem that we’ve already ignored for far too long that 97%* of scientists working in related fields agree is definitely taking place.

Look guys, I get it.  Climate change is scary.  It is a serious problem and we’re at the point now that any effective effort to fix it is going to be painful, especially to our wealthy western way of life.  I’m not immune.  I love steak.  Fucking love it.  I run an air conditioner constantly in order to make my attic room livable rather than just moving everything downstairs into a spare room each summer.  I take long, meaningless drives so my Chow can hang her head out the window and have her excitement.  Sure, I’ve taken steps to have a smaller carbon footprint, but the vast majority of changes I made were relatively pain free.  Ignorance is bliss; it means I can run my AC unit as much as I want and eat that 16 oz ribeye guilt free.  But it is happening.  Fast.  It is the climate changing, not necessarily the current weather, so just cause we get some snow doesn’t negate the fact that we keep setting records for hottest year, practically every year.  I don’t want to give climate change credit for things it didn’t cause, and I know we had an el nino this year, but damn, if you live in Pennsylvania tell me this wasn’t the strangest fall/winter/spring you have ever lived through.  Globally, the temperatures are rising, the ice is melting, and the oceans are rising.  And this is all shit that a layperson can figure out without an advanced degree in the relevant science.  What kind of a world are we leaving for the future generations?  Are we really that selfish, that deniers with conflicts of interest that make Andrew Wakefield blush can cause so many of us to doubt 97%* of climate scientists?

But, but, but….the founder of the Weather Channel!!!!  What about him, hmmm?  Checkmate, atheist liberal progressive person who accepts scientific consensus.  Wow, the founder of the Weather Channel?  That’s incredibly….meaningless.  Is John Coleman a climate scientist?  Is he publishing current research that challenges the results the rest of climate science keeps coming up with?

Both Fox News and CNN have recently invited John Coleman, one of the founders of The Weather Channel and former TV meteorologist, to express his views about climate change to their national audiences. Coleman is simply an awful choice to discuss this issue. He lacks credentials, many of his statements about climate change completely lack substance or mislead, and I’m not even sure he knows what he actually believes.

To begin, Coleman hasn’t published a single peer-reviewed paper pertaining to climate change science. His career, a successful and distinguished one, was in TV weather for over half a century, prior to his retirement in San Diego last April. He’s worked in the top markets: Chicago and New York, including a 7-year stint on Good Morning America when it launched. If you watch Coleman on-camera, his skill is obvious. He speaks with authority, injects an irreverent sense of humor and knows how to connect with his viewer.

But a climate scientist, he is not.

“Many people don’t accept my position that there is no significant man-made global warming because I am simply a Television Meteorologist without a Ph.D.,” he admitted in a blog post. “I understand that.”

I urge you all to go and read that whole article, it makes the point perfectly why it is one thing for a non-scientist to examine the data and agree that climate change is man made and happening, yet a completely different animal for them to look at the issue and declare that practically every climate scientist in the world is wrong or lying.  But the main point I’m concerned with is the meaninglessness of John Coleman’s scientific opinion on any subject.

Palin is actually worse.  No matter the subject, there is only one person I trust less than Sarah Palin in the United States and that person lived in Sarah’s womb for 9 months.  Yet sadly, for some reason probably related to why Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee for President, some people out there continue to not only care what she has to say, but actually consider her opinion when forming their own.  And when faced with Sarah Palin’s endorsement of this oil company propaganda film, today’s best course of action is to turn it over to Jimmy Kimmel**.

Boom, mic drop.  (There, that’s more current, right?)


** Yes, those were 13 words I never thought I would write in that order.

*Okay, time to make the climate deniers change their pants.  Saying that 97% of climate scientists agree that man made climate change is real and currently happening is misleading and I will never quote the statistic again after this post.  Why?  Well, sorry deniers, you shot your wads a bit prematurely, which I am sure has never happened to any of you before.***  Let’s go to volume 39.6 of the Skeptical Inquirer to check out an article by James Lawrence Powell: (Bolding is mine, as always.)

Since it is inconceivable that any climate scientist today could have no opinion on the subject, if 97 percent accept AGW it follows that 3 percent reject it. To those outside of science, 3 percent may seem an insignificant percentage. However, we scientists know that a small minority has often turned out to be right, otherwise there would have been no scientific revolutions. In the 1950s, for example, the percentage of American geologists who accepted continental drift was likely less than 3 percent. Yet they were right.

If there were a 3 percent minority on AGW it would matter, but there is not. The “97% consensus” is false. The percentage of publishing climate scientists who accept AGW is at least 99.9 percent and may verge on unanimity.

*cut out tweet from Obama here*

How, then, has nearly everyone from President Obama on down come to buy the claim of a 97 percent consensus? The figure comes from a 2013 article in Environmental Research Letters by Cook et al. titled “Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature.” They reported that “Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming” (emphasis added). The 97 percent figure went viral and, not surprisingly, the qualifying phrase “expressing a position”—the fine print, if you will—got dropped. But those three words expose the false assumption inherent in the Cook et al. methodology.

Cook et al. used the Web of Science science-citation research site to review the titles and abstracts of peer-reviewed articles from 1991–2011 with the keywords “global climate change” and “global warming.” They classified the articles into seven categories from “(1) Explicit endorsement with quantification” to “(7) Explicit rejection with quantification.” In the middle was “(4) No position.”

The sine qua non of the Cook et al. method is the assumption that publishing scientists who accept a theory will say so—they will “endorse” it in the title or abstract. To count an article as part of the consensus, Cook et al. required that it “address or mention the cause of global warming.” Of the 11,944 articles that came up in their search, 7,970—two thirds—did not. Cook et al. classified those articles as taking no position and thus ruled them out of the consensus.

Do we need to know any more to realize that there is something wrong with the Cook et al. method? The consensus is what the majority accept; you cannot rule out a two-thirds majority and still derive the consensus.

Moreover, is it true that scientists routinely endorse the ruling paradigm of their discipline? To find out, I used the Web of Science to review articles in three fields: plate tectonics, the origin of lunar craters, and evolution.

Of 500 recent articles on “plate tectonics,” none in my opinion endorsed the theory directly or explicitly. Nor did a single article reject plate tectonics.

…..

What of lunar craters? As recently as 1964, nearly every scientist who had studied the moon believed that its craters were volcanic. Then in July of that year, the first successful Ranger mission returned thousands of photographs showing that the moon exhibits craters ranging in size from the colossal to the microscopic. Except for a few senior holdouts, scientists quickly embraced the meteorite impact theory.

….

I reviewed the abstracts of the most recent 100 articles, which go back to 1997. As with plate tectonics, none explicitly endorsed meteorite impact, nor did any reject it.

…..

Do biologists writing about evolution routinely endorse Darwin’s theory? I reviewed the abstracts of articles in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology from 2000 through 2014. Of 303 articles, 261 had abstracts. Not surprisingly, none of the 261 rejected the modern evolutionary synthesis; neither did any endorse it.

That’s all I’m going to quote from it, but seriously, if you are interested in that 97% number and ever wondered about the apparent 3% who do not accept climate change, you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing.  The actual number is far closer to 99.9%.

***Yeah, I once received constructive criticism that I should leave out little digs like that, or my insinuations that MRAs possess micropenises, and while I understand the critique, in the famous words of Popeye, I yam what I yam.

You Know Guys, I’m Starting to Think Salon Has Something Against Hillary.

Quick stop at Salon (I know, I have a problem…), massive case of the eye rolls.

First we’ve got:

A liberal case for Donald Trump: The lesser of two evils is not at all clear in 2016

followed closely by:

Please, FBI — you’re our last hope: The Democratic Party’s future rests upon your probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails

Let’s quickly begin with Walker Bragman……wait, seriously?  *returns to Salon and clicks around his author page.*  Hmm, “Hillary is only Republican lite”,….ah, here’s “Fine, give the GOP four years,” wonder if he just expects all the Supreme Court justices to be fine and stay in office until 2020 or if he just doesn’t care?  Oh, wait.  I missed “Hillary supporters present a false choice.”  Hmm.  Oh god, sorry about that.  I got lost in his Salon history consisting of nothing but Hillary hit pieces.  Anyway, yeah, his name appears to be Walker Bragman and his is “a liberal case for Donald Trump“:

That said, now that the race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is effectively over, with the former secretary of state essentially guaranteed the nomination, many liberals and progressives are preparing, once again, to vote for the lesser of two evils. The choice may not be as clear as some Democrats believe — especially if Democrats can take back the Senate and assure themselves of a check on a GOP House.

*raises hand*

Why the living fuck would we be expecting the Democrats to take back the Senate if the Presidential election results in a Donald Trump victory?

Like it or not, the Supreme Court needs to count for much more than anyone willing to concede 4 years to a GOP president is counting it.  GOP presidents have had a much stronger hand in shaping the present court, and that court has been horrible for those wish for a political system they can trust.  It isn’t all about reproductive rights, although if you honestly think we aren’t one judge away from allowing states to outlaw abortion, and if you really believe that they would stop at just abortion once they won that battle, then I envy you your ignorance supported bliss.  The current court gutted the Voting Rights Act.  Citizen’s United was their decision.  Union cases sit at 4-4 currently.  The Supreme Court matters.  It may be the most important result of the upcoming election.  Yet all of these “Sanders or Bust” or “HRC over my dead body” columns act like it’s no big thing.  I don’t get it.  Do they just think all the liberal justices are in perfect health?  Misogyny based on the ignorant belief that the only reason progressives care about the court is abortion access?  Forgetting that a Bernie Sanders presidency would more than likely see the Supreme Court rule every second move he made unconstitutional?  Refusing to believe in the third branch of government?  I just don’t get it.

Anyway, since any conceivable Trump presidential victory would result in the GOP retaining the House and Senate, I really don’t see the need to read any further.  Feel free if you want though.  When you’re done, join the rest of us below…..

As we mock H.A. Goodman’s open letter to the FBI.  (I’m serious.  That’s what it is.)  The letter starts right off raising the stakes super high for us readers:

“Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi.  You’re my only hope.

Wait, sorry, wrong letter.

To the Honorable James B. Comey, Jr. and all the good people at the Federal Bureau of Investigation,

Yeah, that’s all I can bring myself to quote.  I’m sorry, it’s kinda embarrassing, like that time Fonzie got roped into performing a water ski trick over a large fish.  The “TL;DR” version?  It’s a Bernie supporter who finally realized that the only way Sanders is going to get the Democratic nomination this year is if the FBI indicts Hillary before the convention, so he goes to the FBI, telling them how everyone else thinks they are total jokes who will never move out of their parents basements or get a date, but he respects  the FBI as a proud, patriotic, professional organization with VERY LARGE PENISES who should be held up as everything that’s right with America, and oh by the way if you would PLEASE INDICT HILLARY OMG PLEASE PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU PLEASE!!!!

The saddest thing is that those of you who decide not to read the whole letter will never realize exactly how close my “TL;DR” summary actually is to the original.

The Honesty Was Nice While It Lasted

So here is the title of the original post I was writing about this:

Trump Says Something Anti-Abortion Activists Have Been Drooling for Decades to Hear a Politician Say, Anti-Abortionists Promptly Do What They Do Best: Lie.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful.  But since this is Foster Disbelief and not The Daily Mail, I decided to scrap it and start over.

For some reason Donald Trump, the(gag) front running candidate for the Republican presidential (I just threw up a little) nomination, had a sit down interview with Chris Matthews the other day.  I didn’t watch it.  I actually stayed as far away from the television as I possibly could when MSNBC aired the interview.  No thank you.  I can suffer through a Trump interview to see if anything is newsworthy.  I can tolerate watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC because I respect the other voices that make up MSNBC’s political coverage.  Matthews interviewing Trump is just a black hole of idiocy that I won’t even pretend I would willingly put myself through.    (Seriously, listening to Matthews go on about the possibility of a Clinton/Kasich unity ticket during one night of MSNBC’s primary coverage had me contemplating either switching to Fox News or puncturing my ear drums with an ice pick.  He’s the liberal answer to Bill O’Reilly.  Something that, along with the ideological purity police, is something we really don’t need.)

And seemingly for no reason but to punish me and force my poor ears to hear clips of the interview all week, Trump decided to show anti-abortion activists that he really was one of them, honestly, scout’s honor, no take backs, no crossed fingers, he swears.

At a taping of an MSNBC town hall that will air later, host Chris Matthews pressed the Republican presidential front-runner Trump for his thoughts on abortion policy. Trump said he’s in favor of an abortion ban, explaining, “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places, but we have to ban it,” according to a partial transcript from Bloomberg Politics.

Matthews asked if there would be a punishment for women who received abortions if they were made illegal. Trump responded, “There has to be some form of punishment.” He elaborated that the punishment would have “to be determined” and the law will depend on the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle and the 2016 election.

Matthews, to his credit (I feel dirty for typing that), was all over Trump like a bad toupee rather than allowing the reality show star to word salad his way out of the question.  Progressives immediately held it up as yet another extremist view held by Trump,  Wow, that’s a surprise.  Liberals were going to disagree with Trump’s position on abortion no matter what he said.  Trump’s running as a Republican, which means he has to be “pro-life.”  (What a great political system we’ve built on the corpses of the founding fathers.  Sigh.)  What was surprising was the response by anti-abortion activists as they rushed to distance themselves from Trump.

The central goal of the pro-life movement may be to eliminate abortion, but to the vast majority, the responsibility doesn’t lie with the woman getting an abortion, but the doctor who is providing it.

Even the most staunch pro-life groups were quick to express their disappointment with Trump’s initial statements. Susan B. Anthony List and March for Life, two of the country’s most prominent anti-abortion groups, tweeted that women who have abortions need “healing and compassion” and that punishment is “solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of life.”

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and a long-time pro-lifer, says that the responsibility of an illegal abortion “should fall on abortion providers, not the women who turn to them in desperation.”

“If Donald Trump is going to run successfully as a pro-life candidate, it’s time he started listening to the pro-life movement,” he says.

Trump’s Republican rivals said much of the same.

“But of course women shouldn’t be punished,” Republican candidate John Kasich said. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response. It’s a difficult enough situation.”

Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz echoed Scheidler’s sentiments, saying in a statement that being pro-life isn’t just about the “unborn child,” but the mother as well – something that is “far too often neglected.” The movement, he said in a statement, is about “creating a culture that respects her and embraces life.”

“Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world,” he said.

Me thinks the activists doth protest too much.  The only reason pro-life people claim they don’t want the woman punished is because that is a horrifically unpopular position in the larger population.  I am sure some anti-abortion activists honestly do not want the woman punished beyond being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, just as I’m also sure some of them really want to reduce the amount of abortions and would support proven programs such as Colorado’s IUD program,  and some of them think those who shoot abortion providers are murderers.

And if the majority of anti-abortion activists share those beliefs, if they truly want to end abortion and not punish women for being sexually active, if they’re “pro-life” position prohibits the assassination of providers and the bombing of clinics, then those people need to make that clear and stop providing cover for the more extreme members of their movement.

It is the same argument I make to “moderate” Christians.  Shrugging your shoulders and saying that the gay haters aren’t “real Christians” doesn’t cut it.  In fact, going from the Bible, most of the time the fundamentalists have more textual support for their position.  Hey “moderate pro-lifer?”  When you call abortion “murder” and insist it is the “American Holocaust,” you are giving coverage to the clinic bombers and doctor killers, just as the moderate Christian who argues for the infallibility of the Bible protects the anti-gay bigots.

Watching Ted Cruz attack Trump over this issue is even more rich.  The “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition that Ted loves pointing out, is co-chaired by the president of Operation Rescue, Troy Newman.  Newman wrote the book “Their Blood Cries Out,” which was written before anti-abortionists began softening their language to find more support.  Here’s a telling passage (and I urge you to read the whole article from Right Wing Watch.)

While Newman never explicitly calls for the execution of women who have had abortions, as he does abortion providers, he makes very clear that he sees these women as equally culpable for the supposed crime.

He tells the story of a woman in California accused of paying two men $1,000 and some “sexual favors” to murder her husband. Both the woman and the men who executed the hit, he reports, received the same sentence. How, Newman asks, is this different from abortion?

There was no outpouring of public concern from the community declaring her a victim of society. There were no help centers set up to give aid to all future contract killers so that they might find alternatives to murdering their husbands. The churches did not welcome her on the condition that neither of the parties would discuss the crime. There was no legislation brought forward by the National Organization for Women to pardon her and all future murderesses. There was no sympathy publicly expressed for her — only the satisfaction that comes from witnessing justice.

Why, then, do we consider any differently the women who seek to hire killers to murder their pre-born children? Why the hesitancy to say that not only the mothers, but also the fathers who willfully abort their babies, are guilty of murder? Why is there such outrage expressed at the notion that those who know of the crime but do not intervene, like most of the churches in America, share a portion of the guilt?

Who holds the fathers, the mothers, the neighbors, the pastors, and the bystanders guilty? Who would dare?

God can! God does!

By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.

..

When Newman endorsed Cruz, Ted was quick to play up the endorsement on his campaign website.
“I am grateful to receive the endorsement of Troy Newman,” Cruz said. “He has served as a voice for the unborn for over 25 years, and works tirelessly every day for the pro-life cause. We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice.”
How extreme is Newman?

“Today’s scheduled execution of Paul Hill is not justice, but is another example of the judicial tyranny that is gripping our nation. A Florida judge denied Rev. Hill his right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day. Our system of justice is based upon ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ but in Rev. Hill’s case, there was no justice because the court prevented him from presenting the legal defense that his conduct was justifiable defensive action.

“There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law. Paul Hill should have been given the opportunity to defend himself with the defense of his choosing in a court of law. [Operation Rescue West press release, 9/3/03, via Media Matters]

How about banned from Australia extreme?

Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, had been scheduled to begin a speaking tour in Australia on Friday. But immigration officials canceled his visa before he left the United States after Australian politicians raised concerns that he might encourage violence against abortion providers or women seeking the procedure.

He managed to board a flight from Los Angeles despite not having a valid visa but was detained by immigration officers at Melbourne Airport while trying to enter the country on Thursday.

[…]

Terri Butler, a Labor member of the Australian Parliament, had called for the government to revoke Mr. Newman’s visa this week. In a letter to Mr. Dutton, she cited passages from a book that Mr. Newman co-wrote that called for abortion doctors to be executed. [New York Times10/2/15]

Anti-abortion activists may spend the whole week screaming that they don’t want women punished for having an abortion.  Just like they claim they aren’t against contraception when it serves their purposes, just like they claim they are against violence in the aftermath of each clinic bombing or doctor assassination.

What matters is their language when no one is watching.  The stuff they say when they are surrounded by only true believers.  As they continue to escalate the debate with inflammatory language.  As they publish the names and home addresses of providers.  As they unscientifically claim one contraception method after another is actually abortion.

It is about ending abortion.  It is also about taking reproductive control away from women and forcing them back into the kitchen.  If it was honestly all about abortion we live in a nation that is rich enough to practically eliminate elective abortions.  Abortion could be nothing but a procedure that occurs only during the current “exceptions.”  Rape, incest and the life of the mother or non-viable pregnancy.  We could provide every woman of reproductive age contraception.  We could turn abortion into an incredibly rare procedure, rather than one that is more common than anyone realizes.  But there’s no slut shaming involved there, and it doesn’t serve to reinforce the patriarchy.

Trump says some insane shit.  Trump takes some extreme positions.  Don’t buy the lie that this (even though he did walk it back later) is one of them.  This is a mainstream belief in the GOP.  It just isn’t one they like outsiders to know about.

 

“Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write” and Thomas Sowell Go Together “So-Well” (See What I Did There!!!!)

From the “Letters to the Editor” page in the Altoona Mirror, I bring you today’s installment of “Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write, ” submitted to the Mirror by a John K. Coyle (NOT THE SPEEDSKATER!!!) from Bedford, Pennsylvania.  (Bolding is mine as always)

Award-winning syndicated columnist Tom Sowell’s column on “racial representation” is a must read.

In it, he offers his opinion on whether the black race should be continuously complaining of how they are not equally representative in every phase of “what matters.”

He writes with “tongue-in-cheek” of how even the NFL comes up short, with his perfect example of “failure to represent.”

I quote Sowell, “I have seen hundreds of black players score touchdowns, but I have never seen one black player kick an extra point.”

I’m surprised there wasn’t a group of professional protesters at the Super Bowl.

And as always, Tom says it “So-well.”

– See more at: http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/630747/Sowell-makes-his-point-well.html?nav=737#sthash.p016CZLe.dpuf

Oh God, what is that “black race” complaining about now?  I bet it’s something really petty, amirite?  Let’s go to The Jewish World Review to check out the column in question, shall well?

The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year’s Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Wait, what?  That’s the controversy Sowell is writing about?  Is Mr. Coyle misrepresenting Mr. Sowell’s column by only quoting that eye roll worthy joke example of NFL placekickers?  I mean, I admit that I don’t really like Thomas Sowell’s political and social ideas, but he is a nationally known columnist.  Surely he wouldn’t dismiss the lack of nominations for blacks at the Academy Awards the past two years, while the nominations are decided by a voting body that is overwhelmingly white with just that weak ass example.  Right?  I mean, just because he never saw a black place kicker in the NFL doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  At the time this article went to press there had been 4 black NFL place kickers.

I doubt whether any of the guys who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem ever went on to become ballet dancers. Nor is it likely that this had anything to do with either genetics or racism. The very thought of becoming a ballet dancer never crossed my mind and it probably never occurred to the other guys either.

Oh, okay.  See?  I knew good old “So-Well” wouldn’t just bring that one sad example.  He has two sad examples.  It took me two clicks on Google to find this story featuring 2 black male ballet dancers from Brooklyn.   I really have no idea what Sowell is playing at by bringing up these two examples.  There are non-racist reasons why some fields (such as NFL place kicking) have lower than normal participation by African Americans.  As the 2012 article said on place kicking:

The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minorities for coaching jobs. The difference is there were plenty of candidates being ignored when the rule began.

Black kicking prospects aren’t being ignored. They aren’t turned into defensive backs or wide receivers, like promising black quarterbacks used to be. Nobody’s pulling a Jimmy the Greek and saying they lack the leg strength or other “necessities.”

There simply aren’t many out there.

“The hard part is finding a kid who’ll stick with it,” said Oglesby, who runs a kicking camp in Atlanta. “I come across kids who have the talent, but either they’re not interested or don’t have the money to attend camps. Or they play on a team that doesn’t put any emphasis on it.”

Almost all young kickers played soccer, which is not popular in black communities. They get specialized training and don’t depend on high schools developing their skills.

That’s a good thing, since kicking is often an afterthought on the high-school level. And even if a kicker is a young Sebastian Janikowski, the position doesn’t have much sex appeal to an impressionable kid of any race.

As for the ballet dancing, I must admit that I also didn’t know any male ballet dancers growing up.  The thought never crossed my mind, and I doubt it really ever did for most of the guys I went to school with.  Yet I grew up in a school that was 99% white.  How can that be?  Shouldn’t I have been swimming through future ballet principles?  Could it be that some forms of dance, like, ballet maybe, are favored more by girls growing up than boys?  The stereotype when I went to school, which was ages ago, granted, was that little boys played sports while little girls did gymnastics and dance.  Was it sexist as all get out?  Hell yeah.  It wasn’t as divided as I make it seem, girls did play basketball (soccer had yet to catch on) and eventually softball, but the now common sight of a girl playing Little League certainly didn’t occur during my childhood.  The point is that although not the common path, some little white boys and little black boys do decide they want to do ballet.  And if Mr. Sowell, or Mr. Coyle seriously think racism isn’t an obstacle for those black children who want to dance ballet, then they have never done any research into ballet.  Ballet has a serious obsession with “the look.”  Women must be lithe, flat-chested, and delicate while the men must fit their own mold.  The ballet company, the director, and the audience all have an image of what a ballet dancer should look like, and all too often that mental image is of a white person.  Look at Misty Copeland’s rise to Principle dancer and the pitfalls she had to face in spite of her unquestionable talent because she was black with a body outside the classical image of a ballerina.

Even with his pitiful examples, the most audacious part of Sowell’s column is his attempt to obfuscate the  actual argument against the Academy Awards.  Black actors point out the complete white-out for acting nominations, two years running, and Sowell does some quick slight of hand and is suddenly talking about professions where African Americans are underrepresented.  But that misses the point entirely.  Acting is not a profession that is void of black talent.  There were legitimate candidates for nomination the past two years.  This isn’t a case of “well, maybe black folks don’t act, ” or “maybe black folks don’t like to kick balls,” or “none of my black friends danced ballet.”  It’s more “gee, isn’t it funny that this incredibly white voting bloc keeps giving all the nominations to white people, even though there are deserving candidates with differing skin tones.”  It has much more in common with the old “so if white people and black people use drugs at similar rates per capita, then why does such a massive amount  more black people wind up getting arrested?” than Sowell’s sad sack examples.

For Thomas Sowell?  I know, it’s not hard.  As a black conservative columnist, you can pretty much say anything and your intended audience will lap it all up.  But judging by your CV, you are not a stupid man.  So come on, out of intellectual integrity at the least, a bit less baiting, and a bit less switching.

And Mr. John K. Coyle (Not the Speedskater!  Seriously, don’t mess with the speedskating guy, he didn’t say anything.)?  As a fellow white person, although a few decades your junior, I urge you to refrain from ever telling “the black race” what you think they should do.   Especially in a public forum with your name attached while possessing a non-private (not mean enough to link it, it’s easy enough to find.) Facebook account.  I assure you, they do not care what you think, and you sound like your next words will be  “I’m not racist, but…”

Hey Bigots! Can I Have Some Bigot Cake as Well?

Remember Melissa and Aaron Klein?  They are the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, an Oregon bakery that shot to national infamy by refusing to bake a cake for the local Satanic cult’s 3rd Annual Fetus Cook-Off.  The cake was to celebrate the addition of Planned Parenthood as a Gold level sponsor of this year’s event, and….  Yeah, actually they refused to make a wedding cake for two women because Jesus said very plainly in that book the bigoted Christians really wish existed:

“And Thee Sayeth Onto Thou, Skip a bit, brother, and thee Woman folk I command thusly; Touch no man but thou husband; be pure and chaste in all, but slut in the bed of marriage; enjoy thee not sex, but suffer through it whenever your lawful husband, your master, wishes it; know that if your husband strays, it is your fault, oh woman, once tempted led to the fall of man; God created fellatio, as a way for woman to worship her superior, and you should provide your husband nightly; cunnilingus however, is the work of Satan, never ask it of your husband; and now woman, pay close attention, for this is the key to your salvation.  Thee are permitted, encouraged even, to lick, kiss, touch, feel, fondle, poke, rub, hug, and/or suck on any part of another woman ONLY for the entertainment and pleasure of your lawful husband.  For a woman marrying a woman robs two men of their rightful property.  So spoke Jesus the Christ.  Seriously.  That is what I said.  Jesus.  That’s me.  And that is what I said.  Honest. ” – The Book of “God We Wish We Had This,” chapter 5, verses 11 to 73.

See?  It’s right there in that made up quote from that imaginary book about the mythical sky daddy who tells these people to be bigots.  It’s not their fault!

So anyway, Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to bake the nice couple a wedding cake and possibly also told them they were abominations in the eyes of god*.  The nice couple sued, and since our judicial system doesn’t base their decisions on what they think a 2000 year old mythical figure would do, Sweet Cakes by Melissa lost and was ordered to pay close to 150k.

So everything worked out alright in the end, right?  The couple, who just wanted a wedding cake, got compensated for being discriminated against, which kinda makes up for their unwanted infamy among the Christian right wing lunatic fringe, the courts did court stuff lawfully, and the cake bakers who refused to bake cakes for people in relationships they did not approve of had to pay a hefty fine.  All’s right in the world!

Until you read this:

Sweet Cakes by Melissa was kicked off GoFundMe earlier this year, but has since raised more than $350,000 on the crowdfunding site Continue to Give. The growing total, which far exceeds the couple’s $150,000 goal, is the largest individual campaign in the history of the three-year-old site, the Washington Times reported. The couple previously netted more than $60,000 from Go Fund Me before that campaign was taken down.

What good are fines at stopping discrimination when there are a whole bunch of bigots out there all too willing to send their bigot bucks to whatever bigot needs bigot bucks at that particular moment?  It’s practically an encouragement to discriminate, a bigot safety net, there to catch bigots who face complaints and lawsuits in a big pile of bigot bucks.**

Which leads us to our next chapter in this story; what the Klein’s decided to do with the leftover cash.

This week, the owners of an Oregon bakery ordered to pay $135,000 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple sent out 10 specially made cakes to LGBT groups.

Sweet Cakes By Melissa sent the cakes, which say “We really do love you!” in white writing over a red heart. The packages also included a DVD copy of “Audacity,” an anti-gay film, according to The Advocate. The film’s website says it “delivers an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality.”

“Our purpose is to express our love for them as a Christian,” bakery owner Melissa Klein wrote in an email to the Oregonian. “We don’t hate them. We also included in the package the movie Audacity. I feel it is a well done movie that shows what being a Christian is about. My hope is that they will watch it and maybe just understand our heart.  We want to show them that it’s not about not serving them it’s about not being able to partake in an event.”

audacityPic credit: Equality California

Okay, three cheers to the Kleins for a textbook example of the second definition for “audacity”:

au·dac·i·ty
ôˈdasədē/
noun
noun: audacity
  1. 1.
    the willingness to take bold risks.
    “her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency”
  2. 2.
    rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence.
    “she had the audacity to send GLBTQ organizations a cake with the hate flick Audacity.”

I mean, spot on use of language there.  Very impressive.  Second, you fucking sent them “Audacity”?  While claiming that you love them?  Holy mixed messages, Batman.  That’s like giving your kid a kitten then running the cute, cuddly ball of fur over on purpose,  then replacing said kitten with a puppy because puppy rape is what gets you going.  “Audacity” has an incredible amount of audacity (first definition) in even calling itself a film.  Half the damn movie is Ray Comfort clips from Youtube.  My feelings on “Audacity” can be summed up as follows; if Ray Comfort came up to me with a video camera and started asking idiotic questions about sexuality, I would fuck with him like no other.  But that’s not fair, I know who he is.  If a random stranger with a video camera came up to me and started asking me insane questions on sexuality in the same tone of voice and manner of speaking as Ray Comfort, I would say whatever I thought he wanted to hear to shut him up and get him away from me before he started to shoot or stab people.  If you torture yourself into watching “Audacity,” put everyone of his interviewees in that frame of mind.  If you want the full scoop on Ray Comfort’s masterpiece of Christian cinema, Eli, Noah, and Heath review this gem on The Scathing Atheisthere. (Review starts at the 23:45 part if you don’t like well written comedy. Not that you’ll like the review then either, but I still wanted to include the time stamp.)

So let’s see, we have spot on use of language, and inflicting a film that makes God’s Not Dead look both like  Oscar bait and a subtle, nuanced work of apologetic.  We’ll add that together, carry the one, divide by the square root, multiply by the ………

I got it!

Dear Melissa and Aaron.

Please take your bigot cakes, paid for with bigot bucks, and shove them as far up each of your bigot assholes as you each can reach, you passive aggressive, condescending, holier than thou, asshatted bigots.  While Jesus has surprisingly little to say about homosexuals, considering how much time and effort Christian bigots dedicate to all things gay, your god* could be the most homophobic deity in the pantheon and it still wouldn’t give you a legitimate excuse to not bake the cake.

When you bake a cake for a wedding, you are not giving your blessing and/or seal of approval on the match being made.  No one is asking that of you.  When they ask if anyone has any objection to the wedding, they don’t frantically look around to make sure the cake baker is in the room and giving consent.  It is the same as a county clerk, except even less vital; the clerk is also not approving or blessing the union, they are just verifying that the couple is eligible to get married according to the secular law, while you are just providing a decoration that will probably be shoved into at least one of the couple’s faces.

Melissa, you are a bigot.  Unfortunately, you happen to live during a time period in America where being a bigot pays.  You may have to move to a more bigoted location, or open up a mail order business, but it is beyond certain that while many talented and driven small cake shops will fail in the coming years, you will make a decent living either baking for bigots or speaking to bigots.  But do not let yourself be fooled.  Do not buy into the lie, that you are the one being oppressed, and that you are somehow fighting a fight for religious liberty.  You are not.  You are a homophobic bigot.

Why am I so comfortable in making that statement?  Well, partially this:

When one of the reporters called and asked if the business could make two identical cakes to help a friend celebrate the grant she received for cloning human stem cells, a Sweet Cakes employee simply laughed and said, “It’ll be $25.99 each, so about $50 to start.”

A request for a cake to congratulate a friend on her divorce was also happily accepted, with a Sweet Cakes worker saying, “We can definitely do something like that.”

Sweet Cakes was even happy to take orders for cakes for a pagan summer solstice fete — complete with a green pentagram decoration — and celebrating babies born out of wedlock.

But even more than that is the simple fact that all of you “traditional marriage” people are bigots.  No one is kidnapping the men off your block and forcing them into gay marriages.  You argue for biblical marriage, yet ignore the polygamy running rampant throughout the book.  Marriages were arranged for decent chunks of history, and while clans like the Duggars long for the days when women were passed like property from one man to the next, something tells me that even most Christians are not willingly going to accept arranged marriage.  While we’re keeping things traditional, are we bringing back the dowry as well?  I’ve recently been fascinated with medieval history, and the rare cases where a King or dowager Queen marry for love are often seen as scandalous.  (For one example, the dowager Queen Katherine and Owen Tudor. Or if we’re speaking of dowry, the marriage of Henry VI to “a Queen not worth ten marks”***, Margaret of Anjou.  Ah, traditional marriage.)  If you are that concerned about “traditional” marriage, why aren’t you freaking out about interracial weddings?  Cause you’re fifty years too late?  Cause that type of bigotry isn’t acceptable in polite, Christian circles anymore?  I guess it depends on what “polite, Christian circles” you run in, does it not?****

What about divorce?  You will bake divorce cakes, and something tells me you gladly bake cakes for people’s second (and third, and fourth, and….) weddings when Jesus, your whole fucking reason for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, was quite clear (for once) on divorce(my bolding):

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it. Matt 19

See, Jesus’ opinion isn’t “be fruitful and multiply,” it’s “keep it in your pants, but if you absolutely can’t stay celibate, which you definitely should, but if you can’t, I guess you can get married.”  And since he starts the chapter talking about how marriage was totes awesome according to god, who’s the enemy of traditional marriage in this story?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s the same guy who’s on the other side of the glory hole.

Invariably, about this deep in any anti-marriage equality article, after the author has exhausted the weak arguments available to them, you find the anecdote about the author’s child (or friend’s child) finding out about gay marriage through tv/a magazine cover/ a newspaper cover/ an assigned book in school and that person having to explain something they are uncomfortable talking about to the child, and…..  Well, and then I’m not really sure.  I see this argument all the time I’m really not sure what they want.  The ability to hide reality from their child until that child is of legal age?  Here’s one recent example, from Right Wing Watch (although Wonkette covers it here as well.)

Ruse said that he started to worry when he realized that one of the chefs on Chopped “looked like a butch lesbian” and put his finger on the remote just in case he got exposed to gayness. “But this is the Food Network so we don’t have anything to worry about, right?” he said.

But it was too late. Despite his best efforts, Ruse and his daughter were forced to see a lesbian couple:

So I didn’t have my hand on the trigger fast enough when they did a hard cut to a backstory about this lesbian chef and don’t you know it she’s got her arm around her ‘wife,’ she refers to her ‘wife,’ and I was too slow in fast-forwarding. My eight-year-old Lucy, sweet Lucy, turned to me and said: ‘Did she say wife?’ And I said, ‘No, I think she meant girlfriend.’ And Lucy said, ‘I think she said life.’ God bless the innocence of this child. But they will not let us off the mat, the ideologies who want to cram this thing down our throats no matter where we go.

And it gets worse. Ruse laments that unwitting children may have had their vacations ruined by an edition of USA Today that featured a gay couple kissing:

The day after the decision of the Supreme Court was a full page photograph of two men kissing on USA Today. This is a paper that lands in front of hotel room doors all over the country, this is vacation time, families open that door, children may have opened this door to see two men kissing. They are making us explain things to our children that we don’t want to explain and they know what they’re doing, they absolutely know what they’re doing.

While Ruse complains about being persecuted by the Food Network, let’s remember that this is same anti-gay activist who condemned the United Nations for investigating “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

I mean, I get the urge to protect your children.  If I had kids (and I do have nieces, a nephew, and a young cousin who’s pretty much a niece) I would want to protect them from Confederate battle flags, neo-nazis, Fox News, Westboro Baptist Church, Catholic priests, The 700 Club, guns, and poster sized pictures of aborted fetuses.  But these things all exist, and at age appropriate times, I think it is important to introduce children to the concepts.  I do not want the first time my daughter hears about a poster sized picture of an aborted fetus to be when she’s walking into a Planned Parenthood for her well-woman check and some protester is shoving it in her face.  “Traditional marriage” supporters will throw my own “age appropriate” comment right back in my face, but we aren’t talking about hardcore gay porn here.  We are speaking of the existence of a group of people who most certainly do exist.  Everyone knows a homosexual.  If you do not know a homosexual, it is more than likely because you are a bigot and the homosexuals you do know just aren’t telling you.  Chances are a few of the kids at your child’s school have gay parents.  A lesbian couple on Food Network is not an endorsement of that lifestyle.  A lip to lip kiss on the cover of a newspaper is not a religious statement.  They are just holding a mirror to society.  What evil lifestyle is the couple on Chopped displaying?  The one where you love someone and commit to them in marriage?  Those bastards.

Marriage equality is about love, consent, and equal rights under the law.  Freedom of religion means you do not have to get gay married.  Your church doesn’t have to perform gay weddings.  You and your pastor/priest can bitch about how gay marriage is going to lead to the end of the world all day long, and twice on Sunday.  You are even free, as sick as it is, to raise your kids believing that homosexuality is a sin and that gay marriage is wrong.  (Hopefully you’re not one of those bigots who will throw their child out of the house if they come out as gay.)

What you don’t get is the ability to force that belief on others.  No anti-gay prayers in school (or any prayers for that matter….and note, I am referring to official prayers, not non-disruptive silent prayers by individual students.)  If you hold elective office (or appointed office) you don’t get to refuse to do your job because Jesus.  You took an oath to obey and support the laws of our nation, not those of your book or church.  If you can’t do your job, then quit.  Save us all the trouble of firing you.  Especially when you are more than likely a “fiscal conservative” as well, and it is tax dollars you are wasting grandstanding for martyr points.  If you are a business, then you serve everyone or no one.  Simple, is it not?  Think that isn’t fair?  Well, how would you feel if I had a business and I refused to serve Christians?  Could you imagine what Bill O’Reilly would say about me?  He’d probably have David Silverman on as a guest, show the one picture of me posing with Silverman, and spend the whole segment yelling over David about how much of a treasonous bigoted scum sucking commie I was. But that whole thought experiment is meaningless to you, is it not?  Because you can not place yourself in another person’s skin.

Enjoy your bigot bucks.  Enjoy sending out your condescending cake with the bigger waste of a disc than “Free AOL” software.  Because on this front of the culture war, you lost.  You can pretend that you will out breed the progressives all you want, but most of your children will end up rejecting your bigotry.  The “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” kerfluffle will be a dark family secret, with their great grand children shockingly discovering those bigot were their ancestors, wondering what went wrong, eventually chalking it up to a different time, just as those of us did with ancestors who protested against things like interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, or ending slavery.

Now, get back to shoving that cake so deep in there that you see it in your santorum for the next year.

*While I never really thought of it before, after listening to this week’s diatribe on The Scathing Atheist, I am making a conscious effort to not capitalize “god,” except when it appears at the start of a sentence.  This is a habit I have had for ages, so please don’t mind the inconsistency as I retrain my fingers.

**Dude, I can not be the only atheist who’s retirement plan looks like this:

  • Fake conversion
  • Plead poverty/persecution due to my new found faith
  • Rake in the bigot bucks
  • Write book on my experiences in the Christian fringe movement.

Fucking ethics and morals.  I wonder how “psychics” and alt-med practitioners get rid of those pesky things.

***From the title of chapter 7 in The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir.  Also from this book comes my personal favorite nickname for the future Queen of England, “la petite creature.” (pg 107)

****Bigotry against an “outgroup” is fascinating.  While I was growing up and during my teen years, bigotry against homosexuals was seen as the standard in my area.  It was the default assumption.  Unless you spoke up, everyone assumed you hated the “fags.”  Those who were different at all for any reason were labeled “fags.”  (Before Nirvana went mainstream, I think I was called “leather fag” more often than my actual name for a while.)  There was also a really strong undercurrent of racism, just not as automatically assumed as the homophobia.  Perhaps because while my school had (I believe, I am not getting out my yearbook) one African-American (in 1994!!!)  and two Indian-Americans in my graduating class, we were just outside of Altoona (and all hung out with people from each school) which had a much more diverse racial make up.

Now, with outright racism largely frowned upon by society and the acceptance of GLBTQ community members as actual normal people, we’re witnessing a strange outbreak of bigotry across multiple fronts as, I don’t know, bigots look for an acceptable place to release it?  From the resurgence of anti-black racism (see the comment thread on any story dealing with Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown) to the last gasps of those who desperately wish they could choke on a nice hard cock (see Brian Fischer, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, et al.) to the shockingly counterproductive anti-Mexican immigrant hate coming from the GOP’s field of presidential candidates (see. well…all of them?) to the confusing issue of actual post 9/11 anti-Middle Easterner racism being lumped together and equated with legitimate criticism of the tenants of the Islamic religion, it seems society is determined to prove those who claimed we had moved beyond race, beyond bigotry as wrong as possible.  What’s the next group?  It can’t be women, although the GOP has made a go of it over the past couple of years, but women simply have too much voting power.  My guess, and we’ve definitely seen it in action before, I just think it will get much more mainstream: bigotry against the poor.  A group with almost no political power, with no money to buy politicians, that is so easily demonized (they buy steak with food stamps!  They get free phones!  Welfare mommas!  Your hard earned tax dollars, Rabble Rabble Rabble!!!)  It’s coming hard, from your local GOP candidate.  Bet on it.

***** Just a note here.  The piece on Jindal is over half done at the moment.  It hasn’t been the best week as it goes with my family and health, so I’ve been a bit behind.  I’m also just about to become unemployed,  hopefully for a very short period of time, which has been cutting into my time.  I will work on getting it up on Monday.  Thanks all for reading this!

Really Rachel? Really?

I have to admit, I was so caught up shopping for a gay wedding present for the totes-legal-now-that-the-Supremes-said-that-everyone-needed-to-stop-kung-fu-fighting-long-enough-to-get-gay-married-everybody-even-puppies-goats-llamas-cable-news-shows-websites-and-straight-men-except-not-Jared-from-Subway-cause-seriously-fuck-that-guy impending nuptials joining The Wonkette and The Rachel Maddow Show in the bonds of holy matrimony, wondering what happens on the honeymoon for a website/cable news show marriage, who would get pregnant, and if they would give birth to little podcasts and oh my god this sentence ran on so long I got lost.

Okay, so I was busy doing that thing mentioned in the above sentence so I almost missed this little comment from Rachel Maddow on her show last night, and that would have been a shame because I so disagree with her for once.

There`s no reason to think that Jeb Bush is a terrible person.

I understand, Rachel.  You are always trying to get Republicans to come on your show, and those that do are always treated fairly.  Perhaps in the not too distant future (na na na), when elected Republicans can once again govern like adults without fear of being primaried for the sin of compromise, more members of the GOP will realize appearing on your show is not like a progressive on The O’Reilly Factor.  Of course, for that possibility to, well, be possible, you can’t exactly go around calling Republican candidates for President “terrible people,” now can you?

But I can.  Especially when the Republican in question actually is a terrible person.  In fact, one of the most pressing questions I hope to answer in my 17 part on-going series, Getting to Know the Trip, is if there is a non-terrible person in the field.  (Preliminary answer?  No.  They’re all pretty terrible.)  Things need to change if we have any hope of reclaiming our democracy and building it back up to something other than a world wide joke.  One thing that really needs to change is that the press needs to live up to the responsibility the Founding Fathers gave it by enshrining Freedom of the Press in the Bill of Rights.  The only bias a news anchor/reporter should have is an overwhelming bias towards reality. Stop covering politics like sports and stop being afraid of offending people if a political party takes a stance in opposition to objective fact.

While I am going to save most points for when I get to Jeb in my Goat Countdown, hearing Rachel last night compelled me to let you all know a few reasons why yes, Jeb Bush is a terrible person.  And we’ll start off with the two words that should immediately disqualify him from the Presidency:

Terry Schiavo

Raise your hand if you remember this ghoul trying to score political points by reinserting the feeding tube into a women in a persistent vegetative state, forcing her to “live,” against the wishes of her husband (and guardian) and, if you believe her husbands word, and I have no reason not to, against her own wishes as well.  Die with dignity? Not with Jeb on duty:

She had left no will. No written instructions. She was 26. To try to determine what she would have wanted, there was a trial, in the Pinellas County courtroom of circuit judge George Greer, in which Michael Schiavo relayed what she had told him in passing about what her wishes would be in this sort of scenario. Others did, too. She also had next to no chance of recovery, according to doctors’ testimony. Greer cited “overwhelming credible evidence” that Terri Schiavo was “totally unresponsive” with “severe structural brain damage” and that “to a large extent her brain has been replaced by spinal fluid.” His judgment was that she would not have wanted to live in her “persistent vegetative state” and that Michael Schiavo, her husband and her legal guardian, was allowed to remove her feeding tube.

But that was before the Jeb signal went up!

So on October 15, 2003, Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube came out. Judge’s orders. She would die within two weeks. This stage of the case looks in retrospect like the start of a test. Just how much power did Jeb Bush have?

HB 35E was filed after 8 at night on October 20. Many lawmakers already were gone for the day. Gelber, the state representative from Miami, put his suit back on at his apartment in Tallahassee and hustled back to the Capitol. Fellow Democrats gathered around as the attorney and former prosecutor began to read the bill one of Bush’s staff attorneys had helped to write.“Authority for the Governor to Issue a One-time Stay …”

Gelber looked up.

“I don’t have to read anymore,” he said. “It’s clearly unconstitutional.”

“The governor can’t just change an order of the court,” Gelber explained this month. “It’s one of the most elemental concepts of democracy: The governor is not a king.”

But the governor is Jeb!  He’s better than a king.  Letters poured into his office, each attempting to suck his dick a little bit better than the previous one.  Oh, it must have been good to be Jeb in those heady days.  Unfortunately, those pesky courts, you know, the ones who had earlier ruled in favor of Terri’s right to die with dignity?  Yeah, those ones.  Well, they were about to meddle around and ruin poor Jeb’s good day.

Back in Florida, though, the courts were focused not so much on what was “morally obligatory” but more on what was legally mandatory.

A circuit judge ruled Bush’s “Terri’s Law” unconstitutional.

Well, that’s only a circuit court.  Wait til it gets to the Florida Supreme Court.  They’ll see it Jeb’s way, I just know it.

The seven state supreme court judges took less than a month to dismiss unanimously “Terri’s Law.”

Oh.  Well, that was embarrassing.  Unanimous?  Damn.  The only thing worse would be if the Chief Justice released a written smackdown that Foster could mark up with bolding and italics on his blog, in this article.

“If the Legislature with the assent of the Governor can do what was attempted here,” chief justice Barbara Pariente wrote in her ruling, “the judicial branch would be subordinated to the final directive of the other branches. Also subordinated would be the rights of individuals, including the well-established privacy right to self-determination. No court judgment could ever be considered truly final and no constitutional right truly secure, because the precedent of this case would hold to the contrary. Vested rights could be stripped away based on popular clamor. The essential core of what the Founding Fathers sought to change from their experience with English rule would be lost …

But that was like, forever ago.  Surely Jeb has learned from his attempt to destroy the system of checks and balances to score cheap pro-life points.  No matter how many letters from supporters he received over the matter, he had to hear the overwhelming outcry in opposition to his privacy and self-determination shredding power grab.  Right?

No, not really.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday he had no regrets about fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive, addressing the mid-2000s controversy on his second trip to New Hampshire this year.

“I don’t think I would have changed anything,” he told New Hampshire business leaders at St. Anselm College’s Politics and Eggs breakfast in response to a question about whether he would have handled things differently with the benefit of hindsight.

Speaking of the past, it turns out that Jeb longs for the good old days, back when adulterous women were forced to wear large letter “A’s.”

Public shaming would be an effective way to regulate the “irresponsible behavior” of unwed mothers, misbehaving teenagers and welfare recipients, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) argued in his 1995 book Profiles in Character.

In a chapter called “The Restoration of Shame,” the likely 2016 presidential candidate made the case that restoring the art of public humiliation could help prevent pregnancies “out of wedlock.”

One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

Bush points to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the main character is forced to wear a large red “A” for “adulterer” on her clothes to punish her for having an extramarital affair that produced a child, as an early model for his worldview. “Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots,” Bush wrote.

Who’s a cute little misogynist?  Come on, Jeb, make that “grrr” noise.  It will go great with this quote from Alternet:

After all, we’re talking about a man who once put the life of a disabled woman who’d been raped at risk by intervening legally to force her to carry her child to term — a move a Florida court later found illegal.

We’re talking about a man who, as governor, signed a controversial abortion ban into law — and praised a similar measure passed by the House on Wednesday as “humane and compassionate.”

We’re talking about a man who likes to defend his anti-choice record by saying “the most vulnerable in our society need to be protected” — even though he’s shown he’s not above playing politics with a child’s body, once going so far as governor as appealing the decision of a court that ruled a 13-year-old girl could have an abortion when her pregnancy posed an extreme risk to her health.

We’re talking about someone who likes to talk a big game about how taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund abortions — even though he slipped millions in taxpayer dollars to Florida “crisis pregnancy centers” notorious for lying to and misleading women about their reproductive health choices. (This, in a state where 73 percent of counties have no abortion providers and crisis centers may be the only places women have to turn for the medical care they desperately need.)

And let’s not forget that Jeb once held $1 million in family planning grants hostage until the programs receiving the money agreed not to discuss birth control at all.

And since I want to save most of the ammo for my 6k or so word introduction of Jeb that is still probably a couple months away, I will leave you with this recent little gaffe.  Wasn’t Jeb supposedly the establishment candidate who wouldn’t make stupid gaffes?  From Correct the Record, though you can find it just about anywhere:

 Jeb Bush: “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

I know you were trying to be nice, Ms. Maddow, but he is a terrible person.

Now I’m going to do a knife hit to get the taste of yet another bush out of my mouth.  Have a good weekend, I’ll try to get a few posts up during the weekend.

For those interested, here is the order for the next few parts of Getting to Know the Trip

  1. Bobby Jindal
  2. Lindsey Graham
  3. Rick Perry
  4. Jim Gilmore
  5. George Pataki

I will try to have Gov. Jindal up on Monday, although his is going to be so much fun that it may take til Wednesday.  I mean, this is a Governor who has pissed off just about every single voter in his state in his hopeless attempt to win the presidential nomination.  A legitimate answer to the question “What is wrong with the United State’s method of electing a President?” would be simply pointing at Jindal.  He is a guy who got himself elected Governor of a state solely as a stepping stone to higher office, and every single decision he makes as Governor is informed by his higher goal.  Yes, it will be fun.

After I finish out the under 2% gang I’ll make a schedule for the other candidates.  I’m thinking of going by national poll numbers, which is meaningless, but hell, Fox News thinks they mean something, so why not?  We’ll see.

If you have a few minutes, I urge you to read the whole piece on Jeb and the Terri Schiavo over at Politico, titled “Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’.”  It’s worth checking out, if only to remind you of the situation.