Most people who read my column are, like me, from Minnesota. If you aren’t from Minnesota, you probably know that the weather this last week was – in the language of the locals – “chilly.”
A couple of guys decided it would be extremely nice if US Bank Stadium would allow homeless people to take shelter there because football stadiums are huge and the weather was deadly.
And they were right. It would have been extremely nice.
So what they did was start a rumor that US Bank Stadium was going to do exactly that. They tweeted how the Vikings were totally willing to open up the stadium and the city just needed to approve it. Essentially, they wanted to force the city and the Vikings to do what they wanted by trying to make everyone look like assholes if it didn’t happen.
The city and the Vikings basically said “uh – no – that rumor is false and we can’t really do that” for all sorts of reasons including the fact there was a football game in the stadium at noon the next day and the stadium is not set up or staffed to be a homeless shelter.
Now it’s easy to say that they should have let folks in anyway but then you have to figure out how to get them out in the morning before the football fans started to show up at 10:00 AM. It just isn’t something that can be done without – you know – planning.
However, because this fake news story was picked up as being a real news story, some homeless people made their way to the stadium for shelter. Shelter the stadium was not equipped to provide.
And when the rumor mongers were called on their bullshit ploy, they basically said “why are you angry with us when the stadium was the one who didn’t provide shelter?”
Guess what assholes? Neither did you.
You were pissed about public funds paying for the stadium (I am too) and you decided that the Stadium should do something that was important to you. Not important enough to, you know, open your house to a homeless family or work at an existing shelter. No, it was just important enough for you to create a fake story and then act like a whiny toddler when it didn’t work.
For four days, US Army Veteran Larry Jefferson was the official Santa Claus at the Mall of America. He was also black. The result was a whole lot of black kids got to sit on the lap of a Santa who looked like them. Sounds awful.
It sure was to these racists who believe that white characters should stay white no matter how mythological those figures might be.
The racists spouting their hatred for the concept of a Santa that wasn’t pasty white got so out of hand, the Star Tribune had to shut down comments on the article.
Now I will admit that the legends that gave rise to Santa Claus would certainly suggest a white Santa Claus is more accurate than – say – a white Jesus. However, it would seem to me that if we can embrace the idea of Billy Bob Thornton as (a drunk) Santa Claus, the idea of a black Santa shouldn’t result in anyone – what’s the phrase I’m looking for – giving a shit.
So in the giving spirit of the season, let’s give ourselves some time to reflect that a black Santa Claus is a good thing. And remember that every time someone uses the term alt-right, what they really mean is “racist doucebag.”
Milo Yiannopoulos, whose name is a pain to spell and is so much of a creepy fuck that I’m not even going to try, was invited to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He’s well known as an outspoken racist and anti-GLBTQ crusader. As you might expect, a lot of students were upset he was coming.
Free speech is a tricky thing. I mean, does the guy have a right to say what he says?
Unfortunately, yes. Should he be given a paid platform to say these things?
I don’t think he should. I think he should be swept out the door with the other insects we don’t want to kill but also don’t want in our homes. But I understand that Universities have a responsibility to expose students to all perspectives.
Now I will argue that if they want to expose kids to thinking from the right, people like Condoleeza Rice might represent a better option than Milo Yo-yoasaurus. I don’t agree with her on a lot of things but she’s not a racist.
In any case, Milo Yog-Sothoth was given the platform to speak and he was a racist and homophobic fuck, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone. However, he went so far as to show a picture of a trans student and use her dead name.
That, my friends, is bordering on a violent act. The trans community already faces challenges that are unparalleled. What Yorkshire Puddingpolos did to this student is unconscionable.
Fortunately, Yip-yip dogapus doesn’t have a conscience. So he’ll keep saying this shit. And people will keep paying him to say it. In the name of “fairness.”
In an act that isn’t being labelled terrorism because the perpetrator was white and nobody ended up being killed, a dude walked into a pizzeria in Washington D.C. to “investigate” a bullshit conspiracy theory that the restaurant was a front for a child prostitution ring run by the Clintons.
That’s fucked up. Even more fucked up, the son of incoming National Security Advisor Lt. General Michel Flynn tweeted his support for the conspiracy theory (but just barely avoided tweeting support for the gunman). Essentially he said, “until you prove the theory is false, we will keep talking about it.”
The problem with conspiracy theories is you can’t prove them false. The people who believe them will constantly find new reasons to support the idea it is a conspiracy and all your proof to the contrary is just more evidence of a cover up.
In the meantime, it is doing real and demonstrable harm to actual human beings and to an actual business. If Donald Trump gave two shits about anyone but himself, he would use Twitter to debunk this kind of nonsense rather than using it to whine about how Saturday Night Live is making fun of him.
Carl and Angel Larson, who are “good Christians,” are concerned their wedding video business might be sullied should they be forced by anti-discrimination laws to video a same sex couple getting married.
So concerned are they that their religious right to discriminate might be infringed, they are suing the state of Minnesota to ensure they don’t find themselves in that situation. The lawsuit, in effect, says that anti-discrimination laws are unconstitutional.
Look, given that our President-elected by Russia is likely to appoint justices friendly to this kind of religious freedom bullshit, it is probably best for same-sex couples to stay away from businesses like this one because the resulting lawsuit might have extremely dubious consequences. But what do you do when the businesses pre-emptively go to court?
And I’m left to wonder, is this what Jesus meant when he said “turn the other cheek?” I mean, these people aren’t being asked to shoot pornography. They are being asked shoot video featuring a couple of guys (or girls) who love each other getting married while surrounded by their friends and family. Kinky.
Oh wait – they aren’t being asked to do that. Yet. They just don’t want anyone to ask them because if they say no, they are going to look like assholes.
Sore losers like the North Carolina Assembly are quite possibly worse than sore winners (Donald Trump). In this case, the NC Assembly is so upset the people of their state elected a Democrat to the Governor’s mansion, they called an emergency special session to limit his powers.
Of course, they claim they were going to do that anyway. They just feel they need to do it faster because of who the people elected.
The legislation was passed to limit appointments made by the Governor and to also create road blocks between plaintiffs and the State Supreme Court are so blatantly partisan, the lawmakers passing them should be embarrassed. Elections have consequences. Parties lose.
The Democrats are already well aware of this fact.
When a party loses, the worst thing they can do is this kind of scorched earth legislation. Their own constituents should be telling them to stop being assholes and accept that a Democratic governor should be able to do the same fucking stuff a Republican governor was able to do.
I try to convince myself that the Republican party wants what is best for people and they just disagree with me on ideology. When they engage in this kind of sore loser bullshit, however, it is hard for me to think of their party as anything but a party unwilling to share power with anyone.
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?
I’m working on a play right now involving lycanthropy. As part of that, I’m trying to create legends that will be woven in as support of the main narrative. I’ve been researching some Native American myths that could be considered sources for modern werewolf stories.
What I wrote this week is stylistically a sort of bedtime story that could have vaguely Native American origins. It is inspired by an existing myth but really retains very little of the original.
With a story like this, I worry a little bit about cultural appropriation. I am not Native American and I am not trying to write a story from the perspective of a Native American. Rather, I want this story to feel like it comes from universal source of tales passed down verbally before they were written.
As with all my stories, I hope you enjoy, think, share, and comment if you are so moved. Read More…
One Very Misleading Map
I’ll get to the map in a minute. First, I’m going to spend a few paragraphs being frustrated that it is going to be nearly fucking impossible to talk about Donald Trump for – well – at least four years. I thought this week I’d try to avoid talking about him. I wanted to find other news items to fill my blog.
Problem is, right now all the news is about Donald Trump. And that pisses me off in itself. I am definitely pissed that his cabinet and staff looks like it’ll be comprised almost entirely of old white dudes. Some of whom are racist. I’m not surprised, mind you. I’m just pissed.
I’m pissed that Trump still sends out late night tweet storms because he’s the same fucking asshole he was before he was elected. And now he feels like he’s been vindicated. He doesn’t have to change who he is at all.
But I’m going to try to avoid talking about Trump for the rest of this week. Let’s focus on this map, OK?
Let’s let this map sink in, as the meme encourages us to do.
I mean, this is all about the tyranny of those 57 bully counties. They are just forcing their will on everyone else and that is horribly unfair!
Never mind that population wise, a lot of people live in those blue counties. And if counties had to have equal populations we should split those 57 blue counties into a number that would, roughly, be the equivalent of those 3084 red ones. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so uneven any longer, does it?
Here’s the other problem – when you make a county all red or all blue, you ignore the fact that there were people who voted for Clinton in those red counties. And people voted for Trump in the blue counties. So anyone in a red county who voted Clinton is basically shit out of luck as their wants/needs/desires are considered to be “red” while the wants/needs/desires of Trump voters in the 57 blue counties are considered to be “blue.”
The reality, of course, is much more nuanced. By using counties as your measuring stick and turning them red if Trump won by even one vote, you turn the electoral map into something that completely ignores the differing needs of our population.
We’ve read endlessly about how rural and urban populations want and need different things from our government. And that’s true. We don’t talk a lot about how rural populations are a lot more socially conservative and a lot more religious, which probably has more to do with all those red counties than the economic policies of a particular party.
This map and the commentary on the map suggests that because there are more rural counties, their wants/needs/desires are more important that the urban counties.
Tyranny of the majority is a phrase people in America like to throw around all the time. Especially when they win. The electoral college is there to stop the tyranny of the majority. Hell, the person who posted this map talked about tyranny of the majority even though their own math suggests that the tyranny is actually coming from the 3084 counties that voted for Trump.
But tyranny of the majority can be determined in a lot of ways. For instance, the majority of Americans are Christians. Almost every elected official is a Christian. That could be interpreted as tyranny of the majority as well, couldn’t it? Because it actually is.
More people like Marvel Movies than DC movies. More people think the original Star Wars trilogy is better than the prequels.
The majority can be tyrannical. It can also be right. And right is typically measured by whatever we already believe to be true.
So this map is not meant to point out that 57 counties are pushing around the rest of the country. It is meant to point out that Donald Trump should have won because look how many counties wanted him to be President.
It is meant to tell everyone annoyed by electoral college math that the math was fair because counties.
The electoral college argument is a complex one that cannot be boiled down to a few simple bullet points. In my lifetime, the electoral college has picked a President over popular opinion twice. It is troubling, to be sure.
Those on the losing side will use a bunch of math to show why the electoral college is unfair. Those on the winning side will use a bunch of math (and misleading maps like this one) to argue that it is fair.
In the end, though, all of this is an effort to simplify something that is extremely complex.
I think the electoral college should be more representative of the popular vote. But this map doesn’t argue for that. It argues that whoever turns more counties a particular color should win. If that’s how we want to solve things, we should just provide both candidates with a whole lot of paint.
Todd Starnes writes opinion pieces for Fox News. I can understand if you don’t want to read this one.
He’s an asshole, by the way. He’s smug and self-satisfied and completely incapable of recognizing his own bias.
Someone says I’m the same way in 3…2..
Anyway…a radio station in Madison, Wisconsin recently dumped their liberal talk show format for something different. Christmas music.
It makes sense, actually. I mean they will probably get more listeners that way.
One of the shows dropped to make way for endless renditions of The Little Drummer Boy was a show called “Freethought Radio” by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The show is still out there, by the way, it just isn’t being carried by that station.
Starnes wrote an opinion piece that is basically making fun of atheists for losing their radio show in Madison and it is basically the tone of the piece that is infuriating. He says things like:
Let’s be honest – would you rather listen to Rush [Limbaugh] and Sean [Hannity] or a gaggle of man-hating feminists in Birkenstocks warbling about the virtues of organic gardening.
Can I ask what it is about Birkenstocks that is so fucking liberal? I mean, don’t conservatives like comfortable sandals? Help me out, here.
And I don’t think he understand atheists very well since most of us are skeptics who are, in fact, pro GMO.
Anyway…Starnes is smugly reveling in the victory of Christmas music over a one hour atheist talk show. I mean Rush and Sean are a lot more popular anyway and they have been for a long time. They will continue to be well into the future.
So who cares if one atheist show is pushed out of one market because a radio station wants to be more profitable?
Todd Starnes does.
His side won this year. And they have been winning for a while. So why not just keep kicking the other side to remind them who is on top? Talk about the tyranny of the majority.
I banged this one out pretty quickly this afternoon. I’ve not posted a new short story in a few weeks and I decided I just needed to write and post something without worrying so much about how the final story turned out. I’m happy with the result, though.
The idea for this story began with the first sentence, “Mars exploded on a Thursday.” I like that opening. It provides a what the fuck kind of beginning. From there, the story gets pretty strange.
So for the few people who have been reading my stories, I’m sorry for the delay. I’ve had trouble getting off the horror theme I was working on in September and October. Thanks for bearing with me!
As always, feel free to share, comment, read, or ignore!
I’m not happy about the outcome of the Presidential election. This should come as no surprise to anyone. I feel we, as a country, chose a narcissistic, sexist, xenophobic, racist, bully to lead us and that feels like an extraordinarily bad choice. In addition, we kept the houses of congress in control of the Republicans and that means there is, effectively, no-one to temper the agenda of our bully-in-cheif.
It would be easy to point fingers all sorts of directions. Could Bernie have beaten Trump? Maybe. We don’t know that but maybe. Should the electoral college be fixed? Sure, but not before we fix the gerrymandered districts that work so heavily in the favor of Republicans that proposals to “fix” the system may well have given Trump more electoral votes and make it nearly impossible for a Democrat to ever win a Presidential election.
Protests against President-elect Trump (I hate typing that) are fine. They remind the Republican “majority” that there is a large swath of the country they do not serve and that is important. The protests themselves will not change much. They help us vent some anger, which is valid. They will not change Trump’s agenda (because he doesn’t really know what it is).
But look – there are things that we liberals can do over the next four years that can help everyone. Including the people who voted for Trump. It seems to me that progressive, positive actions can make a difference. I know these suggestions don’t represent everything we can do. They do represent a lot of very simple (and a few very difficult) things that will have an impact. Read More…