Friday Reads: Bigots Among Us

images (36)Good Morning!

I have read the most horrifying stories this week.  It makes me wonder if a good portion of humanity has a death wish. I’m going to share a variety of links that I’ve found; and a lot of them aren’t the most uplifting, I’m afraid.

Knowledge is power.  Ignorance may be bliss to the holder but not to the folks around them. There is no lack of headlines in the area of bigotry and intolerance. This is truly discouraging to those of us that care passionately about social justice.

Crime rates have been falling recently but our incarceration rates are not. There’s a huge study out on the economic costs of our prison society and its images (37)findings are not pretty.  We’re spending billionaires of dollars locking up the poor, the uneducated, and the mentally ill in a distinctly racist way.

While crime rates have fallen 45 percent since 1990, the memo said that the incarceration rate is now at a “historically unprecedented level,” jumping 222 percent between 1980 and 2012. An African-American man who never graduated from high school has a 70 percent likelihood of being imprisoned by his mid-30s; for similarly educated white men, the rate is about 15 percent. And the United States imprisons at a rate six times greater than most peer nations, including those of the European Union, Japan, Israel, and Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced rules last month that would give the Obama administration wider latitude to extend clemency or reduce sentences for drug-related prisoners who don’t present a threat to public safety. In addition, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously in April to reduce sentencing guidelines for certain nonviolent criminals, a move now before Congress that could go into effect Nov. 1 if lawmakers don’t take any further action.

Ronald S. Sullivan Jr.
 is a clinical professor of law and director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School. The program focuses on criminal practice, education, and research, and hosts a teaching clinic for third-year law students to represent indigent criminal defendants in local and juvenile courts. Sullivan spoke with the Gazette about racial and national sentencing disparities, the economic and social costs of mass incarceration, and the sentencing reforms now under consideration.

GAZETTE: According to the memo, while the overall crime rate fell 45 percent between 1990 and 2012, the rate of imprisonment has spiked 222 percent between 1980 and 2012. What’s behind this disparity? Is that strictly the result of policy decisions like mandatory minimum sentencing, repeat-offender laws, and the growth in for-profit prisons? Or are other factors at work?

SULLIVAN: That’s certainly a big piece of it. … policy decisions in respect of mandatory minimums drive the huge incarceration rate. But there are other factors as well. What those factors are is the subject of a lot of academic debate nowadays. And to be honest, we’re not exactly sure what it is. We do know that on a per-capita basis the U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world, including Rwanda, Russia, Cuba, all of the places one does not associate with a robust tradition of liberty. And that’s in many ways shocking.

The theory would be … with the high rates of incarceration that the crime rate would go down and then that would be followed by less incarceration because there just wouldn’t be as many crimes committed. But those numbers have gone in opposite directions. Mandatory minimums simply don’t explain all of it. Part of it, at least I think, has to do with selective law enforcement — the over-policing of certain neighborhoods, particularly minority neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods. That is to say, if police are there and looking for crimes, and over-police certain neighborhoods, you’re going to produce more defendants in particular areas. And if the populations are drawn from poor populations, they’re unable to afford to be released on bail, they’re unable to afford good lawyers, and studies show that if you’re not released on bail you tend to stay in jail after sentencing. An unfortunate reality of the United States is that far too often the justice you receive is a function of how much money you have.

The prison-industrial complex is also an important factor. It doesn’t take an economist to know that if … you make your money by people going into prison, then there’s going to be higher incarceration rates. So I think that certainly plays a role as well.

GAZETTE: What are the areas of debate among scholars?

SULLIVAN: One explanation has to do with the United States’ articulated goals of punishment. Back in the ’70s and before, rehabilitation was an articulated goal of the criminal justice system. The Supreme Court has said clearly now rehabilitation is no longer a penological goal. We look at incapacitation, we look at deterrence, and we look at retribution as goals that the penal system serves. When you take rehabilitation out of the mix, then that de-incentivizes the system from having shorter sentences because there’s no longer an affirmative goal of reintegrating people meaningfully back into the community. That’s one of the things that scholars argue drive up the incarceration rate.

The other has to do with our system of elected judges in most states. Judges who are elected, the argument runs, respond to democratic pressures. We live in a political economy where people think that more and harsher punishment is better, even though most competent data suggests that longer sentences, after a certain point … make people worse as opposed to making them better. But you have democratically elected judges who respond to the will of the people, and if that will is for longer sentences, no matter how misinformed, then judges oftentimes acquiesce to those pressures.

The other issue has to do with legislators. It, again, has to do with the political economy in which we live. With this mantra of being “tough on crime,” legislators essentially race to see who can draft legislation with the harshest, longest penalties. I think that legislators don’t believe that prosecutors will attempt to enforce the most harsh provisions of particular laws, and in that sense, from the vantage point of the legislator, it’s sort of a win-win situation: They can get the political credit for drafting an incredibly harsh law, but not really have to deal with the effects because the notion is the prosecutor will sort it out and will recommend a fair sentence. That assumption, though, just hasn’t really been borne out in reality.

GAZETTE: The current incarceration gap between white men and African-American men is particularly striking. Does that figure surprise you, and what accounts for this gap? Is access to justice a factor?

SULLIVAN: The figure does not surprise me, and it is unfortunate that the figure does not surprise me. The figure reaffirms that race insinuates itself into almost every aspect of our life still, and it has a particular salience in the criminal justice system. … Here we see the effect of over-policing much more dramatically. In our culture, unfortunately … blackness is seen as a proxy for criminality. So the same or similar conduct engaged in by a person of color is seen through a lens that views that conduct as criminal, where others simply are not taxed in the same way.

The debate over the use of lethal injections and the drugs used for state executions continues.   Three newspapers–including the UK Guardian–have sued to 8706624f946740fb5bfd634de4b31b58make public the source of drugs for these injections. Most states are trying to make that information private.  Many of the recent botched executions came from simple druggists compounding the formulations because many of the major drug manufacturers–especially those in Europe–refuse to do so.  Should the formulation and the source of death penalty drugs be kept from the public?

The growing secrecy adopted by death penalty states to hide the source of their lethal injection drugs used in executions is being challenged in a new lawsuit in Missouri, which argues that the American people have a right to know how the ultimate punishment is being carried out in their name.

The legal challenge, brought by the Guardian, Associated Press and the three largest Missouri newspapers, calls on state judges to intervene to put a stop to the creeping secrecy that has taken hold in the state in common with many other death penalty jurisdictions. The lawsuit argues that under the first amendment of the US constitution the public has a right of access to know “the type, quality and source of drugs used by a state to execute an individual in the name of the people”.

It is believed to be the first time that the first amendment right of access has been used to challenge secrecy in the application of the death penalty. Deborah Denno, an expert in execution methods at Fordham University law school in New York, said that more and more states were turning to secrecy as a way of hiding basic flaws in their procedures.

“If states were doing things properly they wouldn’t have a problem releasing information – they are imposing a veil of secrecy to hide incompetence.” “This is like the government building bridges, and trying to hide the identity of the company that makes the bolts,” said Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center. “Those involved in public service should expect public scrutiny in order to root out problems, particular when the state is carrying out the most intimate act possible – killing people.”

A Guardian survey has identified at least 13 states that have changed their rules to withhold from the public all information relating to how they get hold of lethal drugs. They include several of the most active death penalty states including Texas, which has executed seven prisoners so far this year, Florida (five), Missouri (four) and Oklahoma (three). Attention has been drawn to the secrecy issue by the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma on 29 April in which the prisoner took 43 minutes to die, apparently in great pain, from an untested cocktail of drugs whose source was not made public.

Lockett’s lawyers had argued in advance that he might be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment as a result of the lack of information surrounding the drugs, but the state supreme court allowed the procedure to go ahead having come under intense pressure from local politicians, some of whom threatened to impeach judges.

In the wake of the events in Oklahoma, in which the prisoner writhed and groaned over a prolonged period, the state has agreed to pause for six months before carrying out any further judicial killings to give time for an internal investigation to be completed. President Obama described the Lockett execution “deeply troubling” and has asked US attorney general Eric Holder to review the way the death penalty is conducted.

Until last year, Missouri which is now executing prisoners at a rate of one a month, was open about where it obtained its lethal injection chemicals. But like many death penalty states, its drug supplies have dwindled as a result of a European-led pharmaceutical boycott, and in a desperate move to try to find new suppliers it has shrouded their identity in secrecy. In October, the state changed its so-called “black hood law” that had historically been used to guard the identity of those directly involved in the death process.

The department of corrections expanded the definition of its execution team to include pharmacies and “individuals who prescribe, compound, prepare, or otherwise supply the chemicals for use in the lethal injection procedure”. Six inmates have been executed by Missouri since the new secrecy rules came in –they went to their deaths entirely ignorant of the source or quality of the drugs used to kill them. All that is known is that the pentobarbital that Missouri deploys in executions probably came from a compounding pharmacy – an outlet that makes up small batches of the drug to order in the absence of stringent regulation.

We continue to see GLBT civil rights characterized by the right as an attack on their religious rights and their homobigoted behavior and language The-Birth-of-a-Nationwrapped up as a first amendment issue. How does the right play the victim card in a debate about limiting the rights of others?  It is doing the same things with women’s reproductive rights.

While Religious Right leaders are quick to equate criticism as an attack on their freedom of speech and religion, some of them are all too happy to limit the free speech or religious liberty of the people they disagree with. That includes the Benham brothers.

In the flurry of public appearances in the wake of the HGTV cancellation, the Benhams and their right-wing fans have portrayed themselves as committed to the principle that everyone in America should have a chance to express themselves.  On the O’Reilly Factor, David Benham denounced the gay agenda for seeking “to silence those that disagree with it, and it begins with Christians.” Jason warned that “when an idea seeks to silence any other idea that may disagree with that, then we have ourselves a problem on hand.”

But as blogger Jeremy Hooper recently pointed out, back in November 2004, David, Jason, and Flip Benham were all part of a group of about 15 people who went to a Charlotte, North Carolina city council meeting to complain about the gay pride celebration that had taken place in a city park six months earlier. They were among a group of people who had gone to the Pride event to, in Jason’s words, “tell them that Jesus loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way.” But the Benhams and their friends were appalled at what they saw. “This is filth, this is vile and should not be allowed in our City,” said David. Jason urged city council members to reject future permits for Pride celebrations – and seemingly for any LGBT-themed event:

They have a right to apply for this permit, but you have a right and responsibility to deny it. I [implore] you not to be governed by the fear in which you feel. If you deny them this permit you will open a can of worms but you in your leadership position have to take that responsibility and you have to not allow the fear of making this homosexual community mad. You have to accept that responsibility and deny them every permit that they ask for.

In the words of Charlotte Pride organizers, “The Benham brothers once tried to silence us. They failed.”

Some Benham fans, like the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, say flat-out that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections were only meant for Christians and don’t apply to Muslims, Mormons or other minority faiths. Back when many self-proclaimed “religious liberty” advocates were opposing efforts by Muslims in New York to build a community center – which critics gave the inaccurate and inflammatory name of “Ground Zero Mosque” – David Benham and his father Flip were among them. According to the Anti-Defamation League, David participated in protests against the Center, calling it a “den of iniquity” and labeling Muslims “the enemy” that was attacking America.

In these public debates, “Christian” as used by Religious Right leaders often doesn’t really apply to all Christians, but only to a subset of Christians who share their right-wing politics. Other Christians don’t count.  The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who has bemoaned “cultural elites” who want to “silence” and “bully” people like the Benhams, recently said that pro-gay-equality Christians don’t deserve the same legal protections as he does because “true religious freedom” applies only to those with religious views that align with those of the political Right.

We’ve seen a lot of this coming from Governor Bobby Jindal who is a bully that insists that GLBT rights activists are bullies. 

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s commencement speech at Liberty University was a masterpiece in this type of dishonest projection. Posing as a champion of free speech and freedom of religion, he actually made a chilling argument in favor of stripping both of those freedoms away from ordinary Americans, businesses and anyone who might disagree with turning this country into a theocratic state. He started by defending Hobby Lobby for trying to strip contraception coverage out of their employees’ own healthcare plans. “Under the Obama regime,” he argued, “you have protection under the First Amendment as an individual, but the instant you start a business, you lose those protections. And that brings us to the second front in this silent war: the attack on our freedom of association as people of faith.”

It’s all nonsense, of course. In fact, Hobby Lobby’s intention here is to reduce religious freedom by forcing their employees to adhere to certain religious rules in order to get the benefits they already earned. ( They have a history of trying to impose their religious dogma on non-believers through other means as well.) The only people in any real danger of losing freedom are women, who are in danger of losing their freedom to use their insurance benefits in a way that fits their personal beliefs.

But Jindal was just warming up, claiming the “Obama administration” was gunning to decide “who can preach the Gospel.” This outrageous conspiracy theory was justified, in his opinion, by supposed other attacks on “free speech,” namely that TV networks are reluctant to house the opinions of open bigots. “The left no longer wants to debate. They simply want to silence us,” he said of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, who was never silenced and has, to this date, been allowed to say any fool thing he wants. But he was briefly suspended from A&E, leading conservatives to decide that “free speech” means you have a right to your own TV show.

All of this has gotten me interested in again in White Supremacist movements.  I really believe that most of these Southern Republicans fall squarely 67294811_blossoms_241543binto the neoconfederate mold and aren’t that far off the KKK tree.

White supremacy is referenced in relation to specific news events as well. For example, the murder rampage by the neo-Nazi Frazier Glenn Miller, the recent weeks-long debate between pundits Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jonathan Chait about “black pathology”; birtherism; stand-your-ground laws; and the open embrace of the symbols and rhetoric of the old slave-holding Confederacy by the Republican Party have been framed and discussed in terms of white supremacy.

Conservatives and progressive often use the phrase “white supremacy” in divergent ways. Conservatives use the phrase in the service of a dishonest “colorblind” agenda, evoking extreme images of KKK members and Nazis as the exclusive and only examples of white racism in American life and politics. Conservatives use extreme caricatures of white supremacy in order to deflect and protect themselves from charges that the contemporary Republican Party is a white identity organization fueled by white racial resentment. Liberals, progressives and anti-racists use the phrase “white supremacy” to describe the overt and subtle racist practices of movement conservatism in the post-Civil Rights era, and how American society is still structured around maintaining and protecting white privilege. This analysis is largely correct: however, it often conflates concepts such as racism, white privilege, and white supremacy with one another. Language does political work. In the age of Obama, the phrase “white supremacy” is often used in political discussions like an imprecise shotgun blast or a blockbuster bomb. If the Common Good and American democracy are to be protected—countering how the right wing has used the politics of white racial resentment, racial manipulation, and hate to mobilize its voters in support of a plutocratic agenda—a more precise weapon is needed. A necessary first step in that direction requires the development of a more detailed and transparent exploration of the concept known as “white supremacy.”

tumblr_m643ofO3Mw1r194ulo2_1280One of the sure signs to me of either a racist or a misogynist or a homophobic bigot is that they all insist they have no problem women, racial minorities, and/or gay people.  The believe they are the victims by being forced to deal with any one else in terms other than their own choosing. Therein lies the problem.  Here’s a perfect example from Kristen Powers writing at USA Today.   You can’t call out bigotry without being called a bully obsessed with political correctness.  Then, you’re told that the real victims are white conservative christians.

Each week seems to bring another incident. Last week it was David and Jason Benham, whose pending HGTV show was canceled after the mob unearthed old remarks the brothers made about their Christian beliefs on homosexuality. People can’t have a house-flipping show unless they believe and say the “right” things in their life off the set? In this world, the conservative Tom Selleck never would have been Magnum, P.I.

This week, a trail-blazing woman was felled in the new tradition of commencement shaming. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde withdrew from delivering the commencement speech at Smith College following protests from students and faculty who hate the IMF. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, this trend is growing. In the 21 years leading up to 2009, there were 21 incidents of an invited guest not speaking because of protests. Yet, in the past five-and-a-half years, there have been 39 cancellations.

Don’t bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as “a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully” and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a “psychotic mass murderer” and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.

The self-serving capriciousness is crazy. In March, University of California-Santa Barbara women’s studies professor Mireille Miller-Young attacked a 16-year-old holding an anti-abortion sign in the campus’ “free speech zone” (formerly known as America). Though she was charged with theft, battery and vandalism, Miller-Young remains unrepentant and still has her job. But Mozilla’s Brendan Eich gave a private donation to an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago and was ordered to recant his beliefs. When he wouldn’t, he was forced to resign from the company he helped found.

Got that? A college educator with the right opinions can attack a high school student and keep her job. A corporate executive with the wrong opinions loses his for making a campaign donation. Something is very wrong here.

The right seems to be really confused about the first amendment, which clearly deals with the relationship between the federal government, religion, the press, and the people’s free speech.  The same idiots that scream that Hobby Lobby can deny its employees contraception and say that businesses should be able to refuse to serve GLBTs will shout out a corporation that says they don’t want to be known for bigotry of any kind.  They also misunderstand the protection given to University professors when it comes to academic freedom.  Companies have to comply with the law.  They do not have to keep employees that don’t represent their corporate values.  PERIOD.

Anyway, it just amazes me that this intense amount of uncivil bigotry and hatred seemed to have burbled up again after all these years.  All it took was an African American President and a few powerful women–namely Hillary Clinton–to bring the crazy out.

I just wanted to mention that most of these silent film images come from “Birth of  a Nation” but one comes from “Broken Blossoms” also known as the “Yellow Man and the Girl”.  Both of these films were directed by DW Griffith around 1919. Both movies starred Lillian Gish and were received differently by white audiences than by the racial minorities they also depicted.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

89 Comments on “Friday Reads: Bigots Among Us”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    The FCC voted yesterday to open new “net neutrality” rules to debate. NYT:

    While the rules are meant to prevent Internet providers from knowingly slowing data, they would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Some opponents of the plan, those considered net neutrality purists, argue that allowing some content to be sent along a fast lane would essentially discriminate against other content.

    But how can that provide equal access for those who can’t or don’t pay extra? So, it’s not “net neutrality.”

    Mr. Wheeler argued on Thursday that the proposal did not allow a fast lane. But the proposed rules do not address the connection between an Internet service provider, which sells a connection to consumers, and the operators of backbone transport networks that connect various parts of the Internet’s central plumbing.

    That essentially means that as long as an Internet service provider like Comcast or Verizon does not slow the service that a consumer buys, the provider can give faster service to a company that pays to get its content to consumers unimpeded.

  2. ANonOMouse says:

    Dak…I’m equally as frustrated with the self-proclaimed Christian anti-gay bigots who pose as victims when the truth is that they are the only people who are trying to deny others the right to full equality in the law.

    When Michael Sam was drafted by the STL Rams in the NFL, the preaching, smearing, ugly hatred almost burned the internet down. Most of it done in the name of jesus. I tuned into ESPN after the draft only to hear ESPN Commentator, Stephen A. Smith, a man who claims to support LGBT rights (cause he knows gay people) say: “I think it’s a very, very dangerous thing when people see something and they have a problem with what they’re seeing and they express themselves, and ultimately they’re fined.” (Ironically Stephen had just the opposite reaction to Donald Sterling, but in this case he was speaking about an NFL player who was fined for a nasty Tweet about Sam kissing his boyfriend after he found it he’d been drafted) Smith went on to say: “People should have the freedom to not want to be associated with that or not want that in their face,” WTF does that mean? Get Back into the Closet Queers? Then Smith said of Sam’s public display of affection. “I don’t have a problem with it, but I do respect those that do.”

    I emailed Smith “BULLSHIT Stephen!!! Would you have the same reaction if the nasty twitter comment had been about an African American Draftee innocently kissing his Caucasian girlfriend?” Smith is an AA and I’m quite sure he wouldn’t have made similar comments if the Tweet had been about an interracial couple kissing on TV. I told Smith that I see more provocative sexual behavior between heterosexuals on TV in the first 5 minutes of my day then he’s seen between gays/lesbians/bisexuals/transgender people in 5 years. I’m just sick of this, it parallels that period of our history when people used religion, and “offense to their sensibility” to discriminate against interracial couples and people of color. IT MUST END!!!!

  3. RalphB says:

    Reuters: I’m making $21 an hour at McDonald’s. Why aren’t you?

    I work for McDonald’s and I make $21 an hour.

    No, that isn’t a typo. It’s really my salary.

    You see, I work for McDonald’s in Denmark, where an agreement between our union and the company guarantees that workers older than 18 are paid at least $21 an hour. Employees younger than 18 make at least $15 — meaning teenagers working at McDonald’s in Denmark make more than two times what many adults in America earn working at the Golden Arches.

    To anyone who says that fast-food jobs can’t be good jobs, I would answer that mine isn’t bad. In fact, parts of it are just fine. Under our union’s agreement with McDonald’s, for example, I receive paid sick leave that workers are still fighting for in many parts of the world. We also get overtime pay, guaranteed hours and at least two days off a week, unlike workers in most countries. …

    Unions for fast food workers, please!

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Yes America, UNIONS WORK FOR WORKERS!!!!

    • NW Luna says:

      Ah, facts, those annoying things. Hush, we don’t want to hear them here in the U.S. of Corporations. Nor do we want to hear about CEOs getting paid only a few dozen times more than the average worker, instead of a few hundred or few thousand times more.

      And don’t tell us about the paid medical leave, paid parental leave, paid vacation, reasonable pensions, good public health, infrastructure, community services, …… The taxes are so high! Never mind that there standard of living, and life expectancy is so much higher than the US.

      Sigh. I have no problem with higher taxes going for the right things, such as health care, community services, and bridges that don’t collapse. Much happier than paying for wars, and corporate tax write-offs.

      Oh yeah …. Unions. The folks that brought us the weekend!

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “Oh yeah …. Unions. The folks that brought us the weekend!”

        And the 40 hour work week.

  4. Fannie says:

    Looking over the criminal justice studies, as often is the case, there appears to be a lack of study of women in the criminal justice system, from jails, to prison, to probation and parole, sentencing, and reintegration back into society, and their children. Many more women than men were the sole care givers of their children. The cost triples when they must be place into another system of foster care, and communities that do not offer these children the care they need, the education that they need, and often does not foster healthy attitudes towards a Mother (female) that has done time. Like the black male more black females are imprisoned than Hispanics, and white women. However in the last 15 years it has been reported that more white women are now doing time. Most of the crimes women engage in are drug related, or property related, or paper crimes (embezzlement). I am not saying they do not engage in violence, because a small number do. Men for the most part are in prison for violence. Not to mention that more women are in prison because they suffer from mental illness. Time and time again, women like Jessica Mitford has proven in her book “Kind and Usual Punishment” that prison is big business and is full of corruption. That in fact you could give inmates a Harvard education, and it would come out costing less than the current system of imprisonment.

    I realize it is hard to identify all problems that affect all people in the criminal justice system, that’s darn near impossible. But the multi faceted problems must be address if we are to see some positive changes in the community, at the courthouse, in prisons and our environment. We need some attitudinal changes too.

    I was reading about Gov. Otter (Idaho) and the cost and mess that was created by the privation of the prison system here. I’ll try to gather more details. I’ve also noted that people have a problem with parolees being released in counties that they were not sentenced from. They feel like they have a cluster of parolees, and that they are the cause of increasing crime rate. It’s another blame game, halfway houses, thugs, and when they are hired, it only takes one parolee to spoil it for others who need room and board, and jobs, and medical attention (addicts, psychiatric clinics, etc.). Another example is the California Prison System in which the Supreme Court ordered them to release inmates because they cannot provide the necessary health care needed while they are imprisoned. You’ll hear California saying they are the most violent being released, when they are more likely to release criminals for lesser crimes.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    Houston Pastor says business owners (Christians) have a right to refuse service to Jews (but adds, that’s not what this is about) Yes we know, it’s about the scary LGBTQ’s. Lions and tigers and bears, oh no!!!!

    No shirt, no shoes, no gays, no lesbian, no transsexual, no transgender, no queers, and by the way, no Jews?

    • RalphB says:

      Certainly made an ass out of her in exposing her bigotry. Way to go Councilwoman!

    • NW Luna says:

      So, no service for Jesus?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Not if he was a Jew.

        • dakinikat says:

          If he even existed, which is dubious, he was Jewish so they basically wouldn’t serve him … right

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Joseph Campbell and his lecture series with Bill Moyers “The Power of Myth” Is a real mind opener where religion is concerned. And I agree with you, I think there’s more evidence that jesus never existed than evidence he did.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            I was so steeped in Catholicism as a child that I never realized how many myths were pushed forward to support the jesus narrative. Virgin birth, Trinity, god-made-man, crucifixion, resurrection and the list goes on and on. Joseph Campbell did an excellent job of demonstrating that the jesus story was well established mythology well before the supposed life of jesus.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    Just checked the Live Stream on the American Spring March on DC, as predicted, it’s spring has sprung. Looks to be a few hundred people, many carrying the TeaParty “Don’t tread on me” flag, chanting “impeach Obama”. Such a sad spectacle.

    • dakinikat says:

      I saw that last night on Rachel. So insane!

      • NW Luna says:

        No doubt the marchers are all reporting back that there’s a few hundred thousand of their deluded selves.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I can’t wait to see Rachel give them a good ass kicking tonight. They were predicting that between 10 and 30 million people would attend today’s march. These folks are suffering from some sort of delusion disorder if they think they can rally 10-30 million people to DC.

    • RalphB says:

      From a comment at Pierce’s blog:

      it’s also National Police Week here in DC so there’ll be more Boston cops in town than teabagging militiamen

    • dakinikat says:

      “If FEMA does try to round you up, how will you defend yourself?” Connors asked. “With a piece of paper? With a flag?”

      Riley said participants would not carry firearms to the event, but he said they were prepared to defend themselves.

      A caller from North Carolina said he feared Obama would declare martial law and begin executing Christian citizens as a prelude to civil war.

      “We learned one thing from the Bundy ranch,” the caller said. “If you are armed, they will not pose a threat to the people protesting. If you are not armed, you are a target — plain and simple.”

      Another caller from Michigan said he was more concerned about government manipulation of natural resources.

      “I’m so fed up with the tyranny I sold my jet ski,” the caller said. “I’m so fed up with the way the government is manipulating the water with the chemtrails, I’m afraid I can’t even use my jet ski.”

      Riley told Connors that heavy morning rains had dampened turnout, but he said out-of-town visitors camping outside the capital would likely arrive later Friday or through the weekend.

      A group of demonstrators shown on another live stream said shortly after 11 a.m. that they started their march into Washington, but one of them moved the goalposts from the capital to anywhere supporters lived.

      “Can’t get to Washington, D.C.? Not a problem,” said a man wearing a black cowboy hat and plastic rain poncho. “Go to your state representative. Can’t get to your statehouse? Not a problem. Go to your county courthouse. Can’t get to your county courthouse? Not a problem. Sit in your own front yard, holding a sign.”

      One of the demonstrators suggested they sing the national anthem, and he initially led off with the opening words to “America The Beautiful” before joining the others in “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

      A woman in her 60s compared the demonstration to the wars she had lived through, going back to the Korean War.

      “I didn’t see the Civil War,” she said. “But I’m from the South, and we’re still fighting it.”

    • RalphB says:

      Head prosecutor at Gitmo’s take on OpAmericanSpring… 🙂

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    “Perversion is revolting to those who are not perverse”

    To sum it all up, This writer thinks Michael Sam is a Pawn, being used by liberals to destroy black families, black babies and Christianity.

    Wow, just wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • dakinikat says:

      “Erotic display”? Wtf? How is kissing your so like that erotic?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I know, I’m an old woman but I still remember what an “erotic display” is and that kiss wasn’t it, it wasn’t even in the park. Apparently the lady who wrote this article doesn’t get out much.

      • NW Luna says:

        You know what’s next, right? No display of bare shoulders, bare knees, bare lower limbs, or uncovered heads in public.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I’m imagining she really freaked out if she watched “Shrek”, A Woman and an Ogre? A Donkey and a Dragon? OMG. Such Perversion. 🙂

        • ANonOMouse says:

          I’m also guessing she’s never seen the K-Y lubricant commercial. F-R-E-A-K-Y.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            But the K-Y commercial is about “natural sex” right? I keep forgetting.

            My mother once told me “I imagine that the thought of a man and a woman having sex is as repulsive to you as the thought of you having sex with a woman is to me”. Mind you, she said that to a woman who had 3 children (in the 60’s) the old fashion way. I said “Momma, I have 3 children, I wasn’t repulsed, but I wasn’t happy either, I did what I thought was expected of me. Besides, why are you thinking about me having sex with another woman? I don’t think about you having sex? It has nothing to do with you so don’t think about it if it repulses you” then she said “I just can’t believe you’re a LIzbian”. I said “Momma, the word is lesbian, not Lizbian, you make it sound like I have some diseases that Liz Taylor started in the lesbian community”. She actually laughed!!!

          • RalphB says:

            Well Mouse, you were funny. 🙂

          • ANonOMouse says:

            My momma was a tough case to crack. She didn’t fully accept me until shortly before she died. On the day before she died she asked me if she could talk with my partner in private. She asked my partner to take care of me and told her she loved her. That meant more to me than worldly thing she could ever have left to me.

            I went to what I believe was the first Gay Pride March in the South in Atlanta. Before I went I told my momma what I was going to do. She said something to the effect “Hell no, they send reporters to those things, I see them on the news at night. Those men dressed like women and lizbians dressed like men marching in San Francisco always get on TV. With our luck they will get a picture of you and show you marching on our channels”. Of course I went anyway, and sure enough I walked right in front of a TV camera. I never saw any footage, but I’m sure it’s memorialized in some old video vault somewhere. The first thing she asked when I got home was “Did they get you on camera?” I said “No momma, there were no news people there at all, except those marching with us”.

          • NW Luna says:

            So wonderful to hear how she spoke with your partner at the end. I’m glad you have that memory of her understanding and accepting.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            I took care of her at the end, she wanted to die at home, so I kept her at home so that she could have that peace. Moments before she died I was wiping her brow trying to soother her. She looked at me and smiled and I said “Thank you momma” and she pointed at me and said “Thank you”. Those were her last words. That’s the best memory.

          • RalphB says:

            What a great memory!

    • RalphB says:

      That writer is one confused puppy!

      Why Is It?

      Can someone please explain why the people who absolutely should not be around guns are the ones most avidly defending gun rights? Is it because they know they shouldn’t be within a country mile of a firearm so gun control scares them? Do they just have small dicks and need a gun and pick-em-up truck to affirm their masculinity? What is wrong with these people:

      … A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.

      After a fundraiser one night during the program, Longdon returned home around 10 p.m., parked her ramp-equipped van and began unloading herself. As she wheeled up to her house, a man stepped out of the shadows. He was dressed in black and had a rifle, “like something out of a commando movie,” Longdon told me. He took aim at her and pulled the trigger. Longdon was hit with a stream of water. “Don’t you wish you had a gun now, bitch?” he scoffed before taking off. …

      These are just damaged, deranged, sad, and because of the current status of gun control, heavily armed sociopaths who shouldn’t be allowed near toenail clippers. This country is nuts.

      Perverts? These people are freaking perverts in the worst sense of the word.

    • Mouse, you have a hell of a life story…

      This is one good video have you seen it.

  8. NW Luna says:

    So a life is worth anywhere from $0.6 million to $2.6 million. That does not include disabilities from non-fatal accidents.

    Government fines GM maximum $35M in safety case

    It’s the maximum penalty that the government can impose. But the amount is less than a day’s revenue for GM, based on the $37.4 billion it took in during the first quarter, and safety advocates were quick to question its effectiveness. ….

    NHTSA has been investigating GM’s delayed recall of 2.6 million older small cars with defective ignition switches. GM has acknowledged knowing that the switches had problems as early as 2001, but it didn’t start recalling the cars until February of this year. The department said in a statement that GM agreed that it was slow to report the problems.

    The company says at least 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem, but trial lawyers suing the company say the death toll is at least 53. Ignition switches on Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions can slip out of the “run” position and shut off the engine. That cuts off the power steering and brakes, potentially causing drivers to lose control. It also disables the car’s air bags.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Hey, we need some laughs today! Not sure when this first came out and just saw a link to it when Rep Jim McDermott, (D-Liberal), visited our local Dem LD mtg to make the case for an endorsement.—washington-s-7th—jim-mcdermott

    Of course, McDermott won the endorsement.

  10. RalphB says:

    Esquire: The Navy Just Opened Its Books On Sexual Assault And Rape In Its Ranks

    … in a somewhat seismic shift of position, the Navy has now taken to openly publishing the results of all court-martial results, every month, within weeks of the sentences. Here are the results for last month. Folks, this is what they call a sea change.

    Of the 25 courts-martial results, fully 10 of them dealt with sexual assault in one form or another, up to and including forcible rape. I have covered this crisis here and here, including stories of rape. And now the Navy is publishing this, under a new policy of open-ness. …

    Lt Col Bateman at Pierce’s blog.

  11. dakinikat says:

    Residents of a New Hampshire town are calling for the ouster of an elected police commissioner accused of using a racial slur against President Barack Obama.

    Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland made the remark at a restaurant in early March, said resident Jane O’Toole.

    O’Toole said she was finishing a dinner March 6 to celebrate eight years as cancer-free when she heard another patron loudly complain that he hated watching television, because every time he turned it on, he sees “that f-cking n-gger.”

  12. RalphB says:

    • NW Luna says:

      “…..He was also wearing elegant black lace-up gentleman’s dress shoes with a modest heel.”

      That tweet is hilarious!

      Hey Ralph, how far are you from Dallas? I’m going there end of this month for a conference. Yeah, I know TX is a big state. But it would be fun to have even a small gathering of 2 SkyDancers to engage in witty repartee and poke fun and the RWNJs. Or maybe not, considering the RWNJ gun nuts….

      • RalphB says:

        I’m about 3.5 hours away but if you let me know when and where, I’ll show up if at all possible. My son lives north of Dallas in Prosper and I owe a visit anyway, 🙂

        Sounds like a great idea.

        • NW Luna says:

          Great! I fly in sometime Tues May 27 and leave Sun June 1st. I should have some time free from conference sessions and dinner mtgs on neuroimmunology findings, the latest 12Tesla power imaging, and the umpteen different kinds of T cells and etc or my eyes will glaze over permanently … I’ll email you.

  13. dakinikat says:


    “When asked about the racial make-up of his senatorial staff,” LaPolitics Weekly reports, “Vitter said there were African-American workers in his office, but that he was unable to think of their names.”

    fyi … check the mail room

  14. RalphB says:

    I read that #americanspringexcuses is trending on twitter.

  15. Had to post this one

  16. bostonboomer says:

    Emptywheel has resigned from The Intercept. Interesting.