Monthly Archives: March 2015

Let’s You and Her Fight: The Mommy Wars

Ugh, you guys: 

Nearly 11 million children under age five in the United States were in some sort of childcare arrangement in 2014, according to the Childcare In America report, which is compiled annually and used by policymakers and program administrators to make decisions about care programs and costs. These discussions about childcare aren’t just involving a few dozen people. They’re involving millions of people, many of whom don’t have the option of staying home or easily cutting back their hours, and some who wouldn’t want to even if they could.

There’s nothing wrong with putting a child in daycare, and if you truly think it’s such an awful place, then do something to change it. Start fighting for more paid leave for parents, better care options, and higher safety standards to protect these kids you’re supposedly so worried about. Don’t write sanctimonious articles about how easy it was for you to walk out on your job and how much free time you have now. Not everyone wants that, not everyone can have that, and frankly, we’re all too busy making our own choices to watch you spend 20 paragraphs patting yourself on the back for yours.

I take Kick to a story group at the library every Monday. I have been doing it since she was five months old. Yesterday I mentioned to some of the other mothers that I would be picking up some extra work hours starting in May, so I might not be at the library as much.
I like these chicks, the ones at the storytime. We trade tips on what worked for our babies, commiserate about relatives and schedules, and they do things like assure me the dire haircut I gave the kid recently wasn’t a “baby mullet.”
“It looks a lot more like her prison pals cut it with a shank,” one said soothingly.

(Cutting a baby’s hair is hard. They’re squirmy.)

Three of them are stay at home moms, that I know of, and one of those is pregnant with her second. So when I mentioned I was gonna be working more, I sort of expected this chorus of judgment. I am conditioned to believe that those women would look down on me for working, let alone basically working full-time even if I do half of my hours from home while Kick cheerfully throws Legos at me.

Instead, they shrugged. We made plans to meet up at a park later in the week, since it was supposed to be warmer by Wednesday and our kids would likely be climbing the walls. Nobody said anything to my face, anyway, and I sincerely doubt they’re bored enough to gossip.

We spend so much time giving each other shit, women, that we are conditioned to think it is some kind of natural state. We spend so much time doing it in the pages of our magazines from Time to Family Circle. We do it on TV all damn day long. And while we are doing it, we are making less money than we should be, and nobody is paying for daycare or giving us maternity leave that makes sense, and everybody is lifing everybody else about how they have children and when they have children and how it all works after they have children.

Meanwhile so many children go to school hungry.

I’m so uninterested in it all. I don’t want you to work or stay home, I want you and your kids to have enough to eat and live how you want to live, and however that has to happen is how it has to happen. Some rich, educated mother not working (that whole “opt out” thing) is less of an affront to the ideal of feminism than lots of mothers not EATING, and I am so done elevating the anxiety of those of us with choices above the lives of those of us with none.

I think of my great-aunts when I read stories in HuffPo about the overwhelmingness of all the choices and how hard it is for female CEOs to feel certain ways and do certain things. I think about the woman who raised two children and took care of a severely disabled husband, about the woman who worked beside her husband in their business all her life, about the woman who went to nursing school and didn’t marry until late, and stayed home with the three children she had.

Those women didn’t bray sanctimonious crap about how they were superior people for having made the choices they made. They just made them and went on about their days. We’re all just doing what we have to do, and if we want other people to be able to live like we do, with choices and options, we need to do more than snipe at each other on the mommyblogs.

A.

Solitary Time

We build our own prisons, and lock ourselves in: 

The ADX is the highest-security prison in the country. It was designed to be escape-proof, the Alcatraz of the Rockies, a place to incarcerate the worst, most unredeemable class of criminal — “a very small subset of the inmate population who show,” in the words of Norman Carlson, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, “absolutely no concern for human life.” Ted Kaczynski and the Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph call the ADX home. The 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui is held there, too, along with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef; the Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols; the underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab; and the former Bonanno crime-family boss Vincent Basciano. Michael Swango, a serial-killing doctor who may have poisoned 60 of his patients, is serving three consecutive life sentences; Larry Hoover, the Gangster Disciples kingpin made famous by rappers like Rick Ross, is serving six; the traitorous F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen, a Soviet spy, 15.

[snip]

Robert Hood, the warden of the ADX from 2002 to 2005, told me that when he first arrived on the campus, he was struck by “the very stark environment,” unlike any other prison in which he ever worked or visited — no noise, no mess, no prisoners walking the hallways. When inmates complained to him, he would tell them, “This place is not designed for humanity,” he recalled. “When it’s 23 hours a day in a room with a slit of a window where you can’t even see the Rocky Mountains — let’s be candid here. It’s not designed for rehabilitation. Period. End of story.”

Hood was not trying to be cruel with such frankness. The ADX was built explicitly to house men often already serving multiple life sentences and thus facing little disincentive to, say, murder a guard or another prisoner. Still, during his own tenure, Hood said he made a point of developing one-on-one relationships with as many inmates as possible — he described Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano as “a very likable guy, believe it or not,” and he bonded with the Unabomber over their shared interest in running marathons — in hopes of eliciting good behavior in exchange for whatever he could do to make their sentences more bearable. But he also needed them to understand that even as warden, he lacked the authority to change the rules of their confinement. In the past, Hood has memorably described the ADX as “a clean version of hell.”

Five years ago, a major lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons would have sounded quixotic. But in the present moment, the ADX case feels like the crest of a wave, as the excessive use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons has come under intensifying scrutiny. Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, held the first-ever congressional hearing on the issue in 2012. Dr. Craig Haney, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, testified that “a shockingly high percentage” of the prisoners in solitary confinement are mentally ill, “often profoundly so” — approximately one-third of the segregated prisoners on average, though in some units the figure rises to 50 percent. The emptiness that pervades solitary-confinement units “has led some prisoners into a profound level of what might be called ‘ontological insecurity,’ ” Haney, who worked as a principal researcher on the Stanford Prison Experiment while in graduate school, told the senators. “They are not sure that they exist and, if they do, exactly who they are.”

I am as anti-capital punishment as they come. But it would be kinder to shoot these men in the head. It would be kinder to hang them, electrocute them, inject them with lethal drugs. It would be kinder to poison them with their evening meals. It would be kinder to shackle them to a rock, let the tide take them out. It would be easier and cheaper, too, but mostly it would be kinder.

Not kinder for them. Kinder for us.

Let’s be clear: We have created a culture of fear in this country that began probably around the time the Pilgrims landed but really got kicked into high gear with the War on Drugs and cable news and shows like America’s Most Wanted. If you watch enough TV midday, you begin to understand why we are all so fucking insane. It is a constant stream of what is out there trying to kill us, reinforced by authority figures updating us on terrorist alert levels and toxic chemicals in our baby bottles.

We are living under threat, so we build these walls and we lock the threats away. And we think that’s what we’re locking away, the Ted Kaczynski people, the underwear bombers, the people who want to destroy society.

(Those people have not killed a fraction of the people murdered by those we honor with state funerals on the regular, but it’s not a numbers game, for which I’m sure Richard Nixon thanks God.)

We think that’s what we’re putting away, the serial killers. Hannibal Lecter, and cult leaders, and everything else CSI gives us. Those are the people in those places, and we slam the door.

On the mean and angry, on the really really stupid, on the guys on their third strike who have no other way out, on the people who got caught up in something they didn’t understand because they have the IQs of four-year-olds.  Those are the people in those places, too.

As a child in Mitchell, Ind., Shelby hunted squirrel and rabbit for supper and would occasionally trade the meat to old-timers for food stamps. His parents drank, and Shelby developed a taste of his own. (His favorite cocktail was a mixture of Everclear and Wild Turkey, which he called Wilder Turkey.) He went to prison in his late teens after pulling a shotgun on a man who owed him $2, and again in his 20s following a string of burglaries. He also began experiencing schizophrenic episodes in which he heard God’s voice in his head. It’s not difficult to imagine that Shelby’s life would have followed a different trajectory had he received comprehensive psychological treatment.

We use these words like they’re magic. SUPERMAX, like a comic book, like a brand of sports drink. We have the SUPERMAX, like it’s vitamins, and it’s all gonna be okay if we just take enough SUPERMAX. And anybody who says there is such a thing as too much SUPERMAX and by the way that isn’t a real thing is obviously a terrorist-loving pussy who doesn’t understand the way the world is now.

As if people aren’t people anymore. As if even Ted Kaczynski deserves this. As if it’s about deserving at all. We go all what if someone did that to someone you love, and yes, you’re right, and thank you for proving my point for me. If the only argument is vengeance … it’s mine, saith the Lord. Get thine own sandbox. That’s not because you’ll all get yours in the end. It’s because nobody else should be forced to carry it.

It would be kinder to shoot these men in the head. Not kinder for them.

Kinder for us. We build our own prisons, and lock ourselves in. And then we’re in solitary, year after quiet, lonely year.

A.

Monday Night Music: In The Still Of The Night

Speaking of Indiana born Cole Porter, here are two-count ’em two-versions of one of his best tunes. It’s also a notoriously hard song to sing, unless, that is, you’re Billy Eckstine or Aaron Neville:

Pence On Fire

The most interesting thing about the great Hoosier Hoo-Ha is how little thought the Indiana lege and Governor Pence gave to the *possible* implications of the whole mishigas. It’s true that 19 other states have similar laws but Indiana’s drew more attention from the MSM for two reasons. First, Pence is thought to have Presidential ambitions. Second, the Final Four will be in Indianapolis this weekend. The MSM has a short attention span but it loves to speculate about candidates and who among us doesn’t love March Madness? Btw, I’ve adopted the Wisconsin Badgers as my tournament team for the second year in a row.

Back to the pantsing of Mike Pence after the break.

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A Full Metal Wingnut-O-Gram From Ted Cruz

I have no idea how I got on Ted Cruz’s mailing list, but as a fan of inadvertent comedy, I’m glad it happened. I’ve actually gotten four emails since March 28, all of which inform me that Tailgunner Ted is under constant attack by the nefarious forces of  THE LEFT:

Fellow Conservative,Monday I announced my campaign for President, and ever since, I’ve been under constant attack.Will you chip in $5 — or even $35 — to help me fight back?You see, the liberal media has called me every name in the book — attacking me for everything from announcing my campaign at a Christian university to listening to country music.I want you to see a few of the headlines and just how truly desperate the Left is to discredit and destroy me:

–  “I think he’s the worst. I think he’s scary, I think he’s dangerous, I think he’s slimy and I think he brings no fresh ideas.” – Donny Deutsch & MSNBC
–  “Ted Cruz’s phenomenally bad idea” – Washington Post
–  “Ted Cruz’s ‘country music’ drivel: What’s really behind his musical conversion” – Salon.com
–  “Can You ‘Imagine’ Ted Cruz as President?” – The New Yorker

Fellow Conservative, every day since I announced, I have been faced with a new set of attacks with each more vulgar than the last.

One thing is clear; the so-called “tolerant” Left is a myth. They are unable and unwilling to engage beyond their redistributive, socialist agenda and inflammatory rhetoric.

That’s why I’m reaching out to you today with a personal request.

Will you help me fend off the Left’s attacks by clicking below and making an instant, secure emergency contribution?

 EMERGENCY DONATE $10 » 

 EMERGENCY DONATE $25 » 

 EMERGENCY DONATE $50 » 

 EMERGENCY DONATE $150 »

 ANOTHER AMOUNT » 

It makes it sound as if Cruz is holed up with John Wayne, Richard Widmark, and Laurence Harvey from the Duke’s  1960 flop, The Alamo. I suspect Tailgunner Ted identifies with Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier as well as with John Wayne. Both Ted and the Duke are chickenhawks, but physically Cruz is more like the weaselly Billy Bob Thornton who played Crockett in the 2004 remake, which also laid an egg at the box office.  In my casting of the 2016 campaign, Cruz is definitely the heavy.

This fundraising appeal reeks of paranoia and victimhood. In short, it’s a perfect distillation of Tailgunner Ted’s full metal wingnut approach to politics: scare the shit out of people and they will donate. Actually, the donation part of the email didn’t cut and paste very well, in the original format they’re BRIGHT RED BOXES evoking the Robot from Lost In Space: DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER. Hmm, maybe smirky, weaselly Ted Cruz is more like Dr. Smith from that campy 60’s teevee series than Davy Crockett.

I’m not sure how many people punched Tailgunner Ted’s fundraising hot buttons but I’m one of the few people who thinks he has a chance to be the GOP nominee. He’s the perfect candidate for the Republican base, which consists of fearful but belligerent people who feel besieged and abandoned much like the mythic defenders of the mythic Alamo. Despite their successes in the 2010 and 2014 elections, they feel surrounded by hordes of homosexuals, illegal aliens, feminists, uppity minorities, and worst of all, neo-Bolsheviks. The fact that none of this is true is irrelevant, it’s what they believe. That’s why I think the Republican base would prefer to go down in flames with a right wing purist than nominate another mushy “moderate” like Walnuts or Mittbot. Tailgunner Ted could be their man, he’ll never be President but if he can raise enough money, he could be the Republican nominee. Apres Ted le deluge…

Writing this post has given me an earworm, so put on your tin foil coonskin caps and sing along with this classic teevee theme song:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Teddy Boy edition

My goodness – the Freeperatis’ hearts’ desire has finally come to pass – an Ivy League lawyer foreign-born one-term congresscritter has eliminated Hillary as competition, and has already won not one, but TWO terms as President off………..um……

My bad – that’s Barack Obama.

I’ll come in again.

GoodNewsEveryone

.

Ted Cruz to announce presidential bid Monday
Houston Chronicle ^ | March 21, 2015 11:34pm | Theodore Schleifer

Posted on 3‎/‎21‎/‎2015‎ ‎11‎:‎46‎:‎44‎ ‎PM by Olog-hai

Sen. Ted Cruz plans to announce Monday that he will run for president of the United States, accelerating his already rapid three-year rise from a tea party insurgent in Texas into a divisive political force in Washington.

Cruz will launch a presidential bid outright rather than form an exploratory committee, said senior advisers with direct knowledge of his plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made yet. They say he is done exploring and is now ready to become the first Republican presidential candidate. …

1 posted on 3‎/‎21‎/‎2015‎ ‎11‎:‎46‎:‎44‎ ‎PM by Olog-hai

To: Olog-hai

Cruz or lose

7 posted on 3‎/‎21‎/‎2015‎ ‎11‎:‎57‎:‎04‎ ‎PM by __rvx86 (Rafael Cruz Jr: soon to be the first conservative, Latino President of the U.S. Si se puede!)

Those two words do kinda go together, don’t they?
Well, it’s definitely unanimous support for Teddy Boy over at Freeperville. I can already hear the rustle of checkbooks being pulled out, and see the furrowed brows as Freepers try to decide which bill to not pay this month, or how they can hide this from their wives…
To: Olog-hai

I’d rather he be a king maker.

Too many good candidates means we end up with another RINO loser. (Jeb)

8 posted on 3‎/‎21‎/‎2015‎ ‎11‎:‎58‎:‎23‎ ‎PM by eddie willers

BanHimCruz
.
The OP takes issue:
To: eddie willers

Eh? That’s not what happened last time.

What if Reagan stepped back and acted as a “king maker” too?

11 posted on 3‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎00‎:‎02‎ ‎AM by Olog-hai

Then someone else would have had to arm the Contras, arm Saddam Hussein, and drive the economy into a ditch?
To: Olog-hai

Reagan wasn’t a first time senator and had already just missed the nomination in 1976.

He was ready…and so was the country.

Cruz is too young and inexperienced. He can wait 4-8 years.

24 posted on 3‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎16‎:‎13‎ ‎AM by eddie willers

To: eddie willers

America doesn’t have 4-8 years.

You guys have been saying that every 4-8 years for the last 32 years.  Guess what? America’s still here.

I’m done with the usual suspects.

26 posted on 3‎/‎22‎/‎2015‎ ‎12‎:‎19‎:‎19‎ ‎AM by chris37 (Heartless)

Ah – but the usual suspects aren’t done with you.
More Cruz To Nowhere after the Norovirus outbreak.

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Mike Pence: We’re Discriminating But Not Like in a Mean Way or Anything

Just fucking kill me: 

I spoke with Pence on the same day that thousands of people rallied at the Statehouse in opposition to the law. And the same day that Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle announced that his company will abandon a deal with the state and city to expand the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis because of RFRA’s passage.

Oesterle’s statement is a telling sign that the outrage over RFRA isn’t limited only to the political left. Oesterle directed Republican Mitch Daniels’ 2004 campaign for governor. And it’s a signal that the damage from the RFRA debacle could be extensive.

Behind the scenes, Pence and his team have been scrambling to mitigate that damage — both to the state and to the governor’s political career.

Pence said, for example, that he had a “cordial and productive” conversation with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, who announced shortly after Pence signed the RFRA legislation on Thursday that the company will cancel all corporate-related travel to Indiana. That conversation, however, has not led to a reversal of the Salesforce decision.

I asked the governor if he had anticipated the strongly negative reaction set off by the bill’s passage. His response made it clear that he and his team didn’t see it coming.

“I just can’t account for the hostility that’s been directed at our state,” he said. “I’ve been taken aback by the mischaracterizations from outside the state of Indiana about what is in this bill.”

Yes.  I can’t account for the mischaracterizations of what is in the bill, based on what is in the bill.

This is standard HELP HELP I’M BEING OPPRESSED nonsense, making out that the people who are speaking up about being discriminated against are the ones being mean, and why do they have to bother us so with their trivial needs for civil rights and the ability to get their groceries and such? Why can’t they just lie down and let us roll over them, so we don’t have to bother with all of this?

As for this utterly dishonest argument:

In defense of the legislation, he noted that 19 other states and the federal government have adopted RFRA laws similar to Indiana’s. And he pointed out that President Barack Obama voted for Illinois’ version of RFRA as a state senator.

Eat a very gay dick, Pence: 

But the Republican governor and possible presidential contender left out an important fact. While Illinois does have a law that gives special protections to religious objectors, it also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. Indiana, on the other hand, has no such ban.

And if you think THAT is an accident I have some lovely beachfront property in Indianapolis to sell you.

A.

Not Everyone Got Enlightened At Once

History did not begin when we noticed it: 

So much of our gay history, even from gay activists, comes from a touchstone that the past was a horrible place and that only after 1969 did things improve. This is not so dissimilar from our popular history of sexuality. Both on both counts, the history is much more complicated and if the 1950s and early 1960s were a period of repression of gays (and sexuality more broadly), before World War II, it’s a whole other country out there.

I think we have this idea that once upon a time it was just GREAT to be a racist, bigoted shitbag of a human being. Like once upon a time it was EASIER, I get that. Fewer people looked askance if you used racial slurs or called the company secretary Sugar Tits. Generally the law of the land backed you up if you wanted to mistreat people who were different.

But some people have always felt differently. Some people have always understood racism, bigotry, general misery and the futility of punishing someone else for being different. We didn’t ALL wake up in the 1960s and discover that women were people and blacks and whites could go to school together without the earth caving in and being gay was nobody’s business but yours.

Some people were never asleep, and erasing the moments of decency that may have existed in the past so we can celebrate the present creates the impression that it was merely the passage of time that made bigotry suspect. As if change was an inevitability of the clock, and not the result of the hard work and heart’s blood of so many.

Yes, there are events that changed the tide of public opinion and there are moments that reversed the river of shit we tend to send at those whose lives are strange to us, but in the rush to celebrate where we are, we should remember that it’s where some people have always been. This is from the New York Times, circa 1883:

 If Mrs. Dubois chose to marry a woman, whose business was it? Such a marriage concerns the general public less than the normal sort of marriage, since it does not involve the promise and potency of children. It has been well established that if a woman chooses to wear trousers she has a right to wear them, and no one will venture to deny the right of any two women to live together if they prefer the society of one another to solitude. Why, then, has not Mrs. Dubois the right to live with another woman who wears lawful trousers, and why should so much indignation be lavished upon Mrs. Dubois’s female husband? There are many women who, if they had the opportunity, would select other women as husbands rather than marry men.

A.

Being a Girl Scout Prepared Me for the Coming Apocalypse, Too

Scott Walker and the Not Quite Ready for Primetime Players Theater Present: The Male Palin! 

According to the video, the final question Hewitt asked Walker was, “Does the prospect of being commander in chief daunt you? Because the world that you describe when you’re talking about safety is going to require a commitment to American men and women abroad, obviously at some point. How do you think about that?”

Walker first acknowledged, “That’s an appropriate question.”

“As a kid, I was in Scouts. And one of the things I’m proudest of when I was in Scouts is I earned the rank of Eagle,” Walker said. “Being an Eagle Scout is one of the few things you get as a kid that, you are not the past, it’s something you are.”

The governor said whenever he attends an Eagle Scout ceremony, he tells the young man being honored that he’s not there to congratulate him, but to issue a charge — that once a Scout obtains the Eagle ranking, he is responsible for living up to that calling for the rest of his life.

He then drew from his Eagle Scout experience discussing his military philosophy.

“America is an exceptional country,” Walker said. “And I think, unfortunately, sometimes there are many in Washington who think those of us who believe we are exceptional means we are superior, that we’re better than others in the world.

“And to me, much like my thought process of being an Eagle Scout is, no, being an exceptional country means we have a higher responsibility … not just to care for ourselves and our own interests, but to lead in the world, to ensure that all freedom-loving people have the capacity, who yearn for that freedom, to have that freedom.”

Speaking to his military strategy, Walker said the U.S. needs to engage in military action when appropriate, but that it must be done with “a plan and a charge that ultimately leads to victory.”

Got that? We shouldn’t engage in military action without a plan. That’s his big thinking.

Scott, Dwight Eisenhower called. He said he and Genghis Khan were shooting the shit the other night over drinks at Grant’s place, and they all agreed you should fuck yourself.

On the Eagle Scout thing, i’s like he realized midsentence he had just said what he said, and started pinwheeling his arms but he couldn’t stop. I don’t actually believe he thinks being an Eagle Scout qualifies him to be CIC. I think he was heading for a metaphor, got distracted by something shiny in the middle of the road, and got run over by the flaming cheese truck of his own stupid imagination.

Which is to say, of course, that anybody who can’t find a coherent sentence with a searchlight and a posse is staggeringly unqualified to be president. The biggest part of your damn job is talking sensibly about shit. It’s not like there’s the part where you talk and then the part where you fight tyrants bare-handed so it’s okay if you aren’t so good at the talking. The talking (thinking and writing included here) is fairly major. You say the wrong thing to Putin and the next thing you know we’re all looking at the world from Sarah Palin’s house.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: Traffic Live At Woodstock 94

This week’s SMV is a really tight set from Winwood, Capaldi, and company from their one-off 1994 reunion tour. My only complaint is a minor one: Steve doesn’t sit down at the Hammond B-3 until the grand finale. Oh well, nobody’s perfect:

 

Tweet Of The Day: Hoosier Hoo-Ha Edition

One reason I think that Athenae and I are a good blogging combination is that she’s fire and I’m ice. She ripped Indiana a new one over their stupid new anti-gay law, and I’m here to mock them. Actually, Josh Marshall mocks them but I’m posting his tweet:

While we’re on the subject of Indiana, the best thing about it-other than being the birth place of Kurt Vonnegut and Cole Porter-is that basketball is the state religion. Here’s a hoops tweet that I’m pretty darn proud of:

Since I mentioned Cole Porter, I’ll give him the last word via Elvis/Declan Costello/MacManus. Why Let’s Misbehave? It’s what the Indiana lege and Governor Pence just did:

 

It’s So Dreadful When We Shout: Indiana’s Bigot Law and Both Sides Doing It

Here’s a masterpiece of “both sides should be nice, even if one is trying to violate people’s rights and another is just trying to live:”

Maybe what people can do — people on each side of the political aisle – is stop screaming and start listening. And here I’m begging not just you, the reader, but also my own newsroom. You think Indianapolis is split by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? You should see the Indianapolis Star. Some of the best people in this building, my friends, are horrified by the RFRA. Some of the best people in this building, my friends, support the RFRA and are hurt by the insinuation that support for this bill is tantamount to bigotry.

So I say again, to people outside my building and within: Stop yelling and start listening. Liberals, listen to this liberal lawyer who notes that the RFRA has compassionate roots, roots that won for a Muslim the right to grow his beard in prison. Conservatives, listen to your own conservative mayor in Indy who is against the RFRA because he says it presents to the country an image that not everyone is welcome in Indiana, and by extension Indianapolis.

Is that what we want? To have a significant portion of America — pick a percentage, but pick one in double figures – recoiling at our state?

Do you know what is worse than upsetting everybody?

Do you know what is worse than everybody arguing and feeling bad and being all down about stuff?

DISCRIMINATING AGAINST PEOPLE FOR THINGS THEY CAN’T CHANGE.

That is worse than all this unseemly shouting.

That is worse than people “recoiling at [your] state.”

That is worse than everybody’s goddamn EMOTIONS.

I am just so done equating bigots being bummed at being called bigots with people being denied their most basic fucking rights. It is NOT the same. It is NOT equal. You are NOT oppressed in equal measure with a gay dude who just got fired for being gay, because you had to change the oil on a gay dude’s car.

And not for nothing but there is actual religious discrimination happening around the world, including discrimination against Christians. (There is plenty of religious discrimination happening in America, too, though a lot of it is to Muslims and Jews so we don’t care so much about that kind.)

But keep jerking yourselves off, SEVENTY SEVEN PERCENT OF THE FUCKING COUNTRY, because you are the most burdened, ever, by anything. You are just so totally oppressed because you are not allowed to oppress everyone who isn’t you, which ISN’T THAT MANY GODDAMN PEOPLE.

Telling everybody to calm down and speak nicely to each other about things so we don’t get upset and raise our blood pressure is one of my least favorite things columnists do now. Why is it bad to get upset and argue? Why is it bad to speak out and maybe lose friendships because you actually care about the world and what happens in it? Why must we all raise our pinkies and make sure nobody around us notices we’re alive?

And if this isn’t worth getting upset about, if this isn’t worth speaking up for, what is?

A.

Friday Ferretblogging: Stuffies Drinking Beer and Chasing Each Other

ferret beeer

Why does no US bar offer this as a sport? 

With a 50 pence ($0.78) entry fee for ferrets, 27 of the animals, which are members of the Mustelid family, competed in nine heats for a place in the finals. The rest of the barn was a multidiscipline ferret extravaganza. There was a timed track, a loop-the-loop and ferret roulette. In this variation on the casino game, players bet on which of six drainpipes a ferret will emerge from. It was all for charity, with proceeds going to the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, which helps people and animals in distress.

In his prime, Bucky would have ROCKED THIS SHIT.

Speaking of Bucky, found out last Friday at the vet that in addition to his cancer he has some kind of liver disease as well. So now he’s on three different meds twice a day, and special feedings including whatever chicken/turkey baby food Kick refuses to eat.

I make her a bowl of mush every night, and then make him a bowl of mush. This is how those of you with more than one child do it, right?

A.

Friday Catblogging: Only The Shadow Knows

I’m way too young for the radio show The Shadow. STFU and stop laughing, Jude. The main reason it entered my consciousness is that the Shadow’s secret identity was Lamont Cranston, and for some reason my mother conflated that with the name of the fine liberal Senator from California, Allan Cranston. She always called the Senator that including the time we met him together. He smiled and said, “I get that all the time.” Anyway, she was not prone to malaprops, that’s a specialty of Dr. A’s family.

Here are Oscar and Della Street lurking in the shadows:

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Via the magic of the Google, I learned that there’s a Lamont Cranston Band out of Minnesota. They play the blues, which is fitting because Della is a natural blooze singer:

Malaka Of The Week: Buckley Carlson

Misogyny seems to be one of themes this week at First Draft. Phil Robertson’s misogyny is of the Old Testament variety but Buckley Carlson’s is of the wingnut bro variety. He also doesn’t know how to hit reply and *not* reply to all when using email and that is why he’s malaka of the week.

Buckley Carlson is that bow tie wearing motherfucker Tucker Carlson’s idiot brother. Tucker is, of course, a Fox News fixture and editor of something I don’t read called the Daily Caller. In fact, I would rather become a teetotaling vegan than read that right wing rag; if one can call a web site a rag. Tucker is on his way to becoming the Pat Buchanan of his generation: an unpleasant prick who people like Rachel Maddow insist is a “nice guy.” Sheesh.

Anyway, back to Malaka Buckley Bro. I’d never heard of him until he hit the send button and it landed in the in-box of Amy Spitalnick who is a spokesperson for Noo Yawk Mayor and RW hate figure, Bill deBlasio. I’ve bold faced what Malaka Buckley Bro considers wit:

The email appears to have been accidentally sent to de Blasio’s spokesperson, Amy Spitalnick, as well as to Tucker Carlson. In the email, Buckley Carlson, who occasionally writes for the Daily Caller, makes several offensive comments about Spitalnick after she asked for a correction on a piece about the mayor:

Great response. Whiny little self-righteous bitch. “Appalling?”  And with such an ironic name, too… Spitalnick? Ironic because you just know she has extreme dick-fright; no chance has this girl ever had a pearl necklace. Spoogeneck? I don’t think so. More like LabiaFace.

Spitalnick had reached out to Daily Caller writer Peter Fricke to ask for a correction on a story about de Blasio that claimed the mayor had said that the president’s $80 billion transportation proposal was not enough. After a back and forth between Spitalnick, Fricke and editor Christopher Bedford, Bedford told Spitalnick that if she “annoyed” him “with another whiny email before then, I’m muting this thread, thanks,” prompting Spitalnick to contact Tucker Carlson directly. He responded to Spitalnick:

Dear Amy,

Thanks for your email. You believe our story was inaccurate and have demanded a correction. Totally fair. We are going over the transcript now.

What Bedford complained about was your tone, which, I have to agree, was whiny and annoying, and I say that in the spirit of helpful correction rather than as a criticism. Outside of New York City, adults generally write polite, cheerful emails to one another, even when asking for corrections. Something to keep in mind the next time you communicate with people who don’t live on your island.

Best,

Tucker Carlson

The email sent from Buckley Carlson to his brother and to Spitalnick appears to have been a response to this.

In response to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News, Tucker Carlson said, “I just talked to my brother about his response, and he assures me he meant it in the nicest way.”

It’s a bro-brother defending his bro-brother. In the nicest fucking way? Give me a fucking break, asswipe. “Whiny little self-righteous bitch” was the nicest thing Malaka Buckley Bro said before launching into misogynistic porn speech; first the money shot image and then the worst thing a bro can say about a woman, she’s a lesbian who doesn’t want my sperm. Does Malaka Buckley Bro talk this way in front of the women in his family or were he and Tucker raised by preppie wolves?

Obviously, Buckley was destined to be a wingnut since I assume the nasty little bugger was named for William F. Buckley. I don’t recall, however, his namesake using terms like “spoogeneck” or “labia face.” I don’t think he’d have been amused or anything but appalled by brozos like the brothers Carlson and what passes for wit in their circle. It’s more like shit and that is why Buckley Carlson is malaka of the week.

Oops, I almost forgot to call him dickface or scroatface, which are the male equivalents of what he called Ms. Spitalnik. Fuck you, Buckley, you’ve brought shame on punsters everywhere. I spitalnick on you…

Imagine Having To Sit Next To This Guy…

From Album 5

First, what Adrastos said. But to add my .00000000002 cents worth…so, is this what runs through whatever functions as Phil’s brain while he kills time in the blind? What sort of interminable mental challenge would it be to get stuck in the adjoining seat on a plane, or at a ballgame? For someone who claims to follow the Prince of Peace, he sure has one hellish imagination.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: L. Ron Hubbard

Going Clear, Alex Gibney’s much anticipated documentary about Scientology debuts on HBO this Sunday night. Before he was a minor league messiah, L. Ron Hubbard was a preposterously prolific pulp fiction writer. His followers keep buying his books so they’re still in print. The good news is that the re-issues have preserved the pulpy integrity of the cover art. Here are a few examples:

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I hope I’m not in trouble with John Travolta or Tom Cruise. I don’t want Travolta to smother me with his big ass toupee. As for Cruise, I’d prefer he not jump up and down on my sofa. It would disturb Oscar…

Decapitation Day Continues

I’m issuing a sick humor alert for this post about today’s news of the weird story out of New Orleans:

The Louisiana SPCA says it is investigating New Orleans’ second goat beheading in two months — this one with a samurai-style sword.

SPCA Spokeswoman Alicia Haefele (HAY-fuh-lee) said says that on Tuesday, the SPCA received a 12-second cellphone video showing young men around a kiddie pool where a goat is pulled into the air, and one man cuts off its head with the sword.

Haefele says this killing appears unrelated to the Jan. 28 beheading of a baby pygmy goat. But she says it makes investigators wonder if there’s “a bigger issue in our community.”

The Louisiana SPCA is offering $3,000 for information leading to the killers.

New Orleans police say they have not received a complaint and are not investigating.

Sick humor following the break.

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Decapitate Her Head Off?

Daft, but not daffy, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson is back in the news. This time around we hear about his sick, twisted fantasies about a different OTHER, atheists:

“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson said. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’”

Robertson kept going: “Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’”

“If it happened to them,” Robertson continued, “they probably would say, ‘something about this just ain’t right.”

This sounds more like revenge porn or a snuff film script than something you’d expect from a bible thumper who believes in “traditional values.” I take that back, a snuff film might make more sense than this crapola. In my equally sick way, I visualize Robertson watching the sort of porn that got St Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta in trouble. Perhaps Robertson should stop making reality teevee and produce sinful Southern porn for his fellow peckerwoods. They could all get together for a forgiveness fest in Monroe. Hey, it worked for Phil’s fellow Louisianian Jimmy Swaggart:

However, Jimmy is capable of coherent thought whereas Robertson speaks English as if it were his second language. Decapitate her head off? My friend Kevin described that as the “worst kind of decapitation” and he ought to know as the editor of the Gambit Tabloid. I’m still working on that whole tabloid blogger thing…

It continues to amaze me that this bozo and his family were honored by the Gret Stet of Louisiana in the person of our alleged Governor PBJ. (My friend Lamar White has learned that Lt. Gov Jay Dardenne has been acting Govenor 43% of the time thus far in 2015. End of epic parenthetical aside.) Even more astonishing was CPAC’s giving Robertson some fakakta free speech award for what amounts to hate speech. In the immortal words of Raymond Douglas Davies, “The world’s going crazy and nobody gives a damn anymore.”

Perhaps the worst thing of all is that Phil Robertson receives tax subsidies from Louisiana taxpayers for his terrible teevee show. Maybe I should grow a long scraggly beard, wear camos and produce a reality show featuring my crazy relatives and zany friends. Nah, who would watch it? Of course, I ask myself the same question about Duck Dynasty.

Circling back to decapitation. Dr A’s late, great torti Window was initially terrified of ceiling fans. When one came on, she’d get as low to the floor as possible to protect her wee head. We used to joke about her decapitation fantasies, but she eventually got over her fan fear. A good thing in this climate. I wonder if Phil Robertson will ever get over his lurid fantasies or will he continue to say stupid shit like “decapitate her head off?” I think our cat had more sense than Phil Robertson. She at least knew how to duck, cover, and keep her mouth shut.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse

This classic 1971 Faces LP has one of the best as well as longest album titles in rock history. The Faces made their bones as a live band, but this album captured the essence of what made them so great in concert.

There’s another anomaly to A Nod Is As A Good As A Wink To Blind Horse, its back cover is better than the front. That makes it an anomalous rarity too; repetitive but true, y’all. The cover has a pretty good live shot of the band but the back shows them as puppets, marionettes, or proto-action figures. Who among us wouldn’t want a Ron Wood action figure?

It’s worth pointing out that Rod Stewart was originally a highly respected artist, something that ended when he released one of my least favorite tunes, the dreadful Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.  I hope I didn’t give any of you lot an earworm. Here’s the cover with Rod the Mod and his adoring fans:

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