Never Forget!

Never forget!
I’m not speaking of the terrible bombings and ensuing chaos (and death of a police officer) in Boston last week. That’s not something anyone in America will soon be forgetting about. No reminder is needed.

I’m speaking of the people who took this opportunity to reveal how terrible or stupid (or both) they are. Particularly those who would govern us (other than Mitch McConnel, whom I’ve already covered).

Exhibit A:

This is Arkansas State Rep. Nate Bell (@NateBell4AR). He tweeted that last Friday morning. In case that image goes away, let me transcribe the tweet for you:

I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night  cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?

As predicted, Twitter blew up and many Bostonians responded with an answer to his question: None. Feeling a bit guilty, Mr. Bell apologized on the Facebooks (emphasis mine):

I would like to apologize to the people of Boston & Massachusetts for the poor timing of my tweet earlier this morning. As a staunch and unwavering supporter of the individual right to self defense, I expressed my point of view without thinking of its effect on those still in time of crisis. In hindsight, given the ongoing tragedy that is still unfolding, I regret the poor choice of timing. Please know that my thoughts and prayers were with the people of Boston overnight and will continue as they recover from this tragedy.

Nate Bell's non-apology on Facebook
Nate Bell 4 Tool of the Year

He didn’t apologize for the asinine content of his tweet (which he apparently did delete), but for the timing of it. Because yeah, Nate, that’s what people had a problem with. And sadly, this post has nearly 2000 “likes” on it. Less sadly, most of the commenters seem to be more sensible.

Most, not all:

You apologies sound more like a wobbly Democrat pissing on himself as soon as his liberal pals start attacking him..I thought you were a conservative Republican..Represent Arkansans not the national left wing media and their mob..Your state district seat should have a man sitting in it.. not a fumbling, apologetic kid.

Quoth one Patrick DeMent. If I had more time, I’d love to hear more about Mr. DeMent’s ideas on manliness. Perhaps another day.

And then there’s The Donald. Here are just a few select tweets from Trump, the man who would (then wouldn’t, then would?) be President:

“Next time you are waiting in an emergency room remember the Boston killer was rushed to intensive care within minutes of capture.” (link)

“The Boston killer will soon be asking for a Presidential pardon—don’t give it to him, Mr. President—hang tough!” (link)

“What do you think of water boarding the Boston killer sometime prior to allowing our doctors to make him well? I suspect he may talk!” (link)

“Make the Boston killer talk before our doctors make him better. Once he is well he will say, “speak to my lawyers.”” (link)

“If the Boston killer applies for Obama Care the paperwork will be too complicated for him to understand!” (link)

“NO MERCY TO TERRORISTS you dumb bastards!” (link)

“I hate when the news media, so afraid to offend anyone, always refers to the BOSTON KILLER as “the suspect”.” (link)

And finally: “I know some of you may think l’m tough and harsh but actually I’m a very compassionate person (with a very high IQ) with strong common sense” (link)

All presented without comment, partially because they’re unworthy, and partially because ain’t nobody got time for that!

Never forget!


Complacency, My Ass!

In the wake of the tragic bombings in Boston, it hasn’t taken our idiotic politicians long to start spewing total nonsense. Like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

On 9/11 we forever disabused of the notion that attacks, like the one that rocked Boston yesterday ,only happen on the field of battle or in distant countries. With the passage of time, however, and the vigilant efforts of our military, intelligence and law enforcement professionals, I think it’s safe to say that for many, the complacency that prevailed prior to September 11th has actually returned. And so we are newly reminded that serious threats to our way of life remain. And today again we recommit ourselves to the fight against terrorism at home and abroad.

(via ThinkProgress)

“Complacency”? Who exactly has grown complacent? Law enforcement, intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies? It’s difficult to interpret what you’re actually trying to say, but your statement seems to imply they have been “vigilant” so I can only assume you are referring to the American people. In which case, FUCK YOU, Mitch! To even hint that we have somehow brought this on ourselves by letting our guards down, by having the audacity to live our lives without constantly glancing over our shoulders or suspiciously watching our brown-skinned (or perhaps just odd) neighbors is despicable. Terrorists want us to live in fear and suspicion, and that seems to be exactly what you think we should be doing as well. If we do that (to use a cliche), the terrorists win!

Where are exactly you going with this? Do you want to enact more draconian privacy and freedom-limiting so-called “security measures”, like the knee-jerk USA PATRIOT Act that passed like lightning in the wake of 9/11? That’s not what we need.

Complacency is not the problem. The fact that it’s been more than 11 years since a serious attack has taken place on American soil should be proof of that. No matter how vigilant we all are, it will never be possible to prevent every single attack. The thing to concentrate on now is to find the culprit or culprits and make sure they can never do anything like this again. Blaming the victims? That accomplishes nothing, but making you look like a total fucking dick.

Tax Day

Sing it with me:

I am proud to be an American, where it takes me a full day to do my taxes, but at least I know I’m free to marry who I want–in a handful of states!

Speaking of marriage and taxes, it is actually a bit of a blessing at tax time to not be married, as married couples tend to pay more in tax than non-married couples. Some friends who are married in NY had to do a fake federal return as if they were married. Fake, because the federal government doesn’t recognize their marriage. And they had to do it because most states tax forms are dependent on the federal form. Anyway, had they been married their tax burden would have been $6000 higher! Talk about a marriage penalty!

So I’m not in any rush to get a ring on my finger, but I still believe I should have that right, and the ability to choose for myself if the tax penalty is worth it.

Anyway, hope all my fellow Yanks got their taxes done on time. I still have to go mail a couple of mine in (two states–I had to complete 3!). The good news is, thanks to my long period of being unemployed last year, I’m getting a lot back. Might be good to use for a vacation!

Happy Tax Day!


Within hours of clicking “Publish” on my last entry, SCOTUS + Marriage, in which I refer to only one GOP senator supporting marriage equality, this happened:

When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others.

Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most.  Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back– government has no place in the middle.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)

For those who don’t know the context, Senator Kirk had a serious stroke, went through a grueling rehab and returned to work. It’s an inspiring story. Until I moved last year, Kirk was one of my senators.

He seems to be saying “Life’s too short to be a dick. Let’s live and let live.” A sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree.

With that short blog post, the number of Republican senators openly supporting marriage equality has doubled! To two. Progress is progress. I’ll take it.

I’ll also toss out this Onion piece, which I could only wish was real news. I particularly like this part:

Moreover, when Attorney Cooper said that gay marriage could harm the moral fabric of the country and hurt the institution of marriage, Associate Justice Sotomayor asked, “What are you even talking about?” while Justice Anthony Kennedy reportedly muttered, “You got to be fucking kidding me,” under his breath.



SCOTUS + Marriage

Well, it’s finally here! Marriage equality is getting its day(s) in court! Of course it’s had those days before, but not in the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), the highest court in the land, the one with the final say. The one with the power to help or harm the cause for a long time to come.

What’s going to happen? I wish I knew. From what I’ve read, the Prop 8 ruling is looking shaky. It will almost assuredly come down to Justice Kennedy. And based on his questions and comments thus far, at least one theorist thinks he’s leaning toward upholding it. DOMA is looking a little better though. Probably because it allows the Justices to strike it down in whole or in part based on the idea of States’ Rights, without needing to weigh in on same sex-marriage itself in any substantive way.

And then there’s this analysis, which is a bit hard to follow. I am not a lawyer, but I think both the author and some of the Justices are full of shit, in different ways.

Justice Alito looked for “data” on this “institution which is newer than cell phones.”   Same-sex marriage, he said, might turn out to a “good thing”, or “not”, as Proposition 8 supporters “apparently believe.”  Justice Scalia said that there is no “scientific answer” to the decisive “harm” question at this time.”…

These worries about inadequate “data” might lead the Court to decide one or both of the cases on jurisdictional grounds, including (in Windsor) federalism bases.

What “data”? What “harm question”? A “scientific answer”? What?! If you’re going to insist on data proving that something causes no harm, shouldn’t you have some hypothesis as to what that harm might be? At least some rational idea of what harm it could potentially cause? Oh, hold on.

 [Cooper] succeeded in putting on offer (in my words) the following proposition: gendered marriage laws are justified by the fact – the moral reality – that marriage is gendered.  Redefining marriage as genderless obviously changes the meaning of marriage across our society.  The “harm” of doing that is just the harm that it does to people’s opportunities to know, understand, and to participate in marriage as the gendered relationship that it truly is.

Oh that harm! How did I miss that? [Insert eye roll here]. Fortunately “Cooper’s invitation to consider the moral reality of marriage had no takers.” But that leads me back to my original question. If the Justices didn’t buy this nonsense, what do they think the harm could possibly be? And why are they trying to use that basis in this case? For example, what data did they have telling them that considering corporations as people would not be harmful in Citizens United?

Justice Scalia jumped to a discussion about possible harms to children adopted by same-sex couples.  The Chief Justice took over the theme.

I knew that was coming. Look, child rearing is a red herring, a straw man, a distraction. There is some room for a reasonable person to suspect that a child might be better off with a father and a mother than with two fathers or two mothers. The evidence I’ve seen suggests that isn’t the case, but I can’t say that it’s definitive. But it doesn’t matter either way! Same sex couples have kids now, even in states where they can’t marry or enter civil unions. And many opposite sex couples get married without procreating (and sometimes without any intention or even the possibility of doing so) or adopting. Single people have kids. Child-rearing and marriage are related, sure, but they are distinct issues and should be dealt with as such. Tying them so closely together now does nothing but appeal to the “Won’t someone please think of the children?!” set. This is one of the most pernicious arguments against same sex-marriage, because it’s both fallacious and effective.

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