“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

[Read more…]

Dear d00d who insists that no I’m wrong, that was a compliment.

[CONTENT NOTE: sexism, discussion of gendered violence, sexual assault and FGM.]

I recently posted this meme, sent to me by a d00d friend who meant for me to take it as complimentary and funny. I explained why it was neither.

williamgoldingquote

William Golding
British Novelist, Playwright & Poet
1911-1993

I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!

I linked to my post on Facebook. And the very first comment I received was this:

D00d: It’s all true. Women aren’t equal to us, they have a whole lot more sense in any number of respects, not limited to Mr. Golding’s list.

This core concept, the concept of women as creators and peace makers, is why we need to get many more women into roles of leadership ASAP, before the patriarchal societies of the planet destroy our species.

As you might imagine, there followed a bit of back and forth—my Facebook friends are feminists, pretty much by definition—excerpted below.

[Read more…]

Not funny. Not a compliment.

Dear d00d who is a dear friend and sent me this today:

williamgoldingquote

William Golding
British Novelist, Playwright & Poet
1911-1993

I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!

Now I know this is supposed to be funny, and undoubtedly meant as a sincere compliment. But, but, but…

BLECCCCCH!

Note that Mr. Golding’s role here is that of provider: the generic “woman” is the passive recipient, whose calling (duty?) is to accept what she is given and from her labors—generally unpaid—create value that inures primarily to his benefit.

No thank you.

See, with the exception of that whole sperm/baby thing? Men are perfectly capable of performing these traditionally feminine-coded actions (and others), and are in fact engaging in them more and more as they come to reject the suffocating confines of artificial binary gender roles themselves. More to the point, many, many women are incapable of or utterly uninterested in all of the aforementioned traditionally feminine things, including having anything whatsoever to do with sperm and/or babies.

Unless we are speaking strictly about reproductive capacities, and to a lesser extent certain effects related thereto (e.g. hormones in utero), no sex or gender is innately superior or inferior to any other, in any way. To suggest otherwise—yes, even “jokingly”—perpetuates a view of gender that harms both sexes, but has a disproportionately harmful impact on women.

Contra Golding, I am not “pretending” to be equal to men. I am asserting that this is demonstrably true, as both a factual matter and a moral one. I am just as capable as a man of achieving greatness and doing good as I am of failing spectacularly and causing harm. And I am demanding to be treated accordingly: as an equal human.

Much love,
-The Most Humorless Feminist in All of Nofunnington*

*sig shamelessly stolen from Melissa McEwan.

_________
P.S. It is not lost on me that my response here may well be perceived as Golding’s “ton of shit” in response to “crap.” So be it. But I would never bother responding at all if I believed that to be the case. I think of it as responding to crap with sunshine. :D

This message is for white people.

policearrestingpeacefulblackprotestorImage via The Love Life Of An Asian Guy.

I am ashamed to admit that in the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Alva Braziel and the police shootings in Dallas I have felt so overwhelmed, angry, sad, helpless and unable to concentrate long enough to write coherently about them or the larger context surrounding them. I say “ashamed,” because I am aware that my reaction is a speck of dust compared to the universe of pain, rage, injustice and fear in which black people are forced to dwell in this country 24/7/365. No matter how much I may be reeling, I can always check out, post goofy shit for sale on the Internet, cry into my cocktail and generally go along on my merry way. There is no fucking escape for them.

I felt some measure of relief when I read this post by my friend Dana Hunter. It’s a compilation of practical actions that all of us can take to help turn this sorry state of affairs around—and turn it around we must. I don’t know about you, but it helps me to process grief by doing something specific that is asked of me by those more directly affected, even the smallest action, even if I am pessimistic about it making any difference at all. The fact is, it’s worth doing not only because it makes me feel productive and useful, but because all great movements for change require countless small actions by countless people, most of them unseen and unsung. These things add up. Mere drops in the ocean form the great wave.

With Dana’s kind permission, I am sharing her post here in its entirety.

[Read more…]

Buy my $#!+, people.

My little blog adventures (blogventures?) continue to enrich and sustain me in so many ways. However, not one of those ways is “financially.”

Until joining this network, I’ve never blogged in a space that generates revenue by serving up ads. Frankly, the way this whole ad dealio works leads to some comically absurd results. The algorithms that generate ads for a site are based in large part on its content, but apparently the ghosts in the machine are not sophisticated enough to detect satire, mockery, snark or general derision. So for example at Pharyngula (and PZ is nothing if not a fire-breathing atheist and first-rate mocker of religious ridiculousness), we are all regularly treated to ads imploring us to sign up for Christian Mingle, attend Mormon colleges and join the fucking Jehovah’s Witnesses. NOBODY’S CLICKING ON THAT SHIT. I don’t see it because I’m logged in, but I can only imagine what the ad feed looks like here: Crisis Pregnancy Centers, squirrel feeders, Jerry Coyne lecture tours and worst of all, the Democratic National Committee. Christ.

The work I do here—and yes, it is work—is not without its costs, timewise and otherwise. I was recently inspired, thanks to a colleague and a commenter here, to propose a WIN-WIN: I make it easy for you to buy cool stuff, and then you buy it. I get a (small) cut, and you get cool stuff.

All proceeds to fund subverting the status quo, smashing the patriarchy, dismantling white supremacy, waging war on warmongers, obliterating the oligarchy, sustaining struggling friends, monitoring the squirrel menace, mocking conservatives and/or cat food.

BUY MY SHIT.

__________

Look, I’ve organized it into collections for you.

conservativetearslzstorebanner

conservative tears

Soothe your rabid rage at right-wing blowhards and repel conservatives from your general vicinity!

conservativetearssamples__________

dtszstorebanner

#deathtosquirrels

Do your part to shake the people from their stupor and break the hypnotic spell of the enemy rodents BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! #squirrelpocalypse

dtssamples

__________

medicareforallzstorebanner

medicare for all

Help drag the USA up to the standards of 20th century civilization by demanding single payer health care NOW!

medicareforallsamples__________

pspzstorebanner

perry street palace™

For my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ at Perry Street Palace™, now’s your chance to join the Official Palace Army™! Demonstrate devotion to Your Humble Monarch™ while shamelessly shilling for Iris’s other blog! Proudly announce to all the world your support for the senseless overuse of Trademark Symbols™!

pspsamples __________

irisiriszstorebanner

iris iris

Research shows that people tend to behave more ethically when cued that they’re being watched: adorning yourself and your home with this eye-catching (<-hahaha) collection instantly improves the behavior of everyone around you! IRIS SEES YOU. #creepychic

irisirissamples

__________

But okay, so maybe you don’t want any more actual stuff. I totally get that. (Big shoutout to mah NYC peeps! MY KINGDOM FOR A WALK-IN CLOSET.) In that case you could just, you know, pay me actual money. YES. If you appreciate what I do here, maybe put some money where your infotainment is and PAY ME. :D

payme

Naturally, all of this goes only IF you have a few bucks to spare. Many people do not, and in any event no one should feel obligated to contribute to my cat food fund. Particularly when they’re thisclose to eating cat food themselves.

AGAIN: All proceeds to fund subverting the status quo, smashing the patriarchy, dismantling white supremacy, waging war on warmongers, obliterating the oligarchy, sustaining struggling friends, monitoring the squirrel menace, mocking conservatives and/or cat food.

__________

Isn’t this fun? This is fun.

Have a nice day.

Recent reads + quotes.

NOTE: This is a semi-regular feature on my perrystreetpalace blog readers here might enjoy: a roundup of links, vids and memes I’ve recently come across, organized (more or less) by topic, with occasional brief commentary thereon. Important disclaimer: linking or quoting here does not imply 100% agreement with, or endorsement of, any content, organization, source or individual.

library

RACE.

Racist hate crimes increase five-fold in week after Brexit vote. Payton, M., The Independent (Jul. 2016). [Gosh, who ever could have seen this coming? This is what happens when conservatives and their lies are legitimized—by, say, corporate media or the “election” of George W. Bush—instead of mocked and driven into the dust and shadows. –Ed.]

Shameful Camps. Caine, Freethought Blogs | Affinity (Jul. 2016).

It’s not surprising that white attitudes towards indigenous people remains so negative when this whitewashing is taking place in the heart of Indian country. It’s sad and burdensome to see that lying about Custer is still so very important to some people. “History comes to life”. Yes, a very whitewashed, colonial version, which celebrates the largest mass murder in U.S. history, the Massacre at Wounded Knee.

[It’s bad enough that incredibly significant events are routinely either whitewashed or completely blacked out in public school history classes and by corporate media. But this goes further than propaganda, into dehumanization and genocide…as entertainment. –Ed.]

The Amazing Atheist’s Racism. Hughes, M., Patheos | barrierbreaker (Jun. 2016). [&%#*@! –Ed.]

schrodingersimmigrant

JOY.

How to stay happy when the sky is falling in. Burkeman, O., The Guardian (Jul. 2016).

[Derrick Jensen, a writer and co-founder of the radical environmental movement Deep Green Resistance] has written that people sometimes ask him why he doesn’t just kill himself, if things are as bad as he says. “The answer is that life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good.”

HARASSMENT + ABUSE.

Man sends woman an unsolicited d*ck pic, woman responds brilliantly. Man regrets it. Felton, J., SMS (Jun. 2016).

In Orlando, as Usual, Domestic Violence Was Ignored Red Flag. Chemaly, S., Rolling Stone (Jun. 2016).

Intimate partner violence and the toxic masculinity that fuels it are the canaries in the coal mine for understanding public terror, and yet this connection continues largely to be ignored, to everyone’s endangerment. It is essential to understand religious extremism (of all stripes), racism, homophobia, mental illness and gun use, but all of these factors are on ugly quotidian display in one place before all others: at home.

Rape fantasy letter haunts Scotts Valley High School girls. Baxter, S., Santa Cruz Sentinel (Jun. 2016).

“All of us (named in the letter) felt extremely uncomfortable that he was given no true consequence. Along with that, the school didn’t even follow policy. The school was not interested in our well-being but more in his, and in this they believed that pushing this under the rug will make us forget everything. We were asked not to tell anyone, including the people on the lists (named in the letter) who have a right to know.”

somethingtocryabout

[For some of us, they were going to hit us too. -Ed.]

TERRORISM, WAR.

As Medina reveals: ISIS is not hijacking Islam, it is actively at war with Islam. Ali, A., Amro Ali (Jul. 2016).

If a self-proclaimed Catholic group bombed the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica and constantly killed scores of innocent Catholics, then we would deem such an entity, in various degrees, as an anti-Catholic terrorist group. Likewise, ISIS is not a radical Islamist movement as much as it is an active anti-Muslim, terror movement.

How many more sickening anti-Muslim, if not anti-human, acts does it take for a diabolical group to be dissociated from a religious body in the eyes of the world?

CONSERVATIVES.

The Authoritarian Personality Revisited: Reading Adorno in the Age of Trump. Gordon, P., Greanville Post (Jun. 2016). [A long but excellent read. –Ed.]

‘Kill the gays’ pastor has a pulpit-stomping meltdown after he’s booted from online fundraising. Markus, B.P., Raw Story (with video) (Jun. 2016). [CONTENT NOTE: extreme hostility to LGBTQ individuals and communities. See also. –Ed.]

Lie Witness News – Hillary Clinton Email Edition. Kimmel, J., Jimmy Kimmel Live via youtube.com (Jul. 2016).

 [Behold the US voter. –Ed.]

ABORTION, RULE OF LAW.

What Monday’s Supreme Court Decision Means in the Fight for Abortion Rights. Pieklo, J.M., Rewire (Jun. 2016). (“Monday’s decision striking two provisions of Texas’ HB 2 doesn’t just threaten similar laws nationwide; it could be the basis for finally stemming the onslaught of anti-science abortion restrictions in the states.”) [Here is the decision (pdf). Read Thomas’s dissent for a special treat: a case study in characteristic conservative reality-denial. –Ed.]

How Did I Get an Abortion in Texas? I Didn’t. Peterson, V., The New York Times (Jun. 2016). (“I had never been involved in activism before. I didn’t know about these types of laws, or really have an opinion on abortion before I needed one myself.”) [JFC. smh. –Ed.]

MEDIA.

Donbass Truth – Drunk Russian Propaganda edition. Chopov, A., youtube.com (Jul. 2016).

“[W]e spent countless research hours to make this video to see if anything you hear in Western media about ‘failing Russia’ or ‘rising Ukraine’ is grounded in actual facts – for this we used statistics from the UN, CIA, IMF and other world famous organizations. Take a look – this might just cause to learn to think for yourself!”)

[Highly doubtful—see above links re: conservatives. CONTENT NOTE: violent and disturbing images, including dead children. –Ed.]

 

The Ralph Nader Myth. gjohnsit, Daily Kos (Dec. 2013).

So why did Gore lose to Bush? Democrats…Nader only drew 24,000 Democrats to his cause, yet 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush.
Nader wasn’t the real betrayal of Democrats. Democrats were. Nearly a third of million of them.

Even more important, consider the math: since Bush was the main challenger, a Democrat voting for Bush hurts twice as much as a Democrat voting for Nader.

This is a fact. The reality-based community must learn to deal with it.

[Oh must they? Hahaha. Citation needed. An old post well worth re-reading. –Ed.]

malcolmxquote

FEMINISM.

Teens, Marines, and Men. angietheantitheist, Misandry Angie (Jun. 2016).

I have to say men aren’t looking too good as a group right now. They claim to be strong protectors yet fold at the idea of a strong, armed woman. They throw utter tantrums about not getting to gawk at teen girls on stage, not realizing they are the reason the swimsuit competition was dropped. Beauty pageants are a controversial thing, but they award the largest college scholarships to girls. Did your scholarship application involve adults staring at and appraising your nearly naked underage body? Probably not.

SCIENCE, FOOD.

Probiotics Are Useless, GMOs Are Fine, and Gluten Is Necessary. Rogers, K., Motherboard (May 2016).

taxevasion

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Finally, for my poor neglected Quote Collection:

Everything is going to be unimaginably worse and is never going to get any better. –Kurt Vonnegut

We’re terrible animals. I think that the Earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should. –Kurt Vonnegut

The only difference between Bush and Hitler is that Hitler was elected. –Kurt Vonnegut

I don’t know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves “Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.” –Kurt Vonnegut

However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family. –Gloria Steinem

As the little boy said when asked if he wanted to be a lawyer like his mother, “Oh no, that’s women’s work.” Logic has nothing to do with oppression. –Gloria Steinem

It doesn’t surprise me to learn that there is bias and sexism everywhere, just like there are problems of racism and homophobia stemming from the whole notion that we’re arranged in a hierarchy, that we’re ranked rather than linked. –Gloria Steinem

__________

My friend Tony.

Some of you may know Tony as a frequent and frequently excellent commenter at various sites on FtB. He now blogs ferociously at The Orbit. As a gay black atheist living in Florida, Tony is subject to multiple intersectional marginalizations that many of us will never experience, and of course the crap economy only amplifies these effects. He has been struggling off and on with joblessness (although there is a bright spot of hope on that front in the not-too-distant future), and is a few hundred dollars short on his rent this month. If I can help it, I would not like to see “homeless” added to his burdens.

I know that times are tough for many of us, and no one should feel obligated to give what they do not have. But if you can spare just a few dollars, they really do add up. Despite the ugliness that plagues our movement on a regular basis, there is also goodness and strength in this community. I think it’s important to put our social justice talk into action when it really counts, such as when one of our own finds himself in need.

Please donate whatever you can to Tony via PayPal here.

And Tony has another problem you can help with: he likes squirrels. I KNOW RIGHT. I have been trying desperately to enlighten him on this urgent matter before the coming Squirrelpocalypse, but he remains under the spell of the enemy rodent menace and has so far proven resistant to my pleas.

So when you donate via PayPal, there is a space below the amount that says “Write a note (Optional).”

Make it good:D

#deathtosquirrels