Sexual Misconduct is a Bipartisan Problem

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken

CN: Sexual Assault/Harassment/Misconduct

Despite our currently polarized nation, recent news has taught us that the Left and the Right have one thing in common: neither is immune to sexual misconduct. On the Right, there’s Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore who, despite his facade of being a pure and holy fundamentalist Christian, has been accused by several women of being sexually aggressive towards them when he was in his 30s and they were just teenagers. As a proud member of the Secular Left, it’s easy for me to laugh at the hypocrisy of Moore’s holier-than-thou attitude and the number of Republicans who would still vote for him simply because he’s not a pro-choice Democrat. It’s easy to make fun of Moore’s attorney Trenton Garmon’s disastrous interview on MSNBC, along with the fact that he looks like Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when he reveals he’s a cartoon. Yet even a hardcore liberal like me has to face the fact that even the Left is not immune to sexual misconduct.

Last week radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden revealed that Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped her without her consent during a 2006 USO Tour. Franken has since publicly apologized, and Tweeden forgave him. Besides issuing a public apology, he also called for an ethics investigation of his past behavior to hold himself accountable. In the days following, many on the Left are debating whether or not Franken should resign. Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic says yes, while New York Daily News’ Jonathan Zimmerman argues that, while Franken was wrong, he’s not a predator like Moore. My friend Sydney offered a similar argument on my Facebook wall the other day, but now she’s having second guesses with the news that another woman is claiming Franken groped her.

Yesterday morning, CNN broke the news that Franken allegedly grabbed Lindsay Menz’s butt during a photo op in 2010 at the Minnesota State Fair. The senator claims he doesn’t remember the event taking place since he’s taken pictures with so many people, but added, “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.” Things aren’t looking well for Franken, but he’s not the first Democrat to face sexual misconduct allegations.

For starters, this past September former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner received a 21 month federal prison sentenced for sexting with a 15 year old girl. Likewise, Newsweek recently listed several politicians who are currently facing sexual misconduct allegations, including Democrats Stephen Bittel of Florida, Sen. Dan Schoen, and Tony Mendoza and Raul Bocanegra of California. And then there’s former US President Bill Clinton, who has been accused by four women of sexual harassment and/or assault. This isn’t, of course, meant to downplay the accusations against Moore and President Trump, but only to say that when it comes to sexual misconduct, no political party is innocent.

As of now, it’s still too early to know if these accusations will have any effect on either Franken’s political career or the 2018 election. One thing is for sure, though, and that’s sexism respects no political affiliation. Despite what many Red Pillers say, these allegations show that patriarchy still flows through America’s veins, and that women are still seen as sex objects to men. Only by addressing this problem can we make real achievement.

Bi Any Means Podcast #123: Inter-tradition Dialogue with Alex Moreschi

My guest for today is Rev. Alex Moreschi. He’s an ordained Episcopalian minister who currently works in hospice care, and is a co-host of the No Religion Required podcast. One of his biggest passions is reaching across the proverbial aisle to people of different faiths…and no faith at all…to work together for common goals, and today we’re going to talk about that.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #36: It’s Mueller Time!

Today we talk about the indictments against Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, and George Papadopoulos. We read through the indictments in all their glorious detail, and talk about whether or not this is the beginning of the end of Trump. We also take a look at the upcoming 2018 election and whether or not it’ll restore some sanity to this existential crisis we’re all living in.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #122: The Satanic Temple with Lucien Greaves

My guest for today is Lucien Greaves of the Satanic Temple. Founded in 2013, the Satanic Temple’s mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.” They run several campaigns including the Satanic Temple Veterans Memorial, the After School Satan Club, and the Protect Children Project among others. So today I’ll be chatting with Lucien about everything they do.

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This Week’s Splice Today Articles

Because I need the money, I’m gonna try writing for Splice Today twice a week. Here are this week’s articles:

“All I Can Control Is Myself.” In this one, I use Sartre’s “No Exit” as a springboard to talk about how I deal with assholes.

“The Troubling Rise of the LGBTQ Right.” This one goes over the sudden rise of right-winged LGBTQ people in the wake of the election.

Enjoy!

And, of course, you can support me financially by becoming a Patreon supporter of my podcasts.

The Biskeptical Podcast #35: #MeToo and President Pence

CN: Sexual harassment and assault

For the first part of today’s episode, we talk about Harvey Weinstein, the hashtags #MeToo and #IHave, and rape culture. It’s a pretty heavy and uncomfortable conversation about sexual assault and harassment just to warn you all, but a much needed conversation none-the-less. In the second half, we talk about the recent New Yorker article about Mike Pence, and why maybe having him as president might be worse than Trump.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #119: Latinx Secular Politics with Juhem Navarro-Rivera

My guest for today is Dr. Juhem Navarro-Rivera. According to his official bio, “Dr. Juhem Navarro-Rivera is a political scientist with expertise in Latinx political behavior and in secularism and politics. He writes about the intersection of secularism, race, and politics in his blog The LatiNone and cohosts The Benito Juárez Experience, a podcast on politics, society, and culture from a secular Latinx perspective. He is author or coauthor of many articles on secularism, politics and race in the United States. He works as managing partner and political director at SocioAnalítica Research. Dr. Navarro-Rivera earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.” And today we’re going to find out more about him and what he does.

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Taxi Driver and the Culture of Violence — My Latest Splice Today Article

One of my favorite movies is Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Released in 1976, the portrayal of madness, loneliness, urban decay, and violence still holds up. This is especially true in light of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. While everyone on social media is talking about gun control laws—which is important—the one key factor that everyone’s overlooking is how this recent shooting is part of a larger culture of violence in America; a culture that Taxi Driver portrays brilliantly.

The film stars Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle, a 26-year-old Vietnam vet who gets a job as a cabbie because of his insomnia. Everyday he’s disgusted by “the filth” he sees every night: pimps, gangs, hookers, and drug dealers. Bickle develops an obsessive crush on a woman named Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), who works for presidential candidate Charles Palantine. Their first date at a coffee shop goes well, but the second one fails horribly when Bickle takes her to a porno theater. She soon cuts off all contact with him, which hastens his decent into madness.

Bickle soon becomes obsessed with a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster). He tries to convince her to go back home to her parents, but she refuses. This only adds to Bickle’s obsession with “washing away” the filth in the city. He buys a round of guns via the black market, kills a man trying to hold up a corner store, and then decides to go bigger. First he tries to assassinate Palentine, but a Secret Service man chases him away before Bickle can pull out his gun. Then, in a graphically violent shootout, he kills Iris’ pimp Sport (Harvey Keitel), a brothel owner, and Iris’ john. The scene ends in an overhead shoot where the camera picks up all the carnage: Iris crying hysterically in a corner, Bickle covered in blood on a couch, the brothel owner’s brains splattered on the wall, the john lying in a pool of blood, and Sport’s corpse.

Ironically, Bickle suddenly becomes a hero. He saved a child from prostitution, and both Iris’ parents and the media praise him. Once Bickle recovers and is back driving a taxi, Betsy gets into his cab with a new respect for him. After he drops her off at her place, he drives off, but not without one last chilling look in the rearview mirror. This, according, to screenwriter Paul Schrader’s DVD commentary, means Bickle will do it again, but this time he won’t be a hero.

Click here to read the rest.

The Biskeptical Podcast #34: #TakeAKnee U Bum!

On today’s show, we talk about the controversy surrounding #TakeAKnee. We talk about Trump being his usual dickish self, all the racist backlash, surprise allies, and why the hell Steven Seagal is chiming in. We also take a look at news stories from the past two weeks, including Russian hacks, private email servers, psychic vampires, and why Trump’s ignoring Puerto Rico.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #33: Everything is Terrible

Today’s episode is a round-up of current news stories, including the DACA repeal, transphobic parents, Hurricane Irma, and Ted Cruz’s…special tastes. We also explain why playing piano in a public park is pathetic, why white Christians are getting angry, why the recent DOJ decision is just business as usual, and why it’s not a good idea to threaten Hillary Clinton when you’re already convicted for fraud.

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