Utah Girls Have No Right To Bare Arms

The photos they saw
Though they’d broken no law
Still were setting off major alarms
See, the dresses they chose
Left their shoulders exposed!
Utah girls have no right to bare arms!

They were sleeveless—just straps,
And they’d worn them, perhaps
Many times, and encountered no harms
But for yearbooks, their school
Had a Mormon-based rule:
Utah girls have no right to bare arms!

If their views are expressed
By the way they are dressed
In their cities, or suburbs, or farms,
At their school, then, the church
Leaves the girls in the lurch:
Utah girls have no right to bare arms!

One girl was amazed
That her neckline was raised—
Her tattoo was a part of her charms!
But a bit of bare skin
Is a terrible sin!
Utah girls have no right to bare arms!

Wasatch High School in Utah has a thing for modesty. They have made news, for altering yearbook photos–raising necklines, adding sleeves to cover bare shoulders, hiding a tattoo… and the first students learned of it was when the yearbook came out. They feel, understandably, like the school has disapproved of their expression, has tried to shame them, has determined that they don’t measure up.

“I feel like they’re shaming you, like you’re not enough, you’re not perfect,” sophomore Shelby Baum told the Associated Press on Thursday. Baum’s collarbone tattoo reading “I am enough the way I am” was removed from her photo. She also discovered a high, square neckline drawn onto her black V-neck T-shirt. Baum said she wants a refund or a new book with an unaltered photo.

I suppose it goes without saying that every one of the altered photos was of a female student. Completely coincidentally, I am sure.

The Latest Word On Mabus–A Second Guilty Plea

From the Montreal Gazette:

A St-Laurent man who continued posting threats on social networks like Facebook and Twitter even though he was under a court order not to do so has pleaded guilty to criminal harassment and to threatening the police officer who arrested him.

Dennis Markuze, 43, a man who often uses the alias David Mabus when he makes threats, appeared before Quebec Court Judge Jean-Claude Boyer at the Montreal courthouse on Thursday where he entered a plea to three charges in all, including a breach of his probation.

There is much more there if you want to read it, but the gist is, he couldn’t keep from making threats. Having been on the receiving end of some (well, hundreds, but a fraction of what PZ got) of those threats (only a couple since his first arrest), this story is important to me, but really because I agree with Tim Farley (who is one of the recent victims of Mabus’s attacks, leading to today’s ruling):

I sincerely hope that investigation will finally result in Markuze getting the treatment he clearly needs.

Sentencing is set for November 21.

On Blame

There’s something gone wrong—why, he’s clearly insane;
There’s a chemical problem that’s hurting his brain,
Some organic dysfunction that helps to explain
Why he hasn’t been acting quite right
It’s clearly these deep neurological flaws
That are making him act in defiance of laws;
It has to be something! It can’t be because
He is young, and he’s male, and he’s white.

We’ll break it all down in the usual way
Is he poor? Is he black? Is he godless, or gay?
There must be a reason he’s drifted astray
Any label at all is fair game.
There has to be something (the experts discuss,
And for experts to notice and make such a fuss
There’s a reason) that means “he is not one of us!”
Cos we don’t want to share in the blame!

The misogynist message he posted online?
The authorities saw it, and called it benign!
Why, it’s only in hindsight we call it a sign—
We see worse things than that every day!
Why, if all of society ground to a halt
When some internet loner claimed plans of assault
We’d be doomed—with the innocent loners at fault
When it’s only a game that they play!

See, freedom of speech is a blessing and curse
You can say what you want—you can bully, or worse—
(And they can’t even force you to say it in verse)
Save specific and credible threat
But legitimate threats don’t stand out from the noise
And the language a dangerous asshole employs
Since it can’t be distinguished from “one of the boys”
Are the claims #YesAllWomen will get

It is a common claim: if you blame society, you are letting the perpetrator off the hook! But remember the flip side–when you blame the perp, you are letting society off the hook.

I am not a fan of “justice”; it’s a concept that, near as I can tell, was invented to let us blame individual criminals after the fact, instead of doing the hard work of changing the environment to actually prevent crimes before they occur, in cases where there are known variables we can control.

We have heard, and will continue to hear, reasons why a particular individual should shoulder all the blame. We will be told that we are weak on crime if we even entertain the notion that anything other than that individual is to blame.

Bullshit.

I would much rather prevent a crime than punish a criminal after a crime has been committed. And yes, I know that paints me as someone opposed to freedom–the freedom to swing my fist up to the point where someone else’s nose begins. If it is right to intervene after a crime is committed, it is right to intervene. If moral responsibility exists, then knowing that an element of our culture contributes to crime, and doing nothing about that element, makes us as culpable for our inaction as we wish others to be for their action.

The difference is whether we wait for people to be hurt before recognizing our ability to make a difference.

The Pennsylvania Decision

These rulings are just so much fun to read; I have enjoyed the care with which each judge has carefully and deliberately addressed every argument, no matter how stupid… and then read the comment threads, where ignorant yahoos bring up those same arguments as if it were the first time.

Here is the Pennsylvania decision from minutes ago.

Today, certain citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are not guaranteed the right to marry the person they love. Nor does Pennsylvania recognize the marriages of other couples who have wed elsewhere. Hoping to end this injustice, eleven courageous lesbian and gay couples, one widow, and two teenage children of one of the aforesaid couples have come together as plaintiffs and asked this Court to declare that all Pennsylvanians have the right to marry the person of their choice and consequently, that the Commonwealth’s laws to the contrary are unconstitutional. We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage

Now, excuse me while I go read the rest of it. Enjoy!

****
Wow. Having read section 1–the background of the plaintiffs–this is yet another powerful piece of writing.

FWIW, I have heard that this judge is a GWB appointee. Damned liberal activist bastard.

Unexpected Good News On The Cuttlefish Front

I have written before with bad news from Point Lowly, Spencer Gulf, in South Australia. That was from 2011; in 2012 the news was even worse, and last year things looked grim indeed.

Unexpectedly, this year, the numbers are up again!

Hundreds of giant Australian cuttlefish have swum into breeding grounds at the top of Spencer Gulf in South Australia, reversing a worrying decline of recent years.

It’s not a return to previously normal levels, but it’s the right direction. There has been federal support for cuttlefish research in the area over the past couple of years; I hope people were looking at the right variables to learn from this. These are beautiful creatures, and an amazing gathering. I still hope to visit some day… and I would hate to be the only cuttlefish showing up for the party.

Cuttlecap tip to Kylie, of course!

“I’m So Fed Up With The Tyranny, I…”

I’m so fed up with the tyranny, I sold my old Ski-Do;
With a POTUS like Obama, there was nothing else to do
It was that or breathe the chemtrails that had turned the water blue
I’m so fed up with the tyranny… so what’s the deal with you?

I’m so fed up with the tyranny, I bought another gun
That makes twenty-two for me, now, and a dozen for my son
Though he doesn’t really use them, cos he’s only just turned one
I’m so fed up with the tyranny… It’s like a war’s begun!

I’m so fed up with the tyranny, I’m marching in D.C.
Well, I’m mostly there in spirit, cos the trip’s too much for me
I don’t want to miss the news feed that I get from FOX TV
I’m so fed up with the tyranny that network lets me see.

I’m so fed up with the tyranny, I want to break some laws!
See, I love the Constitution—each amendment; every clause—
Well, there’s one that speaks to Property I don’t much like, because
I’m so fed up with the tyranny, and protests get applause

Operation American Spring begins today, and with it a banquet, a feast, a cornucopia of word salad. All you can eat, or perhaps all you can stomach.

Maitre d’ Mark Connors’s radio show was on hand 10 miles away, keeping the salad bowl full:

A caller from North Carolina said he feared Obama would declare martial law and begin executing Christian citizens as a prelude to civil war.

“We learned one thing from the Bundy ranch,” the caller said. “If you are armed, they will not pose a threat to the people protesting. If you are not armed, you are a target — plain and simple.”

Another caller from Michigan said he was more concerned about government manipulation of natural resources.

“I’m so fed up with the tyranny I sold my jet ski,” the caller said. “I’m so fed up with the way the government is manipulating the water with the chemtrails, I’m afraid I can’t even use my jet ski.”

“I’m so fed up with the tyranny I sold my jet ski” is such a wonderful phrase. It calls to mind all the sacrifices made in wartime by patriots of the past. Years from now, I’m sure he’ll be telling his grandchildren of his sacrifice, and the other old-timers will chime in with tales of sacrifice of their own:

I’m so fed up with the tyranny I took up ballroom dancing.

I’m so fed up with the tyranny I learned to putt left-handed.

I’m so fed up with the tyranny I got a Brazilian wax job.

I’m so fed up with the tyranny I sat in my La-Z-Boy and applauded Sean Hannity.

Comments are open for non sequiturs. How fed up with the tyranny are you?

“He Meets And Exceeds My Criteria For Such”

When the townsfolk demand I resign
For a statement I’ve owned up as mine
For my honest opinions
Of Hussein and his minions
That I uttered out loud
(I’m not sorry—I’m proud!
See, the man makes me sick
So I turn him off quick
Cos he’s all that I see
when I turn on TV)
I respectfully, strongly, decline

I’m not racist—he met my criteria!
For Benghazi, for health care, for Syria!
The list is much bigger,
So, yes, he’s a n****r
It’s not that he’s black
So call off your attack!
I’ve said all I will say—
Take those cameras away
Why, you media leech—
It’s my right to free speech
It’s what separates US from Siberia!

All this fuss, when it’s only a word!
“F*****g n****r”, she claims that she heard
Yes, some people abuse it,
But no, how I use it
It isn’t his skin
But the content within
And each time I use it
I carefully choose it
And the trivial fact
All my targets are black?
Me? Racist? The thought is absurd!

A few days ago, NPR’s Code Switch blog made the argument that racism is “part of the mix” when it comes to hatred of Obama. As predictable as mayflies, commenters swarmed both to support and to deny the assertion (protip: never read the comments!).

Now, news out of New Hampshire (video at link, well worth watching)–a Wolfeboro police commissioner, Robert Copeland, accused of calling Obama a “f*****g n****r”, admits it (in writing), saying “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.” (Sarah Palermo’s article at the Concord Monitor has the most thorough version of the backstory I have seen so far.)

Remember how politicians fled from Cliven Bundy when he talked about “the Negro”? Yeah, not so much in Wolfeboro, so far. Though a hundred or so citizens showed up to protest, fellow commissioners defended Copeland. From the Concord Monitor:

Copeland and another commissioner, Ron Goodgame, did not return calls seeking comment last night. But commission Chairman Joseph Balboni said he has no plans to ask Copeland to resign.

“I think it’s crazy. Bob is a very nice person, and he’s been very generous to the town of Wolfeboro,” Balboni said.

“He’s worked with a lot of blacks in his life. . . . He said some harsh words about Mr. Obama, and here we are. This woman, she’s blowing it all out of proportion.”

(note–even his defenders know this is a racial slur; “meets and exceeds my criteria for such” is a thin attempt to pretend it is not.)

And don’t get me started on the comments (protip: NEVER READ THE COMMENTS!!!), expecially at the WMUR story and at the Union MisLeader (the Monitor comments, unbelievably, are about how well-written Palermo’s story is). “Free Speech!” “Mark Twain used the word!” “‘N****r’ isn’t racist any more, because reasons”, “Bush got called things too!”, “thought police!”… but also, “I call that N-word an N-word all the time”, birther tropes, and more.

Copeland unapologetically admitted his words, and for some reason seems to think that the fact that he is not covering up somehow makes it all right. We ought to be filled with admiration for someone who stands up for what he believes like Copeland does.

No, not “admiration”, so much as “disgust”.

***Update***
The story has now hit CNN. So, while there is no additional information in the story, we now have a much larger population of commenters. You can guess the result, and you’d be right. (once again, protip: NEVER READ THE COMMENTS!!!)

No Black Mass For Harvard…

After quite a bit of back-and-forth, Harvard does the wrong thing. Well worth watching, if head-bangingly frustrating.

My favorite quote, of course, is from a Harvard Senior (and, I am guessing, Catholic), who noted “I am very pleased that my religion is not going to be desecrated or my gender objectified or my university embarrassed by these actions”… showing that even at Harvard, we cannot expect people to understand either A) the Satanist view of gender, or B) her own Catholic view.

Those pin-headed libruls at Harvard discovered*
American values they didn’t expect.
In Harvard’s array of fine classes, Black Masses
Are never included—it’s simple respect!
Why, Boston is Cath’lic, and Satan keeps waitin’,
He won’t be invited, and that’s for the best
The devil and “Cultural Studies” are buddies
But this isn’t culture, it’s purely hate-fest

It’s good that the Satanists’ voices, their choices,
Are silenced in favor of Catholic rule
It’s Harvard—alternative viewpoints are new points,
And freedom of speech isn’t taught at this school.
The students at Harvard object to a sect, to
A viewpoint that treats them as less than they are
The Catholic Church, though, keeps trying, denying
That women are equal… at least, not so far.

*this counts as a rhyme, courtesy of Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements”.

Today Is Limerick Day?

I’ve been busy–I only just heard–
They’ve been horrid at spreading the word
But it’s limerick day!
(I’ve just one thing to say…
Just one day? Why, the thought is absurd!)

Thanks to commenter “williamhumenansky”, I hear that today is Limerick day (Edward Lear’s birthday, appropriately, although Lear’s limericks are actually not very good limericks for the most part). I have written well over a thousand limericks, over the past two or three lifetimes, and that makes me an absolute lightweight when compared to the good folks over at the OEDILF. The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form is a thing–a very real thing, and a very cool thing. And, actually, a thing that could use your help, if you happen to be a fan of limericks.