I missed a couple of weeks again! I had really good excuses but never mind that. I’m going to try to hit on a few things that have come to my attention in the last few weeks. Enjoy the rapid fire journey!
South Dakota lawmakers, in a display of “patriotism” passed a law requiring the national motto “In God We Trust” to be prominently displayed in all public schools.
It may feel like this is a violation of the separation of church and state and no doubt that will be tested. I think it will actually stand because “In God We Trust” is actually our national motto and Donald Trump has been allowed to seat two conservative Christian white dudes on the Supreme Court.
You can argue that “In God We Trust” is a shitty national motto and far worse than the one it replaced (E Pluribus Unim or “Out of Many, One) but it doesn’t matter because it’s still the national motto. You could also argue that the word “God” could be referring to any god and not just the Christian god it clearly refers to.
Hiding behind patriotism is the dodge that really pisses me off. I mean they have to do that because if they admitted their motivation was to put God on every public school wall because Christianity just isn’t enough places in our lives already, even Brett Kavanagh and Clarence Thomas might need to stop hitting on their clerks long enough to strike the law down. But the transparency of the act is galling. Of course this is about religion.
If you wanted it to be about patriotism, you’d just pass some law about posting the bill of rights in every school.
For the record, I’d be 100% behind that one. Kids should know their rights. Read More…
If you understand anything about vaccines, you know that they don’t cause autism. They just don’t. We don’t know what causes autism. But it’s not vaccines.
But here we go – another study is showing that vaccines do not, in fact, cause autism.
So what pisses me off? Why the fuck are we still studying this?
I don’t blame the scientists for doing so. I mean the anti-vaxx movement keeps coming up with bullshit science to link autism and vaccines in the ultimate game of confirmation bias so someone needs to keep doing actual research to counter the constant barrage of bad information.
Anti-vaxxers crawl out of the shadows every time something like this surfaces because they really want to believe big bad pharma is out to kill us all by ensuring we don’t get polio. It is a pretty sinister plot they have uncovered and the only side effects to being wrong are outbreaks of measles and whooping cough.
The other thing that bothers me is this idea that people with autism are somehow more broken than they would have been had they contracted polio. Rather than treating autism as a challenge to be managed and understood, anti-vaxxers want to believe we can just cure it. The implication that being on the spectrum is worse than dying of a preventable disease is about as bad as suggesting we shouldn’t teach blind people how to read braille because what’s the point?
Unlike flat Earthers, who are just stupid, anti-vaxxers are dangerous. They get people killed. And they divert money from studying how to help people live with autism or from determining the actual cause of autism to more studies about how vaccines don’t cause autism.
Now I understand that not every man who voted for Trump feels it is OK to grope women without consent. Some of them just think it is OK for Trump to do that but they would never imagine doing it themselves.
Well, OK, maybe they would imagine doing it themselves. But they would never actually do it unless there was absolutely no chance that they would be caught.
The thing is, our President has normalized sexual assault. He has turned victims into punch lines and perpetrators into supreme court justices. He has shown a lot of men in this country that you can do this kind of thing and get away with it.
Given rape culture in this country, that should actually not be a surprise. Thing is, when you have an admitted sexual predator in the white house (he’s on tape so shut up with your apologist bullshit), even the minor amount of stigma that existed before has been shredded.
Sure, this guy was arrested and he’ll be fined or spend a few weeks in jail. He’s not going to stop thinking that what he did was OK.
And the biggest problem with Trump is that he’s popular with a subset of the American public because he represents all that deeply felt awfulness in each one of us. He releases the national desire to be a bunch of fucking unapologetic assholes.
So congratulations, women of America! You already had to deal with ten million other problems. Now you have a bunch of white dudes who have been told that actions don’t have consequences.
I think we all know that I find the anti vaccination movement one of the worst things in the world today. It’s hard that I can rank anything above our President but as of yet, he has done less real harm. He still has three more years, though (fuuuuuuck).
This particular anti vax kook has an argument that really puts her on the fringe of the movement since she has managed to combine being a naturopathic nut with being a complete right-wing Christian crazy person. It’s a neat trick!
She argues that vaccines can’t be good because god didn’t mention them in the Bible. Which, I must admit, is true.
What’s odd here is that right-wing Christians would freak out if I asked them why god didn’t mention cars in the Bible. Or airplanes.
Because it’s stupid. Whether or not god wrote the Bible, smart people can agree he didn’t bring up stuff like vaccines and cars because it wouldn’t make any sense to the people who were reading it when it was written.
If god had written “Thou shalt yield to the driver on the right when stopping at a four way stop sign,” the hebrews would have said “what the fuck are you talking about god?”
And god would have said “It’ll make sense in a few thousand years.”
And they would have said “can we focus on getting out of this desert right now and then figure out what you mean by four-way stop sign?”
A similar conversation would have happened had Jesus said “How blessed are the unvaccinated for they shall have a lower risk of autism.”
But hopefully it would have involved a fact checker to tell Jesus that the study he was citing had been discredited. Read More…
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.
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.
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.
Even though California has been suffering through a worsening drought over the last few years, Donald Trump has been assuring farmers that there is plenty of water and when he’s President, he’ll make sure they get it.
I know that it is easy to say that Trump is just a politician making hollow promises but let’s remember that Trump believes global climate change is a hoax. Not wrong. A hoax.
So when he starts spouting conspiracy theories about the California water supply, it is entirely likely that he believes them. He believes that the drought isn’t really happening and it is just liberal, tree-hugging politicians who are to blame for the fact California farmers can’t water their crops.
And the more evidence he is shown to the contrary, the more likely he is to believe it is all a big fucking conspiracy.
This guy is going to be the Republican nominee for President. His party is going to stand behind him because they have no choice.
And that ought to scare the hell out of everyone.
Good for her, right? She decided she wasn’t interested in getting the Measles so, of her own free will, she went behind her parent’s backs and solved the problem the way most of us would solve that problem.
The mom is losing her shit because she didn’t consent to the procedure. Too bad for her they live in Canada and at sixteen, her daughter gets to do whatever the fuck she wants with her own body.
As a parent, I understand that there are certain choices we need to make for our kids until they reach a certain age. I’ve told my kids that they can get a tattoo if they want but they have to wait until they are 18. Why? Because I figure it will give them a little time to think about it before they get a picture of Twilight Sparkle tattooed on their butt.
If they came to me at 17 and had a good argument, I’d probably tell them it was fine.
Given how my kids respond to pain, this hypothetical conversation is never going to happen. But I digress.
This pain in the ass mom seems to think that she has some right to control over another person’s body because that body happens to belong to her daughter.
What is she so angry about anyway? If her daughter develops autism as a result of the vaccines, she is still going to be moving out in a couple of years.
The vaccine “debate” has been heating up lately due, I think, to the outbreak of Measles at Disneyland. As many people have pointed out the fallacious reasoning that makes up the anti-vaxx position, others have righteously defended their right to make health decisions for their own children. Even when those health decisions fly in the face of scientific evidence.
I’ve seen far too many friends getting upset over the debate and trying to play the peacemaker middle sibling. Can’t we respect “both sides” of the argument they ask? Can we all play nice?
The problem with this position is the simple fact that the sides are not equal. Just as the vast majority of scientists agree on global climate change and evolution, the vast majority of medical professionals and scientists agree on vaccines.