Category Archives: Same-Sex Marriage

Hot Air

The Next Appeal

Much of America jumped for joy upon hearing the Obergefell decision last week. Other Americans, though, groused, clenched their fists, and vowed to…, um…, to do something.

Those of us who think we’re familiar with this holy land’s system of writing, enacting, and interpreting laws might react with a derisive snort to the Religious Right’s pledge to act. As we understand it, once the US Supreme Court rules on a disagreement over a law, well, that’s that. There is no higher authority than the Supremes.

Ah, but that’s not so, say the Holy Rollers. There is god.

Anti-Same-Sex Marriage

The Big Daddy-o in the Sky is mightily pissed, they tell us. Almightily pissed. They know because they talk him him regularly. The fact that their conversations always are one-sided means little to the pious of our nation. Somehow they know what his immensity is thinking. He’s thinking about unleashing earthquakes, hurricanes, epidemics, and other annoyances upon our blighted land because we’re now allowing same-sex couples to get married.

Don’t mess with god, the Very Right sez. He’ll hit you so hard your mother’ll fall down.

Teehee, the rest of us say.

Put the brakes on your snorting, sez me. Don’t laugh at the Religious Right. They’ve got a power behind them greater even than god. They’ve got the Koch Boys.

Murrica’s second richest clan engineered the Citizens United decision — declared, natch — by that very same Supreme Court in 2010. CU gives the Kochs the mechanism by which they can control elections hereabouts. And do you know what remedy some Republicans are touting? The election of US Supreme Court justices.

As in, Hey, vote for me, I’ll set you free! Imagine Donald Trump on the Supreme Court. Or Glenn Beck. How about Sarah Palin? You know, of course, one doesn’t have to be a lawyer to be a US Supreme Court justice, don’t you? The Constitution says nothing mandating lawyers as bench warmers.

Palin

Habeas Who? Nolo What?

But if, say, Sen. Ted Cruz has his way, some specially anointed water-carrier for the Kochs just might make it into a black robe. Cruz is telling the world via his recently-released political memoir that we must start having general elections for Supreme Court justices.

Acc’d’g to him, the justices should reflect the will o’the people. Acc’d’g to reality, such elections would more likely reflect the will of the Koch Boys. And if the Kochs figure a candidate for the Supremes — who just happens to be a flamboyant god-ist — will serve their lofty interests, they’ll throw their dough behind him. Dough wins elections.

Let’s be frank: It’d be a sure bet a guy who’s philosophically simpatico to the Kochs would be a crucifix waver. Davey and Chuck know better than anyone the history and efficacy of the American plutocracy using Jesus to further its interests.

Those of us giddy that the US Supreme Court has ratified the freedom of any two adults who want to chain themselves together in wedlock had better watch out. The Religious Right has god behind them. And god has the Kochs behind him.

The Explosion Of Privatization

So, another Space-X rocket ship has exploded upon taking off. It’s a shame. Now the astronauts in the International Space Station will have to wait for their latest copy of Entertainment Weekly magazine.

Space-X is the rocket booster manufacturer and operator that scored a contract with NASA to resupply the ISS in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle era. The idea being private industry can do the job immeasurably better than a gov’t agency. That’s the philosophy behind privatization, right?

Right. Elon Musk put together the Space-X aerospace corp. with one of its stated goals being putting a crew of humans on Mars. Eventually. Till then, though, Space-X’d do the heavy lifting for the ISS.

In the last eight months, though, two Space-X vehicles have blown themselves to smithereens. That is, the last two Space-X ships are now nothing more than metal splinters. Make no mistake: space travel is a risky business. Hell, I can’t even lift myself off my recliner without help half the time. A rocket booster must lift tons and tons of stuff, pushing it up to 25,000 mph to escape the Earth’s gravitational pull. The Falcon 9 vehicle that blew up yesterday is designed to carry up to 27.5 tons of food, water, magazines, and toilet paper. That’s even more than I weigh.

Nobody can do it without taking the chance that the damned thing’d disappear in a burst of flaming fuel. Not a gov’t agency. Not a private corporation.

When NASA was first trying to launch rockets into space in the late 1950s, the ratio between successful liftoffs and blow-ups was a terrifying 1-1. In the ensuing six decades, though, the US gov’t agency in charge of space stuff learned how to send people and things off the Earth with a reasonable expectation of success. Oh sure, there’ve been disasters — Apollo 3, the Challenger, and the Columbia — but whenever NASA experienced such a spectacular failure, it had to shut down operations for long months and even years and explain to the American people why it screwed up. As for the non-governmental Space-X outfit, the American public will forget about Sunday’s explosion by the day after tomorrow. That is, those who even were aware of the explosion in the first place.

At least NASA had to put the lives of astronauts and the negative PR fallout from a mission failure on the front burner. The pols who authorized the billions of dollars for the agency’s operations insisted NASA launch a safe vehicle, and costs be damned.

That was then. Now, with privatization, cost is king. Private corps. put profit on the front burner. If one safety check or another cuts too deeply into the total expense of a mission, well then it just might have to be made more flexible, shall we say, or even nixed altogether. Shaving cost is the god of for-profit business. Maximizing revenue is its heaven.

I have no idea at this moment if Musk’s Space-X cut corners to put together its Falcon-9 vehicle. I assume NASA and the company itself will conduct a thorough investigation. But, guaranteed, that investigation will be done outside the public eye. And its findings will make about as much splash as the news that the City of Bloomington is using a new brand of paint for its parking meters.

Suffice it to say I’m no fan of privatization.

Magical Monocrat

Funnyman Aaron Freeman points out a prediction made by then-Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro in 1973:

The United States will talk to us when you have a black president and the world has a Latin American pope.

Some folks are saying this is evidence of the revolutionary boss’s psychic powers — or at least his ability to read the geopolitical tea leaves. I say, Bah. His “prediction” was really code for “When hell freezes over.” I doubt he would have ever guessed that Satan would be shivering while he — Castro — was still alive.

Castro & Doves

Fidel & His Famous Dove Trick

Now, if he would have said, “… when homosexuals can marry in the US and the Pope rails regularly against the evils of capitalism…,” then we could talk about his extra-sensory perceptions.

Hot Air

The Straight Take

So, this guy comes into the bookstore late yesterday morning. He’s with three teenaged daughters (I’m assuming) and the lot of them are as flamboyantly straight as they could be. He’s wearing a muscle T-shirt with some kind of rebel-motorcycle slogan on it and the little dames are all Daisy Duked and wearing make-up and false eyelashes — on a Saturday morning for chrissakes!

He asks if we sell the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal and I say, “Yeah, sure, they’re right outside the door on the rack.”

He says, “No they aren’t,” and points toward the rack. Sure enough the danged thing is empty. I hadn’t even realized we’d sold out so early in the day.

“Huh,” I go, “I guess everybody wanted them for their front pages.” And this is true. We even sold out of the Herald Times (and we almost never do). Its front page, like the NYT’s and the WSJ’s, was the US Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision from top to bottom. One couple came in and bought a pile of H-Ts because their pastor was on the cover, celebrating the landmark decision.

H-T

The muscle-T guy, though, looks at me as if I’m from the moon. He cocks his head and asks, “Well, what’s the big deal about their front pages?”

Now I cock my head. There are days when you just know what’s on the front page of the newspaper. The day after the 2008 election, f’rinstance, or July 21st, 1969. People kept their papers from those days. I did. I still have them stashed away somewhere in the garage.

Headlines

“Um, er, y’know, the same-sex marriage decision came down yesterday,” I explain. I try not to sound as though I’m didacting to a six-year-old who’s asking why the moon doesn’t fall out of the sky.

See, kid, it’s all about angular momentum and Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion. The way it works…, uh, look, it just doesn’t, okay?

The guy gives me a look like, Hey, pal, I know that.

Natch, now I really start sounding like a didact. “When a momentous event takes place, people like to have a keepsake of it, something that will remind them of the history of the thing years from now.” Sheesh, I may as well be Julius Kelp.

From "The Nutty Professor"

“Actually, We Retain Mementos Of Benchmark Occurrences….”

The guy sniffs. “Yeah, that’s what I mean.” As if to say What kind of pussy would want a keepsake of fag and dyke marriage. He actually smirks at me.

I shrug. My mind for a hot minute is a raging battleground between the Bad Me who wants to say, How should I know? I’m not one of them! and the Good Me who’s dying to shout, Go fuck yourself, pal!

The Bad Me’s learned reaction to want to betray all my same-sex-loving friends and family and the muscle-T guy’s desire to belittle fags and dykes — these are two good reasons why Friday’s decision was so breathtakingly necessary.

Actually, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Hot Air

The Right’s Mr. Right

Sheila Kennedy is one of those precious few Republicans who make a pile of sense. It follows, then, that she wastes few opportunities to lambaste her GOP sisteren and brethren for their most egregious examples of stupidity. And there have been plenty of those in the last few decades. Plenty.

Tuesday, she took on the Right’s recent surreptitious fling with Vlad Putin, the bare-chested strongman of Russia. They dig him the most, preferring him to that scrawny Kenyan, the current phony Prez of the US. Natch, they won’t admit their infatuation with a Russkie but, believe me, he’s Mr. Right for the Right.

Putin

Russo-Romeo

A little bit of self-back patting here. I radar-ed the Right’s googly eyes for Vlad months ago — months, I tell you! See here and here.

As for Kennedy, she’s a professor in the School for Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI as well as director there of the Center for Civic Literacy. She puts out a daily blog in which she tells humanity what’s what. In fact, Kennedy’s like a bizarro-world image of me: she’s a woman — I’m not, (ICYDK); she’s a college prof; I’m a college dropout; she’s a Republican — I’m Democrat(-ish). Our similarities, though, outweigh those contrasts: We’re both keyboard clackers, we both have a compulsion to tell the world what we think, and, because we agree on so much, we’re both fabulous intellectuals. (Obvious, no?)

Anyway, start reading her blog daily (after reading mine.)

[h/t to Susan Sandberg.]

No Wed In NOLA

Well, the same-sex freight train was slowed down a tad yesterday, what with a court ruling that Louisiana’s ban on it is cool.

Funny, isn’t it? When wits and wags try to speculate which state will be the last to okay SSM, they usually guess Mississippi. So, natch, the first state in the last 20 that has had its ban blessed by a court is right next door.

An even funnier thing: Notice how the anti-SSM gang is huzzah-ing the ruling as a triumph for “state’s rights”? The state’s rights argument is used by people who pretty much don’t dig any part of the US Constitution except the good ol’ 2nd Amendment. Most of those same folks believe a state’s right to deny rights to individuals and couples is paramount.

Wallace

George Wallace At The Schoolhouse Door

Sometimes I even wonder if A. Lincoln did the right thing by forcing the South to stay in the Union.

When The Lie Becomes The Truth

How about this from the Columbia Journalism Review? The media watchdog yesterday reported that an Indiana University study called “Truthy” has been savaged by Fox News-heads of late. Truthy is a long-term look into how info spreads on social media, specifically Twitter. One of Truthy’s areas of concern is the viral spread of false information.

From "Pinocchio"

Disney’s “Pinocchio”

Truthy’s been at it for three years now. The project’s report page is chock-full of revelations about how facts and lies are disseminated throughout society. Ironically, Truthy itself is now the object of a disinformation campaign, the likes of which can serve as a textbook example of precisely what Truthy’s looking into.

Not terribly long ago, one small publication carried an article that Truthy was responsible for helping the federal government create a database of its domestic enemies under the guise of tracking hate speech. In other words, Truthy was acting in concert with authorities to carry out a fascist plot. Well, this kind of thing is red meat to the wingnut Right so — wouldn’t you know it? — people Tweeted it like mad and then everyone from the Libertarian Reason magazine to the evil brietbart.com jumped on the story.

The thinking seemed to go Obama’s a fascist? Of course! The Truthy story has to be true!

Tens of thousands of Tweets became tens of thousands more and then even more conservative-leaning media outlets picked up on the story until, finally, Fox News harrumphed over it on several of its programs.

The only problem was the story was entirely untrue.

The whole incident perfectly illustrates one of Truthy’s findings: That after a certain tipping point, misinformation is repeated so often on Twitter and the like that news outlets begin treating it as fact.

The researchers leading the Truthy project couldn’t have fabricated a more appropriate example to illustrate one of its points.

[h/t to Rea (last name withheld.)]

Hot Air

A Prayer

Opponents of same-sex marriage, acc’d’g to news reports, are holding prayer vigils today near the federal courthouse in Cincinnati.

They’re begging the putative creator of the Universe to intercede in Earthly affairs and prevent three appeals court judges from allowing men to marry men and women to marry women. The arguments from four states that have outlawed such marriages are to be reviewed beginning this morning.

Many pious folk are falling to their knees, desperate that their heavenly father should hear them in these perilous times.

Prayer

Think of it! In fact, allow me to employ my own formidable powers of imagination to portray the sound and feel of those prayers:

My dear lord, font of all love and forgiveness, the source of all light, my rock of morality and truth, hear my plea.

I beg of you to consider my heartfelt longing above those of passengers in an airplane that is heading into the side of a mountain, to prefer my humble wish before those whose children are dying, as we speak, of ebola infection, to act upon my deep desire at this moment, even as young women are undergoing forced genital mutilation, or are being raped, or who are watching as militias are dismembering their innocent sons and daughters. I ask you to bestow upon me your tender mercies and grant my entreaty above all those whose bodies are ravaged with cancer, with heart disease, and with lung disease. I yearn for you to hear me above those who suffer from mental illness, from poverty, from hunger. I kneel before you and wish you answer my call even as missiles arc over Gaza, as armies assemble near the Ukraine, as drug gangs behead innocent civilians, as hundreds of thousands of nameless and faceless individuals batter, stab, poison, strangle, suffocate, burn, and otherwise torment their fellow human beings.

Please, o lord, do not permit the judges to allow men who wish to kiss one another, who hope to hold and caress one another, who aspire to create a home with one another and have our god-given state sanction those acts.

Father in heaven, hear me. Look with scorn upon women who desire to remove their clothes in the presence of and in unison with other women, for this causes them to feel pleasure and allows them to express tender love for each other. All merciful one, please hear me and cause the judges to forbid women who love one another from visiting each other in the hospital, from inheriting each others’ belongings, and from receiving any potential tax credits or benefits as this will lead to the end of our faithful civilization.

With piety I beseech you, dear god. With love in my heart, with boundless compassion and clemency, I call upon you to fuck those queers bad.

Amen.

I wonder if god will listen.

The Sanctity Of Life

Don’t know if you’ve caught this yet, but a woman named Jenny Kutner wrote about discovering she was pregnant last week in Salon.com. The first thing she felt after making the discovery was anguish. She wrote that the positive reading on her home pregnancy test made her heart “start pounding so loud I really could hear it in my ears, just like in the movies. I left the bathroom with the test in my hand and went to go show my boyfriend, who held me while I cried and shook and tried to catch my breath.”

That doesn’t sound like the joyous beginning the anti-abortionists would have us believe all conceptions are.

Kutner continues: “What I definitely, definitely don’t want, immeasurably more than I don’t want to have an abortion, is to be pregnant or have a child.”

So she makes an appointment to have an abortion.

Planned Parenthood

Her piece, entitled, “I’m Having An Abortion This Weekend,” reveals her thoughts and fears in the days preceding the procedure. For my dough, she truly grasps how important human life is.

You’re On Your Own, Users

More than 11,000 Indiana residents have received treatment for drug addiction since 2010, thanks to a federal grant program called Access to Recovery.

It’s not easy at all to shake the monkey off your back. Addicts need help. They can’t do it alone.

Addiction

We’ve learned, too, that it costs more to repair the damage done to individuals and society by drug addiction than it does to help addicts get off the stuff. Of course, that doesn’t matter one bit to our esteemed legislators in Washington. Earlier this year, Congress slashed funding for ATR. Now Indiana won’t get any more federal dollars for its programs.

ATR-funded programs in 11 Indiana counties will be forced to cut off aid to many addicts as well as to fire a significant number of staffers.

And you thought this was a do-nothing Congress.

Hot Air

The World Is Wrong

I have refrained thus far from pontificating on the World Cup, the big shindig down in Brazil that the entire universe is watching.

Soccer probably is more boring and interminable than the existential nothingness of death. I use the qualifier probably only because I imagine death to be boring and interminable, considering I haven’t died yet and I can’t speak authoritatively on its attributes, but I know soccer is boring and interminable.

So give me credit: I didn’t want to kill anybody’s buzz. Bloomington has its own Viewtopia, a non-stop match-watching party on the grounds of the Tyler & Dave Ferguson Estate. Everybody’s cheering for this country and that one as if there’s yet another World War going on. To give you an idea of how profound my loathing is for the sport, if you put a gun to my head and tell me I have a choice between experiencing the horrors of another World War or those of watching the various World Cup matches, I’d say, “Do me a favor and pull the trigger, wouldja?”

Lazy Dog

Even Dogs Have Enough Sense To Be Bored By Soccer

Now, you may bleat, “But Big Mike, it’s the most popular sport in the entire world!” To which I’d reply, “So? Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, and Taylor Swift are among the top selling recording artists of all time — in the world.”

Clearly, the world’s opinion blows.

Anyway, I can’t hold back any longer. I have to call out the madness (albeit spectacularly unexciting madness) that is this whole World Cup thing. The USA advanced in the tourney by losing yesterday.

Again, they lost.

They didn’t win.

The other team outscored them.

They didn’t score any goals (not that that’s terribly unusual in soccer.)

What am I missing here? I’d always thought sports entailed the defeat of the other team. Players in the world’s various athletic contests knock each other into unconsciousness, clip their opponents’ legs so they suffer debilitating knee trauma, hit their foes with the force of small cars ramming into a wall at 20 mph, inject themselves with substances that shrink their testicles and turn their skulls into medium-sized watermelons, and otherwise bend the rules of their respective sports and those of civilization itself merely to score a single point more than the other guy.

But in soccer, the most popular sport in the world — have I mentioned that? — the team representing the USA won even though they lost.

Man, the world is stupid.

Take My Wife, Please

So, scads of same sex couples got hitched the last couple of days outside the Monroe County Courthouse. Starry-eyed pairs descended upon the venerable old edifice moments after a federal judge ruled Tuesday that Indiana’s ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The Herald Times tells us the number of couples applying for marriage licenses set a record Tuesday — and it was promptly broken the next day.

Consequences

From Sodahead

I’m told any number of happy pairs showed up for their impromptu ceremonies in such a state of haste that they wore baggy T-shirts, sweats, and flips.

It’s been a long time coming.

Lesbian and gay proponents of same sex marriage have fought a long, hard battle to get homosexual love recognized by the government. They’ve been vilified, spat upon, insulted, shunned, libeled and slandered, fired, and disowned simply because they wanted to share their lives with their soulmates.

Now comes the hard part: Staying married.

Cookies Can Be Better Than Sex

Indiana University sex research maven Debby Herbenick posted a recipe from the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis on Facebook the other day. Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Leman Glaze.

Just saying them name of them gives me a frisson.

So, I tried making them Wednesday in honor of The Loved One’s b-day.

The verdict? The taste is fab (you can never go wrong with either lemon or ricotta). They could do with less glaze than Giada calls for. And they’ll never, ever, ever turn out as neat and symmetrical as Giada’s photo shows them. Overall, I’d give them an 82 out of 100.

Here are some of mine:

MG Cookies

Lemon Ricotta Cookies With Lemon Glaze

And here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

Cookies:

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • zest of 1 lemon

Glaze:

    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • zest of 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

For the cookies:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

For the glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Natch, I found it impossible to wait the two hours and 20 minutes before I could taste them. Honestly, I like them a tad better when they’re still warm.

Hot Air

Drive, I Said

Pull out your wallet or your checkbook because the WFHB spring fund drive kicked off this morning. The beg-fest will run for 10 days, until a week from Sunday, and the station hopes to pocket some $40,000.

Kick in a sawbuck or two. Every little bit helps.

Spot Button

As part of the festivities, WFHB will bring independent radio savant David Barsamian to town on Sunday, April 10th. The founder of the Alternative Radio network will speak about Media, Capitalism, and the Environment. The talk begins at 7:00pm at the Bloomington-Monroe County Convention Center. Tix are $5 for the speech alone and $35 for the speech and a meet-and-greet with Barsamian after.

Barsamian

David Barsamian

WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh worked her newshound paws to the bone to pull this special appearance off. Get tickets here. Barsamian, BTW, is forgoing his speaking fee so all proceeds go to the station.

April 4th, 1968

This day, 46 years ago, a racist drifter whacked Martin Luther King, Jr. Many believe evidence exists that the drifter’s stalking of the civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner was bankrolled by one or more wealthy segregationists.

For public consumption, President Lyndon Johnson shook his head and said it was a terrible thing. So did tons of governors, mayors, and chiefs of police. Their crocodile tears belied their relief that King was erased from the scene because he’d recently begun to talk about the enormous gulf between the haves and the have-nots as well as the evils of unfettered capitalism. That, my friends, was and is a mortal sin.

Abernathy & King

Ralph Abernathy Tends To The Mortally Wounded King — Note King’s Cigarette on Walkway (Photo/Life)

Meanwhile, acc’d’g to legend, when news of King’s slaying reached the FBI office, agents jumped out of their chairs and cheered.

You want a good, un-hysterical account of the assassination, read Hampton Sides’ Hellhound on His Trail.

All I know is April 4th, 1968, was the day I began to see this holy land in a more clear light.

Yer Out!

So, the Mozilla CEO up and quit his new job because of all the hollering over his financial support of California’s anti-LGBT Proposition 8 in 2008.

Brendan Eich gave a thousand bucks to the Proposition 8 forces, who fought tooth and nail to get an amendment into the state constitution banning marriage by anyone except Ma and Pa Kettle. The Prop 8-ers were successful at first, but the amendment was ultimately ruled unconstitutional.

Eich

Mozilla-ites Don’t Like Eich

Mozilla, and its flagship product Firefox, are positioned as toys of the people — young, hip, open-minded people, specifically. Throwing money at anti-same sex marriage bigots isn’t looked upon kindly by that demographic. So they screamed and Eich is out.

Which is fine by me. Well, sorta. I’m glad the dope is out but I’m made a little itchy by a loud public outcry costing someone his or her job. It all sounds a little tyranny-of-the-majority to me. We were just lucky — this time — that the object of righteous rage was a bigot.

The Rich Are Something Else

I’m here to guide you through the thickets of the legal and political systems which can be so confounding in this holy land.

For instance, many of us are wondering why the Supreme Court once again ruled against campaign finance regulations, using as its justification the 1st Amendment guarantee of free speech.

Many of us might say, Hey, wait a sec. What does money have to do with free speech?

The answer: Nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission Wednesday, effectively allowing any and every rich guy to donate thousands, millions, or billions, if he so chooses, to candidates, parties, and PACs.The ruling ends whatever caps were left in place after the Citizens United decision in 2010. When the Big Robe writes an opinion, that means the majority thinks the case is mighty important.

They’re right. McCutcheon defines us as a nation.

See, an uber-wealthy political donor named Shaun McCutcheon wanted to plow ever greater piles of his money into the Republican Party and its candidates. The FEC said, Hold on there, pard, we’re trying to level the playing field here. McCutcheon and his lawyers responded by wringing their hands, weeping, gnashing their teeth — and suing, natch. McCutcheon figured, What’s the good of having all the dough in the world if I can’t buy a statehouse or two or even the White House?

Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy agreed. They had to base their ruling on something that sounded high-minded and less venal than the real reason.

Follow me so far? Okay, let’s not bullshit each other or ourselves anymore. Let’s tell each other and ourselves the way it is.

For years our elementary school teachers, newspapers and television stations, flamboyantly patriotic candidates for elective office, and other purveyors of myth and nonsense have sung paeans to our democracy. One man, one vote. The voice of the people. The power of the ballot box. Hey buddy, my taxes pay your salary, and so on ad infinitum, bordering on ad nauseam.

You don’t buy that bologna (oh, alright, baloney), do you? I assume you don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading these (almost) daily screeds.

Cheap Lunchmeat

Today’s Civics Lesson, Sliced

Cutting through the cheap lunchmeat that is politico-legal jargon today and, for that matter, has been every day since this great country arose from god’s mighty hand some 238 years ago, is really awfully easy.

Just remember that even though we pride ourselves on having a classless society and every man is a king and the rest of that blather, the dominant train of thought in this holy land holds that the rich are better human beings than the rest of us. That’s the truth.

And by rich, I mean rich. Not the schlub down the street who may have cracked the quarter-million-dollar-a-year salary threshold. He’s not rich. He’s comfortable. When his car breaks down, he can get it fixed without thinking much about it. He can even buy a brand new car if he wants. He won’t agonize over the decision. His car breaking down is not a disaster. For the rest of us, it may very well be.

But should our comfy neighbor lose his job, he and his family will start hurting sometime in the not too distant future. He may have a pile of dough today, but it won’t last him the rest of his life.

There are, though, people who’ll never have to work again until the day they die. Nor will their children or grandchildren. For that matter, every successive generation until these United States break up or are taken over by Mexicans or Russians or extra-terrestrials or whomever you envision in your paranoiac fever dreams will be rich enough to laugh at the very idea of work.

Work that puts bread on the table. For them, bread is always on the table. They are given bread as a birthright.

They are different than the rest of us. They are better.

We really believe that.

Real wealth in America buys and sells power. Real wealth can sway elections, get laws passed, regulations ignored, misdemeanors winked at, felonies fixed.

The rich — the real rich — are something different. They’re…, they’re…, well, they’re closer to god.

There’s your American dream.

The Reagan/Bush/Bush Supreme Court appointees voted in a bloc once again to codify the American belief that the rich not only are superior human beings but they should be allowed to elect presidents and governors and senators and even, if any of them is so inclined, the odd county commissioner or city clerk.

Money, Roberts and the boys have ruled, is everything.

That, kiddies, is America. And it ain’t no dream.

Not-So-Hot, Vortex-Redux Air

Save Our Children!

A funny juxtaposition of news stories on NPR this morning. Not funny ha-ha but funny as in, oh, let’s see, ironic or stupid. Hell, we’ll go with stupid on this one.

Okay, first story. One of the Morning Edition announcers made mention of the federal case of a lesbian couple in Michigan who want to be able to get married and adopt each other’s kids. Only Michigan bans same-sex marriage. And, well, Mich. bans gay and lesbian adoption, too, because, y’know, homo-sex is evil and sick and weakens the nation and is pretty much all god thinks about.

DeBoer/Rowse Family

The Couple & The Kids

In the state court case to determine the legality of Michigan’s bans, the lesbian couple had to answer for a study by a University of Texas prof who posited that homo-sex parents are suboptimal.

Mark Regnerus did the study which sorta suggested that kids are better off being raised by their two biological parents, as opposed to a raft of other possibilities (including single parents, adoptive parents, divorced parents, and so on). I stress the sorta because Regnerus himself wasn’t exactly jumping up and down, shouting that homosexual parenting couples suck. But when those who panic at the mere thought that homosexuals might live on these sacred shores got hold of the study, all they could see was an imagined conclusion that same-sex partner parents are the worst thing ever to happen to the nation since slavery and the Indian holocaust combined. Worse than that, probably.

Family Structure Studies

The Study

Right Wing and homophobic organizations around the USA became tumescent. Proof, they crowed, that homo-sexers should not be permitted to be within a mile of our precious little princes and princesses.

Now those who make it their practice to go to court to make sure we never, ever allow the homo-sexers to marry or adopt introduce the study as evidence. As the lesbian couple learned to their dismay.

[Note 1: Nevermind that the study’s methodology has been challenged by other social scientists, reviewers, and even the publication that carried its results in the first place.]

[Note 2: Don’t clunk me on the head: I couldn’t find today’s mention of the Michigan lesbian adoption case, so there isn’t a link to it. Trust me, though — it was mentioned.]

Now, for the stupid juxtaposition.

About 1700 children die each year as a result of abuse and neglect. At least that’s the official count. Experts think the number is much higher.

So begins a report on a new congressional commission that will be in charge of wringing its hands and proffering outraged comments on the situation.

Now, doesn’t that 1700-plus figure scare the bejesus out of you? It did me. One-thousand seven hundreds little tykes get whacked by their parents or care-givers each year. They’re either beaten or shot or strangled or suffocated or drowned or poisoned — take your pick. As many ways as one human being can snuff out the life of another, that’s how many ways parents and guardians ice their kids in this holy land

Every single freaking year.

And, you know, virtually every one of those dead kids was raised by hetero parents. Yup. Considering the fact that the number of heteros is far, far greater than the number of homo-sexers, and considering that fact that a number of states do not even allow homo-sexers to adopt (either explicitly or through legal misdirection), and, going further, considering the number of judges and child welfare bureaucrats who look askance at homo-sex adoption even if the states they’re in allow it, we have to conclude that, of the parents and guardians who whack their spawn, the percentage of them who are heterosexual is around 99 or more.

Typical American Family

Let’s Kill The Children, Dear

See, the number of homosexuals who’ve adopted is statistically negligible compared to the overall number of parents in this country. Ergo, of those 1700-plus dead kids, heteros have executed, say, 1698-plus. If you choose to argue with that figure, lemme see your stats first.

The course of action I’m about to propose, therefore, makes perfect sense.

I call for the legislatures of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the territories of the United States, to ban adoptions by heterosexual couples. Wait, as the TV pitchmen love to say, there’s more. I call for the seizing of all children of heterosexual parents until each and every such parent can prove that he or she will not drown, poison, strangle, suffocate, or otherwise bump off their brood.

See, 1700 deaths constitute much more than a sorta problem.

And tough problems call for tough solutions.

Say-No-To-Snow Hot Air

States Of Wealth

Hey, dig these maps produced by some wonk at the American Enterprise Institute. I’ve broken his one main map into three digestible sub-maps for your convenience.

AEI Map

The Western United States

AEI Map

The Eastern States

AEI Map

Alaska & Hawaii

See what the wonketeer did here? He renamed each of the states for a sovereign nation whose GDP is similar.

My takeaway from this? Let’s stop all the bullshit about how this holy land is broke.

[h/t to Kenneth Morrison, metal artist and revered bwana of the Ever-So-Secret Order of the Lampreys.]

Thank You For Not Repressing Us

Our expectations are so low these days. To wit: all the huzzah-ing over the failure of the Indiana Senate to pass HJR-3 as it stood. Now Hoosiers won’t get to vote in November on denying citizens who love those of their same sex the right to marry.

Same-sex marriage advocates whooped and hollered as if Lincoln had come down from the clouds and issued a new Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln

“You Are Free”

Breaking news: He hasn’t.

See, the only reason the vile bill wasn’t passed was because State Senators disagreed over whether it should contain language barring civil unions and domestic partner benefits. So, it wasn’t a sudden upsurge in human decency or a thirst for freedom that caused our august Sens. to nix the bill.

No, they were afraid of teeing off the thousands or hundreds of thousands of hetero couples who [The Pencil voice lowers to a whisper here] live in sin.

God forbid this ugly bill should discomfit anybody who digs man-woman sex!

From Cheezburger.com

Straight Guys, Apparently, Get Off On Cyborgs

And, by the way, it ain’t so long ago that the antediluvian, troglodytic wing of the body politic was up in arms about straight people living together without the benefit of marriage. They called it “shacking up” and women who did it were dirty sluts and their men were dishonorable.

Out In Bloomington

Have you seen the Bloom mag online piece about Gay Bloomington yet?

It’s illustrated with a great photo of some of B-town’s most esteemed citizens — who just happen not to be traditional heterosexuals.

Zahnle/Bloom

Bloom Mag Photo By Shannon Zahnle

I’m struck by one thing: all these people are just, well, people.

That’s one thing homophobes and hateful fundamentalists don’t get.

Today’s Hot Air

The Obvious

To this day I haven’t written a word about the efforts of Indiana statehouse legislators to get a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot before Hoosier voters.

I apologize to all loyal Pencillistas who’ve been wringing their hands, wondering what they should think about this issue without my firm and wise counsel to guide them.

Wait and fret no more.

Indy Star Image

The House Vote, Last Month (photo: Charlie Nye)

Monday, the Indiana Senate Rules Committee passed on the resolution to the full Senate. If the Senate okays the bill, HJR-3, it would be the second of a three-step process to ensure that people who love people of their sex would never, ever, ever achieve the full rights and privileges heterosexual married couples enjoy here. In other words, the wise legislators are loath to grant homosexuals the same imprimatur that they would happily bestow upon the likes of, say, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries…, oh, wait, they divorced after 72 days of marriage. Hmm. Alright, how about Katy Perry and Russell Brand. Ah, no. What about…, aw, forget it, you know what the Senators mean.

Don’t you?

Perry/Brand

A Holy Union

Anyway, I haven’t written about the bill because, well, it’s stupid. And wrong. And hateful. I could write those six words every day. What else could I possibly write about it?

I know, this: Let’s all make it our business to vote out the idiots who are behind this vile bill.

A Nation Of Stars

The National Science Foundation tells us that Murricans are fast becoming less skeptical of astrology.

Yep. Acc’g to a study released this week, the NSF has found that in 2012 only 55 percent of us believed astrology is not scientific. That’s down from 62 percent in 2010.

Zodiac

The Zodiac

Astrology, of course, is the belief that the apparent positions of stars and planets affect human behavior on Earth. Many people confuse astrology with astronomy, which is like mixing up the Bible with Newton’s Principia.

The term scientific, in this case, refers to the process by which we rigorously discover, test, and verify knowledge. The scientific method, just as a reminder, includes the following steps:

  • Observe and identify a problem or question
  • Gather information
  • Form a hypothesis
  • Conduct experiments
  • Record and analyze the experiment results
  • State a conclusion or theory
  • Publish the theory to allow others to confirm or rebut it

That’s how we know, for instance, that the nearest star to Earth is 4.243 light years away. That would be just a shade under 25 trillion miles. Trillion. With a T. Or 25,000,000,000,000.

The shoe covers that the obstetrician wore when she delivered you exerted far more gravitational influence on your physical body than did the nearest star to the Earth.

But the people of this holy land who, in the last few years, have chosen to devote far fewer financial resources to our schools, more and more are coming to accept astrology.

Sigh.

The Nazis Are Coming! The Nazis Are Coming!

And, of course, science is not the only discipline we blithely laugh at in this holy land. History is a joke here as well.

To wit: New York Times best selling author Dr. Ben Carson the other day warned that progressives, liberals, and secularists are changing Murrica in the most despicable way possible. They, Carson told a Republican fundraiser, are leading us down the same path that Nazi Germany took.

Carson

Carson

He said:

There comes a time when people with values simply have to stand up. Think about Nazi Germany. Most of the people did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand up for what they believed in? They did not, and you saw what happened. And if you believe that same thing can’t happen again, you’re very wrong.

Leaving aside the historical untruth that “most of the people did not believe in what Hitler was doing,” Carson clearly equates people like me with, oh, say, Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi “Angel of Death.”

To which I reply, with all due respect, Fuck you, Dr. Ben Carson.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“All war is deception.” Sun Tzu

WINTER WOE

OMG — snow!

Take Cover!

I quote from the NOAA National Weather Service Special Weather Statement issued this morning for our neck of the woods:

… Light snow will impact the morning commute…

Don’t know about you, but I’m about to dash out and stock up on staples.

THE LAW AGAINST LOVE

The Indiana Daily Student carries a story this morning about how the California Supreme Court decision overturning Proposition 8 might affect Hoosier State legislators’ efforts to get an anti-same-sex marriage amendment approved.

One thing that depresses me about the amendment is that it was sponsored by both a Republican and a Democrat.

Sheesh, I can’t even demonize my favorite whipping boys, the GOP, for this.

Criminals (In Some States)

WANNA FIGHT?

So, the boss of Argentina, a woman named Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, rattled her saber yesterday and threatened to snitch to the United Nations if Great Britain continues to beef up its forces in the Falklands.

Kirchner: “Don’t go there, girl!”

You remember the Falklands, don’t you? They’re a godforsaken bunch of rocks sticking out of the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off the coast of Argentina. Back in 1982, the UK and Argentina started getting snippy with each other about who should reign over the islands. Next thing the world knew, the two countries commenced a shootin’ war leading to the loss of some 900 human beings’ lives and a bunch of military hardware sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

It’s been said war is hell. I say war is stupid.

Be that as it may, the UK’s Margaret Thatcher got to brag to the planet that her dick was bigger than that of Argentina’s then-capo, Leopoldo Galtieri. Her party, which prior to the war was in a bit of hot water with the British electorate, suddenly became invincible. Her partisans took to calling her The Iron Lady.

Oh, and major — I mean major — defense funding cuts, which had been threatened in the months leading up to the tiff, suddenly were swept off the table, thanks to the war orgasm Brits experienced. Far be it from me to suggest there was any connection between the two events.

Hey, maybe war isn’t so stupid after all.

Oh, Baby, That Was Fantastic — Was It Good For You, Too?

Argentinians were so humiliated by the loss of the war that they tossed old man Galtieri out of office the very next year.

So, here we are, three decades later. The UK is sending its most eligible inbred bachelor, Prince William, and its top warship as well as a nuclear submarine to the Falklands to shore up its already hefty military presence there.

I wonder if the British defense ministry is facing any funding cuts these days.

ROYAL PAIN

I bring up this latest UK/Argentina fuss in light of Queen Elizabeth’s celebration yesterday of the sixtieth anniversary of her ascension to her meaningless post. She was named queen while Winston Churchill, for chrissakes, was still cigar-chomping, gin-guzzling, and flatulating his way around 10 Downing Street.

No, Really, She’s Still Alive

In her honor, I dedicate the song below.

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

No, not the tune you expect. This one.

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