Congress Unanimously Passes The Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights

(Content Warning: As you can see from the title, this is about the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights. This of course means general discussion of sexual assault and rape.)

Those are three words I’m not sure I’ve heard in a really long time. Especially attached to something so good.

From Slate:

Sexual-assault survivors will soon have a federal bill of rights if Barack Obama signs a piece of legislation that has already passed through both chambers of Congress. The House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday requiring that victims be informed of their rights and the progress of their medical forensic examinations, commonly called rape kits, in federal cases of sexual assault.

The Senate’s version of the bill also passed unanimously in May. Once a small discrepancy is resolved in conference, the legislation will go to the president.

If Obama gives it his signature, the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights will ensure that victims are offered a medical forensic examination for free (many are still charged for the procedure); that they are informed of its results; that the evidence gathered is kept for 20 years or the duration of the statute of limitations, whichever comes first; that survivors may request to be notified 60 days before the rape kit is destroyed; and that they may request to preserve the evidence for a longer period of time. The bill also establishes a working group to evaluate the efficacy of its provisions and report back in two years.

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What the Hell, Wikileaks?!?

I should start off by saying that I am a fan of whistleblowers. Hidden corruption, be it in major corporations or governments, deserves to be seen by the public, so that changes can be forced through. So it should go without saying that I consider many whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning, Andrew Maguire, Blake Percival, Vijay Pandhare, Antoine Deltour, Edward Snowden, Ben Strickland, and many others to be heroes.

I have also always believed, and maintained, that whistleblowing should be a protected act worldwide. When exposing corruption, whistleblowers should be given immunity from prosecution and protection from retaliation. So, in the past, I’ve admired sites like Wikileaks for trying to do just that. Protection provided by such sites is, of course, extremely limited, which is why whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden often end up in prison or in exile.

Wikileaks has often proved to be a fascinating site. Filled with a treasure trove of interesting, and sometimes important, information, it’s a site that has remained controversial throughout its existence. Not only can you find the corruption that Chelsea Manning exposed, but you can also find quite a bit that the Church of Scientology would rather the average person didn’t know about their beliefs and their operations.

But Wikileaks apparently no longer cares what it leaks, so long as it does leak…

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We Are Not Allies

Decided to move this post from my old blog to here. Been wanting to include it for a while…

I was 21 when I first realized I was an atheist, and the same age when I told my mom and brother. I told my dad only a few months later, but after I turned 22.

During this period, it was all I was. I was just an atheist. I wasn’t anything else. I lived and breathed atheism, searched for atheists and atheist stuff online, and my antitheism came screaming out like never before. Because I was an antitheist first. Bill Hicks indulged my antitheism long before I realized I didn’t even believe in a higher power or powers. I realized I was an antitheist when I was 16 and started hating authority. It was only natural that I’d abhor religion, while still believing in a living god who’d talk directly to you, without the aid of some pathetic book or middle-man (clergy).

But then I read The God Delusion, and then the Bible. And I was an atheist.

And for years, I was happy with anyone who was an atheist. I didn’t care if they were feminists or misogynists. I didn’t care if they tried to fight patriarchy and rape culture or denied their existence. But I would only fight alongside atheists and I would never fight alongside a theist, because theists were crazy/delusional and faith was a virus… and “The God Delusion” was my bible.

So it’s safe to say I did the whole “critical thinking” thing wrong.

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On Baseball Bats, Heads, and Free Speech

(Content note: rape culture)

So, if you haven’t heard (though I can’t see how you haven’t), a very horrid preacher was shouting “you deserve to be raped” at a bunch of high school students. A 19-year-old woman walked up behind him and whacked him upside the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

This has raised an interesting conversation, as many (myself included) have utterly no sympathy for him, and have, in fact, made fun of him over it. In fact, I commented, and then posted on my Facebook, the following:

To be completely fair, I think we need to ask some important questions…

What was he doing there, at that time of day, just being all provocative, and not even with a chaperone? Things happen when you go out like that. I mean really… he shouldn’t have expected any less.

And what was he wearing, anyways? Did he have on a provocative shirt, showing off too much?

And before you say it, no I’m definitely *not* victim blaming. All I’m saying is that there are ways he could have minimized his risk, and really… shouldn’t he be held responsible at least for his own actions?

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This is Our Country Right Now

I just wanted to post this picture because I feel like it accurately sums up where the US is right now. I got it from the TWiBNation Facebook group (on a separate note; does anyone here listen to TWiBPrime? I highly recommend it.)

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Picture with two columns and three rows.

First row..
On Left – “Largest Nuclear Waste Storage Site in US is Leaking”
On Right – “Meh”

Second Row…
On Left – “Shell Dumps Nearly 90,000 Gallons of Crude into Gulf of Mexico”
On Right – “Meh”

Third Row…
On Left – “Target Lets Transgenders go Pee in Bathrooms”
On Right – *face red with rage*

ETA:
I just realized that “transgenders” is not the appropriate terminology? I’m really sorry for that. I didn’t catch it initially. I should have. I wish I knew who made this, now…

Voting for Donald Trump is Not Progressive; It’s REgressive

To start off, I need to say that I am NOT voting for Hillary Clinton. To be honest, I may just skip the primary all together and vote against the Republicans in the general. I was very much excited about Bernie Sanders in the beginning, but I’m simply not anymore. I watched his failure with black people, including what looked a lot like racial profiling at one of his events, read his distinct inability to get specific on any of his promises, and basically just lost any of that excitement I had in him when I finally accepted that, really, he’s just another politician.

If you want more details, I recommend you go here and watch Elon James, Imani Gandy, and Aaron Rand Freeman of This Week in Blackness Prime discuss it all.

With that, however, is my unshaken belief that while Democrats in general are pretty terrible, they aren’t even close to being as bad as Republicans, and so what should be galvanizing the left is keeping the Republicans as far away from government as is possible. Democrats are bad, sure, but Republicans are actively evil.

Apparently, though, not everyone who claims to be “progressive” believes this. Some people, apparently, have decided that if Hillary Clinton is indeed the Democratic nominee (and it looks like she will be), they are going to vote for Donald Trump.

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Repost! “God’s Chosen People? The Useful Lie of the Christian Zionist Movement”

I was supposed to do this four days ago but, apparently, my brain doesn’t do a very good job of putting the short term stuff to the long term area… I’m really sorry, Joe! Um… better… late than never?

Heh…

Anyways…

Joe Sands wrote this pretty awesome takedown of the Christian Zionist movement, and I’m gonna need more people to read it. I’ll give you the first few paragraphs then send you on your way to Joe’s blog to read the rest:

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I received a dire plea in the mail from Mike Evans’ organization, The Jerusalem Prayer Team. In that money begging mailer, Mike asked for donations of $30 – $100 or more. The $30 level would give you the ‘Bible Promise Box,’ a relic of the 1980’s, where you picked out a card for every day of the year, and the contents of that card would be a Bible verse, promising you goats and land or something. The $100 level would give you a book, written by Evans.

Evans is a master of hyperbolic and overly-simplistic fearmongering.

Today, Israel stands squarely in the crosshairs of evil and determined enemies want nothing more than to finish the job Hitler started more than seven decades ago.

Really? First of all, the reasons Hitler hated the Jews were much different than the reasons the Middle East is a religious and cultural powder keg. To compare the two as substantively similar is to be intellectually dishonest. The only similarity is that the focus of ire is the Jewish people. Even that is a simplification. In many ways, the conflict over Israel, and Jerusalem specifically, has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with the historical bitterness of both sides, the representative Israeli government having committed the majority of the atrocities against the Palestinian people, as well as those surrounding their borders. The co-opting of the Jewish religion to bolster their rights to the land is simply the most effective conduit for convincing their citizenry and the nation’s allies that their actions are not only proper, but have an holy implication. Thus, to come against the Israeli government is synonymous with rejection or hatred of the Jewish god, and by default, the Christian god.

And that’s where the Christian Zionist movement plays their pretentious hand. They feign love for the Jewish people, claiming God chose them as his own in the Old Testament, which is true, and then turn around and use the money their supporters give them to bolster both the protection of Christian holy sites (including the whole of Jerusalem), as well as working to “save” the Jewish people, introducing them to the Christian god and his son, Jesus Christ.

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Now get to Joe’s blog and read the whole thing! It’s worth it… seriously…