Monthly Archives: June 2015

And Then My Mind Split Open

Do you require a pretty face to help you pay attention to a speaker? Here, watch a cute girl make you feel as tiny as a quark as she tries to teach you what every single school you went to didn’t or couldn’t.

Keep Your Commandments

I have good news mixed with bad.

The good news is, if you’re a free-thinking Oklahoman, you will no longer have to wonder what the ten commandments are doing at your capitol.

The bad news is that you will not get to see the Satanic Temple’s Baphomet sculpture next to it. The state supreme court realized that the enshrinement of one religion on public grounds is unconstitutional. I imagine it also realized that every religion could festoon the capitol grounds with religious symbolism, and that is something they would rather avoid because it makes Oklahoma look like the land of the kooks, and they get enough bad press as it is.

I don’t blame them. I think the Baphomet is a completely unacceptable display of “religion”. But so is the Ten. We don’t operate by Mosaic law. Give up on the idea that is is of historic value. So what? So is the code of Hammurabi, and I don’t see people eager to follow its precepts or put up a monument to it.

All props to the Satanic Temple for making this debate possible. Keeping religion out of our government is of paramount concern to all upright men and women. Donate here. They’re causing havoc in a lot of important areas of public debate, because they are in the envious position of being a religion themselves. I have donated, and will happily wear a tee from them, but I can’t say I am a Satanist any more than I can demand to be photographed by the state with a colander on my head. I’m just not a “movement” kind of guy, you know?

Biblical Proportions

Let’s go visit the world of Todd Starnes. He’s always out there being wrong on a subject, and what better time to visit him after the Court-inspired Kristallnacht of last week?

Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes wrote that “Record-breaking floods have inundated Washington, D.C. just days after the Supreme Court decided they knew better than God” and wondered, “Anybody got an ark?”

His assessment veered toward end times territory in a June 28 Facebook post where he wrote: “Record-breaking floods have inundated Washington, D.C. just days after the Supreme Court decided they knew better than God. I seem to remember another time in history when there was a record-breaking flood.” He added: “God painted the sky with rainbow colors after that flood. This go-around – Obama painted the White House with rainbow colors.”

Primo pants-pooping. But really, what is it with this God you speak of, Todd? Because according to Glenn Beck, He ended the drought in Texas with torrential rain by praying. Now he is using floods to punish. God doesn’t just work in mysterious ways. He’s downright borderline. Or is it his followers who imbue him with such caprice?

I think we know the answer to that.

On A Roll

It was closer than I thought it would be, but I’m on it. Two for three. Now to complete the trifecta that will cause right-wingers to burn from the inside out, we need a nuclear agreement with Iran.

As of now, God has not struck us with calamity over a person’s sexual identity. Once again the world gleefully spins, barely taking notice of our toxic public discourse.

Tweet away, dickheads. You lost and love won.

One For Three

So, Obamacare lives to see another day. And the world turns relentlessly, this time for the better. John Roberts wrote for the majority: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

Clarity. Sanity. Divination, some would say.

I have been having a spirited argument with a reader about literalism in law. He is probably agitated by this decision, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of intent and not the exact wording of the law. He made some very good points that I will carry with me whenever I think about the Constitution and jurisprudence. I am still in favor of penumbras and rights given but not enumerated, however. Given today’s terrible gridlock in Congress, it is unlikely that there will be any change in the Constitution to deal with today’s Big Questions. Therefore, the force of law devolves unto the Court. It may not be ideal, but it’s what we have.

The House will not let well enough alone. They’re suing the executive for altering parts of the law to adjust for small businesses to prepare for the law, and for appropriating funds for Obamacare that have not been authorized by Congress. There’s a fuckload of other challenges too. I see that these challenges will probably not be heard by the Court. And there’s still the possibility of reconciliation to force a majority vote on repeal. Fortunately, Obama can veto that happy shit posthaste.

Today we celebrate a win for the little guy. And we keep our fingers crossed until tomorrow. Or maybe a few days after that. Fucking drama, is what this is.

June Is Gonna Kill Me

This week is going to be momentous. History will be changed because of a few decisions. Not only does the Supreme Court finally rule on the federal exchange’s legality per Obamacare, but they have to rule on gay marriage. Then, when that’s done we still have to bite our nails as Iran oscillates between reconciliation and defiance.

I’m bullish on all fronts. I think the pieces will fall into place that grant freedom, choice and security. My wife is worried because she is a recipient of ACA federal subsidies. Her premiums will go through the roof without her tax credits. We are an example of Obamacare’s success, even though there are so many out there who deny its efficacy. Prediction: 6-3 finding for the government.

What will happen if gay marriage is legalized in all 50 states? I have written previously that there will be a schism in this country, a reckoning. Perhaps the antipathy towards homosexuals will fizzle with a little pop!, and the haters will be driven underground. But I don’t count the Christian right out. The rhetoric from them is clear. I can’t believe we have to have civil disobedience over someone else’s rights. I thought we were done with that. I find the distaste for gay love unnerving. They can’t leave well enough alone. Not a thing will happen to these fuckers’ marriages, but they want to criminalize love and commitment anyway-which is pretty weird given that there is a popular notion that homosexuals are promiscuous by nature. Prediction: also 6-3 in favor of marriage.

Then there is Iran. I kinda get how they work. The fierce defiance against the West is a staple of Islam’s political culture. Their leaders have to fuel the anti-American/anti-Israel vibe to justify their potency. Condemning us is a necessity to keep the rabble in line. I feel good about the chances of a viable deal, though. We’re gonna shake through this, cooler heads have prevailed at the negotiating table and we should ignore the hostile ululating from conservatives in both countries. Prediction: 80-20 chance in favor of a good deal.

We’re on the cusp of tragedy and hope. It is an interesting time to be alive. But thinking about this week hurts my head a little.

Time Has Come Today

I am glad it took only 48 hours or so before Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham did a complete volte-face on the confederate flag issue. It must have been a difficult decision, because to remove it in the wake of the Charleston shootings meant that South Carolina politicians have admitted that it is a symbol of hate and that they could not pretend that it wasn’t anymore. So I give high praise instead of razzberries for Haley, Lindsey et al. South Carolina’s decision to lead is having ripple effects across the South. “Serious” Republican candidates, sensing safety now that SC has capitulated, rushed to bag on the flag. Other pols who have nothing to lose are digging in their heels, whining about “state’s rights”, which itself is also an old way to excuse provincial racism. But the trend suggests that Southern figures of prominence see no advantage in continuing to kowtow to the racists in their home states.

Dylann Roof has accomplished exactly the opposite of what he intended to achieve with his rampage. He’s brought people together instead of starting his race war. He forced the conversation on race that the plethora of white, trigger happy cops doling out summary judgment upon blacks could not.

It’s a good day to be an American. We haven’t heard the last of the racists, but we’ve forced the weasels to stop hiding in plain sight.

Virtual Insanity

Look, the Internet has a new “thing”. Perhaps TLC can make this into a show now that they seem to be short a few. I’m so skeeved out by this.

South-Cackalackee Style

What is it with fucking flags?

Why do we clutch them to our hearts? I just don’t get it. I don’t pledge allegiance to mine anymore. I think it inspires the worst kind of jingoism, something for the lower mammals amongst us to hang on to when they are scared, confused, and angry.

As much as I can’t stand scraping to a piece of fabric, I nonetheless remain partial to the United States as my home sweet home. I served it for 9 years. I must make that clear.

But what do we do with the Confederate flag? How can that thing still fly on public buildings after all we went through to defeat the ideas that it represents? Even Texas gets it. But South Carolina doesn’t. That fucker was still flying high when the US flag went to half-mast after the Charleston shootings.

I know, right? Here’s Nikki Haley on the radio:

HOST: There are also calls today that you have to take the Confederate flag down from the state capitol. How do you address those calls?

HALEY: I think that…at a time like this, you have to look back at what we’ve done. Fifteen years ago the General Assembly at the time they had a conversation. The Republicans and Democrats and everybody came together on a consensus to bring the Confederate flag down off of the dome. And they put it on a monument out in front. I think that conversation will probably come back up again. And you what we hope that we do things the way South Carolinians do. Which is have the conversation, allow some thoughtful words to be exchanged, be kind about it. Come together on what we’re trying to achieve and how we’re trying to do it. I think the state will start talking about that again. We’ll see where it goes.

Word salad. Pure nonsense. Look out Sarah Palin, you have competition. Moving on:

HOST: But what’s your position on the issue?

HALEY:You know, right now, to start having policy conversations with the people of South Carolina, I understand that’s what ya’ll want, my job is to heal the people of this state. We had a 26 year-old that just graduated college. We had anywhere from a 26 year-old to an 87 year-old grandmother. You had a track coach.You had a librarian. This is very real to us. […] There will be policy discussions and you will hear my come out and talk about it.But right now, I’m not doing that to the people of my state.

So it’s necessary to keep the flag flying because it will hurt the fragile white people of South Carolina. Governor, you have citizens, not children. You are not the mommy of South Carolina, hon. You’re afraid to make an unpopular decision because you know damn well you will be chased out of office by the cracker-ass goobers that you govern.

Haley was not the only South Carolina leader to be stupid on this issue:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who hails from South Carolina and is now running for president, has come to the rebel flag’s defense. According to Graham, the Confederate flag is an integral “part of who we are.”

Although Graham acknowledged to CNN the flag has been used to push racist agendas in the past, he said “the problems we have in South Carolina and throughout the world” do not stem from symbols, but because of “what’s in people’s heart.”

Inquiring minds want to know-please define “who you are”. I know for damn sure the blacks in your state don’t want to be included in this club. Symbols have meaning to some, and that particular symbol represents racist pride. Don’t even pretend that there isn’t an issue here. But god forbid you should lose the low-com-denom vote.

Being a leader takes courage. Nikki Haley chooses to prevaricate instead of acting like one. And Lindsey Graham has no excuse whatsoever. He’s got the gall to run for president. Who would trust a pandering jellyfish like him to attend to the nation’s affairs?

Join the new century. Stop living in 1861.

Terrorism And Crime

Yesterday I averred that the Charleston shooter was not a terrorist. I wrote that in the post-911 world, we throw that charge around too much. If this were 1999, Dylann Roof would merely be a mass murderer. I said that we are too eager to call a non-Muslim a terrorist. I said that calling him a terrorist is PC gone awry.

I pulled it. I felt some of my thinking didn’t pass the smell test. I’m going to start fresh. Let’s hope this doesn’t stink either.

Terror is political. I think that’s clear to anyone who does the most basic research. Was the shooting political because Roof was a racist? That’s a difficult question. I feel that by saying that he was a terrorist, it follows that we need to reclassify a lot of violent acts perpetrated as terrorism. Perhaps I am splitting hairs, but we should separate hate crimes and mass murder from the nebulous definition of “terrorism”. If we think clearly we find that all acts of violence are “terroristic” by nature. Any killing traumatizes everyone in the vicinity of the crime. If we omit the fact that terror is something used to achieve political gain, then we can call anyone a terrorist.

I’m a white guy. I am sick to death of racism and oppression. I understand white privilege and know that my knapsack is never very far from me. I’m as liberal as they come. But I think perhaps we get a little out of hand when we try to reduce things and avoid the complexity of a given situation. It seems to me that we are still traumatized by 9-11, so much so that we look for terrorism in any tragedy. It’s become embedded in the American experience. We are a collective of victims, and our language has changed as a result of it.

What Dylann Roof did was a hate crime and a mass murder. He is a racist and a disturbed individual. He’ll go away for a very long time. But there was no weapon of mass destruction (shoehorning a pistol into this category is absurd), no conspiracy, no destruction of property, no cause except racism. And he’s being charged with murder, not terrorism.

All I am saying is let’s be sparing with the way we describe things. I like to be precise, and I attempt that every day I write. I probably fail a lot. But I am trying to make sense of this world just like you. And I try to apply the right logic and use the right words for every situation I observe. I want that little scumbag to atone. But I must call him what he really is and not give in to the emotions that make us so reflexive and reactive sometimes. I hope whoever reads this understands that I am not minimizing what this guy did.

But I won’t maximize it either.

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