SSM is Not Like Abortion

One of the things I’ve been neglecting by not doing much blogging is holding Ryan Anderson’s feet to the fire. He hasn’t been inactive lately, by any means. So to kick things off for the new year, let’s tackle one of his latest instances of foolishness.

In the video below, a distraught middle-aged woman complains to the panel that her young niece looked at her like she was “a horrible person” when the woman told her niece she thought marriage was between a man and a woman, and looked to the panel for some help with “How are you guys winning [millenials] over” to the side of bigotry (OK, that’s my word…)?

And “Dr.”* Anderson’s (looking increasingly like Grizzly Adams–not such a fresh face now) response? Comparing abortion to same-sex marriage: “My generation is more pro-life than my parents’ generation, and there’s no reason why the same thing can’t happen on the question about marriage.”

Oh, but there is. It’s a bit like comparing support for nuclear weapons programs to believing it’s acceptable for men to wear pink.
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The Rat

clipart ratThe police and policing have been in the news a lot in the last few months, starting with the events in Ferguson, MO. I wrote about the police a couple times. And I’ve heard a lot of discussion, and one question has come up a few times. Why don’t the good cops do something about the bad cops? The answer: they’re afraid to. Whistle blowers are called “rats” and “snitches”. They can’t find partners to ride with them and get shitty assignments. Worst of all, they don’t get backup in dangerous situations, meaning they are literally endangering their own lives by coming forward. A case in which all this allegedly happened is that of former Baltimore Police Detective Joseph Crystal.

By all reports, Crystal was a rising star in the BPD, until he saw something he couldn’t keep quiet about: the beating of a drug suspect by a fellow officer.

In fleeing from police, the suspect broke into the home of a woman who was (presumably unknown to him) the girlfriend of a BPD officer (Anthony Williams). The man was arrested and taken away in a police van. But then Officer Williams–who was not involved in the arrest–showed up. The sergeant on scene had the van come back and the suspect brought back into the house where Williams beat him:

“I can hear the assault,” Crystal said. “I hear the banging. I hear the guy hit the floor.

“A couple minutes later, they bring the guy out,” Crystal added. “His shirt’s ripped. He’s having trouble standing. Later on, I found out his ankle was broken. It was obvious not just to any cop but to any person that saw it what had just transpired.”

The battered Green was led back into the police van and driven away.

After consulting with his parents, who were both former NYPD officers, he decided he had to report the incident. His sergeant advised against it: “If you snitch, your career is done. Nobody’s going to work with you.”

He did it anyway. His sergeant was right. What followed were all the things I mentioned above, in addition to having a dead rat placed on his car at his home and his security clearance revoked.

For obvious reasons, Crystal felt he had to quit his job, and he has been unable to find another law enforcement job in the area. He is currently suing the department, the chief and his former supervisor.

Read all the depressing details here.

This is why the good cops don’t do something about the bad cops. The Blue Wall is insurmountable. This is why the police are not capable of policing themselves.

Happy New Year 2015

times-square-ballThere’s been a lot going on the last month or two, and I’ve been remiss in my blogging. There has been a lot on my mind, certainly. I just haven’t made myself sit down and write it all out. And I’m not going to for a bit longer!

The new year is upon us. I am shortly leaving on a much-needed vacation, where I will have minimal Internet access. Hopefully I will return rested, relaxed and ready to start the year out right.

In the mean time, I wish a safe and happy new year to all. We don’t know what 2015 holds for us, but let’s all do what we can to make it the best it can be, for ourselves and for each other.

Cheers!

The Fresh Face of Bigotry: A Kinder, Gentler Hate

We have all seen the signs carried by the fire-breathing homophobes of the Westboro Baptist “Church”, who famously declared “God Hates Fags”, which goes against pretty much all Christian teaching. Fortunately, this tactic convinced almost nobody, and made people hate the WBC more than anything else.

Unfortunately, more savvy bigots have caught on to the fact that such tactics don’t win people over to their side. Enter a new breed of bigots, who smile and speak softly while they “politely” try to keep as much discrimination in place against LGBT folks as they can.

The poster boy of this movement is one Ryan T. Anderson. Ryan, allegedly an intellectual (he works for an “Institute” and is associated with right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation), is 32 and never married, and professes to be an expert on marriage. He has even coauthored a book about it!

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Uniform Code

Last night, another black male teenager was killed by police in the St. Louis area. This time, according to police, the teen was armed and fired at the officer. If that’s true–and once again, I believe all police shootings should be independently investigated–I can’t find fault with the officer for shooting. The fact that he fired 17 times tells me he’s probably not a good shot and should spend more time at the range, but that’s a different matter.

A fact in this story that will likely get overlooked–I may not have noticed it, if not for the tweet below–is that the officer was wearing his uniform while off duty and working private security gig.

And that’s a problem. Not that he was working another security job; I know cops don’t often make a lot of money (except at the Port Authority apparently, but that’s a topic for a separate post) and it’s fine putting their skills to work in another job. The problem is they do this in uniform. And it’s common.

In most cases, cops retain their police powers off duty, which is fine. But when you see an officer in uniform, how are you to know if they’re working in their official capacity or as hired help? The distinction is important! Are they enforcing the laws, or obeying the wishes of a private employer? As I stated in a previous post, you’re generally compelled to obey a police officer. Are his orders based on the law or the whims of his boss?

This is just another one of many things that should be fixed with policing in America.

Willful Ignorance

How is this possible? It…boggles the mind.

Watch this The Daily Show segment about statistics (or lack thereof) on police shootings.

(I tried to embed the video but it didn’t work, so you’ll have to visit the link. Sorry!)

On Police

I composed this entry weeks ago, and then sat on it instead of posting it. But I can’t really sit on this issue any more, now I that I see the story of John Crawford, a black man fatally shot by police in Ohio. The man was carrying a gun in a Walmart store, and police responded to a 911 call. The gun turned out to be toy, but it was apparently realistic looking from a distance. However, there are two considerations here: 1) Ohio is an open-carry state, meaning it was not against the law to carry a real gun in the store. In fact white people do it without getting shot. 2) It appears from the video that Mr. Crawford dropped the toy gun before being shot by police.

A grand jury failed to indict, and the city released a statement that “The officers followed accepted law enforcement training protocol in their response to the report of an active threat in the Wal-Mart store.” Apparently officers are trained to shoot black men after they drop their gun on the floor.

More information here and here. The video is…disturbing.

It sure seems like it.
—–
I’ve been stewing on this for while, composing parts of it in my head, and then forgetting most of them. Then as I was finishing up with work today, I saw the following tweet, and accompanying link from @redeyechicago:

And I’m sure most of the developed world heard about what happened in Ferguson, MO no long ago. And lo and behold, this tweet also popped into my timeline:

So it’s time to talk about police, I think. Police, or cops, are a necessary part of society, unless we want to live in anarchy. I want to be clear that I am not anti-cop. I appreciate the job is dangerous, challenging and often thankless. I appreciate that men and women are willing to put their lives on the line in service to society, often for sadly low pay (you don’t go into policing to get rich). And many cops are good people. I don’t say “most”, because I don’t know that to be true. I don’t that it isn’t true either; I lack facts either way. But it’s no secret that the power that comes with a badge and a gun can attract the wrong kind of people into the line of work. People like the guy in the first tweet above, if the allegations are true. And like many of the people I saw in action in Ferguson, MO.

And the whole thing in Ferguson started with a police officer fatally shooting an unarmed 18 year old boy. All the facts in that case have still not been revealed, so I am not going to try to pass judgement but it definitely doesn’t smell right to me. But Mike Brown is hardly the only person to be shot to death by police. In the US alone, more than 400 civilians were killed by police in 2011. In Australia there were 6, in Germany there were 6 and in England and Wales there were 2 for the same year.
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Battle For The Net

LoadingIf you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

Open Letter to the Internet (and Beyond)

Dear Internet,

Actually dear Everybody, but particularly everybody on the Internet,

Please stop feeding the trolls.

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

I know, it’s tough. We hate it when someone is wrong on the Internet!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

It’s so tempting to respond when you hear or see someone say something completely asinine, wrong-headed and/or offensive. But here’s the thing. Many of them are doing it for attention. There is at least one well-known and particularly egregious offender for this. I don’t even want to say her name because it will just give her what she wants, so I’ll let you figure it out yourself. Her name rhymes with Can Houlter. Know who I mean?

Of all the people that say ignorant and truly offensive things, she may just be the queen. And she’s doing it for attention, nothing more. She doesn’t actually hope to persuade anyone with her so-called “arguments”. She just wants people to say “Oh my God, did you hear what [name redacted] said about [whatever]?!” Because then people are talking about her. And she gets invited on TV to say more stupid shit, because people eat it up. Whenever I see someone complain about her I just want to scream “STOP! She is WINNING because of you!” Without attention, trolls shrivel up and die, and the world is a better place.

The only way to elevate the (abysmal) level of discourse in our society is to reward it when it’s constructive, and ignore it when it’s not. I know, it’s so very hard to do. Trust me, I know. It’s something we can all work on, together. Are you with me, Internet (and Beyond)?

#SaveTheLoews Wonder Theater of New Jersey

josh:

This amazing theatre has been my home away from home for the past 2 years. I’ve spent countless hours cleaning, restoring and working events. Even though I’ve been there dozens of times, I keep discovering new things there. It belongs in the hands of people who care about the building and its history, and the community, not a multinational corporation that cares for nothing but the bottom line.

Originally posted on Once upon a screen...:

lo3

Hi All –

This post will not feature a TCM film or a horror movie of the week, but rather a plea to the people who still love classic film in it’s intended home….the big movie palaces of yesteryear.  Not many of these grand theaters are left and those that remain in their original glory are being threatened on a continuous basis by those who consider life as nothing more than an income statement where bottom line increases are never enough.  This plea is on behalf of one of those movie palaces, the historic Landmark Loew’s Theatre located in Jersey City, NJ.  Please take a moment to check out the history of the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre and the online petition you can sign to help save it for future generations.

jo

If you’re not in the know as to what’s threatening the Landmark Loew’s here’s a brief version of the scoop –

The…

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