‘We’re doing it live!’ Tenth Anniversary of Freethought Blogs YouTube broadcast (Non-fiction)

Join the members of Freethought Blogs, including me, as we reflect on the 10th anniversary of the network.  From its beginnings as a general atheist blog to its current reputation as the home for socially conscious bloggers. It’s been through the Deep Rift, the Trump Administration, and many personnel changes.  It’s had quite a history.  The one thing that has stayed consistent, in my opinion, are the bloggers’ desire to work for change, both in terms of speaking out for atheists, and advocating for a just world.  Because there is no invisible hand bending the arc of justice.  Humans have to work to bend it.

It will be live at 16:00 Central Time.  Come join us and feel free to ask your (reasonable) questions, or add a comment.

Bolingbrook Antifa repels invasion by the Edgar County Irregular Militia (Fiction)

The first day of early voting in Bolingbrook started with Antifa repelling the Edgar County Irregular Militia’s attempt to “secure” the Fountaindale Library.

An alleged photo of Bolingbrook Antifa’s tank

“It was a war zone!” said Patricia, who lives in the Beaconridge subdivision.  “All the drones, bear mace, milkshake mix and paint was too much!  I know Bolingbrook is the best place to live, but why are armed (expletive deleted) from Edgar County so obsessed with us?”

Joyce, a New Lenox resident who asked that we not use her last name, spotted the militia convoy while on a walk:

“They were all riding in black pickup trucks.  Most of the trucks were flying Trump and US Flags.  Everyone one of them was armed and none of them knew a thing about gun safety.  I’m surprised they didn’t shoot each other.  When the convoy stopped, they told me to take off my mask and ‘resign.’  Whatever.  One guy was nice and told me to stay away from the Fountaindale Library.  What really scared me was the artillery the rear trucks were towing. So I warned my friends in Bolingbrook Antifa that they were coming.”

According to sources embedded within Bolingbrook Antifa, Antifa launched scout drones to observe the approaching convoy.  The militia responded by shooting down several of them.  

Pete, a Bolingbrook resident, claims that militia scouts accosted him while he was walking with his wife  towards the library:

“These strange men were wearing Hawaiian shirts and bulletproof vests.  They walked up to us and tried to convince us that residents of DuPage Township weren’t allowed to vote early.  I tried to ignore them, but they said they were doing me a favor.  They said if we didn’t go home, the Edgar Calvary would arrive to perform a mass citizens’ arrest.  I asked them what gave them the right to arrest Bolingbrook voters.  They said the Illinois Code gives Edgar County Residents the right to pass judgment on the rest of the state.  That explains a lot of things.”

According to Pete, and other eyewitnesses, the scouts stopped harassing voters when an apparent group of protesters marched towards them.  From the distance, they carried the following two banners:  “Pineapple Pizza Forever!” and “Ketchup and Hot Dogs go together!”

“Stand your ground!”  Yelled one militia member as he raised his rifle.

“You can’t shoot protesters!” protested Pete.

“Why not,” asked the militia member.  “I feel threatened, so I can shoot anyone I want, and true patriots will give millions of dollars to our lawyers.  Then we can make a living collecting speaker fees from conservative think tanks.  Why wouldn’t I shoot protesters?”

The militia members opened fire on the protesters, which turned out to be mannequins mounted on robot vacuums.  As the militia members examined the remains of the mannequins, Antifa members, hiding behind trees, tossed milkshake mix grenades at them.  The militia members retreated.  

According to Pete: “They said their shirts were ruined and we laughed at them.  They did look silly after all.  Anyway, they ran away, and said we were going to be sorry.”

When the main convoy drove into Bolingbrook from South Bolingbrook Drive, Antifa used their robot vacuums to drag spike strips onto the road.  The spikes took out several of the trucks.  The leaders decided to set up a “beachhead” in the Bolingbrook Commons parking lot.  

As the militia started to set up their artillery, milkshake mortar shells rained down on their base.

“Do not resign!” yelled a militia leader, according to eyewitnesses.

Ken, a Romeoville resident who asked that we not use his last name, said:  “I felt like I was back in Iraq, only the insurgents were fighting with dairy products instead of IEDs.  I guess if we have to descend into civil war, I’d rather deal with dairy stains than bombs.”

According to radio and internet messages intercepted by reporters and other experts, the militia planned on firing “COVID” shells at the library.  From the chatter, the shells would explode over the library and rain droplets filled with the COVID-19 virus.  It is not clear whether the shells really contained the virus.  Some of the militia members seemed to believe that their COVID attack would drive away “libs” while Republicans would stay in line to vote.

Then, according to eyewitnesses and sources close to Bolingbrook Antifa, the steering committee asked for air support.  Antifa members replied that the planes were stuck on the runway at Clow Airport due to the lack of a flight plan.

Steve, a Bolingbrook resident, claims he overheard the steering committee meeting while going for a walk:

“On the other side of the fence, they were arguing how they were going to get the planes off the ground.  One of them spoke up and said it was time for a leadership moment -Whatever that means.  Any way, he must have called Clow Airport because he demanded to speak with the traffic control manager.  Then he did the best impersonation of (Former Mayor Roger Claar) that I ever heard.  It was like: ‘You know who I am?  Good!  Get my planes off the ground now, I  may not be the mayor, but my campaign fund is bigger than yours, and I know how to use it!  No, you should’ve had them off the ground five minutes ago!’  I hope Roger doesn’t find him, because I know he hates it when people impersonate him.”

Seconds later, private airplanes dropped cluster paint bombs on the militias, ruining their uniforms, guns, trucks, and equipment.

“Remind me to never play paintball with Bolingbrook Antifa.”

Witnesses heard the militia members complain about being unable to access the Edgar County Watchdog’s web page. 

“Fall back!” yelled one of the leaders.

“But we swore not to resign!”  said a member.

“We’re not resigning.  We’re reassigning!  Big difference!”

Under attack, the militia retreated south.  As they left, some witnesses said they saw DuPage Township Trustee Alyssia Benford run after them.  According to the witnesses, she yelled: “You can’t leave!  Kirk said you were going to liberate the township.  Don’t leave me!”

Bolingbrook Antifa released a statement following the clash with the Edgar County Irregular Militia:

“To paraphrase Roger, there are residents and there are foes.  Today, we defeated the fascist foes of democracy in Bolingbrook.  We will resist any fascist attempt to intimidate or harm the residents of Bolingbrook.  But we can’t do it alone.  We need every resident to vote in this election.  We’ll punch the downstate fascists for you.  You just need to vote against fascism in this election.  Together, we’ll keep Bolingbrook the most awesome community in Illinois!”

A spokesperson for the Edgar County Irregular Militia referred all questions to the Edgar County Watchdogs and added: “We will not resign until Trump is named the rightful President of the United States, and DuPage Township is dissolved!”

A person who claimed to be a member of the Edgar County Watchdogs denied any ties to the militia:

“You don’t like us, and since we’re friends with Alyssia, you must not like her too.  Since you don’t like her, that makes you a racist!  You must resign.”

Also in the Babbler:

State Representative Tom Morrison accused of spraying pheromones at voters
Here we go again: Covid Restrictions return to Bolingbrook
Aliens deliver humanitarian aid to Clow UFO Base’s ‘Doomsday Crew’
God to smite Bolingbrook on 10/24/20

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Carnival time! (Non-fiction)

Tomorrow is the start of the THE FREETHOUGHTBLOGS CARNIVAL OF CURIOSITY.   I’ll be on the panel of bloggers tomorrow. Saturday I’ll do a live reading from my upcoming novel, and participate in an evening quiz show. Then Sunday, I’ll be playing Babbler columnist Dale Onofrey as he presents his inexpert opinion on the panel of inexperts!

Check the link for the schedule and auctions. Including my auction item.

Do not forget that the purpose of this glorious weekend of fun and frolic is to entice you to make donations to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe!

(Link) Ed Yong’s ‘How the Pandemic Defeated America’ (Non-fiction)

Ed Yong’s excellent article in the Atlantic, “How the Pandemic Defeated America,” is a devastatingly honest account of why the United States has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world:

Despite its epochal effects, COVID‑19 is merely a harbinger of worse plagues to come. The U.S. cannot prepare for these inevitable crises if it returns to normal, as many of its people ache to do. Normal led to this. Normal was a world ever more prone to a pandemic but ever less ready for one. To avert another catastrophe, the U.S. needs to grapple with all the ways normal failed us. It needs a full accounting of every recent misstep and foundational sin, every unattended weakness and unheeded warning, every festering wound and reopened scar.

Yong details how the combination of an inept President, an inadequate health care system, decades of racist policies, and early reopenings as reasons for the widespread outbreak in the US.  Even Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Deborah Brix admits that the virus is “extraordinarily widespread,” even into the rural and urban areas.

Eventually, COVID-19 will be manageable either through treatments or vaccines.  We will be able to get close to one another, go out to places, and travel again.  But as Yong shows in his article, it will take a very long time for the country to recover from the economic and social problems exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic.

Video: Stephanie Goldfarb on “At the Intersection of Queer & Jewish: Why It’s Tough Out Here for Some of Us.” (Non-fiction)

Last month, Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation held its annual Pride Shabbat service.  This year, Stephanie Goldfarb was the guest speaker.  She is both a Jewish educator and an LGBTQ activist, as well as the winner of Food Network’s “America’s Best Cook” in 2014.  Her talk was titled: “At the Intersection of Queer & Jewish: Why It’s Tough Out Here for Some of Us.”  She also mentions the removal of rainbow Star of David Flags at the 2017 Chicago Dyke March and how the experience affected her as both an organizer of the march, and as a member of the Jewish community.

Note:  I serve on the Kol Hadash Steering Committee.

Dr. Jennifer McCreight on Gender Identity (Non-Fiction)

Dr. Jennifer McCreight, a Genomics Ph.D. who used to run Blag Hag on this network, recently created a PDF providing a basic overview of the science behind sex and gender.  As she tweeted:

As someone still learning about these issues, I thought it was a good overview.

 

#Arsonemergency? (Non-fiction)

Some Climate Change change deniers aren’t content to ignore the Australian brush fires.   Instead, they are using Twitter to spread the lie that environmental activists are behind the fires. The Guardian has an article about the so-called #arsonemgerency.

Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer Timothy Graham, an expert in social media analysis, took a sample of tweets from the hashtag and analyzed them for characteristics typically associated with bots and trolls. His findings suggested a clear “disinformation campaign”.

“Australia suddenly appears to be getting swamped by mis/disinformation as a result of this environmental catastrophe, and we are suffering the consequences in terms of hyped up polarisation and an increased difficulty and inability for citizens to discern truth,” Graham told the Guardian.

The article goes to say that dry lightning, not arson, that is mainly driving these fires. Even if arsonists were involved, the changing climate is extending the fire season and reducing the time to safely conduct controlled burns.

We could have tackled climate change years ago, but distractions like #arsonemergency is one of the reasons we haven’t. We are starting to pay the price for that.

Editorial Board: Time for School District D211 to move forward on transgender locker room access (Mixed)

Four years ago, Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 stopped banning transgender students from locker rooms but required them to change in privacy stalls.  Now the district is considering allowing access to the locker rooms of their gender identity without requiring them to use a privacy stall. 

If enacted, it will be a welcome and long-overdue change.  Requiring trans students to change in stalls, while leaving it optional for everyone else, is dehumanizing segregation.  Attempted suicide rates among trans youth are already too high.  Trans people are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetrators. The Trump administration is trying to roll back protections for transgender people.  D211 does not need to contribute to this effort.

We have heard the arguments against open access to trans people, and find them unimpressive.  To be frank, they read more like someone took old homophobic arguments and replaced the word “gay” with “trans.”  While we understand the Slippery Slope Fallacy, we do believe that the “privacy” arguments being used against trans students could easily be used against other members of the LBGTQ+ community.

The D211 Board says it needs more time to consider this policy.  We offer this suggestion:  Other school districts have implemented this policy without incident, D211 should do the same. Cisgender people have nothing to fear from trans folk in locker rooms or restrooms. However, when trans folk are forced to use the facilities of their biological gender which are a mismatch to their outer appearance and inner selves, they are at risk for violence from cis-gendered folk .

Note:  This is a work of fiction. Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group.

From the Webmaster: Bolingbrook United’s writeup of Mayor Claar’s campaign fund (Mixed)

This week Bolingbrook United, Bolingbrook’s official opposition party, posted the first of a three part series about Mayor Roger Claar’s campaign fund.

Mr. Claar’s ability to raise money also dwarfs that of other mayors. In 2018 alone, Mayor Claar received more donations per-capita than Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Mayor Lightfoot raised $2.76 per capita while Mayor Claar raised $3.69 per capita. In fact, as evidenced by the breakdown below, no other local mayor comes close to Mayor Claar’s per capita amount raised.

 

The numbers are correct. It should be noted that his campaign fund has had close to $500,000 in the past. Part two will deal with how he spends the money. I won’t spoil it, bu I will say I always get laugh at how the expenses each quarter are rationalized as campaign expenses.

 

This is all legal under Illinois campaign laws, and he’s not the only offender. Claar has spent most of his political career teaching a masterclass on how to bend campaign finance rules. The rules really should be changed.

 

It is interesting that BU decided to run this as a classified ad in Bolingbrook Patch. Our classified ad manager was willing to waive the 100 word limit, but our quote exceeded their campaign fund.

 

Note:  This is a work of fiction. Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group.