Note: I didn’t write about the work the Senate made to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week because, while it really does piss me off, it is also an extremely complex maneuver and I’m not sure any of us completely understand what is going on. Least of all the Senators who voted for it.
Let me just say before I proceed, however, that anyone who can, with good conscience, vote to re-establish a pre-existing condition clause, is a complete waste of a human being. It may well be true that they won’t end up re-establishing that clause. A vote still exists in which Senators are going on record supporting just that.
At least this is the claim made by anti vax proponent Robert Kennedy. We’ll see if it really happens.
Look, I know vaccinations are controversial. And I try to be sympathetic.
Then I remember I have two vaccinated children on the autism spectrum and that every single study about vaccines has concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any of the other things anti-vaxxers claim they cause. And I read quotes like this, which could be referring to my family:
I employed the term [holocaust] during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families
And I stop being sympathetic because this fucker is talking about my kids. My kids who have full lives and are wonderful human beings and whose existence has shattered my family not one single bit. Autism is a hurdle my kids have to jump over. Most of us have hurdles they need to get over. To suggest their hurdle has shattered my family is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t even have the basic understanding of the autism spectrum would suggest because they are an ignorant jackass.
Yeah – this kind of thing gets me pretty worked up.
It is bothersome enough that our President-Elect (fuuuuuuuuck) denies climate change. That he also seems to jump into bed with anti vaxxers suggests that the American People elected someone pretty much willing to believe any crazy conspiracy theory pops up so long as it doesn’t involve him.
You have to give him credit for being equal opportunity when it comes to denial of scientific data. Climate Change denial comes from the right and anti vaxxers typically come from the left. Donald, however, has a big tent and there is room for everyone who thinks scientists reach conclusions just to fuck with the rest of us.
President-Elect Trump (fuuuuuuuuck) tweeted this week that flag burners should go to jail for a year or lose their citizenship. Nothing about how burning the flag is a constitutionally protected right and he just doesn’t like it. No – he thinks people should lose their citizenship if they burn the flag.
While Trump fills his cabinet with individuals who will repeal or cripple the Affordable Care Act (which is sure as fuck going to affect me and my family), we talk about flag burning.
OK, so let’s talk about it. And let’s ditch the “flag burning is a reprehensible act but it is protected” part of the conversation. It’s as if we all need to hold up our hands and protest that we don’t like something because so many people are bothered by it.
And that is what pisses me off. Who gives an actual fuck? Has anyone ever been harmed by the burning of a flag? I mean besides the person burning the flag who might have, you know, gotten a burn because they were holding a burning piece of cloth?
Why have we, as Americans, decided that burning the flag is a despicable act? It’s a flag! A piece of cloth. It is not our country.
That the flag has become a sacred relic is embarrassing. So let me step up and say I don’t have an issue with anyone burning a flag. I’m reasonably certain that a country with enough nuclear capability to turn every other continent into a pile of atomic slag is strong enough to handle a few flags on fire.
I’m sick of the feeling that before we say something (flag burning, abortion, Hillary Clinton) is OK, we have to acknowledge how awful it is.
There is nothing awful about burning a flag. Our freedoms are not irreparably damaged when a flag is set on fire. In fact, our freedoms are enhanced. Burning a flag is an act of defiance but it is also an act of celebration.
It celebrates our right as citizens to openly criticize our government. Have we forgotten how many places on Earth that is not allowed? Is that really what we want here?
If it isn’t, then nobody should say “flag burning is a horrible act.” We should, instead, say “flag burning is a celebration of our constitution.”
And the thing is – this is all a distraction. Flags don’t get burned a lot. In fact, they hardly ever get burned at all. The fact we are talking about something that almost never happens is a ridiculous waste of time.
Our response should be “huh. Someone burned a flag. I wouldn’t even know about this if it weren’t for the 24 hour news cycle.”
Now who the fuck is in Trump’s cabinet again?
Last Friday, tape emerged in which Donald Trump said derogatory things about women and the Republican party lost it’s collective shit. Some of them think this is just the Democrats engaging in character assassination. Others, like Scott Baio, defended him by saying it wasn’t that bad and telling ladies that guys talk like this “all the time.”
OK, Scott. Two things.
One: No they don’t.
Two: It wouldn’t make it any better if they did.
Locker room talk – as Trump characterizes his comments – is a bullshit excuse. Not only is it something you don’t find in a lot of locker rooms (as Chris Kluwe so eloquently points out), I just don’t think Trump has been in enough locker rooms to know. It shouldn’t matter anyway because bragging about being able to sexually assault women shouldn’t happen anywhere.
But what truly upsets me is the shock some members of his party have expressed since the tape was released. Donald Trump has always struck me as a sleaze. It didn’t take a presidential campaign to convince me. Learning he said (and allegedly did) the sorts of things that a sleaze says (and does) only reinforced my opinion. I wasn’t surprised.
But I was disheartened that so many seemed shocked to learn that Donald Trump was precisely the person he has always presented himself to be.
In retaliation, some supporters (and Trump himself) have pointed out that Bill Clinton is also a sleaze. And that may be true. It is also irrelevant.
Let’s think of it this way – Melania Trump was a nude model (and there is nothing wrong with that). Would it be fair to judge her husband for choices she made? I would assume most conservatives would say “no” and yet they have no issue judging Hillary Clinton for the actions of her husband.
Yes, Hillary has stood by her husband. It could be because she loves him. It could be for the sake of their daughter. It could be for political reasons. I don’t know. I do know that women stick by their cheating husbands all the time. Melania Trump does it and nobody seems to view that as an issue.
Finding out that Donald Trump treats women badly is as surprising as finding out that Superman can fly. We’ve all seen Superman fly. He does it all the time. We’ve all seen Donald Trump treat women like objects. He does it all the time.
Does Trump’s behavior make him unfit to serve as President? You bet it does. But his behavior isn’t new. We aren’t suddenly discovering the body of Jimmy Hoffa in Trump tower.
He was never fit to serve as President. He was always that guy.
I’m not going to pretend I don’t have issues with any religion (or interpretation of religion) that tells women they must keep their bodies covered. It is an act of body shaming and subtle oppression meant to make women feel ashamed of their own identity.
However, women also get to make their own choices regarding what they want to wear. And if they want to wear a head scarf at the beach, that ought to be completely fine. It’s their fucking head and their fucking scarf. You shouldn’t be handing out tickets (she was given a fucking ticket) based on the fact they have put on too much clothing.
That this is being done in the name of secularism (her ticket was for failing to wear “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”) is equally disgusting. There is nothing about secularism that suggests anyone should be judged for what they choose to wear.
French courts seem to agree so far as they have struck down the ban on burkinis in the last few days.
You can understand the concern about terrorism in France given recent horrific attacks. It makes a lot more sense than the concern in other countries like, say, the United States.
However, swimwear is not a sign of terroristic intent. It is a sign of someone who believes that they have a right to cover their bodies because it is their fucking body.
It is ironic that France has many topless (and even nude) beaches implying that you can’t wear too little at the beach, you can only wear too much.
I took another week off for CONvergence and oh my did this week get full of all the things. I kept a few old articles but let’s start by taking a look at what happened this week.
I know there are people who claim we should wait to judge until all the facts come out. It is interesting to me that every person who has said this to me is white.
I’m not suggesting these people are racist. I’m suggesting that these people need to listen to the facts that are already there and recognize that magnanimously suggesting that we need to know all of the facts before we “overreact” is part of the problem.
Every person of color I know is already well acquainted with the facts. They know that the officer who killed Castile will have a reasonable sounding excuse that he feared for his life. He may face a trial and he may face some public backlash but – and this is really important – no matter how unpleasant those things may be he will still be alive.
Philando Castile will be vilified by clueless people who will find reasons he deserves to be dead. They will tell the rest of us that we don’t know what happened at that traffic stop and he probably deserved to be pulled over.
He doesn’t get to defend himself. He doesn’t get to tell his story. To anyone waiting for all the facts to come out, please remember that the only person who gets to tell their story is the man who killed him.
And if you believe his race didn’t matter, you really haven’t been paying attention.
The dude sells bumper stickers that read “MFZ,” which stands for “Muslim Free Zone.” Clever fucker, ain’t he?
So he sees that he doesn’t like that some lady he doesn’t know supports a candidate he doesn’t like. The obvious solution would be to leave her alone. Because it’s not his car and therefore he shouldn’t be putting his bumper stickers anywhere but on – you know – his car.
Instead, he puts his stickers on her car and then brags about it on Facebook.
Now what he did is vandalism and that means he really ought to be arrested and at least fined. That may still happen.
The other thing that happened is the owner of the car found his post and told him he was an asshole. Fortunately, he knew a whole bunch of other assholes who leapt to his defense and trolled the shit out of her.
So it’s all a big happy ending, right?
He got to be an asshole. At the moment, he isn’t going to jail or paying a fine for fucking up her car. And all his asshole friends think he’s awesome.
I’m losing my faith in humanity.
Trump is like an improvisational comedian who isn’t funny. Any time he says something outrageous, he gets called on it. Instead of clarifying his statement, he simply says “Yes, I totally meant that, AND…”
Then he says something even worse. It would be hilarious were it not for the thousands of people who hang on his every word and totally believe everything he says.
Does Islam hate us? No. But I guarantee you that the fact Trump has said exactly that and has stood behind the statement is all some of his supporters need to believe something that stupid.
Why, this week a man punched a protester being escorted out of a Trump rally and later said “the next time we see him, we may have to kill him.” He assumed that since the guy was black, he was also probably Muslim and, therefore, ISIS. Was this a by-product of Trump having said he’d like to punch a protestor in the face?
What is truly insane is the idea that people think Trump will make America great again. He’s already made America worse.
The Republicans had another debate and, as usual, I didn’t watch it. I have no need to watch a bunch of dudes try to convince everyone they are simultaneously more conservative than each other but not so conservative that they can’t work with liberals on issues that “unite” us.
But Trump went off the rails this time because he had the balls to criticize George Bush and the Iraq war. In fact, he called the war a “big, fat mistake.”
Which it was.
Trump’s comments were so outlandish, he managed to piss off Dick Cheney.
Donald Trump pissed off Dick Cheney!
I think I may need to start drinking. I can’t handle this.
I’m sure you’ve read about Ahmed Mohamed this week. He built his own clock and made the mistake of bringing it to school and showing his teachers. He was proud of himself because he made something cool.
His teachers were concerned he’d built a bomb.
Because, you know, most kids who want to blow up their school show the bomb off to their teachers first.
So this kid was cuffed and interrogated by police and then suspended for three days. Because he built a clock.
Now if Ahmed had been white, I somehow think this situation would have turned out differently. Strange given that most of the school shooters I know of were white. Maybe school bombers are different.
As of right now, two important things have happened. On the positive side, President Obama invited Ahmed to the White House, MIT invited him to their campus, and about five dozen tech companies already want to hire him. Because fuck the people who got scared by a Muslim kid with mechanical skills.
On the negative side, he says he has learned his lesson and he won’t bring his inventions to school any longer.
Which is precisely the lesson he shouldn’t have been taught.
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.