She shouldn’t have gotten her face in the way of his fist

Some football player named Ray Rice got in a fight with his fiancée, and knocked her out cold in an elevator — there is surveillance of him dragging her unconscious body out. You would think, maybe, that a professional athlete would have at some time learned that he’s very strong, and that a little caution in dealing physically with other was warranted, and maybe that the appropriate way to deal with someone you purportedly love does not involve beating her unconscious.

Rice has sort-of-apologized in a press conference — to which he brought his new wife to also apologize for her actions (makes you wonder what kind of beating she’d get if she didn’t). And now he’s been sort-of-punished, so the NFL is back to stroking his ego.

It’s also precious as heck that Ray Rice feels an obligation to The Children, what with being a role model and all, but maybe he should not be a role model because, kids, lady-beating is wrong, even if the NFL doesn’t really think so. Sure, it suspended Rice for TWO WHOLE GAMES and fined him $529,411.24, which sounds like a lot of money until you realize that it is merely two games’ worth of pay for Rice the Role Model. But everyone in the sportsball world is tripping over themselves to assure us that Ray Rice really is a nice guy, no really, and he will never ever knock his wife out cold again, he promises, even though the recidivism rate for lady-beaters is about 110 percent. (Okay, not exactly, but pretty close.) Here’s the team’s general manager, Ozzie Newsome, giving Rice some quality reach-around, but not in a gay way of course, because that would be a REAL problem for the NFL:

“We also respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be.” Newsome said. “That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Hmm. I’ve been married for 34 years, and she’s never hit me, and I’ve never hit her. In our case, if I started using her as a punching bag, you could say it’s “not typical”…but even that many years of respectful behavior would not be sufficient to justify doing harm now. But if he’s a pro football player, it’s all water under the bridge.

What I’d like to know is whether, if there is any other issue of domestic violence with this guy, the NFL will come back and say, “We were wrong — turns out thumping women is typical of Ray Rice, he’s an asshole, and he’s fired.” Any takers on that one? I suspect instead the NFL is right now deploying a team of PR specialists prepared to hush up any future incidents.

But here’s a professional apologist for athletes from ESPN commenting on the issue:

But what about addressing women on how they can help prevent the obvious wrong done upon them?

But what about addressing women on how they can help prevent the obvious wrong done upon them?

Yeah, ladies, it’s your responsibility to avoid pissing off muscular 200 pound football players. Ultimately, it’s all your fault.

We need to ban Minnesotans

Clearly, residents of this state are the problem. Look what this wretched Minnesotan did.

A Minnesota man who admitted shooting a 17-year-old girl multiple times because she asked him to stop trespassing on his riding lawnmower has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by The Associated Press, 40-year-old Chad Pickering shot the 17-year-old girl in the chest, right thigh and left ankle while she was standing on the deck of her Bemidji home on Monday night.

“The victim herself was able to describe what had happened and talk to us and tell us that she’d simply been shot when she stepped out of her house to check on her dogs,” Sheriff Phil Hodapp explained to WCCO.

The teen told investigators that she had asked Pickering not to ride his lawnmower through her yard. She also said that he often carried a pistol with him on the lawnmower.

That’s just the way Minnesotans are…

Oh, wait. Wrong word. Not Minnesotans, but rather assholes with guns.

Is Ted Nugent still a darling of the Republican party?

I knew Ted Nugent was a nasty piece of work, but this…can he possibly be a bit more blatantly racist? He’s had a couple of shows cancelled at Indian casinos — first by the Coeur d’Alene tribe in Idaho, and most recently by the Puyallups in Washington — and I guess it made Nugent a mite testy.

“The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has always been about human rights — for decades, we have worked individually and as a Tribe to make sure that each and every person is treated equally and with respect and dignity,” said a statement from the tribe.

A spokesperson for the casino said that the company didn’t want to provide a platform for the “racist attitudes and views that Ted Nugent espouses.”

Nugent responded to the cancelation by calling the Coeur d’Alene Tribe unclean vermin.

By all indicators, I don’t think they actually qualify as people, but there has always been a lunatic fringe of hateful, rotten, dishonest people that hate happy, successful people, he continued. I believe raising hell and demanding accountability from our elected employees is Job One for every American. I am simply doing my job.

Brilliant: fired for racist remarks, so he calls the whole tribe “vermin” and questioning their status as humans, perfectly confirming the accusation.

Creepy ol’ Ben Stein

Remember Ben Stein? Lazy character actor best known for his mind-numbing drone, reactionary conservative who writes dull screeds on bogus economics, the creationist voice of Expelled? He’s in the news again, when we’d all rather he just goes away.

He wrote a bizarre rambling bit of nonsense for the American Spectator about how he travels the country, helping breathakingly beautiful women, taking them out to dinner, giving them writing advice, and boy, does airline food suck or what, and Obama is a failure. And he spent a fair amount of the essay just writing about this stunningly beautiful, absolute knockout young Eurasian woman who just happened to be in the airport.

As I walked through SFO in search of my driver, I came across a stunningly beautiful, absolute knockout young Eurasian woman. She was lying on a bench right next to where my driver was supposed to be, so I sat down next to her and chatted her up.

This story has evolved somewhat. Now she’s ambushing him and harassing him for money..

About five months ago, as I was walking through SFO to get into my car, I met a young woman who was extremely excited to meet me. She was literally jumping up and down with excitement. She told me she was a “performance artist” but hinted at some scary parts of her life. She said she would like to be a writer and asked if I could help. We exchanged texting addresses and off I went in my car. I spent fewer than five minutes talking to her in a busy airport terminal.

See? Ben Stein thinks Ben Stein is the kindest, sweetest person around. He deserves a medal for helping a young, beautiful woman out, giving her money and advice.

“I should get a medal for helping this woman. This is a person who appealed to me for money. She said she would send me some examples of her performance art. Some of those examples were racy, and some were not. I just don’t get what I have done wrong. She is mad at me because she wanted more money. … I didn’t expect anything from her.”

This “I am not a crook” moment was prompted by the fact that the young woman, Tanya Ma, released screen shots of their phone messages. And it’s true, he didn’t touch her, he didn’t do anything criminal — he just exposed the fact that the private Ben Stein is a deeply creepy person.

Sext messages below the fold. Wash your hands afterwards.

[Read more...]

The squirreliest thing I’ve seen all day

The NRA is just plain nuts.

This guy starts out by telling us how the government sets education policy, access to public parks, labor policies to protect minorities, and then springs his case on us: we should treat guns the same way. We need guns. We ought to treat them like food, shelter, education, and voting — wonderful things that the government ought to subsidize. So later he even suggests that the government ought to provide free shooting ranges, and a yearly allotment of free ammunition.

Further, progress through the school system ought to require gun training. Why? Because we need guns.

No, we don’t. We need jobs, we need shelter, we need education, we need food, we need clean water, but hell no, we don’t need guns. He says that our gun policy is designed around the assumption that we need to protect people from guns, that guns are bad or dangerous…exactly right. I want to be protected from guns. I’d rather not have to worry about some freak with an automatic rifle when I walk to the grocery store; guns are bad, since they’re tools for killing people; and oh man, guns are dangerous.

But this fool says, What if instead of gun-free zones, we had gun-required zones. No thank you.

He also says,

Sound crazy? Think about it.

OK. I thought about it. It’s utterly insane. The NRA is a festering cesspool of batshit lunacy.

Well, I am on a diet and trying to lose weight

So it’s very kind of John C. Wright to assemble a post that completely kills my appetite — in fact, it makes me feel like an inhabitant of the planet Miranda, only I can’t make up my mind whether to just lie down and die or go full Reaver. It’s titled The Secret to the Most Mind-Blowing Sex Ever. Very click-baity. I can only the imagine the disappointment of people searching for “mindblowing sex” and landing on Wright’s article, and feeling their generative organs shrivel.

It’s premise is that there’s more to sex than just the physical — and I’d agree with that. It’s emotional, it’s social, it strengthens the pair bond, it’s fun. But Wright isn’t thinking along those lines, and he also has a peculiar idea of what’s appropriate about the physical side of it.

If the union were physical only, nothing but the physical sensation of the orgasm would matter, and rubbing your penis in an anus, mouth, armpit, elbow, or an elephant’s ear, not to mention the crevasses of mothers and sisters and underage children, convenient animals, and fresh corpses or whatever floats your boat would be called sex just the same as sex is sex. The word sex would refer only to the hunger for the sensation, and not to the sex act.

I’m fine with people who get off on armpits. As long as the two people doing it (and I’m pretty sure that one requires at least two people; if you can do it solo, you must be built like a barnacle) are willing participants who both are enjoying it, why not? And of course I’d be among many agreeing that there’s a difference between sexual interactions and sexual gratification, and that regarding your mother as a collection of crevasses is more than a little icky. It is rather important in long-term sexual relationships that you consider your partner as a human being.

But no, that’s not what Wright is getting at. He has his own definition of the function and purpose of sex.

In order to understand the perfect sexual experience, we first must say what sex is: it is copulation, the process by which two halves of a sexual whole find complement and completion, and reproduce. The sex act is the act of sexual union in sexual reproduction. The sexes, however, are spiritual rather than physical: men are masculine in psychology and mind and soul, masculine in speech and deportment and nuance in all they do just as women are feminine. The sexual union is spiritual, ordered toward the end of reproduction.

That’s it. The whole purpose of sex is making babies. For someone who just lectured on interminably in flowery language about how sex is not physical only, he sure seems focused on the physical process of getting the lady preggers.

Since sex is ordered toward reproduction, anything that hinders it is an imperfection. Prudence, if nothing else, would warn potential mother and potential fathers not to do the act which makes you a mother or a father until you have a household and loving union ready to rear children.

If you are artificially sterile, or using contraception, you are holding back, you are not passionate about the sex, you are trying to use the sex rather than surrender to the sex.

Gosh, is he an evolutionist? Because we’d be the types to say that the only ‘goal’ of evolution, the only measure of success, is sustained maintenance of the species. Of course, we’d also note that it’s a much more complicated process in humans than blindly inseminating random females (that’s more appropriate to sea urchins), and that sex also plays a role in strengthening bonds between people to help with survival, and we’d also note that lots of phenomena in biology have interesting side-effects that can be important in life histories, too. Sex is not exclusively ordered towards reproduction, so his premise is false.

We get to his real deal, at least: he’s against contraception. He doesn’t see any point to any kind of sexual interaction that doesn’t have the possibility of conception. Well, gosh, I’ll have to break the news to my wife that there were only three brief periods in my life when our sex life mattered, and that was when we were trying to have kids. All the rest was frivolity and illusion, and now that we’re all done with the kid stuff, we can stop. Because sex would be pointless.

It just gets worse from here. If you’re just trying to lose a bit of appetite, you can stop just a couple of paragraphs in — proceeding further takes you deeper into bulimia territory, as you discover that sex is also supposed to reinforce very traditional roles for men and women: master and servant.

Since sex is ordered toward reproduction, you have to love the woman first, and want her to be the mother of your children, and want it more than you want life itself. Since sex is spiritual, you have to protect your children and your wife and make them safe. Your wife cannot be made safe if you are allowed to abandon her. Hence, since sex is ordered toward reproduction, you must swear, swear by Holy God and your hope of heaven, never to leave her, but to love and cherish her, in sickness and health, for better or worse, until nothing less than horrid death itself you do part.

For her part, she must vow to love and honor and obey.

And if you do not understand about that obey part, you do not understand women. She wants a leader, an alpha male, a chief, a Christ, and you must be willing to die for her as Christ was willing to die for you, or she will not feel secure in your love. If she does not swear to obey, you are not a couple, not a dyad, not a unit, but are still two sovereigns dealing with each other at arm’s length, not intimate, and she cannot trust you fully, cannot love you fully, not with a divine and self-sacrificing love. And she knows you don’t love her fully, not with a love that is more than madness, more than sense, more than the universe.

So much nonsense. Here’s the real secret to mindblowing sex: each treats the other as a sovereign, intimately. My interactions with my wife are not subservient to praising tropes in a dusty old holy book, nor are they dedicated to creating some third party (yeesh, especially not at our age).

Of course, this is John C. Wright babbling: Catholic, conservative, fan of Vox Day, science fiction writer. And if the puffed-up goofy prose in that column is any example, not a very good writer. Judging by the content, also a dogmatic idiot.

I think it would do him a world of good to go fuck an elbow, actually.

Big News: God was not a Klingon

Poor Ken Ham: the media has been distorting his words. They claim that he said all the space aliens are damned to hell. He did not! He plainly said:

And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel.

See? They aren’t going to hell, because they don’t exist. He continues with a beautiful example of fundagelical creologic:

You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”!  Only descendants of Adam can be saved.  God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word).  To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

Now that’s impressive arrogance and delusions of grandeur. So there are 1011 galaxies and almost 1023 stars in the universe, and they’re all entirely empty of intelligent life, and they’re all going to be burned away and discarded when a Magic Jew comes reappears on Planet Earth. We know this because of an ancient book written by people who thought the earth was flat and the sky was held up on pillars.

Ooooookay.

Caricature, corrected

MRA’s have been sending me this video they’re very excited about — it’s done by a pretty young woman who comically repeats every stupid stereotype of feminists by anti-feminists everywhere. Did you know feminists don’t want you to be young and slender and pretty, and you shouldn’t wear makeup or pretty clothes, and most of them hate men, and it’s all about competing to see who is most oppressed? We don’t need feminism any more, because men and women are already equal in all things, and besides, she has never experienced any discrimination, so nobody else can have. It is funny. Funnily bad.

I thought about writing a rebuttal, but shortly I have to go to work, and it would take hours to dismantle it nonsensical misconception by outright flaming stupidity, sentence by sentence. There’s so much of it.

Fortunately, I don’t have to. One of the sensible people who sends me things (They exist! Really, my in-box isn’t just a shitstorm of derp. Usually.) sent me this most excellent common sense general defense of feminism by the Bloggess, so I’ll just tell you all to go read that instead.

Feminism is inherently good.  It’s not even close to perfect and still needs lots of work and sometimes it gets all fucked up and backward and awful but that doesn’t mean it’s not still worth fighting for.  Now go back and replace “Feminism” with “The human race”.  It works, right?.  That’s because feminists are made of human.  Men and women.  In fact, one of my favorite feminists is Sir Patrick Stewart.

Patrick Stewart, feminist. His mother made 3 pounds 10 shillings for working a forty hour week in a weaving shed. She was also an abuse victim and he’s an anti-domestic violence advocate.

Patrick Stewart, feminist. His mother made 3 pounds 10 shillings for working a forty hour week in a weaving shed. She was also an abuse victim and he’s an anti-domestic violence advocate.

I’m not saying you can’t choose to not be a feminist but know what you’re choosing.  Don’t make a decision about a group based on the most radical beliefs of a group.  Don’t get defensive if you get deeper and are exposed to difficult ideas about intersectionality and race and gender and colonialism and patriarchy and male liberation.  Just listen.  Some of it will make sense.  Some of it won’t.  Some of it will later when you’re a different person.  Some of it you’ll change your mind about throughout your life and the world will change too.  Some of it is bullshit.  Some of it is truth.  All of it is worth listening to.

And now you get to decide.  Are you a feminist?  Yes?  No?  Well, don’t worry because tomorrow you get to choose again.  And that keeps happening every day for the rest of your life.

As for me, I am a feminist (among so, so many other things).  I believe in equality and I think we still have work to do.  I’m thankful to the men and women who worked to give me the freedom and rights I have today and I am proud to be a part of a movement that I hope will make the world better and safer for my daughter (and for the men and women she’ll share that world with).  I’m happy we’ve come so far and I’m glad that we’re becoming more aware of feminist issues that don’t just focus on straight, white women, even though confronting those issues is sometimes painful. And I’m happy that the womenagainstfeminism tumblr exists.  Because even though I disagree with most of them I’m glad that those women have a platform on which to speak, and also because if we know what the arguments or misperceptions are against feminism then we can better address them.  Or agree with them.  Or ignore them.  Or discuss them with our sons and daughters so they can make informed decisions for themselves.  It’s up to you.

That pretty young woman’s video? The most important part of the description is that she’s young. I hope she grows up to be just like the Bloggess.

The dose makes the poison

Princeton physicist William Happer is still getting invited on television to say stupid things.

I keep hearing about the "pollutant CO2," or about "poisoning the atmosphere" with CO2, or about minimizing our "carbon footprint." This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving "pollutant" and "poison" of their original meaning….CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth.

Did you know oxygen, while not a poison at standard concentrations, is highly reactive and will kill you at high concentration? Or that CO2 is vital for plants and is measured to regulate your breathing, but too much and you’ll suffocate?

What makes a substance poisonous is how much of it there is. Paracelsus figured this out in the 16th century. So Princeton physicists are unaware of developments and explanations that predate even Newton? That’s kind of amazing.

Maybe CNBC and other networks ought to take a lesson from the BBC on ginned up controversies and false dichotomies, and cut this bozo Happer from their invitation list.

It’s not just creationists who mangle science, some atheists do, too

I was sent this terrible statement reputed to be from the guy who calls himself “The Amazing Atheist”. There is, however, no evidence that he actually said these specific words, so the attribution was inappropriate. However, somebody still wrote this idiotic statement:

Nature already has an age of consent. That age is approximately 12-13, otherwise known as the onset of puberty. We don’t need Christian morals to set an arbitrary age on when a sexually mature human female can mate legally. We already have clear parameters on sexually maturity as established by the law of evolution, and acting within those parameters does not under any reasonable definition constitute “rape”. Moreover, because this irrational moral imperialism is almostly solely applied against males who pursue relationships with younger females, I do believe the change of age-of-consent laws should be a critical area of focus for Men’s Rights Activists.

So much wrong.

Nature does not set an age of consent. Nature doesn’t care. Nature doesn’t stop you from raping babies, and it doesn’t tell you it’s OK to rape 21 year olds, either. The age of consent is a social construct, made by people, intended to protect our children from exploitation during those difficult years when they are transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

The law of evolution (tell me, which one?) does not set clear parameters for sexual maturity. Humans have complex, prolonged development — we’re an altricial species, helpless at birth and requiring a long period of nurturing before fully independent. Ovulation is not a magic signpost that says you’re ready to be impregnated. It says your ovaries have developed, but humans live by complex social interactions and sex can be a difficult phenomenon, with obligations and responsibilities and privileges. We expect people to be able to be able to interact with each other in non-damaging social ways before they leap to bumping genitals.

The only way evolution comes into play here is in a pragmatic, rather than a moral sense. For instance, if the author were to promote the idea that since babies are plump, tender, and helpless, Nature’s Law says that we’re free, even encouraged, to eat them, it would be easy to see that any population that thought that would be quickly on their way to self-enabled extinction. Similarly, evolution doesn’t say that you can’t rape young children…it will simply and objectively pass a kind of operational judgment on your population, as the next generation grows up with fucked up, likely unstable and untenable, social structures.

The legal age of consent is arbitrary. Some people might be able to enjoy sex in a mature fashion at an earlier age, others might be best off avoiding it for a few extra years. But we don’t have a way to measure sexual maturity, so as social and legal animals, we abide by one arbitrary dividing line. But picking the moment of first menstruation is also arbitrary — it says nothing about human behavior, or the ability to be responsible for one’s actions, or readiness to cope with the burdens of a possible pregnancy.

Somehow, even worse, the author seems to think that the ability to get pregnant nullifies the concept of rape. That doesn’t follow. If a person has poor judgment because they are too immature to consider all of the consequences, that does not mean you’re allowed to freely have sex with them, as long as they say “yes” to a bowl of candy. We do not use the legal age of consent to dismiss the idea of rape — we don’t say, “she’s over 21, we can rape her now” (well, some people do, but they’re wrong.)

I’ll also condemn with equal severity older women who take advantage of boys. I know, the attitudes in our culture do trivialize sexual assault on boys and men, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss them. Maybe that would be a good goal for MRAs, to work to defend the sexual autonomy of young men and boys.

But that would be a rational and responsible approach. That last line is revealing: rather than a responsible goal, go for personal sexual gratification. Yeah, sure, encourage MRAs to embrace pedophilia. We’ll see how effectively cultural evolution can work.