Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Saudi Arabia Should Free Raif Badawi

The freethought blogger, Raif Badawi, remains in a Saudi Arabian prison to eventually fulfill a sentence of 1000 lashes altogether combined with ten years incarcerated. 

That is, he will expect to be physically tortured and held a prisoner for having done the sort of thing I take for granted whenever I point out that imaginary friends can't grant absolution for heinous acts or that religion is generally coupted by greed, sensuality, politics, or just plain being fake to begin with.

The nation of SA is altogether too be-heady at the moment, it seems.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina Are Being Ugly Americans

The specter of "the ugly American" as a kind of diplomatic naïf uncomfortable with foreign languages and geography, and  showing an insensitivity to culture is going poltergeist right now as Sen. Lindsey Graham and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina try to show how much they understand about the broader world by slinging broad-brush generalizations at entire nationalities.

Because nothing says you're to be taken seriously like a willingness to be a public clod.

First up is Senator Graham, who explained that his time working in a pool hall taught him about liars, and that is how he knows that Iranians are liars. No,  really.

In a video address to this weekend's Southern Republican Leadership Conference during which he made his case as a potential presidential candidate, Graham asserted that his experiences dealing with the clientele of his parents' business taught him that "the Iranians are lying" when it comes to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with the Obama administration.

"My family owned a restaurant, a pool room, and a liquor store, and everything I know about the Iranians I learned in the pool room," Graham said in the video. "I ran the pool room when I was a kid and I met a lot of liars, and I know the Iranians are lying."
He also called them "cheats" and compared them to Nazis.

Still Mad About the BP Spill

Deepwater Horizon oil spill contributed to high number of Gulf dolphin deaths

They are also dying because of the pipeline spill in California. 

Our petroleum addiction is no good for other living things. (It's also not so great for us.)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

yes they said yes they will yes

Ireland has become the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

A lot of blather will be posted about the momentous change--homosexuality was decriminalized 22 years ago there; they legalized divorce only 20 years ago, and a strong reason for the social conservatism was simply, Catholicism, and that was the end of it. It is true that, just as many people have left the Church here in the US, the pews have been emptying in Ireland.

I think there's more to it than that though. There was a high voter turnout among younger people with people actually coming home to vote from abroad--for this particular vote. It's not anti-tradition, but a deep sense that the tradition of marriage is big enough to mean marriage equality for gay couples, and that family is a right that should not be denied. There was huge grassroots support.

This was the result of a labor of love.

No "Insensitive Bloodthirst" for the Duggars

It's hard to read former AR Governor Mike Huckabee's Facebook post regarding the revelation that the oldest Duggar son, Josh, molested 5 young girls over a period of a couple years, without wondering if it's entirely appropriate just yet to voice quite this kind of defense:

...Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one's judgement is not mature. No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility. Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims....
I can't say that I know any better than Mike Huckabee whether any of the victims preferred this be kept quiet, but I do know that this family has made their lives, or a version thereof, very public, and they were foolish if they did not suppose that it would not come to light. If they did not know in 2003, when Jim Bob Duggar got around to a half-assed job of reporting it, then by 2006, when Oprah jettisoned them and contacted a child abuse hotline, they should have realized that other people knew about it. There's expressions of disbelief and disappointment and a not-un-smug satisfaction in pointing out the hypocrisy of pointing a finger at, say, gay couple-helmed families, or spreading actually harmful lies about trans* people, when no, the child-predator sometimes looks like a virtual child himself, from a solidly Christian family, being sent their way--but no evil intent.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Iraq War Was No Honest Mistake.

I am not sure how anyone at all ever missed the study that showed that the Bush Administration lied 935 times in the advance to war in Iraq. They lied. They lied about why they were going to war, and they lied about how it was going, and they lied early, and they lied late.

The Bush Administration sent people in uniform out to lie for them to make things look really good.

Some people saw this run-up as a product that was being sold to us. Because that was the language the Bush Administration used. When NSA Condoleeza Rice talked about a mushroom cloud, she was basically fear-mongering. There was no good intelligence linking Saddam Hussein to a nuclear weapon. It was all unfounded.

For perspective's sake, although VP Dick Cheney uncritically accepted that the mushroom cloud thing could happen, he was blasé in the belief that UBL intelligence was fake. They lied a lot, and we knew about a lot of the lies early.

There is no reason to look further than the Bush Administration ignoring every waft of reality sifting underneath everyone's nose, to understand that the Bush guys f'd it all up astoundingly.

Putting the blame for any of it elsewhere is just astonishing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"The Left" is Actually Obsessed with Cake

Sen. Ted Cruz has addressed LGBT rights again, and once again the best way I can describe our differences is "cake or death."

What Cruz has to say about "the left" and our weird support of gay rights is:

"Is there something about the left — and I am going to put the media in this category — that is obsessed with sex?" Cruz asked reporters at an event in Beaumont, Texas, according to the Texas Tribune.

"ISIS is executing homosexuals — you want to talk about gay rights?" Cruz continued. "This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals — that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic."

Cruz railed against "mandatory same-sex marriage" and criticized a reporter for asking about his views on gay marriage, according to the Texas Tribune.
Nobody on the left gives two damns about what consenting adults (key words, "consenting" and "adults") do in their private time. What we are concerned about is a public issue--how LGBT people's rights are respected in employment, in commerce, in not being harassed in schools, workplaces, or the street, and in being able to form property contracts with the partner of their choosing. It's not the sex--after all, Lawrence v. Texas used equal treatment under the law to invalidate anti-sodomy laws that discriminated specifically against LGBT people, and the accomplished attorney Cruz should be well aware of that case. The movement for equality is about rights that extend beyond the bedroom, but do not extend beyond those that straight people already enjoy.