Monday, June 29, 2015

Pride goeth before a victory: SF Pride baby! Now with pix!

Edited to add...well, you'll see...

It's time again for that Technicolor wonderment San Francisco's Gay Pride. You know the event that's like if  you took Mardi Gras, a frat party, a rave, a cosplay convention, a street faire, and a parade put into a blender and wrapped in a gaudy glittery rainbow-colored she'll (and being Pride, served at $10.50 a pop.) I continue to be astounded by this event, even after being packed like a sardine on a BART train that took my almost an hour just to get on. (BART must stand Bad at Regulating Traffic. They have like a trillion customers for the day but the utilize only a weekend schedule? Come on now!) But Gay Pride is a such a blast it's usually worth dealing with the huge crowds, loud and sometimes obnoxious kids, and overpriced rainbow draped knickknacks and costumes so outlandish that even Lady Gaga. Plus, to pander to the growing illiteracy of the internet, for this post I've finally saved up 1,000 words and traded them for pictures! Yes, nothing shows off the wonder of Pride like awkward, poorly-cropped, unfocused photos (sorry, Annie Leibowitz I'm not.)  I'm having a little trouble using the picture editing system with this stupid thing right now, so pics will have to come later. Sorry guys.)

And this is why I still get a sense of awe and...well...pride at Pride. Even though I've been to these before, it's amazing how massive the gathering is. I think there were more people at this year's event then ever before. Despite my earlier complaint about crowds, there is a unspoken bond of temporary camaraderie amidst large groups of people who are like you (or at least openly willing to accept people like you). When you are part of a group that's encouraged, nay, persuaded to remain "invisible" and "unacknowledged," having such a blatant visible presence gives a sense of unity (and safety). There is power in numbers.  I also continue to be amazed at the different types of people that were at Pride. When I was growing up their was a perception of the gay community consisting primarily of buff upwardly-mobile white men, which made someone like me feel even more awkward and alienated from people. To see a wide range of enthicities, body types, ages, religious orientations and interests, marching, partying with each other, promoting their various causes shows that the LGBT community us far more vast than the stereotypes suggest. We are in fact everywhere, even if it doesn't always seem that way. However we do have events like Pride to remind us of that fact, which is why I'll always have an appreciation for the event.

I know that (piggybacking on the gay marriage issue I posted about earlier) there is criticism of Pride events as pointless large scale parties that gives a false sense of status about our lot muffles a lot of the issues that still need protest and activism to fight against. And to be fair, there is some truth in that accusation. Then again there were activist groups that wee represented at Pride too. BlackLivesMatter was there and groups calling for the release of Chelsea Manning. Also, so what? Sometimes socializing CAN be an act of protest in and of itself, particularly when a segment of society demands you remain marginalized at best and unseen as worse (something that becomes particularly apparent when we look at Gay Pride events around the world such as Turkey) That's one of the principals behind he rainbow flag. Something that bright and vivid is going to be noticeable and stands out (Especially when it's in the form of skimpy hot pants). Who says we shouldn't have the chance to defy society's expectations and be bright and vivid too? (I won't be in multicolored Lycra though, I promise!)

Update: One group that unfortunately was not represented at San Francisco was ISIS's sex toy division like CNN reported it was in London. Now to be fair to CNN, if you've seen the size of some of those things, you can understand how they might confuse them for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Still I hope San Francisco rectifies this situation next year and invites "terrorists" so that Gaystopo can finish terrorizing  Real American with our oh-so penetrating weapons.
Update 2 Electric Boogaloo: Updated to remove a link to a Taiwanese event that I am now convinced was NOT a gay pride event but the misinterpretation of some conspiracy-theory nutcase. Usually I would be wise enough to see through stuff like that and I apologize for naively helping to sow confusion about a tragic event.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Love has won: Your guide to same-sex marriage

I'm sure everyone has heard the big news about how the Supreme Court has established the Constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry and have this union recognized nationwide. Yes us gays have finally succeeded in "shoving gay marriage down society's throat" and spurting their sticky concepts of equality and liberty all over it's face. Obviously there is only one adequate response to the gays and their incessant need to be treated like equal Americans and have their love legally recognized as much as any Kardashian brand synergistic PR stunt:


I'm sorry. Let me try for an expression far more refined and appropriate for the situation:

It's about fucking time!

While we celebrate this achievement in human rights and do our hard-fought and much-deserved victory dance in front of those who thought that a portion of people could be treated as second-class  citizens, it's important to consider a few things by looking at the past, present and future of the gay marriage fight.

(Past). First of all, here's a quick summary/timeline of the gay liberation movement in the US to see what we had to struggle against to get to this point.

Let's be clear: this is not something that was just " granted " to gay people out of the blue. Don't let the fact that the turn-around on gay marriage has been gradual fool you that this happened apropos of nothing. (Let us remember that if was only roughly 12 years ago to that that our nation decriminalized what consenting adults did in their own bedrooms. And only about 7 years ago that "liberal" California passed the discriminatory, unconstitutional Proposition 8. A proposition that the majority of Californians would vote against now, incidentally.) If there is a public shift of opinion on this issue, it's because we refused to remain invisible and silence our voices.  We stood firm for our rights and refuse to back down. Gay people had a lot to struggle against and we fought back. Activism and challenging discriminatory practices does work, don't let "PC" accusations tell you otherwise. Yes it may do so more gradual than many would like, but it's all the more reason to start pushing back against oppression now.

(Present). Here's a very good thorough analysis of the why the Supreme Court made the decision it did.

Again it's important to note that that same-sex marriage was not simply "given" to us by the Supreme Court as a "present", but a a recognition of a right that (via the 14th amendment) should have never been denied in the first place. This was about ending legally sanctioned discrimination against gay relationships for purely arbitrary and irrational reasons (no, "eww gross! I think the gays are icky" is not a sound legal justification.) This is just a reminder that clear-headed people should NOT pander to or enable bigots, because their rhetorical inconsistencies will not withstand a challenge.

(Future). And of course as the repeal of Jim Crow laws has demonstrated, this victory this means that gay people will never face discrimination or repression of their rights ever again! (Insert an Eyeroll of Disbelief so strong I think it's actually affecting the tides.) We've already gotten pushback on this issue from Texas and Louisiana. (Because when you're a lawmaker, "laws" are optional now?) And expect to see more "religious freedom" bullshit flung around by primates who think the god of their choice gave them a legal "right" to impede everyone else's. Not to mentioned that buried under the celebratory nature of the gay marriage ruling is the fact that many gay people in many states are still vulnerable to abuse and discriminatory practices with few means of legal or societal resources. There's still work to do. It's not "over" despite what the naysayers might whine about (hint: you can speed up the process by NOT denying people their god damn rights.)  So yes, supporters of equal rights should celebrate, but not be tempted to settle into complacency because this should be only one of many victories.

But still,


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cynical Proverbs 6:27

'Freedom isn't free"
But you can rent it by the hour. I think the going rate is $99.99 for the first hour, and $49.99 each additional hour.

Maybe I shouldn't joke about this. Giving the horrendous Citizen United decision in effect (Corporations are people! Unfortunately not the kind that can be made into Soylent Green?) this slogan might actually be true.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dylann Roof's massacre: OF COURSE IT'S ABOUT RACE!

I advise readers to go here and read alleged Charleston Church shooter, Dylann Roof's manifesto so we can confirm once and for all what's been apparent from the get-go (major spoiler alert!):


Dylann Roof has not be shy or subtle about what "message" he wants to spread. The big "mental illness" that Mr Roof displayed here is that he simply didn't have the foresight to utilize coded words and dog whistles. The "mental instability" is his lack of subtly to avoid making racists look bad. (If the silly boy had just said he shot because those praying black folk left him "scared for his life" Megan Kelley would already be trying to schedule a softball interview appropriate for martyrdom). It certainly can't be because of the manifesto itself, who's general contents are blared throughout numerous Fox News broadcast, gets codified into law by conservative lawmakers, entrenched into law enforcement policies (as seen here, for instance), echoed as poorly-thought-out message board rationalizations throughout the web (including on many posts about this very tragedy.)

The vile ramblings of bigotry are so normalized that Dylann Roof can spew them openly among friends with merely a shrug of concern among them. But why shouldn't they? After all an armed person ranting such hateful irrational garbage isn't a sign of mental instability in our country. It's an all-too-accepted status quo.

Anyone who continues to insist at point that this is simply a matter of "mental illness" is engaging in willful ignorance and slandering the mentally ill community to boot, afraid to see the stark naked ugliness of the racist mentality ingrained within our system that this Roof monster inadvertently exposed.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

But I thought "terrorism" was one of those Islamic words!

OK people let's get the rules straight. When the perpetrator of a mass-killing in the county is sufficiently Muslim-y enough for our sensibilities then:

1) It's unquestionably considered an act of terrorism, particularly since such actions never fail to whip the public in a panic.
2) All Muslim people in the United States (and often, all over the world, since "those people" are suppose to have a hive mind as part of the Collective or something) must grovel in forgiveness of "mainstream America" whether they associated with the killer or not.

So alleged shooter, Dylann Roof (who's "merely" a racist and white nationalist) whose HORRIFIC brutal crime at a historically black church in Charleston was done to inspire terror in on the black populace will be condemned as a brutal terrorist with any white person judged for how much sufficient protest they put up before our concerned society considers them not part of the "radical whites.", right? (I'll wait until the crickets stop chirping before you start to get the picture.)

I'll let someone else do the heavy lifting explaining the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of America's use of this loaded term in regards to the Charleston hate crime (don't worry, he certainly has the mental strength to carry the load.) So, take it away, Glenn Greenwald!

Cynical Proverbs 6:20

A particularly relevant quote today.
 "An armed society is a polite society."

And that's why Somalia is like a fucking haven for Miss Manners! ("Gentle Reader, always remember to say please while you're blowing someone's head off and sending thank you cards to their bullet-ridden corpse is an absolute must.")

Incidentally this call to genteel civility never clarifies who is actually suppose to be polite to who.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Charleston shooting: Society's mental imbalance

Edited to add a few more links

There's a lot to say about the deadly hate crime at a historic black Charleston church (yes! I know! Sickening, isn't it?) that took the lives of nine people as well as the alleged shooter responsible. I already covered a bit of my feelings on the racial component of this type of massacre when dealing with another black person getting shot in a racially-tinged incident, because apparently we must deal with issue on a biweekly schedule now. I'll still have more to say add regarding that theme later on. For now I wanted to get ahead of this particularly rhetorical sleigh-of-hand that usually follows a mass shooting, especially when the conversation turns to rather ludicrous gun control laws; and that's to diminish the gunman's massacre under a superficial diagnosis of "mental illness." (By the way you should also check out this fantastic piece on Salon that says many of the things I'm about to say in a much more thorough and insightful manner. Check it out, it's really good.) Anyway here's why we should be wary of this line of thinking.

First of all, the mentally ill are more likely to harm themselves or be the victims of violent crime, and this just reinforces the stereotype that the mentally ill are dangerous, and therefore make them less likely to seek help or get proper treatment that they need. Secondly, even putting that aside for a moment, the "it's just mental illness" excuse is still typical fallacious "parallel" thinking, which ignores that these attributes can intersect with each other. It's not either/or. Finally this ends up being a "good cop/bad cop" "front" for the type of racist thinking that the gunman exhibited. See this way, idiots who agree with his mentality, but wouldn't put it into such a brutal fashion can have cover for their toxic views ("see we're the 'warm cuddly racist,' by comparison!") And keep in mind that old friends and classmates have said he had racists views, but no one thought it s "big deal" at the time (I would even suggest that the fact that racism has become so "normalize" that we dismiss and diminish and whitewash casual exhibitions of it is the real "mental illness in our society.)

Update: If you want to see what typically happens to the mentally ill then go here. Once again it needs to be emphasized that the mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violent acts (particularly by the same "well-meaning" cops that tend to see African-Americans as a similarly assumed threat) rather than the cause of it. This also gives further emphasis that the problem with Dylann Roof and his utter murderous hatred of black people is not one to be dismissed merely as "mental illness." 

Rancho Santa Fe to drought: "Let them drink sweat!"

Anyone who lives in California knows we are experiencing a rather severe drought. Governor Jerry Brown has enacted some restrictions on water usages for all Californians, hoping to achieve a 25 percent reduction in water consumption. Which was his first mistake, expecting the rich to have to submit to restrictions like they were the soon-to-be-dehydrated commoners or something. Well the community of Rancho Santa Fe (a wealthy suburb of San Diego) sure should showed him and the rest of the state about daring to ask them to share in the responsibility of conserving dwindling resources:

Yuhas lives in the ultra-wealthy enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, a bucolic Southern California hamlet of ranches, gated communities and country clubs that guzzles five times more water per capita than the statewide average. In April, after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for a 25 percent reduction in water use, consumption in Rancho Santa Fe went up by 9 percent.

Well, I'm sure there's a very good reason why these rich people needs to be big water hogs during a state water crisis. Mainly that they are better than us. One of the leisure-class idiots pretty much says directly:

People “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” Yuhas fumed recently on social media. “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he added in an interview. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”
Well water is a essential necessity of life for all humans and we're in danger of running out of it, but who cares about that when (horror of horrors) there are lawn that might have to look less-than verdant. The poor will just have to start drinking their own urine or something because these people should be able to waste water we're running out of however they see fit if it prevents them from having to suffer such indignities an un-manicured golf course and non-functioning fountain. (And incidentally, dude, water is a community resource that we all share, particularly since Southern California get it from other regions, like up north. Unless the pool is stock with truck-fulls of Evian or something.) Maybe we're being too unfair. I mean, haven't these well-off people suffered enough:

It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture,” Butler said. “What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?”

Um...yeah? On no, four acres of dirt!  Someone call Amnesty International on her behalf. At this point, even the corpse of Marie Antoinette is shaking her (severed) head at their selfishness and and gross sense of entitlement.

That's the issue right there for people such as this: the notion that for the wealthy, Their privileges should be treated as rights. After all:

“You could put 20 houses on my property, and they’d have families of at least four. In my house, there is only two of us,” Butler said. So “they’d be using a hell of a lot more water than we’re using.”
See? The Rancho-Santa-Fe-exchange-rate is twenty families of four ate worth one woman's lawn. (By the way, she's lying. Acres of grass uses up more water than people and we'd get more function and productivity to boot.) If everyone else had to struggle harder so they won't be inconvenienced, the so be it. The fact that the state is experiencing a drought is not registering with the gated-community class because this is something that affects ALL of California and having to share in the collective responsibility to preserve a resource we ALL need to utilize conflicts with their humongous sense of entitlement. It means having consideration for others and, yes sharing a fate with "those people." Furthermore that means acknowledging that that the inflated sense of power their money usually gives doesn't twist the very elements and Mother Nature to their whims, which must be perplexing to people who aren't used to being told "no."

Rancho Santa Fe to drought: "Don't you know who I am?"
Drought's response: "Don't give a damn. Eventually I'll affect you too."

Edited to add a few snippets of entitled ridiculousness too juicy to avoid commentary. For instance, if we check back through the article we find that equally-rich Yorba Linda is also filled with aqua-douches:
Barbre sits on the 37-member board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a huge water wholesaler serving 17 million customers. He is fond of referring to his watering hose with Charlton Heston’s famous quote about guns: “They’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands

Something tells me this guy has a habit of having his "hose" in his "cold dead hands" a lot. (And as if his hose would ever be held by anyone other than some underpaid and undocumented immigrant.)

But Rancho Santa Fe is not to be outdone in thoughtless self-centerness:
“I’m a conservative, so this is strange, but I defend Barbra Streisand’s right to have a green lawn,” said Yuhas, who splits his time between Rancho Santa Fe and Los Angeles. “When we bought, we didn’t plan on getting a place that looks like we’re living in an African savanna.”
Oh no! We mustn't have that might look like black people live there! I mean who'da thought that moving into a hot dry climate would be like savanna? We're rich! That means we can defy nature and climatology, right?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Public service/customer service: Same difference, right?

I originally posted this in response to a thread about overreacting "helicopter parents" getting a teach fired. The commentor wondered why we as a society seemed to be obsessed with pandering to whiny hypercritical parents who cause a fuss if you dare do something other than treat their child as a pampered pet. I gave a reply that suggested it might actually be a societal attribute bigger then just classrooms:

Because too many people who should know better have been indoctrinated to confuse civic service with customer service. So instead of being dedicated to helping citizens improve their way of living by say, educating and nourishing developing minds, our society is suppose to focus on keeping consumers placated enough to become punctual drone-like shoppers. Therefore we must appeal to appeal to any wants (needs schmeeds, amirite?) that coincide with that goal and appease the angry consumer back into their sheep-like state of spending. After all "the customer is always right" right?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Cynical Proverbs 6:13

Is are children learning?
This delightful little WMD to the English language was, of course, famously pondered by worst (Or As Such A Skilled Orator As He Would Say, "worsted") president ever, George W " Yes We Really Elected Him For High Office Two Times" Bush. Considering a recent poll that stated 52% of adults look favorably upon our former decider-in-chief, we can conclude that the answer is apparently "no, they is not."

Update: Since he seems to be making appearances in the public spotlight again, you'll be happy to note that, nope, Bush isn't learning, either. But reflection is for libtards! And people who were actually paying g attention the first time around.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jesus forgave me so it's OK.

One of the few good things about pop culture osmosis is that post like this can talk about certain attributes of society without rehashing everything. Therefore most of you are probably aware that America's favorite TV-friendly cult/family/breeding factory, the Duggar's got in a bit of trouble recently since In Touch Weekly decided to do something resembling actual investigative reporting and revealed that eldest son, Josh Duggar is a gross incestuous kid molesting perv.  And while the In Touch Weekly link is usually a sign for the skepticism button to by pressed hard, the family has since confessed that this molestation happened and In Touch Weekly was even thoughtful enough to provide a police report. We know these acts are bad because Papa Duggar has expressed it in a campaign speech and Mama Duggar terrorized an Arkansas neighborhood with robo-calls warning about how anti-discrimination laws will lead the transgendered community preying on your children in public restrooms (I know, it's as if irony and hypocrisy had a really stupid baby.) We also know it's bad because Josh Duggar has legally "gotten away with it" thanks a cover-up involving child-porn watching cops, faux "counseling" sessions and a statue of limitation laws.

Actually, maybe "we" don't know that this is bad, because while you would think that child molestation would be the one action that everyone would unite everyone onto agreement as a disgusting, repulsive moral event horizon (particularly when the perpetrator confesses to the crime), The Duggar's have had a surprising number of defenders, including some rather prominent allies, offering up some unholy litany of the most asinine rationalizations and whitewashing to defend what should be the indefensible.

There are many, many ways to examine the excuses and deflections that The Duggar's and their followers have offered to downplay incestuous child molestation and the attempted cover-up thereof. One particular obnoxious attempt at minimizing that the Duggars have offered ad nauseam is the idea that Josh has since been "forgiven" by Jesus and we can therefore sweep the rampant criminality and hypocrisy of his acts under the rug with no need of further repercussions. Even if you haven't paid close attention to politics, you can probably note that this is the go-to PR move whenever a political figure is caught with their hand in someone else's cookie jar, so to speak, particularly if they are running on a "traditional values" platform. This deftly allows the the discussion to be framed in terms of religiosity (which apparently bypasses any legal or ethical concerns about who or what they violated rendering the offended party as "not important") with emphasis on declaring the matter "resolved" and less on how to fix what their actions broke. Furthermore this religious framework de-emphasizes the severity of the action by taking a "all crimes are equal" approach that's just ridiculous when applied to real-world rational thinking. As I put it in my response to this Wonkette article :

This, incidentally, is one of my problems with Christianity (or at least as it's practiced here): all "sins" (as oppose to "crimes, which this also qualifies) have to be classified as equal with no filters, so say, wearing your skirt too high ("I saw a whole ankle!") or "believing" in the THEORY of evolution is just as much an affront to Jesus as, say repeatedly molesting underaged family members. In addition they are all required to be "resolved" the same way ("take two prayers with a cup of sanctimony and call me in the morning.")
See by categorizing such acts as mere "sins" (again, as oppose to "crime") Josh Duggar's depravity can be reduced to a mere "indiscretion" or moral "oopsie" that only needs to be resolved by concerned Christians praying it away with the same moral fervor as if one of the Duggar girls wore a tankini or something.

Update: Just to let you know that for once, TLC network execs decided to preserve their economic bottom line sense of decency (Ha! Just kidding. They traded that for Pogs a long time ago) and finally, finally CANCELLED the wretched show. Hopefully TLC will realize from this fiasco about the perils of exploiting trashy idiots for short-term profit before one of the Duck Dynasty fools get caught strangling hookers or something. Who knows, maybe then The Learning Channel might actually start living up to its name again.

Update 2: The Heretic:  Looks like Josh Duggar has been asking himself that all-important religious question: Who would Jesus do? The answers turns out to be: someone other than his wife, as Joshie-boy decided to move on to being a gross perv to adult women by being one of the profiles linked to the Ashley Madison website hack. You know, judging by the rate the scandals are adding up, I suspect the "skeletons in his closet" are going to contain actual skeletons.

But boy those degenerate homosexuals have sure ruined the sanctity of marriage haven't they?

Update 3: Rise of the Machines: Just informing all the fellow atheist that we were wrong! Satan does exist and he sold off Hell to run an even darker dimension: the TLC network! (yeah as if y'all didn't know that already). Yes, Tv Beelzebub demanded spin-offs of 19 Sexual Violations and Counting. Ugh! Maybe the new episodes will feature a special guest appearance by attention-whore-in-the-making, Kim Davis where they discuss how God has "washed them clean"...of decency.

Cynical Proverbs 6:06

"Turn that frown upside down"
But only if you turn your brain inside out (in which case you would then be qualified for a job as either a Fox News Anchorperson or part-time Kardashian.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cynical Proverbs 6:01

Welcome back! Did you miss me (and please don't say "with every bullet so far" I already heard that one and you, dear reader, are more creative then that.)

As celebration for my glorious return to form you get this ultra super-turbo championship edition of Cynical Proverbs. For this one we're going to "go BIG or go home" a sentiment that dovetails nicely with the originator of our chosen quote:

“I think people hear the question they want to hear"

This was said by current governor and would-be (but won't) Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie; a guy who vows to get rid of government "pork" by apparently eating it all. New Jersey Governor's response to a poll that concluded that 65% of New Jersey voters said he'd suck as president was simply trying to spin it as a misheard question that indicated that, no, this shows that he and his presidential campaign are really popular after all.

The irony, of course is that this easily be the GOP mantra in a nutshell, with Christie obviously practicing what he preaches in that respect. Therefore the solution of citizens with sound minds and an ounce of common sense is: give the answer that they need to hear.