Sunday, October 08, 2006

One Good Foley Scandal Outcome

Gay members of both parties describe the Foley matter as something that could jeopardize the role that gay men and lesbians have assumed in Republican politics.
New York Times 10/08/06
I certainly hope so. If gay staffers and other gays connected with the Republican party and supporting it all have to leave it, depriving it of talent, numbers, and money, how is that a bad thing? Many of these assholes have actually worked to advance hateful legislation against American gays.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Kip Hawley is an idiot

Kip Hawley is an idiot Kip Hawley is an idiot. He is the director of the Transportation Security Agency. To understand in better detail why Hawley’s an idiot, see frequent flyer Ryan Bird’s account of an encounter with one of Hawley’s flying monkeys at a Milwaukee airport on September 26.

Update: There’s a website,, that tells you how to make a “freedom bag”(!) like Bird’s. (Via PZ Myers and Jim Lippard.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Cavalier" not very

The ombudsman of the University of Virginia’s The Cavalier Daily, a student newspaper, has determined that art must be limited to what can be understood representationally. Or maybe to what she can understand. (It’s not clear.)

The paper printed two comics last month by student Grant Woolard (this one and this one) that provoked protests by some religious people because they treated religious subjects unfavorably. Actually, ombudsman Lisa Fleisher’s essay doesn’t say what the religious people found objectionable about the cartoons; it only says what she found objectionable about them, which was that she didn’t get them. I’m not exaggerating. Quote:
While I don't think an apology is necessary, the managing board should consider changing its policy to ensure the cartoon has a clear message.
Woolard's two items, unfortunately, were quite inscrutable. […] [T]here needs to be a solid, understandable point or message involved..
A famous art critic (whose famous name I can't remember) said that people at first doubt that abstract art can really represent anything. But when it is shown to them that some abstract works can clearly do so, they then make the corollary mistake of insisting that every work of abstract art is explicitly representational. This is similar to the mistaken assumption that Cavalier ombudsman Fleisher suffers under: If it can't be put into words, it isn't art.

Plenty of recent cartoons in The Cavalier Daily don’t have explicitly editorial points to make: they’re just cute or funny, like comics all over the world. Start here on August 23rd to see the other comics The Cavalier printed with Woolard’s and click forward toward today to see what I mean. Why single out those comics as insufficiently understandable.

On the basis of no evidence presented in her essay other than that some people outside the university said they were angry, Fleisher determines that Woolard’s comics were gratuitously offensive. She says of them, “Offending just for the sake of offending -- or even to get people talking -- is juvenile and unprofessional.” But surely the fact that the religious ideas in question can be so easily ‘offensively’ juxtaposed in this way is a very strong and clear editorial comment. That people were offended by it seems to demonstrate irrefutably that this art is understandable.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Christians for Wife Beating (new group)

[I shamelessly lift in its entirety this 09/04/2006 blog post by Richard Kim at The Nation.]

Christian Conservatives for Domestic Violence?

When a raft of state defense of marriage amendments (DOMAs) passed in 2004, observers (including yours truly) warned that such amendments would not just ban gay marriage but also imperil domestic partnership agreements, next-of-kin arrangements and domestic violence protections for unmarried people. Right-wing backers dismissed such concerns as left-liberal paranoia. Well, I normally love to say “I told you so,” but in this case it brings me no pleasure. Nonetheless, I told you so.

Ohio was one of 11 states to pass DOMAs in 2004, and pundits alleged then that “State Issue No. 1,” as it was called on the ballot, played a major role in John Kerry’s defeat. Whatever the case may be (and let’s hope the ballots are still around to see), one immediate fallout is clear: domestic violence protections for unmarried women.

In late August, Ohio’s Citizens for Community Values (CCV), a right-wing organization devoted to promoting “Judeo-Christian moral values,” filed an amicus brief on behalf of an alleged domestic abuser. For the past 25 years, Ohio’s domestic violence law has covered married couples as well as unmarried and divorced individuals. According to CCV, such protections run afoul of Ohio’s DOMA, which bars the state from recognizing any legal status for unmarried people that “intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.” If CCV has their way, “persons living as a spouse” (i.e. unmarried, live-in partners) would no longer be protected under Ohio’s domestic violence statute. Apparently, it’s more important for CCV to preserve the distinction between married and unmarried couples (and pre-empt gay marriage) than it is to prosecute domestic abusers. So much for Judeo-Christian values…

Sunday, September 03, 2006

No comment

This year, Montana made it an offense to drink while driving, one of the last states to do so. But there was heavy opposition.

Wyoming still allows passengers in a vehicle to drink, as long as the driver is not holding the container. A bill that would have made [consumption by passengers] illegal was defeated.
—“Boredom in the West Fuels Binge Drinking
by Timothy Egan 09/02/06 New York Times. (Emphasis added)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Still More Flag Insanity

Flaggot [From The Chatanoogan 8/9/06.]

Conservative political activist June Griffin has been arrested for the theft of a Mexican flag from a Dayton [Tennessee] business.

The 67-year-old Ms. Griffin, who ran for Congress in the recent election, is facing misdemeanor charges of theft, vandalism and harassment and felony charges of civil rights violations.

Ms. Griffin, who said it is the first time she has ever been arrested, posted a $5,000 bond.

She said on July 18 she had noticed a small Mexican flag at an Hispanic grocery in the former Rogers Drug Store.

She stated, "I went in and there was nothing English in the store. There was one man who could not speak a word of English."

She said she was outraged about the Mexican flag, saying it was an "act of war" and it "insulted my citizenship."

Ms. Griffin said as the Hispanic man watched, she tore off the flag from where it was suctioned to the building and left with it.

She said, "Foreigners should learn English or leave."

Ms. Griffin, who said she will represent herself in court, said it was done openly and was not a theft. She said she later returned the Mexican flag to a police officer.

She said a much larger Mexican flag was later put in its place, but she said it is no longer there.

She said she had been to local governments trying without success to get them to ban all but American flags.

Ms. Griffin said the operator of the Days Inn at Dayton "flew a British flag on of all days July 4." She said she went to him to protest the British flag.

She said afterwards "the British flag was torn up in a storm, but the Tennessee and American flag were spared. I took it to be an act of God."

She denied being guilty of vandalism, denying that she damaged a hinge when she took the flag.

She also said she was not harrassing when she called the grocery owners to ask them to take down the larger flag.

She is due in court on Friday for arraignment.


Note: Ed Brayton (Dispatches from the Culture Wars) called Griffin the Ugly American of the Year but said it’s “ridiculous” that she’s facing a felony civil rights violation charge. I don’t understand that, either. She’s not a police officer, just mentally ill.

Update 9/1/06: Griffin will be in court today to plead not guilty. She's been charged with, among other things, “civil rights intimidation”, which, according to Tennessee jury instructions, seems tailor-made for this situation:
(1) that the defendant damaged, destroyed or defaced any real or personal property of another person; and (2) that the defendant did so with the intent to unlawfully intimidate another from the exercise or enjoyment of a right or privilege secured by the constitution or laws of the state of Tennessee.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jesus Christ!

Blogger John Lynch of Stranger Fruit posted a great justaposition.

There was an article in the New York Times Saturday on the Dobriches, the Connecticut Jewish family that’s being hounded out of their town by its Christian majority. Responding to the report about classmates taunting the 11-year-old Dobrich boy, one Spirit-filled asshole shouted at a school board meeting,
“If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”
A few days earlier, the Wall Street Journal had reassured us all,
Christian anti-Semitism […] is largely a thing of the past, especially in this country. Anti-Semitism today is chiefly the province of the Muslim world and the secular, multicultural left.
Please pick your jaw up off the floor. Someone might trip on it.

What sends one’s head reeling even more is that the Journal said this in response to anti-Semitic comments by self-proclaimed devout Christian Pat Buchanan.

The weekend’s news about the explicitly anti-Semitic (and audio-recorded!) spew by self-proclaimed devout Christian Mel Gibson probably would not affect the Journal’s analysis, either, as it is factual.