That Not So Fresh Feeling (Again)

Sorry, Gov. Pence. But nothing says the GOP is the party of old, outdated ideas like defending your controversial anti-gay law with the argument that, it’s the same as a 1993 federal law signed by then-President Bill Clinton.

That was over 20 years ago, you disingenuous nitwit. Twenty years ago was not a good time for gay people. We had Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. We had Republicans holding up the nomination of the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador (to Luxembourg, of all places!) for two years because of his sexual orientation. Clinton had to bypass the Senate to get this guy in his post.

Matthew Shepard was beaten to death and left to die on a Laramie, Wyoming fence in 1998, for God’s sakes.

So when I hear this “religious freedom” bill’s defenders say the opposition is being hysterical because this is no different from legislation passed more than 20 years ago, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for proving our point. Thank you for admitting, for all the world to see, that you do not have a new idea, that the real conservative agenda is rolling back the clock 20 years and voiding all the progress that’s been made. Thanks for making it all so clear, so those of us who believe in putting this country in “Drive” not “Reverse” have something tangible to point to. There you go. If you want to move forward, vote D. You want to move backwards, go R. We finally have our bumper sticker moment.

You aren’t the party of the future when the best you can do is tell everyone all of your ideas are staler than a 20-year-old loaf of bread.

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Congratulations, Theresa Steward! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Responsible Nashville gun owner responsibly waves a gun during an argument with her fiance, responsibly accidentally fires it as she’s trying to holster it. Nearly kills child. Ta da!

Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department said 26-year-old Theresa Steward and her fiancé were arguing Friday night in the driveway of their home on Blairfield Drive.

During the course of the fight, investigators said Steward pulled out her pistol.

After things cooled off, she was pulling the gun back into its holster when it went off. The bullet went flying out of her car and shattered the window of a nearby vehicle.

A child happened to be in that car. Officials said the child was not hit with the bullet, but glass from the shattered window got into the child’s eye.

Welcome to Nashville, NRA! Your good work here is done.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Nashville

The Revolution Won’t Be Photographed

History is written (or recorded) by the victors, or so the saying goes. Today I saw an art installation from Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar which really illustrates that idea.

For some background, here’s what the BBC wrote about Jaar’s installation in 2014:

Jaar chose not to show us any pictures but instead blinded us with a blaze of projected light. Rather than a despairing nihilist gesture, Lament of the Images was integral to a strongly held argument that images mattered.

Jaar’s installation was a response to the increasing political control, erasure and suppression of images. Our encounter with Jaar’s field of light was preceded by three glowing panels of back-lit texts presented in a darkened room, all musing on different forms of blindness and erasure: beginning with Nelson Mandela being dazzled by the light on his release from prison and how prisoners were blinded by the glare of the sun on the limestone as they broke rocks in a quarry on the centre of Robben Island.

Texts two and three considered the loss and control of images in relationship to two significant events: the burial of 17 million photographic images from Bettmann and United Press International, purchased by Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates, in a limestone mine, and how before launching airstrikes against Afghanistan, the United States Defense Department had bought all rights to satellite imagery of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, creating an “effective white-out of the operation”.

And here is the final panel, the one related to the “white out” of our bombing of Afghanistan:

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It’s powerful stuff. Presented in an art context, it was more than powerful: it was enraging. As a reasonably engaged American, I wanted to know why I hadn’t heard about either the Bill Gates or Afghanistan incidents of image suppression. Especially Afghanistan. I remember much uproar about the Bush Administration censoring photographs of coffins arriving home from Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t remember anything about this.

Pictures are powerful, a picture is worth a thousand words, as the old saying goes. No wonder the Bush Administration wanted to make sure nobody saw the devastation our bombs wrought on Afghanistan.

Today if you Google this story, you find this, from the New York Times:

The Pentagon contract, concluded on Oct. 7, also means that news media and other organizations outside government will not be able to obtain independently their own high-resolution satellite images of the Afghanistan region.

In addition, the contract effectively allows the Pentagon to keep the images it bought out of the public eye forever. None can be released without Defense Department approval.

The old disputes between the military and news media centered on access for the media pool. The new dispute is about access to images collected in the nonsovereign territory of space.

The Pentagon has also taken a more subtle approach to the fight. Under the law, the Bush administration could have blocked news media’s access to the satellite on national security grounds by invoking a never-used provision, “shutter control.” Such a move would have quite likely set off legal challenges and heated protests. Instead, the Pentagon achieved its desired result through its contract.

For some reason, this story basically disappeared. And that’s exactly how the Bush Administration wanted it. By using economic power instead of legal power, they made sure there was little if any knowledge or protest about their actions.

The power of the pocketbook — be it the U.S. government’s or Bill Gates’ — is not new. That these are the people who can control our history by controlling what information the world sees is scary, indeed.

I recommend that someone in the news media petition the Obama Administration to release these images, much as President Obama allowed the photographing of coffins arriving home from war. We need to see what we have wrought. We bought this war, we need to see the damage we caused.

And let me add a final word of caution: we can petition the government to release these images. We can use FOIA requests, the news media can make an argument about the First Amendment. We have no such recourse with the Bill Gates images. None.

Next invasion, wait for Son of Dick Cheney to get Bill Gates to buy (and bury) satellite images on the government’s behalf.

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No Relation

[UPDATE]:

SORRY if you snoozed, you loozed … Netflix has pulled the video.
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Hilarious video on gun control from Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies — whose real last name, according to Wikipedia, is Nugent.

This is so spot-on, I had to share it. Also, I’m going to be out of pocket for a few days.

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Religious Freedom

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is threatening to pull its 2017 convention out of Indianapolis if Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs a bill allowing companies to discriminate against GLBT people under the guise of “religious freedom.” In a letter to the governor the denomination writes:

“Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry,” Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star.

Adams said the Disciples of Christ would instead seek a host city that is “hospitable and welcome to all of our attendees.”

I’d love to invite them to Nashville. After all, we’re the city whose Metro Council passed an anti-discrimination bill. Unfortunately, IIRC, it was later over-ridden by the bigots in our state legislature, so we don’t exactly have much moral authority on this issue. But can I just tell you how refreshing it is to see a church denomination take a bold stand on issues of equality?

More:

“As a Christian church,” it read, “we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow – one who sat at (the) table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all. Our church is diverse in point of view, but we share a value for an open Lord’s Table.”

The letter was signed by denomination’s General Minister and President Sharon E. Watkins, Division of Overseas Ministries Julia Brown Karimu and Disciples Home Missions President Ronald J. Degges.

The Disciples of Christ has held its annual convention in Indianapolis three times since 1989. Adams expected up to 8,000 people to attend in 2017. The estimated economic impact would be about $5.9 million, according to VisitIndy.

Well, so much for Indianapolis. Two other major conventions have also alerted the governor that they will skip Indianapolis if the bill becomes law, one a music festival and the other the city’s largest annual convention, a group called Gen Con.

Look, there’s just no money in being a bigoted asshole. Just cut it out.

Let me also say, if your religion requires you to be a bigoted asshole, then I have no use for your religion. Can you just imagine? Whatever happened to “Love one another as I have loved you”? Of course, it’s not about the Bible. It’s about belonging to a club that needs to breed hatred and fear of “the other” to justify its lack of cultural impact. You people are supposed to go out and be salt and light in the world, that’s your Great Commission, and yet all you can do is fight for the right of a bakery to not make a gay couple’s wedding cake.

Losers.

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Today’s IOKIYAR

[UPDATE]:

Nothing says “freedom” like making your announcement at a university event in which student attendance is mandatory:

The Republican firebrand from Texas delivered a speech in a packed auditorium at convocation held at the school founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell. It is a thrice-weekly event and attendance is mandatory for students, the university said.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…..

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So, that smarmy, pretentious douche canoe Ted Cruz is running for President.

Remember the racist Teanuts who forced President Obama to prove he wasn’t born in Kenya? Who still believe he was born in Kenya? Who hollered “Constitutional crisis” over birth certificates and his Kenyan father? The Orly Taitzes and Jerome Corsies and Alan Keyeses? The idiots in their tri-corner hats waving their flags and pretending to be Revolutionary War heroes? Yeah, you fools, now rushing to embrace the Calgary, Canada-born Cruz, whose crazy-assed nutball father is Cuban? You can all shut the fuck up now.

Oh, but, IOKIYAR! It’s ALWAYS okay if you’re a Republican. Everything is always okay if you’re a Republican. Even not being born on American soil. Even not having an American-born father.

Even, probably, being black.

I just think this is such a great opportunity to point out the utter farce that is every single conservative freak-out. I certainly hope liberals troll Ted Cruz and his supporters with shouts of where’s the birth certificate! and Canadian usurper! at every single campaign appearance.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, conspiracies, conspiracy theory, Republican Party

Good News Friday

Spring starts today, which is the best news yet! And here are a few other items from around the internet. Enjoy.

• Target says it will raise its minimum wage to “at least” $9/hour amid a tightening labor market:

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, garnered much attention when it said it would raise entry-level wages to $9 an hour in April and then to $10 an hour by February 2016. The move was expected to have a domino effect among other companies and soon after it spurred TJX Cos., the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, to follow suit.

Analysts have said that Target would have to match those wages in order to hang on to employees amid a tightening labor market. After all, retailers are not duking it out just on price and the specific products they sell, but also on the customer service inside their stores.

Not even close to a living wage in a lot of places but it’s a start.

• The California Dietetic Assn. told McDonald’s to take its sponsorship and stuff it.

• Check out this amazing photo of a bobcat in Griffith Park, with the lights of Los Angeles in the background. Still can’t believe this isn’t a hoax.

• Presbyterians (PC-USA) approved marriages for same-sex couples in the first ever nationwide, grassroots vote on marriage equality by a faith tradition:

The 171 regional presbyteries (local leadership bodies within the PCUSA) have been voting on whether to change the wording to call marriage a contract “between a woman and a man” to being “between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” On Tuesday, the denomination reached its needed majority of “yes” votes from at least 86 presbyteries to take effect. The change will be included in the church’s “Book of Order,” part of its constitution, taking effect on June 21.

• Ashley Judd, a feminist who won’t take shit off of anyone, even anonymous Twitter trolls, is my new hero. Here’s her column on being harassed for a simple sports-related Tweet.

• A stray pit bull was found nursing a two-day-old kitten by the side of the road. Both have been saved by animal rescuers but when a vet took the kitten home at night to bottle-feed it, the pit bull started howling. Let’s hope the two can find a home together. They’re in the Dallas area:

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• In Hawaii, firearm applications and registrations are down for the first time in eight years.

• “Gun rights” activist and 2nd Amendment Hero Jon Holzwarth will face criminal charges in the November self-inflicted shooting of his 3-year-old son. With rights come responsibilities, people.

• Gay couple who met at the University of Alabama in 1972 and have been together ever since decide not to leave millions to their alma mater over the state’s anti-gay stance.

• After a Christian college canceled a bake sale that was supposed to help homeless GLBT youth, students held an online fundraiser and raised $10,000 — five times more than they had planned.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• A bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker would create the first new Tennessee wilderness area in nearly 30 years. That’s the good news. The bad news is, they’ve introduced this bill four times since 2010. Let’s hope the Tennessee Wilderness Act passes this time.

Watch the video that has the gun loons losing their shit:

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