BREAKING: Smiley Pope almost drags church into 20th century.

BREAKING:The Washington Post

Pope Francis calls for civil union laws for same-sex couples

The pontiff’s remarks came in a new documentary and were quoted by the Catholic News Agency. They represent his clearest stance to date on a contentious issue inside the Roman Catholic Church.

Read more [at WaPo]

Before we get too excited, civil unions are not the same as marriage. And I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone reading here that “separate but equal” is a demonstrably terrible policy.

Still, the Catholic Church’s support of same-sex couples in committed relationships is a big deal, even if it’s only one tiny step. Whether we like it or not (NOT), the church holds tremendous political and social power, and this is especially true in Central and South America. This tiny step toward acceptance has the potential to influence entire societies steeped in Catholic bigotry, and can positively impact the lives of countless non-heterosexual people.

No word from the pontiff on whether women might be considered three-fifths human anytime soon.

Conservatives caught on video owning their $#!+.

Here’s something we hardly ever get to see: powerful conservatives owning the fact that they are terrible people. And I am 100% here for it.

Conservatives, especially elite conservatives, normally hide or deny their racism, lawbreaking, lying, hatred for democracy and… hmm, how should I put this?… Moral flexibility.

But I received this “Breaking News” email alert from WaPo:

Videos show closed-door sessions of top conservative activists: ‘Be not afraid of the accusations that you’re a voter suppressor’

Footage obtained by The Post, covering dozens of hours of Council for National Policy meetings in February and August, offers an inside view of activists’ obsessions, fears and plans at a pivotal moment in the conservative movement.

I clicked through to read the full article. And voter suppression? JFC that isn’t even the half of it. In fact, if I were writing that email blurb, “voter suppression” might not even make it in (although “open hatred for democracy” might). But that’s probably only because I am interested in things like truth and calling things exactly what they are. Unlike, say, editors at The Washington Post.

Investigative journalist Robert O’Harrow Jr. wrote the piece after viewing dozens of hours of video obtained by The Post from two secretive conferences put on this year by some Very Big Willies in the conservative movement. This Council for National Policy (CNP) sounds sort of like CPAC, only much more exclusive. You know, without all the riff-raff. Let’s dive right in and have a look, shall we? C’mon, it’ll be fun.

[Read more…]

Indigenous Peoples Day 2020.

On Friday, the preferred president of assholes everywhere issued a shitty proclamation declaring that today’s federal holiday is exclusively a celebration of Italian-American contributions to our nation and the exploits of a particular 15th century Italian explorer, said exploits necessarily encompassing the ensuing brutal colonization and genocide of Indigenous people in the Americas. This proclamation is much, much worse than I even imagined. (And I write this as a person with significant Italian-American heritage.) If you choose to read on, you will first want to ensure that your irony meter is in excellent working order and – this is the important part – still under warranty.

For one thing, consider what Pres. Alpha Asshole and his Merry Minions of Masklessness would be saying and doing about Italian immigration a hundred years ago. You know: before Italians suddenly and miraculously became white. I’m pretty sure my grandmother, who happened to be exceptionally dark-skinned even for southern Italy, would have been locked up in a cage along with her sister and all the other Italian immigrant children.

Of course those among us who think we should instead recognize and reckon with the truth of our nation’s history are deemed “radical activists” and “extremists” who “seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy” and instead promote a “radical ideology” and “revisionist history” just to “spread hate and division.”

Let us pause for a moment here so that you can recalibrate your irony meter and/or attempt to extinguish the flames emanating therefrom.

Okay now? Good. The preceding was merely setting the stage for what I really want to talk about on this Indigenous Peoples Day. If you guessed that is “Indigenous people,” you win all the internetz! 🏆⭐️🏅

[Read more…]

What’s up, doc? The ills of race-based medicine.

I know you’ll all be mightily impressed to learn that I read The Lancet [although I hardly understand any of it]. I even have a subscription – actually several subscriptions: to The Lancet, The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology and The Lancet Oncology [I have “email subscriptions” to these journals, which are free and contain lots of links to paywalled content I can’t afford to read and probably wouldn’t understand anyway]. Despite being imprisoned by the Evil Elsevier Empire, there is actually plenty of open access Lancet content available to anyone with a web browser [and delusions of scientific literacy in multiple areas of cutting-edge medical research]. Some of that content is accessible in every sense of the word, and so outstanding that you might consider becoming a regular reader of The Lancet yourself. Exhibit A comes from the current issue: a “Viewpoint” titled From race-based to race-conscious medicine: how anti-racist uprisings call us to act.*

While I would encourage you to go read the whole thing [perhaps with another browser tab open to a medical dictionary?], I just want to highlight a few…uh…highlights.

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Erasure: Women in STEM and Your Liberal Media.

One of these things is not like the other:

Two news feed headlines. 1- New York Times: "Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded to 2 Scientists for Work on Genome Editing" and 2- Washington Post: "Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded to two women who developed CRISPR, the revolutionary gene-editing tool"The difference is equally apparent in the summary blurbs from NYT and WaPo:

From this morning’s New York Times email briefing:

Two scientists, one from France and one from the U.S., were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They discovered a tool that allows researchers to change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with high precision.

From The Washington Post breaking news alert:

University of California at Berkeley biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, a French scientist, were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for their work developing CRISPR, which is contributing to new cancer therapies and helping to cure inherited diseases.

Listen up, motherfucking New York Times. Feminism does not mean erasing gender. Just like equality in the broader sense does not mean erasing human diversity. Erasure is not a neutral act in a world where women are systematically denied opportunities to advance their careers, particularly in STEM, and face institutional bias (and worse) as they try.

It would be different if people of all genders enjoyed full equality across the board. But until that happy day comes when women (and minorities!) in roles and professions historically and visibly dominated by (white! cis! able-bodied! het!) men are equally commonplace and visible, their representation in these contexts is vitally important for everyone to see.

And yes, for those keeping score at home, this is reason number 6,858,945 I hate The New York Times. But not to worry! I ain’t goin’ soft on ya! I still hate The Washington Post, too! Both of them get it right a lot of the time, which only makes this all the more infuriating because it proves they are perfectly capable of doing so. And getting it right sometimes hardly exonerates them for all the times they get it very, very wrong.

YOU’RE WELCOME, PEOPLE.

As infinitesimal fractions of millions of fans of my debut short film Boss Bitch Fight Challenge II – The Reckoning will recall, your favorite squirrel hater explicitly promised she would neutralize certain bitchez, by way of poison.

Iris holding a tray of four drinks and a bottle marked with a skull & crossbones, pictured outside the White House with Trump, Pence, Ivanka and Jared Kushner. Bold block lettering says "Iris Vander Pluym Will Poison These Bitchez."Still photo from
Boss Bitch Fight Challenge II – The Reckoning
(courtesy of Death to Squirrels™ Productions)

Poisoning of course is a very ancient dark art, its practice dating at least as far back as 4,500 BCE. The variety of suitable substances and delivery methods has continued to expand and evolve to this very day.

One day I got to thinking, and a plan quickly crystallized in my mind. While shooting the film, I found myself incognito at a party on the White House lawn, costumed to blend in perfectly with the catering staff.

I saw my chance. And I took it.

[Read more…]

NYPD Beat, Arrest Peaceful Protesters in Planned Assault.

[CONTENT NOTE: police violence against peaceful protesters, lying police liars who lie.]

A new report from Human Rights Watch documents the NYPD’s brutal assaults against peaceful George Floyd protesters at a June 4 rally in the Bronx (via New York Daily News):

NYPD trapped over 300 George Floyd protesters in the Bronx and waited until after curfew to ‘assault and arrest’ them: report

The NYPD trapped over 300 protesters in the Bronx marching for George Floyd and waited until the 8 p.m. citywide curfew to arrest them for breaking the law, a human rights group wrote in a scathing report released Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch said Bronx cops surrounded protesters on June 4 in a tactic known as kettling, refused to let them disperse, then began “whaling their batons, beating people from car tops, shoving them down to the ground and firing pepper spray in their faces” as soon as the curfew hit.

The 8 p.m. shutdown was imposed a few days earlier to stem widespread looting amid marches against the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody.

“As protesters cried out — some with blood dripping down their faces — the police began to arrest them. They forced people to sit on the street with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, at times so tight that their hands went numb,” said Human Rights Watch in their report.

[Human Rights Watch] said they questioned 81 protesters and reviewed 81 videos and police scanner calls for the report. They also released a 12-minute video filled with diagrams of the Mott Haven clash, interviews with witnesses and protesters, and cellphone videos taken at the scene.

Here is video from Human Rights Watch detailing the sequence of events on June 4.

CONTENT NOTE (from the filmmakers):

“This video contains violent and disturbing images and profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.”

[Read more…]

Trump only paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017 – UPDATED.

Via New York Daily News:

Bombshell report shows Trump’s years of tax avoidance

President Trump paid just $750 in taxes in 2016 and the same sum in 2017, according to a bombshell New York Times report published Sunday.

He paid a big fat zero in income tax in 10 of the 15 previous years, the publication found.

Seems legit.

UPDATE.

From today’s New York Times email briefing:

[Read more…]

Nobody loves me, I’m gonna eat some worms. 👿

I am auctioning off an interview at Death to Squirrels. Bidding starts at ONE DOLLAR, closes in less than three hours (6pm EDT), and nobody wants to talk to me! *sniff* Waaaaah!

You can bid either in the auction thread comments or via email if you prefer: send your bid to irisvpluym [at] gmail [dot] com, with “Iris Interview” in the subject line, and I will post a corresponding comment on the thread that reads “Anonymous bid for $____” along with the timestamp on your email. You know: in case there’s a last minute bidding war! 😂

C’mon, I promise you have nothing to fear from talking to me. Unless you’re a squirrel.