Friday, February 28, 2014

Scott Walker - Failing Wisconsin

More American Liberty! This time in Kentucky -- baby steps, but getting there.

Kentucky is in the process of legal challenges to their ban on recognizing same sex marriages performed in their own state, but as of yesterday a court has ruled there that Kentucky MUST accept the legitimacy of same sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The AG is contemplating an appeal, and the judge who issued the ruling is deliberating on staying the decision or not, to allow such an appeal.  (The appeal can take place with or without the stay.)

It's a race - a RACE TO FULL HUMAN DIGNITY, LIBERTY AND EQUALITY -- all the things that the conservatives claim to support, but work tirelessly to obstruct.

Celebrating the last day of black history month.

More Friday Fun Day video

I love that at the close of the show, Colbert is finishing up the gay wedding cake, with two men on it. They should have been black. We can only hope the cake was chocolate, and maybe he shared it with the audience.

Update: What Bakeries Have Been Charging for Penis Cakes, going back to 2004 or earlier......BEFORE LEGAL GAY MARRIAGE and PRO-DISCRIMINATION LAWS

It's always fun to laugh at the follies and failures of the fearful Tea Party ideology.

Previously I wrote about the terror experienced by Judon Phillips of the Tea Party Nation at the prospect of bakeries being asked to make penis cakes for gay weddings.  (Oh! NO! Run away!)

In the case of the radical right wing fringe extremist hysteria over saving public decency from 'the gays', it has been great fun debunking the false assumptions and factual deficiencies and deficiencies of reasoning they demonstrate to us on a daily basis.

After the feedback of readers here and on social media of people telling me what penis-cookery-items they happened to own (pasta, ice cube forms, full individual pans,cupcake pans, cookie cutters, candles, pasta, and so on) I decided to take a look at how many bakeries ALREADY offer penis cakes as part of their products and services on offer.  And that service is already available in Tennessee - home of the Tea Party Nation bigots, AND in Arizona!

You can also order cakes in the shape of the Vorpal Bunny from the Monty Python Movie, "The Holy Grail" aka the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.  Although, I haven't seen one that came in a rainbow pattern inside, but I'm sure it is possible, although it might cost extra.  Or dragons, including wedding cakes.  Or Daleks.  The range of possibilities is literally endless.

It turns out that commercially baked and decorated penis cakes are available in most states, with local service for most, and shipping available in-state or from bakeries coast to coast.  LITERALLY penis cakes and other edible penile novelties are available coast to coast, as in New York to Seattle and Los Angeles to Miami.  They're rather pricey, too, with prices as far back as a decade ago ranging from $85 to $125 (no information on how many people the cake is intended to serve).

Overwhelmingly, the marketing for these products was to women who were organizing stagette/bachelorette parties as part of heterosexual weddings, and for women to give as gifts to their spouses and boyfriends, or for the men to give to their wives or girlfriends, with a far smaller number actively marketing to gay or bi-sexual men.  (It stands to reason, penis cakes would not be in demand for Lesbian weddings.)

So not only is there a surprisingly large business in selling the means to make your own, as well as some quite remarkable commercially made edible penis products, but there is even a sizable 'how to' segment of the interwebs dedicated  to what the heck else you can do with the darned pans, cookie cutters, etc., once the original use is over.  There are how-to's that show you how to take the phallic cake and frost it so that it looks like the head of a happy cartoonish green alligator, or a wizard, balloons, fireworks, space aliens, a barn with happy little animals scampering about and even a Christmas tree - proving those who bake such cakes are moms (and dads, and even grandparents) with kids, and even Christians repurposing their sex cake cookery items to celebrate the greatest Christian holiday, the virgin birth of Jesus. 

Those penis cake pans are really for the whole family!  Family Values through penis cakes -- Hurrah!

So much for the great nonsense of having to save the citizens of the great state of Arizona from the dread PENIS CAKES.  Isn't it a great relief to know that NO BAKERY has to offer this service if they don't want to -- but that there are plenty of bakeries already providing that service WITHOUT A PRO-DISCRIMINATION LAW for protection!

Oh, and if you are having any problems with how to keep your rainbow colors from running together on one of your cakes, there are LOTS AND LOTS of how to directions on the internet for that.

Friday Fun-Day- more Fiore!

Mark Fiore is both one of the ost astute observers and critics of current affairs, and an extremely entertaining animator.

It's Friday -- ENJOY!


Factoids from the left, Fact-turds from the right

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sex SCARES Tea Partiers and other Bigots! Apparently no one ever explained the facts of life to them.

Two Salon stories caught me by surprise, each trying to outdo the other in maximizing offensive conservative remarks.

The first Salon piece was about a nut-job state Representative from Maine, Larence Lockman, (shock - he's an old hateful white guy) who has said and written things like this on the subject of HIV/AIDS:
" Lockman changed his focus away from avoiding taxes and towards spreading lies about the AIDS epidemic. In 1987, he is quoted in the Bangor Daily News as implying that HIV and AIDS could be spread by bed sheets and mosquitoes. [...]"
and this, on rape and abortion:
“If a woman has (the right to abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”
and on the topic of discrimination against LGBT people:
“about militant homosexual demands for special status.” He insisted that the anti-discrimination measures were part of a secret plan for gay affirmative action.
“You can bet the rent money they will demand that employers set up goals and timetables to achieve 10 percent homosexual representation in the workforce and in government contracts,” Lockman wrote in an op-ed in the Lewiston Sun Journal.
So, what cold top that? Another story from Salon today this one about Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation, where he raises the boogey-man /straw-man argument that Arizona is under threat from ........cakes shaped like penises. (You can't make up stuff like this.):
“Should a devote [sic] baker be required to create a cake for a homosexual wedding that has a giant phallic symbol on it or should a baker be required to create pastries for a homosexual wedding in the shape of genitallia [sic]?” Phillips asks.
Jughead Phillips didn't stop there though -- how could he be expected to control himself? THAT is the behavior that the right ONLY demands from OTHER PEOPLE!  He waxed further insane :
“Or should a photographer be required to photograph a homosexual wedding where the participants decide they want to be nude or engage in sexual behavior? Would they force a Jewish photographer to work a Klan or Nazi event? How about forcing a Muslim caterer to work a pork barbeque [sic] dinner?”
Ultimately, Phillips concludes, SB 1062 was never just about “the story of a cowardly governor who has no core beliefs.” On the contrary, SB 1062 was, in Phillips telling, “the story of liberalism at work in America.”
I don't know how to express this to Jughead Phillips, but this is not a concern he should be having particularly about GAY MEN wanting such a cake. The reality is that heterosexual women have been ordering up cakes like these, or making their own, for girls nights out together, bachelorette parties before a wedding, and just for naughty fun, for sex toy parties and tupperware selling get-togethers.  These are not female hookers, they include moms and grandmas, and even a pretty good representation of lady Sunday School Teachers.

There are FAR more straight women than there are gay men - IF you need something to worry about.  You SHOULD be afraid, not of deserts, but of angering these women by messing with their constitutional rights, not raising the minimum wage or paying them the same compensation as men for the same work, and by giving them grief over their contraception and reproductive health.  The response to THAT should scare the beJESUS out of you, Jughead Phillips.

You can buy every size and shape and position of penis cake pan that you can imagine (and maybe some you haven't imagined). You can also buy cake pans/ gelatin molds for butt cheeks, women's breasts and torsos, and exaggerated lips suggestive of either kissing or oral sex. There are cookie cutters, also in every conceivable penis size and shape and position, as well as a large variety of ice cube molds for the same range of things, and of course candles designed to go with food too..

ALL OF THESE ARE WIDELY AND ACTIVELY MARKETED TO HETEROSEXUAL WOMEN.  This is not new; the earliest one of these kind of male representations that I've come across for modern bakery projects dates back to at least the 1930s.  It would not surprise me to find they were made earlier This is NOT the result of some late 20th or early 21st century decadent homosexual agenda.

The only difference now is that one of these penis pastries or accessories to celebration might light up with flashing LED colors, or glow in the dark, or perhaps play an MP3 audio file.  Heck, given some of the extraordinary more mainstream cakes I've seen just on facebook, it wouldn't surprise me if someone pushed the envelope of the possible, and made a cake actually dance.   (Don't get me started on what is available in soap shapes.)

If a few gay men hypothetically wanting to order such a cake or cupcakes, or cookies, etc.s cares this fool so badly he feels a desperate need to pass protective legislation, I can only imagine the much greater terror a bunch of happy, strong, sexually aware and active heterosexual women could create in Jughead Phillips old, shriveled gray heart, inside his pale, wrinkled, shrunken chest.

Here are just a few examples, in metal or silicone, to lie flat, or with two pans that clip together for a 3D upright version, and for groups:

This is by no means an exhaustive sampling of what is readily available from mainstream sources, not sex supply specialty vendors.

It is time, and past time for the silly buggers in the tea party and the GOP, in Arizona and the rest of the nation, to grow up and stop acting like an anal retentive 13 year old, obsessed but also scared to death of sex. We live in a real world, with anatomically accurate items, and where people enjoy sex and sexuality, without that making them weird, or scary or perverse. The rest of us are not going back with you into the darkness, so come out into the light with the rest of the normal adults, both hetero and LGBT.

Fear mongering nonsense and outright lies about combination sex videos and wedding videography, or the silly notion that someone who is Jewish or Muslim could be forced to serve pork, if that is not normally on their menu, or the other ludicrous hypotheticals is as disconnected as every other tragically faulty, alternate fact-deficient reality that comprises the nightmare delusion you live in.  We don't legislate, in any state or territory, on this kind of silly delusion.

But adjust or not, the cold hard reality is that the Puritans were in vogue back in the 16th and 17th century; Puritans are NOT calling the shots or the prevailing influence that passes the laws NOW.  THAT is a GOOD thing.

The Sadly Silly Alternate Reality that Michele Bachmann Lives In

Put Michele Bachmann's face on a stick,
and have fun making up stuff.
You can't get goofier than she is.

Via City Pages:

Michele Bachmann argues anti-gay bill is actually about tolerance

During an appearance on Wolf Blitzer's CNN show yesterday, Michele Bachmann used her unique brand of logic to argue on behalf of an Arizona bill that would've allowed businesses to deny service to gay and lesbian customers."We need to respect both opinions," Bachmann said. "Just like we need to observe tolerance for the gay and lesbian community, we need to have tolerance for the community of people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs."

"This isn't one side or another," Bachmann continued. "What we're talking is tolerance on both sides and it is not tolerant to force people to violate their religious beliefs."

But the lame-duck congresswoman's opinion wasn't shared by Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who vetoed the controversial Republican-pushed bill shortly after Bachmann's CNN appearance.

"To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes," Brewer said in a statement. "However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want."

"Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination," Brewer continued.

In fact, even the usually unopinionated Blitzer made clear he disagreed with Bachmann's stance.

"Americans are very tolerant people, and there is religious freedom in our country," he said, telling Bachmann that, "On this one, I disagree."

Using Michele Bachmann's logic, we should have just tolerated slavery, because hey - the advocates for slavery held deep and SINCERE religious beliefs, based on the Bible as THEIR justification for slavery. And Jim Crow laws too, because criticizing bigots makes them feel bad, and opposing oppression, and real harm to people is not tolerant of the people who are doing the harming.

Yah think?

Here is a hint, Michele, criticizing and ridiculing bigots is SUPPOSED to make them feel bad.  The intention is to make bigots stop being so bad by ..........wait for it..........making them feel bad for doing so, including shaming them.

Bachmann is once again trying to claim a false equivalency. Being a SINCERE bigot, or invoking a religious justification for bigotry, doesn't give bigotry and intolerance an equal status, legitimacy or validation.

Because treating people badly, because you believe things that are bad AND NOT TRUE about them, is wrong.  Like claiming that gay people are pedophiles, for example, or that they aren't equally good parents as heterosexual people, in spite of all the factual research that shows that is not true.  Denying people housing, employment, or other services because of a hateful prejudice is another example, as is denying people dignity and civil rights.

In Michele's sad, silly little world, there is no climate change consensus, there is no scientific consensus on Evolution either, and if she wants to believe the Sun orbits the Earth, or something equally silly, then she thinks THAT should be given the same respect as a more legitimate and fact-based point of view.

It should not.

Another City Pages story a few weeks ago pointed out that Michele Bachmann did not actually say or write "If English was good enough for Jesus when he wrote the Bible, it should be good enough for Coke." accompanied by this image but failed to note that Christians for Michele Bachmann is itself a satire and parody face book page.  I came across other satire from that site, being shared by people who thought that it was totally obvious that this image below and others similarly satiric were OBVIOUS.  They were a little surprised, and amused to find out that it was taken more seriously than they ever anticipated, especially in her home state, when I shared with them the city pages article.  The satirists had a hard time wrapping their head around just how much crazy stuff Bachmann says here in MN.  The logo in the lower right hand corner clearly identifies the REAL source; for once it is NOT actually Faux News.

The City Pages correctly trace the original quote, which did not reference the Coke add that featured young bi-lingual American women singing in other languages than English. To be fair, back in 2011, Bachmann DID call for English to be the one and only official language of the United States back in 2011, so the original quote, and the pattern of egregious hijacking of religion to justify her positions is spot on. And it is a more than justified satire, given the twitter-sphere and other social media explosions of intolerance from conservatives in response to the Coke Superbowl 'America the Beautiful' ad.

The real question here should not be how could anyone mistakenly believe the satire by Christians for Michele Bachmann, but how the heck could anyone put Michele Bachmann on any program claiming to be news, as even remotely valid, and then treat her comments and opinions as if they were rational, sane or even remotely reasonable.  They lack any legitimacy whatsoever, and are on the far right wingnuttery edge of the totally crazy. Shame on you Wolf Blitzer; YOU and CNN are part of the problem!  Stop giving her attention and ersatz legitimacy - or those like her!  Her retiring does not make her a lame duck; the woman is a dumb CLUCK.


Hooray for First Lady, Michele Obama,
(and for honorary first lady of France, sort of, Stephen Colbert)

Gov. Jan Brewer VETOES Bill By Conservatives, For Conservatives, to Legalize Discrimination

The only two things conservatives like MORE than whining they are victims when they are not, is to discriminate against a minority and/or women, and to shoot people they don't like.

Ok, sometimes they combine all of the above, as we saw in the recent trial of Michael Dunn in Florida.

NOT to be outdone, the fine (by which I mean totally incompetent) conservative legislators of Arizona passed legislation justifying discrimination for religious bigot soup nazis.

Yes, Pat Robertson believes in soup nazis. Via Right Wing Watch:

Other advocates for the AZ law, versions of which are being passed by idiot bigot conservatives in other states, make false claims for the need for such laws, asserting that they are necessary to avoid being forced to march in gay pride parades (Seriously), or to protect delicatessen owners from having to serve pork sandwiches.

Which, of course is ridiculous. No such fake atrocities are taking place. What IS taking place is that state by state, marriage equality is being recognized, and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to discriminate against gay people, on any pretext including religion.

So if you sell wedding cakes or sell wedding photography, you can't refuse to do so to people on religious grounds - like you think Muslims are evil, or you hate gay people and want to cloak it in religion to try to cover up that you hate someone.

And what makes this particularly funny is that of course, Arizona hasn't recognized same sex marriage. YET.

Texas did so just yesterday when a court found, quite properly, that same sex marriage bans were unconstitutional (and immoral, and unethical, and if you eat too much gay wedding cake - fattening).

The issue of allowing entities, like - for example Bob Jones University - to deny an education to black people, or to deny people the right to free association by punishing inter-racial dating or inter-racial marriage -- in other words, discriminating on the basis of race on religious grounds, was NOT constitutional.

Currently, gender and sexual orientation do not have the same protected status as race or religion, or disability - but they will, it is only a question of when -----AND QUITE PROPERLY SO!

Not to put too fine a point on it, American Conservatism is REPUGNANT, OFFENSIVE, and DENIES FULL AND EQUAL FREEDOM TO PEOPLE whenever they think they can.

Jon Stewart, as usual, NAILED the tacky and bizarre failed reasoning of the laws promoters:

It's not like Arizona is the only state with Crazy conservatives pushing toxic fake religion. It happens in conservative misinformation and miseducation locales like Florida and New Mexico as well. Because conservatives lie and hate, and don't know the difference when they do. It is conservatives who are the persistent threat in our nation, and to our children; linking it to religion is just the feeble attempt by conservatives to give their hate and bigotry some tattered legitimacy. That is a legitimacy they don't deserve, and it debases and demeans honest religion and spirituality with a failed and hateful ideology.

But heck, at least it gives Seth Meyers some great shtick for an outrageous game show, "Fake or Florida".

Tim Scannell trial update

Tim Scannell, prosecutor and prosecuted for sex crimes with underage girls in northeastern Minnesota, has had his next court date postponed to March 27th.

We have written previously about the culture of conservatives, guns, and sex with young girls here.

Per the Cook County News Herald
earlier this month:

County attorney’s criminal sexual conduct case hearing postponed until March

Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell, indicted on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct by a Duluth area grand jury on October 22, 2013, was scheduled to appear before Judge Shaun Floerke in St. Louis County on Friday, January 24, 2014. However, with consent of attorneys on both sides, the omnibus hearing was postponed until 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 27.
The purpose of the omnibus hearing is to allow the judge time to consider what evidence can be used at trial. If there is no disagreement on what evidence will be admitted and if probable cause is not contested, the case is set for a jury trial. Plea petitions are sometimes entered at the omnibus hearing and sometimes settlements in the case are reached. However, if there is a disagreement on evidence, a contested omnibus hearing is scheduled.
According to Special Prosecutor Thomas Heffelfinger, that is the case. Reached at his office on January 28, Heffelfinger said the hearing that was cancelled was primarily a “status conference.” He said no motions had been filed, so it was not a contested hearing.
“It is now scheduled as a contested hearing, so I anticipate motions will be filed. At that hearing, we will argue those motions,” said Heffelfinger, adding that he did not expect witnesses to be called.
“It will probably be just lawyers arguing. We’re scheduled for a couple of hours, if needed,” said Heffelfinger.
Heffelfinger said such delays are not unusual. “There are some things that are unique about this case—the use of the grand jury and the change of venue to St. Louis County—but it’s not unusual for a hearing to be four months out from the grand jury.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Loving the turtle man's sinking numbers!

Gay Marriage Ban -- another one bites the RED RED RED dust,
this time, the bloody red dust of hypocrisy in Texas!

Another gay marriage ban bites the dust in the deeply red state of Texas. It will be interesting to see what the Attorney General,  Greg Abbot, recently seen campaigning with thug and failed reality tv figure, Ted Nugent, is expected to file an appeal.  Abbott appears to be the leading contender for the GOP nomination in the 2014 race for Governor of Texas.  State legislator Wendy Davis, also an attorney, and the leading contender for the Democratic candidate in the same race, came out earlier this month in favor of legal same-sex marriage. According to the reporting by the Kansas City Star:
[Judge] "Garcia said the state could show no compelling reason to deny that right to the two couples who brought the lawsuit. But Abbott said states have the right to define marriage as they see fit."
Of course, that statement by Texas AG Abbott is incorrect; states have previously been prevented by federal law and federal judicial rulings that, for example, bans on mixed-racial marriages were unconstitutional. It is worth noting that those who attempt to discriminate against the civil rights of minorities in this way are consistently conservative, and consistently on the wrong side of history.

Texas is the latest state, following Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, to have gay marriage bans overturned.  My personal prediction, by the end of the year, NO state ban on same-sex marriage, regardless of being in the form of a law or a state constitutional amendment, will be in force.

It is worth mentioning here that Texas AG Abbott is a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair by an accident some years ago, and that he has an adopted daughter. In 2001, during the time Jesse Ventura served as governor of this fine state, our sodomy laws were struck down by Minnesota State District Court Judge Delia Pierce.

One of the parties involved in that suit, under anonymity for privacy reasons as John Doe in Doe, et al v. Jesse Ventura, et al, who sought to have the sodomy law overturned, did so on the basis of being a quadriplegic who could only enjoy oral sexual intimacy in his marriage.  That poses the question - does AG Abbott support sodomy laws, as did for example, former VA AG Ken 'the Cooch' Cuccinelli?

From :
"This is a tremendous victory — because of what sodomy laws do, but also because of what they say," said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project, which along with the ACLU’s Minnesota state affiliate last summer filed Doe, et al. v. Jesse Ventura, et al., a lawsuit challenging the sodomy statute. "A society’s laws are its core statement of right and wrong. Sodomy laws, because they are understood to primarily apply to lesbians and gay men, marginalize gay people and their pursuit of equal citizenship."

State District Court Judge Delila F. Pierce struck the law down, saying that the court "declares [the sodomy statute] to be unconstitutional, as applied to private, consensual, non-commercial acts of sodomy by consenting adults, because it violates the right of privacy guaranteed by the Minnesota Constitution."

Minnesota’s sodomy law, which has been on the books since the 1800s, prohibits both oral and anal sex between any adults. Penalties include up to a year in jail and up to $3,000 in fines. In recent years, the law has been directly enforced and also has been indirectly used to deny opportunities, especially to lesbians and gay men in employment, child custody and other areas. For years, efforts to repeal the law in the state legislature were unsuccessful. Right-wing groups unsuccessfully tried to alter the law in recent years, so it would not apply to married, straight couples.

Pierce’s decision striking down the sodomy law noted that the plaintiffs in the case "represent a cross section of Minnesotans impacted by the sodomy statute." The ruling should prevent the law from being enforced or invoked anywhere in Minnesota, according to Leslie Cooper, the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project staff attorney handling the case.

But the ACLU is asking the court to technically certify the case as a class-action, which Cooper said will leave "absolutely no question" that the sodomy law cannot be enforced directly or indirectly. At the end of May, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura’s administration may file legal papers opposing this, and a hearing would be held June 7.

"It’s unfathomable that the Ventura Administration would want the court to limit this ruling," Cooper said. "The sodomy law has been declared unconstitutional — and the state has no good reason to say that it should be unconstitutional for some people, but not everyone."

The ACLU’s clients in the case are state citizens whose jobs, homes and relationships with their children were threatened by the sodomy law, including, a quadriplegic married man who lives in Minneapolis, identified for privacy reasons only as "John Doe." Because of his disability, the only forms of intimacy he is capable of engaging in with his wife were among those criminalized under the sodomy statute. (bold and italics are my emphasis added - DG)

It is worth noting as well that Greg Abbott in 2008 tried to uphold the state's "obscenity" laws, which included the banning of sex toys of any kind.  Apparently Abbott likes to interfere in people's private sex lives in every way possible, which at the same time certainly raises some interesting speculation on his own life choices in this regard.

Of course, with the federal overturning of bans on mixed racial marriage, it is clear that states DO NOT have the right to violate the constitutional claims to equality of anyone, or to unduly intrude on the definition of marriage where the state has no clear and compelling interest to do so.

Texas is the latest state to have a gay marriage ban overturned, following Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia.

I'm betting by the end of the year, and possibly sooner -- by the time election day rolls around -- that all states and territories will have had their same sex marriage laws and amendments overturned. And another one down, and another one down.......another one bites the dust.  Besides dust, it will be interesting to see how much hypocrisy this kicks up on the right.

Ah, the sunny side of HATE, Discrimination, Bigotry

Rape the Environment, Loot the assets of No.Carolina citizens

Redistribution of Wealth to the Rich, by CONSERVATIVES

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Honor of Black History Month -- calling out the revisionist history FACT TURDS on the right

Either we have the right falsely claiming credit for human rights because Lincoln was a Republican, back when Republicans - and especially Lincoln - were LIBERALS. Or, we have the opposite, the radical right extremists criticizing Lincoln for (wait for it) FREEING THE SLAVES.

Brilliant, purely brilliant! Love the biting humor of Larry Wilmore, unfucking the radical right wing fact-TURDS.

Let us not forget as well that the conservative south ATTACKED the union Fort Sumter in South Carolina (where else).

R.I.P. Harold Ramis: you gave us much, you will be missed

Sincerely held beliefs do not define dsicrimination, and freedom of religion does not excuse OR justify discriination

In a recent interview on MSNBC, actor and gay activist George Takei observed, very fairly, that gay men and women in our military are put in harms way defending real religious freedom.

There seems to be a range of fundamental problems in understanding on the part of the radical right, which has become the only real political right remaining, as extremists have overwhelmingly hi-jacked what used to be a two party system where both parties encompassed a range of conservatives and liberals, but tended to avoid extremists on either the left or right.

The radical right, especially the radical religious right, seems hell-bent on profoundly altering the definition of religious freedom, and then using that false definition for extremists to justify abuses of other people. In the desegregation of the south, the recognition of accommodation, of the premise that in the marketplace we must all be equal to be treated equally under the law in any society without discrimination, was profoundly important to civil rights. The denial of service to Jews, to black Americans, to Asian Americans, to Native Americans was common, and that discrimination in the marketplace, at hotels, gas stations, clothing retailers, lunch counters, in transportation -- every possible good or service sold to the public -- was foundational in being free and equal human beings, not only in governmental entities like the military, or post offices or the court house or schools.

We saw something very similar, that religion could not be used - or more precisely ABUSED -- as a justification or pretext for discrimination in Bob Jones University v. United States in 1983, after a string of other law suits over the sincerely held religious belief that interracial marriage and interracial dating was wrong according to the Bible. This is not a new tactic from the right. The Bob Jones University decision found that, in a short summation, religion could not be used to justify racial discrimination.

The radical religious right tries to portray themselves as the victims (Oh! Woe!) if they are prevented from engaging in discrimination against other people. We have assholes like Rush Limbaugh complaining that heterosexuals are under assault from the gay community, even as the heterosexual bigots try to push through laws like this, or laws that would ban gay athletes from employment.

The essence of the problem is this; if you have a religious belief that prevents you from engaging in some for of commerce, photographer, baker, doctor, pharmacist or cab driver that will treat everyone equally, then find another job. Your sincerely held beliefs are not what define discrimination; it is the person who is denied full and equal access to the same jobs, the same products, the same services who is on the receiving end of discrimination. YOU, Religious Right, don't get to define discrimination; it is not when you are prevented from being a bigot. Rather, it is the person who is deprived of full and equal access to participate in commerce as a consumer, and/or a person being treated as a lesser citizen than you are that defines what is and is not discrimination.

This is true if you are a Somali Muslim cab driver who doesn't want to transport a traveler from the airport who has a bottle of alcohol in their luggage, or who doesn't want to transport a blind person with a seeing-eye dog. This applies to the wedding photographer who doesn't want to take pictures or video of a gay wedding, or a baker who doesn't want to make a celebratory cake for the baptism of a child of a gay couple who are new parents. And this is true of doctor who wants legal cover to lie to a patient about their medical condition because he or she is anti-abortion, where lying removes a legal choice from the patient, or the case of a pharmacist who wishes to deny the legal purchase of a morning after pill.

The example was offered in defense of this legislation in Arizona that a Jewish restaurant owner would be protected from having to serve pork sandwiches to a customer. NO ONE is forcing a Jewish restaurant owner to serve pork, but instead that they do have to serve everyone equally who wishes to buy what they offer. If a bakery doesn't want to sell a gay couple a wedding cake or other celebratory cake, then they can quit making cakes. But if they sell birthday cakes and graduation cakes and wedding cakes to other people, they have to sell them to gay people, and people of all religions or atheists, and to old people and people who are disabled, and people of all races or mixed races equally. THAT is what discrimination is about, it is NOT about trying to legally FORCE others to indulge the bigotry of the radical right.

And make no mistake, THEY ARE BIGOTS, and they DO attempt to discriminate, and religion is a very poor excuse for it, 'sincerely held beliefs' be damned.  Discrimination is entirely about punishing people and attempting to cause them hurt or harm or shame, because you are a sanctimonious jerk channeling hate.

The perfect example of what discrimination IS and IS NOT is the action of an Arizona pizzeria towards state legislators.  Good on them for making the point, because conservatism has become defined by people with ugly feelings and intentions who SINCERELY believe horrible things that are not true.  It might take being on the receiving end of discrimination for that to become obvious to them.  What makes the Rocco position so great is they reserve the right to discriminate, but they don't actually engage in any real discrimination.  At least so far as has been reported, there are no legislators who have been turned away from buying pizza. I'm confident that none of the legislators who voted FOR discrimination have ever been on the receiving end of it. For them, discrimination is entirely and exclusively about what they want to do to be sanctimonious bastards towards other people - for Jesus.

Please like the Rocco's Little Chicago pizzeria facebook page here.


Arizona Pizza Shop Bans Legislators Because of Anti-Gay Law

Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria, a restaurant in Arizona, is taking a stand against the state's latest law, which essentially makes discrimination legal. According to Eater, the pizza shop put up a sign on its window that says, "We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators." The message protests Arizona's House Bill 2153 and Senate Bill 1062, which would allow people and businesses to refuse service to potential customers based on religious beliefs. The law would protect discriminators from getting sued over refusing service — like for example the baker who was sued (and told to change his ways by a Colorado court) for his refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
The law will go into effect if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signs it within the next five days or if she decides not to act at all. If she vetos the bill, the new law will not go into effect.
A post of a picture of the sign on Rocco's Facebook page currently has more than 24,000 likes. 

Dumb-ass Bigot = Conservative Racist Republican Candidate, Conservative Homophobic Representative

The 'N' word used to be common in the deep south; didn't make it any more acceptable than wetback.

Here is a turn of phrase that is so common nationwide that it is as natural as breathing when referring to an especially stupid conservative:

"dumb-ass bigot".

It's a very flexible phrase; you can put the stress or emphasis on any of the three syllables, depending on your region and dialect, and still be correct.

Can we get a refund?

Government is subsidizing these businesses, when business should instead pay a living (highter than $10.10) minimum wage

Whiter than white Pot John McCain Calling the Obama Kettle Black?
John McCain calls Obama naive, while posing repeatedly
with both islamic terrorists and Ukraine Neo-Nazis

John McCain criticized President Obama - AGAIN. He called the President naive, while being consistently wrong on every item of foreign policy in the past five years. He was wrong on Libya opposition Islamo-terrorists, he was wrong on Georgia, he was wrong on Syria and he is wrong again, in the most epic embarrassing way, on Ukraine. Let's not forget as well, that this is the  same crazy old white guy who picked Sarah Palin to be his VP candidate, in spite of HER grotesque ignorance about BOTH domestic and foreign policy.

John McCain seems to have his foot permanently wedged into his mouth like the fossil image to the left.

John McCain is the poster senator for bad judgment in the area of foes and foreign policy decisions. He is a fool, who like Michele Bachmann's right wing persistent displays of ignorance, embarrasses and interferes with legitimate serious foreign policy. Remember that little screw-up, September 2013, when she claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood was responsible for 9/11? The radical right has a huge problem with credibility in the area of Foreign policy.

The Radical Right are BUNGLERS and FOOLS, who are horrifyingly fact-challenged, and apparently incapable and incompetent at performing any useful, practical research on the topic of who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Not that I'm a fan of the Muslim Brotherhood - I'm not. But we need to identify them correctly and accurately for what they do -- and do not do. The Obama administration, under first Hillary Clinton, and then John Kerry have done so.
From the Huff Po:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) suggested the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the 9/11 attacks during a press conference in Egypt on Saturday.

"We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed here for the people in Egypt. We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed around the world," Bachmann said. "We stand against this great evil. We are not for them. We remember who caused 9/11 in America. We remember who it was that killed 3,000 brave Americans. We have not forgotten.”

The Muslim Brotherhood denounced the attacks shortly after they occurred, with several leaders saying they were "horrified by the events" of September 11.
Here we have John McCain with al-Quaeda in Syria:With this kind of track record, John McCain should just SHUT UP. One oops would be embarrassing; this extensive PATTERN of gaffes and goof-ups and mistakes are just too extensive to give this man a moment's credence. He is embarrassing his constituents (God knows they are a group generally without shame or conscience in AZ) and he is embarrassing the entire country, meddling in foreign policy where he should but out, as it is NOT part of his job description (that is part of the executive branch).
U.S. Senator John McCain, right,
meets Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, left,
and Oleh Tyahnybok in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.
photo and caption courtesy of Business Insider

Remember the radical right wing neo-nazi crazies -- like Norway's Anders Breivik, who shot up and bombed that country, killing both unarmed adults and especially unarmed teens? THOSE guys across Europe are the kind of guys that McCain is posing with in Ukraine.

"Protests continue in the Ukrainian capital after an endorsement from US Senator John McCain but at the heart of the movement in Kiev lies an extreme right wing party with links to the BNP.

Ukraine protests - links to the far right? (Reuters)

Ukraine's pro-EU protests show no sign of stopping – US Senator John McCain dined with opposition leaders this weekend, including the extreme far-right Svoboda party.

During his trip the former US presidential candidate met with government and opposition figures, but gave his endorsement to the pro-Europe protesters.

Senator McCain later waved to protesters from the stage in Independence Square during a mass rally in Kiev, standing with Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the anti-Semitic Svoboda party.

Then we have the well-documented Libya / McCain's naivete about al-Queda -- :
from the American Conservative -- just to show that this assessment, unlike McCain's, is NOT exclusively partisan:

When McCain flew to Libya last week to give his support to rebel leaders fighting against the Gaddafi regime, the Senator said: “I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda… To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it.”

McCain met with Libyan rebel leaders and concluded that they are not Al-Qaeda. But there remains a problem. Who is saying that these people are Al-Qaeda? Libyan rebel leaders.

Admitting to having received support from Al-Qaeda, the UK Telegraph reported of Libyan rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi last month: “Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters ‘are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,’ but added that the ‘members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.”

If it is true that Mr. McCain has a better grasp on who-is and who-is-not Al-Qaeda than Libyan rebel leaders, then the Senator is innocent in his new alliance. But if it is true that Libyan rebel leaders have a better grasp of who makes up their ranks than an Arizona senator: John McCain supports Al-Qaeda.

So, we have McCain and the rest of the radical right faulting Clinton and Kerry for failing to correctly identify al-Quaeda..... while CONVENIENTLY forgetting their own role in supporting al-Quaeda, and seeking to arm our enemies, more than once.

McCain and for that matter the other RWNJ's have no legitimate platform, based on their own gaffes, goofs, and epic failures from which they can criticize  EITHER President Obama or his administrations State Department, except in their dreams - and in our nightmares.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ding Dong, Dangerous GUN NUT IS GONE!

Late breaking update - Mark Kessler is OUT.  The man demonstrated everything that is reprehensible, ugly, unprofessional, unsafe, and often just so offensive that it was hard to do anything but laugh at him as a parody of himself and other nasty bigoted right wing extremists.  He may be joining the other offensive extremists seeking to carve out an alternate reality on cable tv.  That is where criminals, sexual predators, and those who are too stupid to succeed in the real world go to live.

He did not 'retire', he WAS REMOVED from office for doing a really bad, really unprofessional job and for other kinds of misconduct.  Kessler is no hero, except in his own teeny tiny ugly mind.

Presumably he is no longer on the school board either?

From WNEP:

GILBERTON — The mayor of Gilberton in Schuylkill County confirmed that Mark Kessler is now the borough’s former police chief.
Officials in Gilberton came to a settlement with Kessler on Thursday to retire as chief.
He became the center of a controversy in summer of last year after he posted profanity-laced videos of himself online, firing automatic weapons.
Officials in Gilberton suspended Kessler soon after that.
Now, Mark Kessler is out as police chief in Gilberton.

Girl Power - Feminism is still a force to be reckoned with, and a power in economics and politics

I don't usually like to put anything commercial here, but this was worth a revisit in an era when we have popsie embarrassment to her state and to her gender Michele Bachmann claiming the nation isn't ready for a woman president yet.

NO.  The nation no longer is willing to tolerate the stupidity of people like Michele Bachmann; HER party, the tea baggers and the misogynistic GOP won't elect a woman -- they also rejected Palin, if you recall, another boob on stilletos full of stupidity and ignorance armed with a gun and a lot of hypocrisy ammo.

The nation IS ready for a Liz Warren,  or a Hillary Clinton, or someone like them (maybe a woman engineer). It is not the nation, or our female adults and children who are backward or incapable; it is our conservatives that applies to, regardless of gender.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fact Checkers versus Fact Deniers

Hellow Dumb-bunny Bachmann! The nation is ready for a woman, they just don't want a STUPID woman in office!

Gettin' better, getting better every day, getting better all the time.

SYG -- racist in its outcomes BUSTS BLACKBURN on Anthropogenic Climate Change!

It's hard to believe the arguments from the right against human-caused catastrophic Climate Change when they themselves neither understand the facts and data, and when they don't themselves have sufficient science knowledge to know what to do with the information.  The way they misrepresent the information is not just foolish, it is consistently dishonest. 

As such it is impossible to actually HAVE a valid debate with the right.  It is even harder to believe in the possibility of an honest debate, when the right has been systematically bought off by the fossil fuel industry.

Blackburn is faulted at length, along with her right wing sources; Nye was not faulted for his facts and sources, or for making false arguments.

From on the 'debate' (sort of) between Bill Nye the Science Guy, popular science educator, and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). :

Arguing against White House efforts on climate change, Rep. Marsha Blackburn mangled the facts and misrepresented the words of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, claimed “even Director McCarthy … said reaching all of the 26 U.S. goals is not going to have an impact globally.” But the “goals” cited by Blackburn aren’t goals at all — they are 26 “climate change indicators” that the department tracks to measure the effect of the changing climate. McCarthy said it is “unlikely that any specific one step” can have an impact on those indicators, but she also said the idea is to coordinate “a broader array of actions” with other countries to make a meaningful global impact.
Blackburn’s comment came in a back-and-forth with Bill Nye “The Science Guy” on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” They discussed whether any single weather event can be tied to global warming.
Nye, Feb. 16: Well, I’ve got to say once again, what people are doing is introducing the idea that scientific uncertainty, in this case about cold weather events in what we call back east, are — is the same as uncertainty about the whole idea of climate change. And this is unscientific. It’s not logical. It is a way apparently that the fossil fuel industry has dealt with our politics. And this is not good. Everybody — you don’t — this is not– you don’t need a Ph.D. in climate science to understand what’s going on. That things — that we have overwhelming evidence that the climate is changing. That you cannot tie any one event to that is not the same as doubt about the whole thing. …
Blackburn: Let’s say everything that Bill says is wrong is wrong. Let’s just say that. Then you say what are you going to do about it? What would the policy be? And will that policy have an impact? Now, even Director McCarthy from the EPA in answering questions from Congressman Pompeo before our committee, said reaching all of the 26 U.S. goals is not going to have an impact globally. And, David, what we have to look at is the fact that you don’t make good laws, sustainable laws when you’re making them on hypotheses or theories or unproven sciences.
Blackburn went on to make the point that policies ought to be based on a “cost benefit analysis.” But she badly botched the facts with her claim that the EPA administrator said “reaching all of the 26 U.S. goals is not going to have an impact globally.”
She was referring to a discussion between Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on Sept. 18, 2013. The hearing was to discuss “The President’s Climate Action Plan,” which Obama introduced during a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013. Among the proposals in the president’s action plan were “activities that range from new standards for power plants and trucks, to a 30 percent increase of funding across federal agencies for research, development and deployment of ‘clean energy’ technologies, to restrictions on financing of fossil-fuel projects abroad.”
In the committee hearing, Pompeo zeroed in on an EPA report titled “Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2012” and repeatedly asked how White House policies might impact those indicators, as a way to assess the performance of the past and proposed environmental regulations. (The exchange begins at the 2:16:00 mark.) One of the indicators noted by Pompeo was heat-related deaths. Other indicators include atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, tropical cyclone activity, sea levels, the decrease of Arctic sea ice and snowfall.
Pompeo, Sept. 18, 2013: Do you think it would be reasonable to take the regulations you promulgated and link them to those 26 indicators that you have on your website? That this is how they impacted us?
McCarthy: It is unlikely that any specific one step is going to be seen as having a visible impact on any of those impacts — a visible change in any of those impacts. What I’m suggesting is that climate change [policy] has to be a broader array of actions that the U.S. and other folks in the international community take that make significant effort towards reducing greenhouse gases and mitigating the impacts of climate change. … They are indicators of climate change, they are not directly applicable to performance impacts of any one action. … What we’re attempting to do is put together a comprehensive climate plan, across the administration, that positions the U.S. for leadership on this issue and that will prompt and leverage international discussions and action.
When Pompeo suggested there was “literally no connection between the activities you’re undertaking” and the 26 indicators, McCarthy emphatically replied, “I did not say that.”
McCarthy said the indicators are “broad global indicators of impacts associated with climate change. They are not performance requirements or impacts related to any particular act. … They indicate the public health associated with climate change.”
Despite McCarthy’s repeated rejection of the premise that the proposed environmental rules are not meeting expectations if they do not measurably impact the indicators, Blackburn cited this exchange as evidence that “even Director McCarthy from the EPA in answering questions from Congressman Pompeo before our committee, said reaching all of the 26 U.S. goals is not going to have an impact globally.” We reached out to the EPA to respond to Blackburn’s comment, and EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones released a statement reiterating that the 26 climate change indicators “are not Agency goals.”
Jones, Feb. 18: The 26 climate change indicators are not Agency goals, but instead are a compilation of evidence from peer-reviewed sources that shows that the composition of the atmosphere and many fundamental measures of climate in the United States are changing, with effects already being observed across the U.S. The fact that the effects of climate change are already being observed in the U.S., only reinforces the need for continued, sensible steps to address emissions of GHGs. The indicators are not intended to describe the effect of any one program or action to address climate change since climate change is driven by global concentrations of GHGs.
We spoke to several climate scientists, who told us Blackburn’s comment, and overall point, is misinformed.
“Goals and indicators are different concepts,” said Reto Ruedy, a climate scientist with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “There is only one goal: Stabilizing our climate at a level that keeps this planet habitable. To do that we have to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration. Needless to say, this requires a global effort. … It is true that the actions of a single country cannot achieve this goal. However, it seems reasonable that the industrialized countries most responsible for the current atmospheric composition take the first steps.”
Richard C. J. Somerville, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said Pompeo and Blackburn have both confused “goals” and “indicators.” Besides, he said, the first four “indicators” on the EPA list “could certainly be impacted by U.S. policies.” They are: U.S. greenhouse gas emissions; global greenhouse gas emissions; atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases; and climate forcing.
“The misleading aspect of the language used by Rep. Blackburn is the implication that, because U.S. actions alone cannot solve the global problem, U.S. policy will not have any impact at all,” Somerville said. “That is simply wrong. First, U.S. reductions of GHG emissions will have a direct impact on global emissions, hence on concentrations and forcing, because the U.S. is responsible for more emissions than any country other than China. Second, the failure of the U.S. thus far to set and meet serious GHG emissions reductions targets has clearly been a factor in the failure to get international agreement and action. More positively, if the U.S. decides to act energetically, its example, its technical abilities, and its influential superpower status can greatly increase the chance of other countries also acting. This is exactly what happened, for example, in the successful global effort to stop the production of chemicals such as CFCs that cause the ozone hole.”
John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas’ state climatologist, likened climate change mitigation to recycling.
“Assume that if everybody recycled their aluminum cans, it would greatly benefit the environment,” Nielsen-Gammon told us. “However, if only one person recycled his or her aluminum cans, it would have no measurable effect on the environment. Should a person recycle aluminum cans or simply throw them away? Blackburn’s argument is equivalent to saying that no intelligent person should recycle, because they should know that their own recycling will not affect the problem of aluminum mining. However, most of us do not think or behave that way. Instead, we tend to follow the Golden Rule: do what you would have others do.”
The climate scientists also took issue with Blackburn’s comment about basing laws on “hypotheses or theories or unproven sciences.” As we have noted before, there is overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that greenhouse gases are responsible for an overall warming of global temperatures. A paper published in 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences found that 97 percent to 98 percent of climate researchers “most actively publishing in the field” agreed that climate change was occurring.
Blackburn’s comment “exploits the common use of ‘theory’ to connote hunch or conjecture, which is not what that word means in science,” Somerville said. “And it implies that mainstream climate change science is not sound or well-founded or trustworthy enough to serve as a useful input or basis for policy.” Somerville said that may be the view of many people, including some Republican leaders, “but it is emphatically not the view of some 97% of the scientists most actively publishing research on climate change.”
– Robert Farley