Sunday, April 20, 2014
The Chocolate War
I hope those of you who celebrated Easter today have gotten over your sugar hangover, because battle has been joined. There is now an, admittedly half-hearted/half-assed, War on Easter, declared by Fox News.
The “war” stems from a display erected in Daley Plaza by The Freedom from Religion Foundation, extolling **GASP** reason and the separation of church and state. Even worse, this “War on Easter” is **HORRORS!** unholy. What kind of unholy monsters would advocate for reason and the separation of church and state? What sort of monsters, indeed?
Those who would undermine the separation of church and state make the dubious assumption that their particular brand of church would be the established one. The Founders, with the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War still scarring the European psyche, well knew the tyranny of established religion.
As an aside, I have to laugh at the use of the word “unholy”... almost everything on the planet is “unholy”. For example, with one notable exception, hand grenades are unholy.
I think the real issue is that, for most people, the Easter eggs and bunnies, and the baskets full of candy have supplanted the religious festival to a large extent. The fundies have lost The Chocolate War so now they’re throwing a temper tantrum:
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 04/20/14 at 08:19 PM
Friday, April 18, 2014
We Got Trouble. Right Here in Latta . . .
Since this story broke there has been a huge international out pouring of support for Chief Crystal Moore. There is an active petition on change.org calling for the South Carolina State Ethics Commission to investigate Mayor Bullard’s firing of Crystal Moore.
There’s a twitter campaign #StandWithChiefMoore and a gofundme.com donation page to help Chief Moore with legal costs and to tide her over while she’s off the Latta payroll.
Townspeople are gathering for prayer vigils and flooding Mayor Bullard’s phone lines [843.752.5115] with protest calls.
Bring it, Roasters.
If you’ve never heard of Latta, SC, you’re not alone. Latta is home to 1,410 souls (8 more than Mayberry), Catfish Creek Baptist Church and a brand new homophobic mayor, Earl Bullard.
Meet Mayor Bullard:
WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC
Bullard ran uncontested last year and was installed in office in January, 2014. And Latta hasn’t been the same since then. Many elected officials are motivated to run for office because they believe that they have some good ideas for improving things and it was pretty clear, even before he took office, that Bullard wanted to make a few changes immediately.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 04/18/14 at 11:47 AM
Monday, April 14, 2014
Tomorrow, in the wee hours of the morning throughout much of the United States, there will be a total eclipse of the full moon corresponding with Passover. During a lunar eclipse, the Earth is positioned between the moon and the sun, and the moon is obscured by the shadow (there are two regions of shadow, the penumbral and umbral regions)- during a total eclipse of the moon (as opposed to a total eclipse of the sun or of the heart), sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere colors the moon a shade of red. This reddish hue has inspired the term “Blood Moon” for eclipses of this sort.
Religious nutbars being what they are, whackaloon John Hagee believes that four coming lunar eclipses signal Earthshaking events, perhaps even the dawn of the “End Times”. Religious fundies can even spoil the beauty of the celestial dance.
Religious people are often characterized as humble people, but I think that’s total B.S. Every religious fundamentalist sees him-or-herself as the center of momentous events, a witness to the climax of history. In reality, each and every one of us is a tiny speck of matter on a slightly larger speck of matter, as Douglas Adams put it far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy, and I would add, not even a particularly distinguished galaxy at that.
We are not that important in the grand scheme of things, no matter what interpretation of an ambiguous passage in a book written by Bronze Age goatherders and passed through many translations over the course of the last couple of millennia is favored by a crazy religious fundamentalist in Texastan. Get over yourselves, fundies. Enough of this bloody lunacy.
Cross posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 04/14/14 at 05:48 PM
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Ben Stein Likes Indoor Plumbing, Dislikes Poor People
Visine pitchman, former Comedy Central gameshow host, and ex-presidential speechwriter Ben Stein really wouldn’t hack me off, what, a couple times every five-six years or so? If he just wasn’t a pious hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe.
It isn’t the highest standard in the world. Many people have avoided being a hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe. He just isn’t living up to that standard, and I despair of his regular attempts at self-sabotage.
So, I point to an interview, which kind of turns on a thin dime so subtly that you might have to think a minute to realize that Stein is weaseling.
“Yes, the government designates many tens of millions as poor, but they almost always have indoor plumbing (which my mother did not have in her small town in the Catskills) and they are super nourished as opposed to mal-nourished,” he said. “They get food stamps. They get free medical care. They get vouchers for many of the needs of life.”
While he pities their plight, Stein pointed out that poverty was greatly reduced in scope and severity in the past century.
“In olden times, poverty was the common human condition,” Stein said. “In the USA, as recently as the Great Depression, poverty was commonplace. FDR might have exaggerated when he described one-third of the nation as ‘ill housed, ill fed and ill clad…’ But surely he was not far off.”
And his mother would be how old? I bet nobody had color tv’s in her day either. And his solution is?
“Maybe, just maybe, if we let God back into the public forum it would help. I have seen spiritual solutions work miracles.”
And in his mother’s day, way back when, when the poor folks were really poor, and not the kind of fake-ass poor we have today—is he saying things were less religious then? Because, unless I’m really mistaken, most conservatives envision the past as being a little less secularized and hippieficated , and way more squared-away, God-fearing, and role-knowing. And yet the really poor folks were back in the day, he says. And his momma did not have indoor plumbing, he also adds.
Thinking about that: Are you saying your momma was godless and self-sabotaging, then, Ben? Because I do not think that proves your point, and you shouldn’t even be talking that smack about your momma. That isn’t decent.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/09/14 at 11:27 PM
American Taliban Mobilizing Against Gay-stapo
Apparently the far right wants blood and they are doing all of the right things to get them some.
Screeching and fear-mongering over gays in our midst is nothing new for them but those who pay close attention to their antics are recognizing that we have entered a new phase—the mobilization and deployment of armed-to-the-teeth, anti-gay wingnuts who are coming around to a belief that they have a sacred mandate to eliminate the gay.
Guys like Scott Lively have been gay-bashing for a long time and are relatively harmless because their self-interest trumps their desire to scuff their Guccis in the trenches. Up until recently, Lively would rather go to Latvia or Uganda, where he’s a bigger fish, and persuade some petty satraps there to go out and kill their own gays.
He is evidently smart enough to know that the tiny minority of Americans nutty enough to support his agenda will never get much of anything done - at least, legislatively. And Lively’s gay-bashing cottage industry of books, speaking engagements and his hate ministry Abiding Truth Ministries has barely netted enough to keep him in Crown Victorias.
So he’s decided to run for Governor of Massachusetts on a platform that includes “Your President, Barack Obama, Is a Fag.”
Meanwhile, Lively’s book The Pink Swastika has become something of a cult classic in the gay-hate microcosm. The book explains that homosexuals are the true inventors of Nazism and the evil genius behind many Nazi atrocities.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 04/09/14 at 11:27 AM
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Halting Evolution One Seat At A Time
There’s this guy, from The Gopher State [State Bird: Common Loon], who was going about his American Dream, minding his own business, raising a family, working hard, getting his MBA on-line, and then—BOOM!
An incident happened! and suddenly, Aaron Miller knew that he must drop everything and get himself elected to Congress to save America from science-crazed, war-on-religion, constitution-shredders wrecking everything.
That “incident,” which has become a set piece of Miller’s stump speeches, occurred as follows:
. . . he shared a story about his daughter becoming very upset because she had to learn about evolution at school. He said his daughter told the teacher that she did not believe in evolution. He said the teacher expressed agreement with his daughter, but told her that they were forced to teach the lesson by the government.
When asked for further detail, Miller declined to provide the name of the teacher in his story.
So, you see, it was a father’s concern for his children that set Mr. Miller on his path to Washington, DC:
There’s a war on our values by the government,” Miller said. “We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington, D.C.
As a parent, of course, I can empathize. I remember a similar incident, when my son was in high school. He came home one day fuming and obviously upset, because he told his math teacher he didn’t believe in calculus so he shouldn’t have to pass his class. His teacher agreed that there really was no such thing as calculus but that he wouldn’t get into engineering school unless he played along. Took him a long time to heal . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 04/08/14 at 10:16 AM
Friday, April 04, 2014
Modern conservatism in the US is predicated on a bizarre, ongoing inversion of reality. Item: an addled B-movie actor explodes the national debt and is lionized as a champion of small government. A cowardly, none-too-bright male cheerleader from a patrician clan is packaged and sold as a brush-clearin,’ neo-Churchillian cowpoke.
The party that bankrupted the country through ruinous, pointless warmongering and Wall Street wilding markets itself as the fiscally responsible foreign policy grownups. The party that allows a gun manufacturer flak organization to intimidate it into allowing terrorists and the floridly crazy to purchase unlimited semiautomatic weapons bills itself as tough on crime. Etc.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that conservatives’ perception of their ongoing defeat in the culture wars is exactly the opposite of reality on every level too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at the ahistorical ranting. Cue the Powertools, lamenting the resignation of erstwhile Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich:
So the liberals claim another scalp. This is something new in our history, as far as I know. Until now, private citizens could hold whatever political beliefs they wanted, and support political causes as they chose.
Ever heard of the McCarthy hearings? Where a wingnut senator persecuted private citizens and destroyed their livelihoods because of their political beliefs? See, when the party of free markets decides to regulate political beliefs, it does so via the government.
What happened to Eich is a free market phenomenon. You can make the argument that the companies and developers who balked at the prospect of working with a CEO who thinks gays are icky should have given Eich a chance. But the companies and developers are independent agents who are free to vote with their feet because freedom.
Over at Heritage.org, they’ve discovered the power of government policy in leading social change:
Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting against such groups and individuals.
Okay, so you guys were for prohibiting the government from discriminating against same sex couples in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting, right? Nope.
Once again, the self-proclaimed anti-nanny state crusaders and champions of free markets are revealed as sniveling hypocrites. Hoocoodanode?
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/04/14 at 07:31 AM
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Hobby Lobby’s Deeply Held Investment Convictions
“Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions.… something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one,” Hobby Lobby founder David Green, in an article for USA Today.
Well, at least since Day One 2012, when Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans and David Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, decided to sue the government over that requirement.
Before that, Hobby Lobby’s employee health care plan covered both Plan B and Ella which their brief, filed with the US Supreme Court, describes as “products that can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus,” which the Greens consider abortion.
Scientist’s refute that statement based on how the drugs actually work—to prevent fertilization, in the first place—nevertheless, it is the Green’s “deeply held religious belief” that the scientists are wrong and that they, the Greens, channeling their God, are right.
Now, some cynics might label the Green’s position somewhat politically-influenced and a whole lot hypocritical. Evidently, the deeply held religious beliefs at the heart of their case struck them rather late in the game—a la Saul on the road to Damascus—knocking them off their ass, when President Obama commanded them to continue doing what they were doing.
But, oh dear, bless their hearts, that’s only the beginning . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 04/02/14 at 10:16 AM
Monday, March 24, 2014
Enjoying My Hobby in Your Lobby
It’s some kind of crying shame that I haven’t addressed the Hobby Lobby case when I am supposed to be a pro-reproductive rights feminist over here. I don’t know where my head is at. But when I was buying yarn to crochet a cozy for a diapraghm case, I had a kind of epiphany that really only comes when you’ve been sniffing the Modge-Podge for a while—
Look. I think we can agree that an employment contract is not a one-way street. It never was meant to be. So, if Hobby Lobby believes it is totally in the right to make decisions regarding the reproductive health and maintenance of it’s employees, in other words, making those employees’ private business their store business, then it’s only fair that the employees should be able to bring their private business right into the public business.
That’s right, Hobby Lobby. If you all think you have a right to dictate the methods your employees use for their bedroom or kitchen floor or whatever activities, those employees should feel comfortable enjoying those activities in your store. I don’t mean on the clock. Off-the clock, of course, since your company has decided to also be the boss of all off-the-clock funtimes. But let’s get this clear—you wanna make the rules?
You should get to make the rules about stuff happening on the premises of your store. Sexy funtimes don’t happen in your store. Until you made it about you. Now I think employees should get to use the break room, or even the return desk, to do what they like—because you guys decided their business was your business. So why shouldn’t your business be where they can do their business?
Of course—no one would probably want to actually screw in your store. Not because pony beads and potholder looms aren’t fucking erotic as hell, but because that is not what your store is for. Your store is for serving your customers, who for the most part don’t give a good goddamn what your employees do so long as they don’t screw up an order and give them exact change. Why don’t you try and be at least as tolerant as your customers? And recognize that your employees are human beings with bodies, and that the female bodies deserve to be treated by the people who have to live in them—and that isn’t you, Hobby Lobby execs.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/24/14 at 11:14 PM
Friday, March 14, 2014
Who Would Jesus Shoot?
Is it some esoteric law of nature, or something, that all anti-gay uber-bigots wind up looking like my Uncle Bruce the Bachelor?
Meet Austin Ruse, who is one of those insufferable little lumps who believes he is a Great Thinker, Mover and Shaker because some like-minded insufferable little lumps publish his brain farts on their blog. [Think Breitbart.]
The guy has a BA in journalism from Mizzou, a big mouth and an even bigger ego which he has parlayed into a lifetime free ride as “president” of the non-profit hate group Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), which styles itself a “think tank.”
Under Ruse’s twisted guidance, C-FAM earned its official designation from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for it’s groundbreaking work in international gay-bashing but is sure to eventually earn its stripes in other categories of hatefulness like misogyny, racism, liberal-baiting, dissolution of the Girl Scouts of America and banning contraception.
Ruse is a vocal disseminator of the Matthew Shepard: Drug Lord theory. His rambling Matthew Shepard trutherism masterpiece, for Breitbart.com, entitled A Martyr Is A Terrible Thing To Waste, is queerly laced with a little wistful slobbering over Shepard:
. . . he was achingly handsome, tousled blond hair, slight of frame, and delicately chiseled.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/14/14 at 12:15 PM
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Bachmann Wields Her Terrible Swift Sword
Well Michele Bachmann (R-MN) won’t be afflicting the body politic in any official capacity much longer but the woman’s a trouper and, despite being a tad punch-drunk, she’s still in there flailing away.
Holding court at last week’s CPAC, La Bachmann shared, in a radio interview, her still raw anguish over Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to veto Arizona’s “right to discriminate” law.
Rep. Bachmann is especially aggrieved over the bullying that she and The American People are suffering at the hands of teh gayz:
And the thing that I think is getting a little tiresome is the gay community have so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere. Well, not with the Constitution you don’t.
She added that gay people and “activist judges” are trying to take away her freedom: “If you want take away my religious liberties, you can advocate for that but you do it through the constitutional process and you don’t intimidate and no politician should give away my religious liberties or yours.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/11/14 at 11:50 AM
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Not the Least, and Not the Last
Yesterday marked some new changes in the battle of LGBT equality, with AZ Gov.Jan Brewer vetoing Senate bill 1062, finding that there was no evidence that people of faith were being unduly burdened and that allowing this bill to become law would have unintended consequences, and with a federal judge ruling the Texas gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
It’s not unalloyed good news, because although I am optimistic (just see my last blog entry) I was not found in a cabbage patch nor was I raised on sunshine and good vibes. The response of some social conservatives definitely reminds me that nothing is over—if anything, the desire of a handful of retrograde culture warriors to wrap themselves in the mantle of faith and claim special privilege as a marginalized group seems to have grown. It’s what you might call a smaller, but more motivated group. Look at it this way, if it’s right that the SCOTUS Windsor ruling has literally made all further argument on gay marriage moot, what the hell is Brian Brown gonna do now? Get a real job? Even Fox News might stop inviting Tony Perkins on, and everyone knows Bryan Fischer is worried that if folks are freely getting gay-married…well, he’s on his own thing and I think he’s more scared of turning into a vulva than turning gay, but my point is, that rear-guard money is catch as catch can and they gotta hustle now. So they will hustle.
The thing with prejudice is, the people with it like to feel justified. Of course they are fine upstanding better people. They wouldn’t even have the prejudices they do if they weren’t! This “religious freedom” gambit seemed like a nice way to co-opt the language of the persecuted to sound like maybe they were the ones all victimized and wronged by liberal fascism. Which is the very worst kind of fascism because of the PBS programming and organic produce, not to mention the whole meaningful chats about “tone”. But the problem is political correctness, don’t you know.
Conservatism won at least one argument with me. I hate political correctness. I will call these professional victims and family values pimps what they are. And for what it’s worth, if they want to talk about respecting religion, I have some reservations about your garden-variety haters deciding it’s totally okay to rip out pages of Leviticus and use them as a fig leaf to cover up their rage-boners over any class of people…being treated totally the same as anyone else.
But here is something to ponder that I don’t think conservatives are taking into account:
This kissing of theocratic ass is costing them—let’s talk about CPAC.
I love CPAC. I pretend I’m appalled because I’m a proper liberal with all the right credentials but as theater? I was a choir geek in high school—I love theater! And who doesn’t like to watch a hot mess of theater sometimes? But anyway, CPAC has engendered drama because they could never let GOProud in the fold. They were out, and never in. The sucking up around the edges to try and pacify the theocrat powers that be apparently cheesed Chris Barron off enough to quit them, hard enough. Is he not a conservative and a brother?
Nope. Moving on, CPAC isn’t having any with atheists either. Wow. If “none of the above” is a big religious choice of the millennial generation, aren’t they making a big mistake right here? Especially given that 1/3 of millennials left religion specifically over how gay people are treated by their faith?
This wedge issue that used to be good for the GOP circa 2004, is not a great issue about now. But if they think they look spiffy in albatross, who am I to try and stop them? You go, GOP-ers! Wrap yourself in the flag and the Bible and take all of your guns at once and….
I dunno. Write a very serious letter to editor of the Washington Times. If they have one. I guess.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/27/14 at 11:51 PM
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Jesus Loves Me?
Well, Brothers and Sisters, it’s Sunday in this Exceptionally Christian Nation, so what better time to talk a little about what the Lord has in store for us these days?
First up, this guy, God’s right hand in Texas, the one and only Tom DeLay—
wants to remind us all that, on the fifth or sixth day [not sure which], God wrote the US Constitution. That collection of bewigged displaced plutocrats, Masons, Free-Thinkers and Humanists, aka the Founding Fathers, were merely channeling God [King James Version] and his ambitious plans for a “shining city on a hill” to rule his creation, Earth, forever and ever, Amen!
In a recent radio meet-up with Pastor Hagee, the Younger, The Hammer patiently explained why America the Beautiful is such a hot mess, lately.
It’s because we:
stopped realizing that God created this nation, that He wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on Biblical principles…
In retrospect, Brother DeLay believes that the religious right blew it when they:
. . . allowed those that don’t believe in those things to keep pushing us and pushing us and pushing us away from the government instead of standing up and being unashamedly a follower of Jesus Christ and fighting for our values in our society.
But, fear not, “oh ye of little faith:”
I really feel now, Pastor Matt, that the Lord has heard us, and I see the Holy Spirit moving, and I pray every day for an awakening in this country, and I think it’s coming, and people have been praying for many, many years, seeking the face of God, and it’s coming.
As Juanita Jean, astutely points out, it is highly likely that Brother Tom is “hitting the sauce” again . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 02/23/14 at 12:22 PM
Saturday, February 08, 2014
GOP Rebranding Update: Wolverine Edition
Well, it’s my time of the month to take a reading on how the Grand Old Party is doing with its rebranding efforts. They’ve been at it for a little over a year now so I don’t think it unreasonable to expect some quantifiable progress.
Last month we saw a Lady Republican, of all things, delivering the Republican response to the President’s annual State of the Union address. It was a very nice roundup of all the very nice plans that the GOP has to make America wonderful again, if we all vote for them. The Lady Republican didn’t go into detail [Libruls might steal their ideas] but asked us to take it on faith—vote first, find out later.
One big plus was that the Lady Republican turned out to be a natural at “controlling the message.” She didn’t say anything stupid, obnoxious or hateful the whole time she was on-air. She didn’t actually say anything smart, attractive or inclusive, either, but I still think the GOP gets to count the speech as a great leap forward given recent past performances. Now the Lady Republican can go concentrate on her ethics investigation just like one of the guys.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 02/08/14 at 11:47 AM
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Boehner, Mary and Joseph!
Here’s one for the ages:
Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), a longtime ally of Boehner, summed up the Speaker’s current predicament well to The Washington Post’s Robert Costa on Wednesday . . . :
“Right now, Jesus himself couldn’t be the speaker and get 218 Republicans behind something, so I think Speaker Boehner is trying his best to come up with a plan that can get close to that. Whatever we move, there will be critics everywhere, but at the end of the day we still have to govern.”
Well, Rep. Tiberi, “at the end of the day” you’re right. So, when exactly, can we expect this “governing” to commence?
Whatever . . . all we know is that if some heathen Liberal had offered up this analogy, there’d be holy hell to pay. Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing notion—“what would Jesus do” with this Congress?
I suspect that it might start out something like that time that he drove the moneychangers from the temple court. Cleaning the place out should be the first order of business then, with what’s left, perhaps a few relevant lessons, from the greatest hits, just to remind the clueless what they’re supposed to be doing . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 02/06/14 at 04:21 PM