Ahh, the distinct scent of Squirrel Person scalp.

noDWS

DEATH TO SQUIRRELS EXCLUSIVE!
unretouched congressional portrait of
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Well, well, well. If it isn’t the notorious Debbie Wasserman Squirrel, chair of the DNC, finally resigning under pressure from every angle on the eve of the party’s nominating convention.

Readers of this blog will no doubt recall her breathtaking incompetence, as well as her habit of standing with Republicans on their despicable votes on issues as diverse as the Drug War, the TPP/TTIP trade deals, private prisons and payday lenders. She has long been under heavy fire from multiple DNC Vice chairs, rank and file Democrats, the Sanders campaign and high-profile progressive groups and pundits, who accused her of deliberately orchestrating Democratic primaries to favor Clinton over Sanders and then lying about it. None of that got her fired of course, even though all of it is true. If anything, it could only have helped boost her position among her fellow conservative Democrats Squirrel People, who have long held the power center of the Democratic Party.

But then some Russian hackers got hold of the DNC’s email, and Wikileaks published them. Among the more damaging disclosures was her team trash-talking big donors. You see, if there was one thing Debbie Wasserman Schultz was exceptionally good at, it was fundraising. And, well, I’m sure you can see why that would turn out to be her Achilles heel.

Naturally, she proved as hard to get rid of as a squirrel infestation.

Two reliable sources say Wasserman Schultz was trying to make top aides take the fall, rather than take personal responsibility. Until the end, she struggled to understand what a lightning rod she’s become.

“There was a lot of drama,” a Democratic member of Congress involved in the discussions leading up to her resignation [said]. “She made this as painful as she could. She did not want to go… She wasn’t going to resign until the president called her. She put a lot of people through hell.”

Even the Clinton camp pressured her to resign, which, you know, holy shit. It finally took a phone call from President Obama—who originally installed her as head of the DNC in the first place—to get her to see that her run as DNC chair was finished.

In a statement, Obama said he was “grateful” for Wasserman Schultz’s service. “Her fundraising and organizing skills were matched only by her passion, her commitment and her warmth,” the president said.

Democratic strategist and Clinton ally Donna Brazile will be taking over as the interim chair.

Brazile, a vice chair of the convention, also was caught up in the leak. Asked for comment in an email from a Washington Post reporter about negotiations between the Sanders campaign and the DNC about the composition of the party’s convention committees, Brazile forwarded the reporter’s request to DNC officials.

“I have no intentions of touching this,” she said. “Why? Because I will cuss out the Sanders camp!”

Meanwhile, the Democrats mentioned as permanent replacements are:

former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, [Squirrel Person and former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] Rep. Steve Israel of New York and EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock. All are loyal supporters and trusted allies of Clinton.

So not to worry. It’s all good now.

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UPDATE:

Usually conservatives aren’t very good at this, but I have to admit this is a fine specimen of mockery:

CoORUu4VYAAgZnf.jpg_large

Hahaha. Awesome.

Erasure and Victorian women.

I first started giving more thought to the phenomenon of erasure in 2013, after hearing talks from Susan Jacoby and Jennifer Michael Hecht at CFI’s Women in Secularism 2 conference (yes, that one). Both presentations touched on the stories and accomplishments of women being written out of narratives in favor of men’s, a well-documented and observable manifestation of male privilege. A woman’s erasure turns out to be even more likely when she is a nonbeliever or otherwise unorthodox (Christian/conservative privilege); similarly, atheist men also tend to be erased from historical narratives in favor of believers (same).

Erasure of racial, sexual and other minorities should be too obvious to need mentioning, but I will mention a few off of the top of my head*:

As with all modes of privilege, for those with intersectional identities the likelihood of erasure is compounded. And as with all modes of privilege, erasure is self-perpetuating.

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Thoughts on Paul Jay interview with Henry Giroux.

Paul Jay of The Real News had an interesting discussion (in two parts) with author and scholar Henry Giroux about a potential Trump presidency and its implications for democracy. In normal times, I would find Giroux laughably hyperbolic when he says, for instance, that under a Trump presidency the world is in serious danger of nuclear war, or that political dissent would be criminalized.

These are not normal times.

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Petition to the president to protect over 100,000 Native American sites.

Via a CREDO* Action email this morning:

save-bears-ears-180

Nearly 1.9 million acres of unprotected, culturally important Native American land in Utah known as Bears Ears have been looted and vandalized for years. Artifacts have been desecrated and stolen – and human remains have even been disturbed.1

While the area is owned by the federal government, only two law enforcement officers patrol this vast swath of land.2

President Obama can easily protect these vulnerable sites by designating Bears Ears a national monument, which would provide the government the resources it needs to protect this land. With more than 100,000 Native American cultural sites at Bears Ears, the Obama Administration must take immediate action to protect Bears Ears before even more damage is done.

Tell President Obama: Designate Bears Ears a national monument.

The movement to protect Bears Ears has overwhelming support. 71% of Utah residents support the creation of a national monument,3 and more than 700 archaeologists4 and a coalition of tribes, including the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, and Uintah & Ouray Ute, have called on the president to designate the land at Bears Ears a monument.5

However, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and other anti-conservation, right-wing extremists in Congress are using Bears Ears as their latest example of so-called “federal overreach” of public lands by the Obama Administration.6 This is the same reasoning Cliven Bundy and his extreme, gun-toting supporters have recently used to justify their armed clashes with federal authorities, and threats of an “armed insurrection” over Bears Ears have been reported.7

In the face of the destruction of sacred Native American sites and the desecration of ancient human remains, it’s unconscionable that right-wing extremists want to play politics instead of protecting such an important place.

Before any more Native American sites are destroyed at Bears Ears, the Obama Administration must act to permanently protect this sacred land from further looting and vandalism.

Tell President Obama: Designate Bears Ears a national monument.

Thanks for all you do.

References

  1. Jenny Rowland, “Bears Ears Cultural Area: The Most Vulnerable U.S. Site for Looting, Vandalism, and Grave Robbing,” Center for American Progress, June 13, 2016
  2. Bears Ears deserves national monument designation,” Washington Post, June 8, 2016
  3. Brian Maffly, “New survey finds 71 percent support Bears Ears monument in Utah,” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 2016
  4. Ginger Perales, Hundreds of Archaeologists Sign on to Protect Bears Ears,” New Historian, June 20, 2016
  5. Anne Minard, “Tribes Ask President Obama to Designate Bears Ears as National Monument,” Indian Country Today, October 15, 2015
  6. Orrin Hatch, “Hatch: A Bears Ears monument would be federal overreach,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 12, 2016
  7. Judith Eilperin, “A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed confrontation to save it?,” Washington Post, June 5, 2016

The petition to President Obama reads:

“The nearly 1.9 million acres at Bears Ears contain over 100,000 culturally important Native American sites but are mostly unprotected and have been subject to repeated vandalism and looting. Designate Bears Ears a national monument to protect this land for good.”

I am not normally optimistic about clicktivism accomplishing much of anything, but on rare occasions it does so. And in any event it certainly cannot hurt. Please sign and share the petition.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

__________

*If you aren’t already a CREDO mobile customer, maybe you should be?

EXCLUSIVE interview with exciting new novelist!

Abe Drayton, my esteemed colleague here at Freethought Blogs, has just had his first book published!

exits&entrances

Exits and Entrances is available in paperback and Kindle formats. Here’s the blurb:

When Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage . . .” nobody took it literally.

Anthony Ballrain knows that as well as anybody, but when his walk home from work takes him past a door he’s been dreaming about, he feels like it’s his cue to exit. Stepping through, he finds himself in a seemingly uninhabited world that has only a casual relationship with reality. He finally locates other people, but they’ve already met him, and what’s more, they despise him.

In a world where the impossible happens on a regular basis, Anthony is forced to confront a darker side of himself. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder for him to figure out just which side that is.

I don’t know about you, but I would totally see that movie!

Now I don’t personally really read much fiction at all. However if I did, I would definitely read this book. And do you know why? Because Abe gave me an EXCLUSIVE interview about the book that went like this:

IRIS: Is it good?

ABE: Yes.

BOOM.

Forget his editor’s opinion! (“Abe’s metaphysical fantasy takes readers on an unexpected journey that will have them questioning reality and their very existence. His masterful descriptions of alternate worlds both frighten and entertain the senses.”) Ignore the FIVE STAR Amazon review! (“Exits and Entrances offers a fascinating exploration of reality. Highly imaginative and suspenseful, this is a great book for those who love adventures.”) Whose review of this book can you possibly trust more than that of the person most intimately familiar with it? That’s right: NO ONE’S.

And if you haven’t already, check out Abe’s excellent blog Oceanoxia.

Right after you order Exits and Entrances, OBVIOUSLY.

Speak for yourself.

image

Board outside of Uncorked wine shop on Christopher Street, NYC:

WHAT’S A MEAL W/OUT WINE? 

BREAKFAST.

Speak for yourself, Uncorked wine shop!

image

Gotta run before my breakfast burrito gets cold – and my BREAKFAST WINE gets warm.

Rules aren’t the boss of ME.

Would you?

I was recently discussing with a friend whether we would trade our now noticeably aging bodies for our 25-year-old selves, if we had to give up all of the experiences and wisdom we had gained since that age in order to do so. Tempting as it is in some ways (bye-bye back pain! sayonara cellulite!), I am firmly in the NO camp.

There have been dark moments and bleak stretches of time when I would have eagerly taken the do-over deal, and I would have done so to escape my life. But I have not felt that way in more than a decade. I wouldn’t trade who I am now for anything. And who I am is only possible by my having lived the life I have: the tragedies, the triumphs, the mundane and the mistakes.

Would you?

You twenty-something whippersnappers need not answer, although it might be a nice exercise to consider who you might be two decades hence, and how you think you might answer then. Also: get offa my lawn!* :p

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*I don’t have a lawn. But if I did you’d be welcome on it.

“Pro-life,” everyone.

So the rancid garbage heap that is Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate the blazing dumpster fire that is Mike Pence. As if it could be any other way. The Donald desperately needed a bona fide conservative berserker on the ticket to perk up the flaccid conservative base, because his own track record is simply not terrible enough to get them excited.

Much digital ink has been and undoubtedly will be spilled about Pence’s “pro-life” position. He is the real deal, a foaming-at-the-mouth Forced Birther, who enjoys a 100% rating from the National Right to Life [sic] Committee and a 0% rating from NARAL. Like most “pro-life” conservatives, Mike Pence has a bizarre obsession with blastocysts, and with requiring people to provide continuous organ donation for nine months followed by the horrifically violent expulsion of a newly minted human, voluntarily or otherwise. Yet strangely, he has very, very few qualms about the deaths of existing people.

On gun issues alone, a lot of dead bodies can be piled up right at Pence’s feet: he wants a national (cross-state) standard for concealed carry, looser restrictions on interstate gun purchases, and in Congress he voted repeatedly to shield gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits. Naturally, he’s got an A rating from the fine folks at the NRA.

He’s also a big supporter of the Iraq war.

Pence has been an unwavering champion of the “War on Drugs,” the FAILest policy that ever FAILed, responsible for countless deaths, unfathomable miseries and untold millions of destroyed lives. SCHIP, the nation’s health insurance program for poor children, is also a favorite target: he voted multiple times to deny its expansion. And for what it’s worth, he doesn’t care much for non-human life either, having voted to deauthorize “critical habitat” zones for endangered species.

Now none of that is surprising, because people who understand how words work know that “pro-life” doesn’t mean anything of the sort. But I have to hand it to this asshole. He surprised even me with this shit: denying that cigarettes are dangerous, in exchange for large campaign contributions from Big Tobacco. In an astonishing editorial he wrote while running for congress in The Year of Our Lard 2000, he wrote:

“Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.”

WHAT. I mean, the jury’s been in on that question since at least 1964.

At a later debate, he clarified exactly what he meant by that statement: that “there was no causal link medically identifying smoking as causing lung cancer.”

&^$@^)#!

As governor of Indiana, Pence has created quite the legacy for himself on behalf of his cigarette manufacturer friends.

Indiana’s public health has paid the price. In 2015, Pence signed a law making it easier to create cigar bars in the state. And his administration slashed the already small amount of the tobacco tax and settlement money available for smoking prevention and cessation in 2013, well below the CDC’s recommended levels. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, “Funding for Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation was down to $8 million per year when Pence took office in January 2013. And within his first week, the Pence administration slashed the agency’s budget to $5 million.”

Indiana now has the highest adult smoking rates of any state in the industrial midwest region and the seventh highest smoking rate in the nation. With among the lowest tobacco taxes of any state, public health experts warn the state is “really in bad shape.” Indeed a 2014 article noted that 17 percent of pregnant women smoke — nearly double the national average — and this has been linked to lower birth weights and higher rates of infant mortality. As a result, it noted, “the state spends $28 million a year on health costs for infants born to mothers who smoke.”

“Pro-life,” everyone.

Buy my totes, people. 40% OFF!

This is your semi-regular reminder that the work I do here—and yes, it is work—is not without its costs, timewise and otherwise. So I am making it easy for you to buy cool stuff, and then you buy it! I get a (small) cut, and you get cool stuff. WIN-WIN.

40% off all tote bags through Sunday
WITH CODE: ZTOTESFORYOU
!!!

Just look at these beauties! Huh? HUH?!

dtstotes2x2Do your part to shake humans from their stupor and break the hypnotic spell of the enemy rodents carrying these striking totes—BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
#squirrelpocalypse

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