Doing It Wrong

I am not sure why East Tennessee State University has opened its campus to crackpot evangelists who harass students, but apparently being fat-shamed and berated as a “fornicator” is something you must endure as an ETSU student. From the Johnson City Press:

One student, whose identity will be protected by The Press, emailed the newspaper complaining that she was verbally harassed by Jackson in front of a large group of her peers when the streetcorner deacon said she “looked like (she) weighed as much as a football linebacker.”

[...]

But Jackson, who travels a circuit of U.S. college campuses issuing provocative condemnations of nearly every vice, bad habit, alternative lifestyle and differing viewpoint, properly filled out and submitted his application to speak in ETSU’s Borchuck Plaza, one of the college’s defined limited public forum areas, Smith said.

Apparently this guy is part of a fundie outfit called Revival Mission Ministries, which sends preachers out to college campuses to do “open-air preaching,” in which they rail and rant against pretty much everything they don’t agree with. They look an awful lot like the Westboro Baptist Church cult. Here they are at East Carolina University back in March:

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Note the joy on the students’ faces. /sarcasm

According to the story, Jackson’s ranting was followed by yet another raving street preacher the next day, with the campus public safety office erecting wooden barriers around him, something deemed necessary after Jackson’s appearance the day prior. Ye shall know them by their fruits, folks.

This isn’t preaching, it’s harassment. It’s ego-indulging, attention-seeking, self-promotion. In fact, people like this aren’t doing themselves or their cause any favors:

A landmark Pew Research from 2012 shows that attachment by young people to organized religious bodies is on the decline. Many of those who don’t belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque still practice religion informally to a certain extent. However, they have grown wary of the way that traditional institutions mix political power with the pursuit of otherworldly aims.

Nine out of ten older Americans are directly affiliated with a religion, a statistic that goes down to two-thirds with the youngest adults. Softened commitment generally means less strong attachment to God and less frequent attendance at services. It also entails more liberal political views, a higher likelihood of voting Democratic, and support for abortion rights.

Here’s a video of Jackson, pulled from the ministry’s website. As one might expect, he doesn’t seem to be winning many converts. Instead, he seems to be indulging his ego. He also seems to have a very narrow view of “sin.” Intolerance and unkindness are just as much sins as what you do with your naughty parts. Not sure why college students should be subjected to this. Jackson seems young and inexperienced, perhaps in a few years he’ll wake up and realize he’s Doing It Wrong.

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Filed under culture wars, Tennessee

Congratulations, Unnamed Idaho Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

[UPDATE]:

Our idiot has a name: Byron L. Bennett, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Brilliant.

—————————————————–

Barely two months after an NRA-drafted “guns-on-campus” bill went into effect in Idaho, and on just the sixth day of classes, this happened:

SALMON Idaho (Reuters) – An Idaho State University assistant professor with a concealed-carry gun permit shot himself in the foot with a semiautomatic handgun that accidentally discharged from inside his pocket in a chemistry classroom full of students, police said on Wednesday.

Apparently the professor involved had one of the “enhanced concealed carry” permits required to carry on campus.

Slow clap.

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Filed under gun control, Guns

Tennessee Gun Report

The report is back! We were on the road last week, so I’ve got two-weeks’ worth of gun lunacy to share. Two children accidentally shot themselves or siblings, and a police officer accidentally shot himself.

• September 2, 2014:

A Washington County sheriff’s deputy accidentally shot himself in the leg fending off an attack from a dog.

• September 1, 2014:

A 10-year-old Knoxville boy, who graduated from the TWRA’s Hunter Education Program, accidentally shot himself in the foot while dove hunting.

• August 28, 2014:

A judge has dropped charges against the notorious Nashville gun loon who walked around downtown, scaring tourists and shop owners, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying an AR-15. He calls himself a “gun rights activist.” I love it that guns have rights but people don’t. Asshole.

• August 25, 2014:

1- A 2-year-old Memphis boy found his mother’s boyfriend’s gun under the couch and shot his 4-year-old sister in the foot with it. Ooops.

2- Guns-in-restaurants fail: This nice old man decided to pull a loaded gun on an acquaintance while he placed his order at the Kingsport Dairy Queen. It’s not the first time he’s threatened the man, either.

• August 21, 2104:

1- Two men were fishing on Todd’s Lake in Murfreesboro when a nutball started waving a gun at them and told them to get off “his” lake or he’d shoot.

2- A Shelbyville man was shot in the arm as he drove down the street. The bullet came through the driver’s-side door.

3- Someone is firing a gun in this Mt. Juliet neighborhood, hitting homes and nearly hitting people.

• August 20, 2014:

1- A Memphis police officer lost his personal weapon and someone found it in the street:

GERMANTOWN, TN -(WMC) – Germantown police say a loaded handgun found in the middle of a busy intersection actually belonged to a police officer.

Police say it was the 23-year-old officer’s personal weapon and that he was off duty when he lost track of it.

Sigh.

2- A bus driver for Murfreesboro schools has been accused of pulling a gun on another driver in yet another incident of road rage. She was in her personal vehicle at the time:

According to a police report obtained by News 2, 41-year-old Robin Snyder was driving on South Church Street and Indian Park Drive Tuesday when she pulled out her handgun and threatened another driver who cut her off.

Guns-in-cars FAIL.

3- A Waren County high school junior was charged after bringing a .22 to school.

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Filed under gun control, Guns, Tennessee

About Those “Friends” Of The Supreme Court …

In case you wondered about some of those dubious recent Supreme Court decisions, this article sheds some light:

“The court is inundated with 11th-hour, untested, advocacy-motivated claims of factual expertise,” she wrote in an article to be published in The Virginia Law Review.

Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them. Recent opinions have cited “facts” from amicus briefs that were backed up by blog posts, emails or nothing at all.

Some amicus briefs are careful and valuable, of course, citing peer-reviewed studies and noting contrary evidence. Others cite more questionable materials.

Some “studies” presented in amicus briefs were paid for or conducted by the group that submitted the brief and published only on the Internet. Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.

Yet the justices are quite receptive to this dodgy data. Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times, Professor Larsen found.

Huhn. “Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.” Nobody could have anticipated!

Seriously, is anyone surprised by this? Anyone at all? In a world where everything is manipulated, skewed, twisted, freeped and reshaped to favor one political agenda or another, is anyone shocked to learn that groups have targeted the United States Supreme Court along with every other corner of American civic life?

No, what’s truly shocking is that our esteemed Justices haven’t used, pardon the pun, better judgment when it comes to the sources they cite in their opinions.

For example:

In a 2012 decision allowing strip searches of people arrested for even minor offenses as they are admitted to jail, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy cited an amicus brief to show that there are an “increasing number of gang members” entering the nation’s prisons and jails. The brief itself did little more than assert that “there is no doubt” this was so.

And in a 2013 decision, Justice Stephen G. Breyer cited an amicus brief to establish that American libraries hold 200 million books that were published abroad, a point of some significance in the copyright dispute before the court. The figure in the brief came from a blog post. The blog has been discontinued.

Good grief.

What’s really horrendous is that, as the article states, folks like Justices Scalia and Alito have criticized their colleagues’ practice of citing facts from amicus briefs in their decisions, yet they themselves do it, too — when it’s convenient for their arguments, of course. In the Hobby Lobby case, Alito….

…[refused] to consider “an intensely empirical argument” in an amicus brief. “We do not generally entertain arguments that were not raised below and are not advanced in this court by any party,” he wrote.

… yet in a 2011 decision,

… Justice Alito cited an amicus brief to show that more than 88 percent of American companies perform background checks on their workers.

“Where this number comes from is a mystery,” Professor Larsen wrote. “It is asserted in the brief without citation.”

What this tells me is SCOTUS justices have already made up their minds about the cases before them and cherry-pick dubiously-sourced “facts” from amicus briefs — or not! — to justify their pre-arrived decision.

This is a horrible thought, because it diminishes America’s highest court in the land to mere Kabuki. That’s a level of cynicism even I never fathomed.

We’re so fucked.

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Filed under Supreme Court

I Don’t Know What This Means

We’ve just returned from our travels and I promised you some graffiti blogging. Unfortunately, we chose to travel to the cleanest place in America, so there was a startling lack of graffiti.

See if you can figure out what this means:

Jesus

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2nd Amendment Heroes, Husband & Wife Edition

I’m still on vacation but as always you Dear Readers are never far from my mind. In light of the fact that 9-year-olds are firing Uzis and the media has dredged up every gun loon in America to talk about how it’s perfectly safe, normal, admirable, advisable, etc. for them to do so, I thought this dispatch from the world of the Safest Most Responsible Evah might be in order:

Gerald Hitchler, 76, and his wife, Susan, 67, who have a second home in Door County, visited the fun park and Gerald apparently left a .380-caliber Ruger in a brown holster on the floor of the restroom. A customer found the gun and turned it in to the owner, who in turn contacted the Door County Sheriff’s Department.

A sheriff’s incident report noted the gun was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition. The serial number was traced to the owner, and the report indicated Gerald was shocked when he was called and learned they had the weapon. The case was initially closed and Gerald was supposed to pick it up this week.

Sheriff’s Investigator Connie Schuster confirmed they received additional information and the case has been reopened showing Gerald’s wife, Susan Hitchler, also left a semiautomatic loaded handgun in a stall of the women’s restroom on March 19 at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield.

Isn’t that special. But wait, there’s more:

Gerald was contacted by phone and asked if he realized the gun was missing and he responded, “not really.”

He said the incident was “funny, accidental” and “not a big deal.”

Well I guess it is for him, seeing as how he and his wife routinely leave loaded guns lying around in public places because Freedom.

And the best part:

The Hitchlers have concealed carry permits, and it appears each has a similar weapon.

In the world of gun-crazy America, leaving your loaded guns behind while still calling yourself the “safest, most responsible evah” is perfectly normal. As is having children firing machine guns, etc. etc. Sickos.

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Filed under gun control

Ask Your Doctor If Hiatus Is Right For You

I’m taking a bit of a break but you know me, I may find some interesting graffiti to share … back in a week or so. Be good!

Fuck The System

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Filed under graffiti