Apologies to regular fans of my Friday blog. I’m going to do things a little differently today.
I’ve been writing Shit that Pissed me off most Fridays for the last three years. I enjoy it as an exercise in writing humor and in exploring my opinions about what is happening in the world around me. Since I’ve started writing the column, it has never coincided with my birthday.
Well this year, it has.
So I decided instead of spending my birthday thinking about stuff that annoys me, I’m going to write about things that make me happy. I’ll post this week’s shit that pissed me off on Monday. Because even on my birthday, there are things that piss me off.
I begin my 48th year today and in honor of that, here are 48 things that make me happy.
1. I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for the last 25 1/2 years. She is brilliant, courageous, thoughtful, sexy, and supportive. She laughs at some of my jokes. She listens when I’m in a bad mood. She corrects me when I’m wrong. There is not a night that goes by where I am not happy we share a bed, a home, and a life.
2. I’ve got one fantastic mother. She loves math and has spent her life finding ways to help others love it too. She loves being an amateur artist. She is a fun travel companion. Any day I know I’m going to see her is automatically a good day.
3. My oldest son is great. He’s clever, cheerful, fun, and affectionate. He grew several inches in the last year and is starting to show signs of facial hair. Pretty soon, he’s going to learn how to drive and get a job and start looking at colleges. I’m not sure I’m ready for any of that.
4. My youngest son is wonderfully creative. The way he builds new Lego structures and describes ideas for new games or parks or dinosaurs shows boundless inventiveness. His head must be such an interesting place to live.
5. My Brother is full of passion and energy. He has been remarkably successful in not just the field he has chosen to pursue, but most anything he decides to accomplish. We have a great relationship hampered only by the distance that separates us.
6. My Sister-in-law has a sharp sense of humor, an infectious positive attitude, and seems like a perfect partner for my brother.
So, OK. I see what they are trying to do. They are trying to help poor people eat healthier.
I mean, it’s great that we want to spend a lot of time
convincing forcing poor kids to eat brussels sprouts but isn’t being poor bitter enough?
It seems like we are punishing poor kids and single moms for being poor kids and single moms. If they are getting a little government assistance (and food stamps are a little government assistance), why not let ’em use it to buy ketchup if they want some?
No, poor kids! If you want to eat some french fries, the most you can put on them is a little bit of salt!
Also, they need to be sweet potato fries because we aren’t going to let you buy potatoes.
Kim Davis, a clerk in Kentucky, has been on a religious crusade for a while now. Steadfastly refusing to issue marriage licenses because her conscience (and the Bible) won’t allow her to “condone” same-sex marriage, she has been fighting for her
right to discriminate against people she doesn’t approve of religious freedom in the courts.
And she has lost. Time and again the courts have told her “this is the law. You have a sworn duty to uphold it even if you don’t agree with it.”
This week, after once again refusing to do her legal duty, she has been jailed for contempt of court.
There are so many things that bother me about all of this.
First of all, she is abusing the court system. There has never been a time when she would have abided by the court decision if she lost. Never. Sure, she probably believed she would win but so what? If you are going to use the court system and you lose, lose with some dignity.
Second, if she can’t do her job for moral reasons, she needs to quit. Instead of using her religion as an excuse to deny people a legal right with which she doesn’t agree, she needs to accept that she can’t fulfill the function of her office. Because she
Third, can you imagine the issues should the court eventually side with her? Devout Muslims could refuse to issue drivers licenses to women. Devout Jews could refuse to serve McRibs at a McDonalds. Devout Buddhists could ruin a concert by clapping with only one hand.
Fourth, this isn’t about her personal beliefs being under fire. She isn’t doing this so she personally doesn’t have to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Told she would be released from jail if she allowed her deputies to sign same-sex licenses, she said she would not. In other words, even though she would not be issuing the license, she won’t allow one to be issued by anyone in her office. That means she is enforcing her own belief on those who work with her. Which is exactly what she claims to be fighting against.
Finally, I have a real problem with Christians who are casting stones. Because Jesus was pretty clear on this point:
Kim Davis cheated on her first husband with her third husband. Which is adultery and one of those commandments fundamentalist Christians are so anxious to put in courthouses.
I’m not judging her for that. She screwed up. People screw up all the time. I’m judging her for the fact she has the temerity to deny a legal right to others when she, by her own religious beliefs, has no right to judge them.
Earlier this week, Curt Schilling was suspended from ESPN for tweeting something really stupid. In case you are wondering, it was the following meme.
It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?
So we are using Godwin’s law to compare all Muslims everywhere to Nazis.
The problem isn’t even the logical fallacy involved. It is the fact that Schilling works for ESPN and some of the people who watch ESPN are Muslims. ESPN could give a fuck about Schilling’s politics. In fact, I’m guessing sports fans skew slightly conservative so that probably isn’t an issue.
However, the fact that Muslims could choose to stop watching ESPN because they employ someone so publicly Islamophobic is going to be an issue.
Enter Sarah Palin, who apparently still gets to talk into microphones. Any time a conservative gets punished for doing anything, she figures it is because the liberal media hates conservatives. And she says so. And for some reason, she keeps getting air time.
So let’s make this really clear: Schilling didn’t get suspended because he’s a conservative. He got suspended because if ESPN didn’t do anything, his tweet could have cost them money.
Seems like a reason Republicans should be able to get behind.
Personally, I don’t like guns. I don’t like to be around them. I have never wanted to shoot one. I don’t want a gun in my house.
I also don’t like the almost sexual obsession we have with guns in America. The desire to carry our guns out in the open because IT IS OUR RIGHT is just silly. You don’t need an AK-47 to shop at Wal-Mart. All you need is a lack of self respect.
My dislike of guns, however, should not be misinterpreted as a desire to take away the rights of responsible gun owners. At least not all of their rights. Just a few limitations, maybe. When I ask questions about gun control, I mean exactly that.
I’m talking about controlling access to guns in some cases. I’m asking how we keep guns out of the hands of people who are truly dangerous. Because I think that is something we’d all genuinely like to do. Pro-gun and anti-gun alike, we all want to stop bad guys from shooting up theaters. Or killing two people in the middle of a news broadcast.
Government needs to be smaller, they tell us. It isn’t that I disagree with that basic sentiment but I don’t understand why there is a huge push from the right to test welfare recipients for drug use.
I mean, I understand the basic (dumb) argument. We don’t want people receiving handouts to be using those handouts to fund a drug habit. Better that they receive zero money and zero treatment and they die in an opium den, I guess. Or maybe they will just have their legs broken because they can’t pay their dealer.
Anyway, the problem isn’t the rationale so much as the results. The number of drug users being caught is so low, it doesn’t come close to saving the government the money it is spending on catching the drug users. Has anyone thought about rebranding the “war on drugs” as a “limited police action” on drugs.
So instead of small government, we have big government looking for evidence of drug abuse and finding comparatively little. Even if estimates are correct and 8% of welfare recipients are drug abusers, that leaves most welfare recipients in the position of being assumed guilty until a drug test proves otherwise.
Is it legal? Well I’m pretty sure John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia think so.
Which means it may be legal but it is almost certainly a bad idea.
Writers note: What with landmark Supreme Court rulings in favor of Obamacare and same-sex marriage this week, I contemplated taking a week off. I mean, why be pissed when two things I strongly support are taking their victory lap?
Sadly, there are still things that piss me off. Please accept, though, that I am writing this week’s column with a satisfied smile on my face.
While Antonin Scalia can be counted on for red faced dissenting opinions in which he bemoans the fact that social liberals exist, much less occasionally win, Thomas’ dissent in the same-sex marriage case is positively draconian.
In it, he suggests that slaves in America and the Japanese Americans who were interred during WWII did not lose their dignity. He reasons (wrongly) that nobody can take away your dignity.
It seems odd that anyone would need to tell a black man how the system of slavery in the south was specifically designed to strip people of their dignity. It is certainly odd that I, a white guy, seem to be more aware of this fact than him. Calling a person “property” doesn’t feel particularly dignified.
While Scalia is bemoaning the death of our democracy, Thomas seems to be questioning the definition of our humanity. He wants to believe that we all have a limitless capacity for handling bullshit and the Government has no responsibility to make it stop.
Government can and has taken away human dignity. Today, it handed a little bit of dignity back.
What really bugs me about Scalia and Thomas is their dissent doesn’t feel like it is about law. They are personally pissed that they lost and because they are justices on the Supreme Court, they get to write a long dissertation on just how pissed off they are.
Guess what guys? So do I. And a nearly unmeasurable fraction of the people who read yours also read mine!
SUCK ON THAT!!!!