Dr George Tiller murdered May 31, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, News and politics, reproductive rights.
As you’ve probably already heard, Doctor George Tiller was shot to death this morning. There had been at least one previous attempt on Tiller’s life, and numerous threats, yet he continued to offer one of the rarest medical services, late-term abortions, at great personal risk. He will be greatly missed.
No doubt those, like Bill O’Reilly, who spew political rhetoric which encourages this sort of terrorism will continue to do so, while officially decrying the terrorists who commit these acts.
Sadly, I think we can expect to see an increase in this sort of violence as the far right, increasingly irrelevant in mainstream American discourse, will continue to implicitly (and in some cases explicitly) endorse terrorism, and some particularly evil or unwell people will act on those endorsements.
Quote of the Moment April 27, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Religion, wingnuts.
add a comment
“One-Minute Prayer: Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Which is more likely: that Klingenschmitt doesn’t realize the absurd contradiction here, or that he’s seriously making the argument that he tried to bless his enemies, but they’re just so darn mean that he has to pray for their deaths?
Or maybe he just isn’t familiar with what the Bible actually records as Jesus’ teaching about how Christians should respond to their foes? Hypocritical Christianity strikes again!
Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage April 7, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, News and politics.
I really needed some good news today, and now I have it. I’d like to congratulate the fine legislatures who voted in support of civil rights, and the constituents who supported them. And of course the biggest congratulations are in order for gay and lesbian couples, who now have one more state that recognizes their right to marry.
Today is a wonderful victory for liberty and civil rights.
[Update: Boy, this popcorn is delicious:
“Same-sex ‘marriage’ is a movement driven by wealthy homosexual activists and a liberal elite determined to destroy not only the institution of marriage, but democracy as well. Time and again, we see when citizens have the opportunity to vote at the ballot box, they consistently opt to support traditional marriage,” said [Tony] Perkins.
That’s right, folks! According to the Family Research Council, elected legislatures legislating is anti-democratic! I’d like to point out, in all modesty, that I called this.
Update 2: To be clear, he’s talking about D. C.’s decision to acknowledge other states’ marriages, but its an affront to democracy to have public servants do their jobs!
In which I respectfully disagree with Melissa McEwan December 17, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, constiutional issues, Morality.
If you’ve been paying attention to teh inter-nets recently, you’ve no doubt seen the story about the idiotic and bigoted parents who named their kid “Adolf Hitler.”
Melissa McEvan, over at Shakesville (one of my favorite bloggers), had this to say:
I suppose it’s too much for which to hope that Child Protective Services sees the story (along with the accompanying photo galleryof the Campbell’s Nazified home) and removes those poor kids now while they only need a decade of intensive therapy.
This is really hard for me to say, because I’m about to disagree with Melissa and (partially) defend the rights of these bigoted asshole parents, but I think it needs to be said: I don’t think CPS should take away these kids just on the basis of their parents being racist pieces of shit. While I absolutely loathe the kind of person who would raise their kids to be bigots, the kind of people who would name their child after perhaps the greatest villain in history, I’m not at all certain that bigotry really rises to the level of child abuse.
There’s two reasons for my position here. The first is that the CPS and the courts need to be very cautious in actually removing children from their homes. That is because, in general, it is best for children to stay with their families. We (rightly) tend only remove them in cases of abuse or neglect, because we know that the foster care system is horribly sub-optimal, and that breaking up families is a decision that should only be made with great care. Removing children from their parents comes at a high emotional cost to the family, and further strains an already hard-pressed foster care system.
But even with that said, it’s clearly okay to remove children from their parents or guardians care when abuse is present, so why not just name bigotry as a form of abuse? Because it sets a bad precedent, and one that’s not sustainable. What if us progressive types honestly tell our children that, in our opinion, religions that teach hatred for GLBT people are disgusting, bigoted institutions? What if we call out Fred Phelps? Could we be charged with bigotry and have our children taken away?
For that matter, should evangelical Christians lose their children for telling them that gay people are horrible sinners who are going to hell? As odious as I find that position, I don’t think so: the government must be very careful about telling parents what they can and cannot teach their children. Obviously there are limits to this thinking: it’s clearly not okay for parents to teach their children to commit crimes or to force their children to engage in dangerous behaviors, or to deny their children necessary medical care for religious reasons. But do we really want the government deciding which tenants of our belief are acceptable?
If, like me, you believe in freedom of thought and expression, then I’d argue that you have to conclude that so long as these racist parents are not abusing their children, the children should stay with them. Not because they’re good parents, but because once the government is in the business of telling us which ideas are acceptable and which are not, no one’s ideas are safe. Defending freedom means even defending the freedom of disgusting bigots.
Or so I’ll argue. I’d love to hear my readers thoughts on this matter.
David “I’m a Limbaugh” Limbaugh: Idiocy unrestrained November 4, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, News and politics, wingnuts.
I stopped counting when I reached double-digits counting David Limbaugh’s lies in this column.
Taking the time to shred his “argument” would be a staggering waste of time, especially on election day. So I’ll start with perhaps my favorite lie, then let my readers post their favorite lies in the comments.
With his ideas about … the ongoing “original sin” in our Constitution are you not concerned at just how far Obama might go if he’s got a nearly veto-proof Democratic majority at his back?
What Limbaugh happily omits to make his lie possible is that Obama was refering to the three fifths clause of the Constitution. I can only conclude, then, that Limbaugh doesn’t think that clause was unjust. Either that or he’s a dishonest shitpile slandering Obama while simultaneously being a racism aplogist. Take your pick!
Post your favorite lie below, or just consider this an open thread.
Why Free Speech is important, Or nominating Family Friendly Libraries for Odious Organization of the Week October 3, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in banned books week, censorship, constiutional issues, language and lit, wingnuts.
Happy (nearly concluded) Banned Books Week, everyone!
Listening to Radio Times today, I nearly drove off the road while shouting at Denise Varenhorst, President of the thoroughly odious Family Friendly Libraries, an organization which exists to help parents get books they don’t like removed from their local libraries. And they do this in the name of free speech and democracy. Look at their horribly dishonest FAQ, for example:
Q. I found the most disgusting, offensive book on the shelf at my library. When I told the librarian I thought it should be removed, she told me the library does not “censor.” Does that mean that it’s illegal for the library to remove a book based on my objection?
A. No. Your library board members have the power, with a simple majority vote, to remove any material they believe the community, as a whole, does not want in the collection.
They’re absolutely right it isn’t “illegal” to do this, which is why the American Library Association fight so hard against using personal offense as a reason to remove a book from a library’s shelves. FFL dishonestly conflates “legal” with “acceptable.” Because, of course, what they really want is to be able to enforce their ideas on others. The FAQ goes on:
It should be noted that it is perfectly legal and legitimate for books to be relocated within or removed from any library based on the wishes of that community.
Really? What makes it “legitimate,” exactly? During her interview with Radio Times, Varenhorst (who was unwilling to be on in a segment featuring someone who disagreed with her) repeatedly claimed that she just wanted democracy: for people to be able remove books their community does not approve of from the library. She argued that since libraries can’t carry everything, a library not having a particular book never amounts to censorship.
This too is incredibly dishonest, of course: that a library can’t own every book in existence does not mean that removing a book from the shelves because it offended someone is acceptable behavior. No one has a right not to be offended by a book in a public library, but a library that upholds challenges against books is implicitly accepting the premise that my access to books should be limited to only books others find acceptable.
If every book that was controversial or offensive to someone was banned from libaries, how many books would be left?
But the FFL doesn’t want us to think about that; they want us to think that “protecting children” means “removing others’ access to books because we don’t like them.” They couch it in language suggesting that it is all fair if they someone can get a library board to agree with them. But don’t let their Orwellian tactics (falsely conflating the library’s choices in purchasing with outright attempts to remove materials some people don’t like; suggesting that removing access to ideas is somehow “democratic,” as Varenhorst repeatedly did in her interview) fool you: they’re advocates of censorship, in that they want public libraries to be arbiters of what we can and cannot read.
And the worst part is that they do it under the guise of protecting “the classics,” which is, as always, code for “why aren’t people reading what we tell them, like that great book Moby Dick by Will Shakespeare?” Check out their flimsy excuse for censorship:
Q. Where has all the classic literature gone? I don’t see much at my public library anymore.
A. The quiet disappearance of classic literature from public libraries has been noted for several decades and was documented in a 1995 study titled Discarded Images. The escalation of this trend was reported in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal in early 2007. Today, many public library collections consist predominantly of “popular materials” despite taxpayer objections to this focus.
Let’s remember that many of the books we now consider classics were challenged as offensive in their time, and that many of them still are. “Classic” banned and challenged books during the last decade, as listed by the ALA, (pdf) by way of example, include Of Mice And Men, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Slaughterhouse Five (to stick with books by white men, since generally defenders of the “classics” don’t much care for women or people of color*).
Remember, folks, never trust someone who wants to protect you from the “wrong sort” of ideas. And definitely don’t trust those who seek to ban books “for your protection.”
The lesson here is clear. Defend free speech: it’s attackers have not let up.
*FFL doesn’t define a classic, naturally, so we don’t know which books they think are missing from libraries that should be there. It’s almost like they’re hiding an agenda of removing access to books behind a facade of claiming people just aren’t reading the “good” books. Hmm.
Malkin’s free market principles shoved under a bus because she doesn’t know what “censorship” means September 17, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, language and lit, wingnuts.
Michelle Malkin is in yet another embarrassingly poorly argued tizzy about concerns over Palin’s alleged propensity to consider some ideas too dangerous for public libraries. Her argument basically boils down to “some liberals tried to keep bookstores from selling conservative books full of lies, so libraries banning books is completely okay.”
That’s right, folks. Malkin thinks that using economic pressures to influence retailers is EXACTLY THE SAME as banning books from a public library. There’s absolutely no difference in her mind between asking retailers not to carry a book and censorship in a publicly funded library.
Interesting how quickly free-market principles go out the window when they’re inconvenient, huh?
Because Malkin’s obviously too stupid to figure this out, let me spell it out for her: censorship is when the government restricts access to material. Free Enterprise is when a company decides not to carry a product. The former is bad because we don’t want the government deciding which ideas are acceptable for our consumption; the latter is okay because companies have a right to decide what products to carry.
But of course we knew Malkin didn’t understand this. Anyone who would write “anti-censorship crusaders are the unthinking ones who can’t tolerate independence, ambiguity, and difference,” anyone ridiculous enough to suggest that being opposed to censorship makes one any-diversity, is clearly too idiotic for words.
Palin’s teenage daughter to give birth: which lines of attack are fair September 2, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, reproductive rights, wingnuts.
As you no doubt know by now, presumptive Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s 17 year old daughter is pregnant. She’ll keep the baby and marry the father.
I want to point out, first and foremost, that Melissa is absolutely right about the situation when she says
So, in my earlier CifA piece regarding the annoucement of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, I said:
If there’s any political point to be made here at all, it is about the very real possibility that the McCain campaign did not know about this pregnancy, despite reports to the contrary. There is a whole lot McCain evidently didn’t know about Palin – and there have been reports that McCain chose her for the ticket after a half-assed vetting, about which even Republicans outside of DC have been grumbling. But even that is predicated on the idea that an out-of-wedlock pregnancy is so scandalous as to warrant preclusion of a related politician on a national ticket.
And I stand by that wholly. I don’t think Bristol Palin’s pregnancy should be used as a political football against McCain [...]
Obama has already made the same point. Going after Palin’s daughter is offensive and way, way over the line.
That said, given McCain and Palin’s anti-choice stance, I think it’s completely acceptable and in fact essential that we call attention to the McCain campaign’s stance on the matter:
Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said.
I’ll take them at their word on that. Bristl Palin is of course quite capable of making decisions about her own life and reproductive health. I’m pro-choice, and I support her in making that choice, whatever it is she chooses. But the McCain aides “clarification” also illustrates how out of touch with mainstream America McCain’s campaign is. As Ann notes,
I mean, John McCain and Sarah Palin don’t believe women have a right to choose. It’s absolutely absurd for the campaign to emphasize the fact that Bristol “made this decision,” and then push for policies that take away that choice.
In reality, Bristol’s actual “choice” was probably not whether to terminate the pregnancy or carry it to term, but whether raise the child herself or put it up for adoption. But the reason that the McCain campaign chose to emphasize Bristol’s agency in this decision was to reassure the public that this pregnancy is not coercive.
The McCain campaign was in a tough spot. Obviously they had to reassure voters that they weren’t going to force Bristol Palin to give birth, but they had to do so while opposing reproductive choice (Palin appears to be against abortions even in the case of rape an incest). The McCain campaign, which supports forced childbirth for other people, sings a much different tune when explaining a personal matter to reporters.
And they do so because they know their real position is shockingly out of line with mainstream American politics. Very, very few people–even among so-called “pro lifers”–are truly in favor of forced childbirth in all circumstances, and most Americans support a woman’s right to choose. So extreme is the anti-choice base on choice that McCain aides need to reassure voters that they didn’t force Bristol Palin give birth, even while advocating that women be forced to give birth.
That’s hypocracy to an extreme degree, and it’s most certainly politically relevant. And it is time we called the McCain campaign out on this: why are they pro-choice when it comes to their own families, but anti-choice when it comes to everyone else’s?
Dear Phill Kline: August 6, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, News and politics, wingnuts.
add a comment
Rep Tim Walberg (MI-7) votes against continuing Head Start August 1, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, constiutional issues, wingnuts.
add a comment
Why would Walberg, alone among 43 members of his committee, vote against continuing the popular Head Start program? Because he’s in favor of using government funds to discriminate, of course:
In other words, say a Baptist or a Catholic church wanted to continue to offer its Head Start program and a Muslim or “a Wiccan from a coven in Ann Arbor” wanted to apply for a job to teach there, now it couldn’t discriminate based on religious grounds anymore, or vice versa.
Dear Rep. Walberg: thank you for admitting that what you want is for private groups to use government money while to descriminate in their hiring practices. It’s so damn honest of you.
But would you be equally upset if a humanist group was being forced to hire Baptists?