This Is Why I Have A Problem With Fundamentalists

Image from

This morning, I heard about Uganda. Have you heard about Uganda? Their Parliament just passed what could only be described as tyrannical anti-gay legislation.

Basically, the Ugandan government wants to make it completely illegal to be gay. Well, being gay is already illegal, but if this bill is signed into law, repeated homosexual acts between consenting adults in Uganda can get you a life sentence in prison.

When it was introduced in 2009, the bill was nicknamed the “Kill The Gays Bill” because it called for death sentences. In essence, Uganda wanted to legally kill gay people for being gay. The death sentence provision has since been removed. Instead, they’ll just lock them up and throw away the key. How generous.

Not only that, but if your friends, neighbors and coworkers don’t narc to the authorities that you are gay, they will also be prosecuted. “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, it’s actual name, makes it a crime to ‘promote’ homosexuality, which could mean simply offering HIV counseling”[1] and “prescribes a seven-year jail term for a person who ‘conducts a marriage ceremony’ for same-sex couples. [It also makes it a crime to rent] an apartment to an LGBT person, punishable by five years in prison.” [2]

Jessica Stern, executive director of the The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in New York, said “If you’re perceived to be LGBT, no one’s going to rent to you, for fear of their own criminal responsibility. So if this law is enacted in its current form, it’s basically a homelessness sentence for LGBT Ugandans.”[1]

It was passed unanimously by the parliament with no one voicing an objection. This awful piece of discriminatory, hateful legislation has yet to be signed into law by the Ugandan President. Yoweri Museveni was careful to neither publicly support nor condemn the bill. He has 30 days to sign it.

Wow, that’s absolutely monstrous, you might say, if your soul isn’t made of pure molten evil, but what does that have to do with the title of this post?

Allow me to explain. American evangelical bigots helped write The Kill Bill along with Ugandan bigots. Specifically, these evangelical bigots: “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s sponsor, is the secretary of the Ugandan branch of The Family, the secretive American evangelical organization whose members include Sens. James Inhofe, Jim DeMint, and Tom Coburn. Martin Sempa, a Pentecostal preacher who has championed the bill, was a protege of Rick Warren and, during the Bush administration, a recipient of at least $90,000 of American aid earmarked for abstinence promotion. Another major anti-gay activist, Stephen Langa, the head of Uganda’s Family Life Network, is an affiliate of the Phoenix-based group Disciple Nations Alliance.” [3]

“Uganda is a predominantly Christian country with a significant (about 12%) Muslim minority. According to the National Census of October 2002, Christians of all denominations made up 85.1% of Uganda’s population.”[4]

It wasn’t always that way. Let’s go back in time to figure out how all of that happened since it doesn’t make a lick of rational sense that American evangelicals would be writing odious anti-gay legislation in Uganda and get it passed through Parliament. We need a history lesson to see the big picture here.

Christian Fundamentalist missionaries first arrived in Uganda (then called Buganda–where did the B go?) in 1877, which was nearly a century later than the rest of the continent as far as busybody missionary tinkering in Africa goes. Yet, by the turn of the century, Uganda was one of the most successful conversion missions in all of Africa.

Islam already had a foothold in the region by the time Christian missionaries arrived. The ruler of Uganda was smitten with Islam. He learned some Arabic and led some prayers. This all changed when Egypt decided it wanted to consolidate parts of the Nile river, including Uganda, into an Egyptian Empire. The Ungandan ruler, Kabaka (king) Muteesa said nuh uh.

Kabaka Muteesa. When He says "nuh uh," you listen. Image from wiki.
Kabaka Muteesa. When he says “nuh uh,” you listen.
Image from wiki.

Instead of learning a valuable lesson on how religion and politics shouldn’t mingle, Muteesa greeted the first busybody Christian missionary, Mr. Henry Morton Stanley with open arms. This is totally the hat and mustache of someone you can trust, right?

Mr. Henry Morton Stanley, 1872/ Image from wiki.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Henry Morton Stanley. Never mind the fact that, in a few years, I’ll be openly advocating a British takeover of Uganda.”
Image from wiki.

Muteesa saw Christianity as a way to counter the Muslim threat from Egypt. Besides, the first-world Christians had some cool technology, or as we like to call it, magic.

Stanley sent a letter back to the church more or less saying, “Man, these Ugandans are swell on Christianity. We must convert them all post-haste.” That turned out to be a bit of an overstatement, but the white man came anyway, and we all know how well it goes when the white man brings the “right way” to the lowly heathens. See Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart or read what happened to the indigenous people of America.

Anyway, things fall apart. The problem was, at the same time Stanley’s Protestant missionaries came from England, some French Catholics arrived, too. The English were all, like, “Uganda is ours, chaps. Be good fellows and scurry off,” while the French were all, like, “No, zees ees ours. Le French az ad our eyes zet on zees plaze pour le while,” which was true. Meanwhile, the Ugandans were all, like, “WTF?”

Muteesa allowed both the French Catholics and the English Protestants to stay so that he could use both of them for whatever they were worth, which at that point, wasn’t much besides keeping Egypt off his back.

Then came a new king, Muteesa’s son, Mwanga II of Buganda in 1884, who happened to be gay. As we all know, things don’t go too well for homosexuals in either Christian faith. So, Mwanga killed some Christians. It turned out to be a political mistake, which led, of course, to killing more Christians.

King Mwanga II Buganda. Image from wiki.
King Mwanga II Buganda. Sup?
Image from wiki.

In 1886, Mwanga massacred a lot of Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. The real cause for the killings was the king’s anger that his Christian pages refused to get down with the gay way. The religious sects–Muslim, Protestant and Catholic–formed some armies like they’ve been known to do throughout all of recorded damn history. Before we invented fire, Muslims, Protestants and Catholics had armies.

At first, Mwanga rooted for these armies as a way to stick it to the man, i.e. the older generation of chiefs, forgetting that he was actually the man, metaphorically and literally. But, by 1888, he realized that maybe having three religious armies roaming around the countryside wasn’t the best idea. He tried to get rid of them, but getting rid of armies isn’t the easiest thing to do and they started a coup. The three armies joined forces to oust him.

Once Mwanga was out, the Muslims, Protestants and Catholics stopped mid-high five and said, “Wait a minute, dude, we’re enemies!” They turned their guns or swords or slingshots or whatever they used for warrin’ in 1888 on each other. The English Protestant missionaries came out top of the heap and that’s how Christianity got a stranglehold in Uganda. Then, years later, along came the American fundamentalists and anti-gay hate legislation. The end.[5]

Except, not the end at all. Several however many years after the gay king, Christianity still has a damned stranglehold on Uganda. Much like Bart Simpson accidentally loosing a frog in Australia and destroying an ecosystem, Christianity has completely uprooted the country. The indigenous belief system is all but gone. The government is ruled by religion. Stupid rules that are not inherent to the region are now in place, such as imprisoning people for life for being gay like Mwanga.

Now, if the current president of Uganda does, in fact, sign this heinous bill into law, countless people will suffer, because foreign aid will dwindle down to a trickle. The entire population of Uganda will suffer, not just the people who are accused of a crime–the same crime, by the way, committed by the very ruler who allowed Christianity to choke the life out of Uganda in the first place.

So, Mr. Yoweri Museveni, Ugandan President, tread lightly. You, sir, are in a bit of a pickle. If you pass the bill, Western countries have threatened to withhold financial aid.[2] If you don’t pass the bill, the Ugandan population will most likely oust you from office since “it is highly popular among Ugandans who say the country has the right to pass laws that protect its children.” (Don’t even get me started on the “think of the children” defense).[2] It’s an internal versus external battle and you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I sincerely hope you don’t.

What really infuriates me about this story, besides the gasp-worthy human rights violation, is that this hatred, segregation and discrimination all boils down to religion once again. And not just any religion, but old-fashioned American-style evangelical Christianity.

I am disgusted by Uganda’s politics. I am ashamed to be an American. I am sickened when I see news reports like this one or this one, dangling the term “American” in front of Uganda’s extreme homophobia, that the same word can be used to describe both the root of this vile hate and myself.

To the Fundamentalist Christians responsible for this abominable bill: Stop spreading hate around the world. It’s bad enough that you’ve been doing it in America. Christianity isn’t about hate. You’re doing it wrong and you totally suck at religion.

To the Ugandan government: Stop this nonsense now before anyone else[6] gets hurt. Do not pass this bill.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


[1] Source: NPR: Uganda Passes Anti-Gay Bill That Includes Life In Prison
[2] Source: NPR: Uganda Passes Tough New Bill Against Homosexuality
[3] Source: “Globalizing the Culture Wars: US Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia” report by Political Research Associates
Source: Wikipedia: Religion in Uganda
[5] My history of religion in Uganda was severely paraphrased from and “A History of Christianity in Uganda” by Kevin Ward, Senior Lecturer in African Religious Studies, University of Leeds.
[6] Source: The Guardian: Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato found murdered

Continued in Part 2.

The Sky is Falling: The Media & The Boston Bombings


In the wake of another tragedy in America with the Boston Marathon bombings, I am disgusted by the media yet again. I use the term “media” here to describe national broadcasting networks like Fox, ABC, CNN, etc., internet news sources and social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Less than a few hours after the bombing, radio nutjob and supreme asshat, Alex Jones, was already railing about a false flag conspiracy hypothesis:

I don’t use the term conspiracy theory. Theories have proof. Unproven theories are hypotheses.


If you’re not familiar with the term “false flag,” it is a covert military or paramilitary operation designed to make it look as if it was carried out by someone else. So, basically, the belief that this callous whack-a-doo made public was that the American government bombed its own people at the Boston Marathon.

Yes, that’s right. This crank thinks that the American government bombed American citizens on American soil, injuring 170+ and killing three people including an eight year old American boy. Not only does he think that, but he is getting lots of press for it. A search for Alex Jones false flag gets a ton of results:

Picture 1
I saved you the trouble.

The government bombed itself to prove what exactly? While I agree that this hypothesis is possible, it is also possible that it was The Easter Bunny or a likeness thereof. Possible and probable are not the same thing. Yes, events like this certainly distract the media for a while, but to what end?

The only momentous legislation going through Congress this week were gun control bills and they all failed anyway. If this was a bid to increase Homeland Security in the wake of sequestration, well, you don’t need a bomb to do that. A nice failed assassination attempt would have served nicely without hurting anyone, especially civilians. I can’t believe I’m giving counter-arguments to Jones’ lunatic views; I am now officially part of the problem. Suffice it to say, I don’t see a motive.

Jones’ blaming the government for bombing its own citizens, makes about as much sense as blaming Bigfoot, J. Edgar Hoover and Pauly Shore… together… in the BigHoovShore Conspiracy… to ruin Christmas. It’s just as much of a stretch. Does Pauly Shore have an airtight alibi? I think not.

Pauly, why do you hate America?
Pauly, why do you hate America?

Why is the American media giving any publicity to this wacko conspiracy hypothesis? Well, with the advent of 24 hour news networks, they have to talk about something… all the time… forever. By publicizing Jones’ nutjob views and others like it, the media has something to discuss for hours on end, sans facts, because we have none. Plus, we, the public and the media, can vilify someone. The FBI has not the first clue who is responsible for the bombings yet, so by publishing articles and giving the talking heads the fodder of conspiracy nonsense, we can at least hate on Alex Jones while we wait for the real culprit to emerge.

But the Alex Jones nutjobbery is not the only conjecture out there, not by a long shot. Some of these postulations are a little crazier than others, but they all contain hypothetical, irrelevant or just plain wrong information.

I used to live in Boston. Last night, I logged on to Facebook for the first time in months just to make sure that all of the people I know in Boston are safe (they are) and I saw crap like this floating around:


No, actually, that’s a lie. There was a moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut before the race even began, but the last mile was not dedicated to anyone, because that’s a ridiculous thing to do. A moment of silence and dedicating the last mile to the Newtown victims are clearly not at all the same thing.

A photograph of a page titled “Thoughts Go out To All Involved In The Boston Explosions” is circulating Facebook with the implication that, because it was started two days before the bombings, it shows that either the page was set up by someone involved in the attack or that it proves that the bombing was a false flag event.


Conspiracy theorists used this same reasoning after the Newtown shootings when another Facebook page showed up supposedly before the incident, proving that it was staged. It was bunk then and it’s bunk now. The fact is, Facebook pages can change their name. It is far more likely that the page was created under a different name and promptly changed after the bombings took place. Name changes do not affect the creation date of the page.

This image was circulated as one of the victims of the bombing saying that she attended Sandy Hook Elementary school. In reality, the Boston victim was a boy and this picture was taken from the Joe Cassella 5K in May 2012, which is actually clearly legible along the top of her number tag. This is not a picture of a victim. It was not even taken this year. The Boston victim was a spectator, not a runner. Children are not allowed to run in the Boston marathon.


Another false victim image. The image in the upper left from the Boston bombings is actually a picture of Jeff Bauman. This entire collage is insulting to both the bombing victims and our veterans. It’s just wrong.

Picture 4

This picture circulated with the caption: “The man in the red shirt planned to propose to his girlfriend as she crossed the finish line, but she passed away.” The picture was circulated before any of the victims were named and the victims who died were observers, not participants. Not to mention that the same story circulated about a victim at Sandy Hook.

Picture 2

The roof walker. The picture seems to show someone walking on the rooftop of a nearby building as one of the explosions is happening. The image, taken by Dan Lampariello, appears to be genuine. However, what the image shows could be just about anything, from a person to a building fixture. Even if it was a person, it could have been someone trying to get a good view of the finish line or someone doing maintenance or any of another million reasons for being there. The bombs were low to the ground, not on the rooftops. Someone walking on a roof is not news. It proves nothing.


There were news reports based on the accounts of Ali Stevenson who was at the event and claims he saw bomb sniffing dogs at both the start and finish lines, and reported hearing announcements that it was “just a training exercise.” Stevenson also speculated that this could have meant a threat was called in.


There’s no reason to necessarily doubt Stevenson’s account, but it has not been corroborated by other witnesses nor verified. It is entirely possible that sniffer dogs were present. They could have been there as a preventative measure. They could have been present for an exercise or as the result of someone calling in a threat, or Stevenson could just be lying for whatever reason. However, at this point, it’s all just speculation and it doesn’t prove a thing.

This Boston Globe tweet was circulated as more supposed “false flag” proof, which is bunk. This tweet circulated as proof that authorities knew about the bombings before they happened. However, this tweet came after the first two explosions. It refers to the third explosion when the authorities detonated what they thought was a third bomb. It was not.


And then you can file these under “crazy” and “racist:”



RushBostonTweet tumblr_inline_mlbt9lR1fe1qawfnh

More horrible Twitter trolling

There’s even a conspiracy hypothesis that the bombings were done by North Korea.


If North Korea were to bomb us, they would certainly use two improvised explosive devices instead of the nuclear missiles they’ve been testing. Right.

Still, reporting on the wacko conspiracies is just one aspect of the media’s failure in this instance. Most of the television news networks displayed “Terror in Boston!” or something of the kind. This is not news reporting; this is fear-mongering. Terror everywhere! RUN!!!!

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While I do not doubt that bombing the Boston marathon inspired terror in those present and lots of it, the word itself doesn’t mean what it used to. In a post-September 11th world, terror seems to imply a Muslim extremist threat. We do not know if that is the case here, but the media reported the crackpot stories anyway:



The major media outlets’ reporting of the tragedy is all fire and brimstone, but nothing at all has been proven. We do not know anything about any “terrorists,” domestic or foreign, having any involvement in the bombings. It could just as easily have been one individual whack-a-doo like Alex Jones.

All of this reactionary nonsense makes me appreciate even more that the President Of The United States figuratively shrugged his shoulders in his statement on the bombings this morning:

Obviously our first thoughts this morning are with the victims, their families, and the city of Boston. We know that two explosions gravely wounded dozens of Americans, and took the lives of others, including an 8-year-old boy.

This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror. What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack, or why; whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual. That’s what we don’t yet know. And clearly, we’re at the beginning of our investigation.

It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened. But we will find out. We will find whoever harmed our citizens and we will bring them to justice. more

Please, people of the world, don’t believe everything you hear, read and see. Can we please, for once, wait for some facts before we go pointing fingers? The last thing we need is more hatred of innocent Muslims and more ridiculous conspiracies. Even if we did know for certain that the bomber was a Muslim, which we don’t, you cannot blame an entire population of people for the acts of a few. Most Muslims are innocent victims themselves.

My thoughts and well wishes go out to the victims and families of the Boston marathon bombing.

Citizens Divided


I know I’ve been talking about serious topics like rape, politics, rape and politics, vaginas and domestic violence a lot lately. Those of you cruising for my typical shenaniganny carryings-on are like to be disappoint by yet another post on serious business, but I think it’s good to use the goop in our brainpans for something thought-provoking once in a while.

This is yet another post on the state of American politics. It still applies to those of you in countries that are not this one, since it will knowledge you on what to avoid in your own sovereign nations. Plus, I’m pretty sure that America still thinks it’s king of the hill and will waterboard any of you who disagree. For the benefit of those of you who have no idea what Citizens United is (I’ll give you a pass if you live in another country), I’ll give a little rundown.

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court decided that corporations are people. In the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.

Basically, what that means is that corporations can donate money to what are now called Super-PACs and 501(c)(4)s. Super PACs (Political Action Committees) are not allowed to directly contribute to candidate campaigns or parties, but they are allowed unlimited political spending independently of the campaigns. Unlike traditional PACs, they can raise funds from corporations, unions and other groups, and from individuals, without legal limits.

If you think that sounds like a terrible idea, wait until you hear about the 501Cs. 501Cs are tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. 501(c)(4) organizations may lobby for legislation, and participate in political campaigns and elections. 501(c)(4) organizations are not required to disclose their donors publicly.

The lack of disclosure has led to extensive use of the 501(c)(4) provisions for organizations that are actively involved in lobbying. Criticized as “dark money,” spending from these organizations on political TV ads has exceeded spending from Super PACs. (All of that information is on the Citizens United wiki I linked above. Sources are listed there.)

Justice Stevens wrote the dissenting opinion for the Supreme Court. In it, he said, “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.”

I cannot agree with Justice Stevens more. In fact, I agree with everything he said in his dissenting opinion. It is full of legalese, but it has gems like this: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” I’d recommend reading it if you want to know every single way that Citizens United backed up the U.S. Constitution, bend it over and straight-up gang raped it.

Jean Paul Stevens. This man deserves a superhero cape. (Image from wiki)

Steven’s points an accusatory finger at the justices who approved of this constitutional butchery: “Essentially, five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.”  “The problem goes still deeper, for the Court does all of this on the basis of pure speculation.” “Faced with this gaping empirical hole, the majority throws up its hands.” “The majority has transgressed yet another ‘cardinal’ principle of the judicial process.”

The opinion is chock full of ostensibly polite, but really not very nice phrases calling out the majority for changing law to suit themselves. In other words, Stevens, along with Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor who also signed the dissenting opinion, thought that the majority were idiots, and like me, hinted that Citizens United was the worst thing to ever happen to modern American politics.

Essentially, what Citizens United did was to allow individuals, corporations and unions to spend billions of dollars to try to buy elections. Not only that, but it allowed them to do it anonymously.

On a side note, Stevens is my personal hero for using the phrase “gaping empirical hole” in a Supreme Court opinion.

2012 was the first major election to have Citizens United in effect. There are countless editorials and tons of data out there on how Citizens United effected or to be more precise, didn’t effect, the 2012 elections as much as we had feared. A lot of political pundits say that it was a boy-who-cried-wolf situation. All those anonymous millions donated by billionaires and corporations didn’t quite have the rousing effect they had hoped. Karl Rove’s billion dollar Super PACs didn’t swing the election.

Here in California, an $11 million donation from an obscure Arizona nonprofit, which was intended to influence the passage of an anti-union measure, didn’t sway voters. In fact, when the California PAC in question refused to provide detail on their out-of-state donors in time for the election, it ended up working against them. The outcomes the PAC was pushing for failed to materialize. As it turns out, the $11 million donation came from The Koch brothers (or as I like to pronounce it, The COCK Brothers), billionaire, surreptitious, entitled-asshole Republicans who don’t even live in California but were trying to swing California voters against unions anyway.

The fact that Citizens United didn’t manage to buy the resounding wholesale election purchase that the conservatives hoped it would doesn’t mean that we won. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still be vigilant. That CU turned out to be such a gaping financial hole for conservatives and big business is almost scarier to me than if CU had succeeded the way they bought it intended it to.

First, because it failed to buy the election, it means that there won’t be a public outcry at its unconstitutional-i-ness. The Citizens United decision will not be challenged. That awful Supreme Court decision will remain on the books. People will forget about it. It will masquerade as a sheep, until one day, it shows its fangs and kills American democracy. Just because it didn’t swing this election, that doesn’t mean it won’t swing others.

Second, at least the CU decision, as wrong and unconstitutional as it is, was common knowledge. The failure of CU to buy elections means that, next time around, the conservatives and corporations might have to invent some new unconstitutional chicanery to try to buy elections. Next time, it might not be so in our faces. It might be won with backroom handshakes and legalese loopholes without the general public even knowing about it. The fact that we took them on face to face and won doesn’t mean they will quietly admit defeat. Scary, scary shit is afoot and our constitution is still under attack. Caveat emptor.

Today’s Prompt: Link to an item in the news you’ve been thinking about lately, and write the op-ed you’d like to see published on the topic.


Planned Parenthood of Michigan supporters in front of The Michigan Senate.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan in front of The Michigan Senate. 

I am woman; hear me roar. Girl power. Rosy The Riveter. Elizabeth Katy Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth, Joan Didion and Dorothy Parker, Rosa Parks and Betsy Ross, Marie Curie and Maria Mitchell, and so on. There have been some really amazing women throughout history, but for every one I can name–politicians, philosophers, artists, writers, musicians, scientists, public perception influencers–I can name at least half a dozen men from the same field in the same era. It’s just the way it is.

I read a news story over the weekend about how two female legislators were banned from speaking on the Michigan House floor because they said the words vagina and vasectomy respectively. Specifically, one said, “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.”

From that same article:

Just 20.9 percent of the lawmakers in the state Legislature are female, down from 24.3 percent in 2000. Michigan’s percentage of female state lawmakers is slightly lower than the national average of 23.6 percent for 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

I find that data and the silencing of female House members distressing in a number of ways. First, Michigan is my home state. I like to think highly of it even though, deep down, I know it’s very schizophrenic. There are pockets of true blue amid swaths of red. As a female who was born, raised, educated and worked in Michigan for over 20 years, I can’t say that I noticed any sort of discrepancy as regards my gender, but perhaps I just wasn’t aware of it. Articles like this make me wonder if I really did get a fair shake in that state. It points a severe light on a double standard.

Second, the Michigan legislature is preventing elected officials from doing their jobs. Those women were elected fair and square. The voters in their districts gave them license to speak in their stead. Not only are two women being silenced, but all of their constituents are as well. They have a right to express their opinions, whatever “offensive” words their viewpoints might contain. I believe there is still a little thing called The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows us all to say whatever we want to say, regardless of whether or not you agree.

Third, when did the word “vagina” become offensive? It’s a medical term. It’s used in textbooks. Roughly half the population of the world has one. Children learn it as part of Health class (or at least, they used to). It is just about the least offensive term you could use to describe female sex organs besides maybe lady parts. Would the legislators’ delicate man-ears have been less or more offended had she referred to her vagina as a vajayjay, beaver, cha-cha, hoo-ha, poonany, quim or vagoo? The word vagina is no more vulgar than the word penis, which is also a medical term. Vagina is not an offensive word. If you find it to be, you’ve got problems.

Finally, is the Michigan legislature comprised of five-year-olds? It’s not like she was in an elementary school auditorium speaking about nutrition and randomly screamed VAGINA! at the top of her lungs at a bunch of children while pointing both index fingers at her crotch and gyrating like the lamest rock star ever or the creepiest clown. She was addressing a group of adults, her peers, and the word “vagina” (and “vasectomy” for that matter) was as germane to the conversation as it is ever likely to get outside of a gynecologist’s office. In or out of context, there is nothing in her statement that should be found offensive to any adult. Instead, the male-dominated Michigan legislators decided to ban both females from speaking. Go to your room and think about what you’ve done! You’re going to be in big trouble when your father gets home.

Michigan, I am so disappointed in you. You are my home state. You are where I am from, where I will always be from. You are where my family lives. My mother and father are there right now. Don’t you have bigger problems to deal with, like a crumbling economy, than vaginas? How dare you. Make it right. Don’t make me move back there and run for public office.

Mass Murder


297640-norway-massacreI’ll be the first to admit that I’ve thought on more than one occasion that I’d like to strangle someone with my bare hands until their eyeballs pop out like in a cartoon. I’ve considered what would be the easiest way to kill a person. I have to stop myself from ramming every Prius I see on the highway. Part of the reason why I talk about and plan for the zombie apocalypse a lot is because I would be allowed to kill zombies with impunity.

The previous paragraph is mostly hyperbole, but there is a kernel of truth. Who hasn’t thought about killing someone? Be honest. Everyone has at least had a flash of a thought about how nice it would be if that school bully or horrible boss didn’t exist, especially if they didn’t exist because you strangled them. We’ve all thought it, but the great majority of us never have and never would act on it.

So, what makes those people who do act on it so different? What is it about someone, who seems otherwise normal, that allows them to shuck off the shackles of normal human behavior and go on a killing spree? The thought positively terrifies me. It terrifies me because, given the right circumstances, that could be any one of us.

Unlike most other spree killers who take the suicide by cop route, the one in Norway is still alive. I heard this morning that he pleaded not guilty, not because he didn’t kill and injure over 100 people, but because he doesn’t think what he did is a crime. He thinks he was protecting Norway from Islamization. He thinks he did the right thing and he is clearly crazy. Either that, or he’s craftily trying to avoid punishment through seeming insane.

What made him do it? What made the kids at Columbine decide to kill their peers? Or the Oklahoma City bombing or the Dublane Massacre or any of the people who think they are doing right by indiscriminately killing multitudes of people? How do we stop it from happening? What is it about society that monsters like that are allowed to hatch their plans and carry them out? Is it a societal defect? Is there something in our very nature that most of us suppress that these people don’t or can’t?

Then there’s the inevitable finger-pointing. Blaming it on Muslim terrorists before any facts were known. This guy couldn’t have been any farther from a Muslim terrorist. Blaming the police for a 45 minute reaction time when the island was an hour away from Oslo where they were already dealing with a bomb blast. Is there really anyone to blame besides one lunatic so divorced from reality that killing as many people as he could seemed like the right thing to do?

It’s horrifying that we live in a world where these kinds of things happen over and over. It’s terrifying that any one of us could snap like that if our lives took a wrong enough course. It’s appalling that this guy thinks he did the world a favor. It’s scary that we will never really know the reasons why.

Of Mice And Memory


I heard this story on the NPR today about how these scientists may have figured out a way to erase fearful memories from the minds of mice as a possible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.  In the article, they said, “The trick was to eliminate the protein soon after a fearful incident,” so we’re not quite there yet, but maybe someday we will be. If we can erase bad memories from mice, it probably won’t be long before we can do the same with humans. And it won’t be too long after that until we can remove memories from long ago. And by “we,” I mean some very awesome scientists.

When hearing this story, my first thought was, “That’s neat! Yay science!” Then in that predictably point A to point B way that we boring humans always think, I started thinking about me. I love thinking about me. I do it all the time, even when I really want to be thinking about science and the cool things they can do with mice nowadays. So, in my linear fashion, I thought about whether or not I would want fearful memories erased from my organic hard drive if given the chance.

I have some horrifying, terrible, haunting, traumatic and not very nice memories stored in my brainpan. I don’t really want them there. They take up space that could be used for nice things like puppies and daffodils and sunsets. Some of these memories, the worst ones really, are from when I was just a wee lass. This mental clutter helped shape and mold who I am as a person. I hate that fact, but it is a fact nonetheless. I would not be who I am without them.

However, say some fancy scientist with his brain moleculizer eraser doohickey went fiddling around in my noggin and deleted all the files I no longer want, covering over them with ones and zeros until they no longer existed, would I still be me?

When I received a very serious blow to my very serious head from a very heavy object (you can read about that here if you’re curious), I was most certainly not the me that I had been before and I never was that version again. Initially, I couldn’t function as any person let alone as the version of me that I had known up to that point. The thing about memory problems though is that I don’t really remember what I was like before. I only know that I wasn’t the same person I had been because people who knew me before and after said so. My point is, I know first hand how lacking certain memories can change a person.

A detailed artist rendering of what a mouse undergoing fear conditioning might look like.

Not to disparage mice, but it seems like it would be difficult to tell how their personalities were affected. I’m sure those were some very nice mice before they put them through fear conditioning (fear conditioning sounds like positively the worst kind of conditioning), but, if mice even have personalities, were they influenced by the missing data? Did they come out on the other side as homogenized mice full of sugar and spice and everything nice? If you take away the foundation, would the house still stand?

I think I’d like to keep my foundational memories, unpleasant as they are (and they are creeping up on my consciousness, begging for attention as I write this) because they are foundational. However, if something went horribly awry for me as an adult, I might like to eject that. For example, if I was raped and beaten tomorrow, I would most assuredly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and I would certainly live in fear for quite a long time afterwards, possibly forever. If that were the case, once the suspect has been caught and there was no need for testifying, etc., wouldn’t it be better for that memory to just disappear? Wouldn’t it be better for all of the soldiers who have gone through horrible things in war to come home and live life as if it hadn’t happened?

So many questions. I’d also like to know whether or not you’d have memory of having had the memory. Once the details of the memory in question are gone, would you still remember having had that memory in a more general sort of way? For instance, I have a section of my brain where the bad things dwell. I know where they live and who lives there. Even if I don’t think about the memories themselves, I have a catalog of what’s stored in that vault. I can think about them intangibly as if they were a price list. If you removed certain memories from that price list, would you even remember having had something there or would that space just not exist for you?

A detailed artist rendering of what a mouse having its unhappy memories removed might look like.

I haven’t come to any conclusions on the matter. I’d like to know more about the procedure before I put down a deposit. I’m fond of being me. If being me means that I had to keep all of those things that go bump in the night and won’t allow me to sleep, then so be it. That said, I think it’s great that scientists are working on things like this, even if poor little mice are conditioned to fear (it doesn’t seem like much of a hardship for them since we can just wipe that unpleasantness from their little brains anyway). There are too many people living with fear. There are too many people who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder.

I’m sure there’s some moral or religious argument that should be raised here, but being irreligious and not especially moral (I did just summarily dismiss the suffering of the mice), I can find no objection on those grounds. By the way, lest anyone make any assumptions on my character, the fact that I am an atheist is not a causal factor to my degree of rectitude; it’s merely a coincidence. Even though I don’t have a moral compass (as those nutty Christians call it), I might be able find objection in where the line is drawn. Some nasty government (probably mine) could use this to make people do mean things and then just erase the memories.

What constitutes a memory horrific enough to warrant deletion? Is having a bad hair day a traumatic enough memory to have it removed? I think not. This kind of brain meddling technology should only be used in severe cases of violence where erasing those memories could significantly change someone’s life for the better. Humans need to tread very carefully with scientific advancements like this. Still – and I mean this from the bottom of my cold, wizened, amoral heart – go, science!

The Dumbest Thing


The dumbest thing I’ve heard this week is Sarah Palin. I know, I know, pointing out that Sarah Palin said something dumb is as obvious as pointing out that the sky is blue, grass is green and gravity makes things fall down a lot. Every time she opens her mouth, something idiotic flops out like a big ol’ cow tongue, but sometimes I can’t help but rubberneck at the catastrophic calamity she engenders. The inarticulate, rambling dumbness to which I was subjected this week can be found here. Click if you dare. If you’d rather not devote brain cells to this twat, you are very smart indeed. I have quoted the monstrously thickheaded remarks she made in the following paragraphs, so there’s no need to sully your gray matter with this piffle. See how thoughtful I am?

Sarah Palin on Paul Revere:


He who warned uh the the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms uh by ringin’ those bells and uh makin’ sure as he’s ridin’ his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that uh we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free.

And then when questioned about her preposterous prattle, she had this to say:

I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here’s what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, and they were going to try to take our arms so we gotta make sure that uh we were protecting ourselves and um uh shoring up all of uh our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take ’em.

And that, my friends, was the dumbest thing I’ve heard all week. Until I watched the rest of the video where they talk about her idiotic followers actually trying to edit the Wikipedia page so that it matches Sarah Palin’s version of American history. Not only is that inconceivably moronic, but it’s terrifying that people would actually try to alter history so that it matches up with a sham politician’s words. It’s Orwellian to say the least. We’ve always been at war with Oceania…

I can’t even begin to figure out what the hell is wrong with her or why it is that I’m continually forced to hear her name bandied about in the public spotlight. To be so idiotic as to say that Paul Revere did any of the following is unspeakably stupid:

  • Warned the British
  • Rang bells
  • Fired warning shots
  • Rode through town warning Americans that the British were going to take away our ammunitions [sic] and our firearms

Do you not know anything, Ms. Palin? Wait, don’t answer that. I’m sure the answer to that would be another halfhearted and wrong explanation of how you “didn’t mess up.” Shut your damn hole and crawl back into the cave from whence you came, you inane prat. I don’t have adjectives enough to revile you. And if you or your monkeys ever try to alter history again, I will make it my business to see that Paul Revere returns from his grave and this time there will be no warning shots… or bells.

Dear American Baby Jesus,


What’s up with your peeps? I read today that the Vagina Clown Car family (pictured) is going to pop out another kid which I’m sure they will raise to worship you. There are only 16 of them in that picture including the parents. Soon, there will be 21 like some sort of fucked up, bizarro world game of blackjack. And now their offspring has started having offspring since the oldest child is popping out babies as well. Eventually, all 19 of those kids might have 19 kids of their own. At that rate, in just 3 generations, that’s almost 7,000 clown car babies.

It really is a brilliant overpopulation strategy you’ve got going there. I can see how you’d want to flood the world with Xtians back in the days of famine and plague; back when bacon would kill you. Your religion made sense before we had microscopes and carbon dating. I can sort of see how people would believe in you and your dad before electricity when the survival of humanity was tenuous at best. If you’re going to have people breed, why not have them be Xtian so they can give their tithes to the church and buy indulgences to get their relatives out of hell? I get it. And good on ya. That was one hell of a pyramid scheme you created. Way better than L. Ron Hubbard’s.

But the fact is, American Baby Jesus, we now have electricity and science. And, I hate to tell you, science has all but trumped your fanciful book full of beatings, rape and contradictions. Yes, there are still a lot of people who believe in you and think you will come back, but I don’t think you will. Why the hell would you come back to this? I wouldn’t if I were you.

Even though these clown car people are supposedly all clean-living and debt-free, there are lots of your followers who are not. When they have 19 kids too, well, that means that I end up paying for them. Plus there’s the fact that the world is grossly overpopulated now, just in case you didn’t know. You might not have heard the news since you’ve been dead for over 2000 years and all, but there are more humans now than entirely necessary by a long shot.

There’s far too much media coverage wasted on people like this – the fact that I even know that these selfish bastards are going to have another spawn, for instance. Plus, they’ve started giving these mega-breeders their own TV shows. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that showing that kind of excess, selfishness and greed on television isn’t improving your image any. Actually, it makes you look like a selfish asshole too. If you really want people to believe in you, you might want to up your demographic and advertise to people who aren’t drooling idiots. I know drooling idiots can be appealing since they will pretty much believe anything you tell them, but if you really want to be all-powerful, you’re going to need more intelligent people on your side. We can go over marketing ideas at a later date if you want.

That being the case, can you please tell your chosen people to stop with the baby making? Tell them that it’s alright to fuck, for fuck’s sake. They don’t need to have 19 kids; one or two is more than enough. You might want to update that book of yours and send out new copies to let them know. Or just create a miracle or something.

Thanks in advance,

This post is part of the Drat & Blast series.

Would I Survive No Internet for a Whole Month?



Since I don’t actually need the internet to live, obviously, the answer is yes. I’m not hooked up to an internet ventilator. I don’t need a backup internet generator in case the power goes out.

Also, I have already lived a big chunk of my life without the internet (you do realize it’s only been around for a few years?). However, that was before it existed, so I’m not sure that even counts.

Semantics aside though, I suppose I could. It would be difficult since that’s where I get most of my news, but as long as the news doesn’t personally effect me, e.g. your neighborhood is on fire, I could do it.

I’ve already cut the umbilical cord to television. I don’t have cable in my house. I don’t have network television either since new TV’s don’t have antennas anymore. So, I don’t watch local news and I’ve never seen whatever show it is that you all talk about around water coolers.

I don’t read newspapers. I’ve never really enjoyed the format. The pages are too big, they smell and your fingers turn all black by the end. Plus, a newspaper is just one source, whereas the series of tubes has countless places to get different takes on the same story.

NPR and the internet are my primary news sources. When I hear a snippet of a news story on the radio and I want to know more about it, I go straight to the computer.

Without the intertubes, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what’s really happening in the world. I suppose then I’d just be like most Americans and they seem to survive alright.

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If I Were In Charge…


If I were in charge of the world today, these would be the first of my many decrees.

It’s not about you.
If all you think about is yourself, you can think about yourself all day long in the middle of the desert where you will be dropped off (with a gallon of water – we’re not completely heartless).

Religion in government is banned.
The First Amendment is now enforced. There will be a firm wall between church and state again. If you receive public funding, you have to use it for the benefit of all. If you are a public official, you are not allowed to utter words having to do with religion in a statement relating to your office, outside of legislative necessity, such as a campaign speech. If you do, you will lose your public funding.

All religions will be removed from public land, “In God We Trust” will be removed from all currency, the words “Under God” will be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance and don’t even think about putting religion anywhere near public schools.

News has to be actual news.
If there are a couple of wars going on or if there’s an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, that will be the top news story for as long as it takes to resolve it, not Mel Gibson’s insane recordings. And all news will be unbiased under penalty of law (in other words, death).

Handle your shit.
If you make a mess, clean it up. This applies to everything from public restrooms to financial catastrophes and oil spills. If your fuck up is big enough and you don’t clean up your mess, the world will fuck you up. Everyone who was effected by your fuck up will be given a rock to throw at you. Everyone. Yes, stoning is now legal again for the really vile assholes who deserve it. And we’re not paying for your health care should you manage to survive.

Consenting adults can marry anyone they want.
Regardless of gender, color or creed, every consenting adult human can get married, and get a tax credit and health insurance.

There will be Battle Royales.
For the good of the public, anyone who makes really stupid decisions on a regular basis can be nominated for a new reality show. Anyone can be nominated, but there has to be proof of repeated stupidity to get on the show, e.g. anyone who has ever been arrested on the show COPS, as judged by an independent and random jury of their peers. If you have enough votes and the jury deems you sufficiently idiotic, you will get on the show where you have to fight to the death with wits and weapons. The last man standing wins the prize of getting to compete again.

Sissy emo boys will no longer be tolerated.

If you are a supposedly heterosexual dude and you’re girlier than me, if your name sounds like a French pastry, if you’ve ever sung in a boy band, if your 90 year-old grandfather has more testosterone than you, if I can beat you up (and I’m a girl), you have to die. Sorry. Those are the rules. I don’t make them up.  OK, in this case, I actually did, but it’s still a good rule.

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